Passage North: Miami to Fernandina Beach, FL

Thursday, June 2

Hastings makes an attempt for freedom

Departed the Dinner Key Mooring Field at 10AM. Went to a marina for diesel. I was handing the attendant a dock line when he said “Doug ran off”. "Oh, OK", I say. Maybe Doug usually does lines but he got distracted? “He’s gone to another yacht”. “OK", I say again as I finish tying up the boat. Not sure why Fred is so obsessed with Doug. “You don’t seem terribly interested, but maybe someone should go and look for the dog”. THE DOG!!! After 18 months of waiting to be lifted off the boat, Hastings decided today was the day to leap off the boat before it was even docked and make a run for it. I found him running towards me, his ears flapping, clearly pleased with his reconnoissance mission.

Next stop: No Name Harbor to pump out the nasty. Hastings' reward for his bravery was being locked in the salon during docking. He let us know his strong disapproval. We finally departed for reals at 12:30, and made between 3 and 8.5 knots.
Keeping an eye on Matt through Hastings' indoor / outdoor patio

Thursday, June 2nd

Night watches

Winds variable, constantly threatening to accidentally jibe us. Matt took the 9PM-Midnight shift. I woke up to see flashing lights. Is Matt practicing Morse Code? Then why is he also talking? Hastings and I staggered to the cockpit, still hazy about life. Didn’t think to put trousers on. The Coast Guard had decided to intercept us and ask a list of questions. Random.

I had a number of boats and ships on my watch and was pretty annoyed that the shifting winds took away from my planned star gazing as I was on alert to prevent an accidental jibe.

At 4AM, we took in the sails and started the engines. We were barely making any headway at 2.5 knots.

Friday, June 3rd

Light winds most of the day, but we motor sailed and were able to kill the engines at 2PM, making around 5 knots. The sea has been so flat, it’s like a pond. We had turtles and dolphins visit and saw wahoo jumping. We ate the last of the brownies, but I spied two packages of Hob Nobs (yummy Brit cookies), so survival is possible. We’ve both been under a laziness attack. We can manage watches, listening to audiobooks, staring - but any type of cleaning, cooking or projects is simply too much to ask.
The Ocean - Big and Blue
Still Morning

Saturday, June 4th

Night Watches

12:01AM. I had hoped today would be arrival day, but due to our painful speed or my original excessive optimism, today is just another day on the ocean.

4:37:01AM. Good. Matt’s shift starts in 23 minutes. I might make make it 23 minutes. He’s obviously been having the same slow clock issues Ive been having - he added a second hand to our GPS. It’s dark. There are a lot of stars, and I’ve painstakingly mapped out all the constellations I can identify: The Big Dipper. 14 miles offshore from Cape Canaveral. No ships. The wind died to 1 knot - we are motor boating.

4:37AM. How is it still 4:37AM? I did a 360 sweep and a constellation identification. It has to have been more than a minute. Is that a light on the horizon? No. Our wake sure is interesting. Frothy. Ohh, what’s the ship on AIS 20 miles away? Sleeping Beauty. Same name that it had 1 minute ago. Sleeping Beauty, that’s what I’d like to be. 23 more minutes. Maybe I’ll wake him at 4:58. Now it’s only 21 minutes. I can do that.

Brownie check. Hmm. No brownies. We ate them. They were good. From scratch. Did you know you don’t need a box to make brownies? I didn’t. The box is just mixed flour, sugar, and cocoa. Why didn’t I come up with that idea and scam generations of Americans into believing you need a box mix to make brownies?

Is this why crack cocaine was invented? For night watches? Maybe that’s why the Coast Guard stopped by last night? Are most cruising sailboats laden down with cocaine, just to make it through the night? “Fred, we can wave off. These losers aren’t doing cocaine. If they were, they’d be able to put trousers on. Poor bastards”.

Ahh, 4:37:59. Finally, 4:38! Wait. 3:38. No. It’s wrong. This can’t be happening. I thought running out of brownies was the worst thing that could happen. I was wrong.
Clocks don’t go backwards, that’s just a saying, right! I’ll stop watching it and go for a constellation identification trip. Maybe see if Sleeping Beauty has changed it’s name.

