Green Cove Springs Marina, Florida

30th January - 20th February 2007

Getting back to Green Cove Springs at the end of January was a relief, especially after surviving a 6 hour stopover in snowy Chicago.   We finally reached Anju at around midnight and were pleased to find that the GCSM staff had remembered to move her out of the secure storage area and had even found us a ladder to get aboard, so we had a place to sleep that night.

We wanted to launch as soon as possible, with all the out-of-the-water jobs having been finished before we'd left.   In order to work up the mast, to relocate the wind generator, Anju would have to be in the water, mast climbing is not allowed in the yard, for very sensible reasons.

We took a short provisioning trip, enjoying the luxury of the hire car we'd picked up at the airport and as soon as we returned, the staff were ready to launch Anju.   Then the fun began....

As soon as Anju was afloat, Phil rushed aboard to check on the stuffing box, to ensure no water was coming in.   After a slight adjustment all was fine.   The engine was reluctant to start but finally ran OK, leaving us the tricky maneuvre from the travel lift dock, turning the boat through 180 degrees, as we'd launched stern first, then we had to motor down the 2000 foot dock to our allocated spot near to a house boat.   

We'd known the turn was going to be difficult, as we were port side to the wall and Anju's stern kicks to port in reverse, which makes reversing to starboard almost impossible in a confined space.   By some miracle, probably an act of the falling tide, her stern began to swing out to starboard, it was just amazing.   Then we ran out of water and stopped exactly where we were, bow to the wall.   Eventually with much engine revving, the muscle power of the GCSM staff and after a spot of dredging with our keel Anju was finally facing forwards and we were off to our mooring spot.   


On first view you would have thought that there was acres of water between the docks at the marina.  However, if you drew six and a half feet, there was actually only a very narrow channel that deep, very close to the moored boats.   In some places, as we soon discovered, the channel wasn't that deep.   As we came near to our spot, we kept close to the house boat ready to make a fine approach and there we stopped, we were aground again.   We struggled to maneuvre ourselves off the mud and to regain steerage but each time we tried to approach, we found ourselves stuck to the bottom again and about fifteen feet out from the dock.   This was turning into a nightmare.   

Anju finally tied up on the dock.


Finally with a combination of several lines tied together thrown ashore by Phil with Herculean strength and again using mostly the muscle power of the staff, we were hauled to the dock, where of course the water was much deeper.   This was why anchoring was always our preferred mooring method!  

When we'd regained our sanity the following morning we set about re-securing all the rigging and the roller furler, which had been disconnected for us to be lifted in the travel lift.   It was pretty vital for the masts to be firmly supported if Phil would be spending several days up the mast, installing the wind generator.    Harry our welder arrived with the bracket on which the generator was to be mounted so there was no more stalling, it was time to get Phil aloft.  The wind generator had been completely overhauled and repainted before Christmas and we'd replaced a bearing.


First the new bracket had to be secured to the mast and bolted in place.   Once that was done, the wind generator, already connected to its cabling, was gingerly hoisted aloft and with a feat of acrobatics, Phil managed to get it out onto the stand.   However before the blades could be fitted, the electrical wiring had to be finished, otherwise there would be no way to stop the blades from turning in the wind whilst trying to fix them in place.   Finally the fragile blade assembly was hauled up and bolted on and the wind generator was tested.   In it's new location it amazingly seemed quieter than when it had been mounted on the arch, whereas we'd expected more noise to travel down the mast into our cabin.

Overhaul of the wind generator - always wondered what was inside one of those things.

Phil on his precarious perch......

....and relieved to be on terra firma again, job finished.

Meanwhile we'd been having problems with the engine.   Of course it had been running fine until we'd carried out maintenance, including pulling the injectors, having them cleaned and checked and re-installing them.   Now our old faithful Yanny was stubbornly refusing to start unless the throttle was fully opened and even them sometimes we were unsuccessful.    After checking everything we could think of, bleeding every part of the fuel system over and over again, we were baffled.   Much Happy Hour discussion resulted on the porch and we could shed no light on the problem.    At six o'clock one morning Phil had a flash of inspiration and rushed to pull out the maintenance manual.   It seemed when the mechanic had refitted the injectors, he'd refitted the injector clamps upside down, possibly resulting in a very slight air leak, causing the engine to lose prime when switch off.   We were optimistic that correcting this would solve the problem but again were baffled when the problems continued.   However at least now the engine would start every time but only at higher revs than normal.   

Only a few jobs remained, fitting new navigation lights and refitting the GPS and wi-fi antennas kept Phil busy while Christine attended to the last painting job, re-painting the white sides of the cabin, around the portholes.   With all the preparation already finished, the paint job went very quickly, as soon as the temperature got high enough to begin.

Soon everything was ready, Anju was looking beautiful and ready for her next adventure.    We put all the sails back on ready for the big departure and did some serious provisioning.  This was greatly assisted by the generous loan of a car by Jim and Debby from Someday.   With procurement of fresh produce sometimes being tricky in the more remote areas of the Bahamas, we decided to invest in a couple of window boxes in which we planted a selection of herb plants, with which we hoped to add fresh flavour to our meals.


A positive result of our extended stay in the UK was that we were still in Green Cove Springs when Ann flew out from the UK to be reunited with John and their boat Sundowner.    With them and other friends from the marina we were able to celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary in style (ten years already!).   We took a trip to St. Augustine to a "British Pub" which served excellent British style fish and chips with British beer on tap and great fun was had by all.    We even got to board a British double-decker bus which seemed to be planted in the garden outside, although you had to be careful where you put your feet if you didn't want to fall right through the floor!

Anju beautiful and ready to leave

Celebrating our Anniversary British Style

Another evening we were invited to the home of Harry, our welder, to have dinner with his wife Jane and daughter Sarah.   Harry proved to be a man of many talents, not only an excellent metalworker but also a great chef.

Finally we were ready to drag ourselves off the dock and off to some adventures.   As always we'd made such good friends at Green Cove Springs that leaving wasn't easy.   It did get easier when Christine finally remembered to put the engine in gear (boy were we out of practise!). We promised we'd be back soon.   It turned out that this may well be sooner than we intended.

At home with Harry

Off we go, into the big blue yonder - well the St. Johns River anyway!


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