February 28, 2013

February 28, 2013 Day 293
At anchor
Seabreeze, FL
Total miles to date: 4921.8

The focus this morning was to complete the work on the generator by getting it all put back together.  Success!  Bill was exhausted and declared the human body is not meant to be twisted into a pretzel to reach difficult places on the boat!

We were able to leave New Smyrna Beach by 1:30 and just traveled 13 miles today to an anchorage near Daytona.  We left the Indian River and soon passed the Ponce de Leon Inlet to the ocean.  The historic 175 ft. red Ponce Inlet Lighthouse commands attention!  We fought a strong current most of the trip today. There is quite a bit of shoaling in places and we had to pay close attention to stay in the narrow channel.  We also saw three raccoons wandering along the shore today – that was a surprise!
Leaving New Smyrna Beach

Typical scenery on the ICW today
Ponce de Leon Lighthouse
Port Orange - and look how shallow it is just outside our channel!
This boat literally left us in its wake!
Next, we passed Port Orange, complete with many condos that line the ocean front.  We passed under the bridge that takes the well-known A1A highway across the ICW.

We chose an anchorage near Seabreeze, south of Daytona. We grilled marinated flank steak to accompany our baked potatoes and sautéed fresh green beans, and salad for dinner.  After dinner we listened to our granddaughter Ashley play The Entertainer on the piano. She learned it in five days!

Tomorrow we will go to St. Augustine and stay for three nights. We are excited about touring this historic city! 

February 27, 2013

February 27, 2013 Day 292
New Smyrna Beach Municipal Marina
New Smyrna Beach, FL

Total miles to date: 4908.6

Today is Bill’s birthday!  We were finally able to celebrate by going out for dinner at the Dolphin View Restaurant, next to the marina.  Then we came back to the boat and had birthday cake. 

Prior to that, he spent most of the day in the engine room fixing the generator.  The culprit was a broken impeller on the water pump as he expected.  He spent an inordinate amount of time just getting to the broken part.  So many things had to be removed to gain access.  He will finish up tomorrow morning so we can leave by noon.
Joyce took the local transportation - a four person modified golf cart - to the grocery store (for birthday cake!). The service is free – you just call them and they pick you up!

A very playful dolphin stayed just beyond our boat quite a while this afternoon and Joyce tried to take pictures with some success.

Here he is!
Our children called Bill by conference call from Texas and Colorado to say Happy Birthday as we were walking back from the restaurant. He enjoyed talking to them and our grandchildren at the same time! 

February 26, 2013

February 26, 2013 Day 291
New Smyrna Beach Municipal Marina
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Total miles to date: 4908.6

At 7:30 this morning we pulled up our anchor and made the decision to go to a marina.  With thunderstorms forecast and without a functioning generator, we could not easily stay at anchor.  Fortunately, New Smyrna Beach was only 17 miles away and they had room for us.

We arrived here at 10:00 just as the rain began and in a 17 mph wind.  It rained off and on all day and the storms did not develop, but we are still happy to be tied to a dock!

Bill could not work on the generator until the engine room was cool enough, so the maintenance will continue tomorrow as we stay here another day.  Joyce worked on laundry, prepared dinner, and made reservations for our three day weekend in St. Augustine. 

February 25, 2013 Day 290
At Anchor
Mosquito Lagoon near Canaveral National Seashore

Total miles to date: 4891.5

We made preparations to leave Cocoa Village Marina this morning after our week long stay.  Joyce took the rental car back while Bill got the boat ready. We left at 11:30 saying we would be back next year.

We traveled north up the ICW and the Indian River, past Titusville on the west and the Space Shuttle hangar (Vehicle assembly building) at the Kennedy Space Center to the east. 

Soon we entered the mile long Haulover Canal, a narrow cut from the Indian River to Mosquito Lagoon. We saw countless number of people fishing from the shore, and most of them stopped long enough to wave to us. This area is a slow speed/minimum wake zone to protect the manatees, so we took our time passing through it.

We left the canal and headed into Mosquito Lagoon and arrived at our chosen anchorage near red marker 24 at 4:00.  We had seen many dolphins today while we were underway and were not disappointed when we stopped as they continued to entertain us!

The rain we had escaped for two days finally caught up with us before dinner, but fortunately stopped two hours later.  Speaking of dinner, the generator stopped working just as Joyce was cooking dinner – and it had not sounded right when we first turned it on.  So, Bill went to the engine room to check things out and discovered the water pump was not working.  He will try and fix it tomorrow while we are still anchored.  If not, we will have to find a marina. We need to charge the “house batteries”!  Our dinner became one of sandwiches since cooking on the stove/oven was no longer an option. And we could not cook on the grill because it was raining.  It was not the evening we had planned, but we managed!

