Goodbye Stuart. We have had a great stay but it is past time to leave. Staying long term at marinas is not our cup of tea. The weather forecast for today and tomorrow is not good at all. Lots of rain and thunderstorms are headed our way due to a low pressure system in the western Gulf. Over the past several days, weather forecasters have been warning that this system could evolve into an early season tropical storm. Highly unusual for this time of year. We need to be into St. Augustine by the weekend otherwise we would stay put today and wait out the weather. It is never good to be on a schedule while boating.
We are away from the docks by 7 AM. Reaching the notoriously shallow crossroads and St Lucie Inlet, we make a hard turn to port onto the Indian River. We had hoped to make an overnight run offshore to St. Augustine but with the storms, we opt for the safer inshore ICW route. This route will take four days of travel compared to the one overnighter.
Well, it’s not long before things get exciting, in the not so good way. All of the sudden we start hearing a strange beeping noise up in the pilot house. It turns out to be the battery backup for the computer which we installed in Stuart. Before we know what is happening, our computer system crashes and we have no navigation. Yikes! After some scrambling, we disconnect the battery backup and our navigation programs reboot. One problem solved, now we have a thunderstorm heading straight for us with lightning all around. After a quick check of the charts, we decide to drop anchor just outside the channel in seven feet of water and wait out the storm. With lightning dancing all around, we feel much more comfortable with all of our electronics shut down. 30 minutes later, the skies lighten up and we continue on our way.
Just south of Vero Beach, we hear our friends,Marty and Suzanne aboard Alizann, on the VHF. Turns out, they and another Krogen, Erben Renewal, are heading into Ft. Pierce after running overnight from the Bahamas. They are just outside the inlet waiting on the storms to abate so they can transit the inlet safely. Meanwhile we continue up the ICW in heavy rain and strong wind gusts. Reaching Vero Beach, we briefly consider stoping for the day. But it seems to be clearing so we push on to Eau Galley just north of Melbourne. The storms stay away and we have an uneventful afternoon. This section of ICW is enjoyable with good depths and no bridges to open. We do see several dredges working in the area.
5 O’clock finds us reaching Dragon Point and the entrance to the Banana River. Our planned anchorage was just inside the river. The winds are light and there is only a slight chance of storms so we decide to anchor just outside the point. This will make for a quicker exit tomorrow and also give us more of a breeze.
Total Miles Today: 80
Total Miles This Year: 1127
Day 2: Eau Galley to Titusville:
We are underway by 7 AM, once again trying to beat the storms. The rains have cooled things off and it is a nice day outside. The Indian River is wide and with no problem shallow spots. This makes for a nice day on the water. As we pass the north end of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center, we check the Internet for any rocket launches but none are scheduled until late May . Just before reaching Titusville, Nobeltec, our computer based navigation program crashes on us. Ugh!! After several attempts to get it running, we switch over to Coastal Explorer, our backup program. Not sure what is wrong with Nobeltec. We will call tech support when we get to our anchorage.
It is a short travel day and we are to Titusville by noon. The City Marina has installed moorings just outside the marina breakwater. After securing Idyll Time to a ball, we launch the dinghy and go into shore. A short walk into town, and we find a great restaurant called Kloiber’s Cobbler. Their pasta salad is awesome and the sandwiches are good too. Next stop is the Sunshine Bakery where we purchase some Banana nut bread, a homemade cinnamon roll, and some bread pudding. Last stop is at Caffe Chocolate for some homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups. With our bellies full, we wobble back to the Marina for the short dinghy ride out to IT.
Just before sunset, there is a rush of trawlers and sailboats coming into the mooring field for the evening. Soon the mooring field is chock full. It’s that time of year and all the boaters are heading north.
Total Miles Today: 36
Total Miles: 1163
Day 3: Titusville to Daytona Beach:
What a crazy day! It started off not so good and was hectic all day long but the ending could not have been better.
