We have a VIP on the boat!
15 minutes to Mothers Day 2023…
Green Cove Springs FL
Today, Shelly and I drove around a bit to become better acquainted with our new “home town”.
It is the county seat for Clay County, and there are a number of large and small law firms in town. It is not uncommon to see a well-dressed attorney walking to or from the courthouse from their offices in this village.
You cannot quite see the underwater features of this deep spring bringing warm water to the surface.
But if you look very closely to this pic below you may be able to see some of the underwater structure of the spring.
The spring feeds the nearby municipal swimming pool with incredibly clean water.
Then the pool has a weir from which the warm spring water transfers from the pool into to a creek which leads into the St John’s River! Just a couple weeks ago, anchored in Pirate’s Cove just north of here, I was amazed that hardly any salt could be tasted in this brackish, nearly fresh water… which still is affected by the tides and the sea.
Reportedly, there are several springs like this feeding the St John’s River.
All this is on Walnut Street, same street as our home mailing address (411 Walnut St # 17541, Green Cove Springs FL 32043). Exciting!
Port 32 – Ortega Landing
Feels like we are back “home” again, as we stayed here for 3 months last winter.
$3.9999999 / gallon!
Doctor’s Lake Marina, St Johns River FL
Our planned destination was Green Cove Springs, but it is very exposed. Maybe tomorrow, if the weather is better.
“Butler Beach G-43” anchorage mm 786.2
We were on our way to St. Augustine, but were not going to make it in time for a 2:00pm Zoom meeting. So, several cruising guides showed this to be an anchorage (but no reviews).
We decided to try it out! Observations.
1. We saw only 4.2 feet of water here at mid tide. We didn’t dare going further down.
2 . There was wake from the nearby ICW.
We anchored very close to the long private wharfs as that’s where depth was was barely adequate. After a second meeting at 4:00pm we were off to Salt Run anchorage near the Conch House in St. Augustine.
Bottom Line is this: While “it worked” it may not be a suitable for us or others next time through.
Unfortunately, our Dual-Transducer Raymarine Axiom chart plotter which creates nice bottom contour lines, has been on the fritz, so we could not get a thorough bathymetry picture for you. Our older OEM depth sounder works fine.
Hammock Beach Marina
Right across the ICW from Palm Coast Marina’s fixed docks and [uncomfortably] narrow fingers, the larger Hammock Beach Marina with cement floating docks was worth a try. They have a swimming pool and great amenities for “normal” rates $2.25 + electric. We took the shuttle to their other property nearby for dinner at the private club, Atlantic Grill. Finally, a place with food as good as Shelly’s cooking! Great service.
Tnx Tim V ! For correction.
Daytona Beach anchorages
There are several popular anchorages on the ICW Halifax River passing thru Daytona Beach. They tides do cause a reciprocating current. Different hull types react to this differently. For example our trawler reacts to tidal currents differently than, say, a full keel sailboat if the same length.
More to follow on this post.
Itinerary for the next week or two.
Today we left Cooks Creek at mile marker ICW (mm) 893.5
It was a short ride to Daytona Beach mm 829.
Tomorrow, we will leave at 8:00am to make Hammock Beach Marina by noon. It appears to be a very nice place with a swimming pool and laundry facilities. The smell of dirty laundry is tough after a couple weeks.
We’ll have our own pics tomorrow.
Then will come one of the anchorages in St Augustine. mm 778. Notice the mm mile markers are getting smaller. Where is mile ZERO? Answer is below!
North of St Augustine, we will exit the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW mm 740) and make Blount Island in the St Johns River.
We hope to explore a bit more of the St Johns River in the weeks ahead. Most of the passages detailed above are less than 2 hours each. So we should be able to fit some of them in them on work days either at sunrise or before sunset., depending on my appointments.
The ICW or Intra Coastal Waterway begins in Norfolk VA (mm zero) and goes all the way to Brownsville TX. Check back as this blog post is not done yet!!!
Titusville – anchored south of A. Max Brewer Bridge
We saw our first daylight rocket launch Wednesday morning… less impressive than the two nighttime launches we’ve seen from this area.
45 miles to Cocoa FL
Faber Cove, Fort Pierce FL
Really great anchorage. It is bigger than it looks on the maps; lots of big boats in here tied up at private residences.