February 25, 2013

February 24, 2013 Day 289
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL
Total miles to date: 4856.5

From Dr. Seuss, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”
“Today was good. Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one.”

Epcot was fun!  We had not been in several years, so it was good to go back and to experience the new features and attractions that have been added.  Even the weather, which had a 50% chance of storms, was good!  The forecast must have kept people away because we never experienced any long lines!

Shortly after we arrived we met Bill’s brother, Chuck and our sister-in-law Becky and spent the entire day with them. 

We loved the new attraction, Soarin’, and used the fast pass to ride it fairly quickly.  We rode almost every ride in the park!  It was really neat to watch the O' Canada attraction and see some of the places we had been last summer on the Loop! We enjoyed dinner and lively entertainment at the German Biergarten Restaurant. 
Germany in the World Showcase

Chuck and Becky
Our favorite!
We stayed for the nightly fireworks and then said good bye to Chuck and Becky and arrived back at Carried Away around 11:30.  (Chuck and Becky will join us on Saturday in St. Augustine.) 

We have more Epcot photos that we will try to post soon!


February 23, 2013

February 23, 2013 Day 288
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL

Total miles to date: 4856.5

As planned, today was a mix of running errands and doing boat chores.  It is Saturday after all!  Joyce picked up the rental car from Enterprise this morning and then after lunch took Joy (Proud Lady) shopping. They went to TJ Maxx and to Publix (just had to take advantage of having a car!)

Bill worked on chart plotting for our destinations next week and also replaced a part in the hold and treat system.  Add a few loads of laundry and that took up most of the day.

We had a light dinner onboard and relaxed this evening.

Tomorrow’s plan is to go to Disney World (Epcot) in spite of the stormy weather forecast! 

February 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 Day 287
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL
Total miles to date: 4856.5

We said goodbye to Anne and Larry on Great Laker this afternoon and we said hello to Joy and Bill on Proud Lady.  We last saw Bill and Joy in Stuart and are happy they decided to head this way sooner than originally planned!
Great Laker departing Cocoa Village Marina
Joy and Bill joined us on Carried Away for dinner and we had a fun evening visiting with them.

Earlier in the day, Joyce polished all the stainless steel railings on the bow and sides of the boat. The salt water can take a toll on surfaces and we need to keep after it! 

We have reserved a rental car for the weekend and we have decided to go to Disney World on Sunday.  Tomorrow will likely be spent running errands and doing more boat chores!

February 21, 2013

February 21, 2013 Day 286
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL
Total miles to date: 4856.5

This was a fun day. We went with our son Bill to Cocoa Beach for a fabulous breakfast of stuffed French toast. Then we drove to the Kennedy Space Center but realized we did not have enough time to complete a tour. We drove by the Astronaut Hall of Fame, but they were not open until noon.  We enjoyed the drive around the area at any rate.  Bill had to leave at 12:30 to catch his flight in Orlando, so we had to return to the boat.  We said good bye and then Joyce went to a hair appointment at 1:00 in Cocoa Village.  She is happy again!
Our son Bill
Later this afternoon, Anne and Larry arrived on Great Laker and we went to dinner with them at a fabulous Thai restaurant.  It was great to catch up with them and discuss our experiences on the Loop.

We will be here at Cocoa Village Marina until Monday. We may go to Disney world this weekend.  Stay tuned.

February 20, 2013

February 20, 2013 Day 285
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL

Total miles to date: 4856.5

Our son, Bill, arrived this afternoon for an overnight visit. It was so good to see him again. We spent a couple of hours just relaxing and visiting.  Then he took us to the grocery store for some major provisioning. We came back, had a late docktail and then cooked steaks on the grill. Add red wine, asparagus, roasted potatoes, salad, homemade pound cake and ice cream, and we had a good meal.  After dinner we did some face time with our 1½ yr. old grandson, Will. He is all motion and we loved seeing him in action!

We had an unexpected visitor to the boat this morning – a manatee!  We see manatee caution signs all the time but have only seen them once in Tarpon Springs.
A vist from a manatee

We will drive to the beach tomorrow with Bill before he has to return to Orlando and catch his flight back to Denver. 

February 19, 2013

February 19, 2013 Day 284
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL
Total miles to date: 4856.5

Just a short blog tonight – we spent the day cleaning the inside and outside of the boat!  Salt water requires frequent cleaning and we have a guest arriving tomorrow!  Our son, Bill, is on a business trip in Orlando and is extending his trip an extra day to visit us on Carried Away.

