1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

St. Augustine

Good evening - it's going on 11, I'm sitting outside while waiting on a phone call and typing this here in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US. If you haven't been here, put it on your list of places to visit, it's lovely, particularly the old Spanish section.
As you have probably guessed, the weather is lovely - much nicer than when I was here last year and the temps were into the low 40s at night. It's not quite swimming weather, although I paddled in the shallows when I took Aduana to shore for her morning walk. It makes me laugh when I think of Floridians calling diving into this at New Years a 'Polar Bear' dip. It's darn near warmer than Georgian Bay in the summer. True Canadians KNOW that a proper Polar Bear dip requires cutting a hole in the ice...
I sailed offshore from Brunswick GA into Fernandina Beach in Florida on Saturday - absolutely great sail, the ocean was calm and the day was sunny. I joined up with Ray and Joanne and Pat and Joe, who sailed down on Ray's boat, plus the Timinator® and his lovely friend Tammy, who drove down - what can I say, Tim's a powerboater. The plan was to head out to the Palace Saloon on Saturday evening, but everyone was pooched from an active day and hit the sack early. Naturally, the margueritas Pat was mixing had nothing to do with that decision. Great marguerita's Pat, how about the recipe???
Sunday, everyone just hung out in FB's lovely downtown, and Monday, I cruised the ICW to just north of St. Augustine.
Tomorrow, I'm meeting up with an old friend, Peter Sampson, with whom I once worked at Waterway Guide.
After that, it's off to Daytona Beach and join up with Nancy and Jim, two friends whom I met on the Erie Canal while they were bringing their boat south. 
Oh oh....Aduana the Wonderpuppy© is advising me it's time to get her to shore....she's got one paw on the computer so that I can't type easily...I'd love to know where she learned that trick from.
Oh, before I forget, came across something just fascinating on the net today....a letter from a former slave to his owner - it's here - makes for fascinating reading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just another day...

The good news is, I woke up feeling much better than yesterday. The bad news is that the new head wasn't available today. The really good news is, since my stomach isn't bothering me today, that's not the crisis it might have been! I think we've about covered that topic off.
Spent the day finishing up an article for SAIL Magazine, one of the publications I write for. I'll spend the balance of this evening going through photos to go with that article. Just another day in the life of us sailing writers - and is that laughter I hear from those of you in this business? 
I'll be leaving for Florida on Friday, or possibly Saturday at the latest. The plan is to head out the inlet here into the Atlantic and sail the thirty or so miles to Fernandina Beach. Another Canadian couple, Ray and Joanne from Vancouver, will be doing the same trip and a group of Brunswickians will get together at the Palace Saloon in Fernandina on Saturday night. That would include the 'Timinator'® - my new nickname for Tim, the evil powerboater here who forces excessive amounts of beer on me. Sunday may not be pretty.
GH View
Governor's Harbour, in Eleuthera
It'll be good to get back underway. I enjoy stopping to visit as I go, but my goal this winter is to finally explore Governor's Harbour on Eleuthera, in the Bahamas. I anchored there once years ago on a delivery and it looked really nice - quaint, tropical, very relaxed. I've heard good things about it and I'm looking forward to discovering all this for myself.
Ok, enough for tonight. The pup is demanding some playtime - she keeps dropping her tennis ball in my lap, making it difficult to type.
Cupids Cay and GH
Eleuthera from the air - I'll be anchored in the bight to the center right
of this photo later this winter

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Short and sweet....

I seem to have come down with a flu or something, my stomach is upset...not fun, especially when the head on the boat won't be fixed until sometime tomorrow. It's a loooonnnnggggg walk to the bathrooms on shore. Spent most of the afternoon napping, hoping to feel better when I awoke, and I did, marginally. 
However, got a great price on the new head (thanks, mysterious benefactor!) so all will be hunky dory tomorrow.
On the bright side, the weather today was warm, although overcast... and it's mild this evening - Brian, another transient boater and I, sat and yakked about the challenges of this world until about a half hour or so ago. If the world seems a better place when you wake up, then clearly, someone in authority was listening to us!
So tomorrow - finish an article that is due this evening but that I don't have the energy to complete. Fix the head - ugh! Tidy the boat. Double ugghh.
Time for bed...night all.

The Fun Continues...

