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The next morning was gray as we headed north from St. Augustine.  From time to time, a fine rain would fall.  The cloudy days were not totally objectionable since the temperature was more comfortable than the sun beating down.  More miles of marsh and very flat open water offered no protection from the gusting wind.  At times, the boat would be blown over a few degrees, but the autopilot held its course well.  We were doing 60-78 ICW statute miles a day and my head was beginning to feel like a wind tunnel.  Waves sometimes crashed over the bow, splashing salty water into the cockpit.  The ICW channel crossed the broad St. John's River in Jacksonville. 

Joan made a major navigational error.  For miles, we wandered up the very choppy St. John until we hailed a tug boat who told us we needed to retrace our route.  I flagged down a Florida Marine (cop) boat and they gave us more detailed instructions.  Finally, we found the ICW.  We continued through the marshy wind-swept waterway, and about 5:00 p.m., arrived at our last Florida anchorage,
San Fernandina Beach.  What a misnomer, at least from the ICW side.  There was no beach, only two monster factories, the smell of  paper plants, and large ships.  In the designated anchorage, the water was incredibly choppy with no protection from the wind and  current.  Bob spied a tall mast and went to investigate.  The sailboat was anchored in a small river with deep water and some protection.  We joined him.  About dusk, our anchor appeared to be dragging so we reset it.  Bob and I got up several times during the night to check and be sure we hadn't moved.  We were able to get our bearings from two different industrial plants which had enough lights for a city's Christmas decorations.

San Fernandina Beach where we met Spirit Borne, a sister ship to Viking Rose

We slept an hour or so later because we had fewer miles to go to our next destination.  We headed out into Cumberland Sound to cross over to Georgia.  We saw a large Coast Guard vessel coming.  Although huge, he moved along rather quickly.  We circled to indicate we weren't getting in his way.  We located the ICW with the help of a local sailor and continued along the windy marshes.  As we progressed, a sailboat waved his VHF radio at us, indicating he wanted to talk. Joan got on the radio and he told us it was a "rough ride" where we were headed and suggested an alternative route.  Our charts did not contain all of the alternative route so we continued on our way to St. Andrews Sound. We spied the sailboat from the previous night's anchorage.  It was apparently headed north on the ICW and we were catching up with them. 

The ICW does not head straight across this sound because of shallow water.  It goes well out into the Atlantic as in a "V," taking you around a buoy, and then back in the other side of the "V" to Jekyll Island.  The waves were the largest we've seen, 8 to 12 feet.  Bob was yelling like a cowboy on a buckin' bronco.  Going out, we headed into the wind.  The bow of the boat would lift, pointing at the sky until the wave crested then would plunge 8-10 feet down into the waves with salt water washing over the bow and deck.  It was great.  Rounding the marker and heading back in the other side of the "V", the waves were hitting the back quarter of the boat making for a slippery ride.  Finally, the wind and waves abated as we tucked behind
Jekyll Island.  The clouds broke and blue sky appeared, a sunny day in Georgia.  We located a small marina where we put in to get e-mail, do laundry, and obtain documentation to send to the Florida authorities to prove that we had left the state and wouldn't be liable for Florida sales tax.

We unloaded bicycles to tour the island, quite a change from the long days on the water.  That evening, the marina restaurant had live music.  The two musicians were taking requests and talking about Towns Van Zant, Guy somebody and John Prine, a lot of the real old timers.  The next morning we slept in.  When Bob got up, he took a mid-morning bike ride to a hardware store for a new toy, a circular net with weights around the edges and a wrist band to hold it.  As soon as he returned to the dock, he began casting.  He caught one shrimp but let it go.  Low tide is best to catch the little critters so, about 6:30 pm, he tried again.  This time, he caught twelve and boiled them.  Jekyll Island has been a nice restful stop and a place where Bob acquired a new skill.

Tonight, the moon is in its first quarter.  We were in Rodriguez Key at the last full moon.  Time passes.

Catch of the day with new casting net

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