Marathon, FL to Cocoa, FL
16 May 2013 | Anchored Cocoa, FL
Aerial View of Cocoa, FL with a good anchorage south of the bridge on the west side of the Indian River (north is up).
Here is the breakout of our legs north so far. We have really enjoyed the last 2 weeks as we connected with many cruising friends and buddy boated for a while.
Weather for the most part has cooperated. We haven't hit the pattern of daily, afternoon thunderstorms and squalls we experienced last year cruising north along the Florida coast.
Harbour Cay Club (Marathon, FL) to Rodriguez Key via Hawk Channel
Distance: 54.2 nm (motor sail)
Anchored east of Rodriguez Key with SW and W winds. Quite comfortable with these winds. Don't think this place would be very good with a stiff south or southeast wind.
Rodriguez Key to Miami (Fisher Island) via Hawk Channel / Atlantic
Distance: 50.6 nm (motor sail)
Anchored south of Fisher Island and north of Virginia Key. Had the whole place to ourselves and nice south and southwest winds. A bit of current here and we swung 180 degrees over night but it was good holding and smooth. View is interesting; Virginia Key to the south and undeveloped, Fisher Island to the north with multimillion dollar marina and condos, Atlantic ocean to the east and the Miami skyline and port (cargo ship docks/cranes) to the west.
Miami (Fisher Island) to West Palm via Atlantic
Distance: 67.7 nm (motor sail)
Winds moved to the north and were light and variable most of the day. We picked up a Gulf Stream push and hour north of Fort Lauderdale. Then the wind came around to the beam and we motor sailed at 8.3-8.7 knots for 3+ hours. Made it in the Lake Worth inlet and up to the Flagler Bridge in West Palm by 4:15. We pulled into Palm Harbor Marina (our favorite marina on the U.S. East coast. The next day we were joined by our cruising friends from TRUE NORTH who made the crossing from West End, Bahamas to West Palm. Then on May 12 our cruising friends from MYSTIC GYPSY sailed up from Marathon overnight and joined us. We all had a great time at West Palm.
Palm Harbor Marina (West Palm Beach, FL) to Vero Beach via the ICW
Distance: 61.5 nm - 8 bascule bridges (motor)
Weather outside did not cooperate for an Atlantic run up to the Ft. Pierce inlet, so our good friends on MYSTIC GYPSY joined us on a long day on the Florida ICW. Distance-wise, not that bad. But we had 8 lift bridges to traverse. For 7 of the 8 we had a fleet of 5 to 7 other sailboats which has its pluses and minuses. It was a straightforward ICW run and we picked up a mooring at Vero Beach City Marina at 5:36 pm. MYSTIC GYPSY rafted on our starboard and we had a great, relaxing evening of good food and wine and of course great company.
Vero Beach, FL to Ccoa, FL via ICW / Indian River
Distance: 47 nm (motor)
The ICW leg up to Cocoa was a piece of cake. We had nice NE winds of 5-10 knots which were cool and refreshing (aka low humidity). The route up to Cocoa is mostly via the Indian River which is plenty deep and wide enough in the northern end so you don't have to stay in the channel or follow the magenta line. Along the way we heard a USCG safety call which announced that an Atlas 5 rocket with a GPS satellite was to launch at 5:38 pm from Kennedy Space Center which is just east of Cocoa. We dropped anchor and relaxed in the later afternoon. At 5:38 pm the launch went off as scheduled. While not as large or impressive as a space shuttle launch it was still a treat to watch and hear.
We also had the great fortune to be crossing paths with cruising friends we originally met back in Holland, MI on their Ocean Alexander 50, PRESENT MOMENT. We dropped our dinghy and I shuttled our friends from MYSTIC GYPSY and PRESENT MOMENT to the municipal dinghy dock. It was a bit of wet ride back and forth, but not real bad as far as dinghy rides go. Veteran cruisers know exactly what I am talking about.
We are hanging out at anchor here in Cocoa another day before moving north to New Smyrna Beach for the weekend. After a few years of cruising up and down the coast, we do know we do not enjoy the recreational boat traffic that explodes on weekends, especially a nice weekend in spring in Florida. So we'll enjoy New Smyrna 2 days and then make for St. Augustine to stage for our sail up to Beaufort, SC. We plan an ICW run up to the St. John's River and then out to the Atlantic at Mayport. From there we are an 18 hour overnight sail to Beaufort along the northern coast of Florida, Georgia and South Caroloina.
Now if the weather will cooperate just a while longer.........