We won't discuss the ongoing situation with the boat's broken head....it's too nice a day for me to be that grumpy! Let's jump to my second biggest concern....I'm nearly out of Tim Horton's coffee and I forgot to pick some up in Toronto.
Americans don't understand that Canadian DNA requires regular jolts - er, infusions - of Timmie's in order for us to function. Most Americans further south in fact look puzzled at any reference to a 'Timmies'...
Still, it's quite mild, probably low 70s or high 60s, mostly cloudy - take THAT Toronto.
Spent a fascinating half hour yesterday talking with the dockmaster about clamming and oystering - all that free seafood just waiting for someone to go and get it. I'll head to the hardware store later and pick up some gear (rake, clam knife...) and let you know how it goes after I've tried it.
A few miles from here, on Jekyll Island, there's a creek that was long ago named Christmas Creek - supposedly because it has all the gifts of food one could ever want, at least seafood. Apparently there is good fishing, shrimping, clamming and oystering. Sounds like a side trip is in order...

Back in the Sunshine...

Life is good. 
There I was, around lunchtime, cruising over the river here in Brunswick in a VW Bug convertible that friends Joe and Pat loaned me (thanks again guys!), top down, sun shining, warm wind blowing through my hair, Aduana checking out the scenery, on my way to the local West Marine. So why wasn't I smiling?
Because the head on my boat is broken - and you only discover a broken head AFTER it's been used, when it won't flush...
This, as you can imagine, is not good. In fact, it's really bad.
I was looking at spending a good part of the afternoon taking this crappy (sorry about that!) piece of equipment apart to see if it's fixable. In other words, I was about to learn why plumbers get paid so well .
You wouldn't be smiling either, unless of course, you're a plumber about to get paid the big bucks for dealing with this situation.
Fortunately, there is beer in the fridge to help me get over this crisis. I will provide details later (or perhaps not, depending) for those with a desire to know, and strong stomachs, or perhaps, really really bad sinus problems.
But still, the sun is shining, the temperatures are in the 70s and as bad as this is - it's not shoveling snow. And the beer is cold.
Life is good. But it could be better...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Naked News is - er - covering the boat show!

Naked News is covering (so to speak) the Toronto International Boat Show. We are informed that they are researching the - ahem - 'bare facts', and fully intend to, uhhhh, 'uncover' any new issues at the show. Stay tuned for further details of their 'revealing' reportage here at Livebloggin' the ICW

(this was simply too good not to share with you! If there's an actual news item from this, I'll forward the url so you can ogle - er, watch it)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aduana the Wonder Puppy® is a big hit!

Yesterday was the world premiere of Paws On Board, my seminar about cruising with boats and I was quite pleased with how well it went. Aduana, as you can see from the photo, was schmoozing those in attendance - as more people arrived, she worked the crowd like a Walmart greeter - and charmed everyone.
Aduana, working the early arrivals  at the Toronto International Boat Show
It was quite interesting to discover the crowd's makeup - who owned dogs vs cats, who were powerboaters vs sailors, big dogs vs small - and all of this information helps me to make this seminar even better still.
The question and answer period at the end was most instructive - who knew that a bit of Peptol Bismol will help solve seasickness for a dog, or that Benadryl will calm a dog down in case of snakebite, until you can get to a vet? There were several other questions that brought out interesting responses, as I asked the attendees for their suggestions - there's a lot of knowledge in a group such as this, but before I present these answers to another seminar group, I'll run them by a veterinarian to be sure they're safe for pets.
Our next seminar is the hugely popular Sailing South - First Timer's Guide to the ICW, in about an hour. This one is a much easier seminar, now that I've been presenting it, with annual updates, for the past five years.
btw, thanks to all of those who've expressed their enjoyment of this blog - it's very encouraging! I'll try to live up to your expectations, and please, don't hesitate to comment, or ask questions. Without you, I'm just talking to myself!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Boat Show Season...

Another half hour and this hall will be filled with smiling, happy faces - I love doing this!
Good morning everyone, I'm sure I've caught you coming from church - well, one of you that I know of anyway! I'm standing in the seminar hall at the Toronto International Boat Show, ready for my first show presentation, Sailing South, First Timer's Guide to the ICW. This is generally a packed seminar, due to my astounding charm, wisdom and wit.....ok, ok, stop the gagging. It's a popular topic and these people would come if a spotted turtle was giving it - but let me have my delusions, hey?
Tomorrow will be my first presentation of Paws On Board, a seminar about cruising with your pet - ought to be interesting, it seems there is a big interest in it. I'm quite excited.

Weather here in Toronto is cold - colder than Brunswick GA anyway - but Aduana, the Wonder Puppy® is loving it, and playing in the snow. And here I thought she was a smart pooch!
Not as many big sailboats here at the show this year, I'm a bit surprised - my understanding of the Canadian marine industry was that it had weathered the bad times pretty well...maybe that was a bit of hype?
Ok...time to get ready - that means a hike to the can, maybe a quick coffee, check the video and sound and - SHOWTIME. If you're interested in reading more, check out Write on the Water for my biweekly blog post there.