Entries

Florida - January 6, 2007

St. Augustine - January 7, 2007

Titusville & Kennedy Space Center - January 13, 2007

Ft. Pierce - January 21, 2007

Palm Beach Gardens - January 24, 2007

 

send email to Mary

send email to Neal

 

Some ICW scenes
         

 

Florida

January 6, 2007
by Mary

On January 6 we finally reach Florida! I never would have guessed that it would take us 6 weeks to get here. Until we got to Fernandina Beach, we'd thought we'd like to anchor there. There's heavy industry along the ICW here and it is pretty smelly so we kept going. We finally found a nice place at Alligator Creek near Amelia City and hit bottom as we approached the anchorage. We let the tide rise a bit before we put out the anchor and had a very quiet and odorless night. The next morning was spectacular. A clear sky just before sunrise with calm wind, warm air, and water as smooth as glass. A pair of dolphins were splashing around about 20 yards away but there was no other sound. This is what it's all about. It was hard to break the spell by starting the engine, but we were headed for St. Augustine.

Anchored at Alligator Creek near Amelia City
 
 
       

We started to see waterside houses again as we approached Jacksonville; and the Met Life blimp was cruising around above us for a while. We went through Cabbage Swamp Canal, a 10 mile cut lined with homes on one side. They ranged from huge mansions to big elegant homes to very modest homes. I suspect the more modest homes won't last long as they get bought up and replaced with bigger ones. By mid-afternoon we were docked at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina.

St. Augustine, FL

January 7, 2007
by Mary

The St. Augustine Municipal Marina is an excellent facility right in the city's historic district. At night, buildings and trees were bejeweled in tiny white lights. They do this for the holidays but extend it through mid January. The night-time view from the marina was gorgeous. The marina is just south of the Bridge of Lions which is being rebuilt. The construction activity was interesting with a number of barges and huge cranes just off our stern.

St. Augustine Municipal Marina

 
 
       

 

We really enjoyed our time here. It is another great walking city and the sidewalks are busy in the evening, too. It was great to see so many people out and about after dark - it made the city seem very alive and vibrant. The city was founded in 1565 and is the U.S A.'s oldest continuously occupied city. This is where legend says that Ponce de Leon was looking for the fountain of youth. (We didn't find it either.) St. George street has been made into a pedestrian mall lined with shops and restaurants plus some sites that replicate buildings and life in old St. Augustine. In the middle of this is an historic and serene Greek Orthodox shrine. St. George street is an ambivalent mixture of local artisans, boutiques, tacky touristy souvenir shops, ethnic restaurants and local fast food. We ate very well. Cuban at Habana Village, then Italian, then Greek, and finally dinner with friends Herb and Ursula Glover at Columbia, a Spanish restaurant.

         

 

The fort, Castillo de San Marcos, is an arresting sight from the water. This fort, built by the Spanish, was besieged twice but was never taken by force. Because it is still intact, it was much more interesting than touring the remains of Ft. Sumter. National Park Rangers dressed in period costumes explained the fort's history.

         

The other thing we did while in St. Augustine was to drive a rental car to Green Cove Springs to pick up mail and see where "home" is - good old 411 Walnut Street. The mailing address is a downtown storefront, but the actual mail receiving and sorting facility is a short distance away. We've been very happy with St. Brendan's Isle mail forwarding service.

Green Cove Springs, FL --- Home is where the mail goes.
     

Heading for warmth

When we left St. Augustine on January 12, it was actually warm enough to remove our sweatshirts! And I was wearing shorts by 9:00 a.m.! I was glad to see that the countryside was much greener than what we'd recently passed through. By ICW mile 820 we began noticing a lot of citrus trees. We were seeing more wading birds than before, too - mostly heron and egrets. We were the middle one of 3 sailboats all heading south at the same time. As we got to the very shallow water at Matanzas inlet, Fetish, in the lead, radioed the depths they were seeing as that helped us get through with no problems. Avocet followed us.

One of the most satisfying aspects of this adventure has been the camaraderie among boaters and this was a prime example. It is typical to encounter the same boats several times as you travel the ICW. You'll stop at different places for differing lengths of time, but pass one another again and again. When a familiar boat is nearby, the VHF radio is the means to strike up a brief conversation to say "hello" and ask where folks are headed. We're temporary neighbors in a constantly changing neighborhood.

We anchored for the night at Daytona and heard our old buddy on Triall calling for TowBoatUS because he had a problem. I tried to hail him the next morning but got no reply. Frequently bridges provide good and convenient anchorages.

