May 15, 2002 - We made it to Florida arriving on April 15. We are convinced that (P.A.E. President) Dan Streech must have somehow gotten a weather report which made him decide that going back to California was a better idea than taking that leg to Cayman. We had wind that never dropped below18 knots and most of the time stayed in the 25 knot range almost right on our nose. The swells were six and eight feet and constant for four days. We hit every one of them head on. We slept on the floor. Nobody ate much at all -- just didn't feel like it. We spent four days recovering in Cayman.
The trip to Florida was much better. The conditions were the same but we were headed northwest to get around Cuba instead of straight north so we had more roll and not so much pitch. Consequently, the stabilizers made a huge difference in our ride whereas they didn't have much effect on the Panama to Cayman leg. We passed within 7.5 miles of the western most tip of Cuba about one o'clock in the morning on the 13th. The Gulf was pleasant during the final two days.
We then took about three weeks off. We got back to the boat on May 7 and left the Ft Myers area on the 10th taking the Caloosahatchee River to Lake Okeechobee. The river was great -- the water is coffee colored -- the shores are lined with a combination of big oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from the branches like Gone With the Wind. With palm trees, it made for an interesting and rather unique combination. Just as we were nearing the Lake we did see one alligator about four feet in length but that was the only one. The Lake is very large area-wise. In the middle you cannot see land in any direction but it is very shallow -- not more than 12 to 15 feet deep no matter where you are. The St. Lucie Canal took us from the eastern side of the Lake to Stuart, FL which is on the Atlantic.
Today we had the boat hauled out by the Hinckley Yard. We had the bottom pressure washed and replaced zincs -- the one aft of the keel cooler was about gone as were the two small ones located below the rudder. We also replaced the one on the shaft of the wing engine even though I thought we had done that in Panama but it needed replacing nonetheless. The plate on the transom which we bought and replaced in Panama is still fine. We cleaned the barnacles and encrustations out of the through hulls -- the hull itself looked surprisingly good but I am glad we did it if for no other reason than to get the zincs replaced and the through hulls cleaned out as well as the reassurance that the hull is as good as it is.
Tomorrow the Northern Lights people are coming to fix the water pump on the generator -- the leak has never gotten worse but it is still there.
Friday, the 17th we will start up the ICW. We expect to be in Savannah in about ten days taking our time along the way.
May 2002 - As Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer nears, we moved up the Florida coast and are now in Georgia -- Jekyll Island to be exact. Jekyll Island is one of the Sea Islands off the south Georgia coast. Beautiful, tranquil and serene, this island was once the private property of some of the wealthiest and most influential families in America: the J.P. Morgans, the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, Cranes, Goulds, Goodyears. The list goes on and on. They constructed winter homes on the Island which were, as you might expect, very large but on the rustic side which they called cottages. Access to the Island was only by boat and the public was not permitted ashore. The Island is now owned for all practical purposes by the State of Georgia which has had multiple hotels and resorts built complete with golf courses, etc. but many of the original Jekyll Island Club homes have been preserved and can be seen in the "Historic District". We have stayed at the Jekyll Island Marina for three days and have truly enjoyed every minute.
As it typically goes with Memorial Day weekend, the Marina is completely full. Two boat clubs are here with about eight to ten boats each as well as other boaters such as ourselves on holiday. I cannot tell you how much interest there has been in our boat -- people stop and stare -- many have talked to us at length about the boat and about our travels. Many have commented that they have seen the Nordhavn ads featuring the N40 and some have indicated they are aware of the ATW. Without question, this boat stands apart from anything else in the marina and the marina is a fairly large one.
I'm sure the ATW boat will be glad to see Dana Point again. What a voyage! A tremendous amount of credit goes to everyone especially considering some of the less than ideal conditions that were encountered.