|Vera Segunda rides at anchor just off Cumberland Island, Georgia. We saw many wild horses here.|
Once we arrived in Key Largo at the Key Largo Harbor Marina, we set to washing Vera Segunda. She was really covered with salt from the trip over open water. Our reunion with Tom and Debbie was great and we spent the evening with them aboard "A Time For Us'. Debbie is a great cook. During the next few days life just got better. We had a flea market/farmers market that Sunday morning. We had a great visit with our friend Karen who had flown down from Rhode Island to visit for a few days. We went to a place where you could dinghy right up to dolphins. Tom and Karen were on a Jet Ski and Debbie, Carol and I were in the dinghy. It was very cool. We visited with Don from "Shenandoah' who we had not seen since Mobile. And we had a surprise visit from Lowie Bock who we had met a few years before, at Trawler Fest. We also met a guy named Jesse who brought his ski boat to the marina and took us all for a ride out through the mangrove and then off to lunch at the 'Mandalay', a local hot spot. We left and spent a couple of days in the Key Largo area at anchor. We motored out to the Pennikamp underwater park and snorkeled a reef, which has a giant Christ statue underwater. The tropical fish were astounding.
The following morning we struck out for Key Largo once again. Our plan was to go on the 'inside' passage and find an anchorage but the weather began to deteriorate and we took the outside route and made it to the marina. We spent another three days with Tom and Debbie and had a great time. I got the refrigerator re-insulated, updated the website, several dinners with friends, and we did more provisioning. We left Key Largo on Thursday in heavy weather, high wind and big seas, and made it to Pelican Harbor Marina in Miami where we went to supper at the Crab House. Since we came to Florida I had been telling Carol about stone crab claws. Well, we got our chance to eat some and they lived up to all expectations. The following morning we continued our way North and had a long day of slow speeds in Manatee Zones, and lots of bridges...we must be back in the ICW. From Boca Raton we went north to Lake Worth, a long day of over 55 miles.
We were meeting our friends Brian and Judy here. Brian and Judy are old friends and neighbors from our days in Rehoboth, Massachusetts long before we even dreamed of owning a boat. They lived just a couple of houses away and we enjoyed life together as the children grew. We took a slip at Rybovich Spencer Marina, a top-notch operation that is very much a working yard. They cater to the really big boats and we sure felt as though we were the smallest boat around. After tying up, we walked around the area and enjoyed the afternoon taking in the unique Florida architecture. A large boat named Wildcat was tied next to us. It was a 1972 Rybovich yacht of about 90 feet and it was in pristine condition just coming off a complete refurbishing. New engines, new wiring and a complete makeover. She was painted "Emerald Mist" and is one of the best looking yachts we have seen. We chatted with her commissioning crew and got the whole story.
On Sunday morning we got together with our friends and had a wonderful day catching up on everything that has gone on since we last saw them. Carol and I celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary as well. We had a barbecue at Brian and Judy's and all their children and grand children were there as well. Brian and I went and did some grocery shopping at the local Publix (Which we like a lot) and we all had things to carry down to the boat when we returned to the yard. Saying goodbye to such good friends was emotional but I think we all handled it well. Monday was another long day and we motored to an anchorage in Fort Pierce. It was uneventful for the most part, just good scenery and easy motoring. The following morning we decided to do some spring-cleaning. I scrubbed the cushions and sat them out to dry while Carol began to wash curtains. We just got in the mood I guess. Everything cleaned up well and we are better for it. That night we anchored in Dragon Point, just across the water from Melborne, and took on fuel at Telemar Marina. (We don't have a clue what Telemar means) We have been watching the fuel prices climb and we paid $1.49 per gallon, which is just about the highest to date, with the exception of a fueling in Canada last summer.
We took the dinghy to shore to get some groceries and dinghied to the same dock I used a couple of years ago while on a yacht delivery, and we were told to move on. We went back to Telemar and used their dinghy dock, which added a mile or more to our walk. We got our exercise that day. The following day brought us to the Village of Cocoa, which is trying to build up an arts area of town with lots of shops and galleries. The guidebook spoke highly of the area, which was the determining factor for stopping. Well, as hard as we tried we really couldn't find much of interest. We did find the Post Office and a store, which specialized in gas station memorabilia - that was pretty cool. We had a good walk here as well and are feeling as though we are getting some exercise. Carol and I continue to loose weight as we are still trying to eat healthy. Together we have lost over forty pounds, so far. Titusville was our next stop. It is just across the water from the Kennedy Space Center and from the beach you can see the launch towers and the Vehicle Assembly Building. There is also a "Space Walk of Fame" which we did. It commemorates all of the early launches. We also found a hobby shop (I am always looking for hobby shops) and had a great chat with the owners, Jim and Fran Carter. They are people we will always remember, just kind open people interested in life and doing what the like to do. They made us feel very welcome in their town. We also did some grocery shopping and found the Post Office again. We stayed at the Municipal Marina, so we had the opportunity to wash down Vera Segunda and take long hot showers. We headed north again toward Daytona where we hoped to meet up with my brother Dave and his wife Kathy.
