Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 1 : Bump, Pee, Puke

Day 1(16MAR11):

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

"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.