ICW Day 55 Ft. Lauderdale, Royale Palm Yacht Basin, Tuesday, December 13. 18nm, STM 1068.8,
Total Miles 1166!!! We made it!
We were concerned about the engine mount and particularly any leaking around the Saildrive seals. Sure enough the alarm starting sounding that indicated that seawater was in the seal, but with on 18nm to go, we disabled the alarm and brought the boat home.
No fixed bridges, yea! but there were another 8 opening bridges to contend with. Royale Palm is a no frills marina with a good price and location. Only about 2 miles from the Ft Lauderdale channel with no bridges.
What an amazing trip. Although we were never in danger, and the trip was nothing crossing an ocean, it was still an accomplishment. Planning, navigation, boat handling was all different that what we were used to in the Chesapeake Bay.
Many thanks to all of our new friends on the Sail to the Sun Rally who helped us out along the way and made the trip more interesting.
The boat is now in the capable hands of Craig and Hannah Allison. Craig and Hannah own MazOcean, a marine electronics company, and also run the Dream Yacht charter base in Ft Lauderdale.
ICW Day 54 Boca Raton Anchorage, Monday, December 12, 28nm STM 1048, Total miles 1148
Left a little later than the group as we were again waiting for low tide to get under the next two bridges. Atheria left about an hour earlier and lost their VHS antenna on the very last bridge for the ICW!!! First fixed bridge, Blue Heron Bridge was charted as 63ft, Brad read that the bridge was actually higher if you went under the structures to the east and not the center span, it did look higher but was very narrow, we chickened out and went for the center…just made it by inches again. Celebration!!! Last fixed bridge, unbelievable, truly. Now only a million bascule bridges to go today.
I finally took the helm for most of the day and Brad handled all the radio calls to the bridges, it worked out well. Valentine, then Doc’s Orders were in front of us, we managed to stay together for most of the openings and it worked out well.
The anchorage was tricky and shallow, Let It Be luckily posted some great instructions to get in, and once we were there they coached us in on the radio, teamwork again! Brad and Sandy with their 6ft draft on Doc’s Orders were worried again, we radioed to them to follow us in, they did and we decided to just raft up together.
Brad and I had a nice dinner in the cockpit, scenery beautiful here at night. Sticky night but we didn’t turn on the AC because we didn’t want to bother Doc’s Orders with our generator noise:)
The Engine Mounting!
On our way into the anchorage, we noticed that the bilge pump was a bit overactive and pumping water. That should not happen! It was clear that we had a leak somewhere. Once anchored, the investigation began. Salt water, particularly in the sump under the engine. Not good. Further investigation revealed that three of the starboard engine mounting bolts (into the engine block) had worked themselves loose and had fallen out, and the final bolt had sheared off. The engine was canted to the side causing the sail drive seal to leak. OMG! Wally Moran, Brad & Sandy Fisher, and Tom Wood to the rescue.
Main sheet 4 to 1 from Blue Lady, 4×6 from Wally plus his expertise, and tools and expertise from Brad. We took things apart, rigged a hoist across the companionway, and hoisted the engine back into position, so we could reinsert the three good bolts. Back in business. What a group! Tomorrow, either under our own power or via Tow Boat US we will arrive at the new home for Reflection in Ft Lauderdale, Royale Palm Marina off the Dania Cutoff Canal.
ICW Day 51-53 North Palm Beach Friday, December 9-11 STM 1013.7, 21.5 miles, 1120 Total nm
Consensus from Wally and the rally is that all 8 of us leave anchorage today and head for North Palm Beach Marina, some 20 miles away. We left about 9:30am, bigger boats doing the ‘clean up’ Doc’s Orders left just in front of us and immediately ran aground in an area that several had run aground on yesterday! Several of us had warned them, not sure what they were thinking this am. With high winds, questionable depth (chart plotter is not reading accurately in this anchorage), etc. we could do little more than radio them with our support. We continued to texts with them and found that Boat US had arrived and was attempting to ‘dig a tunnel’ for them to motor out of. The poor fellow with Boat US turned his boat sideways trying to dig them out and nearly capsized…Sandy said he did lose his lunch pail overboard, I advised they give him a big tip to buy lunch…
As this was happening, Mauna Kea radioed us to say that Ken had knocked his head into the cockpit hatch and may need stitches, Laurie said he was ‘bleeding all over the place and wanted me to take a look at it…drama on the ICW, really???
