November 1st is the day my insurance says I can start heading south due to the hurricane season ending in 30 days and the likelihood of a storm is greatly diminished, so I may start looking for a better insurance, since I see you can find some good deals on sites like www.lisguide.com for any kind of insurance. That day came on Tuesday, which was a hectic day to say the least. I spent the morning getting some last bits and pieces from the store, coordinating with the marina on the one package that did not arrive, and getting the boat ready to shove off. The one thing I never considered was cleaning my props. Well, that bite me in the butt right away. As I left my boat was sluggish and I had heavy black smoke from the engines. I made it all the way…to the end of the marina before I pulled it to the dock again. I dove down and had over an inch of barnacles all over my sail drives (funny the rest of the boat was pretty clean). I spent an hour with a chisel scrapping both of them clean and tearing up my hands in the process (those suckers are sharp and apparently I am not smart enough to wear gloves). After an hour I was finished, but suffering from moderate hypothermia in the 68 degree water (I did not consider a wetsuit until later). I took a hot shower, drank some hot tea, put on a fleece, and donned my foul weather gear in order to warm up. I left much later than I wanted, but I was still able to have the anchor down at Cumberland Island as the sun dipped below the horizon.
The next day I was so excited to visit one of the best hidden spots on the entire eastern seaboard. I have been here twice before. The first time I explored the southern end of the island with my father and the second time Eric and I rode bikes all over the middle section. This time I had a National Parks Service tour lined up to visit the northern end. The first stop was the old wharf ruins (of course they wait till you are there and tell you there is nothing left of the ruins), which was a resort in the 1890’s for the middle class. Our second stop was the Settlement where freed slaves from the islands old plantations settled after the Civil War. We also got to enter the First African Baptist Church (see photo). It was small, but very nice. The third stop was the whole reason I paid for the tour, the Plum Orchard mansion. This was the second largest mansion (see 2nd photo) on the island and one of the first the NPS acquired. It was huge and gorgeous, but the audacity of the place was ridiculous to say the least. They even had a chandelier crafted by Mr. Tiffany himself (see next photo). The final stop was the Stafford cemetery, which I visited with Eric when we were on the bikes. This was a small cemetery from the plantation era. During the entire six hour tour we heard history and saw the flora and fauna. Including driving by several tidal salt creeks (see last photo), which held a rugged beauty in their own way. I feel the tour was well worth the money and time and I am glad I stopped by this gem yet again (I will be preparing a travel video for the island very soon, so stay tuned).
The rest of the week I spent moving down the coast of Florida. I was able to sail two days, but had to motor the other three days, because the winds were 15-25 knots from the northern quadrant (almost perfect if not a little more breeze than I prefer), but a gale in north Florida was push 10-13 foot waves down the coast and I did not want to deal with them and needed to get to North Palm Beach, because I have some potential guest flying in soon.