Jekyll Island 2007.11.27

We were afraid to wake up to a dense fog at Jekyll Harbour Marina like last year when we were stuck there for 2 days and still left in somewhat foggy conditions… but visibility was good so we cast off with the expert and friendly help of marina staff.
We are now underway and I will catch you up a bit on yesterday…


The day started off well enough, we picked up our hook and left New Teakettle Creek where we had a wonderful sleep… well most of us, most of the time, I was accused of going crashing on deck at 03:30… just checking on the anchor, the chain was hitting the hull as the tide turned us around!

Within an hour or so a very thick fog bank enveloped us in a white cocoon where we could not see anything and even sounds were muffled… I was at the bow looking out, or trying to, for anything and could see buoys appearing out of the fog just a few yards away… but most importantly listening for any sound of motors approaching us. On several occasions I blew our horn to warn boats of our presence….

One was a little crab boat and the fishermen stopped by to have a chat with us… they were picking up their crab pots and I had heard them talking and laughing, no radar on board so fortunately they heard our horn and did not ram into us!
We had finally given up trying to navigate blindly except for the chart plotter which we can trust 90% of the time but it’s that 10%, when if you followed the magenta line, you would be taking a shortcut on land that had us worried! So we dropped anchor and decided to wait it out….

The problem was we were pretty much in the channel so after a while we moved to a better spot to wait for L’Equipe which had also anchored on the other side of the Sapelo Sound.

We resumed our meandering through Georgia, the sun was shining, we had hoped going much further down and anchor again in some little creek but after the fog delay we decided to stop at Jekyll Harbour Marina… the last bit of the way was Jekyll Creek and it looked like someone had pulled the plug as there was so little water… we saw 3’8 (+2’ for the keel) which is not very much since we draw 5’, needless to say we were crawling along so that if we hit bottom it would be a gentle hit, to the despair of Heinz who was following us and plowing through the mud a good part of the time and needed speed not to loose momentum and steerage!!!

Anyhow no one went aground although the tow boat from “Boats Us” was lurking around figuring they had a couple of potential customers….sorry guys not today!!!

We had dinner on board and were invited to L’Equipe for a counsel of war as Jacqueline had found a bottle of Babancour (a delicious rum from Haiti which we discovered last year) and I brought some baklava from Marche Akavan which unbelievably has not gone stale yet… so this was our first cockpit party!

We should be in Florida by now, although new have not seen any sign of welcome, David is still wearing his watch cap and neck warmer…. but no socks or long underwear so that’s a good sign!

It’s only 12:20 and I think I will go and search charts and guides to see if I can find another anchorage further than Fernandina Beach.

New Tea Kettle Creek GA 20071125

I could say that I have been lazy about blogging so far but by the time Jacqueline and I spent the day provisioning and then even more stressful stowing it all away and doing this day after day for a week, I had no energy at the end of the day…. Hopefully this will now change.

At 0730 this morning we severed our umbilical cords, yes there are several, water, power and of course mooring lines but most important the use of the Weber’s van and availability of all the trappings of civilization…just one more ciabbatta…a few more packs of Cape Cod chips… Well that’s all over now, no more panic ….did I forget anything…well if I did we will have to do without it, I don’t think that I could have gone to Publix (local super market) one more time if you paid me.

The day’s run was pleasantly uneventful, winding our way through the golden marshes of Georgia again, some people might find them boring or dull, but I love their simple understated beauty. We saw our first dolphins, egrets, cormorants and my favourites, the pelicans flying in perfect fighter pilot formation, inches from the water’s surface.

David was at the helm as usual with the occasional short relief from yours truly…. This was an almost 9 hour run.

We are now anchored in New Tea Kettle Creek in almost the same spot as last time and it is a nice quiet evening, somewhat overcast so we will not be treated to a Georgia marsh sunset today..

The sun is getting low and it is starting to get cool in the cabin… Heinz suggested we open the engine compartment door… that Westerbeke certainly produces a lot of heat and we’ll probably have to light up our little Origo alcohol stove later on.

Time to think about supper… a nice thick Tuscan soup with ciabbatta sounds like good comfort food on a chilly night.

As Catherine has said we are now underway, at long last, I was getting tired of spending time in Thunderbolt shipyard, although the people were very nice to us and most accommodating.

An uneventful first days run – it was nice to see our speed over the ground increase to something over ten knots despite engine revs for seven – that’s the beauty of getting the tides in the right place !! A couple of spots where we had to slow down as the water got a little skinny but both boats eased through it without any problem. So here we are in New Teakettle Creek peacefully at anchor and about to have supper. Tomorrow it’s another start at daybreak (about 07.00 hrs in these parts). We have hopes of making Fernandina Beach with no stop at Jekyll Island…… Florida at last and hopefully warmer than it has been in Georgia this past couple of days !! Who would have thought that we would have had to break out the long underwear, Guernsey sweaters and Musto jackets this far South .

All for now – bibi.


Thunderbolt 20.11.07
Another glorious day – sun – not a cloud in the sky – 80*F temp and lots and lots of work!!! Catherine and Jacqueline disappeared at around 09.30 hrs to reappear at around 15.00 hrs with a van full of food…….. food in cans, food in boxes, food in bags, etc etc but no fresh meat or veggies – that comes tomorrow.

