Jacksonville to Cumberland Island

Nice sunrise and calm river after a horrendous rain last night.
The bridge across Nassau Sound – the inlet and ocean is on the other side. Still pretty calm.
An interesting research vessel just before the St Marys River inlet.
Not so calm now – was a little worried about crossing the St Marys inlet Sound.
Turns out it wasn’t so bad – there is the inlet and ocean.
First sight of Cumberland Island – my next stop.
The Cumberland Island Ferry – it ferries people from St Mary’s, up the river, to Cumberland Island. You can only get to the island by boat.
This is the first dock I came to – would have liked to come ashore here, but they are repairing the docks. The next dock, where I came ashore is well over a mile walk back to here, where my tour of the island really started.
This is the dock I came ashore on – much better shape.
The visiting boats anchor out here and dinghy in to the dock.
I am finally anchored and ready to go ashore – the trip was about 5 hours.
My dinghy at the dock.
And there is my boat, anchored out.
The first informational poster board in the park. There is a $10 entrance fee – well worth it!
Some of the famous wild horses that roam the island – I understand there are about 170 of them.
The road the the Carnegie ruins of Dungeness.
Entrance to the main house.
The main house – abandoned, then destroyed by fire in the 1950s.
More of the main house grounds.
More ruins…
And more…
This was a huge estate.
Historic Island graveyard.
View inland from ‘Mount Cumberland’ (self named).
View toward the ocean dunes.
The Boardwalk path towards the beach and the ocean.
If you zoom in on this photo, you can see a couple of the feral horses down on the beach.
Nice day at the beach…
Beautiful old oak trees.
And what many of them were used for.
Wildlife and the story of the horses.
My anchorage for the evening. Planning on being on St Simons Island tomorrow.

St Augustine to Jacksonville

Sunrise and the Bridge of Lions lit up as I leave St Augustine.
Castillo de San Marco from the water.
Sunrise over St Augustine Inlet as I am heading North.
The Atlantic Blvd Bridge – I had been dreading going though the waterway here as I have read of horrendous current through here. As it turns out it was pretty strong – over 2 mph, I was only going 4.4 mph though there, but not as bad as I had feared.
This is where the Intracoastal Waterway crossed the St Johns River – one of the most confusing routes I have seen. As you can see, the Garmin chart shows that I should be aground – there is so much shoaling in this area that the channel keeps moving.
The junction of the Intracoastal Waterway and the St Johns River – ship traffic as well as conflicting currents.
A better view of the St Johns River just West of its mouth.
The bridge over Sister Creek, just on the other side of the St Johns river junction. The free dock I will be tying up to is just North of it.
Docked with 4 other boats here – nice protected spot.
There is a park here with restrooms and security – the guard lives in the park.
The end of my route today – it is supposed to rain later. Tomorrow I plan to head to Cumberland Island.

Used the fuel transfer system I built for the first time today. It worked great! I transferred almost 15 gallons from the external auxiliary diesel tank to the 20 gallon main tank. The main tank is almost completely full. When I refuel at a fuel dock, some time in the next few days, I will be able to calculate my average fuel mileage.
I also used my Android Galaxy S8+ this afternoon as a mobile hotspot for the first time. I was able to transfer photos from my phone and tablet to Google Photos, then load them to my blog site, and post today’s blog. I used much less cellular data than I expected, and the speed was good. I won’t be so worried about not having wifi from now on…

