Saturday, April 28, 2007

Passage Safely Over

Fernandina Beach, Florida
30 40.5N 81 28.1W

Like all good passages the trip itself was uneventful and then you arrive at a strange port in the dark!

We had a great sail in, only drama was Linda handing over watch to me at 2230, and then 10 minutes later we met a race fleet of 15 boats all on starboard tack so they had right of way, so I spent nearly 2 hours, weaving among them and gybing the boat single handed. She swears it was coincidence!

We didn't fancy the look of the entrance in the dark so hung around for 2 hours for sunrise, then made our way into the St Mary's river and down to Fernandina Beach. We were pretty tired when we arrived so have slept a lot the last 24 hours, but very happy to have a 350 mile passage under our belts in under 48 hours, and even happier to have 27' of water under our keel at low tide!

We will be here for a week or two as there is Cumberland Island to explore and our first visitors arrive. Will Padman is over on business and is coming next weekend in time for the Shrimp Festival, then Josette and Christian arrive for a 2 week holiday with us.For all those showing such interest in my weight gain while at work, pleased to say I have lost 16lbs/7kg already in 1 month of cruising, which hopefully gets me back to weighing less than Roger!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Best Sailing Can Get

In The Gulf Stream
28 57.6N 79 40.2W

We assess the damage and decide to carry on sailing, it's still useable, the repair is a time consuming one and the weather forecast is perfect for sailing north.

So here we are in the Gulf Stream, it's sunny, warm, we are broad reaching in 12-15 knots on a flat boat, but with 3-4 knots of current we are making 10 knots over the ground! For the sailors, our first 24 hour run on Matsu is 215 miles, be a while until we beat that I think!

We have to gybe inshore soon so will lose the current, but have a great forecast for the remaining 100 miles or so, and should arrive tomorrow morning at St Mary's river.

We can now update the blog via HF email so shuld be a bit more news for following us now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

We're Off, Then We Aren't

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
26 07.1N 80 06.6W

Well we set off from Biscayne Bay with high hopes, the weather forecast was superb and we were set for a great sail up to the St Mary's river on the Florida/Georgia border.

We had a good sail for a while, but then the wind started to back round to the north and while the upwind sailing was great, we couldn't get easily offshore to the Gulf Stream as planned and even if we could it's not a great place to be in a Norther as the sea stacks up badly.

We had to tack as we approached Fort Lauderdale to get out to sea a bit, and about 10 minutes later there was a nasty noise and we looked down to see that the genoa track had pulled up from the deck under the car, which made the decision to head into Fort Lauderdale a bit easier!

So we headed back in to our spot in Lake Sylvia to assess the damage and get some sleep, trouble is by the time we had negotiated the bridges etc we were about 3" of water short and so yet again we go aground, but this time we are well and truly stuck and have to wait 3 hours for the tide to go out and come back again. So technically we have our first night at sea on Matsu, admitedly right outside someone's house but we weren't anchored! We finally free ourselves at 11pm and head for the moorings at Las Olas as we know there's a good 9' there, ahh south Florida.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Finally We Go For A Sail!

Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida
25 40.6N 80 09.9W

We left Lake Sylvia on Tuesday and had a great sail down to Miami in fabulous sunshine and a gentle breeze, Matsu sailed superbly performing much better in the light breezes than we would have thought possible. We arrived in Miami late afternoon ran aground again while trying to find some water to anchor in and got the pick down in time for an amazing sunset over the city.

Wednesday morning after another brief flirt with the sand we were off down the ICW to Biscayne Bay, in addition to constantly monitoring the depth sounder we had the heart stopping moment of going under a bridge, theoretically we had 8 feet to spare, but from the deck looking up it's a scary thing.

Since then we have been in Biscayne Bay, day sailing, fixing things and finally having some cruising style fun, dinghy trips, snorkelling, reading etc. Major achievement is we haven't run aground for 4 days now, so very pleased!

We plan to leave tomorrow to head north to Georgia, we can't face anymore shallow water harbours so it's time to start heading north. It's a 350 mile journey but we should get 3-4 knots of current from the Gulf Stream so hope to be there in 48 hours or so.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Anchored In Lake Sylvia

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
26 06.3N 80 06.7W

So finally a proper update.

We had 2 very busy weeks to start off with, we remained tied up behind the house in the canals of Fort Lauderdale where we had berthed her ever since buying the boat. The time passed very quickly as we ran around buying food, general supplies and fixing up a couple of things on the boat. The prices of food, beer, wine etc here are so much lower than Oz, we have been amazed - we always thought of Australia as a cheap place, but at $20 for a slab of beer, versus $40 in Oz what can I say!

Finally on Thursday we threw off the mooring lines and backed down the canal between all the other boats miraculously missing them all, and off down the river towards the sea. It took us 4 years to run aground in Blue Lady, 15 minutes this time! We had just radioed a bridge, they opened it we got through, picked up the right channel and were feeling very happy, when oh so slowly we touched bottom. The tide was on the rise so we weren't stuck long, and the rest of the trip was pretty normal.

Since then we have been in Lake Sylvia surrounded by mansions and super yachts, but having a great time, we will head down to Biscayne Bay tomorrow, we have had 30+ kts the last 24 hours so we delayed our departure while the front went through.The boat is wonderful, everything we remembered and more, we still haven't sailed her, but the fridge, battery chargers, generator, toilets and all the other things that you spend your time on with cruising boats work great!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Safely Arrived In Fort Lauderdale

Mandarin Isle, Fort Lauderdale
26 06.2N 80 09.5W

Well we haven't updated the blog since we arrived nearly 2 weeks ago for one very simple reason we haven't been anywhere! We have stayed tied up to the dock in the canals of Fort Lauderdale doing the chores, provisioning, working out all things Matsu and sweating as it is very hot and humid here.

All well though, Charlie the cat has safely arrived and is ruling the roost on the canal side here, and we are already a bit thinner and browner than when we left!

We are leaving today for a trip down to the sea, and then on to Miami tomorrow for our first sail and anchor up, we plan on spending some time in Biscayne Bay getting used to the boat and then we will start the cruise north.