The Amazing Grace

Let Your Dreams Set Sail

Miami to Charleston

The time we were able to see it was short, maybe a minute, but it was awesome seeing it take off until the moment boosters separated.  Moments later we heard the rumble of the take off, so we turned off the engine.  The space shuttle Atlantis was off on its fifth and final mission.  We then left it off for the next 16 hours.  During this time we sailed, slowly (avg. 4) and avoided thunderstorms. We entered Cape Canaveral at sunrise.  We requested the opening of our first drawbridge in the ICW with hundreds more to come.  Then we went into a tidal lock.  As we were coming out we saw our first manatees and a little while later an alligator.  We then motored past all the Canaveral sites, the assembly building and launch pads.  Which by the way, we were able to see a shuttle on the launch pad, a rescue shuttle in case something went wrong.We were at anchor at 2:01 on May 12 and would have had front row seats for the launch. 

             So, you might be asking yourself, why did they go all the way in if the launch had already happened?  Good question.  We came in because the weather warranted it.  The forecast called for the wind to change to the north and for thunderstorms all afternoon and evening.  So we sat here and watched them all around us. Better safe in a harbor then fighting storms offshore if you don’t have to. 

             For seven and a half hours today we worked our way back to the Atlantic Ocean motoring in the ICW.  Now, as we are at anchor at Rockhouse Creek near the Ponce de Leon Inlet, we are hearing “Puwgh, puwgh” over and over as a dozen dolphins play in the water around us.  I can pass the hours just watching them play at the surface. 

             Now we wait for a weather window to head out to the Atlantic, to the Gulf Stream, and up to Charleston, South Carolina.


Ponce de Leon Inlet to Charleston, SC

         We broke 1, 700 in 4 weeks. Whew!  We find that we are really tired and can come back in one night of good sleep.  Luckily we bought some cruising guides called Skipper Bob’s. Thanks to Dave from Liberty who asked if we had them.  We had been looking at them and since he asked; we bought them. Two of the books we have been using are Anchorages and Marinas on the Great Loop.  The anchorages we have used have been great.  When you are at a peaceful anchorage you can get a good night’s sleep.  We set an anchor drag alarm and 90% of your alertness can shut down. 

         This leg we went offshore in the first rainstorms we have had since the storm we had in Galveston.  Which yes, we now know that that storm did something to our new VHF radio.  We receive traffic on the new radio only when they are very, very close.  Once we stop at a marina, we will have to order a new one and send this one in to get looked at. Luckily they are less than $300. 

So we began motoring north on a gray day.  We motored for the next 27 hours as we left Florida behind.  Yuck! The constant noise begins to wear on you.  Finally we got to put up all sails and haul bunskies again 5-6s +.  It is so glorious when the wind is just strong enough for us to be moving but not strong enough to kick up the waves.  This is the kind of sailing we dream about.  During this crossing we have been entertained, almost constantly, by dolphins.  I try to get pictures and movies but they just don’t capture their mesmerizing effect.  The best show of all was a fairly small dolphin that dove out the waves about three feet and did it continually for 4 waves off our starboard side very close.  I almost thought that it would hit the bow. (Check dolphin pictures)  Scott and I have really fallen into a nice rhythm sailing around the clock.  The first day is definitely the worse and gets better each night after that.  I can make it through my 6 hour watch fairly easy with my Ipod or reading with my e-book.  (Picture of Cindy with e-book.) After 6 hours of spectacular sailing, the wind died, we started the engine,  and motored the rest of the way to Charleston where Fort Sumter welcomed us in the harbor.  

         Since Marathon, Scott has been on the phone a lot.  (Scott on the SAT Phone) They want him to do a project in “ScottLand”.  Then the calls/e-mails started flying for the possibility of a trip back to Africa.  We stayed close to shore,  in case he had to slip in and catch the quickest flight out. Luckily, the crisis in Africa was solved by a new fiber optic connection.  So, now all the parts have gotten to Scotland and Scott has tickets to fly out on Tuesday, May 19.  We have decided that we need to take the blessings of work when we are given them. 

Now we are in the Charleston City Marina in South Carolina.  Check out their website.  If I am staying by myself and Scott is working, I get to stay with some luxuries, even cable TV.  This place is the max. It is what you think of as a luxury mega yacht marina.  (Picture 0f us on Mega Dock) We have moved from the megadock to our own slip on W and we are next to average boat people.  I picked this marina because they have a free shuttle service all over town, that way I could get around and not count on my doing it by bike. 

Today the weather is still gray and they are calling for tropical rainstorms.  We are glad that we are not still offshore. We decided to try and go to the movies. A quick search of the internet showed the closest theater was right on the waterfront of old downtown Charleston so we got in the marina’s courtesy van and had the driver take us there.  Much to our happy surprise, it turned out to be an IMAX theater that had just opened and was screening the new Star Trek movie.  Wheee!!  What luck!  The movie was great and on that giant screen it seemed like we were right in the middle of it. 

Now Scott is all packed and is flying to Scotland tomorrow 19 May 2009.

Cindy Watching shuttle launch from the Boat.

12 May 2009

Fort Pierce to Titusville to Ponce de Leon Inlet

How do we start this story?  The important question is “When is the shuttle launch?”  Now the rest of the story.   Before we left Texas, I looked up to see the date for the next shuttle launch, May 12.  I planned to keep this date in the back of my mind because since we were going right by, maybe we could see it.  While we were in the Dry Tortugas, I had Scott look to up and he came up with May 11.  Hum??  So once we were in Marathon we looked it up together and started to plan on the date we both saw, May 12.  We were getting ready to leave Fort Pierce on the morning of May 11 to head for Cape Canaveral, when I decided to look it up one more time.  Oh, my gosh, it’s today @ 2:01.  Well, the best we could do was get offshore and see it from there.             

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