We learned in January that Outer Reef is having a rendezvous in early March in Key West. The last one had been in Block Island RI., in August 2009 which we boated to. Our original plan had been to stay in Charleston until the end of March and boat back home. We decided upon an abbreviated winter boating season driven in large measure by thought it might be important to be closer to home for our daughter's wedding in May, in our back yard, which might require us to be home for some chores. Also our youngest son Johnny a acting/theater major and graduating senior at Washington & Lee has several productions he will be in and we want to attend.
That was then and this is now. We find we are not needed for any particular chores due to Katie's good planning and we can get to Johnny's productions from multiple locations and I find I am allergic to winter or more specifically cold weather. While it is warmer in Charleston than home it is still chilly and the warm winds of the FL keys are calling to us. It is quite hard on your toes wearing flips flops on the dock when it is 38 degrees. Argh.
Our plans now are changed to leave Charleston on February 13th. We are feeling much better since the cold/flu has run it's course and with a deadline to leave we are a busy seeing and doing things about town. Prior to leaving we need to get our car back to Kilmarnock go see Johnny in Lexington and the opening of a play he is in, and then drive back to Charleston and go!
We hope to go "outside" in the ocean for a run to Fernandina Beach. An approximate trip of 160nm (note a nautical mile is equal to 1.15 statue miles) will take approximately 18 hrs. We need to time our arrival so we do not show up when the marina is closed in the dead of night. Leaving about 1-2 pm gets us there in the 8-9 am time frame on the 14th. This is all weather conditions contingent. We do not want to go when one of these Nor' Easters that have been hammering the east coast every other week it seems. The sea conditions would be decidedly unpleasant if not unsafe, so a good weather window is important.
Our second option is to travel down the inside, the ICW. It would take longer but it is sheltered and less subject to wind and wave. There are a few problems with shallow spots particularly in GA. It becomes a game of traveling on the mid to high tides which here are in the 5-7 ft range. One spot in particular is the Mud River which we can only go through at a mid or high tide. We can never time this well as the day we would go thorough the low tide is 1:30pm which is almost precisely when we would arrive: errr. Our options this way would be drop anchor spend the night on a nearby creek and catch the high tide the next early am or some variation on that theme.
Our preference is just to skip around all this stuff but plan for the ICW in the event of.
We are planning to meet up with another OR 65 in Jacksonville "Risky Business"; cruising down south with Barry and Alice would add some fun and further adventure in buddy boating.
We hope to arrive in Key West on March 3rd, stay for the event then head back north. Details are yet in the making, but we are focused on the navigation and boat systems for the initial 725nm mile trip.
I have a long list of routine maintenance items that need to be attended to before we leave and will need to devote some time to getting these done. Beginning with polishing (cleaning and filtering) about 1600 gal of diesel fuel.
Warm sunshine is quite the motivator.
Today it should be very nice with a high of "70" in Charleston so we are going to hoof it and take a self guided walking tour. Last night we went to a great jazz concert and had a blast.
Remembering it is still winter and the weather takes a turn for the worse again, chilly temps and rain on the way but for today we are planning on a serious walk and a good meal somewhere.
Charleston is after all one of our all time favorite cities.
We rig for heavy winds on a side tie and double up the lines so to spread the stresses. So far it has worked like a charm. Heaviest winds have been in the mid 30'skts. We average a 1.5kts current at ebb.
Please do not call the fashion police, warmer weather and I shed the white socks and pants for shorts and flip flops. Well maybe an alert is fine; yesh!
Two blooms with more on the way.