Temporarily anchored to let T-storm pass.
ICW mm 992.1
May: Port 32 Ortega Landing, Jacksonville FL
We have booked the month of May in one of our favorite marinas which was home for 3 months last year. We’ll have our car, we’ll get all doctored up and dentisted, and enjoy the pool and hot tub. St John’s River is our hailing port, so this is as close to having a “home” as we’ve got! LOL
It’s a great place!
We’ll also get to go swimming at the YMCA pool in JAX.
We’ve got just under 300 miles to go in 20 days. Doable. We’ll have to leave a couple days early in late May to get north of the 32nd parallel for the hurricane season starting June 1. (NOAA does not allow hurricanes north of latitude 32°. So many yacht insurance policies call for policy holders to north of 32° from June 1 to November 1.
Easter Sunday – Pelican Hbr to West Palm Beach
For pics of Mara Lago: https://shellerina.com/2023/04/09/mara-lago/
Last week it was Key Biscayne (Richard Nixon’s fave), this week it’s Mara Lago. Rest assured, it wasn’t intentional or by design. I guess we agree with them on ONE thing: these are beautiful places on this planet.
In the first pic, it looks like a LOT of cars are parked on the lawn just north of the tennis courts. Must be a big Easter dinner or something. ((Kosher Ham I figure.))
We found good holding here. Some wake from the traffic on the ICW will make its way in here during the day, especially on weekends. So, it “looks” like the perfect anchorage; it falls just short of that, but still ranks high on our list.
There a few places on the ICW where 25 mph speeds are allowed. In a few, both sides of the canal have cement walls. So the wave energy just bounces off the walls (both sides) and come back into the ICW. There is an amazing amount of wave energy coming at boats from every angle. UNFORTUNATELY this segment of the ICW, by Pelican Harbor, fits this characteristic trait. So, it makes this anchorage earn a 4 instead of a 5.
Pier Sixty Six Marina – Ft Lauderdale
They are about 14 months to completion.
Lake Boca Raton on a Saturday afternoon…
Southern Florida is not known for courteous boaters, nor a high level of seamanship.
To my amazement, he gunned it just as we approached, turned sharply to his left and completed a 180° turn directly in front of us!
Geez… everyone was lucky we were only going idle speed, so I was able to yell and stop.
It could have been disastrous. I have no idea if the skipper knew I was even in the area. Instead letting someone else be the spotter, so he can drive the boat, I suspect everyone’s attention was on the wake boarder in the water.
There were about a dozen boats anchored nearby, so we slowed down. Obviously these folks are oblivious to waking an anchorage.
This was the middle of the day on a Wednesday. Reportedly, it gets worse on the weekends.
My Wyze Cam v3 Pro cameras usually record video and saves it to the micro SD card. For some reason that video was not retained, but the “AI human person” trigger kicked in so at least I have a still pic to share with you all.
Everywhere: expect the unexpected, but that is even more important in Southern FL!
No Name Cove, Key Biscayne FL
Shelly and I are really close to calling this cove “Our Favorite” … on par with Shellerina’s Rock
Crandon Park Marina
Ray’s persistent neck pain was becoming an issue. It was not getting better with several strategies that usually work. This week, it was getting worse! Shelly said, “We gotta get you into a doctor.” Can’t do that from an anchorage! So we had to find a slip for a few nights.
As you get into Southern Florida you run into the following characteristics:
Marina’s are more expensive ($5-$8 per foot)
Marinas are full, often needing reservations weeks in advance.
Boaters are less courteous, waking is very common. So you need to prepare the salon and galley for a rough ride… even if you are only going a few miles on the ICW.
But we learned that Miami-Dade County owns several marinas that are in the area. One of them, with a very reasonable rate of $2.10/ foot… it was close… and they could take us for 3 nights!!! That gave us access to Lyft and Urgent Care physicians in the area. One even had x-ray imaging on-site.
With no appointment, we got in. Diagnosis was a left Trapezius muscle that has been spasm-ing for weeks. X-rays and two injections (muscle relaxer and anti/inflammatory) were given to confirm. X-rays were normal, and the shots helped. So some pills for muscle relaxers were prescribed.
We signed up for three nights (Wed, Thur, Fri) because we did not know how easy it was going to be to see a doctor.
