Our travels from Anna Maria Island, FL to Chocowinity, NC on Sea Rose
We took this trip this year and sent daily emails to our family and friends. This is the collection of daily reports and some pictures we sent them. It was truly a "trip of a lifetime".
February 10, 2012
We are leaving for Florida tomorrow. We had a 1997 Catalina 30 sail boat surveyed on Monday February 6 and things look OK so we will go ahead with the sale. There are a few things which need to be updated and corrected before we sail. Things like up to date fire extinguishers, hand flares, and 12 ga flare shells. We are now the owners of Sea Rose which will be renamed Rush No More when we get her home. We have about 4 days of work to get her ready to sail. Mary is taking her sail sewing machine to do some re-stitching of the sails. Our car is loaded to the gills with “stuff” to make our lives a little easier the next month or so. We will travel until we are about half way up the east coast of FL then get a marina for a month and do a little sight seeing. We will be leaving our car at my son Bob’s in Valrico, FL so it won’t be too far away. We have a new laptop and have a WiFi setup on my iphone that allows the laptop and Mary’s iPad to be used.
This is Sea Rose a 30' Catalina sloop.
February 15, 2012
We arrived in Florida at my son’s in Valrico on Saturday night (Feb 11). Sunday morning the temperature was 34 degrees so went to the boat before noon and got our car unloaded and planned the next day’s work.
Monday we shopped and bought some supplies and storage things for the boat. We were in Wal-Mart and I saw Mary looking at the Valentines so I went over next to her and picked out a card for her and handed it to her. Before she read it she picked out a card for me and handed it to me. That is how we celebrated Valentine’s Day 2012!! We certainly had a good laugh over that. We removed the sails and ordered new line for the Dutchman flaking system and then went to the Catalina Yachts plant in Largo to see if we could get some paneling for the wall back in the quarter berth that had a bit of rot at the bottom. They can have it for us in the morning.
We have a 3.5 hp outboard motor for our dinghy and there is no place to hang it off the rear rail so I will have to make one. I have the 2 x 6 and now need to process it!
We took the sails to Bob’s garage and Mary sewed on them last night and again this morning and have them stitched up. Today we started out at Catalina Yachts then went to Palmetto to try to get the Dutchman flaking system line straightened out. The line they provided was smaller than what was on the boat. Went to the guy who supplied it and he said the line he gave me is the proper line. He seems to know what he is talking about so I listened.
We met Elwin and Donna Stone from Sandusky, MI who I had done work for when I was in the grain bin business, for lunch in Palmetto and had a real nice visit. They sure are good people!
We then went to the boat and the wind was pretty strong so did not put the sails on. I changed the oil, filter and fuel filter. I did a repair on the electrical system the surveyor had suggested. I have another to do but one of the tools I needed was still in Bob’s garage. We found that our grill won’t fit the rail on our boat because the C27 had a 3/4” rail and this one has a 1” rail. I took it off and will see if West Marines can provide a fix. I also found that the GPS only covered the west coast of FL so we will see if West Marine can help out. I’m sure we are going to come out of there with a new GPS because this one isn’t made anymore. Got home, had a wonderful dinner of fillet of beef at Bob & Marnie’s and then washed the sail cover. We hung it out on Bob’s fence to dry. We noticed a spot that we missed repairing so will do it in the morning after it is dry.
We had planned on a Thursday morning departure but I discussed it with Mary and we will wait another day and hopefully will leave Friday morning. The GPS thing is a must and Mary said the grill is a must. I think it sounds like she plans on feeding us very well. We will make a run to West Marine tomorrow, do our grocery shopping, get the sails on and the new Dutchman lines on them, and get the motor mount built.
February 17, 2012 Travel day 1
We fretted last night and didn’t sleep well because we had a problem with our engine. It wouldn’t start after I changed the fuel filters. This morning about 4:30 I asked God to help us get the engine started and he answered our prayers. This morning we messed with the engine and had it running about 7:30 and got underway at 7:40. We missed the first bridge opening, the Santa Maria Bridge, by 10 minutes so had to wait for the 9:00 opening. Then hit the Cortez bridge at 9:30. We had 8 bridge openings in about 40 miles. It was cold and I had my winter jacket on and Mary and Alex stayed in the cabin for most of the trip.
