Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #49 Good-bye, Florida

It hasn’t really been over a week since we last wrote anything in this log. Quite the contrary. We had glowingly extolled the virtues of our visits to Georgia’s Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island, along with some sour complaints about the continuing frequency of cold fronts with their attendant rain and cold temperatures. Sadly, all that eloquent prose is terminally lost in cyberspace. Some of you may remember from a couple of logs back something that I said about our having bad karma when it comes to shipments. Well, it struck again. Let me explain.

You may also remember that we have become seriously dependent on our computer navigation. It’s extremely comforting to be able to watch the little green boat crawl across the electronic chart, and thereby always know exactly where we are. So when we crossed into Georgia it was time to install two new sets of electronic charts into the computer to make our way on to the Chesapeake. But, as is so often the case, the new charts aren’t compatible with our Raytech Navigator version 4.1. After several unsuccessful attempts to install the charts into Raytech Navigator, Jim got confirmation from Raymarine’s website of what we both had feared—that we needed a program upgrade to RNS 5.0. That’s the upgrade that the tech at the Miami Boat Show told us we wouldn’t need, given our interest in upgrading to the new version coming out this fall. The tech neglected to ask us if we would be needing additional charts before then, however. Jim call Raymarine to order the upgrade and the good news then was that it could be shipped to us overnight. At that point we had been at the Jekyll Harbor Marina for a couple of days and were planning to stay for a couple more. So for once we had a shipping address that wasn’t going to inconvenience us. And even when the DHL truck had a breakdown and the package was another day arriving so we extended our stay to a week, we weren’t especially inconvenienced because we wanted to spend the extra time at Jekyll anyway. But when the new program crashed the computer, then we were…inconvenienced? How about appalled and disgusted?! We kept getting some error message that the 4.1 wouldn’t uninstall (a must-do according to the 5.0 installation instructions), seemingly because of some error in the 4.1 installation. Funny, we’ve been using the 4.1 dependably for two years, and it was never properly installed? That’s a scary thought. Anyway, Jim decided to ignore the error messages and install the 5.0 on top of the 4.1. But he couldn’t ignore the blue screen with the DOS error message when Windows shut down and refused to reappear. Okay, so maybe ignoring the first error message wasn’t the best choice. And maybe the choice to try installing the 5.0 program from a CD package with a broken security seal was poorer still. But, optimists that we are, we keep expecting new equipment and installations to work from the get-go. What are we thinking?

Well, Jim was able to restore the computer from our back-up external hard drive, minus anything entered since the last back-up, of course. That would be the current log recording our visits to Cumberland and Jekyll, along with some e-mail and financial records. Jim also deleted the 4.1 program and re-installed the 5.0, and it seemed to be working. Except for that annoying little error message that came up each time we opened the program. Not to mention the blue screen error message that appeared momentarily upon once booting the computer. Dare we trust the program not to crash the computer again? Especially as we make a couple of outside passages to avoid the endless river marshes and a non-functioning draw bridge between here and Beaufort, S.C.?

Our less-than-stellar decisions mentioned above notwithstanding, we’re usually fairly wise and cautious about our cruising plans. So, despite making preparation for using today’s glorious weather to head out on the Atlantic, our answer to the question of Raytech trust was a resounding “NO!” This morning Jim once more called Raytech (and this time, unlike previous times, he actually got to talk to a live person—Glory be!) to learn that we really shouldn’t have installed the 5.0 without uninstalling the 4.1. The real jolt, however, was being told that the program sent to us last week (the one overnighted that took two days and arrived with a broken seal!) was THE WRONG PROGRAM!! Now the correct one is being overnighted (please, God, not another truck break-down), and we’re still at Jekyll Harbor Marina breathlessly awaiting its arrival. In the meantime, Jim is working on the pesky 4.1 that won’t re-install so that he can uninstall it, as per the Raymarine tech’s instructions. Are you loving this?

Our week at the marina is up tomorrow, but we’ll be here another day or two—or who really knows how long?—in order to get the Raytech Navigator 5.0 running smoothly. We’re still optimistic enough to believe that will happen eventually. At least this marina is very pleasant (and, most importantly, affordable), and Jekyll Island is a real jewel.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our bike excursions around this island. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss are everywhere, accompanied by southern pines, magnolia, and palmetto. Bike and walking paths cover the island, and the beach is easily accessible. The crowning feature of the island is the Historic District of the Jekyll Island Club. From 1886 to 1942 the Club was a winter haven for the movers and shakers of New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Names such as Morgan, Gould, Rockefeller, Pulitzer, and Goodyear are all tied to the development and the glory-days of the Club. The original Club House is now a Radisson, restored to its early splendor, and most of the “cottages” (read mansions) have also been restored and redecorated. Riding through the area I admired the architecture and color schemes and yearned to wander through the cottages’ interiors for a taste of the life style known only to the rich and famous of the day. Alas, the cottages were open to the public only for a tour fee. Until yesterday. As a Mother’s Day treat all the cottages were open with no tour or fee, so I got my yearning satisfied. The restoration appears to still be a work in progress, though, so most of the homes are only sparsely furnished. Still, it was a delightful walk through history on a warm, sunny day. And it got us away from the computer for a while. We also had a delicious Mother’s Day brunch at one of the cottages that is now a functioning inn. With all this hassle with our computer navigation, we feel fortunate that we’ve gotten “stuck” at Jekyll.

