Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hospitality Savannah style.

Hurrah! No anchor dragging for nearly a week now, no tangled lines either. Maybe we have got it right this time?

Life in Savannah has been surprising in a number of different ways. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people here. From offers of cars to free dockage and everything inbetween.

Bill and Mary, an ex-cruising couple, have really taken us to their hearts. They have insisted on driving us to any place that we want to go, TBH has made visits to West Marine, Home Depot and, of course, the local breakfast joint. Mary drove me to the local farmers market at the weekend,that was a real treat. It's the height of the fruit season here and the famous Georgia peaches and blueberries were a real bargain. Needless to say I have been cooking and canning ever since!

They have made their wonderful washing machine(one that does a hot water cycle) available and prepared us delicious meals. Aren't we the lucky ones!!

TBH has been down cleaning the bottom of the boat which was covered with the most disgusting gloopy stuff, it looks like big tadpoles in egg sacks, yuck! Anyway it's all off now and hasn't come back yet! One or two big repairs to make, a leak in the aft cabin and an overhaul of the monitor self steering and we are off again to parts northerly, and hopefully cooler!

I am almost healed now and feeling better than I have for years, maybe I'll take up mountain climbing next!

Monday, 20 June 2011

High winds and anchors

Well life was just getting back to normal when the Gods decided to visit the weather furies on us! Last week we had a night of high winds and rain, bit nasty but not too bad then Saturday night blimey!

From nothing to 60+ knots in a matter of moments at around midnight.TBH was up on deck and as the boat lurched violently to one side I was dressed and up with him in a matter of moments.
The strength of the wind and rain made it really hard to breathe, let alone see. Haven't experienced anything like that since our brush with hurricane Emily back in 2005.

We had three anchors out, it's narrow here so we had the 65lb CQR on the bow with 100 feet chain out; the 45lb CQR on the aft with 40 feet chain and 40 feet octoplait and a 25lb Danforth off to one side with 40 feet chain and 40 feet line. It wasn't enough, all THREE dragged and we were fast approaxching an unplanned visit to the marina!

TBH went forward with a couple of fenders, by now we were 10 feet off a large motorboat. I got the engine started and threw it into reverse. Holding my breath as we slowly stopped the forward motion and inexorably began to inch backwards away from the marina. All the while lightning was crashing around us, unbelievable stuff, flashes that lasted for minutes at a time, if you get what I mean! Cracks of thunder, explosions as trees, buildings and more suffered hit after hit. Sirens wailing as the emergency services obviously struggled to cope with a deluge of calls.

Within an hour it was over, we escaped unharmed and without damaging ourselves or anyone else. We reanchored in the river and finally fell into bed around 2am. I was freezing and needed the duvet to get warm again. Man what a night!

You always, well we always, feel that we must have made terrible errors when we drag and suffer traumas but as we awoke and began to look around we realised that we had got off very lightly! There were boats stranded on the marshes, docks overturned, trees down, canvas shredded.....

Yesterday we upped anchor and went north half a mile of so where we reset everything, this time trying a Bahamian moor with the kedge on the aft on a REALLY long line to, hopefully, act as a slow brake but allowing us to swing with the wind. We think that was the main problem on Saturday, being held broadside on to the gusts, maybe this will help! We may find out tonight as there is a forecasted chance of heavy storms again in the area....

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Florida, the Gulf Stream, Surgery and Savannah!

As you can see from the title of this entry life has been far from booring!!

In fact, in many ways, it's been rather too exciting....
Still let us begin at the beginning.

Our trip from The Cayman's to Key West went well,no wind at times and then too much from the wrong direction but hey it's sailing right? TBH has mastered this saily business pretty well and we managed to do a couple of long tacks in order to enter into Kay West early on the morning of 11th May. We didn't even see Cuba as we passed at night and then too far off shore for a sighting.

We sailed right into the anchorage at Key West, got the hook down and made our way shorewards prepared to survive our confrontation with US Coastguards, Border patrol and any other security agency that was bound for our boat. What a let down! Not a soul was interested. No teams of hardcore guys in dark glasses with sniffer dogs and bulging weapons! Just a mild request to present ourselves at the airport to see customs and immigration.
We did as we were told and after parting with $19 we were good for 6 months in the good old US of A!

On top of that our taxi driver, J.R. no less, took us under his wing guided our forays around Key West and even had us over to his place for dinner one afternoon!

There's many a tale to tell but internet time is limited and I have to get this down before you all think we have disappeared from the face of the earth.

Two glorious weeks later and off we go again, this time bound for Georgia and the ICW. We found the Gulf Steam and zipped along at speeds previously unexperienced on our little vessel. Highest was 13 knots!!!! The boat, and us, are still in shock at that one.

One night of distant squalls that I insisted we alter course to avoid and before we knew it we were making our entrance in St Mary's Sound to the ICW. Wow! It's like the canal system on steroids! What we weren't really prepared for was the isolation of the place, no riverside restaurants, no marina's, no towns. Just miles and miles of salt marshes, wide blue skies and countless dolphins,yes dolphins, it was a big surprise but wonderful bonus.

We motored and sailed, depending on the depth and width of the waterway. We decided to head for Savannah, provisions were getting low, fuel was needed and we had a contact here.

Then I went ill. I mean really ill, agonising stomach pains, incoherent ravings and all the rest. TBH was a star. He single handed us ,navigating and steering(no mean task on the ICW) through shallow waters and narrow creeks until we made it here, Savannah. By this time I was not only raving but had gone a wonderful shade of yellow! We got to a hospital and within a couple of hours I was under the knife....Yup that middle-aged woman thing the Gallbladder. Which, thank goodness is no longer with me!

TBH meantime had found an old shrimp dock up a back creek that had a kinda marina now and had got the boat alongside. The great American spirit had swung into action and he was beseiged with offers of help, free dockage, car loan, meals....

Four days later I am back on the boat, healing nicely and recovering from every cruisers worst nightmare , the medical emergency!

Thanks to all who wondered what had happened! We will remain here a couple more weeks, hoping for no early hurricanes, allowing my wounds to heal and then head North again....