June 30 – July 4, 2018: Offshore from Fernandina Beach, FL, to Port Royal, SC

After the previous nail-biter days on the ICW, our offshore passage from Fernandina Beach to Port Royal was anticlimactic.  We left our mooring at Fernandina at 6:00 AM to catch a favorable tide out the inlet.  Once we entered the ocean we raised the main and rolled out the staysail, and that cut down some of the rolling.  The winds were light, between 5-15 knots, and none of the forecasted thunderstorms materialized.

This passage could be called “The Day of the Dolphin.”  We saw pod after pod after pod; many of them came to play near the boat.  Some of them would ride the slipstream right behind the rudder, some of them surfed our bow wake, and others chose the beam.  The Captain woke me up to see a large sea turtle, which was a treat.

We did two hour watches because we hadn’t done an overnight passage in a while.  We had a bright, full moon for most of the night, and the winds dropped to a steady 7-10 knots.  It was an uneventful night of sailing—my favorite kind!

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Trick shot:  sitting at the helm, over my shoulder, though the unzipped enclosure, with an iPod, while the boat rolls.

We arrived at Port Royal Landing Marina and, upon our request, were put on the north end of the transient dock.  PRLM has two long facing docks for transients, and the south dock is closer to the large bridge.  The current is strong, and peeling off of that face dock so close to the bridge can be quite nerve-wracking.

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Here’s a shot of the south side of the transient docks.  As you can see, if you’re much more than halfway down, you’re very close to the bridge.  Been there, done that, no thanks.

Our passage from Fernandina Beach to Port Royal was 27 ½ hours for 120.4 nm.

We spent three days at Port Royal Landing Marina.  We’ve been there several times before and really like it.  The floating docks are in great shape, the marina staff is incredibly helpful, the heads are clean, and the grounds are impeccably maintained.  The prices are reasonable:  $2.25/foot ($2/foot for BoatUS or returning customers) includes free water and decent wifi.  The laundry prices are crazy cheap ($1 or $1.25 per wash or dry), and there’s a courtesy car that can be checked out.

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This boat was all decked out either for the holiday or just to feel pretty.

We did all of the adventurous, exotic tasks that living on a boat entails:  refueling, topping up the water tanks, rinsing the salt off the boat, changing the engine oil and filters, taking the oil to be recycled, dumping the composting head, laundry, provisioning runs, and refilling a propane tank.

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Oh thank god, we’re finally home.  Hundreds and hundreds of Moon Pies.  And this is Publix, not Walmart.

We also had a lot of fun eating lunch at a good Chinese takeout spot and at Smokin’ Oaks, a wonderful barbeque restaurant.

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Smokin’ Oaks was a clean, family-run place with very good food.  We’d definitely go back.

We recognized the boat docked next to us, s/v Over Budget, as belonging to our friends J&J with whom we spent time in Atlantic Highlands waiting out Hurricane Hermine back in 2016; we later caught back up with them in Annapolis.  They bought a home in Port Royal and keep their boat at Port Royal Landing Marina.   They came to the dock to watch Independence Day fireworks, and we had a great time catching up.  We also got to see a wonderful fireworks show from Parris Island and immediately afterward, from Port Royal.

 

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The Smokin’ Oaks mascot got into the holiday spirit. 

About Sail Kestrel

We are two full time cruisers aboard our Island Packet 35 sailboat, Kestrel.
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