We got to the Marine Max Marina, near Venice about 3:30, fueled up, tied up, and took Alex for a walk. The marina is nice maybe I can relax a bit tonight. The marina has showers and a laundry and I need a shower badly. The great part of this experience is that they only charge $1.00 a foot and our friends the Adler's know that is a deal! Diesel fuel is $4.01 a gallon and regular no lead with no ethanol is $4.52. We put in a little over 7 gallons but the tank wasn’t completely full when we took possession.
There were a lot of boats on the water both big and small. One huge cruiser met us and threw a huge wake. I should have told him what he was on the radio. The radio is our friend. We call bridges on channel 9 and between bridges monitor channel 16 the emergency and hailing channel.
It is now early evening and Mary made Teriyaki noodles for supper, we have been to the showers and now have our feet up relaxing and have the A/C on. WOW This is living!! OH I forgot I spent about 8 hours behind the wheel of this thing and only let “Otto” drive for about a half hour. I think I’ll let him do it longer tomorrow because my shoulders feel it.
Time to close and get this on it’s way and get tomorrow planned.
Alex is doing very well on our first day of a long trip.
Our first bridge opening
February 18 Travel day 2 (about 20 miles)
We awoke to fog this morning so delayed departure and made a new itinerary and only covered about 20 miles today. I originally had an aggressive schedule of 60 miles to get to a decent marina just up the Okeechobee Waterway but instead we are at the Gasparilla Marina near Gasparilla Island. We filled up with diesel and only used 2 gallons and I spilled some when I was filling the tank. The nozzle won’t go into the tank hole so you have to be especially careful. They have us on a floating dock so we don’t have to contend with a 2’ (approx.) tide here. The people in this marina are super service oriented but having to pay $2.00 a foot (plus tax) for mooring overnight with electricity and $4.50 a gallon for diesel does give them incentive! It is a great clean marina and has the largest fork lift for lifting boats I’ve seen.
There are a couple websites that help us find marinas and tell of what they have available and a few have costs. Some have reviews from people who have stayed and that helps. Some look difficult to get into. Some are really bad. We use Active Captain (the best), Earth NC and Cruisers Net.
I saw well over 100 dolphin sightings today and there were a lot of tourists out peeping also and commercial operators. Weekends bring much more boat traffic and well over 100 boats met or passed us. It was chilly again and Mary and Alex spent most of the day in the cabin reading. (just Mary on the reading)
Yesterday also 100 boats either met us or passed us. One especially large boat that said “Ha Ha Ha, I’m Rich” threw an especially mean hard wake. I turned into it after passed to hopefully make it easier on us but the bow dipped water and we really bounced and I must say I was not a happy camper. (I was more than unhappy but I’m trying to keep this clean) There are a few who respect others and slow down. The sheriff’s departments here do unless they have their blue lights on and are in a hurry.
I was asked why the engine wouldn’t start Thursday night. I had changed the oil, oil filter and fuel filter. The fuel filter needed to have the air bled out of the system right away after changing. The wrench I normally used on the other boat wouldn’t work on this one because they put the bleed valve in the back and it needed a socket which I hadn’t taken over yet from Bob’s garage. By waiting a day the fuel that was in the injectors and injector pump bled down into the filter. I sent out that email and my son Bob sent 2 websites and a YouTube video on bleeding the system. Then my nephew who is a boat mechanic near Seattle with lots of experience and education called and wanted to help. As I said God also got involved although he was a carpenter he must have known something about fuel systems too!
I was also asked our jumping off point. We bought the boat through a broker from a lady on Anna Maria Island whose husband died last Christmas day. The boat was parked in front of her house on a canal. We left the cut on Anna Maria Island and going out through the opening was a dredge (sand sucker) working. There was only about a 14’ opening between the green daymark (left side) and the shore. I crossed my fingers and put on a little power. I felt it “brush” the bottom and turned left into the main channel as soon as I was past the dredge. That is scary feeling that you just picked up your boat and you are “brushing” bottom 12 minutes later! We can see the big Sunshine Skyway bridge over Tampa bay from where we started. My son said that over 200 people have jumped off that bridge.
