Thursday, June 4, 2009

We're Headed South

Location: Delray Beach, FL

Hi everyone,

We are finally on our way to the Keys and we are having a great time. As I write you now, we are in Delray Beach, FL. I have not had an opportunity to post anything to the blog before now because we have spent every night in an anchorage and have not had internet access. Tonight is our first night in a marina since we left Jacksonville and the marina has free wi-fi, so we can catch you up on things.

Basically, our routine has been similar each day: wake up, take me to shore for shore leave (i.e. potty break), pull up anchor, travel down the ICW, anchor, take me to shore for shore leave, eat dinner, take me to shore one last time, and then crash so we can start the routine all over again. And we have been averaging about 50 miles per day (with the exception of south Florida where there are so many draw bridges that slow us down).

Since we have covered a lot of water since I last posted to the blog, I am going to give you the highlights of our trip.

DAY 1:

We finally began our sailing adventure, said good bye to Palm Cove Marina and Jacksonville Beach and we headed south.

Once we got under way, I had an opportunity to get some much needed rest while Admiral Sandy was at the helm. Packing and preparations to leave were very tiring for me. As you can see, I am really good at sleeping on the boat.

One of my jobs as First Mate is to help Captain Jim drive the boat when he is at the helm:

We spent our first night anchored in St. Augustine. Here is the view of the St. Augustine Lighthouse from our anchorage.

DAY 2:

The day was beautiful, sunny and breezy. As First Mate, I help with navigation along the way. This would probably explain why we ran aground twice trying to leave the St. Augustine anchorage. Actually, the tide was really low and there were shoaled areas that we found as we were leaving the anchorage. Fortunately, we did not get stuck.

Note from Admiral Sandy: From now on we are going to read Skipper Bob’s Anchorage Guide before we enter or leave an anchorage. If you are going to be traveling the ICW, we highly recommend you taking “Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway” by Skipper Bob Publications. Thanks to Fland for loaning us his!

This is our boat anchored off the Seabreeze bridge in Daytona Beach:

While anchored in Daytona Beach, we saw dolphins for the first time. It is unusual that we didn’t see dolphins in St. Augustine, so we were glad to finally see them.

DAY 3:

We saw the Ponce Inlet lighthouse on our way to New Smyrna.

We anchored in Titusville outside the Titusville Municipal Marina. In the marina, we saw manatee and dolphins. It was an amazing sight to see six manatees swimming together under the marina docks. The marina staff said that they see as many as 30 manatees in their marina.

DAY 4:
Monday June 1st: DESTINATION PALM BAY (Marker 20)

Once again, the day was beautiful, sunny and breezy. As we passed Cape Canaveral, we saw the shuttle launching pads but they were too far away to get a photo.

The wind blew in our face all day and got stronger as the day wore on. But, it didn’t keep me from getting my beauty sleep.

We were glad to finally reach our anchorage. We anchored behind an island which blocked the wind and made the anchorage very comfortable. Here is a photo of the beautiful sunset that night:

DAY 5:

Before pulling up anchor, Captain Jim took me to the island for shore leave:

Once we passed the Fort Pierce Inlet, the water became a lighter green color instead of the brown color we see in Jacksonville Beach.

We anchored for the night north of the Jensen Beach bridge. We would have preferred to anchor south of the bridge because the holding is better there, but the winds were blowing strong from the south and the north anchorage was more protected behind the bridge causeway. We actually had to anchor twice in the north anchorage because the anchor did not hold the first time we dropped the anchor.

Here is a photo of the Jensen Beach bridge from our anchorage spot:

DAY 6:

It’s another beautiful day, but the winds are still blowing from the southeast. After passing the St. Lucie Inlet, we saw some dolphins north of the Hobe Sound bridge.

Watching for dolphin is a hard job, so I had to take a rest.

We passed the Jupiter Inlet and the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse:

As we got farther south, there were many more draw bridges (bascule bridges) that only open at designated times. So we had to spend a lot of time waiting for the bridges to open. Fortunately, there was a nice little beach where I was able to run and play while we waited for the Donald Ross Bridge in Juno Beach.

We found a nice anchorage in Old Cove of North Palm Beach and were enjoying the chance to relax a little until some young boys showed up in two power boats. They drove their power boats throughout the anchorage for 3 hours, causing all the boats in the anchorage to toss and disrupting the serenity. Where are the anchorage police when you need them?

When the boys finally left, we were able to enjoy the rest of the evening on the hook (sailor terms for "at anchor"). Here is the view of the sunset from our anchorage spot. Notice: as we get closer to West Palm Beach, the buildings are getting bigger.

It was such a tiring day, I really zonked out.

DAY 7:

The day started out cloudy and we had some off and on showers in the morning, but it was sunny and beautiful when we passed West Palm Beach. While passing through West Palm Beach, we were amazed to see a sting ray jump completely out of the water!

In West Palm Beach, the buildings are getting bigger (you can see palm trees on the tops of the building to the right).

The matching pair of black and white high rises on the right are Trump Plaza. Boy, am I glad that Mr. Trump never built anything like this in Jax Beach!

The boats are getting bigger too. These yachts are bigger than my house in Jax Beach!

We went through 8 draw bridges today and this was the last one before we made it to the marina in Delray Beach.

We are tied up in the Delray Harbor Club Marina for the night because there were no anchorages in this area that we could dinghy to shore. Being at the marina has been nice because Captain Jim doesn’t have to worry about taking me to shore. Admiral Sandy has really enjoyed the pool and access to the internet.

Here is a picture of our boat tied up to the fuel dock on the ICW.

The next time you hear from us, I hope we will be in the Keys. Thank you for all your good weather requests for us. Please keep wishing for good weather!!!

Coconut and Crew

Note from Capt. Jim: The name of this blog is very appropriate since Admiral Sandy and I are actually Coconut's crew.

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