Friday afternoon we pulled into the Daytona Marina and Boat Works around three in the afternoon. We took on another fifty gallons of fuel and tied up to the face dock. The marina is quite nice and caters to boats much bigger than ours. Just up ahead of us is a 130 foot yacht which they took nine motorcycles off of for Bike Week. Carol and I took the courtesy van and did some provisioning and settled in for the evening... cable TV and all. Early the next morning we walked a mile to the Saturday farmers market which is held at the ball park and we really loaded up on vegetables. I think we have enough stores on board now to last a while. Dave and Kathy showed up around ten and we took off to view the sights of Daytona and Bike Week 2000! We were both amazed at the sheer number of motorcycles in town. We also were amazed and amused at the 'uniform' everyone seems to wear. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was wearing black. Most of them also had the logo of the motorcycle on their clothing. Many of the women had clothing designed to cover the parts we bare and bare parts we cover. I fear I must have really stood out in the crowd as I had on shorts and a flowered shirt. However, it didn't stop the fun. We visited the Daytona Harley-Davidson shop, the biggest in the world and we visited Main Street where it was really 'happening' and we then went off to find the Iron Horse Saloon, which is world famous according to their signs. At the Iron Horse Saloon we heard great rock and roll and saw the sights of bike week. Venders of motorcycle stuff were everywhere and the mood was infectious. I can see how people get involved when there is this much spirit and camaraderie. By evening we were completely walked out and went back to the boat where Carol had a birthday cake waiting for Dave and Kathy... they both had celebrated birthdays since we had last seen them in January. It was sad saying good-bye again but it was sure good to be able to spend the day with them, especially in such an environment.
Sunday morning we set out for St. Augustine, 55 miles north. We arrived at three in the afternoon and anchored just south of the Bridge of Lions and the municipal marina. (Which could not accommodate us, as they are still recovering from hurricane damage from Hurricane Irene last fall.) This actually worked out well as the weather settled down and the anchorage was great. We stayed aboard and read and ate and just relaxed for the evening. The next morning we set out early to explore the town and went for a long walk. Just before eleven a.m. we entered the Cathedral of St. Augustine so pay our respects to Carol's Uncle Charlie who had passed away last week. His memorial services were being held at the same time back home, and we really missed our family just about then. Charlie will be missed by all. The remainder of the day as spent exploring the old village which is now nothing but tourist shops with things made elsewhere. We went back to the boat in the late afternoon and returned to take showers at the marina and then we went off to the Santa Maria restaurant and had a great meal and fed the birds through little opening doors. (The restaurant gives you stale bread for this activity... cool)
We then tried to walk off our meal and found our way into a gallery and chatted with David Cutter, the owner and an artist, for a while. People everywhere are so nice and it was a pleasure to visit with another artist. We then returned to the boat and just did nothing for the evening and retired early because we have a long way to go and are trying to get to Fernandina over sixty miles away. We anchored off the town docks in Fernandina around three in the afternoon and immediately set out in the dinghy to find a place to land. Tying to a public dock we walked the short distance to the town proper and found the tourist information building. The people there were quite helpful. It seems as though shops and restaurants are the bulk of business in Fernandina and Carol and I spent quite some time exploring what we could find. We also walked quite a way to purchase milk at a convenience store on the outskirts of town. Carol had found some scented candles as well, so armed with milk and candles we dinghied back to Vera Segunda for an evening aboard.
The next morning we weighed anchor and motored just a short seven miles to Cumberland Island where we have heard that there are wild horses. As we approached we saw quite a few horses wading in the water on the beach of Cumberland Sound. We motored in close and got some video and took several photos. We then headed for the dock at the 'Sea Camp" which is said to be open for tourists like us. However when we got there, we were greeted by a park ranger that was less than friendly toward boaters, and had no knowledge of boating. He told us to "park" our boat out away from the dock and then use our "smaller boat" to come to the floating dock. He also didn't know anything about the island. We had a good time none the less as we explored the ruins at Dungeness, the former home of the Carnegie's, which had burned several times in its' history. The wild horsed were everywhere and we even saw an armadillo. By noon we were heading back to Vera Segunda to continue a few miles further and find an anchorage for the day. We made it past St. Andrews sound and fueled at Jekyll Island and then continued on for another ten miles to anchor in the Frederica River. We had entered Georgia once we left Fernandina and the change in scenery was very dramatic. After Cumberland sound, the body of water that separated Georgia and Florida, the land really flattened out and we have been motoring through marsh ever since. The ICW is a long and winding road here, but it is beautiful. The marsh land is very low and flat and as you travel you can just see over the tops of the grasses and there are clumps of trees in the distance that must be growing on higher ground. This is the 'savanna' for sure. The past couple of nights we have anchored in small creeks or rivers off the ICW and have just enjoyed this part of our journey.
Bridges Passed Under/Through 684