We have some stray voltage gremlins around our boat. Mary got a shock yesterday when she went to open the cover on our shore power outlet and we weren’t plugged in yet. She was bare footed and the fiberglass floor was wet. The manager of the store here said it was probably our 12V on the boat and to shut off the batteries and see if it still happens. I did and it still happens. A problem we will have to get worked out. If Murray, Mary’s son was here it would be fixed right in no time.
We appreciate your comments and you have been asking for pictures and I just found the cord to make that happen so we will send some pictures in another email.
So far we are really enjoying this once in a lifetime adventure and enjoy sharing it with you.
Here we are at the Gasparilla Marina on Gasparilla Island.
This guy had a lawnmower aboard.
February 19 Travel Day 3
We got an early start today and left the marina at 6:50 right after having
our holding tank pumped. The lady we bought it from said there couldn't be much
in it because they hadn't used it much in the last year. She was wrong! We
don't have to think about that chore for awhile again.
The wind was strong pretty much on our nose most of the day. I had turns
(RPMs) for 6+ mph but sometimes it went down to 5.2 mph because of the wind.
After I turned east in the Okeechobee the speed went up to 8.2 because we
were going with the tide.
We arrived at the Fort Myers Yacht Basin about 2:30, fueled up and tied up.
Mary made stuffed peppers for supper, we've walked Alex and had our showers.
I finally had a good night's sleep last night.
Last night we grilled hamburgers and had potatoes and salad with that.
I have our planned stop laid out for tomorrow night about 45 miles up the
Okeechobee. We have 5 locks to lock through on our way across. (I'd like to
thank my son Bob for sending in his tax money to operate these locks) !!!
We had troubles with our WiFi connections last night. I had obtained what
they call a "hot spot" for my iPhone that let us use this laptop and Mary's
iPad but it wasn't working last night and the marinas WiFi wasn't working.
This one tonight is. I tried sending some pictures last night and it didn't
work. I could get email but couldn't send, I'll try it tonight another way.
We're still having fun but today was a lot of work.
Fort Myers Yacht Harbor. We look pretty small.
Fort Myers Yacht Harbor
Travel Day 4 February 20
We left Fort Myers this morning a little after 7 and arrived at
Yachting Center, Moore Haven, FL about 2:30 after 41 miles of travel. We
locked through 2 locks today which was new for us. The first lock raised us
2' and the attendant dropped ropes for us. All went well. The second lock we
were raised 8' and had to grab ropes that were draped down the wall and we
learned we went too far forward in the lock because when they want to fill
the lock they open the doors slightly and it creates quite a strong current
that you have to fight. I had the boat in reverse during most of the filling
and had to throttle up several times to keep us from going more forward. We
learned a lot in that one! We also had 2 bridge openings that went well. It
was cold again this morning and I had on my winter jacket and gloves. Mary
and Alex were in the cabin and Mary took the cover off the engine doghouse
to get some heat from the engine. She said it was 66 in the cabin.
The procedure for requesting a bridge opening goes like this: "Anna Maria
Bridge, Anna Marie Bridge, this is the sailing vessel Sea Rose the sailing
vessel Sea Rose when is your next opening"? They come back "Captain, our
next opening will be at 8:30" or whenever if they are on a schedule. There
are a few on half hour schedules, some on 20 minute schedules and some open
We have a book that lists the bridges and locks in order.
We are planning on staying at the Roland Martin Marina in Clewiston tomorrow
night because they have a car you can rent for $5 to make a run to Wal-mart.
It will be a short run tomorrow. We found our camera battery charger but are
having difficulty sending them out. I'll keep trying.
Mary is making taco salad for supper tonight . We have the stove on and she
is cooking the hamburger. We'll get some chicken at Wal-mart tomorrow night.
The refrigerator is working well as well as the stove. I'm sure she will be
trying out the oven soon too.
Our typical day starts with me heading for the restroom, then taking Alex
for a walk, then checking the oil in the engine, disconnecting the
electrical power cord then Mary comes up and helps untie and get underway.
She then goes back down and gets me a glass of juice and a bagel. She reads
most of the day then at noon fixes me a sandwich. We get to the marina, tie
up, hook up the electrical, check in at the office and we are ready to
relax. Mary fixes supper, I set up either the table in the cockpit or in the
cabin. We eat, take our showers, walk Alex a couple times then we read
awhile before turning out the light.
Our first lock experience.
River Forest Yacht Center. We are alone.
