Sunday, October 28, 2007

Seafarer's Marina, Jacksonville, FL


It was Memorial Day weekend, 2007, and we decided to head up the river to Seafarer's Marina in Jacksonville, Florida. We thought it was a good idea to get off the ICW for the weekend because there would be lots of traffic on the water and it would be a good time to rent a car and drive up the coast of Georgia and South Carolina to look at potential marinas to settle at. We call the marina and they say they have a slip for us no problem, so off we go.

We get to the marina and were not happy campers. First off, it doesn't have protection from three directions of the wind. It was the roughest seas in a marina that we have experienced. The chop was about 3 feet and they wanted us to go into a 35 foot slip with our 45 foot boat and the crosswinds were 20 knots. Captain Mike decided it was not a good scenario so we asked if we could tie off at that only other spot they had at the end of the dock. A tug had just left so the owner's son said we could give it a try. A portion of the end was damaged so we had one shot to come in with the crosswinds and the seas. We needed to go to the forward most portion of the slip, which Mike did and we threw our line to the dock. This is the unfortunate part, the dockhand didn't tie us up far enough and the current and the wind slammed us into the damaged part of the dock. We were stuck between a piling and the broken dock and our brand new stanchions that we had replaced in Venezuela were now bent on the starboard side, where the swim ladder hangs. Captain Mike did an excellant job of manuerving Ka'imi to safety and we finally got the lines tied. As we are on the docks securing the lines we notice that the tug had left a huge chain on the pilings and we were rubbing against it - further drama ensued as we got the chain off the posts. The seas were so rough, and they were slamming us into the dock, that we spent about two hours securing fenders and lines. We had a very sleepless night. When we woke up it was calm, slack tide and no wind, so we started the engine and gentle pulled into a more appropriate slip......although when the winds and seas picked up again it got pretty rough. To further add insult to injury they had creosote (a wood treatment) in the pilings which is a tar like substance that stains very badly. So here is Ka'imi with bent stanchions, scratches in the paint and tar all over her....not our best day. Click here for a video of the marina dock. This day was much calmer that when we came in, and you can see the end of the dock where we first tied off. Lesson learned - never go into a marina in conditions like that.

Since we were there and secured in a slip we went about trying to rent a car. We called five car rental places and none of them had cars available as it was labor day weekend. We were bummed, we had very little provisions because we didn't want to leave a lot of food on board if were going to be away. There were two tiny convenience stores within walking distance but they had very little to eat. Dominoes did deliver though, so we didn't have it so bad :). By Tuesday morning we were ready to LEAVE! At dawn the tide was in our favor so we let the lines loose and proceeded to back out of the slip when something in the wheel mechanism snaps and yep we lose our steering. Captain Mike was able to get us into open water clear of the boats and the dock and we threw out our anchor to see what had happened and to hook up our emergency tiller. It seems the steering cable housing broke off it's mount. So we hook up the emergency tiller, bring up the anchor and take a test run to see if we can get back into the slip. One person had to be at the helm controlling the throttle and the other was at the stern steering with the tiller. We decided we would head out into the open and anchor out instead of going back into the slip, which was hard enough to get into when we had good steering!

We finally jury-rigged the steering and had made the decision to find a haul out yard and pull Ka'imi out of the water to fix the steering, get the stuffing box fixed (which had gone from a drip to a pour) and get the bottom painted. We phoned around and decided to try Tiger Point Marina. It was pretty tense going down the river, about a day's travel, knowing that the steering could snap at any moment. We left the emergency tiller hooked up, just in case that did happen. We finally make it to Tiger Point Marina only to pull into a lift bay up a very narrow inlet that could only be accessed at slack tide otherwise you would be up against a cross current. The travel lift had a flat tire when we arrived so we couldn't be pulled out until the next day. Renting a car here was easy, so we got a rental car then rented ourselves a hotel room and had chinese take out, hot showers and a king size bed :))))))))))))))))))))))))). The next day we headed up the coast to South Carolina to see some marinas. We found a spot in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, put a deposit down and headed back to Tiger Point the next day.

Cheers, Mike and Kim on Ka'imi

1 comment :

  1. Really nice !!!!!! waiting for next blog!~!!!!!



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