Adventures of Adirondack

Adventures of Adirondack

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Rich Are Different From You and Me... They Have a Lot More Money

We have been spending time among the Rich and Famous in Georgia, or at least among their previous abodes. We crossed into Georgia and went up the St Marys River to dock at Lang's Marina, quite the seedy place in a lovely little town. The docks were good, but many of the power pedestals were not working or leaning sideways. We walked out of the marina and found a golf cart waiting to give a tour of the town for $5 a piece. Richard, the tour guide and commodore of the local yacht club, drove us around the town for a delightful view of the buildings, cemetery and site of a possible new town marina. The next day I spent hours using the free WiFi at the St Marys Visitor Center working on the FAFSA and PROFILE forms for Adam's college financial aid application. In the afternoon, we had a great bike ride outside of town up to the naval submarine base and exploring an historic tabby (a building material of oyster shells, lime, sand and water) sugar mill.

I finished the college forms the next morning (hurrah!!) and we left after lunch with the falling tide to make the short trip over to Cumberland Island, a National Seashore and the former home of Thomas Carnegie (Andrew's younger brother) and his wife Lucy and their nine children. We dropped anchor and dinghied to the dock at the south end of the island and once again walked to the ruins of the main house, Dungeness, built by Thomas and Lucy in the 1880's and that burned in the 1950's. We saw a flock of wild turkeys with the two toms showing off their beautiful tails and two of the wild horses for which the island is famous. We walked to the beach and circled back west to the dock and back to the boat.

We were back on the ICW the next day and anchored in the Brickhill River at the very north end of Cumberland Island. We took the dinghy down the river to Plum Orchard, the mansion Lucy Carnegie built for one of her sons as a wedding present. There were not supposed to any public tours, but one of the rangers invited us to join the private group he was taking through the house, so we got to see one of the other still standing buildings from that era. The house was huge with thick inlaid oak floors, a Tiffany glass chandelier, chestnut paneling in the "Gun Room," many bedrooms and an indoor pool. Quite the place to spend the winter months.

We crossed the St Andrew Inlet the next morning with much calmer water than we had on the southern crossing and dropped the anchor just off Jekyll Island, the winter retreat of the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Rockefellers and many of their friends. The Jekyll Island Club opened in 1888 as a place for the wealthy to go for January till the end of March. A beautiful big hotel was built then later many if the club members built "cottages" nearby. We arrived in time for Sunday brunch at the hotel, an elegant affair with champagne and delicious food. Our server grew up near the Adirondacks and the hostess had lived in Minnesota so it felt like old home week. We then took the trolley tour around the historic district which included entry into two of the cottages - they did live well. The next day we took a bike ride around most of the island and got to see the more developed, modern parts of the island.

Now we are just north of Brunswick, GA, tucked into a marina for the next week. We rented a car and have been over to St Simons Island yesterday and to the old downtown of Brunswick today. Tomorrow we'll head up to Savannah for a rainy day of touring the town. We are getting boat jobs done and are waiting for a package from home. It's nice to slow down and spend some time in one place for a bit before working our way further north. Sally

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Friends Old Friends in the Oldest City

We just spent a week in St Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously settled city (by Europeans) in the US. The city will celebrate its 450th year in 2015. We picked up Artis and Steven, friends from church who had purchased a week on the boat at the auction in November, near Jacksonville and wandered our way south. We had some coolish days anchoring out and cruising along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), arriving in St Augustine to sunny days and warmer weather. It was fun to share the boat and show them some of Florida. We all got in lots of walking and exploring the old city, the fort – Castillo de San Marcos, St George Street, the beach (Artis and Steven), and the Farmers’ Market and WestMarine (Sally and Jeff).

We said farewell to Artis and Steven, off to visit family in Gainesville, and the next day met up with Mary and Dennis from “Tortola” for lunch – friends from the Great Loop trip. It was wonderful to see them and catch up as they head back to Ontario for more travel adventures and a summer raising grass fed beef.

That evening we picked up friends from Stillwater, Dan and Linda, and had them on the boat for two nights and a short, windy cruise down to Marineland for a great walk on the beach there. Dan is an electronics guru and was able to tune up the radar overlay on the chart plotter on the way, making Capt Jeff very happy! It was a treat to have them visit.

After a day of laundry, getting the brand new dinghy motor fixed (plugged carburetor – still under warranty), and a gathering of the members of the St Augustine Cruisers Net, we set off back up the ICW. We will wend our way slowly back up to Charleston by mid April, exploring old and new places along the way. 