We also met Bob and Helen on Allez.  They will begin their loop in March from Cocoa Village Marina. We invited them over for docktails and had a very nice time discussing our boating experiences!   




February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013  Day 283
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL
Total miles to date: 4856.5

We had a very nice ride from our anchorage at Melbourne to the Cocoa Village Marina.  The sun was shining and it was warmer today. We even took turns at the helm.  Our typical arrangement for anchoring is for Bill to be at the helm while Joyce sets the anchor; when we leave Bill pulls up and cleans the anchor and Joyce is at the helm. Today Joyce just stayed at the helm longer which is good practice!
Ryan's Village Pizza

Bill changed the oil in the starboard engine after we arrived and Joyce worked on cleaning the interior.  We decided to have pizza at Ryan’s, a popular place here in in Cocoa Village. It was one of the best pizzas we have had in a long time.  Before dinner we walked around the village shops and restaurants, and now we need to go back!  Most of the shops were closed when we arrived, but by looking at the window displays, a return visit is in order!  Cocoa Village is lovely, with tree lined streets, quaint shops, restaurants, the Historic Playhouse, and a riverfront park – and it is a very short walk from the marina.

A typical street scene in Cocoa Village
We plan to stay here in Cocoa for a week (and possibly longer).  



February 17, 2013

February 17, 2013  Day 282
At anchor near Palm Shores Bridge
Melbourne, FL
Total miles to date: 4835.1

One of many large homes on the ICW
As expected, the cold front came through and we woke to a very strong wind in Vero Beach. We called the marina office to confirm that another boat was scheduled to arrive in our space on the T-Dock. (They had no other place to put the 96 foot yacht.)  Those plans had not changed so we did have to leave.  We left shortly before 11:00 and headed north on the Indian River and ICW. We had the wind on our bow the entire way which made it much more tolerable.  At least the sun was shining brightly! We practically had the water to ourselves as there were few Sunday boaters braving the cold wind today.

We saw lots of dolphins and pelicans today. The ICW was lined in many places with large beautiful homes, so we had much to admire along the way.

A great day for sailing near Melbourne
We chose our anchorage at Melbourne, just south of the Palm Shores Bridge. There is a small park nearby and we were protected from the wind.  It was much easier to anchor than to dock in this wind. Besides, we like to anchor!

We had a nice glass of wine before dinner on board and started talking more about our boating plans once we complete the Loop.  Tomorrow we will go to the Cocoa Village Marina where we will stay for a week. 

Sun setting over Melbourne

February 16, 2013

February 16, 2013  Day 281
Vero Beach City Marina
Vero Beach, FL
Total miles to date: 4801.3

Farmers Market
full of Indian River fruits and vegetables
This was day two in Vero Beach and the sun was shining. We took a 20 minute walk to reach the Saturday Farmers Market which is a block from the beach.  We bought tomatoes, asparagus, new potatoes, green peppers, and fresh bread to bring back to the boat – and crab cake sandwiches for our lunch!  We walked out to the small boardwalk on the beach to see the ocean. This was our first glimpse of it since we were in New Jersey last May. There were just a few brave souls in the water (70 degree water temp) and a few playing in the sand or collecting shells. 

Vero Beach is an upscale community with many high end boutiques and clothing shops, spas, etc., along the main street, Ocean Drive, that faces the beach. There are numerous well groomed parks, some of which are on the beach front (where we had lunch!). Definitely not the touristy beach scene with t-shirt shops!  Vero Beach is also known as "Velcro Beach" - once you come, you don't want to leave!
Ocean Drive, Vero Beach

The city also has a free bus system with scheduled stops that include the marina and the farmers market, so we rode the bus back to the marina.  We spent the afternoon doing some boat chores including the ever present laundry. Bill tightened our lines because the wind started to pick up in the afternoon.  We have wind forecasts for 20-30 mph tonight.

Our home for two days

Beautiful flowers at the Farmers Market
We met one Looper, The Duddon Pilot, who is spending the month here. Tomorrow we will leave and continue north on the ICW and anchor out.

Atlantic Ocean

February 15, 2013

February 15, 2013  Day 280
Vero Beach City Marina
Vero Beach, FL
Total miles to date: 4801.3

The constant rain yesterday kept us on the boat all day in Stuart.  This morning we only had a light rain so we made the decision to depart for Vero Beach.  Bill and Joy (Proud Lady) were so very kind to come over and help us cast off our lines!  We left at 10:00 and headed out into the St. Lucie River which led us to the Indian River and ICW.  Our 44 mile trip took us over 5 ½ hours.  There was very little boat traffic which we attributed to the weather.  In spite of that we saw several dolphins today. 

