Saturday, November 15, 2008

On our way

It has been far to long since my last post, I am going to try to cut that down in the future, it is only good news since then. We are really getting in the swing of things with the boat, I have been doing a lot of the steering and I think I feel more comfortable now steering myself than letting my grandad steer. It has been a difficult journey getting him to really trust us with the boat, and we still have some things to learn, but I feel like Mark and I could handle the boat just fine if we were to take it out. We have been doing a lot more work with the sails, and we even put up a reefed main sail for just a little bit a couple days ago. We have been cutting across a few sounds giving us basically open water on which to sail, and we have been snaking our way through tiny cuts where every wrong turn sets you aground. Snow cut, Hells Gate, Rock Pile, Cape Fear, Mud River... We have made our way through some treacherous stretches, and I am proud to say that even though I do most of the steering, I am the only one who has touched the wheel who hasnt gone aground. They say that anyone who has never gone aground on the ICW has never been on the ICW, or they are a liar, I hope to be an exception to that rule.

We are looking at going out onto the open ocean for a stint tomorrow, I am really looking forward to it, getting under full sail, and letting the wind take us away. We are currently on Jekyll Island, Georgia and at a marina for the fist time this trip. I just took a real shower, and it was awwwwesome. On the boat, showers consist of a five second run of lukewarm water, scrub scrub scrub, 5 seconds of water to rinse. I think I normally use more water to wash my hands. So a real shower was a treat.

As we made our way into Georgia, the landscape changed dramatically. The waterway has been surrounded by vast marshes, it is just a field of golden grasses as far as the eye can see. When you get deeper into the swamp there were gnarly trees covered in spanish moss, it was pretty eerie at times, we even saw a few alligators to add to the effect. We have seen lots of wildlife that just blows my mind. I generally like to know what is going on when I make my way through the woods, and in the north east I am pretty good, but down here I am totally clueless, it kind of bothers me, but it is also really exciting. The birds on the ICW are really cool, watching the pelicans, sea gulls, and herons fish, and seeing all the different kind of interesting birds every now and then. Mark and I go out into the wild as often as we get a chance to. We anchored near St. Cathrine Island two nights ago, the island has isolated beaches covered in driftwood, and the interior was a protected endangered species rehabilitation area, apparently a zoo breeds zebras on the island, regrettably we didnt see any. As we tromped through the forest it was really incredible to see all the wildlife around, the exotic trees covered in moss, the birds, the lizards, the crabs. All that exotic foliage had its bad points though, the ground was thick with "saw palmettos" which just tore into your skin if you brushed it wrong, so I came out of the forest a smiling bloody mess. I found some marshes near the forest that I went tromping through, not able to see through the brush where i was stepping, joking that I was going to run into an alligator, and then I found a deer carcass dragged up on the bank... so I got out of the water. I did however keep the deer head, scraped off the remaining skin, and mounted it under our bow sprit. It cant be seen from the deck, and the grandparents will prolly be a little peeved when they finally see that it is there, hah.

We were in Beaufort, SC for Veterans Day, the parade was pretty funny, almost all high schools, which were all 80% percussion, and military units marching. There was also some dude pulling his motorboat on a trailer and a random city bus that I think just got lost. We also went into Savanna and Mark and I walked around town for 6 hours. Mark's friend picked us up and brought us into town and the two of us just walked around, it was much smaller than I thought it would be, and it pandered very much to the touristy, historic aspect of the whole thing, I dont think there was a single building that had been built in the last 100 years. We had to walk through a gated community to get to the river where our boat was anchored, and when we got back to the gate at 1 am, the security guard called the cops after he let us in, and 3 cop cars showed up to escort us to our dinghy, they were cool about it, they gave us a ride and we talked to the dude, it was a bit ridiculous though. We were on Herb River. Thanks Herb.

We woke up to a dense fog a couple days ago, it delayed us a bit in the morning, but we made good time after we set out. It is pretty amazing how much effect the wind and current effect our time. Currents can change your speed by 6 knots, depending on whether the tide is coming in or out. If you hit the currents right you can make 8 knots all day, hit them wrong and you struggle to make 4 knots.

Mark has been taking hundreds of pictures along our journey, I try to take the wheel whenever there is a good opportunity to take pictures, I get ahold of the camera every now and then too, there is so much to see. There should shortly be pictures of just about everything I have mentioned in the blog, enjoy the pictures and let me know what you think.

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