Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fly south

We seem to be moving south faster than I can write. And, now that we have looked at the weather reports from up north, we feel like we made the right decisions. Sorry for all you folks freezing up there.

We left St. Augustine and motored down the ICW. We had some passing thoughts about going out of St Augustine Inlet into the ocean. But we passed the inlet on our way into town, got a good look and abandoned that idea. While we were in St Augustine, a sailboat went onto the rocks in the inlet and broke apart. The ICW started looking like a real good option to get us down to Port Canaveral.

Sights on the ICW
More bridges

For two more days we were on the ICW train. There are a lot of boats moving south and it seems like you are always being passed or passing someone, waiting for a bridge or looking for the next red/green marker. We stopped the first night at Daytona Beach and anchored just south of Memorial Bridge. That turned out to be a great stop for us. We were very close to Bethune Park which, although perhaps not in the best area, had a floating dinghy dock, grass for Roux and it was free. We came in at high tide but the tide range is less than one foot.

Daytona Beach 
The next morning, we were up very early because we wanted to make it all the way to Port Canaveral and it looked to be a long day. We sped through the morning routines, lifted the dinghy onto the davits (because we learned a lesson about towing the dinghy. It slows you down, eats diesel and you feel slow), and started weighing the anchor. In the process of lifting the anchor and weaving through the other boats, we did a keel plant. Just a little bit off the path from the previous night and with a few inches less water and we stuck our bottom in the mud. Our friends, Melody and Chris from Vacilando, had also spent the night there and offered their help and condolences as they left out.

We have some experience at being aground so we put that to work. We drained off our main water tank, wiggled SeaClearly's tail back and forth to dig a hole and let the tide give us another inch of water and we were off within an hour. That put us a little behind our plan but no big deal.

Later that day, we passed Vacilando anchored just off the channel in Mosquito Bay /Lagoon with injector problems. Now it was our turn to offer help and condolences. We checked on them later and they were on their way again.

We passed by the NASA Kennedy Space Center. What a place this must have been back in the day. It is still an impressive complex. I always wished I had seen a shuttle launch in person.

Now, for a strange story. On the final leg of our day's journey to Port Canaveral, as we were crossing a wide body of water with a skinny channel and skinnier water all around, a large motor yacht was coming towards us at speed and up on plane. When they got close they throttled back so as not to wake us. I called them on the radio and thanked them for the slow pass. The captain responded by saying, "What kind of boat is that?!"  Cabo Rico 42, I say. He says, "I think that used to be our boat!"

Sure enough, we had randomly crossed paths with the original owners and commissioners of SeaClearly. She was originally named Selah and these folks had taken her to some wonderful places. We were flabbergasted by the coincidence, thrilled that it happened and sorry there was no easy place to stop and talk. We just had a quick conversation on the radio and promised to email them.

Washing SeaClearly. Next?
We finished up our trip to the Ocean Club Marina by passing through two more bridges and a set of locks that put us into the Port Canaveral Barge Canal. Which does have barges, I suppose. But mostly we see motor yachts. We did see a Cabo Rico 45, Utopia, pass by right after we docked. And then the Royal Caribbean ship Enchantment of the Seas docked just across from us at the terminal. Crazy day. We spent two short days at the marina.

Sunrise 5 miles off of Cape Canaveral
Finally, to catch up to today.We got up at 2:46 am in order to get an early start out of Port Canaveral into the ocean for a (relatively) short trip to Fort Pierce. We were all set to cast off the lines when we realized that the bow running lights weren't working. Going out of a ship channel in the dark with no red-green lights was not going to happen. A little troubleshooting and a little sandpaper got us on our way about 30 minutes behind schedule. Corrosion is always the enemy on a boat.

The first half hour was a little nervous as we made our way into the ocean but we never had a problem. Soon, the sun was coming up over a nicely rolling ocean. We knew it wasn't going to stay that way. The wind was forecast to rise from 10 knots to 25 with gusts to 40. The seas were going to go from 3' to 15'. We had a short window to make this trip. And we did. Faster than expected. We passed through Fort Pierce Inlet at about 2:00 pm and made our way to the City Marina. We are tied up here for the next two days to let the Gale Warnings blow by.


  1. Hey Duane - Randy again. Question: Since you're in Florida, and winter is on the way, aren't you kind of committed to staying down there until spring? Or is it within reason to try to sail back to NC before that?
    On wanting to see the Shuttle launch - we toured Cape Canaveral some years back, and they were staging a shuttle for launch. We stopped and got out of the tour vehicle about a mile from the launch pad. The tour guide told us that if we were standing there when the shuttle launched, the shock wave would probably kill us. So it must be awesome to see, even if from a safe distance!

    1. Randy,
      I suppose it is within reason to sail back to NC in the winter months - but I'm not sure why I would do that:)
      Seriously, we are planning to hang out in Florida for a month or so and then cross to the Bahamas for the rest of winter. Won't head back north until April. Not bad, eh?

    2. (from Randy) Not bad at all! Turn up the Bob Marley music. Fair winds and following seas to you and June.

    3. It seems logical to stay in FL for a month or so and head for the Bahamas!!!! We will continue to miss you and June. W
      Ill call later today....cant believe you passed the first owners of the boat...do wha???

    4. Is that freaky or what? This trip has just been full of surprises.