Dock is not set up for small boats like us.
Travel Day 5 Feb 21
We left River Forest Yachting Center about 8:00 and got to Roland Martins Marina in Clewiston, FL about 1:00. We fueled up and put in 7 gallons for about 70 miles. They have a restaurant bar here and it was quite noisy and we asked to be berthed someplace where it is quiet. They put us upwind of the place so we can probably have quiet tonight as long as the wind stays out of the east. We had it on our nose again most of the morning. We saw very few boats but a lot of bass fishermen were out and this marina caters to them. They look like pretty serious fishermen. We went through 1 lock today which only raised us a foot. There were 2 small boats that locked through with us. We skirted Lake Okeechobee the last few miles. We met another sailboat who is also going our direction in the morning so we will cross the 25 miles across the lake together. It is about 11 miles shorter than going around. I also understand that markers/daymarks are few and far between. Thank goodness for GPS. Hopefully the wind will let up for awhile. We are both heading for Indiantown tomorrow to the Indiantown Marina located at MM29 on the Okeechobee Waterway which says we have 29 miles to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. We will then head north and find a place with floating docks who doesn’t want us to buy part of the marina to tie up there for a month. I alerted my son Bob that someone will probably be needed to pick up us up Sunday somewhere north of Stuart. We will go home for a week and regroup. I have to modify my “captains” chair so it sets higher so I can see over the instruments and the dinghy on the front. I need to take care of some business then we will come back down for a few weeks and explore Florida. The area we came through evidently, according to my son Rod, do a lot of farming. (He went to Google earth) We passed orange groves and sugar cane fields. They were burning sugarcane fields yesterday after we got in the marina and again this morning on the way here. The waterway has narrowed up to about 100 yards or less.
We made a Wal-mart run with an old Cadillac named “Gloria” that the marina rents for $5 a trip. It was supposedly owned at one time by Gloria Vanderbilt. Egg cartons don’t hold up well in our refrigerator and Mary tried to get a plastic one but they didn’t have any. We’ll get it when we get home. Went to NAPA for some spare filters but they didn’t have the ones I needed. They will at NAPA in Greenville. Keeping your fuel clean eliminates loads of problems.
This is "Gloria" which we took to Wal-Mart.
An airboat coming in. He said he burns 8 gallons of fuel an hour.
Sunrise over the edge of Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee It is about 25miles across.
Travel Day 6 Feb 22
We left Roland Martin Marina at 6:55 this morning with another sailboat that was also headed here to Indiantown Marina. We ran about 6.1 mph but he was only running about 4.5 so we went on ahead. We got in here about 1:30 and now have a total of 213 miles under our belts. I forgot to mention in yesterday’s email that we had to use our electric heater on Monday night because it got down into the low 50’s so turned it on and went to sleep. I awoke later and it was 74 in the cabin so I turned it down. Also yesterday I saw 1 alligator. Today we saw 3 plus there is one here in the marina wanting to eat Alex.
This marina has quite a few people who travel and live on their boats. Two others who have big power boats have Yorkies. I did some planning last night and have plans for Stuart tomorrow night and Vero Beach for Friday night. We just heard from one of our cruising neighbors that the Vero Beach City Marina was a good place to hang out awhile. That is our plan to hang out a month before continuing north. It is still too cold in NC. They must be full because a large boat came in and then backed out. The store is closed but there must be someone on duty.
We went through 1 lock today that was open on both ends so didn’t have to actually lock through. Lake Okeechobee is high now so they don’t need to lock through. We saw several places they were burning sugar cane again today. You see very little land out in the middle of the lake and there is probably 8 miles between channel markers.
This morning I went to the little restaurant at the marina to get a cup of coffee and there was a lineup of 10 bass fishermen getting ready for a day of fishing. There were at least 8 bass boats that came in as I was getting dressed and ready for the day. Then when we were leaving several passed us on the way out.
Travel Day 6 - Arrival at Indiantown Marina
A guy came in here (The Indiantown Marina) when I was in the office intending to go across the Okeechobee Waterway but his mast was 61’ and there is a railroad bridge that is only 49’ so he will have to turn around. I called the Corps Of Engineers a few days ago to ensure we could go through with our 46’ mast.
It is getting near time to fire up the grill for some grilled chicken for supper.
