Telemar Bay to Oriental NC is somewhere around 800 miles on the ICW. For a variety of reasons, we decided to stay inside for this trip. We have our two and a half year old Emilia with us. I was much more comfortable making this first trip with her on the ICW, even though it would take a few more days, or even an additional week versus going outside into the ocean.
On August 4th, two days after Isaias made landfall, we hit the water ways. Captain Stan, as Emilia likes to call him, was at the wheel.
The scenery was incredible. Only a couple hours in and we saw manatees doing their manatee thing. With no wind or wake on the water, you could see their little heads popping up all along the ICW. And dolphins everywhere, all the time. It never gets old.
The preparations for this trip were epic. There are plenty of stops along the ICW where grocery stores, restaurants, bars and cute little shops are accessible by marinas, but Covid has changed all the normal doings of things. The latest waterway guides were published before the pandemic of course. I’m not sure how they would look now. Maybe something like: “where your mask at the Beaufort Marina because no body else will.” Just like everything else in our current climate, it’s been a challenge to do normal everyday things that we used to take for granted. We provisioned for this trip with the intention of NOT going into a bunch of stores to restock on groceries. The boat is equipped with a large freezer and fridge, all running off of solar/battery. We vacuum bagged the frozen meats, and I took out all the food that was in card board boxes, re bagged, and stashed them in tupper-wares to save TONS of space, and to keep roaches from the boat. (Roaches like to lay eggs in cardboard on boats). It was a lot of stuff packed into tiny spaces (my specialty). I spent even more time getting all of Emilia’s toys and safety gear prepped. I will probably do a separate blog post on all the toddler/safety related things that needed to be addressed before leaving. It really is an art all in itself. Not just being safe, but keeping everyone sane and happy. It may seem like more trouble than its worth, but just being out here for a few days, I have spent the most precious moments with Emilia than I ever have in the past 2 years.
Speaking of safety, the above photo was taken while we were putting the life line netting up, so it looks like it’s not there, but currently we have netting all along the perimeter of the boat.
We spent most of the first day just letting it all sink in and learning as many things we could about the boat. The wind allowed us a short little sail action at one point.
This boat is so big, we actually use a power tool to hoist the sail.
We had a torrential downpour in the afternoon, which left Adam soaked through. Our bimini is water resistant, which is basically code for ‘will get wet’. But we can probably remedy that with some scotch guard. Emilia and I stayed dry in the Salon, with the fans running keeping us cool.
The first night we anchored out between Daytona and Ormund Beach. It was something like a 10 or 11 hour day. Not much happened after dinner except a beeline for the beds.
Our second day we kept our course north inside the Florida coast. I spotted an alligator in front of our boat which was pretty awesome. The scenery continued to impress.
Every day we plan our route. There isn’t one magical chart or book out there with all the details. We use a combination of chart books, an anchorage book (skipper bob’s) our chart plotting navigation computer (Raymarine), the waterway guide, a bridge list, and sometimes navionics on my phone. All of those things combined give us the information we need to plot a day’s course. It’s a lot.
During the middle of our journey, the wind picked up on our tail, so we decided to go for a downwind run. Our course was curvy, and the wind was a bit shifty, and since downwind sailing is already not my happy place, it was proving to be even less so now. We jibed a few times, no big deal since the wind was less than 15 knots, but it left me jostled nonetheless. We were barber hauling the jib with a snap shackle to a block, and just as a gust of wind hit us, the snap shackle broke apart causing mayhem at the exact moment that we started bumping ground. Boat drama is guaranteed to crash your dinner party with at least one friend in tow, maybe two. But we got off the ground in seconds, and re secured the jib without much trouble. Stan said he had “never seen a snap shackle break like that.” Was I surprised? Not really.
That night we made it to Pine Island on the Tolomato River in Florida. The day yielded 55 nautical miles, which is 63 statute miles. It was a lovely anchorage.
We dingy-ed out to a little swamp beach after dinner.
Adam cast the net for bait, while Emilia and I walked around on the oyster shells. It was wild and remote. Not a place many humans walk around.
After we got back on the boat, Adam caught, no joke, like 7 sharks.
The place felt even more wild after that.
The next day we set out early, as we always try to do, and ate breakfast while we motored along.
Emilia wears her life jacket anytime she is outside the cabin of the boat. And if she is outside the cockpit and we are under way, she is also tethered to something. I never thought I would put a leash on my child, but I’m calling this an exception to the rule. Every morning before the sun switches to ‘roasting’ mode, Adam slaves away on the life line netting on inch at a time to further add to our child safety protocol.
The southern portion of the ICW is peppered with Trump flags.
No Biden flags
And here is our flag
As we traversed into Georgia, we passed some kind of factory in the middle of no where swamp land. Its always amazing to see something really big on the water.
I’m not even sure what it was, but it was massive. Some kind of barge lift I’m guessing.
After 71 miles of motoring along, we made it to Jekyll Island where we anchored for the night. There was a precious little beach across the way from our boat which we wasted no time in exploring. Emilia got to collect sea shells while Adam cast the net for finger mullet. He did not catch any finger mullet, but he did get some shrimp and a puffer fish which was quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. And since I didn’t have my phone on me to take a picture of it, I will leave you with this rainbow pic instead.
More to come soon! We have a long way to go.