Seven bascule bridges today!!! No fixed. Some were on request to open and a few opened on hour and 1/2 hr., 1/4 hr. and 3/4 hr. There didn’t seem to be too much waiting so it went pretty well. We were pretty protected with land on each side the entire way, had a little rain but not too much.
Sandy and Brad reported that Boat US was unable to free them so they were going to wait for the 2ft rise of tide. 3p or so, Tow Boat US did come back and did set them free. They should be here around 7p tonight and we will all be assisting them to dock and give them exact info needed to get here safely, motoring on the ICW at night is not anything to treat lightly.
Brad and Sandy showed up after dark and joined the entire group for dinner at an Asian Street Sushi Thai Bar Restaurant right here in the marina.
Saturday Day 52 December 10 Winds 15-20 here but we are quite protected, cloudy and rainy all day. I went with the ladies, Mary Grace had a rental car to an upscale mall close by. We had a great time shopping and had lunch, stopped by a Marshalls on the way back. Brad took some guys over to the country club to swim in the pool and had snacks. Later that evening during huge downpours the group walked nearly a mile to a Mexican restaurant. Brad and I were waiting it out on the boat, so Frank contacted us to pick up their rental car for them at the boat so we were saved, but were soaked walking home as too many folks packed in the rental!
Sunday Day 53 December 11 Brad and I walked to the West Marine about a mile away, Brad bought some new Keens for the boat (like Jack’s:). We also bought a filter to hook up to hose for drinkable water, we have been buying all bottled water for drinking, many of the rally filter their own we’ll try it. Ubered over to Walmart…waste of time and money says hubby…then ubered over to Duffy’s Bar to watch the Broncos lose, game was good though, we got ‘game’ in the 4th quarter.
Sandy took the pic of Reflection above leaving the next morning.
ICW Day 50 Peck Lake Anchorage December 8, Thursday STM 992.2, 40 miles, 1101 total miles
Storms in the forecast for tonight and next 3 days. Wal says we will be well protected here and the plan is for two nights. There is a small sandy bath through mangroves to a beautiful sandy beach. The guys went swimming and I spent the entire time collecting shells, haven’t seen that many beautiful intact shells for years and years…that’s what you get on a deserted beach where no one goes, right?? The water was warm too.
Wal is a bit worried, says storm may be worse than expected so he is making the call to leave in am for protection and marina in Palm Beach. Had alot of swinging on the hook last night, as ol’ Wal says, its like being rocked in a cradle…of course if you aren’t worrying about dragging anchor that is…..
ICW Day 49 December 7 Wednesday STM 951.6, 47nm, 1066 total miles
Left Cocoa Village Marina early at 7a sharp, several fixed bridges to worry about today. A particular issue was Wabasso Bridge at mile marker 943.2. The board clearly says 63ft clearance, but Brad had read an entry on Active Captain several years back that indicated this may not be correct. We ventured through peaking our nose in slowly, Valentine had given us indication that we could make it as they went through ahead. We tweaked under with (I am sure) only about 4 inches to spare. A party boat filled with people were on the other side watching quietly. They all clapped and cheered when we made it through! Who says Floridians aren’t nice people?
Wally told us that Vero Beach may be a bit sketchy as we may be required to raft off with strangers on their moorings, God forbid, it hard enough to raft up with friends you know:) Sure enough we were given the assignment to raft up with a boat, and luckily while we were cruising around we saw that Doc’s Orders was all alone on their mooring, turns out Destiny was supposed to moor with them, but they continued on and did not stop. Anyhoo, we moored up with our buddies and all was content and happy!!! Thank you Destiny!
We immediately got in the dingy to register at the office, caught a little shuttle and went to the beach. Sat in some colorful Adirondack chairs over looking the beach with Valentine and Doc’s Orders (and Penny, of course). It was good to catch up with Sandy and Brad as they just returned from Brad’s mother’s funeral, they both looked exhausted and surprisingly each had two daiquiris while we sat there…..and they don’t drink!!!!!