This strategy also enabled us to meet up with co-worker Janet Pincus and BF Lawrence for dinner… strategy worked! We had a great time at an Argentine restaurant nearby Friday night. Sorry, we forgot to take a team photo!
Delray Beach City Marina
We stayed here for 3 nights in March 2023.
An excellent small marina.
Pricilla Patrick is the woman with whom you will make reservations. The $65 fee is for Delray Beach residents. We paid $95 per night for non-residents. Free ice machine, Free Laundry (1 washer 1 dryer), very clean facilities, free pump out at your slip. Very helpful Marty described himself as the “ambasador” … as he is not always here. He WILL do his best to be here when you arrive if you call ahead. (I don’t think he is a full time employee.)
The slips are cement floating docks.
There is NOT a lot of current here. So, you should NOT have a problem pulling into the slip on any tide; slips are perpendicular to the narrow ICW in this stretch.
Our UPS shipments from Amazon made it here, and Instacart delivered successfully. However, US Mail does not reliably get delivered here. So our SBI mail forwarding got “returned to sender” a bummer to be sure.
There is no marina “courtesy car” according to Marty and Pricilla. However: https://www.delraybeachfl.gov/government/city-departments/public-works/transportation-traffic/downtown-shuttle-service
We may stay an extra day just to try it out!
Delray Beach is a great town; be sure to check it out. A lot is walking distance from the marina.
West Palm Beach SE – (Worth Lake)
We anchored in the SE corner of this area because the highly regarded area in between the two free docks was occupied by the West Palm Beach International boat show dockage.
The tidal currents were strong, and 2-3 sailboats broke loose and hit the bridge to the south of us. One dismasted.
Because of the brisk North winds and the reciprocating tidal currents we were, at times , taking waves on our beam. This was too rolly to be comfortable. So, we deployed a stern anchor to the south to keep our bow into the wind as the tide current changed. That went rough, but we finally got it set the way we needed, and it was comfortable in all tidal cycles.
There are a LOT of big boats pirouetting around this harbor waiting for their turn to go into the Boat Show dockage. VHF-71 was very active with logistics getting boats into the show which starts on Thursday.
8 years ago today:
Maine Boatbuilders Show, Portland Maine 2015
US Naval Observatory
Do you like Indian food?
We love Indian food. The quest for trade directly with India, for spices and other goods, inspired Christopher Columbus and other quests for a direct shipping channel between western Europe and India in the 1400’s. In 2023, We love Indian spices aboard Shellerina.
Tonight, Shelly created a dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, that we both love. But instead of rice, she used fettuccini. My goodness! It was good!
West Palm Beach Mystery Solved.
We were aiming for the highly acclaimed anchorage in between the two free city docks.
However, when we got here around 4:00 (long slow day through no wake zones) there was no anchorage to be found?! This area was all filled in with docks & boats. Plus there were a dozen or two large power boats at idle (not anchored) in the vicinity. Very odd!
We zigged and zagged around all the big boats that were idling all over the place. Then found a good spot on the other side of the harbor to drop the anchor and think a bit to figure out what is going on, and what we will do.
After a while at anchor I called the local TowBoatUS. He explained that the anchorage is closed for a big international boat show next week. The big boats doing their pirouettes in the vicinity were all boat show exhibits waiting their turn to go into their show slips!
Then we set the VHF radio to scan all channels to determine which channel(s) the boat show staff was using to coordinate the “loading up” of boat show slips.
ICW mile marker 1000
We passed ICW mm 1000 today and dropped the hook where several other boats were anchoring.
This day was an easy 20 statute miles from Stuart and including a fuel stop, it was about 3 hours on a Friday afternoon after I had gotten all my work done for the week.
The ICW or “American Intracoastal Waterway” starts in Norfolk VA (mile zero). Then goes all the way to Brownsville TX on a mostly inland series of man-made canals and natural waterways. It is safer and easier than “going outside” for most powerboats under 40 or 50 feet… and many sailboats too. North of Norfolk, there are some “waterways” but not as much of an intrastate organized system as the ICW.
Stuart FL for one night.
We stayed at the free dock at city hall in bustling down town Stuart. There is a 4-hour limit posted on signs, and no overnighters.
