Well, the time has come.
We left the Here’s To Us!! at Lamb’s Yacht Center in Jacksonville, Florida to go back home to Texas on March 8, 2020.
We were stuck in quarantine and businesses began to close.
Businesses that would help us get back either by land or air finally started to open up.
We managed to get a flight out of DFW to Jacksonville on Memorial Day, May 25th.
Once we got back to Lamb’s, we discovered several items on the boat that needed attention.
Lamb’s Yacht Center
Being stranded at Lamb’s Yacht Center wasn’t bad at all.
They generously let us use their fancy Cadillac courtesy car whenever we needed it.
The restrooms were fantastic and believe me, whenever you get to a marina, you NEVER know how nice (or not) the bathrooms/showers are going to be until after you are settled into the slip, checked in and need one.
The covered slips here were a blessing because the Here’s To Us faced many weather changes during the time we were away and also the storms continued when we came back.
This is the beginning of hurricane season here in Florida and the weather is quite unpredictable.
No two weather predictions are the same.
As with all marinas, there are signs up to remind you to help protect the living beings out there in the water.
While we were in Jacksonville, we were contacted by Jon and Debbie from Atlanta who graciously took us to dinner at High Tide near our marina.
They had seen our YouTube videos and were in the area on vacation.
It was a lot of fun answering their questions and hearing about their dreams.
We also were treated to dinner by a couple that we met through the Carver Owners Facebook page.
Mike and Mary have the same exact boat that we do!
How cool is that?
They have no plans to do the loop but their boating trips are incredible and full of adventure as well.
We also ran down to Ortega Landing Marina a couple of times.
We spent a few happy hours with the gang there and got to meet new Loopers and have a reunion with those we had met along the way.
Also, Tom (who graciously picked us up at the airport on Memorial Day) and Mickey, his wife, were there so we had a nice visit with them as well.
They just got a boat and will be looking to do the loop in the near future.
So you know that I live with the King of Checklists.
While we were home on our extended break, Sam took the liberty of re-doing our checklists.
He even put them in plastic cases with rings for easy flipping.
The time was almost here for us to see if these things really worked.
We felt very rusty being back on the boat after such a long time but we knew that if we had checklists, they would tell us what to do, if we forgot.
And believe me when I tell you, we forgot.
Time to Go
The time had finally come and we were able to leave the morning of Wednesday, June 3rd.
It was thrilling to get the Here’s To Us underway.
We were beyond excited!
We got fuel and headed out the same way we had come in.
Almost immediately, Sam commented that the volt meters didn’t look right.
But it didn’t seem serious, so we continued on.
We had to go back under the bridges and make our way down the Ortega River.
We had to wait a bit for this tiny bridge to open so we could get back to downtown Jacksonville.
It’s right after this bridge that we moved from the Ortega River into the St. John’s River.
Sam had to follow the path we took to get to Lamb’s Yacht Center way back in March.
We left on a rising tide and had plenty of depth under our boat.
It was very different when we came in and we were really nervous about touching the bottom.
We got to the Fuller Warren Bridge and I noticed something I hadn’t seen when going the opposite direction.
Looks like they are adding another lane up there.
We were breezing right along.
Enjoying every minute being back on the boat after 11 long weeks of COVID-19 quarantine and boat repairs.
Our destination today is Fernandina Beach.
And we can’t wait to get there!
Then, we saw this.
The railroad bridge is closed.
Sam called Florida East Coast Railway and they informed us that not only was the bridge closed but it would remain closed until 2:00 p.m.
It was 11 a.m.
Fortunately, there was a free city dock that we tied up to for the three-hour wait.
While waiting, we had lunch.
Sam did some planning and decided to call the Coast Guard about the bridge closure since we hadn’t heard anything about it.
They emailed him an 82-page notice to mariners and there on page 61 was the announcement.
I can’t believe we missed that! LOL
Right after 2 p.m., the bridge was lifted and we went on under.
We made our way back through downtown Jacksonville.
Back by the Maxwell House plant.
You know it’s good to the last drop.
If it’s hot enough.
Right under the Green Monster bridge, I couldn’t get enough of this art on the silos.
I’m sure there is an awesome story there but in my mind, I kept hearing, “I got your back” – “Well, I got your back” – and so on and so on and so on this hypothetical conversation continues.
That has been our survival message since we started this loop.
Then we saw this sad sight.
Can’t wait for the day when those are back out there where they belong.
And another look at this beast.
We finally came to the Dames Point Bridge (officially known as the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge) where we go back under and then hang a left and catch the Intracoastal Waterway again.
It’s time to head north.
Right after we went under the bridge, we saw another sad sight.
A New Destination
Soon after the sad sight, we decided that we had had enough for our first day back.
That bridge closing put us back three hours and with the way the tides are in this area, it’s something that cannot be ignored.
Sam decided we would stay on a free wall at Sisters Creek Park.
There was access to water, park restrooms, but that was it.
No air conditioning.
It was a long and hot night but we were really grateful for the place to regroup and rest.
Interesting first day back.
Wonder what’s going on with that volt meter?