First post for 2018
First, apologies to all. I note we did not continue posting last spring. We even had folks trying to contact us to see if we were shipwrecked! Nothing so serious.
We eventually floated off our grounding in Daytona and continued our chilly trip north. At St John’s River intersection with the intracoastal waterway, we turned west, upriver, towards Jacksonville. This is a large commercial port area and it is a little daunting to travel through, between and around ships and tugs with river currents and tides. Our 35.5 foot boat begins to look and feel really small.
We spent the night at the free municipal docks in Jacksonville and headed out early only to have to wait a long time for a bridge to raise. It was under construction and only raised at very specific times. Be there or miss it.
The St John’s river turns south just past downtown Jacksonville. For some reason, heading south “up river” always seems odd to me. We were heading to a new-to-us marina, Gibson Dry Docks south of Palatka on the St John’s. We had been as far as Green Cove Springs Marina several times, but not beyond. There is a bridge just past Green Cove Springs which shows 46 ft clearance at high tide. By my calculations, the top of our mast is 46 ft above the water and I usually assume 50 feet. Then we have a VHF antenna and a static electricity dissipater and an anchor light on top. Some of you may recall we had a wind indicator at the masthead but we were not worried about damaging it since it was lost in a hurricane the previous winter.
We arrived at the bridge…at high tide. We should drop anchor and wait. But we were tired and anxious to get to the boatyard which we believed was just a short way past the bridge and could haul us out that day if we arrived in time. Also we had been told there was an additional two feet clearance near the center of the span. So, against better judgment, we headed under. The antenna dinged each time it hit a bridge beam. The dissipater bent aft a little. Nothing touched the anchor light or mast. We are told God watches over damned fools and idiots!
It turns out the marina is about half a day past the bridge. We could not get there in time to be hauled out so we tied up at the municipal docks in Palatka and spent a couple nights. I had my first haircut in probably 6 months. We walked through portions of the town and ate in cafes. We made contact with folks through Home Away to rent their condo for a month.
A condo? For a month? Best decision of the trip. “Submit” needed work. Half the interior had to be disassembled including much of the dinette area, the double Pullman berth, remove the water tanks and most of the upper salon sole to get at what we thought was one leaking fuel tank only to discover that both had leaks. Both tanks are supposed to have been repaired and are waiting for me to apply internal sealant before re-installing them when we return. “While in the area” we decided to deal with a hull-to-deck joint leak at the starboard bow. In order to access it, the 50 year old teak toe rail had to be removed and did not like it. So, all the teak toe rail was removed from both sides, with significant struggling by both me and Barbara, along with the safety lines and stanchions, bow pulpit, anchor roller and frame and I forget what else. The decision has been made to replace the toe rail with an aluminum toe rail which we were given from another boat if we would (and did) remove it prior to the boat going to salvage. So, since none of the old mounting holes will work for the “new” toe rail, they and several others needed to be sealed with epoxy particularly since we were going to be leaving the boat for months. And, “while we are in the area”, the deck needs repainting and so does the hull, which may require new rub rails. A couple minor bulkhead repairs have been done, but the above work and installing a new alternator and rebuilding the wind generator and…will be done by us, we think.
High points of our stay?
Use of a car loaned to us by our friends from Newfoundland saved our transportation bacon.
The condo gave us air conditioned relief when the heat returned plus baths and showers and laundry and kitchen and wifi and escape from the mess of the boat and allowed Calgary friends to come stay with us for a few days in the 2nd bedroom with bath.
Calgary friend Brian who was conscripted to work two half days and a full day salvaging toe rail, the labors of which I shall not describe here.
Barbara’s ceaseless toil, support and patience through at least three and a half of the four weeks. We both pretty much ran dry by the end.
We anticipate several weeks of work on “Submit” before she is ready to launch. We hope to find a few diversions during that work time. Perhaps friends will be nearby to visit us or us them. (We promise to not make you work on “Submit” unless you really really want to). Perhaps a few days exploring the area. Perhaps???
We will be driving down this year in part to have transportation while projecting. We think we have a small place located to rent while staying off the boat. Our route from here to there is yet to be determined, based in part on weather and road conditions and where we can go to visit folks along the way. If any of you would care to join us for a meal or whatever as we pass through, please let us know. It might be do-able depending on northern, central or southern route.
Happy New Year and smooth sailing in calm waters.
Reggie and Barbara