St Augustine

Beautiful sunrise to start the day in St Augustine.
The mooring field behind me – very calm water.
Got the Dahon Marine folding bike out to go shopping at Winn Dixie.
This is the haul from my shopping trip – finally found some soup that doesn’t have huge amounts of sodium. Also preparing to do laundry…
My dinghy at the marina – while I am doing laundry.
This is the little backpack I carry when I am walking through town – I have the tiller for my Torqeedo electric outboard in the bag, so no one will take the outboard or dinghy.
While I am waiting for the bars to open, I tour the town.
One of my favorite shops in town.
Almost always my first stop in St Augustine – Scarlet Oharas. They have a good red beer there.
The famous Columbia Restaurant.
Upstairs at the Mill Top – another favorite.
View down the street from the Mill Top balcony – a beautiful day!
Castillo de San Marco – the famous fort here.
Another favorite – this guy is awesome!
The fort from No Name Bar.
My last beer of the day at No Name Bar.
Walked half hour each way (over the Bridge of Lions) to Conch House to hear some great Reggae.
My boat in the mooring field from atop the Bridge of Lions – just behind the red marker.
View of the St Augustine lighthouse from my boat.

Ponce Inlet to St Augustine

Beautiful sunrise to start the day.
Almost no wind today, and also very warm.
Nicely decorated Dayton bridge.
Lots of traffic on the water today – all passing me…
Except this guy – I finally was not the slowest boat heading North!
Approaching the Palm Coast bridge.
Passing Marineland.
This poor guy was trying to get to Fort Matanzas and ran aground – tide going out. Yesterday I was on the sandbar at Ponce Inlet, and saw a big power cat run aground on a shoal at speed. I guess no worse for the wear, as I saw him docked at the second marina I passed this morning, and he passed me going North about an hour later.
Approaching the St Augustine bridge.
Hooked up to a mooring very close to the Marina, but was concerned about what I found as I was heading through the cabin to the hatch to get to the bow…
Turns out the boat was slowly sinking. There was water on the floor in the front cabin, and I had assumed that my water tank must be leaking, but it turned out that the bilge pump had become disconnected from power, and the bilge was filling up with water. I re-connected the power (better this time), and it took several minutes for the bilge to drain – it might have been a short trip!
Great mooring spot – nice view of the Bridge of Lions and…
Close to the marina and downtown.
The Electric Torqeedo motor on the dinghy as I am headed from Adagio to the marina.
My route today – very long day so the track is hard to see. The Garmin Inreach Mapshare site is better to use to see the route.

Titusville to Ponce Inlet

Nice sunrise leaving Titusville
Going through Haulover Canal into Mosquito Lagoon – it started raining about half an hour before this, and kept raining for about an hour and a half more, but then got nice.
Raining and lots of boat traffic – this is about where I was when I heard that my younger sister Lorna had passed away. Posted that on Facebook, and reflected that life is short, and I am fortunate to have a good life and friends, and time and ability to travel like I am.
Approaching the southernmost bridge in New Smyrna – the sun has come out and it is a beautiful day.
First view of the Ponce Inlet lighthouse near the Inlet.
Anchored in about 4 feet of water near the Ponce Inlet lighthouse and my favorite restaurant here.
Finally at my favorite restaurant on Ponce Inlet – Hidden Treasure. Awesome tree growing through the deck!
My route today – 32.4 miles. Long day tomorrow – going all the way to St Augustine, probably a 10-hour day, but worth it.

First Day of Great Loop 2019 – I’m finally doing it

Mom decorated the boat, gave me a bon voyage goodie bag, and got some Champagne to christen the boat for the trip.
Here she is pouring the Champagne onto the bow anchor to christen the boat.
And… Adagio is now christened for the Great Loop trip.
Sunrise as I’m leaving the dock.
Heading out into the Banana River.
Approaching the 520 bridge.
Approaching the 528 bridge.
In the Barge Canal.
Heading out of the Barge Canal into the Indian River and Intracoastal Waterway.
Autopilot is working great – I was able to take time to make lunch.
Anchored just outside of Titusville Municipal Marina.
Rowed the dingy in, and paid the $6.00 that allows me to use the dingy dock, their wifi and showers.
This is my route today, courtesy of the Navionics App on my tablet. Going to Ponce Inlet tomorrow.

