Too Many Miles in a Day

St. Augustine to Fernandina - after dark, in a storm.  Not the best way to travel, I must say.

We left St. Augustine Christmas Day - using the 8am opening of the Bridge of Lions.  We'd been in the inlet a couple of times by this point, so knew the round-about-way to get through without much trouble.  We headed on north up the ICW.

About the time we came to the Mayport/Jacksonville area, we had to make a decision:  head to the marina in the St. Johns River or keep on truckin' to Fernandina.  The weather was nice, it was early in the day, we were making good time, we didn't really want to use a marina in such a high traffic area and we were looking forward to anchoring in a familiar spot - and maybe hanging out and visiting Fernandina Beach one more time.  So we kept on motoring.

I don't remember if we just did bad math, or if our speeds slowed/the weather changed, but we ended up doing 55 to 60 miles in one day (likely a combination) - in the short daylight of December that is not a good plan.  The sun was setting and the winds were up just as we were heading into the crab pot mine field right before the public marina in Fernandina.  The sun set and it was completely dark with a ripping current before we finished picking our way through all the crab pots - you do NOT want to hit a crab pot with your prop.  Had we done so, we would've lost power and the current would've taken us directly into a giant rock wall.  I ended up standing on the bow in the rain and 3-4 foot chop with the spotlight to find the floats on the pots.  Mark made it through safely, but when we got around the bend we realized the chop continued.  There was no way we could safely drop anchor.  The slips in the marina had nice smooth, calm waters and we tried to sneak in there.  It was Christmas night and the marina was closed, so there was no help to be found via radio.  Turns out the water depth immediately dropped just as we passed into the calm water and our deep draft left us bumping the mud bottom.  Our only option was to get her turned around and head back into that crap water.  We got her up to the fuel dock, hopped off, tied her up and called it a night.  I was willing to risk having to pay the $80 for staying the night - but the next morning when I was paying for fuel, the guy told me not to worry about it.  (Merry Christmas to us!)

I walked the dogs while Mark made sure the boat was safely secured - the waves continued at the dock and the boat looked like a bucking bronco.  We were sure we were in for a bumpy night, so we dropped the salon table made a bed right there.  It's calmer in the middle of the boat.  It was actually pretty calm inside the boat, so we eventually went to the fwd cabin and crashed in comfort.

I have to say, the anxiety on this leg was enough to make us seriously reconsider our boating plans. We were cold, wet, exhausted and had stressed out dogs.  And we had at least a few more days of 40 degrees highs with drizzle and no sunshine before we reached Savannah.  After a decent night's sleep, we headed on north for a much needed break at Jekyll Island - where we were able to recharge our batteries and rethink our plans to hang a For Sale sign on Luna Sea and just pick up a rental car to get back to Savannah asap.


  1. Sailing definitely has a steep learning curve that can be very stressful at times - I routinely sail with a certain level of it ;) But it's funny how one good day can make you forget about the not so pleasant ones. Know you're not alone and keep on sailin'!

  2. BRAVE HEARTS AND CALM MINDS.......Now there's some ADVENTURE ! ! ! ! Take Care Have Fun ! ! ! LY ch

  3. Now that you have successfully navigated St Augustine, I think you may find this posting interesting on another's blog:

    Please don't be too horrified by the post. This couple did a lot of things right.

    All the best,

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

  4. Sailing is a great experience really. I have recently started sailing. New York is a great place for sailing. It is really nice place.


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