Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs to Jacksonville

When we arrived at Jacksonville Landings in early afternoon, we’d thought we might go onshore for happy hour at one of the waterfront restaurants but thunderstorms threatened so we canceled that. Turns out we got very little rain, but a good bit of wind. Tied up to the floating dock we did more rocking and  rolling than we have anywhere on the trip so far!
A 44’ sailboat tied up in front of us in Jax. The couple on it has lived aboard exclusively for 12 years. They’ve been around the world, visiting 80 countries. They have a wind generator and solar panels which give them all the electricity they need, but they live much more simply than we do – no a/c for one thing.
We love the buildings in Jacksonville - Joe takes as many shots of it as he does of sunsets! This was taken as we left Jax to head south to Green Cove Springs. At night many of the buildings and bridges have colored lights on them.
People have asked about what we do all day. The most important one of us, Rocky, does pretty much what he always did. He sleeps in his bed next to ours as late as he wants. When he asks to get up, he goes out onto our small back deck to do his business and eat.

When he comes in, he gets to sit on the “navigator seat” with Punk. Uh, sit may be the wrong term – mostly he lays there and sleeps. But from there he can also see down into the galley and he’s adjacent to the person driving the boat. Those of you who know Rocky, know the most important thing is for him to be able to see everyone at the same time.

For trips up to the fly-bridge, he has a small duffle bag that he’s zipped into to be transported up the ladder. He also has his own pfd to wear if he’s wandering around outside. Considering his age, 11, he’s really adapted quite well.
Joe does most of the boat driving although I (Punk) do take over occasionally. I’ll be getting more hands on experience as we have the time and space for me to practice. While Joe is doing the driving, using the computer for navigation, I generally follow along, with Rocky's help, on the paper charts and Skipper Bob’s guide and the Waterway Guide.
The guides have information about navigational problems in some areas and also information about bridges (height, name, opening schedule, contact information), docking facilities and anchorages. It’s also my job to lower the antennas if that will get us under a bridge without an opening, keep the Captain’s stomach happy and take care of the general household chores. Before we started out, Joe was concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to bring enough books along. I have found so far that I have less reading time than I did at home! It seems there is almost always something to look at along the way. We got to Green Cove Springs (where Carolyn Ann was originally “splashed”) on Monday. Tuesday the Mirage boys showed up to do some repairs. It was determined that the boat would need to be out of the water for one repair (leaky sea chest) so Thursday Carolyn Ann spent the day in the slings. That means they lifted her out of the water with the travel lift and kept her in it while they made the repairs. That meant that we spent the day killing time on land. I read most of Marley and Me that day – great tear jerker. Joe rode around on his bike and supervised the progress. Late afternoon we made it back in the water and then Friday the Mirage crew was back to finish up. Early Saturday morning we took off headed for Jacksonville.
We stopped at the Landings again. The place we dock is right behind the performing arts center, where John and I saw several plays when we lived in Brunswick. Evidently they have a childrens ballet program there because there were little girls in unusual outfits walking around all day. It's really odd to see a tutu being worn with crocs!
As we were leaving Jacksonville, we passed the area where the container ships are unloaded. These things reminded us of some creatures in a Star Wars movie.
We've now been on the water for three weeks. Carolyn Ann feels like home already!

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