Anchored at Daytona
   

On January 13, we left Daytona followed by Avocet, and four other sailboats which were all traveling together. Two of the four had Colorado hailing ports: Pueblo and Black Forest. We stayed together for quite a while as bridge tenders made certain that we were all close enough before they'd open up for us. Bridge tenders, where there's a lot of auto traffic, have to do a balancing act keeping both cars and boats flowing along their routes as smoothly as possible. We were heading for Ponce de Leon inlet which is notorious for shoaling and we were out of sync with the tide which left us with very little water between our keel and the bottom. Luckily we heard on the radio that Fetish was about hour in front of us preceded by Phoenix III, a deep draft boat that was reporting depths as they felt their way through the inlet. We got through the inlet without incident and eventually passed both Fetish and Phoenix III.

Titusville, FL & Kennedy Space Center

January 13, 2007
by Mary

We were going to visit friends in Cocoa Beach and hoped to find a nearby marina but none was deep enough for us so we stopped at the Titusville Municipal Marina. This was convenient for visiting the Kennedy Space Center as well as our friends Dick and Dee Fatka. Titusville was thriving in the heyday of the early space program but is now a city in transition. But I can't tell whether it is still going downhill or is back on an upward swing. There are some pretty depressed looking areas, but there is also a lot of new construction going on.

Titusville Municipal Marina
click here for more photos from Titusville
         

 

Our day at the Kennedy Space Center was awesome in the traditional sense of the word. I've been awestruck by our space program since it began. When we took the bus tour my heart raced as we drove by the huge Vehicle Assembly buildings and the crawlers used to transport the shuttle to the launch pads. The video presentation at the Apollo/Saturn V Center brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Neal told me about how it felt to watch the first moon landing on TV and realize that one of the instruments used on the moon was one that he'd helped design. What a thrill that must have been for him. The astronauts of the Gemini and Apollo missions are my heroes and I envy today's astronauts. We also really enjoyed the IMAX theater film about the International Space Station. How I'd love to watch a shuttle launch.

         

 

From the space center we drove to Cocoa Beach to visit Dick & Dee who live right on the ocean. I'd almost forgotten how much I love the sound of the surf. Dick and Neal worked together at Bendix, and Dick had kept photos of the systems they designed including the one that went to the moon. We stayed overnight with them and had a wonderful time. We stayed in Titusville for a few more days to let a weather front pass and got in quite a bit of walking around town. At a small lagoon near the marina we saw many ibis and several wood storks every time we walked by. We finally left there on the 20th.

We anchored that night at Melbourne just south of the causeway. We'd hoped to get some protection from the wind. It had been blowing 10 - 15 kts all day and was cool. That would have been great if we were sailing, but it isn't fun when trying to stay in a channel. We didn't find any wind protection but did have good holding and "cool" is a lot better than cold.

Anchored at Melbourne, FL
       

The plan was to anchor one night at Melbourne and then find a Fort Pierce marina where we could settle for about a month to get some work done on the boat. But there was no room at the inn. Vero Beach and Fort Pierce are where snowbirds begin to stop for the whole season. We called all of the marinas in the area and they were all either too shallow or completely booked except for very short term stays.

Fort Pierce, FL

January 21, 2007
by Mary

We pulled into Harbortown Marina in Taylor Creek at Fort Pierce to regroup. We were tied up at the end of a long high face dock. This was our first experience with fixed docks that are obviously designed for large power boats whose decks are much higher above the water than our deck is. We were always below the level of the dock even at high tide. To add to the fun, the ladder we used to get up to the dock was not fixed in place - it relied on tabs that fit into holes in the decking and it always felt a little loose when I grabbed it.

Just off our bow was a small island - probably no more than 50 feet long that was mostly scrubby bushes and a few trees. When we pulled in there were a few pelicans in the trees, but once darkness began to fall, the birds came to spend the night. They came in flights of a dozen or more or some came singly or in twos or threes. There were pelicans, ibis, anhingas, cormorants, and egrets. Before long every branch was filled and still they kept coming. Some would just land and push away whatever bird had been in that spot; while others would carefully look for an empty spot; and still others would give up and fly away. It was amazing. And they talked all night. Not loudly but just a general low chatter that sounded almost like conversation.

         

Our couple of days in Fort Pierce were spent with guide books and telephone trying to find a place where we could stay put for a month. We were surprised to find that many marinas in this area don't take sailboats. Sailors are generally more frugal folk and I guess we probably don't spend as much money as the folks who can afford to run the big motor yachts. The other limiting factors were depth, as usual, and cost. It took some doing but we finally found one that is deep enough, had space for us, and is more or less within our budget.

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

January 24, 2007
by Mary

So here we are at Loggerhead Club and Marina (I have no idea what the "club" thing is about) in Palm Beach Gardens. We're one of only a few sailboats in among some pretty big motor yachts. Sea Fox looks pretty small compared to some of these floating palaces. We've got a hefty to-do list and some travel plans. We'll be heading across the state to Tarpon Springs to replace one of the items needed to install the solar panels, and we're going to the Miami boat show in mid-February. Other than that it should be work, work, work.

Juno Beach
     

 


Go to the next log page