We went back to the free dock near Jacksonville and Jeff dinghied all the way into town (20 miles!) and discovered a Gumbo Competition and a good lunch. Sally spent the day reading and knitting and also had a good lunch on the boat.

It was great next to pick up a mooring ball in Fernandina Beach and spend a few days really seeing the city, including a trolley tour to the beach, great fried clams and ice cream, reprovisioning at Winn Dixie and wandering among the shops in town.

Now we are in St Mary's, Georgia, a sleepy little town near Cumberland Island. We are tied up at Lang's Marina for a dollar a foot with power only on some of the pedestals, but we found a working one and the batteries are getting equalized even as I type. We are getting all the electronics charged up and will have a good bike ride later today. Tomorrow we are off to Jeykll Island to see the "cottages" of the rich and famous, now a National Park. Sally

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Moving, moving, moving.... SOUTH!

 Here is part of the crew at Kingsley Plantation on Amelia Island. This is now a park that teaches us about one of the many large plantations that grew cotton and other products using thousands of slaves. The buildings shown here are pretty much all the same size, 12 X 20, where families lived to provide labor for these incredibly wealthy landowners. The story of slavery is a very ugly one. There were many powerful people all over the nation that thrived on the system, especially in New York and Rhode Island, of all places. I, of the north remember being taught most of the shame was souther.
I'm chowing down at an oyster roast at our marina. You do learn how to open the little buggers, which is a lot easier when they are steamed than when they're raw. People down here are serious about their oysters. I prefer them fried, of course.

The big news on this blog is the addition of Charlie to the Adirondack family. We are just so excited to have him aboard that we're going to wait to see how he works out before we introduce him.

We left the marina on February 25 and motored down to a favorite anchorage called "Bull River," somewhere on the Intra Coastal Waterway in South Carolina. It's hard to tell where you are in these parts because the waterway isn't anywhere near any population centers for much of the time. If it weren't for our GPS system which tracks us exactly to an accuracy of six feet (really) we would be lost. I remember this anchorage because Bob Meyenburg and I got caught on a crab pot line last time we were through here. the water was cold, murky with a very fast current. I did not want to dive in to free it. Thankfully we had installed a line cutter at our last haulout and it did the job.

After another night in a nondescript spot called Herb River (and you can see where all these are by looking at our SPOT locations on this page) we pulled in to the Kilkenny River. This is a tiny little place in Georgia that has a fantastic restaurant called "107," noted for the marker on the ICW. People come all the way here from Savannah to eat and we can see why. There is a beautiful and calm place to anchor in the river just about the town, just make sure you slow down as you motor through town.

The weather is getting cooler. We tried out our electric motorcycle vest for the first time. Many boats like this have enclosed flybridges so you can drive from up top without wind and rain. Ours doesn't. The vests help. We woke to 31 one morning. But it was -20 in Minnesota.

We anchored right outside Cumberland Island and dinghied ashore for an eight mile hike on the wide Atlantic beach and viewed the remains of the Vanderbilt mansion. Wow, those folks had some real money. This area is right next to Kings Island, a huge submarine base. We went through here once and were halted by the coast guard because we looked threatening to the huge submarine that passed by. We kept our depth charges well hidden.

We stopped at Fernandina Beach and tied up to provision for Steve and Artis, our service auction guests. We also had a bit of rope work that needed to be done, that being to re-secure the anchor line to the chain. Someday we are going to learn this art, but to have it fail would be a disaster, so we barter the procedure with wine or cash. This time we found a local captain who slept until noon and showed up then at our jobsite with one open can of beer and a reaserve in the pocket. After three tries (and all the beer) it looks like he got the job done. We'll see if it comes loose!

So later on we walked a considerable distance to the grocery store, expecting to take a cab back with our provisions. Well, who did we meet at the grocery store? Our favorite captain, that's who, reprovisioning with beer, and a few vegetables, I should add, but just including the beer makes it more salty. He had arranged for a couple locals in an old broken down pickup to transport him back and forth to the store and extended their services to us, so we got a ride back to the marina, bouncing along in the back. We were the only ones without a beer can, but made it safe and sound.

This morning we are at Beach Marina in Jacksonville Beach. It's 55, warmer than it has been. It was 82 and gorgeous when we picked up Artis and Steve at Jacksonville, but colder now. And this brings up another great story. We were parked there at the free dock at Jim King Park waiting for them to show up from an expensive cab ride when Brown Alton showed up. He describes himself as a gretter and all-around doer of good deeds. He insisted upon driving them back from the airport and provided them with quite the cook's tour on lots of other stories.

Somehow my system here is going to let me post pictures again, so I might have even more next time.  Capt. Jeff