25th April 2009
Well things are winding down with a vengeance and we are slowly assimilating ourselves into a land based world once again !!! We now have a car, courtesy of Mr. Avis!!
Since Catherine last blogged we have had a very peaceful and unexciting (thank goodness) trip back up the ICW with no alarms or excursions – "Solitaire 1" has behaved impeccably, doing all that was asked of her.
We have tried to spend time at different spots on this northward trip. When we last blogged we were in Amelia Island (home of the cats Port and Starboard) and from there we by passed Jekyll and stayed at Lanier Island. We stayed there an extra day, wonderfully served by Melissa, the dock master, since the wind blew like stink and it just seemed to be too uncomfortable to venture into the Georgia marshes. We were able to use the courtesy car to explore a little and to do some last minute shopping. Courtesy cars are something that several of the marinas here have. You sign up for an hour or two hours and they are completely FREE !!! If you wish to do some shopping or just explore a little they are a wonderful way of getting around and seeing a little bit of the area that you are travelling through.
On the 21st however we left and had a splendid leisurely cruise through the marshes in gentle breezes and warm weather to Kilkenny Creek, a quaint area of Georgia with nothing there except an old fishing pier and hundreds of egrets which return in the evening to perch in the trees for the night.
A final four hour trip on the 22nd took us through the notorious Hell’s Gate – which we passed about two hours after high tide. At low water the reported depth is four feet, which would not be enough for us but the tide was another four feet so we thought we would be safe with six feet or so. Fortunately we were passed by a couple of power boats shortly before we arrived there and they reported the depths that they saw back to us so we carefully kept to the channel and had no trouble at all, the lowest depth that we saw being six and half feet. In fact just after we cleared the area a large inland passenger boat "American Glory" came by the opposite way and went through at full speed….. glad that we didn’t meet her in the middle, that might have been a little troublesome as the channel is not very wide and it shallows extremely quickly at the edges.
So, we were back in Thunderbolt (it really does seem like home) and tied to the gas dock.
Fill up the diesel tank and add additives to prevent the diesel oil from deteriorating over the summer and then pump out the holding tank. Finnicky couple that we are, we washed that tank through four times before we were satisfied that it was once again clean and would not be a smelly mess when we return in November. Fortunately there was no one waiting so we were able to take our time and do the job properly and unhurriedly. From now on we will be using shore side conveniences !!
Then it was out of the marina and onto the Thunderbolt Marine dock to await haul out which is scheduled for Monday (27th) morning. Since the weather was calm we took the opportunity to take the sails off the boat and pack them in their sail bags and they have now gone off to our friendly local canvas shop for storage until they are once again needed for the next adventure.
No arrival at Thunderbolt is complete without a celebratory dinner at Tubby’s and this was where we headed that first evening – for me a couple of pints of Bass Ale on draught
with grilled shrimp and for Catherine the same with wine followed by sharing a Pecan pie . Absolutely delicious!!!!!
Since then Catherine has worked like mad to take stock of what food (mainly cans) we have left aboard, what we will keep for another time and what we will give away as their expiry (or dead ) dates are over the summer. Some bags are packed and awaiting the car’s trunk to come home with us but there is still much to do…every locker is emptied and disinfected…. we are determined that we will not find any pesky little critters in the boat upon our return, they would not find a crumb to nibble on!
We cleaned out all the water filters yesterday and even found a small fish in the raw water filter, quite dead I am pleased to say. Today was the engine’s turn so after heating the oil well we changed the oil and the oil filter – actually we are getting quite slick at this job and it is not nearly as messy as when we first did it. We also changed the air filters on the engine, which considering that, according to the records, had not been changed in four years were remarkably clean. We also changed our Racor fuel filter, which was quite dirty. Having changed everything we then, in trepidation, restarted the engine and our faithful Westerbeke, purred as happily as ever. Great sighs of relief and absolutely no oil or fuel leaks, for we are but amateurs at things mechanical, although gathering more confidence as we go along as Catherine has mentioned in her last posting.
Then it was a long shower and off in a taxi to see Mr.Avis, who has graciously loaned us a motor car, something called a Dodge Caliber. We went for a drive to Tybee Island for lunch to a small restaurant for a bowl of their delicious crab chowder (yes we had been there before) and both had shrimp Po boys, a sort of sandwich with shrimp lettuce, tomato and onion in it. A drive along the beach front – it was about 85* today , a clear blue sky and little wind so the beach was a busy place with much to see and not all of it too inviting!!!
Tomorrow, Sunday, we shall be doing more packing and re arranging I dare say, all in preparation for our haul out and eventual departure for points north. If possible we would like to leave here on Wednesday and maybe get into Montreal on Thursday evening, but we shall have to leave that for a later posting.
G’d night y’all!