UberXL back to boat, quiet dinner, tuna steaks, potatoes and okra. Watching a Netflix show called ‘The Killing’…..I am hooked, on my 12th episode:)
ICW Days 45/46/47/48 Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday December 2,3,4,5, 6 STM 897.5 19nm 1019 total miles
Friday – Short motor to marina, 2 fixed bridges and 2 bascule…child’s play.
The devastation from Hurricane Matthew has been apparent all along the way, home repairs, docks blown away, sailboats on their sides with tattered sails flapping in the wind. Difficult to see and a first for me.
Walked to town after checking in. Immediately went to waterside to see where all of our rally friends were anchored and docked. We are the only ones in the marina today aside from Doc’s Orders who have flown to Michigan for Brad’s Mom’s recent passing. We walked the town and had lunch at Pub Americana, Brad got a hair cut, and I visited my (so far) favorite shop Green Apples:) It was a must that we visit the famous Travis Hardware, incredibly huge and very old with every thing a guy could want, shelves loaded with dust, dirt and a guy’s dream. Went over to the Sugar Hut for donuts and coffee!
That evening we walked over to Ryan’s to meet the gang and a kick off from our host Brad (different Brad). Received goody bag with rally flag, good insulated cup and lots of coupons and guide magazines. Ate too much white pizza and walked over to Jazz bar, great band. Guys were cutting up with the picture taking trying to kiss each other, pretty funny.
Saturday– We walked the Village this am, there was a large arts and crafts exhibit throughout the town. Went to lunch at Murdock’s and set outside, Brad had fried okra, our fav!
Sunday -Best Day! Left at 9a to take van ride (Booze cruise host Robert) to Space Center with Valentine, Mauna Kea and Radiance. Amazing things we saw, including the shuttle Atlantis, Saturn V, the Vehicle Building (largest building in US for years that they build the spacecraft in). We saw a great IMAX film and hated that we didn’t have time to see the second one. Brad, Ken and Jack were like kids in a candy store! Tour bus to cruise security area with the launch pads, saw 3 alligators in a pond, driver said they restricted area is full of alligators, one was caught walking down the hall in one of their offices one day I bagged on the cocktail party with the major, Brad went and represented…speeches from major, Wally and city council members, they are interested in the rally’s opinions about their city docks and anchorages and what they need to do to improve. Heard they served fab appetizers.
Monday– Walked over to catch the shuttle with Peter and Christine on Destiny, they are docked beside us now. Went to Ron/Jon Surfshop, biggest store we’ve ever seen. Bought some t-shirts for Xmas gifts. Walked across street to beach and ate lunch at the pier, rented chairs and an umbrella and sat for 2 hours on the beach. Brad took two naps, ha, ha. Weather is sunny, high 70’s, surf is wild, Brad did some body surfing. He adores going to the beach, I believe I have pretty much outgrown my love for the beach but it was good to see him enjoying himself so much. We walked to Publix for some grocery shopping and Ubered home.
Tuesday– We had been scheduled to leave this am, but Wally recommended we stay put one more day, weather today has thunderstorms and wind, in addition to fact that he says next stop may not be as much fun.!! We went to breakfast with Valentine and Mauna Kea, Wally joined us, open croissant egg and cheese and great pastries. Diane and I shopped the streets for 3 hours and had a ball, did a little Xmas shopping, etc. Brad did some contract work on the boat, we did have some heavy thunderstorms around 1pm, good day to stay put, thanks Walls.
ICW Day 44 December 3o, Thursday 28nm STM 878.4 1000 Total Miles!
Thank goodness, a fairly uneventful day to this mooring field in Titusville. We led the way today in front of Valentine for a change and arrived in plenty of time to go explore and have lunch in town.
Radiance, Valentine, us and Let It Be ate at a highly recommended new burger joint called Quams, owner is a retired school teacher. We spent several hours there with everyone and had a great time, by the time we left to walk the 1/2 mile or so back to the dingy it was raining good! Wind had picked up and the seas were rough, a bit of a nail biting dingy ride back to boat. But, we were very excited finally to be actually even riding in the dingy since the motor hasn’t been working pretty much since Coinjock, NC….
Sandwiches and cereal for dinner, lucky for me Brad ate a burger that was huge for lunch. Mary Grace calls it LIN when they do lunch and dinner together, I have always adored LIN:)
ICW Day 43 November 11 Wednesday New Smyrna Anchorage 59nm STM 846.7 972 Total miles
Left St. Augustine about 8ish, we were concerned about the Mickler O’Connel Bridge and had planned to leave later at lower tide but Sandy and Brad on Doc’s Orders left at sun up and radioed that the bridge height was already over 64.