This is such a nice and friendly marina we have decided to spend a month here. I highly recommend this marina.
We motored right through this lock as the lake level was OK.
This lock is on the eastside of Lake Okeechobee.
Indiantown Marina. A very relaxed setting.
Indiantown Marina. Very nice and "homey".
Where we berthed for a month.
There are at least 8 boats from Canada here.
There is a resident alligator who prowls the marina.
Here is the alligator hunter who caught and subdued
They tied his legs behind his back and took him
to an alligator breeding farm.
If you want to learn more about
marinas you can go to
www.marinas.com to see aerial
shots of marinas around the world.
We have stayed at: Max Marina, Venice
Gasparilla Marina, Gasparilla
Fort Myers Yacht Basin, Fort Myers
River Forest Yachting Center, Moore Haven
Roland Martin Marina, Clewiston
Indiantown Marina, Indiantown
Dick, Mary & Alex
February 28, Tragedy!
We had a tragedy today. We brought home (to North Carolina) the doors from the companionway/hatch to refinish and Mary was changing a blade in a scraper and cut her finger pretty bad. I took her to critical care and sat around for about 45 minutes and she said “Why don’t you go home and come back when I’m done”. It was 3 hours before she had 6 stitches in her finger and I brought her home. She advised me I would probably have to do the dishes for 3 weeks. We are just about ready to lay on the first coat of varnish in the morning.
I also brought home my “captain’s chair” because the instruments are pretty high in front of where I set so I am raising it up 7” so I can see over the instruments.
On Mar 21, 2012,
We have been enjoying the warm weather here and most of you also are enjoying warm weather where you are. We went home for a week then came back for a week or so then I had a tooth problem a week ago and my dentist was able to see me last Tuesday. We both got our teeth cleaned and I had a filling. We worked in the yard most of the time we were there then came back last Saturday. We are preparing to hit the ditch on Friday.
Our WiFi hasn’t always been good in the boat in a marina so we got a booster for it and it came today. It allows us a stronger signal and it is working fine right now. Our neighbor in a power boat who sits up higher can get the Wi-Fi but because we are much lower it isn’t strong enough for us.
We have done some sight seeing here in Florida. We went to Fort Lauderdale to the new 50,000 square foot West Marine store then went sight seeing there. Some of the residents of Fort Lauderdale have a boat parked in front of their house that is as big as their house. There sure are a lot of yachts there and quite a few college kids on spring break.
We took a trip up the coast to look at several of the marinas we plan on staying overnight on our way north. We went to Clewiston to the Wal-Mart there and while we were in Clewiston we stopped and took a picture of “Gloria” the car we took to Wal-Mart when we overnighted there. They are right into the sugarcane harvest down here. They burn some of the fields and we get soot from it on our boat. They haven’t burned in a couple weeks. We also saw hundreds of acres of sweet corn just about ready to be harvested.
I have an itinerary that shows that if we have no trouble we should be in St. Simons Island, GA with 12 days of travel. We could have weather issues but hopefully no mechanical ones.
Captains log Friday Mar 23 - Day 1, back in the ditch.
My son said I should be saying something about “captains log” so here it is Rod.
We got underway this morning after a bit of excitement. About 10:40 I went to the office to see if UPS had been there yet when I saw a guy with an alligator down on the boat ramp. He had caught it with a dull treble hook that he tossed at it and it caught but didn’t penetrate the alligator’s skin. When I saw it he had black plastic tape around it’s snout and was in the process of tying it’s legs over it’s back. The marina owner had called him to remove it and he was taking it to an alligator farm between Indiantown and Stuart. We had passed the sign by the driveway of the farm on our way to and from Stuart. This alligator was 7’ long and he said they took an 11’ one last week. This one will be use probably for breeding purposes.
UPS came at 10:55 and had our icemaker so we loaded up and were on the waterway a very few minutes after 11:00. The V-belt I had ordered also came by mail this morning so we are in pretty good shape.
We locked through the St.Lucie lock the last lock on the Okeechobee Waterway. We dropped probably 12’. We had to ask for one bridge opening and the rest were over 53’ so we were good there. We maintained 6+ MPH on our way to the Mariner Cay Marina in Stuart. We arrived here a few minutes after 4:00 so made very good time. I run the engine at 2,500 RPM. They suggest cruising RPM at 2,100-2,600 RPM. We are about 1/2 mile from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and will start heading north at the 988 mile marker in the morning.