Final Preparations, New Dingy and Bon Voyage Party

I have a 12 foot ‘Kaboat’ dingy, a cross between and inflatable kayak and dingy. I experimented with towing it, and realized that was not going to be feasible, so I began working on a way to easily retrieve and deploy it. As I was doing that, my repair to one of the tubes let go, and I realized that I should get a new, shorter dingy. So, I went to West Marine and got the smallest dingy they had in stock (which is still bigger than I wanted), and figured out how to store it on the boat.
This method of storing the dingy looks weird because the Albin is so small, but there are many advantages to this setup. I can retrieve and deploy it easily without having to deflate and the re-inflate it, and it keeps the rain water out.
For my Bon Voyage party, organized by Mike, we all met at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club and had a couple of drinks, then…
Went out on Mike’s pontoon boat with Craig driving, through several of the nearby canals…
Saw a beautiful sunset, and finally…
Ended up at Senior Locos, the local Mexican restaurant for some $1 tacos.
Mom bought a bottle of Champagne to ‘christen’ the boat for the trip. I’ll probably open the bottle and pour some of it over the anchor and the bow of the Albin.
Leaving tomorrow morning, so I am completing the loading of the boat today – hope I don’t forget anything!

Last minute upgrades to the boat before the planned departure 4/4/2019

New white paint in the cockpit really brightens up the interior
Upgraded larger and heavier Delta-type anchor replaces the CQR anchor I took from Felix. I have that anchor along with chain and 100′ rode in a bag ready to deploy when I need 2 anchors out.
New 35′ dock line for both sides of the bow.
New 35′ dock line (blue) for the stern port and starboard along with new 15′ (black) dock lines. Also have these same 15′ dock lines at the bow as secondary lines.
New round fenders and plenty of extra line for the locks I will traverse on the trip.

This spreadsheet is my day by day plan for the entire Great Loop. Chances are, I won’t be able to follow this exactly, but overall I should be close.

The Public Mapshare URL for my Garmin Inreach Satellite GPS communicator is: https://share.garmin.com/gtdflash52 Going to this site will show my current location on a map, with breadcrumbs showing my progress.

Adding the Autopilot, Fuel Transfer System, and the Boat’s New Name (ADAGIO)

The Great Loop Boat’s new name! ADAGIO means slow tempo or at a slow pace – seeing as how I will be cruising at 6.5 mph.
The fuel transfer system. The boat carries 20 gallons in an internal aluminum tank. I have added an 18 gallon external tank, not connected to the internal tank. When I need additional fuel in that tank, and I am not within range of affordable fuel, I can pump fuel from the external tank into the internal tank. The 38 gallons of fuel gives me a range of over 500 miles.
I have an old CPT Autopilot from my days cruising in the Caribbean down to Trinidad on my sailboat (20 years ago), and I decided to try installing it after my ‘experimental’ (tiller) autopilot did not work as planned. This is the wheel ring for the drive belt.
This is the drive unit with its adjustable controls which affect the speed of course changes.
This is the compass heading control. Adjusting the knob adjusts the course the autopilot is steering.
This is the complete system all hooked up to power and ready to try out.
I am holding the remote controller, which allows me to be anywhere on the boat and control the course I am steering. I tested out the complete system today after lunch, and it works great!

More progress on the Albin 25 Great Loop boat

Upgraded the anchor to a CQR and added 30 more feet of chain (not visible, in the anchor locker).
Sun shower on the fore deck all ready to go.
Hanging storage with inflatable life jackets and a winter coat. Have not figured out how to rotate this image yet.
Cooking utensils, plates, bowls, and some of the food loaded in the galley.
Bedding loaded but not set up yet.
Tablet holder for my Amazon Fire, which contains many of my electronic cruising guides.
The beginnings of an experimental autopilot setup.
Drink holders (very important) installed.
Additional 150 watt solar panel (making 250 watts total) for charging of the House Bank of batteries (200 amp hours total), which run the refrigeration.
First drone video of the Albin 25 – didn’t mean for me to be in the video though…