Day 5 Jekyll to Jacksonville Beach Marina: This was another beautiful day and we lost Blue Moon when they stopped to enjoy a seafood restaurant along the way. We wanted to stop but we were on a ‘hell-bent’ route to get Belle home so we kept up our pace and continued south.
Coming into the area of Kings Bay we had something happen that was definitely a first. I heard this call over the VHF; “White south bound pleasure craft this is the United States Navy escort to your south east position – do you copy over. After stepping out each of the pilot house doors to see who they were calling, and verifying we were the only ones in sight… I replied… “This is south bound motor craft, go ahead over.” “Sir, we are escorting an inbound United States warship (they meant submarine), take a position 500 yards west of the channel and stand by.” When you hear this you simply obey! Of course Lou was snapping pictures and waving trying to get the boys in the little grey boat to remove their hands from those 50 cal machine guns and wave back. Not much chance in that. I have been pulled over by a lot of various authorities – all of which I would like to forget, but this was the first time by a U.S. warship. Too cool.
That afternoon we made it to Jacksonville Beach Marina as we had a full head and very low on water. I will make a long story short as I can here but you need to walk in my shoes on this one. Everyone knows what’s meant by “paying for your education.” Well, that happened in Jacksonville Beach.
Came in fine, everything was great, and Belle eased up to the end of the second dock like she lived there. That night I was playing with the inverter controls (too much Macallan) trying to find out what they worked and did not. So much for exploration; I woke up the next morning to my navigation software making one hell of a noise which meant we had lost GPS. Good lord, everything was going so well. No problem though, I called McKay communications and turns out Dustin was coming to Jacksonville anyway, he would just bring me a replacement (started to say new… hardly that) Magnavox 200 GPS. Meanwhile I am noticing the 12 volt stuff doesn’t work. Heads are out too, they must be fuller than I thought. So, we pulled up a couple docks and got a pump out, then brought Belle back to our original dock. I am not sure if Dustin realized what we had done with the inverters or I had made a call to Fred asking what was up… in any case, shortly after giving a marina hand $20 for a ride to the local West Marine to buy a Garmin 740s as a replacement GPS we found that it was my own damn messing around that killed the batteries. O’ well, now I have a great GPS for the dink. Then found if you run out of water on one of these wonderful, but now taxing vessels, the Raz Marine pumps burn up so quick you don’t have a chance to say no. So, I paid a few hundred for some guy with a 36-inch crescent to come down and break the nuts loose so we could install the backup water pump. Life is looking a bit sad as we seem to go from one calamity to the next.
No worries, the next morning I get up at my usual 4:30, check and recheck my course for the day, go down to visit Hercules and Reliable and give them a drink, then decide to go ahead and get the fresh water filled up before we shove off. All is going wel until about an hour out of Jacksonville Marina when it was made clear to me by what has now come to be known as The Admiral that not only was our head full — “I thought you pumped that out” I was informed that I had forgotten to fill up the water before we left? O’ no way!!! O’ yes way! Can it be? That’s when it became clear that I had filled our newly pumped out head holding tank with fresh water. Thank god it wasn’t a diesel tank. Anyway, can we just park this tub and have one of the kids come pick us up? It’s less than a 4-hour drive home, and I am counting the days it’s going to take to float there, and how much stuff I can break given that amount of time. I won’t go into how I solved this issue, just let it suffice that we made our way south and dealt with it.
Where are those boys in the little grey boat when you really need them?