Arr'd at Vero Beach Municipal Marina in about 4 ½ hrs. Picked up a mooring...$14.85/night!!!!!!! Clean bathroom, showers, laundry and free pump-out! Lots of live-a boards here. Free bus service...a great amenity as soon as you figure out the schedule!! What a nice place to winter over! Vero has long been known as the "gateway to the tropics..."temperate climate and warm Gulf Stream breezes. The Indian Rriver citrus community thrives here...produces more than ¾ of Fl grapefruit crop.
The day hot and humid...92degrees and 94percent humidity...ugh!!!! Had torrential rain, thunder and lightning storm in late afternoon...w/in 45 minutes, dinghy had water up to transom, gas tank floating!! Discovered leaks in boat I didn't know I had!! Pumped out dinghy w/an electric pump...and off we went to spend a lovely evening w/Bob and Gail's brother and sister-in-law (who are snow-birds and live here in winter). Went to "Bobby's" (on beach) for supper...GREAT burgers and fish sandwiches!
Spent Tuesday figuring out free bus schedule!! was able to get to West Marine!!
Spent Wednesday w/good friends/cruisers that we met 5-yrs ago in Newport...Tom and Linda Leonard...what a fun day. We ate, toured, went to their beautiful home on the river, and ate somemore!! Beaches beautiful...but we did not get a chance to go in as yesterday, as we ate lunch overlooking the beach, a woman was bitten quite badly by a shark!! She was only wading in waist deep water...and a large shark took quite a bite out of her thigh. As fate would have it, a med-vac helicopter was returning from an operation, and saw the trails of blood!! She was airlifted to Fort Peirce...and is in serious condition!! Needless to say, beaches closed to swimmers!! Spent today at Tom and Linda's bookstore...the likes of which I have never seen!! 27,000sq feet; 2 buildings; 2 stories...and the most wonderful childrens' floor I have ever seen. The store is well-known, and has many famous authors come to speak and do book-signing. I can't believe I spent my day there...but I was fascinated! It is "Vero Beach Book Center"...
Well, we are preparing the boat to leave in the early am...head south to Stuart. We need to be in Ft Lauderdale by the beginning of next week...have a quick weekend turn-around to MD (Grandparents Day for Nathan); wedding Sat in VT; and home to visit rest of grandhchildren on Sunday and celebrate Becky's 37th bday...then an 8am flight back to Lauderdale and on to the Keys!! Stay tuned...
05/06/2012, Serenity Island
Left Titusville Municipal Marina on Thursday May 3rd (my 65th birthday!!), to Cocoa Village Marina, Merritt Island...had about 15kts on the beam. Was overwhelmed w/all the birthday wishes from everyone!! Heard from all the "kids" and grandkids...as far as I am concerned, that was all I needed for my birthday!!
Cocoa history is closely tied to the water. The "local" interpretation of how it got its' name involves an old woman who lived on the banks of the Indian River and supplied hot cocoa to sailors as they traveled the river. The passing sailors would call out "cocoa cocoa" until the woman supplied the refreshment!! Believe it or not...
Cocoa Village Marina is a "must" for cruising...the price is right w/Boat US discount, the showers/heads new and spotless, and the laundry facilities looked brand new!! A little tricky getting into our dock, but the dock master will talk...then walk... you thru.
Nestled within the confines of downtown Cocoa is one of the real shore side gems in eastern Fl. It traces its' history back to the late 1800s...unfortunately, I did not get to the museum to explore its' history! The Village itself is charming...reminds me of a small Wickford. Lots of shops (for you women cruisers, a "must" is Warehouse 216), restaurants and even a local playhouse. Unfortunately they were in between plays while we were there.
Jim took me to a great little restaurant for my birthday..."The Black Tulip." Food delicious and my birthday cake was homemade key lime pie!! I learned after that it is rated as one of the top 100 restaurants in Fl...and I agree!!
My brother and sister in law drove over from Clearwater, and my niece Julie and husband Jeff welcomed us all into her lovely, large on the water home for the week-end. Great to spend my birthday week-end w/family!! Indulged in steak, lobster, hot-tub...Jim and Jeff took my 2-great-nieces out to the boat for the night...leaving Julie and myself alone Saturday night to watch a "chick-flick" in their fully equipped media room. Went to a beautiful little Episcopal Church Sunday morning...St Mark's...in the village.
Left their home on Merritt Island, and had a 4-hour sail down to a little island in the Indian River...Serenity Island. Dolphin swimming...but as usual I was too slow to catch their pic!! Beautiful sunset...and off to bed. Weather hot...92degrees, and humidity rolling in...Where to tomorrow?? Stay
Wow!!-OVER ON THE RIGHT UNDER OUR NEWPORT PHOTO I HAVE CREATED A PHOTO GALLERY LINK!! At some point I'll post some new photos!
There is also a MAP link. "CURRENT POSITION"
If you click on the map and follow Google at bottom you see our location!! Real cool. Helps me navigate!!
