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The travels of the "Leah Gent"

The trip home, Florida part 4

3/4/05  We have been at this so long I have a hard time remembering the month.  We are sitting in Ft. Lauderdale at Cooley's Landing on the New River. My Grandmother lived right around the corner from here in the 1950's and I spent some time on this river as a kid. The river is still THE place to be. The homes go for 5 million and up to 25 million for the big ones. The boat parade by the front of the boat is unreal. To be in the big boat class you start at 75 feet and work up from there. Way up from there!! We have had several 125' to 150' go by in the last 2 days. They pull them up to the yards above us with mini tugboats to do work on them. Riverwalk is just around the corner and has a lot of nice places to sit on the deck and watch the boats go by while you eat. I wish we were going to stay the weekend just to see the show but we want to get up to Melbourne to do some fishing. The New River is a very twisty river that runs right thru downtown Fort Lauderdale and is the focal point of downtown. There are new higrise condos going up on every turn. We had plenty of big boats both in front and behind us on the trip to the landing. It reminds me of a boat conga line. The very best way to see Ft. Lauderdale is the Water Bus. They will take you all over town by water for $5 per day. You can get on and off as often as you like. They take care of the driving so you can see the city without getting run over.

3/07/05  We are back one our favorite dock in Indiatlantic Beach, north of Melbourne.  Our trip from Fort Lauderdale to Stuart was our longest day yet at 81 miles. We normally don't like to travel on a weekend but I had a fishing commitment for Monday to attend to. The trip north from Ft. Lauderdale is filled with one terrific home after another. It seems the really rich live on the ocean in Palm Beach. We were looking for Donald Trump's place but couldn't tell it from all the others. As we passed Lake Worth inlet I looked over in the mooring field to see if I knew any of the boats and sure enough, there sat "Karene" on one of the mooring balls. Ted, Jackie and their son, Joseph bought their boat last summer in Charleston and we first met them in St. Simon Island. A few days later we saw them at Amilia Island and then again when we pulled into Titusville. They were staying for a month in Titusville and we headed south and had wondered where they had ended up. It's been almost 4 months since we saw them last and here they sat in Ft. Worth. Seems they had been taking it slow and enjoying the trip while we we taking it fast and enjoying the destinations. They will head to the Great Lakes this summer and we may see them when they get to NC but luck will decide. The other cruising boats on this trip have formed our "neighborhood" in a sense. We all travel a rather small defined waterway and a chance second meeting is not as remote as it might seem. Back to the trip....... We anchored in Manatee Pocket in Stuart for a night and then landed in Sabastian Inlet Marina again the second night. I think I mentioned it before but Sabastian Inlet Marina is more like the Keys than the Keys. I was looking for marinas like this while I was down there but never found as laid back a setting as Sabastian. It's tricky getting in there and there is only 4 feet of water in the channel but it's worth the trip. Tell Allen and Phil I sent you if you go!!   We decided to stay two nights at Sabastian but the weather was supposed to get very windy so we left late Monday for Indiatlantic Beach instead of staying two night as planned.  That gets us to today. The wind just blew my $40 solar night light into the canal and the big sun shade that was on the dock a ways down the canal last night is gone and assumed lost at sea. It's blowing 25 gusting to 40 and we are really glad we are tied to a good dock. I think I slept better last night than I have in the last 5 days. The alternator on the engine has quit making voltage so my Uncle Mike and I will try to find a Mercury dealer to see about getting it fixed this week. Mike sells flats fishing boats and knows where most of the dealers are located. I have been using the solar panels to keep us moving since we left Stuart but I can't count on the sun for enough juice to get us back to NC. The rest of the trip from here on will be familar to us since we are just backtracking our way home. Should make for a lot less stress, as if I really had much to start with!

