On the Move South But Haven't Found Heat Yet!
10 January 2010 | New Smyrna Beach, FL
Beth / temps around the freezing mark, 8C in cabin Sat morning, windier than it has been
Wrote this on Sat - just got it posted on Sun morning. Leaving again now!
Our first travel day in a month took us from Fernandina Beach (11:30 departure) to the Three Island anchorage just upstream from the Atlantic Blvd Bridge. How cool that Tina and Dick saw us as we passed under it on Friday morning! We might have gone farther, but there didn't seem to be another anchorage that we could reach before dark, so we stopped about 4 o'clock, zipped up the sides of the cockpit enclosure but left the top open and sat with tea and our books till the sun went down. It seemed positively balmy.
After that one little reprieve, we're back into record breaking continuous low temperatures again and we're very happy we made the decision to take the ICW route rather than go outside. We have decided that we really like being able to stop at dusk, turn on the cabin heater, cook a hot dinner and get 10 hours of rest in our cosy berth under the down comforter. I've been cooking looong meals - the kind of rice that takes 45 minutes to cook, roasted root veggies that stay in the oven an hour - anything to keep the oven or stove on a good while! Mahi mahi and shrimp needed only a quick saute to go with them. Because we are not plugged in any more, we use our propane fireplace in the evenings, but by morning it is darned cold again. 8C inside this morning, and there were white fluffy things on the deck when I looked out the window!
As I climb up and down the companionway steps, I feel like a little kid in a snowsuit. Remember how awkward they always look with stiff arms and legs? With thermal undershirt, sweatshirt, polar fleece jacket topped off with my heavy foul weather gear (and similar layers on the bottom) I feel like I'm 10 lb heavier and many inches wider as I maneuver my way up and down. It does the job though, because neither Jim nor I are intolerably cold. That is unlike some of the poor fish that we've seen floating belly up as we travel. I can't imagine that the citrus groves will come through this unscathed.
Travelling down the ICW is a study in old Florida and new Florida. We see mammoth houses with screens around their pools and whole front yards. In some cases the screened part (mosquito proofing) is almost as big as the house. They have huge docks and gazebos and powerful motor boats out front. Then will come a stretch of small cottage type homes with plastic lawn chairs and simple docks and fishing skiffs. I wish I'd been quick enough to take a pic of the one with Santa's sleigh pulled by an alligator! We've seen a number of the big estates for sale and several unfinished developments.
We kept on going right past St Augustine - but have promised ourselves to spend some time there in the spring since it is a beautiful city. We had afternoon high tides and wanted to make Matanzas Inlet before we stopped for the night. We saw some skinny water and were glad we timed it that way. In contrast, our trip past Ponce de Leon Inlet today was effortless. Once again, we timed it for almost high tide but we never saw less than 15 feet.
Friday night's anchorage was in the little bulge at ICW Mile 796.7. Our book called it the Marineland anchorage, but I wouldn't give it such a grand name. It was a tiny bulge just outside the channel but it was enough! Our 8 hour trip today brought us swiftly past Daytona Beach and down to New Smyrna. Daytona has 4 bridges (2 65-foot fixed bridges and 2 bascule bridges that need to lift before we can pass under.) Those bridge tenders really have their timing down pat because as we approached each one and called to request their next opening, the answer came back, "Keep right on coming cap'n. The bridge will be open when you get here." It felt like playing chicken, because at 1/4 mile away there were still cars crossing, and we were coming straight on at 7 knots an hour. I had fears of needing to make a screeching halt (impossible of course) but in both cases, the barriers went down, traffic stopped, the bridges lifted and we sailed under without a hesitation. None of the bridge tenders want to have to stop traffic any longer than necessary and they always want the boats close before they open, but these two women were the best!
Saturday's anchorage was just off the channel again (behind G45 opposite the Yacht Club) and there was a lot more room than when we were here last time - fewer boats but more dolphins. We watched them leaping right up out of the water for quite a few minutes as they fished and played around the boat.
We plan to make Vero Beach by Monday night if all goes well. It's supposed to be a degree or 2 warmer there!