The anchorage at Matanzas Inlet was quiet and no drama. Viridian slept all night with her anchor rode hanging straight down, then came morning. The wind and the rain found us quietly resting and wasted no time stirring up the air and water around us. We considered staying here for another night but the forecast called for a flood warning later today. Being on the hook in an inlet with flood waters coming didn't seem to restful so we wound up the anchor and headed for St. Augustine, FL to catch a mooring ball and ride out the rest of the weather there.
The rain started slow but quickly turned into a downpour mixed with a few loud thunderclaps. Then came the north wind. Now we are moving against a strong current and 30 mph gusts driving rain through every stitch hole on our bimini and making little water drips all inside our flybridge. One full screen for the radar and another screen for the chartplotter, zoomed in close, gave us a tool to know where to look for the channel markers as we made about 5 knots up the Matanzas River for St. Augustine. We had a fairly clear view of the river, looking out the plexiglass plates below the Strataglass windshields, so we were able to safely see far enough ahead for the speed we were going. All of the running lights were burning to make ourselves visible to others and the radar was adjusted to reject heavy rain clutter and paint a clear picture past where we couldn't see with our eyes. This is not a very pleasant way to cruise, and I can't recommend it, but for us it was the lesser of the two "weevils".
At about Noon we called the St. Augustine Municipal Marina on CH 16 to get the location of our reserved mooring ball. They told us it would be in the northern mooring field at the far end and it would be ball # 20. Viridian passed under the Bridge of Lions without needing a lift and found our ball dancing in the chop sporting a proper tether. This time we attached our bowlines to the ball ring the proper way, the way that greatly reduces the risk of Viridian sawing through her lines in stiff wind conditions.
Once we got settled in I needed to take Jazzy over to the dinghy dock to pay for our two nights on the ball and deposit two garbage sacks in the trash. So I stashed the garbage in the bow and jerk started the Honda outboard and no sooner than I got 10 feet away from Viridian the motor sputtered and died. Trying to restart didn't work and by now I'm 50 yards downwind bobbing around in the whitecapping waves. Jazzy is equipped with oars so after what seemed like eternity I was able to get her back and attached to the swim platform. After waiting a few minutes the motor started like always so this time I went up wind to test her out. Everything seemed back to normal so off to the dinghy dock we go. Once at the dock and removing the garbage bags I managed to snag something on one of them tearing a hole in the bottom and dumping coffee grinds all over the side of Jazzy. An apple and a tomato rolled out onto the pier and the wind blew them away before I could catch them. The trash can was on the other end of the pier so it was a fun trying to carry the busted trash bags in 25 mph wind.
We got settled up with the dock master and Jazzy ran find back to Viridian so all is good, right? What else could go wrong? Meg and I decided to ride in after the rain stopped and grab a bite to eat close by the marina. We got on warm clothes, coats, hats, raincoats and lifejackets, loaded into Jazzy, cranked her up and got 10 feet away from the boat and she shut down again. The wind now was stronger than ever so we really didn't need a motor to make it all the way to the dinghy dock. A man in his dinghy saw us yanking vainly to start the motor and came by to see if we needed help. We decided to let him tow us back to Viridian and he did. I took the motor off the transom and attached it to the motor mount Viridian. It started right up and ran like new. Well, the only thing that could be wrong with it is somehow water got in side the gas tank. So I poured all the gas out into a bucket and refilled it with fresh gas. It started up and ran perfect. By now the first mate didn't want to go into town for a bite for fear of not being able to get back. Oh well, at least we have something to talk about on the blog today.
Well that's the news and here are few views:
We are here
Our voyage route on "instruments" to St. Augustine, FL
It's raining old women with clubs
Warming our frozen feet and drying out wet clothes on the hot engine
The proper way to attach to a mooring ball