Silver Maple Blog

Retirement adventures Canadian style

We have made it to Florida!! (Now waiting out hurricane Sandy)

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After 2 months since leaving Canada, we have crossed the border into Florida! Woohoo!  We still have a few weeks before we reach our crossing point to the Bahamas near Ft. Lauderdale, but it seems like we have somehow arrived.

With the approach of the storm, Sandy, we are holed up in Jacksonville Beach, FL for a few days to let the weather pass. Some heavy winds and rain are expected over the next few days so we will be staying put.

Here is the latest on what we’ve been up to:

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17th to FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19th — DAY 57 to 59 (Finishing South Carolina — Charleston, SC to Hilton Head, SC)

The tides and depth of the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) across South Carolina are a constant challenge, and Randy spends a lot of time planning and navigating through the shallow areas and finding places to stay until the water comes back up with the next convenient tide.

After leaving Charleston, SC we travel a half day to Bohicket, SC while the tide is good. The Marina in Bohicket is a lovely spot. People there are still talking about Tiger Woods’ yacht “Privacy” that was docked there the week before for the US Open. At 160 ft, we don’t know how he turned it around on the narrow river and in the small marina.

Leo admires the homes in South Carolina

Beautiful evening in Bohicket, SC

Holy pelicans!

Gorgeous morning on the water as we leave Bohicket

After Bohicket, we head to Beaufort, SC.  What a nice town! Definitely one of our favourite stops. Great history and old homes here. We also see places where movies like Forest Gump, The Big Chill, and Prince of Tides are filmed. Very cool.

Grassland marshes along the ICW through most of South Carolina

Another swing bridge, but we still enjoy

Carriage ride in Beaufort, SC

Field from football game scene in The Big Chill

From Beaufort, we head to Hilton Head, SC. We decide to pass on golfing, so it seems a bit empty. The visit is short. We have a lovely dinner at Bistro 17 at the resort attached to Shelter Cove Marina where we are staying, then the next morning head to Savannah, GA (Isles of Hope Marina).

Randy and Leo as we are back on the way

Hilton Head!

Silver Maple docked at Shelter Cove Marina in Hilton Head, SC

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20th to MONDAY, OCTOBER 22nd — DAY 60 to 62 (Crossing Georgia — Isle of Hope (near Savannah), GA to St. Simon’s, GA)

Dolphins are now a regular sighting, so we are counting the number we see each day. Our highest count is 17 so far. Travelling through Georgia, we find the tides and depths on the ICW just as frustrating as in South Carolina. Many parts have silted and shoaled-in making it barely navigable. The channel is in desperate need of dredging. To compound the problem, the area is experiencing unusual tides of up to 9 feet in some areas. Crazy!  Randy is anxious to get off the ICW and head back out to the ocean to travel down the outside rather than deal with the tedious channel.  Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating. Each day we end up heading back inside as the forecast is for heavy seas. We chat with our friends Marcie and Jim on “Island Jim” who go out on one of the days we decide not to go. Apparently, we make the right choice. They say is it very rough.

The trip through Georgia seems short compared to some of the other states. The scenery is of beautiful marshes and wetlands mostly. We enjoy a stop in Isle of Hope near Savannah, GA. The marina lends us a car to go into the city. Savannah seems very vibrant with a healthy night life. We have dinner in a pub and head back to the boat.

We see an eagle as we approach the Isle of Hope, near Savannah, GA

Strolling through Isles of Hope, Georgia, where there is lots of Spanish moss on the trees

We anchor out for the first time on the trip in Wallberg Creek, GA. The hassle of having to take Leo to shore in the dinghy deters us until now, but it works out well. Leo loves the beach near by and runs up and down the sand. He experiences his first salt water and refuses to stop drinking it. He doesn’t seem to understand why it tastes different from the lake at the cottage. Unfortunately, we have to deal with a lot of vomiting the next 24 hours while he gets it out of his system. Ugh!

Leo enjoying his first salt water beach

Captain is disappointed we aren’t able to go out on the ocean

Our friends Anne and David from Port Elgin, Ontario on their boat “Time2Go”

We get to sail across some of the inlets and sounds. Yeah!

We pass lots of shrimp boats

Approaching St. Simons, GA

Saint Simons Island, GA which has been rated one of the best places to live and retire by Money Magazine, has a nice marina, but we don’t get around to see much more of it than that.

Silver Maple docked in St. Simons

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23rd to THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25th— DAY 63 to 65 (Into Florida and waiting out Sandy)

Our first landing-place in Florida is in Fernandina Beach. The guide books tell us not to be put off by the industrial look of the town as we approach it, so we do our best to keep open minds as we see the pulp and paper mills. The marina is nice though and a lot of the boats we have been travelling with along the way are arrive here also (Time2Go, Island Jim, Hurlevent). Everyone gets together for happy hour on Silver Maple.

Getting pointers on avoiding shallow areas from other sailboats we are travelling with via radio

Showing off our colours

Just before we cross the border into Florida, we cross the Cumberland Sound where they are working on nuclear submarines

We get a security escort past the submarine. Can’t imagine why!

Woohoo! We are in Florida!!

Lovely (?) Fernandina Beach, Florida — it is actually quite nice!

Originally, our plan was to sit tight in Fernandina Beach as hurricane Sandy approaches since the forecast is for the rain and wind to start the next day, but Wednesday is nice when we get up, so we head back out on the water after having breakfast in town. We arrive in Jacksonville Beach, FL in the sunshine without any rain all day.

Nice marina in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, where we are holed up for the passing of hurricane Sandy

We definitely aren’t in Canada anymore. This flyer was in the morning paper in Jacksonville Beach. Seriously!? Automatic weapons!?

Thursday is chores (groceries and oil change) to keep busy. It is a nice day. We rent a car and head to a movie theatre to see Argo (very good). In the evening the wind picks up and they say we will feel the effects of Sandy within the next 24 hours. Jacksonville is not expected to experience much impact as it passes.

Next stop is St. Augustine, Florida, which we hear is really nice. Plan is to head there on Sunday once the weather has cleared.

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