Floridians!

Our physical legal domicile!

My brother, Russ, described our new license plate as “sexy”! I cannot disagree.

Today we finished a 2-week process of becoming legal residents in Florida!

Thanks to the guidance of the folks at St Brendan’s Isle mail service, and everyone at Clay County Tax Collector’s office, and the Supervisor of Elections, and the USPS. It all went according to our research for the past couple years.

Today we finished getting our drivers licenses, declarations of domicile, registrations for boat, dinghy, auto, and we registered to vote!

The (Dec 29) weather was beautiful… low 80’s! We can’t complain about that!

I gotta put in for a PTO day because it all took longer than expected. But it is DONE! We are Floridians!

Lots of exciting things to report!

1-We are officially FL residents! FL drivers licenses, FL registered boat, FL registered car (stored at second address in New England).

Rather than give you all our advice, we like this article from (yet un-met) “friends” Chris and Cherie:

https://www.technomadia.com/2013/02/setting-up-domicile-in-florida-as-a-full-time-rver/

Thank you Chris & Cherie!

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2- We rented a car!!! Wow! Un-restricted mobility in-port. It’s been a long time since we had that!!!

3- New E-Propulsion outboard!

4- Santa delivers more each day! So nice to be in one place to predict/accept deliveries.

5- Teeth cleaning appointments booked! WOW!

6-

Getting used to North Florida temps… and planning the rest of this winter (and next)!

7-

We found a place who would refill our fiberglass propane tank!

8- Merry Christmas!

Our holiday preparations are going well. Hope yours are too!

Boarded by the Coast Guard!

Shellerina was stopped and boarded by the USCG this morning in the outer Jacksonville FL harbor. “Welcome Aboard” was my first greeting.

We’ve been through this 3 times before over the years. Mostly it is a chance to show we’ve got everything in order.

Here is today’s checklist:

Drivers License

Boat Registration

PFDs

Flares w/o an expired date !

Fire Extinguishers

Horn works!

Bilge inspection

Asked about Boaters Safety certs etc. But did not ask to see. In past visits, USCG Rules Book was asked about too.

These young Guardsmen were friendly, courteous, professional.

As our hailing port is Long Island NY, the senior of the two was curious about Block Island (RI).

We carried on about our trips out there, and Block’s Wind Farm, etc. I gave him our boater’s card, he said he and his dad will look forward to checking out these pics and blog posts.

He also has a brother studying to be a wind farm tech or engineer or something.

shellerina.com/2017/06/10/vacation-day-8-cruise-day-3/

And

shellerina.com/2017/06/11/southeast-lighthouse/

Free Advice #1: Don’t chastise them for having an overloaded RIB! <wink>. Afterall, they have the guns. <wink>

(More tips below.)

These routine stops are called “4100-s” named after the form they fill out and give us a copy of.

FYI, it is important for one crew member of your boat to “stand watch” during this 20-25 minute “visit”.

e.g. In the swift currents of JAX harbor, we came real close to hitting a large nun buoy.

I quickly realized, these guys are not responsible for MY vessel while they are on-board.

Keep your engine running. (I let them know when I was in neutral so they knew it was safe to approach and board.)

So, after the near miss with the large nun buoy, Shelly took control of the helm at that point… Using idle speed maneuvering and the bow thruster to keep us in good shape, while I continued as “social director” with our guests.

My [serious] observation:

They will totally respect your need to put safe navigation above their requests for documents and information.

“Stay in control of your vessel at all times.”

Advice #2:

Work it out with the Admiral ahead of time, “Who is doing what?!”

Who is standing watch and keeping your vessel off the rocks and/or not hitting “stuff” and

Who is going to entertain these “guests”, blowing horns and digging out flares and registration docs and the like! LOL

Advice #3:

Know where this “stuff” is on your boat! (Thus my list for you, above!)

There is nothing illegal about: “Honey, where are the fire extinguishers?!” But… well… We should all aspire to something higher than that! <grin>

Advice #4:

Lastly, try to enjoy the experience with these young “Coasties” as best you possibly can.