05/04/2012, Titusville Village arina
I'm not sure why but this log has not been getting as much attention as our first leg of the journey. I think perhaps because the coast of Florida has been explored by all of us so often before. Many of us have driven the cars down or visited the bigger cities along the east coast. It seems that in cruising south the big cities are the major stops along the way and are just overwhelming with tourist stuff to report on. However having said that Titusville is something else--KENNEDY SPACE CENTER is over the top (excuse the pun). I have been there several times -seen the stuff -watched the movies but they seem to change it and more and make it new and exciting every time. Unfortunately we are all well aware that the shuttle program ha=s ended and the center is in close down mode--as much as any government facility ever really closes down. There are still hundreds if not thousands employed with maintaining the facilities that may be used in the next manned space adventures in 2020 as well as the separate Cape Canaveral Military Launch Facility adjacent to it. Kennedy is NASA and Cape Canaveral is military. Surprising however the city of Titusville looks like a blighted town many shops and motels etc closed their doors when the tourist travel for launches stopped in the beginning of this year. One very unique location I fond still open on a side street in town was the "U.S. SPACE WALK of FAME FOUNDATION/Museum" www.spacewalkeoffame.com this is a building about the size of a four car garage--but filled with actual memorabilia from the beginning of the space program. I think some of it was donated as scrap-some snuck out the back door by local workers. Regardless of the source it is up close and personal to hold a space suite in your hands -I was not quite ready to ask to put it on -but I came close. One of the most surprising items I found a complete set of mission summary logs for every Space Shuttle Launch. I picked up one from 2009 and read the log of Columbia - summarized with word for word quotes of the entire mission. The last report--and at 09:21 communications were lost with the STS over Huston shuttle contingency plan has been activated---very sombering reading!! Then a blank page--It did go on a page later to describe rescue and recovery efforts ==actually detail of parts and locations of 25,000 of material -including the flight recorder black box.
Titusville Municipal marina was a good place to dock for a few days to celebrate Dede's 65th birthday on Friday with a small a party with brother Phil and niece and nephew.
.Navigating here is relative straight forward -follow the channel avoid the shoals and stop in marinas at a $1.00 -$2.00 a foot this allows us to plug-in and keep the new air conditioners running --did I say it's HOT HERE!!! Very glad I installed the two units. I hope when the times comes to run them on the generator when were in the keys they work as well as at the dock. I do need to build a sun shade however to reduce the solar uptake.
Dede's Take: Left Mosquito Lagoon on Monday am...came thru Haulover Canal, which in historical times was the obvious place to cross from the Lagoon to the Indian River. Native Americans and early settlers "Hauled over" their canoes and boats between 2 large river basins using log rollers over the narrow island area. In time as boats got bigger the 1st canal was dug by slaves of a local citrus grower... Exiting the canal was a site...off to port was the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the launch pads at the Space Center. It was like opening a window into history. Unfortunately, as we subsequently visited the Space Center, it was depressing...the launch pads are being disassembled, and the bus tour into the "restricted gate"was leftr with only being able to focus on the bald eagle nest (700lbs...impressive) and the local alligators!! I found Titusville equally depressing as did Jim. For years it had been an enviable position at the junction of a railroad and steamship line. Citrus, pineapples, and seafood arr'd by steamboatwere processed including as well as a crabmeat picking and packing plant and transferred and packed to their railroad. Flaggers East Coast Railroad company put them out of business. Indian River citrus is still grown in the area but Titusville no longer holds the railway monopoly. With the changes at the space station, Titusville seems to be trying to re-invent itself as a tourism town. The large municipal marina is the center of new era of waterside commerce. Unfortunately the major tourist attraction NASA Space Shuttle Launches is done. The Kennedy Space Center is in Hold mode!
If you choose to go to the marina be clear that the offer of 1-night free if you stay 2-nites, and your Boar US discount cannot be combined (written in small print!!). Manatees are abundant in the basin...they feed in the early morning or late evening on grass...and surprisingly they will feed 5-8 hrs/day to make its' 30lbs recommended daily allowance!!
The old M. Brewer swing bridge has been replaced w/a 65 ft fixed bridge...if you have a car or bike, the trip over brings you to acres of the Cape Canaveral Nat'l Seashore...close up views of the launch pads as well as hiking/biking/beaching experiences. The mud flats...very visible!! Are mosquito laden and hence NASA was able to acquire the land easily!!
After 3-days in Titusville, I am ready to leave. NOTHING is open on Mondays; and those places open on other days in the "Historic district" close by 4pm!! Dixie Crossroads, w/their sweet red shrimp was worth the bike ride...but otherwise, look forward to being underway to Merritt Island/Cocoa. Stay tuned...
Jim -again you can tell Dede was less than impressed ;-) !!
If you click on the map and follow Google at bottom you see our location!! Real cool. Helps me navigate!!