Meantime this scribe assisted Greg, from the shipwright yard, in drilling holes in our beautiful boat and erecting our new wind generator. Now, as many of you may realize the last thing any sailor wants to do is drill holes in your hull – holes let water in, and that’s a bad thing !!! Not to worry however, all was done in a most professional manner and we are very content to see the new addition to “Solitaire”s stern. Tomorrow the electrician is supposed to come to wire everything up, there’s one more hole to drill, and, with the help of the Honda generator we should be yet another step closer to being entirely self sufficient. Amazing how one needs electricity and how careful one is when you have to produce it yourself, rather than just switch on a light !

A note …. The resident photographer will post a couple of snaps of the new addition in a short while .

David was inspired and went up to fix Soli's booties too.

He also put into practice his long ago learnt skill of splicing rope...don't think he welcomed the interuption for picture taking!

”L’Equipe” also now sports the same machine, not on her stern, but above the radar dome on her mizzen mast, also very impressive. We hope that our expectations are not too far fetched !!

The boat is still something of a mess, but slowly but surely she is coming together, clothes are being put away, I have been told that if my clothes do not fit into a drawer and a shelf then I have too much……… probably true, but my clothes, being larger than the Admiral’s, take up more room !! (the skipper’s shelf and his drawer are also proportionately larger!) Ah well, some will have to go home. Since we have the Weber’s van here in Thunderbolt we are filling a box with stuff that we don’t really need to go back to Montreal , so maybe some of the surplus clothes will go home.
As I write this Catherine is doing the dishes, after our first home cooked meal for a week or more, it really all seems to be coming together! It is a very nice change after eating out for so long! Last night we went to River Drive in Savannah, where we had docked the previous cruise, a delicious meal at The Boar’s Head, and maybe the last meal out for some time. That said, as those of you who have followed the previous blog will have noted, we do not exactly starve when the ladies are cooking !!

It is 21.00 hrs and about our bed time…… yes we really do go to bed quite early, ready for that early start in the morning so will hand over to the Admiral.


The admiral is also ready to crawl into bed with “Gone with the wind” I read it a very long time ago but CJ (Catherine Junior) lent me a copy and it is so very suitable as we are in Georgia enjoying “Southern hospitality” and the remarkably wonderful friendly people….”y’all this and y’all that”… I am expecting Scarlett or Rhett to appear any minute. The trees are sumptuously dripping with Spanish moss… must take my camera tomorrow and take a few pics.

I am reminded of all the people who asked about our “VACATION” last winter!!!! I AM on vacation at home sitting in front of computer … here I hardly sit to have a meal (when I find time to have a meal) and David is equally busy readying the boat for our departure and on the phone and computer working hard to fix ships who said men can’t multi task!

I was unable to post…it appears that Wi-Fi in this marina only works at high tide!!!! As the tide is about 10 feet we are way down at the moment and not getting a signal… the next high tide should be in the middle of the night but I am sorry to say it is beyond my level of dedication to stay up to post…will have to wait until tomorrow.


Thunderbolt GA 07.11.18

It is now five days since we left Montreal and this will be the first report of the new cruise south.

We left Montreal at 06.30 hrs in the Weber’s Windstar and crossed into the USA by the 1000 Islands Bridge. A very picturesque drive with no excitements at all, but time to enjoy the scenery and the colours of Virginia which were in full spate and magnificent. We have done this trip previously taking the road closer to the coast, which entails much more traffic and passing through the outskirts of New York and Baltimore so this time was a treat and far more colourful. Our first night was in Woodstock VA and the second day passed in similar fashion enjoying the scenery. We arrived in Savannah at about 17.30 hrs and enjoyed our first shrimp dinner at Tubby’s a local watering hole where we have eaten three times to date. We stayed at La Quinta hotel for the first three nights since, for the first two the boats were still on the hard and for the third night it was quite cold, but have been living aboard since then.

Thursday 15th we were on board “Solitaire 1” at 07.30 hrs and hard at work preparing her for the launch. The next day was spent polishing the hull and at close to noon the trailer came and we were off to the launching, always a nerve wracking moment. All went very smoothly, the people at this yard are very professional, as they must be, considering the size of the boats around – we, at 40’, are dinghies compared to most of the boats that they handle. For example there is a 135 Perini Navi on the hard being refurbished at present!!

We had remembered all the seacocks and “Solitaire 1” took to the water as to the manner borne – more importantly the engine started with little fuss and so we moved out of the launching area stern first, and onto our berth for the next week or so. “L’Equipe” followed soon after with, again, no excitements.

Since then it has been work, work and more work. We now have the sails bent on and arranged as they should be – we have given the engine and all water intakes etc a good inspection and cleaning, clothes are slowly but surely being put away and the cabin is not looking such a disaster area. Tomorrow the 19th we expect to have our new wind generator installed so that the batteries will be charged by the wind – our new Honda generator will also help with this, so we hope not to have to run the engine as much as we did last cruise when moored in Hopetown for three or four weeks.
Jacqueline fixing up the spreader boots on L'Equipe ...

Both “Solitaire 1” and “L’Equipe” are starting to look as they should, and it will not be long before we are able to cast off and start our new adventure. We look forward to that moment. One thing that we have noticed is the large number of boats passing through on their way south – Canadians, Americans one flying the Dutch flag this afternoon and a couple of French flags have all passed on their way South. It’s time for us !!!

T’is getting late so will close for the moment.