(It has never been “unpleasant” for us, in several boardings over the years. )

We hit bottom at low tide at the entrance to this marina

This image shows the bad spot with us leaving early (at high tide) the next morning.

Palm Cove Marina

ICW mm 747.4

Jacksonville FL

We came in at low tide. That was a mistake.

There is a 2-foot offset for our transducer, and a rise and fall of 3.5 feet. So, hitting was inevitable at dead low.

Unfortunately, there was no chance of knowing from all the cruising guides we checked.

This business is well-established, clean, and their fuel was reasonable.

But, be mindful of the tide if you opt for this marina!

My suspicion is that this sign tells customers what they can expect for depth on their way out. (The dockhand wouldn’t confirm.). They should put one at the entrance!

Hitting bottom… Never fun.

Luckily, no “serious” new vibrations, the next morning underway.

St Augustine – night 2+3

A good mix of old and new art adorned the walls.

Don’t let all these empty tables fool you. It was a cold and dreary Sunday morning when I took these pics. This place was packed yesterday afternoon and evening. Which is their norm here. The indoor tables were all full this hour, one of them by us!!!

The Jerked Chicken Roll was the best!

We came at lunch time, before the Tom Brady football game, because we were concerned about a long wait for a table at dinner. Great game v. Buffalo Bills went into OT. But the Bucks took the win!

In how many of these pics can you see Shellerina?

Honest review of this as a place to stay for next year?

We won’t be back here for a prolonged stay because the pool was “open” but not being cleaned (or heated).

Conch House Marina Resort has all the right ingredients to live up to the word “resort” in its name. But they disappointed us on that one huge feature that we were looking forward to.

If the pool is managed by the motel staff, the marina staff should take over the pool, and get it cleaned and heated.

Does this marina have a lot of vacancies? No. So that’s why we are not keeping our hopes up for an improvement here.

The customer service attitude here was ALMOST as good as we experienced at the St Augustine Municipal Marina, which was exemplary BTW.

St Augustine (FL) (night 1)

“Highly Recommended”

…. from every source telling us what not to miss in FL.

We started on the left, by the large municipal marina close to the Bridge of Lions.

Nights 2+3 were over on the right side of this map (above).

Great staff + customer service.

The annual “Nights of Lights” festival was in full swing (Dec).

The whole town was lit up!

But not only the town:

Many of the boats were too!

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There were long lines at the local hot spots.

So, we decided to “settle” on a hotel’s restaurant.

Guess what!

We were VERY pleasantly surprised. Aviles was great.

This place had fabulous dishes. The scallops on the appetizers menu are themselves worth the trip!

Close up LAUNCH tonight!

We will be anchored nearby! (Just N of Addison Point Bridge aka Rte 405 “NASA Parkway”)…about 9-10 miles away from the launch pad. Depths appear to be as marked on the charts. There were two sailboats sharing the anchorage with us tonight.

Thanks to AGLCA Harbor Host, John Noll for giving us the heads up about this event!

http://spacecoastlaunches.com/launch-schedule/

And, the line up for the next several months:

spacecoastlaunches.com/launch-list/

The green arrow shows where we are anchored. The green circle around Launch Pad 39A shows where the launch happens.

Addendum:

Here is a 3-minute video of the launch as seen from a Wyze CAM V3 mounted on the stern of our boat.

The unmanned mission was completed successfully about 33 minutes after launch by deploying a specialized celestial IXPE telescope in a circular, equatorial orbit 600km above the Earth. That required two precisely-timed “burns” of the second stage of the rocket. All which occurred after the successful landing of the first stage on a floating barge whose name is, Just Read The Directions. (The second stage is also expected to be recovered and re-used.)

This satellite’s mission is expected to last for two years.

There is no sound in the video, as there was a 36-second delay in sound arriving at the boat, as sound travels slower than light. Plus I have blocked the mic port on the CAM to prevent water intrusion, as it is running 24×7 outside in the weather. There is one on the bow as well.

