Thursday, November 18, 2010

Work and Play in Stuart

Loggerhead Marina in Stuart, FL

The view of the bridge from our boat at nigh in Stuart.

We made it to Stuart where Loggerhead Marina will be home to Blue Heaven for the next three weeks. It was The Harborage two years ago where we spent two months. Since being in Stuart we have been prepping the boat for the crossing to the Bahamas. Al received a new (used) single side band radio which he installed, changed the oil in the engine and thoroughly scrubbed the waterline and salt encrusted sides of the boat. I went for more staples and packed them away as best as I could. 

We did spend an afternoon with Al’s Aunt B.J. and cousin Leslie having a great lunch at Sailor’s Return the restaurant across the river in the new Sunset Marina which used to be the municipal marina. It was nice catching each other up on our lives and travel.  We also met Al's fraternity brother and wife for dinner another night in Stuart so it was not all work and no play this week!

I asked a woman on a boat if the marina had a courtesy car. I was hoping that had been added with the change of management. She said no, but offered to take us wherever we needed to go. So stops at a tackle store for lures, K-mart for various items, Lowes and of course West Marine. She said she has cruised and people took her around when needed so she was just passing the favor on. We are very thankful to Michelle because it would have been at least a twelve mile bike ride. We are not used to that!

We fly home tomorrow so the next blog won’t be until December. Have a great Thanksgiving

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vero Beach Shopping Extravaganza

We were up early and off the mooring in Cocoa following Sequence to Vero Beach. It was a non-event sail and motor to the harbor except when a pair of dolphins played next to our cockpit for a short time. There was another boat from our sailing association, Jubilee, already on a mooring ball in Vero which we had hoped to share, but they were in town when we arrived so we went to an empty one instead. The wind had kicked up a bit in the afternoon so it took us three tries to finally tie up to Sequence on the mooring ball. You would have thought we were new at this and not thirty some years of sailing experience!

Free Vero Beach Bus
 The next day we were up and on the 9am free bus to various stores along with many other cruisers to get the supplies we need for going to the Bahamas. Al and I each got wet suit shirts to go with our farmer John wet suit pants that we have. They say you need the suits to stay warm in the cool water for snorkeling. Al also bought a spear so that he can catch lobster and perhaps a fish or two. (This shall be interesting!!!! Maybe I should get him a loin cloth and a chimp so that I have my own Tarzan!) Next we went to the ABC Beverage store for wine and liquor and to the grocery store for food. Do you know how much a five month supply of that stuff weighs? We were on a bus, each with a back pack and what ever we could carry in our arms. We bought half of what we wanted and came back after lunch for another load. I will still need to shop for more items in Stuart next week and get fresh things after we come back from going home for Thanksgiving.

After dinner we went to Jubilee to play dominoes, but they never even came out of the box. Don and Sue and ourselves just kept asking Dave and Toni lots of questions about the Bahamas and they were happy to share the information.

Dinner at Waldo's in Vero Beach
Saturday we were on the bus again and out to Walmart for more needed items. Vero Beach businesses truly benefit from us cruisers. No wonder they provide free bus service! That evening called for a drink on Blue Heaven and then a walk in town for a fun dinner at Waldo's.

Al up the mast

Dolphin in Vero Beach Mooring Field
 Al spent Sunday doing projects on the boat. Up the mast he went to replace a light bulb and put up the radar reflector. I unfortunately caught a cold. The first one I have had in two years and I get it in Florida! I was wiped out so I just lay around and read.  A dolphin played near by which as always was fun to watch.  Once again the three couples gathered this time on Sequence to discuss the world problems and upcoming places we will be visiting.

On a mooring in Vero Beach
 We parted ways from Sequence and Jubilee today because we are headed to Loggerhead Marina in Stuart and they to Peck Lake. The marina is the same one we spent two months at on the last trip. We are flying home Friday and will be back Nov. 29th. We hope to do our fresh food provisioning and then zoom to Miami to hopefully catch up with Sequence and Jubilee. However, we told them if they have a great weather window, not to wait for us. We would find someone with whom to cross over to the Bahamas, We will not go alone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

ICW Drawbridges Have Their Ups and Downs

We declared Monday, Nov.8th “Bird Day”, the reason being that we saw more birds and variety of birds on this day than any other on the trip. Shortly after leaving Daytona we passed an island called Pelican Island and it was full of them. Not far from them was a white egret rookery. While motoring through Haulover Canal later in the day we saw several types of herons looking for their next meal. Then we passed a spoonbill pelican rookery. They are pink and from a distance look like flamingos but when you look through the binoculars you can see they are not.

