We’re stuck at the dock here at St. Augustine Marine Center with nothing but NE winds and rain. We had hoped to be on our way today and loaded up the bikes, filled the water tank and generally got ourselves set to go, then the rain came again. If we were out in the ocean it really wouldn’t be a problem to be in the rain. But in the ditch (the Intercoastal Waterway) sometimes the channel is very narrow, the markers are hard to pick up in the rain, and if we get hit with extended gusty winds, we’re not always in a place to tie up or drop anchor. So we’d like to have a window of at least 6-8 hours where we can make some headway and be safe before weather hits us again.
That said, we’re going to try again tomorrow. Since all we have to do is unplug and go, we’ll get up early and get out of here, with a couple of optional stops lined up just in case. Unfortunately, Florida has become quite unfriendly to boats — especially liveaboard boats — in recent years, and there are fewer and fewer safe places to legally anchor. We’re loathe to spend the money on marinas, since their nightly rates can be as high as a nice hotel.
So here we sit again today. Jack is installing a teak step at the back of the cockpit to make climbing up to our “stadium seat” a little safer. He also went up on the bimini and caulked a few leaks and replaced some screws.
Meanwhile I’m trying to understand the SSB/Ham radio and get it to play nice with my computer, a job I’ve been attempting every few days for weeks with no success. Every so often I get so frustrated I’m near tears, but I know I’ll figure it out. It’s funny, I have the highest level Ham license you can get and yet I have no clue how to work this radio. I can turn it on. That’s it. I feel like an idiot and I wish I had someone here to sit with me and explain how it works. I go to manuals and FAQs and I don’t even understand half the words they use.
After that I have to figure out the satphone, so there’s no end to this off-grid communications learning curve. I will SO miss the convenience of broadband internet.
The Marine Center shares a land parcel with the Homeland Security Border Patrol training center. That means every 15 minutes one of these boats goes by, all day long, back and forth. I don’t know whether to feel threatened or safer. In any case, they don’t pay much attention to us.