April 9, 2021
To those of you who read this blog to be convinced that I am alive, I apologize for the confusion. I am indeed alive. (That’s an apology to those waiting for the insurance payout. 😂)
After moving the boat from The Bahamas back to Florida in early March, I assisted another captain in moving their boat to the Dominican Republic on a humanitarian mission (ultimately to Haiti), but am now back on Home Free and heading North . . . pretty much on schedule. There are many stories from that journey, but perhaps the most entertaining was my return to Home Free. It occurred to me by the time I arrived at the boat, that my day (6 am start) had spanned a sailboat, a dinghy, a motorcycle, a bus, a taxi, a plane, a shuttle bus, a train, a car ride from my new friend Max, and an Uber, finally ending on a trawler (1:30 am finish). The only thing I missed was my beloved bicycle and perhaps a camel.
In the process I avoided the $300 car rental or the $280 Uber ride (from FLL to Ft. Pierce) and went from FLL to Ft. Pierce for $47.50 and made a new friend, Max. It did make for a long day!
Here are some highlights from the trip to the Dominican Republic.
Originally my plan was to leave Fort Pierce around April 1st and arrive in Chesapeake, Virginia around April 15th. There is a lot of room in there for the usual unplanned events around boating. I am currently progressing in a way that may make that schedule possible!
My Powerview monitor (provides information about how my engine is performing such as temperatures and pressures and fuel consumption etc.) has died. I did order and was expecting a new one, but when it arrived it was the wrong component. In the meantime, a very heavy wind from the East kept everyone tied to the docks and so I waited. I did finally began my journey North on April 4th.
Last year I had Marianne with me as crew and so the trip to Beaufort was just 2 1/2 days in the Gulf Stream and four days in the ICW north of Beaufort. Unfortunately, Marianne picked up a different crewing opportunity this year and so I am single handing up the East coast. It will take 8-10 days to Beaufort depending on the weather and the same 4 days in the ICW.
When the weather cleared, I moved North to St. Augustine to wait for the replacement part and enjoy some time with other boat friends (Sylvain and Claire on Sao, as well as Mark on CAVU). St. Augustine is a beautiful place, but I still have not spent a lot of time enjoying the sights. There are a lot of tourists, and I am still very cautious due to COVID. My fears didn’t keep me away from the necessities however and I did visit West Marine and the grocery store a number of times!
The calm weather is my friend right now. Since leaving Fort Pierce there hasn’t been any significant weather and the winds and waves are almost non-existent. I do like a flat ride. I am currently trying to decide whether I make the run from Brunswick, GA to Hilton Head (a short day), to Charleston (arrival in a strange port after dark) or perhaps just run to Beaufort (that’s two days at sea alone) in the great weather. It is coming to an end by Sunday. Perhaps an arrival in Charleston after dark. It’s a deep entrance with a couple of reasonable anchoring spots close to the inlet and avoids the inevitable fatigue overwhelming safety.
The calm weather has allowed me to catch up on boat cleaning. It is rare that I am effusive about commercial products, but in Fort Pierce I picked up Starbrite’s Rust Remover spray and after all of my attempts to remove rust spots with deck cleaners, oxalic acid, rubbing compounds, not to mention professional boat cleaning services, and other versions of chemically assisted elbow grease, this stuff is a dream. To be sure, it is an acidic product and so a LOT of fresh water is required within a minute or two of it being applied, but it works like a charm and my boat is looking whiter everywhere I spray this stuff. In similar fashion I have been working hard on my stainless steel (rails, rub rails, hand rails) which have taken a bit of a beating in The Bahamas due to my laziness and scarcity of water. The stainless is really starting to shine again as well.
I will try to update with more insights as I move North . . . but I am alive and the boat is looking awesome.