We arrived at 3:15pm and the Plan A was to simply anchor off the dock a few 100 feet between the dock and the St Lucy ICW. There were two sailboats and one trawler anchoring off on the Thursday night that we were in town.
When we got back four hours later at sunset, several locals suggested we just stay on the dock. “This county is pretty chill.” i.e. not hot tempered. Having a little rebel blood in our veins: That Plan B actually worked for us.
PROs: Several restaurants all walking distance. Floating cement docks in “good” condition. (Zero evidence of hurricane damage.) We called Parks & Rec at city hall to verify the dock was in good shape and available for transients to go ashore for a few hours. They welcomed us and our Plan A was “No problem at all! That what it is there for.”
Plan B didn’t exist yet. LOL. There are municipal restrooms and showers open to the public during daytime in the city hall building. They have 316 Stainless Steel ‘prison’ heads but things were acceptably cleaned and attended to.
CONs: it is not very protected from wakes and weather. This dock is part of a city Boardwalk. So, there is a lot of foot traffic and joggers. So groups of young people are louder than others, and there is one commercial Tiki Party boat that drops off and picks up there.
The dock is long, so the din from the bars/restaurants , and sidewalk musicians won’t bother most cruisers. But it’ll be too noisy for some others.
The “slips” to the right of the cement floating dock offered some protection from the wind and wakes. Our 39 x 14.5 ft trawler fit. Be ready to use fender boards and fenders and an extra spring line. Avoid spending long ours on the open face front docks, but technically we aren’t allowed to spend long hours there.
Funny story: before pushing off this a.m. Shelly and I both decided to use the city hall’s public restrooms and bring our trash in.
As we were slowly walking back to our boat to start the engine and push off, two police officers passed us (walking with purpose) on the long dock walkway. We are slow compared to anyone on foot.
We both thought, “We’re Busted” for staying overnight! Our Hearts beating harder than normal as we watched as the the two peace officers walked up then right by Shellerina and continued to simply inspect everything else going on on the city’s docks! Lucked out!
There are no signs of staff, dock hands, or rules enforcement. So, make your own decisions. My Bottom line: I think I recommend this place on a day with NON-stormy weather, and a Plan A approach to visit a welcoming town. For lunch, dinner, or whatever YOU dare! <wink>
The pic crosshairs above show where the free dock is in relationship to other famous marinas in this town. We stayed at Sunset Bay https://shellerina.com/2021/12/03/sunset-bay-marina-anchorage-stuart-fl/ on our Loop Dec 2021.
That place is on the “wrong” side of the railroad bridge that will be closed for a few months soon. So look up that detail. This free dock is on the east “right” side and will not be impacted by the St Lucie waterway shutdown due to maintenance on that well used RR bridge.
Family Connections in Stuart FL
We tied up at the [free] city dock in downtown Stuart, then Gary came over to pick us up to feed us free tacos at their home!
Loop Crossing Celebration!
Debbie and Tim Gibbs of Table Six crossed their wake this week, so Shelly & I, and Al & Arleen Mauger of Arion, and Judi & Jerry McNeely of Imagine had to help them celebrate!
Ft Pierce FL. ICW mm 966
Bimini – Bahamas is getting closer!
The 10-12 mph breeze is keeping us cool. We have decided to head south as the forecasts tell us that the very warm February will be followed by a cooler March.
Bimini is about 45 nm from Miami. We’ll likely cross from Ft Lauderdale.
We are very excited today to hear from Tim Gibbs and his Admiral Debbie. They are just 47 miles south of us in Ft Pierce. So we’ll get to celebrate their Wake Crossing in a couple days. They are AGLCA Harbor Hosts from Cleveland OH, where we met them in July of 2021 when we were passing through that port. Tim was very helpful. Their boat, Table Six, is the same Mainship 390 that our boat is.
Anchored in the lee of Melbourne Causeway tonight… ICW mm 918
Providence – more than just a city in RI
Providence – meaning “God provides”
We just pushed off from a week and a day at Cocoa Village Marina FL. It was an enchanting week with great people surrounding us each day.
Lyle and Chris had come through for us a couple days ago with much needed assistance on the solar project.
Lyle’s father needed to get from their boat to the marina parking lot and then to the hospital. A wheelchair was needed for the task, as his dad was incapacitated.
