Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 1 : Bump, Pee, Puke
This day isn't at all what we wanted in our first day. It all started with the cast off .... it was horrendous! The tide we wanted to ride out pushed us so hard that we almost side swiped another boat. As we went sliding toward the other boat I yelled, "Oh shit Val we are going to hit her!" and I, like a jackass, went over to try to stop the collision with my arms. The result was that my shoulder popped out.
Pushing the arm back in, Val and I did some quick maneuvers with the throttle and we were able to get out of the situation. No damage to any other boats, but in the process of pushing off we bent 2 of our side stantions, and the base of one stations fiberglass backing cracked.
We were not going to stop now, it was time to lick our wounds and go. As we motored out of Wassaw sound, we were making a good clip thanks to the tide. Before we knew it, we were at the mouth of the sound ready to face the big pond.
Sails up and it is time to motor-sail out.
"IT'S NOT PEEING!" Val yelled out. Looking down, I could see that our main engines cooling mechanism wasn't working. Oh shit. This was the damn thing we had fixed back in port. Was this another sign to turn back? If the engine doesn't cool, it will lock up leaving us engineless. Sure we have sails, but in and out of small confined areas, an engine sure is handy ... especially if there is no wind. We had to do a serious gut check... multiple options were thrown out then Val went down to the engine and pushed a rod up the pee hole. Some water started to trickle out .... that was good, that would help the engine cool some. BUZZZ! The engine temperature alarm went off. We were hitting critical, Val kept shoving the rod up that hole. Trickle trickle ... up went the sails to try to help us move forward so we could get out of the main channel. Trickle trickle. In what seemed like 30 minutes of BUZZZ on BUZZZ off, trickle trickle, and trying to catch wind, Val's voice trumped, "SHES PEEING LIKE A RACE HORSE!" HUZAH!
"Let's push on" I declared.
We aimed Ariel and got out of the 3 mile ring buoy and the channel, and we shut off the engine ... sails fully deployed.
After a few hours of motor sailing, we elected to go back to just engine mode. We could see that we were not getting enough South bound direction to make it to St. Catherines, which was today's goal. The wind was coming directly from the South. We fired the engine back up and the pee flowed like Niagra Falls. "Ughhhhhhh mmmugahhhlyaahhhh", "MOMMY!" out came a deep shrill cry... I looked in and saw Val looking up at me... Dy got sea sick and shared her breakfast all over herself and Val's clothes.
Val cleaned up Dy and everyone sat in the cockpit. We rode South and listened to the radio chatter. We heard someone calling for Sea Tow asking for help because they had grounded their Catamaran (42 footer) on "Ossawaw" sound. Val and I looked at each other ... ugh. Continuing South, we pushed on... Plotting as we went, we approached the 6 hour mark, a full 2 hours past when we had planed on making to St. Catherines Island. We still had about another hour to go. Both girls were asleep in the cockpit. Finally we made it to St. Catherines sound. We watched diligently for the green can number 9 to help guide us in. The can was gone! As we approached where it should have been, we could see that someone had hit it and knocked it off. Dangerous as the rest of the can's apparatus was still there, just submerged. Turning in, we made our way back behind St. Catherines, found another boat anchored, passed it a ways, and then sent down our anchor. We don't have a windlass, electric or mechanical, so it is all brute force strength. After it felt like it set, Val went about shutting the boat down and the kids danced and played. They were happy that we stopped. We were tired. At this moment (as I write this), Val is cooking dinner (Chinese food) and I just heard KJ say, "Oh look, wieners!" followed by giggles. They are looking at a human anatomy book we brought along. Today was a very stressful day. We are glad we've gone for the trip. Today did test our resolve. Living the moments in real time make for lots of pressure. For years we dreamed of this day, it is finally here, and we are exhausted. Tomorrow will be a new day. We will get to choose what we do. Stay here, enjoy the island, go North or go South. Which will it be? We shall see.