Jekyll Island Club
Jekyll Island Club

Moss Cottage
Moss Cottage

The Raytech Navigator 5.0 is working! The package actually arrived on time, Jim got the 4.1 installed and uninstalled, and the 5.0 installed as it was supposed to. We seem to be up and running once more. We even had time today to bike over to the Café at Jekyll Wharf—where the early Club members would dock their yachts—for a yummy lunch. Even after spending a week here we haven’t tired of this island. We were here for a brief land visit in ‘88 and we liked it enough to return in ‘89 for a few days. At that time the restoration of the Historic District extended only to the hotel and the exterior of the Rockefeller cottage. The other cottages were then only deteriorating shells of their former grandeur. We’re happy to now see the restoration of these beautiful homes well underway, and we’re also glad that we still feel the peace and tranquility that abounds here. We feel that here at Jekyll time has been kind, change has been good, and, contrary to the adage, we’ve been able to go home again.

After waiting an extra day for the weather to improve, we finally left Jekyll this morning. By this time one river marsh looks like another, so we decided to depart the ICW for some outside sailing. We went out St. Simon’s Sound—all 8 miles of it—separating Jekyll and St. Simon’s Islands. To get beyond the shoals that have built up over time, the inlets along this part of the coast are very long. The easterly wind was only 5-10, so we motor-sailed the whole way to St. Catherine’s Sound. It sure was nice to take a break from constantly watching channel markers. We’re anchored in Walburg Creek with only one other boat and the egrets to keep us company. Um, but let’s not forget the flies—they’re annoying but not overwhelming.

One other thing about today. Dick, our church pastor, has often expressed admiration and awe towards the warblers that find their way in migration from South America to the Midwest. On our offshore passage today with no land in sight, we had occasion to meet and greet a few of them up close and personal. Needless to say, the dear little critters have many miles to cover with their tiny wings, so when three or four of them at different times stopped for a rest on our boat, we were only too happy to extend our hospitality. To say the least, we were surprised at their appearance, concerned about their possible exhaustion, and sorry to see them go. We sent our blessings and best wishes with each of them as they continued on their long journeys.

Warbler passenger
Warbler passenger

We awoke this morning to pea-soup fog which didn’t lift until after 9:00, so we scratched our plan to sail on to Beaufort, S.C. Between here and there is a draw bridge that is closed indefinitely due to damage by a truck that ran into it when it was half open. So the outside run is mandatory, and we want to get as far as Port Royal Sound. A departure after 9:00 was too late to get us there in daylight, so we declared what our daughter Lauri calls a “library day”. That meant we sat around with books, magazines, and sunscreen, enjoying a care-free sunny day in this serene anchorage. There really is something to be said for river marshes, after all.

Happy Birthday, Lauri! We didn’t get to talk with her, though, because we spent about 12 hours on the water. This was probably our longest day yet. We left Walburg Creek at 7:00 AM and motor-sailed about 40 miles outside to the entrance to Port Royal Sound. Another 20 miles in the channel and up the Beaufort River brought us to Beaufort, SC. (pronounced BEW-fut), and we’re pretty exhausted. Bed time will be early.

We’ve spent a couple of days touring Beaufort, mostly following a walking tour that led us past numerous homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries. The historic antebellum homes are quite lovely and reminiscent of the southern boom times prior to the Civil War. We were disappointed, though, that the walking tour didn’t give us much information about the when, why, and who regarding the construction of each of the homes. One interesting fact we picked up at the Beaufort Museum in the Arsenal was that Union forces captured Beaufort in December of 1861, shortly after the start of the Civil War, and held it until the end of the war in 1865. Most of the town’s residents fled from the Union occupation, so the town has little Confederate history beyond one of its favorite sons, Gen. Stephen Elliott. That said, however, it’s interesting to note that South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession from the Union was first drafted in one of the homes on the walking tour.

Beaufort Home
Beaufort home

We expect to leave here tomorrow to head on to Charleston, where we anticipate finding more of our country’s history. It should be apparent by now that we find the historical aspects of the places we visit to be of great interest. Realizing that land, nature, and even some human-made things long outlast an average human life span tends to keep us humble. I also often wonder about what history will one day make of our time on this planet.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

P. S. Don’t forget to look up Alice’s book, Reaching a Far Horizon, at www.lulu.com!

Posted Monday May 16, 2005

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  1. We never got around to discussing your book, and how I might publish my articles similarly. Let’s stay in touch.
    — Robert Wilson    05/17/2005 06:54 AM    #
  2. I just came on your web site (was looking for a sailboat to buy) and am thoroughly enjoying it
    — rob mc elrath    11/01/2005 03:22 AM    #
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