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Addendum 2

Better pic of our relative position, over 1/4 mile from ICW channel.

Late night = sleep in, and as you might expect: wake from morning traffic in the channel could be felt.

Chart shows we could have braved this anchorage more deeply. Let us know how y’all make out with that.

Loggerhead Marina – Vero Beach FL

This morning we push off from Loggerhead in “The Hamptons of Florida” Vero Beach.

We’ll be back in February!

New docks with new WiFi.

1 mile from Publix.

We hosted my brother Steve and our local friend James for dinner on the fly bridge last evening. Great fun, each got AGLCA 2021 Fleet T-Shirts! All the boats doing the loop this year are listed on the back!

Recommendations on Old Roosevelt Bridge (Stuart FL)

Pictured here are 3 bridges, the large Roosevelt Bridge, the RR Bridge, and the “Old Roosevelt Bridge” (the one that needs to open for boats like ours.)

Free advice… (worth every bit you paid for it) :

1) Monitor VHF-09 at opening bridges in FL!

2) Do not assume all the other boats are monitoring VHF-09.

3) If possible, know which way the tide’s current will be going when you go, (with you or against you.) Keeping in mind, of course, that the direction of flow will change with the tide, and at times there will be NO flow i.e. at “slack tide!” (i.e. when the current is changing its direction in that spot.)

4) Know which [sometimes complex] opening schedule will be in-place before you get there.

5) Different bridge tenders take different amounts of control over the “situation”.

If you are anchoring or staying nearby, it is also a good idea to monitor 09 for a few hours before you set out … at least on this one bridge.

Why?

There may be a few local ‘conventions’ that you might hear about in the chatter that are not found in any of the cruising guides.

For example, as boats “pile up” on both sides of the bridge, the boats going WITH the current generally go though first. (This relates to USCG Inland Rule # 9).

For us (noon opening on a Thursday)… the sched: every 30 minutes on the hour and 30-minute mark. East bound tide with us… (We were leaving Sunset Bay Marina for Vero Beach.)

It seemed that the boats in both directions greeted the bridge tender as they arrived and got courteous acknowledgements.

It seemed like we were in for a well-coordinated opening at the top of the hour.

Several smaller boats kept simply passing without having to wait for the opening.

About 11:55 a large west-bound shrimp trawler (whom none of us east-bounders could see) asked the bridge tender if he could pass through first.

There was some “concern” in his voice about his ability to maintain control of his vessel without making headway near these narrow bridges.

(I thought, “Why don’t old shrimp trawlers have bow thrusters, like we have!”) <grin>

The bridge tender first said, “That is usually worked out between the boaters.” But then she added, “Usually those going against the current wait for those going WITH.”

She then asked the east-bound vessels if we minded if the shrimper and a few west bounders went first. Several of us agreed to the request.

The bridge opened.

A cruiser, who obviously did not have VHF-09 on, put his arms in the air looking at me as if to say, “Why aren’t you going?!?”

I “projected my voice” back to him to turn on channel 9 so he’d know what is going on and there was a large shrimper passing west first. “OK!” He replied, “Thank you.”

Meantime, a large east bound sport fisherman was in-gear heading swiftly for the opened bridge from the rear of the east-bound pack!

The shrimper, in a panic, on his radio shouted, “There isn’t enough room in here for both of us!” Once the large sport fisherman saw a shrimp trawler coming right at him, he quickly put it in reverse and got the hell out of the way… returning to his place in the back if the line!

The shrimper passed, two other larger pleasure craft passed west bound behind him. I asked the bridge tender if there were any other west-bound vessels. She said “No, it is clear to go.”

Shellerina was first in line though most of this ordeal, (except when the sport fisherman decided that he’d try to go first). So we then passed through the small opened bascule bridge, then through the normally open RR bridge, then under the large Roosevelt bridge… now leading a “parade” of a half dozen larger boats east.