Ken and Lyle walked over to the nearby dentist office to see if, by chance, they had a wheelchair. Sitting there in the waiting room was Shelly, who was standing vigil while I was getting my dental work done.
Shelly said, “I have a wheelchair, right on our boat!” One slip away from Lyle’s boat was her wheelchair which they then used to get Lyle’s dad to the hospital where he has been admitted. Our prayers are with him as he is reportedly having a tough time.
North or South?!
The abnormal heat in Southeastern US that characterized the month of February and the first week of March has made us decide to reconsider our south bound trek.
“Let’s turn North!” When at anchor, we have had to start the generator to get A/C to cool the boat down before going to bed. OR we pay to stay in a marina with shore power so we get A/C that way.
But check out this data:
As found on this link:
So, maybe we’ll continue South!
S. F. Travis Company
Cocoa Village FL is famous for it’s outstanding hardware store, walking distance from the docks.
Yes. They have rope!
…Added another 200w PV solar panel.
The aft array of two 200 watt (each) solar panels was getting shaded by the radar too often. So, today I installed a third. The AWG 10 wire was enough to accommodate the extra flow and the Solar Controller (150 volts in / 35 Amps out) could easily handle it (new config: 3x 19 vdc = 57 vdc / 13 A).
I rented an SUV to drive to Ft Lauderdale FL to pick up a fourth 200w PV solar panel.
The drive to Ft Lauderdale: 3 hour drive each way with stops. I am not used to driving long distances any more. Brutal.
Dentist on the Dock!
Dr. Lunstrum came highly recommended by “Ken” the GM and dock master here at Cocoa Village Marina (FL) ICW mm 897.3
I cracked my #3 (first molar upper right) on Friday night, so that meant that our 1 night stay would extend to Monday at least. This dental practice is 50 feet from this marina! I learned that they are not “in network” for my dental insurance. But the reputation and close proximity is key when cruising. It’s like he is practicing dentistry right on my dock!
They have the CAD/CAM technology on-prem to make their own crowns. https://cocoavillagedentistry.com/cosmetic-dentistry/cerec/
So, we are staying here a full week to have my crown done on Thursday. Gotta stay flexible if cruising.
ADDENDUM: At the dentist office to make the crown. Thursday March 9, 2023.
They will be relieving the ISS crew that has been up there since October 2022.
I believe the bright star showing up in the center of this view is Bootes.
Anchored in Titusville tonight…
We left Cooks Creek today and anchored in Titusville. It was a great passage!
Four more astronauts are heading up to the International Space Station to relieve the crew that has been there since October.
We are still enjoying our anchorage here between Ponce de Lion Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. As mentioned, this Cooks Creek reciprocates with the tide. So, sometimes we are in a northerly current heading (ebb) out the inlet. Six hours later we are in flood, the current is strong in the opposite south direction.
On a hot afternoon halfway between ebb and flood, what is a man to do?
Jump into the water for a swim, of course. The water is 76°F and it feels SO good… refreshing. The heat is just sucked out of my body. It saves our fresh water supply too.
Just in case, I put out a safety line. I could tell there was no current by looking at bubbles off the swim platform. But, the safety line is “free insurance” and makes the Admiral feel better!
No crocks or sharks got me.
Porpoise here in our Cooks Creek anchorage…
I was taking some additional video of the current on our trip line buoy, and heard porpoise to my left. Listen carefully, you may here them as well.
An eventful weekend here in Cook’s Creek…just chillaxin’!!!
Anchored between Ponce de Lion Inlet and New Smyrna Beach
Lots of boats seem to like to “cruise” thru the secondary “anchorage channel” just to take a closer look at all of us who are anchored here from other ports of the eastern seaboard.
Some of them even observe the no wake zone!
The best approach to get into the anchorage channel from the ICW is between R18A and R20, then go south as far as you’d like. There is plenty of water in here… (until there isn’t. <wink>)
It’s actually fun to watch all the boats going by on Satudays and Sundays. Here we are in late February with temps in the 80s! Fortunately, today there is a breeze. Late yesterday we actually had to run the generator so we could have A/C for an hour or so. There was no breeze and it was hot.
The current reciprocates with the tide here, so care must be taken if one wants to jump in for a swim! Time it at slack tide and/or put a tailing line out for added security.