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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a follow up thread to my Finding a new home? thread. I spent the past 4 months with the boat on the west coast of Florida, and I am sorry to say that it wasn't all that I had hoped it would be. To be fair, the continuation of the pandemic, the damage to the rudder, dealing with this guy (more here) who now runs/owns his grandfather-in-law's marina, and several big home projects (new roof, and new external doors) put a crimp in my plans.

Because my wife was recovering from rotator cuff surgery, I brought the boat down with crew that I met online. This time she is excited to be joining me. The Admiral and I will set out on my 34 year old O'day 35 to cross the Okeechobee Waterway starting tomorrow.
 

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bell ringer
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I probably could have told you. I thought you were going too fast to like the trip and where you ended up wasn't "special".

Let me know if you want some suggestions for a cruising trip back up.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Don.

You're right in that I was trying to make time as I was heading south. I had two crew changes planned; Portsmouth, VA, and Savannah-ish, GA (For those of you that don't remember Savannah was where things really went south). I wanted to respect the crew's schedules. Also, my wife was planning to arrive on October 31, and I wanted to be here when she arrived. I landed in Fort Myers Beach on October 30. The trip back should be more relaxed.

The plan is to leave the house buttoned up for another 5 months, and head up the Caloosahatchee to the Franklin Lock Campground, where we have a reservation, starting at 0900 tomorrow. I have broken the trip into three ten-night legs, with plans to stay longer at any stop that we are enjoying. Here is the first leg with the projected distance from the prior stop;

Franklin Lock, FL 30nm
Moorhaven City Docks, FL 36nm
Indian Town Marina, FL 42nm
Fort Pearce, FL 45nm
Cape Canaveral, FL 64nm (offshore?)
New Smyrna Beach, FL 50nm
St Augustine, FL 60nm (offshore?)
Fernandina Beach, FL 54nm - we will stay here for 2 nights
Morning Star Marina, GA 34nm
Wahoo River Anchorage, SC 42nm

Suggestions on places/sights to visit would be appreciated!

I will update the route here as we proceed north.
 

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I thought the trip across the state was a blast.
Leave plenty of time in St Augustine to visit the "old" town and the fort there is magnificent. Outside to St Augustine ONLY if the weather is nice. Daytona was fun some years back, but I don't know about now.
Charleston is a much better stop than Savanna, IMO. Closer to the coast, easy access (one can sail in) and the City Marina is one of the best in the nation. The town and Ft. Sumter are well worth the visit.
I liked Beaufort NC, not SC, as it had the feel of a New England fishing village behind Cape Hatteras. I can't think of any reason to go around Cape Hatteras unless the weather is perfect. The inside trip was really fun.
Elizabeth City was also a fun stop, but it may not be now.
You can anchor in Atlantic City NJ, if you need to. Kinda near the bridge on the south side, but the current runs strongly and holding is only good if you have good ground tackle. A good place to rest for the night, but unless the weather is terrible, I wouldn't stay long unless you go for a slip.
After that the only spectacular stop I can think of is anchoring under the CG station at Sandy Hook. A lovely and safe anchorage, but lots of buoys to keep an eye out for. If you aren't going into NY harbor, but across to the south shore of Long Island, keep a sharp lookout for traffic and buoys. Both are plentiful.
The trip up the river to LI Sound can be fun, if you don't get caught by an adverse current. LI Sound is full of great stops and one could probably spend months there and not see every interesting spot. I'd think Mystic is a don't miss, but haven't been there by boat, yet. Have fun.
 

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Looking at the first leg, my immediate thought is you shouldn’t miss Cumberland Island. I’d pick it over Fernandina any day. We are also heading north and were there for a few days last week (we’re wrapping up our third year of going south for the winter and north for the summer). Lovely hiking, and if you anchor up by Plum Orchard on the Brickhill you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself compared to the southern end.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet and are trying to minimize potential COVID exposure, skip St. Augustine. Friends of ours told us it was packed and “What’s a mask?” was the unofficial motto there.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looking at the first leg, my immediate thought is you shouldn’t miss Cumberland Island. I’d pick it over Fernandina any day. We are also heading north and were there for a few days last week (we’re wrapping up our third year of going south for the winter and north for the summer). Lovely hiking, and if you anchor up by Plum Orchard on the Brickhill you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself compared to the southern end.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet and are trying to minimize potential COVID exposure, skip St. Augustine. Friends of ours told us it was packed and “What’s a mask?” was the unofficial motto there.
Thanks for the recommendations! Cumberland Island? Is there anywhere to put in there? Dining? Fernandina had a bunch of nice dining options, and looked like a really nice place to visit on our way down.