At present the ice maker is humming and occasionally dropping little ice cubes. They are tiny, little, wee.......I’m saying they are small. I’ll try to get a picture of them sometime. It is a few degrees cooler here and that is good. Right now in the boat it is 81 degrees and 59% humidity. We may not have to use the A/C tonight.
Mary made sun tea when we were underway today so shortly I may be able to have a glass with some lemon drink in it with “ICE”!!!!!!!!!!!!
Real ice cubes in my iced tea!!
Looks like someone has a "project boat".
Workboats in the St.Lucie Canal
Being lowered about 12' in the St. Lucie Lock.
Captains log Friday Mar 23 - Day 2, back in the ditch.
We cast off our lines about 7:30 this morning and got underway amid a horde or fishermen heading out for the day of fishing. A bait boat showed up and they all were scrambling to get alongside him to get bait. He was in about the same spot as the hot dog guy was yesterday. It was a mad house with all these high powered boats passing us and leaving their wakes. Thankfully we only had a little over a mile and we turned north on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and they continued east out the St Lucie inlet to the ocean.
The AIWW starts in Norfolk, VA at mile mark “0”. We ate in a restaurant last fall at mile marker 0 and the food wasn’t good!! It continues south to south of Miami to mile 1095 according to one book I have another book lists bridges down into the Keys at mile 1215. We got on this morning at mile 988 and are up to 952. We will travel north and get off at mile 150 and go west for 30 miles to our slip at Chocowinity. We have no timetable and will get there when we get there. The only restriction we have is to get the boat out of Florida by about May 11 so we don’t have to pay sales tax. This leg we plan to go on up to St Simon's Island, GA and hole up there for a month. Mary has hand surgery scheduled for the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville on April 10 so she will be laid up a couple weeks. We’ll then continue our trip home.
The most exciting news yesterday was ice cubes!! I had a iced tea with some lemon mix in it with ICE CUBES. It is funny how the simple things can get you excited! It sure tasted good. We can use it when docked but not when underway because it runs off 110V. It is operating right now and when it has enough for an iced tea I will be in line.
Mary picked up a pot of basil that someone had abandoned at the marina we were at for awhile so she has her garden growing aboard. I saw several dolphins behind the row of boats behind us. I hope they visit us too. We only saw probably 8 or 10 dolphins this morning. Several followed alongside a big power boat for 20 minutes or so and were jumping quite high out of the water.
The marina here at Vero Beach is really busy. There are 2 boats trying to get to the fuel dock and only one has a radio. I guess they got it straightened out. They put us in one slip and before I had the electric hooked up they moved me because the guy who owned it was coming back a day early and he is the one who was causing the problem a couple minutes ago. They have a mooring field across the channel and there are quite a few boats moored. They have a dinghy dock for them to come ashore with their dinghies. Many of them moored have solar cells or wind generators to charge their batteries. The big power boats are coming in to the fuel dock to fill up their fuel guzzlers.
The Coast Guard and Tow Boats US were having a long conversation. Evidently a guy need a tow then he decided he didn’t need a tow. We carry separate towing insurance because it can be very expensive to have a boat towed to a repair facility or marina.
We haven’t been to church in over a month but don’t think I will go to the bad place if something happens. I have some pictures again that I will attach.
An on water storage building west of Stuart.
This guy was anchored in the river and doing a good business.
Mariner Cay Marina, Stuart, FL a fixed dock.
This old tug passed our berth 6 or 8 times.
Here we are at our berth at the Vero Beach Marina
This is the typical fuel dock set up.
This is a mooring field where many anchor out.
This is a dinghy dock for the folks who anchor out.
There was another much larger dinghy dock near here.
These folks have a wind generator and solar panels
to keep their batteries charged.
A very beautiful gaff rigged sloop.
