C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Close encounters of the aquatic kind

While running off shore on the 23rd we enjoyed multiple close encounters with dolphins.  Anne delighted in cheering the playful dolphins antics while she perched on the bowsprit.

Throughout the afternoon we passed through schools (flocks) of Hog Nose Rays flying just below the surface.  The groups would adopt a vee or diamond pattern much like migrating birds. 

Do rays migrate?  More images of our day' encounters are available via the link to our Spring 2011 - FL to NC photo album on the right side of the viewing pane on the blog or via this link - Spring 2011 - FL to NC Album 

Crazy looking tide line 8NM off shore.

Approximately one hour after turning northeast out of Brunswick Bar Channel we encountered this stark line between crystal-clear ocean water and silt laden water drawn off shore by ebbing tides.


Another attempt to run offshore

We anchored off the northern end of Jekyll Island last night to position ourselves to ride the last hour of the ebbing tide out the Brunswick Bar and back into the Atlantic Ocean. 

We are attempting again to make an offshore passage up to Charleston or beyond.  The forecasts have no mention of thunderstorms until Tuesday.

The image included is looking northeast across the channel to the St. Simon's Lighthouse.

Fair winds!


Friday, April 22, 2011

More goodness from my oven

These are my cinnamon buns.

 Not as good as Jeff's dad Bud's Buns but still tasty after being seasick all day yesterday.


Back in the ICW

As evening approached on the 21st we were 26 hours out from Charleston, SC and 24NM west of the St. Mary's Inlet.  The sailing during the day went smoothly with C'est la Vie averaging around 6 knots, winds slowing shifting from a close reach to a beam reach, and Otto managing the helm.

Throughout the afternoon we watched cumulonimbus clouds building over the mainland to our west.  As the sun vanished behind the towering clouds, NOAA began to issue severe thunderstorm warnings. 
It took some creative investigative efforts to deduce the locations of the storms over land - NOAA kept refering to mainland cities and counties.  Minimal inland information is  included in our digital or paper charts.  We did finally confirm that the worst of the storms, 60mph gusts and marble sized hail, was moving east southeast about 40 miles off our bow.  If we continued our present course we would likely cross paths - no thanks!

At 19:33 we jibed C'est la Vie and set a course due west in hopes of slipping in behind the storm once it passed to our north.  More cells and warnings appeared before us.  In preparation we stowed the genny, double reefed the main, and started the motor. 

Around 22:00, as lightening cleaved the night sky on three sides of our position, it became clear that our offshore jump to Charleston or beyond was not to be. 

The St. Mary's River Inlet offered our best option for refuge.  At 01:13 we rejoined the ICW.  At 02:00 we were working to set the anchor off Cumberland Island admist a thunderstorm with 5 counts (5 seconds between seeing the flash of lightening and hearing the crack of thunder.)

The storm passed our anchorage with minimal impact and sleep came quickly for our weary crew.

We slept in are are now motorsailing northward in the ICW along in the Georgia Low Country.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Outward bound from St. Augustine

C'est la Vie is outward bound from St. Augustine.  The weather looks favorable for us to make an offshore passage to either Charleston, SC or Cape Fear, NC. 

We plan to be off shore and out of phone contact for 30 to 50 hours.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

play time in St Augustine - the Alcazar Hotel

Fresh off the chocolate factory we headed back towards the waterfront.  In past visits to St Augustine we toured  Henry Flagler's Hotel Ponce de Leon, now part of Flagler College.  Due to the success of the Ponce de Leon Hotel Flagler constructed a companion hotel, the Alcazar, directly across the street.  The Alcazar was purchased by Otto Lightner after the Second World War.  Lightner used the hotel to house and showcase his personal collections from his world travels.

Upon Lightner's death in the 1950's he willed the building and its collections to the City of St Augustine.  Today the former Alcazar Hotel serves as City Hall, a boutique shopping mall, and a museum.

We spent a couple hours touring the Lightner Museum.  I really enjoyed exploring the architecture and history of the building.  The image below was captured in what was once the Alcazar's men's steam room.

Just imagine the bums that have graced the three tiers of marble benches that rest below large round windows... Flager, Edison, Ford, others?

Play time in St Augustine - the Chocolate Factory

After a early morning walk to West Marine and Winn-Dixie, the remainder of the day was ours to play.  During our walk to the store we passed a new addition to the downtown St. Augustine scene - Whetstone Chocolate Factory.  A sign out front announced factory tours.  At that point our fate was sealed...

