Who knows why things happen, like crazy weather patterns that pop up and spoil plans. Last weeks subtropical mess certainly altered our cruising plan but also gave us the gift of new experiences and friends.
We cruised out of Florida waters into Georgia last Tuesday around noon. The skies cleared a bit in the morning as we tossed the lines at Ortega and finally got back underway.
As I mentioned earlier Ortega Landing Marina is FINE. We loved being in such a clean and friendly facility. But…it’s fifteen miles inland, so getting back out to the ICW took a good two and a half hours.
Tuesday night found us only about ten miles further north on the hook behind Amelia Island. We didn’t make a lot of progress that day but the anchorage was pleasant and rain chased us all day but never caught us. With the Jacksonville skyline still in view to the distant west we bid farewell to a city we had newly discovered. Jacksonville had always been the place where we turned left, leaving the Gulf region to head to the east coast in hot pursuit of Hilton Head and Savannah, The turn at I 10 and I 95. We found so much more during this stay. Progressive, vibrant, clean, young, boater friendly, huge shipping port, lovely old neighborhoods! I could go on and on. We also found new friendships.
Les is a retired teacher living aboard a sailboat at Ortega. We met him at the pool in between rain showers. He is battling a back and neck issue and uses the hot tub to get welcomed relief. He spins a great tale and talks ten times more then Mac. Yes, really! Maybe that comes from being the oldest of eight children.
We had him aboard for dinner Saturday night and he and I got my guitar out and sang into the night.
Monday the three of us went to lunch to help pass the rainy afternoon only to find ourselves still sitting in the bar at The Blue Fish, in the very-hip Avondale neighborhood, at 5 o’clock. The more it rained the more we sat. Three servers, three shifts , three tabs!
I’m not even sure how this came to be, but just after sunset that day the Pelican lit up with five musicians having a great jam session. All five guys live aboard in this marina. Les put the word out on the docks and they came out of the woodwork! We had Les with his twelve string, Paul with his violin, Joe O’Sullivan the Irish troubadour, Jim with the five string bass, and John with his musical box , a calimba. They jammed into the night. It was awsome! Unfortunately we are in a bit of a WiFi desert at Shelter Cove so I can’t share the video of this fun night but I will do so in a future post. It’s worth the wait.