While I was calm through it all, now that it was all behind us, my body was telling me, “Now that was stressful!” It took 20-30 minutes to simply feel normal again underway.

Post eval:

One challenge here is not everyone had VHF-09 on!

We all assumed everyone was informed of “The Plan”.

Another challenge, which you can see in the pics, is one cannot see what is happening on the other side of these two small bridge openings.

Lastly, the bridge tenders cannot “take charge” of the situation if everyone isn’t on the same frequency. (And there are limitations as to what we can expect of them.)

Honestly friends, I wouldn’t avoid this bridge, per se; just be as prepared as possible… and, expect the unexpected!

Final note, the (normally open) RR bridge is an active RR bridge with large freight trains passing, including some double high freight cars. (It seems they are more active at night.). But the [complex] bridge opening schedule for the Old Roosevelt Bridge is related to and impacted by the RR bridge’s activity.

Honestly, I could not try to understand ALL the opening rules published for this bridge. (There is also the issue of trusting the source and revision date!) i.e. “I read it on the Internet!!!” <wink>

For me, I just focused on the schedule in-play when we were going to pass. And we generally avoided “rush hour” on week days, as it seemed the opening schedule got more squirrelly at those times.

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Sunset Bay Marina & Anchorage – (Stuart FL)

Ok, so the cruising guides will tell you all you need to know about this place. If you can afford a night or three at $3.25 /ft, and if they have room for you… it is worth it, IMO.

If that’s too much for you, seriously, skip to #6 below.

What I will focus on is a few things that I liked, that you won’t read elsewhere.

1) a bunch of (free) bikes to get you to the hardware store. Yes I tried this! Worked.

OR shuttle bus (did not try).

OR Lyft+Uber. Both worked.

Publix is also nearby.

2) Cut stonework impressed me… Looks like a waterway on my chart plotter!

3) BEST coffee (and Seriously FAST WiFi) at Gilberts. Actually worked all the way out to the end of B-Dock. Yes the marina had WiFi too. But Gilbert’s worked better for me.

(With my directional yagi antenna, I’m sure I could get Gilbert’s WiFi from the anchorage across the river. Password is posted on the wall for all to see. Nice artwork in there!)

4) Nicole. The Administrative Manager of this marina. When you talk to her you’ll know why Nicole makes this list.

5) Sailor’s patio and Sailor’s lounge. Up Stairs or use elevator.

The single most un-used asset of this marina. The perfect setting for Docktails.

I should have put on the Weather Channel for this pic.

Can you spot Shellerina?!

(neither can I)

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6) Dinghy Dock!

Not to be under-stated.

Dockage is at a premium. MOORING BALLS may also be unavailable.

SO, this place sports dinghy docks to make town available to you if you anchor out across the river from the mooring field. Dozens were there this week, and all were using these dinghy docks to access town.

I think Nicole has a reasonable way for anchor-ers to even get access to laundry, bikes, etc. Call and ask.

I’ll update this post once we know fer sure.

Stuart FL is a hot spot close to town. Dinghy Docks are a big feature.

7) the on-prem restaurant, Sailors Return, was great. AND they have courtesy dockage!

shellerina.com/2021/11/30/dinner-on-the-marina-premises

You just gotta figure out how to navigate in there! LOL. (And navigate OUT … once you have finished dessert!)

Several boats figured it out and tied up to this courtesy dockage for dinner while we were there. (Probably locals. But if they can do it, why can’t YOU?!)

Good luck beating the colorful lights of this fellow!

(I don’t think the lights are a prerequisite to courtesy dockage for dinner.)

Stay the night there at the courtesy dock???

Good luck! I’ll leave that to y’all to dicker for. <wink>

8) BONUS!

History buffs:

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The Old Roosevelt Bridge probably deserves a post of its very own. I’ll work on it.

Brian Adams’s forum post on “Fuel Price - WOW” mentions this interesting piece of transportation infrastructure. I’ll see what I have for pics for you.

As you might expect, its not the bridge itself, but the humans that make this interesting.

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