Captains log Sunday March 25 - Day 3, back in the ditch
We left the Vero Beach Marina at 7:30. Mary said last night that she now wants to cover more miles a day so that is what we will be doing. We combine 3 days run into 2 days. We covered 55 miles today. Before we left I checked the weather because it had rained earlier in the morning and there were storms coming across the state and headed for where we were going to be traveling. I know there are some who are praying for us to have a safe trip and that is what happened today. They weren’t calling for thundershowers to I figured I could handle a little rain. We only had a sprinkle for a few minutes around 1:30 today. The wind was wicked and we tried motor sailing the wind wasn’t in the right place all the time to be helpful. We tried 3 times and ended up rolling it up because it flogged too much and would prematurely wear the sail.
I let “Otto” do a couple hours of steering for me today. I had been having trouble with it and then discovered that the steering wheel had loosened up on the shaft and moved back about 3/4” causing the auto pilot to not function properly. He will be doing more of the load from now on.
I have a map book of the waterway from Norfolk to Miami but it is a 2001 edition and I notice there are some things that have changed. I should probably pick up the latest copy. It is handy because you can just keep flipping the page as you go down the waterway. It confirms all the various channel markers and other points larger than my GPS.
We are in the Cocoa Village Marina in Cocoa. There are some large cruisers in the marina and the facilities are top notch. We walked up town only about 3 blocks from the marina. It is a touristy place with lots of little shops. There was a sidewalk café and a couple were sitting there with their 2 dogs so we had Alex and stopped for some excellent salad and very tasty lasagna washed down with an Arnold Palmer with big ice cubes in it.
Here we are a Cocoa Village Marina. Fixed dock
which was hard to climb up to.
The bridge to Merritt Island in the distance.
Captains log Monday March 25 - Day 4, back in the ditch
We have had an exciting day. We left Cocoa Beach Marina about 7:30 and heard a funny noise in the engine. I turned around to go back to tie up to take a look at things and the noise stopped. I think I didn’t allow it to warm up long enough. So we were well on our way and had made a reservation at the New Smyrna Beach Marina for tonight. We traveled through part of the Kennedy Space Center but only saw “Restricted Area” signs.
We saw only probably 20 dolphins and several manatees. It is interesting to watch the pelicans dive for fish. They seldom miss.
We hadn’t bought fuel since we left Indiantown so stopped off at Titusville Marina to fuel up. We got 11.4 MPG on that fill up which I don’t consider too bad. This marina has no fuel and the one tomorrow night has no fuel. We have an 18 gallon tank and it took just over 12 gallons today.
We were going across a very open area of water on the Indian River about a mile before it goes through the Haul over Canal (part of the space complex) and all of a sudden noise was coming from the engine. I shut it off, dropped the anchor and went to investigate. Mary had looked in and saw a strip of something. It was the V-belt and I had just got the spare the morning we left Indiantown so I replaced the belt. (No it isn’t as easy as I just said) but it got replaced and in about 20 minutes total. We got to use our anchor windlass to pull up the anchor and is that nice. We were around several crab traps but fortunately didn’t get tangled. We got in to the marina at 5:30 before they close at 6:00. We had left over lasagna for supper from last night.
I took a lot of salt spray today because we were traveling a lot of open water and the winds were gusting to 25 and spray was coming off the whitecaps and also an occasional wave would break over the bow. I washed down the boat when we got to the marina. We traveled about 55 miles today.
There were 5 or 6 people on what looked like a raft.
They were holding a tarp and using it for a sail.
Someone needing an assist. Pretty high priced help.
The girl closest to us had on a pretty skimpy suit.
A very unusual boat. The guy drives from the bow.
Pretty much everyone had their boat on a lift.
This sailboat is aground. It looks like it has been there awhile.
Captains log Tuesday March 27- Day 5, back in the ditch
We left the marina 7:25 this morning so we could be in position to catch the 7:40 bridge opening about a half mile from the marina. There were 5 boats that went through, 3 sail boats and 2 power boats. We traveled 50 miles today and arrived at the Marineland Marina at 4:15. They have research facilities here including the University of Florida. There is another commercial scientific company here and they also have a pond with various kinds of fish they use for research. We went over to see the fish and they followed us along the edge of the pond expecting to get fed.
It was a pretty uneventful day and everything worked well. We are planning on having dinner with my cousin on Thursday night in Fernandina Beach. We just discovered each other a couple years ago through my genealogy research. She is a textile conservator and works with some very interesting things. We enjoy our visits to her house because she has such interesting things and a cockatiel named Pretty Bird.
