Fernandina to St. Augustine:
Looks like we will be motoring on the ICW today. We had hoped to head offshore again this morning but the seas are not cooperating. It is actually 20 miles shorter on the ICW. We just dislike this route due to the shallow depths and also the heavy boat traffic with everyone going south.
The tides are cooperating with us today. It looks like we will have mid to high tides for most of the day. With a five foot swing, this makes getting through the trouble spots much easier. The dolphins join us once again and entertain us with their antics. Our Active Captain computer app is invaluable. Not only does it locate all the problem areas, it also has comments from other boaters as to what they actually found and advice on where the deeper water is located. What did we ever do before Active Captain?
We are following a sailboat through one of the problem bends of the river. Our Active Captain says stay well away from the red markers which we do and see plenty of water under our keel. The sailboat however must not have gotten the message or is not paying attention. He not only goes near the red marker but actually crosses it and is now out of the channel. Jeff and I are both in disbelief as we see him do this. We say to each other “He is going to get stuck”. One second later his boat lurches upward and he is hard aground. Not a good day for him.
After crossing the St. Augustine Inlet, the familiar St. Augustine Bridge of Lions rises into view. We are able to duck under the bridge with inches to spare without an opening by lowering our antennas. Our mooring ball assignment #40 is soon snagged. We couldn’t ask for a better location. We are close to the dinghy dock and also on the inside row with a clear view of town. We are also out of the current with no other boats beside us. We lucked out on this one. The mooring field is huge and some of the balls are over a mile away from town. The city does a great job with the marina and moorings. They offer complementary launch service and also have a pump out boat that will come out to your mooring site. We enjoy our four day stay here while visiting with family.
Total Miles Today: 54
Total Miles This Year: 2669
St. Augustine to Daytona Beach:
We unleash our mooring tether at first light. High tide is quickly approaching and we need to get through several problem areas with as much water as possible. Looks like everyone else has the same idea. We take our place behind about 10 other sailboats also heading south. We had hoped to make an overnight run to Stuart but the seas are not cooperating once again. On the ICW, the run will take four days compared to one overnight run had we been able to go outside. With 6 foot seas, it is a no brainer to stay on the ICW. The day goes quickly and we are soon tied up along the face dock of Loggerhead Marina in Daytona.
Total miles today: 54
Total Miles This Year: 2723
Daytona Beach to Eau Galley:
We are once again up before sunrise doing our engine check and preparing IT for the long day ahead. One of the two bridges that we need an opening for does not open between 7:30 to 8:30. We push away from the dock at 7 AM and are to the bridge by 7:15 for an opening. We soon catch up to many of the sailboats also heading south. One by one, we radio them for a slow pass. Not a one of them answers our calls. We are used to this by now. We have found most sailboats never have their radio turned on. The dolphins are again playing in our bow wake and keep us entertained all morning.
We had an unusual experience this afternoon. Three sailboats appeared to be traveling abreast, as they were heading directly towards us. Two of the sailboats passed by uneventfully while the third remained on our side of the channel in a head on situation. After many attempts to hail the sailboat on the VHF, we execute an evasive maneuver out of the channel to avoid a head on collision. As we got closer to the sailboat, we see that he is anchored in the middle of the channel. Once alongside, we yell at the sailboater and ask what is going on. Why are they anchored in the middle of the channel and not answering the VHF? The wife is sitting at the helm with her radio in hand. We tell her to answer us on the VHF. She then answers on Channel 16 and says that they are having engine problems. The Coast Guard overhearing our calls, radios the sailboat and requests information from them regarding the nature of their distress. Sailboaters do some crazy stuff.
Just before sunset, we ease out of the ICW and anchor off Eau Galley. Manny is given another try at marking our anchor. It seems our modifications to him were good. He is now happily floating upright.
Total Miles Today: 83
Total Miles This Year: 2806
Eau Galley to Ft. Pierce:
It is another gorgeous day on the ICW. Where are all the boats today? We have seen very few on the water. This section of the waterway is relatively problem free with few depth or navigational issues so we can relax and enjoy the day.
Around noon, just as we pass a small Coast Guard boat, his flashing blue lights come on and he is motioning at us. Well at 10 mph, we know we were not speeding, so it must be a routine boarding. In all of our 20,000 plus miles of cruising, this is the first time we have ever been boarded. The officer tells us to maintain speed and heading while the little boat comes alongside IT. Once the officer is aboard, he ask to see our registration papers. We have everything readily available in our red book. He is impressed that all of our documents are so well organized. Next, he ask to see the holding tanks. He is checking to make sure nothing is dumped overboard. He brought along some tracer die which he puts in the tank to see if it shows up in the water once the heads are flushed. With our 100 gallon holding tank, this is not an issue for us. The Officer is very nice and we enjoy talking with him. Sorry there is no picture of this. I asked, but the Officer preferred that I not take his photo.
Total Miles Today: 52
Total Miles This Year: 2858
Ft. Pierce to Stuart:
Today is a very short 24 mile trip. We time our departure so that we will reach the problematic “Crossroads” leading into the St. Lucie River and Stuart at high tide. Just last month, a boat load of Haitians grounded here and the boat was there for several days. We reach this area just as planned, a few minutes before high tide. Our depth sounder is screaming at us with only six feet under the keel. We make it through without contacting the sandy bottom but I sure wouldn’t want to go through here on a low tide.
Sunset Bay Marina will be our home for the next month. This is Krogen central. Many of the Krogen owners spend their winters here or use it as a staging ground for the Bahamas. The large city marina is jammed full of boats. Reservations are made at least one year in advance to secure these coveted slips. With the large concertation of boats here, many marine contractors call Stuart home. While here, Idyll Time will be getting a totally new interior (new rugs, cushions, pillows and drapes). Scotty, our boat guru, has several projects to complete. Two coats of varnish on our cap rail is also on the plan. It will be a busy and expensive month aboard IT.
Total Miles Today: 24
Total Miles This Year: 2900