Jupiter to Jacksonville
31 May 2015
14-May-2015 – We left Jupiter @0800, motoring up the AIWW to Vero Beach. As we got further north, it got less crowded with boats and the houses along the ICW were nicer. We arrived at Vero Beach City Marina @1700 and picked up a mooring. This was our first mooring and V was nervous but it was easy – and no arguing like we do when anchoring or docking! Very nice marina with dinghy dock, showers, cruiser’s club house, and free shuttle into town. They call Vero Beach, Velcro Beach, because so many cruisers stop there & then never leave. We saw lots of dolphin playing in the water around our mooring. Our only complaint was that we were close to land, no breeze, and as the sun set, we were getting baked in the cockpit. We finally hung up a blanket to give us some shade.
15-May-2015 – We left Vero Beach @0700, anticipating a long motor to Titusville. Thunderstorms were predicted & we could see some weather developing to the north. We set sails to motor-sail as the wind came up to 10-12 kts out of the east. Unfortunately we got into shallow water and the keel bumped a few times as we were raising the main – this area was not indicated as shallow on our Garmin GPS so we realized it’s time to update the maps. Less than an hour after we raised the sails, the wind increased to 18-20 kts and we were rounding up hard – risking going aground outside the channel. As we took the sails down, V pulled her calf muscle and was limping pretty badly. The wind was kickin’ and thunderstorms were building to the north. We decided to call it a day and pulled into Eau Gallie Yacht Basin @1300. Great little marina in a sheltered harbor – and, for once, it was full of sailboats so we felt right at home. Thanks to the three guys who helped us dock – V wasn’t sure she’d be able to hop off the boat w/o falling.
16-May-2015 – We left Eau Gallie @0730, again heading up the AIWW to New Smyrna Beach. Winds were NE @ 11 kts but the channel was just too narrow to sail so we motored the whole way. Arrived at New Smyrna Beach City Marina @1800. Nice marina with floating docks & park to walk Sophie. Dockmaster was super friendly and helpful. The facilities were great!
17-May-2015 – We left New Smyrna Beach @0730, stopping first for fuel. It was cloudy with light winds so we again motored the whole way to St. Augustine (we’re getting really tired of motoring!!). The trip up the Matanzas River was crazy – lots of shoaling and lots of stupid weekend boaters. We took a slip at the St. Augustine City Marina instead of a mooring since we planned on staying there at least 2 nights. We really enjoyed St. Augustine – walking through the city, eating at Frida’s Mexican restaurant. They even have a free shuttle for cruisers that takes you to Wal-Mart, West Marine, or pretty much anywhere you need to go.
19-May-2015 – We left St. Augustine @0730, on our final leg to get to Jacksonville. We motored up the AIWW to the St. John’s River and then headed south to NAS Jax where we got a slip at Mulberry Cove Marina (only $9/day – but restricted to active and retired military). Jacksonville is a major commercial port and we saw lots of tankers and cargo ships. We passed through some sort of Coast Guard exercise and heard what sounded like gunshot – a little scary! The first couple of bridges on the St. Johns River are really high (Dames Pt 169’, Matthews 152’, Hart 141’). The four downtown bridges include the Main St. lift bridge, the Acosta twin bridges (75’), the railroad bridge, and the I95 Fuller Warren bridge (75’). In all the times we have been to JAX, we have never seen the railroad bridge closed – but as we passed through the lift bridge, sure enough, there was a train crossing the RR bridge. So we circled & waited & finally went through as it opened but then the alarm went off just as we passed indicating that another train was coming & it was closing! There was no wind on the St. Johns & it was so hot, probably the hottest we’ve been on the whole trip. We arrived at NAS Jax just before a thunderstorm hit. Bear had to ride his bike to the front gate to meet Justin who was picking us up so we could stay at his apartment while we’re here. Lightning was popping everywhere but he made it without incident. We will stay in Jax 2.5 weeks because Justin is going to Prague, Czech Republic for work & we need to watch the cats for him.