We left behind Valentine and made good time, had originally planned to stop at Palm Coast but Jack made the decision to keep moving to make the following day shorter because there was some concern about rain the following day. At the end of the day we did 12 bridges, 8 fixed and four bascule. We had a difficult grounding around MM 843 near Ponce Inlet. Valentine first ran aground in front of us, got off without much difficulty…we chose to steer closer to the mark as Sandy and Brad had indicated earlier (they ran aground there as well), instead we hit hard, Brad kept the engine reeved trying to plow through for several minutes, we came off then went aground again, we did this three times. Jack was inching his way back to us on Valentine and I yelled into the radio for him to ‘stay away’, we would figure it out. Finally, had to go OUTSIDE of the mark to clear water, yikes!!!! No Tow Boat US for us as yet!!
Long day, needless to say. We found out this am that Brad on Doc’s Orders mom had passed away this am so they were rushing to get to Cocoa to fly home. We all had a quiet night on the anchorage, just the three of us. I was beyond tired, even though I wasn’t the one at the helm all day…Brad was doing well, I have no idea what we made for dinner but it was quick….
It is not unusual for us to look at each other at 8:30p and say I’m done and we hit the hay.
ICW Day 41/42, November 28-29, Mon/Tues Palm Cove Marina to St. Augustine 27 nm, statute mile 778.2, 912 total miles
Breezy day on the water, gusts up to 20mph. The 3 musketeers (Refection, Valentine and Doc’s Orders) in single file pretty much the whole way. No bridge or grounding issues, if it hadn’t been so windy it would have been a perfect day!
Arrived St. Augustine Municipal Marina around 4p. St. Augustine from the shoreline reminds us of a scene in Europe complete with old church steeples and stone walled forts.
That afternoon we walked the old cobblestone street with lots of eclectic shops, art galleries and restaurants. Ate at The Columbian, great spanish food, had an octopus appetizer that we shared, great piece of marinated fish and their famous Spanish rice with plantains and yuca!!
Next morning nearly the entire rally took the trolley to do a 1 1/2 hr tour of the town, Brad and I were in the caboose, had a bit of a swervy ride, it was fun and informative. Lots of laughs and some awful stories about how severe racism was in this town during the Martin Luther King days (he visited here due to the problems). Ate lunch at The Gourmet Hut, very crazy little courtyard place.
Most memorable was the last evening. We walked across the Bridge of Lions (windy!) to a karaoke bar to celebrate Eric and Corinne’s last night with us (Reflection II). Eric has a great voice, sang a Bobby Darin tune, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Jack and Diane san
g ‘Jack and Diane’ (what a hoot), Sue and Kevin sang a Meatloaf song, Wally sang a Louie Armstrong song, and all the girls sang Dancing Queen. What a great night! The place was a dive, however, they served only alcohol, no food, we had to order next door to get something to eat!!! Eric made up the a departure song, 50 Ways to Leave Your Rally, it was perfect!
ICW Day 38/39/40, November Fri/Sat/Sun 25/26/27, Palm Cove Marina, Jacksonville, FL 41nm, statue mile 746.9, 885 total miles.
We are in Florida! Quiet, sunny and warm day. 5 of us decided to go outside from St Mary’s Inlet to St John’s River inlet and then continue down the ICW to Palm Cove Marina. Going outside allowed us to skip 2 bridges and for me to have the boat in a marina for when Terrie flies back. Still had to time the bridges and come in after low tide… Had to plow through the mud to get into the slip.
The marina is in Jacksonville Beach right on the ICW. Enjoyed a nice happy hour and dinner at the Marker 32 restaurant on site. Big grocery, West Marine, and other shops on Saturday worked out well.
Surprised Terrie with everyone on board Saturday evening for drinks and snacks when she arrived. After everyone left I made a couple of hamburgers and we relaxed for the evening. We enjoyed a quiet day on Sunday working on the boat, and had a chance to Uber over the beach, walk around, and have lunch at a nice sports bar. Ready to get underway for St Augustine tomorrow.