Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fernandina Beach, Florida

We moved south to Fernandina Beach .WooHoo we finally made it to Florida!  Only took us four months.  We pulled into Fernandina Harbor Marina, paid and took a mooring ball.  This is our first 'mooring ball' marina so far on this trip.  I was at the helm when we went into the marina.  Matt was at the bow to pick up the mooring ball.  A mooring ball is an anchor that has been screwed into the river bottom, a chain attached, a ball float attached to the change, and  a line (rope) tied on the ball.  The line is picked up and attached to the boat.  It took three tries to get the mooring line.  The line had been in the water for a while and was a bit 'furry' with algae and other marine growth.  We didn't want to get the yuck on the boat, so we attached another line thru the mooring line.  My first time at the helm to pick up a mooring ball!  Matt and I have worked out hand signals so I can guide the boat close to the target.  From the helm I can't see the mooring ball so Matt points out the direction I need to point the boat.  Large gestures mean 'go way over that way', and small gestures indicate more delicate movement.  We got attached to the mooring ball without any problems.

Fernandina Beach is home to two paper mills.  The mills are working twenty four hours a day.  At night you can hear trains moving through the town and boats being loaded and unloaded.  The sights are mesmerizing.  The beauty is gritty and rough.  Without the mills the town would not have any industry but tourism.

We put down the dingy and went into town.  The town is pretty and busy.  They had two bus loads of visitors.  The day was bright and warm.  We decided to have lunch at the marina restaurant.  We got a great table for people watching.  The mood was festive.  People were waiting to take fishing excursions and sailing lessons.  I ordered a margarita and thoroughly enjoyed every sip.  The food was great and the people watching was entertaining.  We walked the main drag and went back to the boat and took a nap.  Perfect boat day.

We went to the Farmers Market/Garden Show the next day.  The winds were predicted to pickup about 1pm so we wanted to get there, shop, and get back to the boat before the storms hit.  The temperature was climbing as we stepped off the dingy to walk to the market.  We carry cloth bags for shopping.  We found wonderful fresh veggies and fruits.  One tent was staffed by an Alaskan fishing family.  They fish the Kenai Peninsula, freeze the salmon, and bring it south to sell during the winter.  Our son Chris, went to the Kenai River to fish when he was 16.  My parents used to go every year, and one year took Chris.  He caught a 55 lb king salmon, and other smaller salmon.  He shipped home over 100 lbs of salmon.  It was nice to buy a half salmon and spur memories as we munched.  We made it back to the dingy and made it back to the boat before the thunderstorms rolled it. We put the dingy back on the deck ad tied it down before the blow.  The thunderstorms started to roll in.  The storms passed north of us and spawned a few tornadoes.  We just got wind and rain, no lightening or tornadoes or water spouts.

We run our watermaker every other day.  Love having the watermaker.  I am frugal with water, but not fanatic. We take showers and do the dishes with no thought to water rationing.  We can stay out on a hook or mooring ball without having to go to a marina to fill up the water tanks.  The watermaker gives us a greater freedom to explore the the less traveled places. Quiet places let us renew ourselves.

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