Barge at Nasa Railroad Bridge
 Around 2:45 PM we reached the NASA Railroad Bridge which is normally open, however, today there was a huge barge blocking the channel. After numerous calls to the bridge from numerous boats we found out that they are working on the bridge and that it would be closed until 4:30pm! No announcements by the coast guard or any other warnings on the radio which seemed a bit ridiculous. They only open at 12:30pm and 4:30pm. So by the time the bridge opened there were at least a dozen boats, anchored and ready for the signal that we could pass.

We finally got through and went into Titusville Municipal Marina for fuel and then anchored outside of the marina with numerous other boats.

The next morning we had to go through another bridge not far from the marina called the Addison Point Bridge. When the bridge went up only one section went up all the way and the other one got stuck three quarters of the way up. You are not suppose to enter until the spans are all the way up but finally one brave captain called the bridge tender and said with his permission could the boats pass through because there was enough clearance. Unexpectedly, the bridge tender allowed us to go through, thank heaven, because no one wanted another long wait! A little further down another bridge was having trouble but when we got there it was working. So bridges do have their “ups and downs.”

  We arrived at Cocoa after a decent sail where we anchored and had lunch. We then took the dinghy to the town dock where Al headed to the famous SF Travis hardware store. The largest old fashion, have everything hardware store. I of course headed to the boutique shops in town for browsing. After we got our fill of “eye candy,” hardware for Al and clothes for me, we headed back to the boat for a quiet night on the hook.

We decided to stay another day because it is a great place to ride bikes. We took the bikes in the dinghy to town. We then biked several miles south along the wonderfully scenic River Drive. We stopped for lunch in town because I was craving pizza and found a great place with outdoor seating. After lunch, we biked several miles north on the River Road which was just as pretty as the south section. The weather was just perfect for biking with sunny skies and temps in the high seventies.

Back on board Blue Heaven, we did a few chores and waited for our sailing association friends, Toni and Dave Mershon on Sequence to finally catch up with us. And catch up we did, on our past month of sailing experiences we each had over a drink and some munchies. It was good to see two familiar faces!

Sequence at sunset.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chicken or Smart, It Depends How You Look At It!

A cold front came with some brisk winds. You would think we would love the winds, which we do when moving, but not at night on anchor. So we made a decision to go into a marina in Daytona. One of the reasons we decided this is because of the circumstances of dockage at the marina, and second, because it was predicted to be in the mid forties at night. Heat would be nice! With the dockage situation, it is that we are planning on docking the boat at Loggerhead Marina in Stuart, FL for three weeks so that we can fly home for 10 days over Thanksgiving. It is cheaper to rent the slip for a month and Loggerhead has reciprocal dockage at other Loggerhead Marinas, one of which is in Daytona, the rest are south of Stuart. So we have a week of days we can use at other Loggerhead marinas, so why not use them when it is so windy and sooooooooo… cold?!!

Sailing in ICW

On the way to Daytona Beach the winds were 18-20knots.  We sailed in the ICW as you can see by the tilt of the boat with the winds abeam.  When we pulled into the marina the winds were still 18 knots. Speaking of knots, that was what my stomach was in, since we had to get into a slip with the winds blowing so strong. However, it was all for “naught” because Al did a perfect job. The cold front definitely came through as it went from the high seventies to the low sixties and finally to the forties for the night.

View of Daytona Beach from bridge that we biked.
We had never been to Daytona, so exploring was a must. Out came the folding bikes and our winter jackets. Since it was a Saturday, we biked to the Farmer’s Market on City Island to get some needed produce because there was no major supermarket close by. We were lucky to discover the Halifax Arts Festival going on with at least 120 or more stands of high quality goods, food and music, I enjoyed myself immensely looking at all the art and crafts while Al, who hates to shop, took the produce back to the boat. After lunch we then biked over the bridge to see the beach side of Daytona Beach. With it being so brisk, there certainly were not many people out and about. Al and I agreed we have never seen so many motorcycle shops and bars in one place as in Daytona Beach. I think I was glad there were not many people around! I cannot imagine what it is like here during “Bike Week.”

