Saturday, November 24, 2007

Journeys of the Carolyn Ann: The Begining of the Begining

This is Carolyn Ann's first journey. It was a journey of 900+ miles, 4 locks, many bridges, and an overnight crossing of the Gulf of Mexico. The journey was from Green Cove Springs (south of Jacksonville on the St. John's River) to our home port of Gulf Breeze near Pensacola, Florida. This journey was made possible by Ken Fickett's (owner of Mirage) patience with my novice nervousness. Thanks Ken, I owe ya a bottle of Zacapa Centenario! Also valued assistance was had from my neighbor Greg and brother Mike. The last leg I was assisted by the Capt. Punk.

Escorts to start the trip
Here we are off Cocoa Beach where we met with Lo Que Se A, a GH-37. Shortly after this picture, we had a fire in the starboard engine.  (The alternator had seized and the heat was enough to ignite the varnish on the windings). We shut down all systems (electrical) and dropped anchor to stablize (clean pants). Restarted the port engine and limped into a close by Marina (Cocoa Village Marina) on one engine. With the (great) help of Balmar, and Mirage (Ken Fickett), made a fix & Balmar is doing bench testing of the three stage regulator and center fielder that may have caused the overload of the alternator...however the final analysis is still pending test results from Balmar.. Balmar also replaced the alternator. Frank from Marine Pro is highly recommended should you need anything for your Yanmars or Balmars and are in that area.

Starboard engine with the new alternator. The 3 stage smart regulator (MC-612) is mounted on the stringer. The remainder of the trip was made without further electrical incidents using the internal regulator on the port engine and center fielder disabled. The starboard engine used the remaining MC-612 smart regulator.

Center fielder on after bulkhead left of a/c water pump.

In port St Lucie, a sample of huge houses that were passed along this trip. 

While in the St.Lucie Canal, I noticed a sea plane (ultralight) taxi off a lawn and setup into wind. We moved over and allowed him to pass so he could take off. Never thought I'd be passed by an airplane on the water.

There he goes!

St Lucie lock after we passed thru. Our first of 4 locks. 

Port Mayaca lock into Lake Okeechobee

Port Mayaca lock into the lake, note no difference in water level. the controlling depth was only 4.16'. They are having a drought and the lake is down to historic lows. We made it to Moore Haven after dark. Learned a very valuable the guide book completely and plan to arrive in daylight. It was very dark and very confusing. Thanks to Ken Fickett's patience with my call we got "unlost" and overnighted at the city dock. Very nice facility.

Everything was going fine until right before the Franklin lock a fog bank settled in. 

Slow bell and radar and waited unitl the fog lifted. We made the 10 am opening.

Neighbor Greg helped out with the trip.

I'm just looking confused.

Skyway bridge Tampa.

Wild looking ramp in St Petersburg.

At anchor in Boca Ciega Bay east of bridge in St. Pete. 

Tarpon Springs home with helicopter on front lawn. 

Overnighted in Tarpon Springs to add another depth finder. We were planning to do the nature coast trip and needed a reliable depth finder as the integrated one was intermittent. While we were at the marina, they hauled a huge Cat boat bound for Venezula to replace cutlass bearing and clean hull. This haulout required a special crane for the day @ $8000.00!

Rocky, our dog, gets familiar with the "poop deck".

We crossed the Gulf from Tarpon Springs to the East Pass of Dog Island. Again thanks to Ken Fickett for his patience with my nervousness. He called it correctly that the weather window was the best it could be. So cross we did and it was.

Watching the sun go down over the Gulf.



Sun rising as we approach Dog Island east Pass. We left too early and arrived before daylight. The back ground lights were very confusing so stayed off shore until sun up. Lesson learned, again should have more closely followed Ken Fickett's (Mirage) advice on time of departure.

Ahhh, boy that sun looked good.

Over-extended by continuing past Apalachacola, going till we reached White City which has a free City Dock without amenities. All we wanted was sleep as it was 3:00 pm before we tied up. Thought I would find a good place to anchor ....but none presented. Again, trip planning was not complete. Need to study charts better and read all the guides. It was foolish to go that long without sleep and unnecessary.

Mother nature let us sleep in as fog was very thick. 

Even the birds were grounded!

The grand canyon canal to Panama City.

Newly commissioned fighting ship in Panama City. 

At anchor in West Bay just west of Panama city

The cormorants seemed to like this bridge. Bet that's a no walk zone! 

I felt a clunking in the strb prop shaft on pre departure check. Ft. Walton Shalimar Marina pulled the boat ($150 for inspection pull) and found the prop nuts backed off. Repair made and overnighted there. Nice friendly folks with a courtesy car.

Home getting ready for the loop. All in all a great learning experience of 900+ nms, many, many bridges, 4 locks, delightfull and not delightful moments. A good begining to the new begining. Extra sincere thanks to Mirage (Ken Fickett) for all the novice hand holding he did with me

Click on the slide show link below to view pictures with comments of this trip.

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