Monday, November 4, 2013

North and South of St. Mary's Inlet

We have been in Fernandina Beach, Florida for three days. Planning on leaving tomorrow. If we don't leave soon, we may never leave. It is a cute little town, lots of restaurants within walking distance of the marina, nice people. The local TowBoat US guy, Joe, warned us of the Fernandina Curse - if you stay here more than two weeks, you end up staying here. Worse things could happen.

We did spend three days at anchor just north of St. Mary's Inlet at Cumberland Island, Georgia. It is also very nice but totally different. Mostly undeveloped, natural, beautiful. They don't even have garbage cans so everything you bring in, goes out with you. Which includes dog byproducts. Now, on an island that is inhabited mostly by horses, it seems that Roux's contributions would be pretty insignificant. But, we diligently picked up and removed anything he left. And that's all I have to say about that.

One of those days, we left Roux on the boat, packed a lunch and went ashore for a four and one half mile hiking loop. Junie is still nursing a bad back but insisted on making this trek. It took us through the maritime forest, across the dunes and scrub, all the way to the ocean. The beach was wide, flat and white. And empty for the entire one mile walk down the beach to the next trail entry.

Then, we went back over the dunes and through the salt marsh. It was extreme low tide. We sat and ate our lunch on a boardwalk trail across the marsh and watched nature in action. There was a skate working the shallows -lying in wait in the mud until the little fish got complacent. There were small Fiddler crabs marching around the mud. It sure looked like there should be alligators. On our way back through the forest, another hiker reported seeing a snake - large and black. Junie's pace increased substantially on that last leg back to our starting point.

We met a lot of new friends there as well. We were invited over to Sans Cles for snacks with Dave and Sue.
Liz and Devon from Moosetracks were there as well. They are active SSCA members and leaders so we were glad we already had our cards:) They are super nice and I am sure we will cross paths repeatedly over the coming months (maybe years, who knows?). We also met Joe, from Atlanta, who actually had a longterm slip in Fernandina Beach.

Junie on the street in historic
Fernandina Beach
So, all of these folks, plus two other boats we had met in Charleston, plus some folks on Stella whose blog I have read several times, ended up in Fernandina over the next day or so. Joe has a car here and was kind enough to offer us a ride to the local Walmart. We quickly took him up on that so we could score some groceries and a new iPad Air as a backup for our other iPad which we use as a navigation backup for our RayMarine charter/plotter. We like backups.

We invited Joe over for a Shrimp Creole dinner to try to repay his favor. Joe is also a musician so we drug out our traveling guitars - he on his 'Big Baby' Taylor, me on my Martin BackPacker - and banged away for a while. It was a great time. Always fun to jam. And Joe is good.

Shrimper's Monument

Now we are sitting in Fernandina waiting out a blow from the northeast before moving on south. It looks like the ocean is going to stay mixed up for a week or so. That means we take the ICW down to St. Augustine. There are some skinny spots but we have consulted with Joe (the other Joe, BoatUS), gotten reports from other folks that have already moved south and it looks good. The tide should be rising as we leave in the morning. With a seven foot tide swing, there is a considerable difference. Like, the difference between floating or sticking.

But, it is time to move. I have developed an attachment to Fernandina Fantastic Fudge - for the Salted Caramel Fudgetastic ice cream. I can feel its' pull trying to keep me here.

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