04/29/2012, Mosquito Lagoon
Our underway adventure, from Daytona Beach to New Smyrna Beach, was, again, under beautiful Fl skies!! The Waterway runs a straight line along the western shore of Indian River...outside is a maze of mangrove islands and winding natural channels. You can see evidences of previous routes through the groves; one of which is "Turtle Mound" (a Native American Look-out). It was built over 500 yrs ago out of oyster shells piled 50ft high.
Onward to explore Ponce de Leon Inlet. We came thru the Ponce de Leon cut, although both were accessible. The Inlet was all shoaled and not well marked. Both accesses allowed us to see the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. At 159ft, it's the tallest lighthouse in Fl and the 2nd tallest in the nation.
Once we reached north of the G. Summons Bascule Bridge, we saw many boats anchored on the western side. There was a visible sandbar...and it was beyond us as well as the bridge operator how to get there...so through the bascule bridge to the "free" town docks (2 curved docks). However, the docks are under repair and there is no tie-up...so onward to the Smyrna Yacht Club. The YC did not have dock space for us as they were hosting their annual Lipton Cup Races; however, they could not be more accommodating!! We were allowed dinghy tie-up at their dock, use of their dining rooms, Tiki Bar and access to the main road w/our bikes. And I must say....we met the most wonderful YC members!! "Lou" greeted us at the dinghy dock (we now have designated her as the official greeter!!), invited us to watch the races w/her and subsequently introduced us to very gracious welcoming people. Thank you Lou and Warren!! Plse stay in touch!!
Jim and I spent our 1st nite dinghy-ing around. Thanks to the late sculptress Doris Leeper, New Smyrna consistently places as one of the best small art towns in America. The ICW south splits the town into two. Flagler Avenue, the beachside main drag has an "Old Florida" mix of restaurants, art shops, etc. On the mainland, historic Canal Street serves as the center of attention and antiques. Dozens of art galleries are split between the two. We attempted to go to the "Little Drug Company," listed in the cruising guides as famous for their ice cream and milk shakes...but I must say we were terribly disappointed w/the lack of available hours that they were open. We tried twice...once they were just about to close (5pm) and the 2nd time they were closed (Saturday at 3pm...)...We proceeded to bring our dinghy into the municipal marina...the dockmaster is originally from Charlestown, RI...and he let us stay there while we went to dinner. Went to the "Dolphin View"...a real local, on the porch, paper plates kind of place but the fish was good!!
On Saturday, Jim and I biked to the New Smyrna Beach...beautiful...rode bikes on the beach, watched the races, biked to the Inlet and shopped!! Had lunch and watched races from a "must" local beach bar..."Tony and Joe's", at the end of Flagler. I had never heard of New Smyrna beach...located amongst a natural opening in the barrier islands that connects the north end of the Mosquito Lagoon and the south end of the Halifax River. The community has exacted a low impact development w/enforced setbacks to protect its' dune-laden coastline. The result is a pristine beach w/an unpretentious town!! It has its'farmers markets on various Saturdays, and the "art and wine walk" on alternating Saturdays! We took a break from our 15-mile bike ride (it is getting hot and humid here!) to stop at the Night Swan B&B (almost all food establishments on Canal St and around seem to be closed on Saturdays)...they had a sign advertising wonderful cappuccinos and desserts! (Of course this was after our ice cream at Treats on the Beach)...we were not disappointed as we relaxed on their porch and watched a wedding taking place on their lawn!!
Off to the YC...at which time our friends invited us for a cold drink and ultimately dinner...a wonderful, unexpected surprise of an evening. We said our good-byes...as the wait staff was trying to close...and plan to get up in the morning, u/w to Mosquito Lagoon for 1-night on anchor...or according to Lou, now known as "Indian River Lagoon" so as not to deter cruising tourists!
From New Smyrna Beach, the ICW tracks its' way through a large expanse of mud flats; depths right outside of the channel run in inches...keeping a careful eye on the marked Waterway AND the depth sounder is critical!! We were so pleasantly surprised to pass "Iolar" with Walter and Lynn on board, going North...friends we had met in Elizabeth City!! Lots of screaming, waving and ultimately a short radio conversation let us know they are headed home.
We arrived in Mosquito Lagoon (aka Indian River Lagoon!) late morning and anchored. Mosquito Lagoon is not a very reassuring name for an anchorage!! We explored the Canaveral Nat'l Seashore by dinghy and foot...the Atlantic looked a little ominous after being in the ICW for so long...and off on the far shore we could just catch a glimpse of the Space Center!!
There are suppose to be frequent sightings of dolphin and manatee in this shallow lagoon...but you can't prove it by me!! Jim, however, has spotted both. Supposedly, Christopher Columbus was the 1st European to report seeing a manatee w/its' cleft face and coarse whiskers...his crew thought they had sighted the mythical half-female, half-fish mermaids. Talk about delusional after months at sea without women. Oh well...stay tuned...