Returning from the Bahamas, Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, FL was our home for a week. Our first task was a trip to birdie daycare where we picked up Nate along with his new buddy Primo ( see previous blog). Life aboard Idyll Time was a little crazy for the next few days as both parrots had to readjust to life aboard and also their new life together. I can only imagine what our next door boaters think when they hear all the commotion coming from our boat. Nate loves Primo but he is also bonded to Susie and he becomes very jealous if Susie shows any attention to Primo. Primo is also wanting some human contact as he is still missing his previous owner. It gets a little complicated trying to figure out bird psychology.
We also needed some boat repairs done. While in the Bahamas, our clutch which is part of our get home system started to fail. Being the third time this clutch has failed, we contacted Krogen and Northern Lights for some help in determining why this clutch continues to destruct. It turns out that Northern Lights was already aware of the problem as they have seen this issue on other boats also. They stepped up to the plate and offered to replace the clutch at no charge. James, the Northern Lights mechanic, spent two days aboard replacing the clutch with a new improved model. They also plan on returning to the boat once we are in Virginia to do some vibration testing along with some other modifications that they have been testing in their factory. We are hopeful that these new modifications will improve the life of the clutch. The customer service from Northern Lights has been excellent as they try to solve this issue.
While in Stuart, we also had Scotty, our go to mechanic, install cutoff valves on both our forward and rear shore water connections. One of these valves failed earlier this year and flooded our pilot house. This fix should prevent that from ever happening again. Another modification was the addition of a ballast tank to our fresh water system. This pressurizes the system so that the fresh water pump does not have to cycle on and off as much. Maybe Jeff won’t have to duck tape the kitchen faucet shut anymore. (Those of you who know Jeff will understand this one!)
The weather didn’t cooperate for an offshore run, so we made the three day slog up the ICW to St. Augustine to visit family. This year we decided to stay at Marineland since we have not been there before. Across the street from the small marina is the Marineland Dolphin Research and Educational Center.. It was purchased by the Georgia Aquarium several years ago and now offers interactive tours with the Dolphins. With free passes courtesy of the marina, we enjoyed watching the dolphins socialize with us humans. The marina also offered Eco kayak tours through the mangroves so we joined in on that for a few hours during our stay.
We gave tropical storm Bonnie some time to move up the east coast before working our way out the St. Augustine inlet for our run to Bald Head Island. With seas less than two foot, we soon have the fishing lines in the water. Before reaching Fernandina, we have both a small King Mackerel and a chubby little tuna in the cooler. The weather was perfect with less than 1 ft. Seas and little wind for our first of two overnights. Our new FLIR made the nighttime passage much more interesting. It is nice to be able to see where you are going. At one point, I even saw some Dolphins swimming off our bow. With the FLIR they showed up just as clear as during daylight. We had some 3-4 ft seas our second day as remnants of tropical storm Bonnie are still lingering. This didn’t stop us from fishing. Twenty five miles off the Charleston inlet we landed two more nice size tuna.
Nate and Primo spent some time up in the pilot house during our two day run. Nate seemed to have lost his sea legs while at daycare. He has spent many hours on the boat but for some reason now seems unsteady on his perch. Primo handles the seas very well, especially since this may be the first time he has ever been on a boat.
We reach the outer Cape Fear sea buoy just before dawn. These moments just before the sun starts to rise are some of the most enjoyable times on our over nighters. Daylight is always a welcome sight. We have an interesting event happen. While up in the pilot house, we hear some commotion down in the galley. Checking out the noise, I find our porthole screen lying on the floor. Hum.. Hearing another noise coming from our sink, I find a flying fish flopping around in our dishpan. He apparently gained enough altitude while flying out of the water to come over the side of the boat and thru the porthole into the sink. What are the odds of that happening?
Total Miles Stuart to Bald Head: 566
Total Miles This Year: 2052