St Augustine and preparations for crossing back across the Pond 29.53.17N 81.18.34W

Robin & Jenny Martin
Mon 23 Apr 2012 15:08

It's quite different preparing ourselves for an Atlantic crossing this time. On the plus side we have a good idea of what to expect and the confidence of having done a long passage. Maymio is well set up for the task with all the ARC safety equipment still in place for the homeward journey. On the downside we are a bit on our own until we get to Bermuda, a 6- 8 day sail away. Each morning we set ourselves a "to do" list and try our best not to be diverted from the tasks - not easy as any boater will appreciate. This list never seems to get shorter, the more we do the more we find to do but if we ever get to the bottom of it we will never leave the mooring.

The boat batteries have been showing early signs of Alzheimer's disease  (forgetting we have charged them) so we have decided to replace 4 of them. Not a job to look forward to, weighing 160lbs each and housed in awkward places is going to be a back breaking game of chess to get the old out and the new ones in. So after several days research we booked into Camachee Marina for 2 days to do batteries and get the engine salt water system acid cleaned, the turbocharger cleaned and some more spares from the Yanmar dealer. We don't like going into marinas very much, apart from the expense it tends to be noisy, hot and buggy time. We were very pleasantly surprised at CCM, fees were halved as we were having work done, there were no late parties and shore power meant we could plug in the bug killer. A big plus apart from the free wi fi, comfortable lounge was the use of the courtesy car. Both evenings we were there we took advantage of the car and did the bulk of the provisioning- a good job done.

Jim, Bo and Mike from First Mate were friendly and efficient helping sort the batteries and giving the engine it's colonic irrigation. We moved the old batteries with Robbie's block and tackle set up and felt rather proud of ourselves using brain rather than brawn until we witnessed Jim and Bo's effortless lifting the new ones on Maymio with the ease of well practiced team.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so we took an afternoon off to visit the alligator farm with Frances and William on Alexia. One of St Augustines biggest tourist attractions it was fairly busy. The choice was to explore the exhibits on foot with the crocs and alligators all safely in compounds or the more risky option and see it all from the circuit of zip wires that went over the compounds at a height of about 20 feet. We walked! It was a good day out, we were there for feeding time when a very brave keeper got into the compound and tossed dead rats to the crocs. Not the feeding frenzy we expected, apparently they eat little and often, the equivalent to a sandwich a week. Another reassuring fact we learnt is that a human can easily outrun a croc on land - in water it is a different story!

Now we are back on the mooring at the Municipal Marina and watching the weather. We are looking at leaving Wednesday/Thursday as the grib wind predictions are looking favourable then. Robbie has been in contact with the Herb, the famous Canadian weather router and we are hoping he will be there on the SSB each day to advise us whilst on passage.

Last night we had a bit of a farewell party at a favourite Italian restaurant, it was sad to say cheerio to Ted and Kay on Moorglade and John and Travis on Another Adventure but there's no doubt we will meet up again in Devon.

Might get one more blog in before we leave for home.
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