We were not in a rush to leave this morning as we were planning on a short day of only 36 miles. Leaving the mooring field around 9 AM, we were soon transiting through the NASA Railroad Bridge which we found open when we arrived. A few miles down the road, we reach the Haulover Canal which is a mile long rocky cut which provides passage from the Indian River to the Mosquito Lagoon . Half way through the canal we spot a big sport fishing boat in our rear view camera. We move over as far as we can without running aground as he is trying to pass. As he is just astern of us, we get a VHF call from him telling us that he wants to pass. Jeff tells him that we know he is there but mentions that “this might not be the best place to pass”. He continues the pass and radios back that ” maybe we should take up knitting”. Jeff replies ” maybe you should take a captains class”. This guy is just a delivery captain and is in a rush to get somewhere. This type of boater gives boating a bad name.
Continuing down the ICW, we notice that our auto pilot is now not working with our navigation program. We are using our backup program Coastal Explorer today as Nobeltec was giving us problems yesterday. For some reason our computer is telling us that our com port 1 is being used by another program. Problem is, there are no other programs using it. After several calls to our electronics guru, Scotty, we determine that it has something to do with our internet MIFI. After turning off the WIFI and rebooting the computer, things are back to normal. Go figure!
Just past New Smyrna Beach, we reach Rock-House Creek anchorage. We have anchored here several times and it is one of our favorites. Oh no….there are several boats already anchored here with not much room left. We pull in to check it out but don’t feel like there is enough swing room for us. Very disappointed, we continue on. It looks like Daytona Beach will be our stop for the evening. I begin my search on Active Captain for another anchorage. There are several in Daytona, but none that offer good depth and wind protection. Now where do we go? Next we start our search for marinas. After several calls, I read a review of Halifax Yacht Club on Active Captain. All of the reviews give them five stars and rave about how nice both the club and dock master are. A quick call, and Pete, the dock master, has a spot for us. He is on the dock waiting when we arrive and quickly has us secure. After checking in, Pete gives us a tour of the club. While admiring some of the old photos, we spot a picture of another Krogen. Pete tells us the Krogen belonged to Mary and George. They have since sold Mary C but are still members of the club. Before we know what is happening, Pete whips out his phone and is calling Mary and George. Unfortunately, they are not home but he leaves a message telling them we are at the club.
We have a nice walk through the downtown this evening. There are lots of nice restaurants and shops along the main Street. We look forward to coming back here in the fall and spending time exploring the area. Returning to the boat, we hear someone calling our name. It is Mary the owner of the Krogen Mary C. She has brought us a batch of still warm brownies as a welcome to their club. We enjoy meeting her and hearing about their adventures aboard their 42 ft. Krogen. Mary’s thoughtfulness made our day. Being part of the ” Krogen Family” continues to be a wonderful and surprising experience. What started out as a bad day ended up on a high note.
Total Miles Today: 48
Total Miles: 1211
Day 4: Daytona Beach to St. Augustine:
We are out of the marina at 7 AM so as to make several bridge openings. Between 7:45 and 9:15 the Memorial Bridge has restricted openings. Looks like everyone else has the same ideas. We join the parade of boats heading north, six sailboats and three other power boats. It is that time of year and all the boats are working their way north.
The Matanzas River is pretty as we travel through the marshland. Lots of boat traffic and slow wake areas due to Manatees makes for a slow go. Just past Matanzas Inlet is a major problem area for shoaling. Our Active Captain guide says there are four green buoys marking the shoal in this bend and to stay as far away from these as we can. Rounding the curve, we are literally only a few feet from the shore on our port side so as to stay off the green buoys on our starboard side. The sailboat just ahead is barely making way as he creeps through the area. This is some scary stuff. Wouldn’t you know, we are at low tide going through here. Just inside the channel at the last green buoy, we see another sailboat hard aground. He is in the channel but too close to the green. We feel fortunate to get past this spot with no issues. It is going to be a long day for the poor sailboat as he will have to wait for a tide change before any chance of getting off the sandbar. Note to self, make sure it is high tide when we come back through in the fall.
Soon downtown St. Augustine comes into view. The city operates a huge mooring field just off the downtown. It is crowded with boats of all sizes swinging on the balls. The Bridge of Lions is our last bridge of the day. This bridge only opens on the hour and half hour. Scanning the height boards at the base of the bridge, it looks like we can make it under without an opening. With the low tide there is 24 ft of clearance under the bridge. By lowering our antennas, we can get down to 21 ft., so under we go. Just around the corner, we enter Salt Run and are soon tied up at the Conch House Marina. This will be our home for the next month as we visit with family and friends.
Total Miles Today: 40
Total Miles: 1251