We are presently sitting at anchor in beautiful Peck Lake, just off the ICW and a bit south of Stuart. It is a beautiful place to spend a day and enjoy the mid-70’s weather. I know I’m posting this a day late, but I just couldn’t get it out yesterday. I also am now fighting with what looks to be an updated format for our page posts. I’m sure it will be good in the long run, but right now it’s really frustrating as how I post pictures and even the document itself is not working right. So below, sorry if there are any issues, like no spacing between words or pictures looking funny. I’ll figure it out at some point, but I didn’t know it was going to be changing on me.
But we are almost there! Where is “there?” That has been an interesting topic of discussion this whole trip as “there” is kind of a nebulous destination for us at this point. So for right now, we are saying “there” is the end of the Sail to the Sun Rally we have been on since Hampton, VA, and the end of the ICW. And indeed, we are almost there!
We will pass through Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday and the idea is to reach Miami on Tuesday. The Rally ends in Miami next Tuesday, Dec. 11. We’re not really sure what we’re going to do about where we’ll end with the group as we’re going through a couple of different scenarios regarding holidays and the jump over to the Bahamas. But we’ll figure it out.
To fill you in a bit in this past week it seems like we have not really moved or done that much. We got to Cocoa, FL, this past Friday and left there Tuesday morning. We anchored just south of the Cocoa Bridge and it worked out so well to be on the hook for those four nights. We actually have not been in a slip or plugged in to shore power since the 20th of November, and not sure when we actually will be in a slip in the next week or so. The cool thing about anchoring out now is oursolar panels! When the sun is out, orpartially out, our batteries are basically fully topped off by 9:00 in the morning already, and stay topped off all day! It is so amazing to not have to worry about how the batteries are doing,and we can even charge some things up with our inverter during the day as we have more than enough solar. We love it!
Anyway, Cocoa was a great place to spend a few days. The community rolled out the red carpet for us starting with a reception and swag bags at a local pub Friday evening. They also reserved space for the local theaters’ Christmas Story presentation, and those who attended said it was great. Arrangements were also made to go to the Kennedy Space Center, which we did not participate in, and we had a catered dinner Sunday evening at a local brewery. A van was also secured to take any of our group on a provision run, so it was great to stock up on groceries. Lastly, an especially nice gesture was their reserving a dinghy dock for us so we always had a place at the local boat ramp to go ashore. Only four boats actually anchored out, the rest stayed in the municipal marina, but it was nice to have a place to go ashore. Max especially appreciated that!
On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2, they had a huge street holiday festival throughout the village and it was a lot of fun walking though and seeing fun arts and crafts.
A number of our boats in our group left on Monday to head to Vero Beach, but we didn’t leave until Tuesday with the majority of the group. Monday was actually a very windy,gloomier day and we kind of wish we had left that morning, but we made the best of it and Tuesday turned out to be a great trip to Vero Beach, a trip of 48.9 nautical miles. We fueled up on the way in Melbourne and arrived at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina about 3:30 that afternoon.
Vero Beach turned out to be an interesting place to stay as even though there was a marina, the vast majority of boats were tied up to mooring balls. Lots of mooring balls! Unlike most mooring balls where there is only one boat tied up, they have 2 – 3 boats on each mooring ball. It was very strange pulling out to our assigned ball and then rafting to the boat already there before tying to the ball. Thankfully the guy on the boat was there to help us raft off of him as it would have been more difficult to do without his help. Another boat came a bit later so we were a group of three on mooring ball #4. The other two boats left the next day, we stayed another day, and we ended up with only our boat that night on the ball,which was fine with us.
Many people refer to Vero Beach as “Velcro Beach” as it’s such a nice, and inexpensive, place to stay. The mooring field is protected from wind in almost any direction which adds to boats staying there. Another Beneteau 411, just like ours, named Cadera, which we have seen numerous times on the ICW tied up just after us and will be staying for a month on their mooring ball as they fly back to their home in Canada for the holidays.
We spent Wednesday, Dec. 5, doing laundry, taking walks and treating Max to the dog park, and left Thursday morning, Dec. 6 for Peck Lake where we are now. Wednesday was a cold day again, in the low-60’s, but yesterday warmed up nicely into the mid-70’s. We definitely like it better when it is warmer!
Shortly before anchoring in Peck Lake, we passed the Stuart/Jensen Beach area of Florida. Just before the Jensen Bridge is a man-made island called Nettle’s Island where it seems there are hundreds of trailers/condos. My Mom has stayed there in a rented trailer for a few years for up to about a month at a time. Good friends of my parents, the Vander Klok’s and Katsma’s, own trailers there and starting in January spend the winters there. Sharon and I have visited my Mom when she was there a few years ago, and I had been down a time or two without Sharon as well. So it was so cool to take our boat past Nettle’s Island where we had been a number of times. It was probably one of the first places we have seen on our trip since Mackinac Bridge that we had been to before.
So that’s about all that has been happening around here! We are looking more in earnest at when/where we will jump over to the Bahamas. (People always refer to it as “jumping over”!) Actually, the distance to the Bahamas is less than the distance across Lake Michigan from Muskegon, but the issue is the Gulf Stream and how the wind will be behaving. It is apparently bad to go with a wind coming from the north over 12 mph as it will oppose the Gulf Stream that flows from south to north. That’s what would create huge waves of opposing wind and current that would make it very uncomfortable. Put a storm on top of that and it’s not a good idea to go at that point. So we will have to find a good weather window to make the jump.
We also have to find a place south enough on the coast of Florida so when we head east, and get pushed north by the Gulf Stream, we will end up at either Bimini or West End – we haven’t decided which one to head for in checking into the Bahamas. We’recurrently thinking going to Bimini from Miami and then working our way initially down to Georgetown. We’ll spend time down in the Exumas and then head north in a few months to the Abacos before we head back to the States to begin our trek north to avoid hurricane season beginning next June. But those plans are fluid and may change a lot. We’ll see.
But, as we near the end of the ICW the plans for the next few months will become more in focus and clear, and we’ll let you know!