Halifax Arts Festival

Boardwalk at Daytona Beach

We had a great meal at the marina’s restaurant called “Caribbean Jack’s” It is a popular spot for locals with people sitting outside on the deck from lunch through late evening. I think we lucked out being closed up for
the cold so we did not have to hear the music all night long.

On Sunday I went to church. For those who are Catholics and travel, you cannot beat the website, for finding a church in the city you are in. We visited the Arts Festival again and then accomplished various chores. We are getting ready to move on to Titusville area tomorrow since the temperature is suppose to start climbing and be near eighty by midweek  Hopefully I will be able to get rid of my fleece top and vest!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cumberland Island Wildlife to Henry Flagler Highlife

Blue Heaven off Cumberland Island. GA

We decided to stay another day at anchor off of Cumberland Island. We wanted to hike some of the island because the trails are so beautiful and Sue and Don Engler from Jubilee, friends from our sailing association, were coming over from Fernadina. I had a great morning kayaking along the inland coast.  While having lunch we got to see how locals get shrimp by throwing the nets off their boats and hauling them in and dumping their catch in the bottom of their boat.  Once the word gets out that there are shrimp in an area it must spread fast because there had to be at least ten boats doing it all within 20 ft. of each other.  

 After lunch Al and I visited the island. We hiked the River Trail and got a great shot of Blue Heaven out on the water. The wild horses were abundant that day. We counted eleven of them in one area at the same time. You can see they are not that wild if I can get a shot that close! We also saw several armadillos (which blend so well into the surroundings) and a flock of wild turkeys. We also made it to the other side of the island to see the beautiful pristine beach. We certainly got our exercise which we so desperately needed! We ended the day catching up with the Englers on their boat all the while smacking those darn no-see-ums.
Cumberland Island Beach


St. Augustine

Flagler College

One of eleven Tiffany stained glaas windows
Pine Island was our next stop after a motor sail through a bit of rain on the way. It quieted down for the night and we were in St. Augustine by 10:30AM the next day on a mooring ball. We had lunch in town and afterwards toured Flagler College . What makes this college so interesting is that it had been the Ponce de Leon Hotel which was “the place” for the very wealthy back in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. The architecture was amazing and the inside was even more so. In the present day dining hall there are more Tiffany stained glass windows in one place than any place in the entire world. They also had true Tiffany chandeliers and any gold you saw on the woodwork or ceilings and walls was real gold leaf. Henry Flagler knew how to really make the wealthy feel even wealthier in one of his hotels. Now college students sleep where the Rockerfellers and Gettys perhaps stayed! 
With 70% chance of rain, we decided to stay put for another day and spent it doing various chores. It only rained in the morning and then once again around 5PM. We learned high percentages doesn’t mean it will rain all day!

Wild Horses on Cumberland Island

Monday, November 1, 2010

St. Simon and Beyond

Another beautiful sunrise in Bull Creek, GA

After leaving Thunderbolt we anchored in Bull Creek for the first major rain of the trip.  It poured on and off for two hours.  The front came through with no problems and cooled us down which was great and made for a beautiful sunrise the next day.
We pulled into Golden Isles Morning Star Marina in mid afternoon which was an easy in along their t-head dock. Al’s high school buddy, Tony and wife Shirley who live on the island were the reason for the stop here. Tony came over to see the boat and then we went to their beautiful oceanfront property for some catching up since two years ago. 
Golden Isles Marina, St. Simon Island

Al and Tony played golf the next day while I borrowed the Guthrie’s car to run some errands and do some shopping. Later they took us to their country club on the other side of the island which was just exquisite, the furnishings and the food!

The Golden Isles Marina must figure they have to keep up with Thunderbolt, because they too delivered a newspaper and fresh muffins instead of Krispy Kremes to your boat every morning.  It seemed the resident pelican posed so that you would take his picture.

Jekyll Island Dock

We left the marina around 10am because we were in no rush to try to go through Jekyll Creek on a dropping tide. We got through fine so our plan worked! We anchored off the southern end of Cumberland and ran into Dawn Treader whom we know from the upper bay. They came over for dinner and once again we spent another evening updating each other about our trips and sharing information learned.