3/13/05 We are still in a holding pattern here in the Melbourne area while waiting to get the altenator fixed. Maybe tomorrow. We are thinking about keeping the boat here for another few weeks and heading home for my parents 50th wedding anniversary dinner in NC. I found out today that all the money I have been paying the rental car company for insurance is covered by my Visa card. I wish I had known that when we started as we rent cars from time to time and could have saved a lot. The best part of staying here for a while is I get to do some fishing and enjoy the company of the my Aunt and Uncle, Mike and Carol Gent. We always have a great time and Carol's gormet meals are the best. I'll post more when we start moving again the first week in April.
4/10/05 We left Indian Harbor Beach last Wednesday after nearly a month there. We had planned to leave earlier but my Uncle Mike wanted to take me fishing for Tripletail. The tripletail is a fish with a prehistoric look and a great taste I hear. We fished out of Port Canaveral around the channel markers and after having the first two fish break the line we got the third fish to the boat after a long fight. The scale showed it to be 15 pounds. This brought my "species of fish" landed to 41 for the year and I can only guess at the total number of fish caught. I checked my fish book to make sure I hadn't missed any. Funny thing is that the Red Drum, which may as well be the state fish for Florida is the only fish I couldn't find and catch.
We made it to Titusville our first night and then to Daytona just in time to duck out of a fierce storm. Debbie had her glasses, money and journal (yes, journal) ready to run to shore in case one of the tornado warnings proved to be correct. Lots of rain but no tornado. Someday I'll tell you about the tornado we we under on the way back from our boat several years ago. Definitly exciting!!
Next day we headed to St. Augustine and anchored in the harbor. The docks were taken with all the boats for the boat show and the harbor was priced right. After a tough night with wakes and current we decided to head to the dingy dock for another tour of the city. St. Augustine is still a really neat town even the second time around. We decided to head back to the boat after lunch but it seems the tide had switched and the wind was now gusting and opposing the current and that always means a short chop. Good thing I'm the captain and MUST do all the driving because that ride back to the boat was, you guessed it, upwind! That means Debbie had to ride in the front seat and block all the spray we were taking over the bow. She was soaked when we got back but I was barely wet. I told her as long as the water was on her and not in the boat we were not going to sink. She seems to be over it now. We decided aginst another night in the anchorage and went 10 miles north to Pine Island for the night. Tonight we are tied up at Fernandina Harbor Marina next to the Florida/Georgia border. This town has resturants just off the docks and a neat downtown within walking distance. We noticed a noise in the boat that sounded like a motor running or maybe water dripping the other night at anchor and after a thorough search of the boat decided it was biological. That means living and breathing or at least swimming and thus, outside the boat. Debbie was laughing out loud at me laying with my ear to the floor of the boat listening to the sea creatures. It's amazing just how much noise there is in the water at night and you can hear it all through the hull. Last night was very quiet but the noise is back tonight and even louder than the other night. If anyone has any ideas about what kind of saltwater fish might be mating this time of year that sounds like a type writer, let me know. Last summer in the Erie Canal we had a similar experiance with love struck Carp.
Tomorrow it's north to Georgia. I have more pictures but they will need to wait until I get a high speed connection to upload them.
4/11/05  Made it to Georgia today and because the weather was so nice we kept going. Almost 8 hours behind the wheel today. It impresses me that you can start your day with power boats all around you and lots of chatter on the radio and within 4 hours be totally away from all that. In fact we are totally away from everything including lights, boats, and even the everyday noise of life. Anchored in the creek behind Sapelo Island. All is well and we will sleep good tonight with light east winds.
4/12/05 We left Sapelo Island and had our longest day yet, 92 miles to a creek at Hilton Head Island. Lots of oysters on the banks of this creek.
4/13/05  We stayed at Lady's Island Marina in Beaufort, SC on the way south and with out long day yesterday we only lacked 25 miles to make it back to Beaufort today. Joe and Candie are the dockmasters at Lady's Island Marina and the best ones we have met yet. Joe had a slip waiting for us and it was good to see him again. We had some cold and windy weather coming in for the next few days so we rented a car from Enterprise and drove 5 hours home and then 6 hours to Oriental to move our car to Tom and Liz Lathrop's house so we will have a way to get home when we get there. We should be home in a couple of weeks with good weather and a few stops along the way. We hope to leave Beaufort on Monday and head to Charleston for a day and then north to Georgetown and Myrtle Beach. We have decided to put the boat up for sale when we get home. If anyone has an interest in the boat, let me know. It's ready to do another trip!! It will be hard to part with it but we have had a wonderful time and it has always been my belief that boats are best when they can get used a lot. I know we have been the envy of a lot of other crusiers with our good lines and ample accomodations and full shower. This trip has proven that the boat will go anywhere we choose to cruise. We have access to many times more anchorages than any other cruising boat. Between Mark's boat and mine I would guess we have a combined total of over 15,000 miles on this design. We are now past 4000 miles in the last year in all kinds of weather and seas. Our fuel milage (a big factor with the last price hike this month) matches that of the best and expensive trawlers and far exceeds all the other power boats out there. I talked with a guy on Thursday who was complaining of his diesel bill topping one hundred bucks a day and he only cruises one knot faster than we do. Our fuel bill for the same trip is a fraction of that. We are planning on moving the boat to the NC mountains if we don't find a buyer by the end of June.
4/14/05  We made Beaufort and Lady's Island Marina today. Joe and Candie were on their way out to the west coast and their son's wedding so we didn't get to see much of them. Maybe next summer we'll drop in by car. Stop and see them if you get that way with a boat. We will stay here until next week and take the next good weather window we get.
4/20/05  We made Charleston City Marina today and it's good to be back. Did some touring of the city and ate in our favorite resturants. Great weather!!
4/21/05 We wanted to get out across Charleston Harbor before the wind got up and left early to do so. We thought about heading to Georgetown but ended up doing a long day equal to our best yet of 92 miles. Spent the night at Bucksport Marina. Nice docks, cable, and very quite. Bucksport was the place that we launched our very first sailboat when the kids were small and spent the night in the swamp. Very scary for the kids,....and me. It's strange to walk down to that same ramp after 23 years. The swamp is still quiet and still very, very dark. Bucksport also sells the best sausage. I don't know what makes it so good but everyone stops and stocks the boat there.
4/22/05 Back at the FREE docks at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, SC. We'll be here for 3 days as the weather is getting ready for a blow. 20-35 knots they say. It's the weekend so this is not such a bad place to be stuck and the price is right. There are more and more boats arriving and they are starting to raft out into the channel, some are 3 deep. We don't really like to raft because our cabin sides are straight up, unlike the sailboats that tend to have their cabins towards their center. We will see how it works out. We don't mind helping out other boaters though. The She Crab Soup at T-Bonz resturant at the top of the dock is the best!!  I just helped a sailboat tie up to the catamaran in front of us and the skipper said they just got in from a 65,000 mile cruise around the world and Cape Horn. Not me!! He was scared to death because the waterway here is so narrow. I guess he has been offshore too long.

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Big boat dance on the New River

A shot out the back door. No time to stop now!!

The Water Bus. The best way to see Ft. Lauderdale

Ted and Joseph aboard "Karene"

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

A nice tripletail from the Canaveral Bouys

Waiting out the storm in Halifax Harbor, Daytona

St. Augustine harbor from the A1A Brew works

Fort San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida

Out of the channel north of Little Pine Island

Nothing but mud at low tide in Fernandina harbor

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