March 14-20, 2018
March 14 – Fort Pierce to Melbourne Bridge Anchorage (50 miles)
March 15 – Melbourne to Titusville Municipal Marina (40 miles)
March 16 & 17 – Titusville, no travel
March 18 – Titusville to South Daytona (Bethune Pointe) anchorage (46 miles)
March 19 & 20 – South Daytona anchorage to Heritage Harbor Marina (3 miles)
Miles Traveled during this blog entry: 139
Total Miles Traveled: 3790
On the beautiful, if cool and windy, Wednesday morning of March 14 we departed Fort Pierce after a great six-week winter stay. Captain Jim easily maneuvering us out of a tight slip, onto a narrow fairway, to the current prone gas dock for a pump-out and then through the channel onto the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway). After several miles and a couple of bridges we looked up to see a gaggle of bright pink flamingos swoop down to lead our way. In awe, I reached for the camera too late to capture the moment but we recognized it as a good omen on our first run in 6 weeks.
We traveled from Fort Pierce to the Melbourne Memorial Bridge where we anchored alongside Sunset Delight. After taking Sammy ashore, we rowed the dinghy over for a nice visit with Ev and Clark, including supper of Chicken Alfredo created by Ev. It was a pretty evening and quiet but cold night. The temperature dipped to a 37 degree low and perhaps our coldest onboard since the river system in 2015. Where is this weather coming from?
The next morning after Sammy had been ashore and I had exchanged a few texts with my childhood friend Gwen, she arrived to a parking place on the nearby bridge to take our picture. She waved us off to the Titusville Municipal Marina where they would later “show up” and drive us to a lovely dinner at Dixie Crossroads, a local specialty seafood restaurant.
Our arrival at the Titusville City Marina was an intended stop in order to visit the NASA Kennedy Space Center the following day. We met Ev and Clark (Sunset Delight) early to Uber to the Space Center, a 30 minute and $27 ride each way. Now, I could go on and on about our experience but will let the pictures do the talking. Suffice it to say that all four of us, including two engineers, were impressed with the tour, exhibits, unbelievable videos but mostly the memories this adventure brought back of the 60’s space race. I remember watching on TV during my 10th grade geometry class as Alan Sheppard was launched down the sub-orbital Atlantic Range in 1961. To be within 50 yards of the two launch pads from which almost all U.S. rockets have lifted was chilling. I was happy to learn that all 144,000 acres that make up Cape Canaveral are also a wildlife refuge where nature coexists perfectly with the latest in technology.
Unbeknownst to us, it was Clark’s birthday so upon return to the marina, I cooked an impromptu chili dinner with Lorna Dunes subsstituting for cake and celebratory singing, sans candles. Sammy was so happy to see us after a long day alone on the boat that she took turns honoring everyone’s lap. Somehow she knows it is her job to make us all happy!
A little weary, we stayed another day in Titusville resting, doing laundry, enjoying down-time on the Namaste and learning that Granddaughter Ashleigh is coming to meet us in Charleston for her spring break. This excitement resulted in some forward planning and our decision to move on to an anchorage in Daytona Beach. The beautiful weather, holiday weekend and lots of local boats created a busy waterway. Consequently we listened to Coast Guard distress calls on the VHF radio much of the day: 44’ sailboat taking on water, 7 year old missing in kayak, and rudder-stuck boat with no name or location. The sailboat was assisted and pumped out, the 7 year old found, and the rudderless boat call was eventually cancelled. High five to the Coast Guard! It is interesting to add that we saw considerable dock damage from hurricane Irma all along the way.
At anchor just off the ICW channel, we bounced around until dusk when most boats began heading back into their slips and their owners home to prepare for another work week. Delightfully the ICW will be calm again reminding us not to travel on weekends unless necessary. As a side-note, there is always something to see when traveling on the water and here are a few of the memorable examples or at least the ones I captured over the last few days.
Our plan had been to get up early and head for St. Augustine the next day. Upon arising however, a check of the weather indicated otherwise. Storms were predicted to begin in 90 minutes and last all day. I quickly called the nearby Daytona marina and secured a slip. However, the 90 minutes shortened to about 15 minutes and we got hit hard with rain and wind causing us to stay out in the ICW and not attempt a docking until the weather passed. After about an hour, things settled down and although wet, Captain Jim safely pulled into slip E18 of the Halifax Marina, the second largest in Florida.
When the rain finally stopped I spent much of the day getting things dried out between storms and Jim cleaned the mud off the deck, anchor locker and chain. It was a real mess but is sparkling clean now. We have been working on our boat lighting situation by adding a motion sensor solar light outside the cabin door to light our way onto the boat after dark. He also installed the new LED bulbs ($5/each!) in most of the overhead and engine room fixtures so that it is not only brighter in here but the LED bulbs use considerably less amperage when we are on battery power at anchor. I also ordered a cute nautical lamp that missed us by a day at Fort Pierce so friends stowed and will deliver it when we meet again.
On our second day in Daytona Halifax Marina we woke up to very cloudy skies and threats of storms and high winds all day long! As we were getting ready to Uber to Publix about 9 a.m. my cell went off with warnings that tornados were in the area. The marina restroom building is pretty but structurally made of 2X4s and a metal roof. Thus, we high-tailed it over to a new and large brick office complex building where we took cover at the Freedom Boat Club for an hour. One tornadic cell went just north of us and another just south but we got only rain. More storms are still predicted for later today. A shout out to Scarlett and Allison of Freedom Boats for their hospitality during the storm. Established in 1989 with approximately 156 franchises around the country Freedom offers their members the utilization of beautifully maintained boats (pontoon, center council and run-abouts) in any of their locations. We have now seen them in several marinas and they are a great option for anyone who wants to boat on vacation but not have the year round care and expense of their own boat. We learned that there is a brand new franchise in Charlevoix! Thanks again Scarlett for the shelter and letting me sit in your lovely lounge using your internet to shop amazon and post this blog! I have almost forgotten what fast internet is like!
Even with busy waterways and storms it feels good to have a plan and be Back on the Road Again!
Boat Name of the Day: Summer Rules
Happy Belated Birthday to Erica
Congratulations to Lee (with the beard) on his lead performance of Marius in the Steiner school play, Roma Amore last week! These events are so hard to miss.