Below are some pictures of the festivities during our travels:
We chose to travel north by car this year, putting well over 3000 miles on the odometer and dodging the snow storms that consumed the east coast for much of the holidays. Winston-Salem, Rochester, Emporia, Winston-Salem and then back to Daytona Beach. We had a great time with family and friends while on the road. Christmas brought us some new toys to add to the boat. So, we’ll have some projects to do in the new year.
Below are some pictures of the festivities during our travels:
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Most of you don’t want to hear about chilly weather we might be experiencing, since almost invariably the temperatures where you are have routinely dropped below anything Georgia and Florida can dish up. However, when you have little heat on board, any drop in temperature is more difficult to bear. We had our coldest travel day so far as we made our way out of Cumberland Island at the southern tip of Georgia down to an anchorage just north of St. Augustine FL. Even inside our “greenhouse” of an enclosure, Cathy didn’t remove her foul weather coat (which was over a sweatshirt) until mid-afternoon. Since that day, the temperatures have been mostly working themselves up to a more tolerable range, so that we could put the heater away and pull out the shorts again.
Presbyterian church seen from the porch of Orange Hall
We returned to St. Mary’s after a two-year absence to find it much the same – a sleepy little town, with a beautiful waterfront, with Spanish moss-covered trees lining the streets. This time we arrived after Thanksgiving and were able to stay to enjoy the Holiday Tree-lighting, which was a real community celebration. There were little ballerinas dancing the Nutcracker, choruses and soloists serenading us with Christmas carols, hot chocolate and cookies, and, of course, the star of the show, the holiday decorations that lit up the street, culminating in the lighting of the Christmas tree. Even the boats anchored in the harbor (and those of us in the marina) did our best to put on a display.
With our stay extended due to some stormy weather, we took in a few different sites. This time we toured Orange Hall, the home of a Presbyterian minister from the early 19th century that had a varied history since. The old home maintained her dignity despite the ravages of time and different owners. The curators had started decorating the house for Christmas, a process that wouldn’t be complete for a few days, but was already making the mansion sparkle.
Path through Cumberland’s Maritime forest
Although we had passed by Georgia’s southern-most barrier island many times and even anchored there once, we had never taken our dinghy ashore to explore. (Cathy had visited years ago when she was still a landlubber.) So, we left St. Mary’s on a Thursday morning and made a leisurely trip down the St. Mary’s river the short distance to the anchorage off the Sea Camp dock on Cumberland Island. In our 3 day visit, this first afternoon was going to give us the best weather to see the island. We walked through the maritime forest to the beach, getting our first glimpse of the large herd of wild horses on the island. We headed back shortly before sunset to ensure we were on the boat during the current change, since the 8 foot tidal swings create a substantial current that has caused Orion’s rode to wrap around her anchor in the past. (That didn’t happen at all this time.)
A trawler is dwarfed by the passing sub
Our next trip ashore was not until the following afternoon, and was cut short by the rain that had blown in with the cold north winds of the latest front. We limited our touring to a museum that gave the history of the island from the days of the Timucuan Indians to the days of the Carnegie mansions. As we were preparing to head back to the boat, we saw one of the subs heading out to sea, leaving the nearby Kings Bay Naval bases. It was an impressive site, especially when compared to the nearby trawler and Coast Guard escort, which were dwarfed by the impressive vessel. Fred explained some of the procedures for putting a sub out to sea from his many years maintaining them in his job at Kittery’s base.
Wild Horses graze on the lawn of the Dungeness mansion ruin.
The next day, the rain finally subsided, if not the wind. We bundled up and headed to shore to see more of the southern tip of the island where the imposing Dungeness ruins are. Several wild horses were grazing there, unperturbed by the pesky humans who insisted on staring at and photographing them. We joined the ranger tour to learn more of the island history, particularly about the Carnegie’s life on the island and the more unusual island wildlife – e.g., armadillos and wild turkeys.
Fred gazes longingly at some freshly dipped donuts.
Our time at Cumberland had to come to an end for a few reasons. We needed to move to Daytona Beach, where we would leave the boat for the month; we had spent several days seeing the island; and we needed to get further south to warm up. We arrived in Daytona Beach at the city’s Halifax Harbor Marina on December 8th, the first of a few record-setting warm days. It didn’t’ take long before we were in Angell and Phelps to watch the chocolate being fashioned, and, of course, get our free sample.
Since we were going to be here longer than in the past, we got to know the bus system, traveling out to the Home Depot and the mall, to the marine surplus store, Daytona’s famous Flea Market and even Krispy Kreme. Due to a rain delay, we were also in town once again for the Daytona Christmas parade, which helped get us in the Christmas spirit. By Dec. 15th, Fred and Pat were on their way to New Hampshire, and a couple of days later, we were headed north as well. We’ll spend about a week after Christmas getting the boats ready to leave again when we return.
We were juggling Christmas and travel preparations with boat projects over the past 2 weeks. Once we arrived in Daytona, we placed several orders for parts we were now in a position to receive. Dave discovered a good price on our failing A/C strainer at the marine surplus store. To our surprise, we not only installed it, but used it for a couple of days as the temperatures soared. Fred needed some work done on his outboard, and ours was starting to have a problem with a small fuel leak. Dave stumbled across an excellent outboard mechanic who sorted out our fuel leak, added the fitting for an external fuel tank and performed some maintenance on the outboard. His prices were reasonable and the work done was excellent.
The provisioning for the Bahamas began again, as we bought and stowed several cartloads of food and supplies. We’re not done, but we’ve made a good dent in it.
On the Road Again
So, we’re headed north by car for the holidays again this year, dodging snow storms instead of squalls, but looking forward to seeing the family for the holidays. We hope you are enjoying them as well.