We will leave there Friday morning for St. Simon Island, GA and stay berthed there for a month. We’ll go get my car at Indiantown on Saturday and drive home on Sunday to a nice queen sized bed and a climate that is a little drier and not salt laden. Everything I touch is sticky until I wipe it off again.
An old Navy seagoing tug.
Alex likes to cuddle with Mary when it is chilly.
Marineland Marina, Marineland, FL
The boat ahead of us is from Canada.
Leaving Marineland Marina.
Captains log Wednesday March 28 - Day 6, back in the ditch
We had a very fast trip today. We went 49 miles and when we started out we were going with the tide and were going as fast as 8.3 mph. Normal is 6-6.2. We got to St. Augustine and the maps weren’t clear on how to cross over and get to where we were going so there was a sailboat behind us and I slowed and let him go ahead. He seemed somewhat confused also. They were dredging at the intersection and some markers had been moved but we got to where we were going. After St. Augustine we then still had tide going our way about 1-1.5 mph half of the way to Jacksonville Beach. We hit the St. Augustine Lions Bridge opening right at 10:00 in fact we had to wait about 3 minutes but that is better than having to wait 30 more minutes for the next bridge opening. That road sure has a lot of traffic.
We had our worst wake disaster of the whole trip. Things went flying in the cabin and I had asked Mary for some more coffee into the trip and she put the pot on to warm a bit and hadn’t taken off the stove. It went flying and spilled coffee and grounds on the floor and a lot of other things were on the floor. There should be a law against idiots like him. I wanted to pick up the mike and give him an ear full. I sort of wish now that I would have told him to park it until he knew how to operate it. About half of them will slow down when they pass to make a smaller wake.
We are on a nice concrete floating dock tonight. I understand there is a 5’ tide here. We had pork chops and baked potato with citrus salad for supper. Alex likes oranges and grapefruit. He will eat most things that I eat.
A nice looking cruising boat. He has his dinghy,
wind generator and solar panels.
This whole dock assembly is made of concrete.
. There were quite a few like this in the area.
Another cruiser heading south.
Meet "Otto" our autopilot. Some days he is good and
some days he is bad.
Our berth at Beach Marina, Jacksonville Beach, FL.
Navy repair yard just south of Jacksonville.
Captains log Thursday March 29 - Day 7, back in the ditch
It has not been a good day for us traveling. We got a good start this morning and were making as high as 8 mph because of the tides. We got north of Jacksonville and ran hard aground, I was on the phone talking to the marina in Fernandina Beach and was in the marked channel but there was shoaling. We tried getting off and 6 or 8 large power boats went buy and threw us a good wake but we still couldn’t get off. I finally called Tow Boat US and was waiting for them when the guy who sort of caused our problem came back. He was setting crab pots and the pots were far out in the travel lane on the port side and I was keeping away from them. He then made 6 or 7 runs by us causing a wake and I finally powered off and called Tow Boat US back and they turned around. In the process of running aground I bent the rudder and it was binding and was very hard to steer. I figured I’d call a mechanic when I got to Fernandina Beach, I called my cousin to let her know were almost there and if she knew of a place we could have the boat looked at and she told me about Amelia Island Boat Basin. At the time I had just passed Amelia Boat Basin who have a lift and mechanic. I called the marina and told them the problem and by the time I was up to where they pull boats out they were waiting for me and had the lift in place. In 10 minutes they had the boat out of the water. They pulled the rudder and have to send it out to get straightened. They say now we may not get it back until Tuesday. Thankfully we are at my cousin Muffie and John’s place here in Fernandina Beach.
We will go get Mary’s car tomorrow in St Simons, GA and then go get my car in Indiantown. Fernandina Beach is a really neat town. We are looking at getting home Wednesday at the earliest.
A boat works repair facility.
I wouldn't like his fuel bill.
The last bridge we have to ask to open in Florida
Some commercial traffic on the waterway.
Here is our bent rudder. It was very hard to steer.
Sea Rose less her rudder.
On this leg of our trip we have stayed at:
1. Mariner Cay Marina, Stuart
2. Vero Beach Marina, Vero Beach
3. Cocoa Village Marina, Cocoa
4. Marineland Marina, Marineland
5. Beach Marina, Jacksonville
6. Amelia Island Yacht Harbor, Fernandina Beach
This ends the first half of our trip
Go to second half