We’d agreed to 3 hour watches, but Matt woke me at 2:21AM, 2 hours and 21 minutes into his watch. So me giving him 2.5 hours is generous, right? Or 2 hours and 28 minutes. Too bad the Hobbit audiobook is over. I’ve got nothing left to keep me awake. Oh, look, the Big Dipper. Maybe I should get a book on stars. I bet there’s a Little Dipper too. Maybe a medium one? Now, is medium actually large now? Because there’s Super Size? Or is it Vente? Is there a Vente Dipper?

3:41AM. I’m sick of this clock. Yes, sick! Sea-sick! Maybe Matt will feel sorry for me if I’m sick and take over early? Wait, when does this short changing watches end? 30 second watches? 2 minutes? 2 minutes would be good. Maybe an hour. I guess someone has to be a man and stick it out.

3:58AM. Your watch, Matt. “What time is it?” “5AM”. “You let me sleep extra, that’s nice.” “Sure. I’m a humanitarian. Just ignore the GPS clock, it shifted off DST when we crossed the demarcation line. And there’s no brownies left" The open sea dosen't bother with saving time, just parceling it out, one impossibly slow second after another.

Saturday, June 4th

Same old, same old. We’re in a Right Whale habitat, and there’s streaks of plankton, and guess who’s nowhere to be found? That’s right, not a whale to be found. No whale of a time here.
Plankton in the Atlantic Ocean
Plankton. No whales.
Napping in the cockpit of our Lagoon 380 on passage
Napping. It's what we do best.

Sunday, June 5th 

Night Watches

We hove to (stopped all forward progress) to reef the main and take in the jib. 20 knots of wind and the seas are up. We woke each other several times to jibe back and forth and arrived at St Mary’s inlet at 5AM to hang out till dawn, wondering what all these fishing boats are doing. (Probably cocaine) Good times.

Sunday, June 5th

Moored at Last! 

We arrived in Fernandina Beach, FL at 7:20AM and picked up a mooring ball. It took 70 hours, 326 nm, at an average of 4.67 knots. 

There’s an 8 ft tidal range here! And marshes! And a fort! And a crazy current! We napped, showered, ran the water maker and are headed into town to look for food that Someone Else cooks. Someone Else is going to do the dishes too! If only Someone Else was available for the 3AM shift, I would fall in love with them.
St Mary's Inlet Entrance
St Mary's Inlet: Florida to the left, Georgia to the right

Coming Up

Fernandina Harbor won’t allow us to dock or moor during the storm (what’s up with all these storms, so soon? I thought we had time. I was wrong) Amelia Island Yacht Basin will take us, so we are headed there for Monday and Tuesday night. Assuming survival, we’ll be exploring Fernandina Beach, St. Mary’s and Cumberland Island for the next week, and then make a jump to Charleston.

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  1. So glad to see you guys left and "are doing it"! Night watches suck. And, they can be glorious. Reading your descriptions is like looking into my own mind during that time. We did six hour watches (great when being off watch, when all goes according to plan) and I enjoyed the me time of reading, writing and doing sudokus in the cockpit. Have a great trip north, and hopefully "the storm" is not too big of a deal.

    1. Wow, 6 hours off sounds good... But 6 hours on? I don't know that I could do that! Maybe we'll try longer watches next time and see how it goes!

  2. This is the most hysterical account of night watches ever! Yes, brownies can be crafted from just a few simple ingredients. It's a shame you've uncovered this dark secret and exposed it to the American public as now your life is in danger. I'd be watching your back, Betty Crocker is coming after you. She's deadly with a whisk in her hand.

    1. We'll have to keep on the move. No way she's dedicated enough to swim out to us, right?!
      Matt just told me his watch was even worse. We crossed back over the line, and the clock said 6:45 and he only had 15 minutes left. He was so happy until he realized it was only 5:45!

  3. Hmmm . . . brownies that don't come in a box? I've never tried that, certainly not with 10 boxes of Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate mix aboard. And yummy Hob Nobs (if you have a scratch recipe for them, count me in!)? Your boat sounds delicious!

    1. Oh my goodness, it never occurred to me to make Hob Nobs! I just googled a recipe and I'll have to try it and let you know. It calls for golden syrup so I'll probably have to make a substitution, but its basically butter and oats topped with chocolate - what could go wrong? I'm excited! The cocoa powder brownies we made were so good!I used this recipe: http://theboatgalley.com/brownies-in-the-omnia-stove-top-oven/ and even added some chocolate chips, since you can't ever have too much chocolate.


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