Fortunately, we have been vaccinated, but that does not spare one from CONTRATCTING Covid, just from dying from it.

Almost forgot... We are having to delay (for the second time). My wife's #2 molar just started acting up, and she is going to try to have it removed ASAP. We won't be heading out until the Admiral is feeling better.
 

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Cumberland is a National Seashore that is only accessible by boat. There isn’t a marina or any restaurants or shops - just a handful of private homes and a few other buildings. It has 50 miles of hiking trails and roads, and a variety of wildlife like armadillos, wild horses, and wild boars. No vehicles except for National Park Service trucks. It’s one of our favorite spots. If you have the time, enjoy trails, and don’t mind the lack of amenities then it’s a must see.

The more “popular“ trails are on the south part of the island and there is a large anchorage there with a dock for the dinghy (and the ferry that comes from St Mary’s), but the north section is also lovely (and less busy) with an anchorage and dock by the Plum Orchard mansion on the Brickhill River.

Sorry to hear about your wife’s molar. Glad you’re somewhere it can be easily taken care of. Enjoy your trip! We are currently in South Carolina and will be back in Groton, CT in 3 weeks or so, weather permitting. First order of business when we arrive is to get our vaccinations!
 

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Fernandina downtown small, a few walkable blocks with cobblestone street and old house tours.
Palace Saloon, oldest in Florida. Restaurants,coffee, ice cream shops. Hamburgers to Expensive.
 

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Fernandina downtown small, a few walkable blocks with cobblestone street and old house tours.
Palace Saloon, oldest in Florida. Restaurants,coffee, ice cream shops. Hamburgers to Expensive
 

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Charleston is a much better stop than Savanna, IMO.
I have to agree with this from the standpoint of accessibility but Savanah does have a unique charm. Like Capta said Charleston City Marina is outstanding and easy to get to but a little too pricey for my meager means. I would have to anchor out and use one of the cheaper marinas up stream to land the dinghy if I wanted to explore the city. I guess I'm just not a Ritz Carlton type of guy. Do watch out for the current there, sometimes you can get contrary wind and current there.
 

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I have to agree with this from the standpoint of accessibility but Savanah does have a unique charm. Like Capta said Charleston City Marina is outstanding and easy to get to but a little too pricey for my meager means. I would have to anchor out and use one of the cheaper marinas up stream to land the dinghy if I wanted to explore the city. I guess I'm just not a Ritz Carlton type of guy. Do watch out for the current there, sometimes you can get contrary wind and current there.
I lived in the Charleston City Marina for a number of years and didn't think it all that expensive considering all the services. Perhaps it has gone up a lot or transient slips are much more expensive? I paid about $300.00 a month for a 33 foot boat, all inclusive (water, electric, parking, garbage, etc).
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I stayed in Charleston City Marina, now a Safe Harbor Marina, on my way down. One night for my O'day 35 was $79.90.

We were supposed to head out today. but the Admiral is having a tooth issue.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Admiral's tooth issue resolved itself!!! We started our trek across the Florida peninsula this morning an hour later than planned. We're settled in at the Franklin Lock for the night. Happy to be underway 😊
 

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Have a safe and hopefully enjoyable passage. I've stayed aboard 20 of the last 30 days in RI. I can tell you unequivocally, there is no rush to get back yet. I bet 8 out of 10 days had winds over 20 kts and many gusting in the 30s or even low 40s. Combined with temps generally in the 40s and it's not shoulder season, it's armpit season. It's been almost all internal commissioning and working remotely down below. We're happy to get a jump on things and boats are launching far ahead of schedule it seems, but it's not time to sail yet. No real break on the horizon, but by the end of May to early June, you should be in good shape. Take your time.
 
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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We are on the east coast of Florida. Made it to Fort Pierce today!
 

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We are on the east coast of Florida. Made it to Fort Pierce today!
You going to look for a good weather window and take a magic carpet ride on the Gulf Stream for a bit?
 

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There is a shorter, far less trafficked and quicker route into the environs of Savannah, from the "outside" than via the Savannah River. It is from the Southeast via Wassaw Sound and the Wilmington River and brings you up to either Wilmington Island or the ICW and Thunderbolt and back North to the Savannah River as necessary. However the Sound is very, very shallow with soft shifting sandbars and it's navigational buoys tend to move around a bit with each hurricane or nor'easter.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We will see what the Admiral and weather allow. Right now we're motoring up the AICW towards Titusville. We'll get about halfway there and drop the hook. Amazing houses along this stretch - Indian River Shores.
139210
 

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Years back I was on a delivery from Antigua to Wrightsville Beach. We stopped once in Bahamas, once in FL if I recall correctly then went out into the Gulf Stream. Going north outside was fine and fast.
 
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