After a quick trip back to C'est la Vie to drop off our groceries and consume some lunch - never tour a chocolate factory on an empty stomach - we donned our head nets for the afternoon tour.

but of course the tour included samples and we departed with a fresh selection of truffles for our voyage.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back in St Augustine

We arrived in St Augustine midday on Tuesday the 19th of April.  After taking on fuel we moved into a slip at the City Marina.  A strong sea breeze developed during the afternoon - see image.

Anne and I spent the afternoon running in various directions attempting to knock out out to do list.  I sought out repair parts while Anne ran to the market. I changed the engine oil while Anne washed the laundry.
By 20:00 we finally wrapped up our projects and headed over to A1A Aleworks for dinner.  We were a bit disappointed by their in house IPA.   Our search for fine dining and exceptional beverages will go on.

Looks like we will be spending another day in St Augustine to allow for some play time.

Every voyage has its hiccups

C'est la Vie is typically a very dry boat.  Our bilge pump rarely runs unless we are in rough seas and burying the bow.  So when over the past few days the bulge pump has run once or twice a day we became suspicious.  Well I discovered the source of the water.  The pipe between the raw water pump and the heat exchanger (see image) has developed two small pin holes.  Because the pipe is below the C'est la Vie's water line the leak constantly sprayed a tiny stream of water onto the motor. 

I removed the pipe and wrapped it in self amalgamating tape.  This has remedied the leak temporarily.
I then called Stanley at Beta Marine and they have a replacement part in stock.  Stanley and I discussed the issue and he agreed that we should be able to make it to NC on my temporary repairs.  The Beta Marine shop is in Minnesott Beach, NC - easy driving distance from Beaufort, NC.  So I plan to pick up the part when we arrive.

Beta Marine, namely Stanley, has always provided excellent customer service to us... thanks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One of our favorite anchorages

A pleasant mixture of sailing and motorsailing allowed us to reach Matanzas Inlet in time to enjoy the sunset.

Anne and I first dropped the hook in this anchorage in spring 2006.  The anchorage offers easy access to both inland and Atlantic beaches; an historic fort to tour; and we have never competed with another vessel for space in the anchorage.

The strong currents and lack of detail on the charts likely intimidate most skippers.  A bit of common sense and water reading skills developed through paddling whitewater have always kept plenty of water under our keel on approach to the anchorage.

Memories of Oddatsea

Yesterday's upwind progress stretched into the evening as shoaling in Mosquito Lagoon prohibited egress and forced us onward to New Smyrna Beach to find an anchorage.  Intotal we covered 68NM in just under 13 hours. 

The anchorage, just south of Harris Saxon Bridge, consisted of a narrow channel parallel to the ICW yet separated by a submerged sand bar.  Strong currents and the narrow channel required two anchors set in a bahamian moor. 

Dinner, ready hours earlier, was consumed quickly and sleep came easily.

Due to some additional work drying and stowing the second anchor rode we did not get underway until mid morning today. 

Once north of the George Munson Bridge, we raised the main.  We elected to follow the channel that took us past Ponce Inlet and its red brick lighthouse.   I do not believe that passing by this inlet will ever fail to dredge up fond memories of the 2005 Oddatsea SV-Mag voyage from FL to NC.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Black Radish it is whats for dinner...

At the Ft Pierce Farmers Market we ran across these black wrinkly looking veggies... black radishes. They have a bite similar to horseradish but slightly less intense. So into the salad they go. Additionally we picked up basil and shallots and I hope to toss some pasta with tomatoes and it should be yummy!


Dolphin watch

As we approached Haulover Canal a pod of dolphins escorted us eastward.

Motoring through Haulover Canal and what did we see? A ray launched itself 3 times, a pink bird flying low, turtle, a big manatee, wood storks, pelicans- I thought I must be at Disney to see all of this in about 5 minutes!  As we exited the canal and turned northward into Mosquito Lagoon 3 manatee were traveling along with us. What a day!



Yesterday after departing Ft. Pierce late in the morning we covered 37NM in the ICW under sail.  The winds were gusty, but consistantly out of the west.  The wind gusts and subtle channel deviations required constant attention on the sheets, but never forced a tack the entire day.

Today's north winds have prohibited us from raising any cloth.  We are now nearly seven hours into what will likely be a full day of motoring windward.  What a contrast.

The NASA vertical assemble building and some type of rocket out on it's launch pad are currently visible to our east.