We arrived in Vero Beach at 3:40 and tied up on a long face dock.  The docks are fairly full as are the mooring fields. We will stay here two nights as high winds are forecast tomorrow.  We do plan to spend the day seeing Vero Beach! 

Our greeter - the blue heron!

Another lovely sunset!

February 13, 2013

February 13, 2013  Day 278
Sunset Bay Marina
Stuart, FL
Total miles to date: 4757.4

We took advantage of the free courtesy bus the marina provides and went to Publix this morning for provisions.  The bus was filled to capacity with other boaters who were also taken to West Marine and Walmart.  Choices are good!

Bill and Joy
Looper friends on Proud Lady
After lunch we received a call from Joy and Bill (Proud Lady) that they had arrived so we met them at the dock and had them over to our boat. They are on a mooring ball for a month.  We met them again for an early dinner at Duffy’s, a busy local grill. Next stop, Hoffman’s for frozen yogurt!  Then we did some window shopping and followed the riverwalk back to the marina.  We returned to Carried Away for a very nice bottle of dessert wine that Bill and Joy brought. We had a very nice evening together!  We first met Bill and Joy at the fall rendezvous at Joe Wheeler. They were docked next to us!

Tomorrow’s plans are indefinite. We had just planned to stay in Stuart for two nights, but we are waiting to make a decision based on the weather forecast.

February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013  Day 277
Sunset Bay Marina
Stuart, FL
Total miles to date: 4757.4

Today marks a big milestone for us.  We have now been gone exactly nine months since May 12 – and for the first time, we are headed north.  We arrived in Stuart, Florida around noon and are docked at the lovely Sunset Bay Marina. 
We passed this relic of a sailboat  today on the canal  - love the
reflection in the calm water
Our travel today was easy. We left the Indiantown Marina around 9:00 and entered the St. Lucie canal portion of the Okeechobee Waterway.  We entered the St. Lucie Lock at 11:00 and were lowered 14 feet. Once again, we were the only boat in the lock.  The lock master stood on the wall and talked to us the whole time!  He said that there were manatees in the lock yesterday and that he has to record their numbers!

Another relic we passed today -
this one had a for sale by owner sign and a no wake sign!
Once we got docked and registered at the marina, we had lunch and then cleaned the outside of the boat – Carried Away looks so much better now!

We took a walk around the historic district of Stuart, which mainly consists of small shops, restaurants, the Lyric Theater, museum, etc.  It is a popular area and is just a block from the waterfront on the ICW.  Many of the shops were closed (at 6pm) so we will try and return tomorrow after we do some provisioning for the boat. 
More houses lined the waterway today!

Tomorrow, Joy and Bill (Proud Lady) arrive, and we will have dinner with them. We have not seen them since we were in Panama City before Christmas.

We plan to stay here two nights but will watch the weather forecast and remain flexible.



February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013 Day 276
Indiantown Marina
Indiantown, FL
Total miles to date: 4736.4

Sunrise at our anchorage
We left our quiet anchorage at South Bay at 8:30 this morning and once again headed east on the Rim Route.  We had the water to ourselves!  We passed one trawler and saw a few fishing boats at anchor – and that was it for 33 miles!  

Although there are times when this route is too shallow to take, we had 7 ½ feet of water two miles before the Port Mayaca Lock and we had at least 10 feet the rest of the route.  When we arrived at the Port Mayaca Lock we were pleased to know that since the water level was high enough, both gates were open and we just had to drive through without locking. 

The bridge tender had to hand turn the bridge to open it for us
We arrived at the Indiantown Marina at 1:00 and tied up on their face dock.  We spent the afternoon on the boat getting a few things done and decided not to take the one mile walk into town.  We had dinner on board and made plans for tomorrow when we will complete our trip on the Okeechobee Waterway.

Love the motorcycle!
We have enjoyed seeing and photographing the wildlife and we continue to identify more birds!  We have enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of nature, complete with sunrises and sunsets. We are the intruders in these natural habitats, so when we see alligators, we know this is their home, and we are just observing and learning.

We will arrive in Stuart tomorrow and for the first time since last spring, we will be headed north.
This portion of the route actually joins the edge of the lake and is
shallow and narrow! 



February 10, 2013

February 10, 2013 Day 275
At Anchor
South Bay, FL
Total miles to date: 4702.7

Sunrise at Moore Haven
The Moore Haven dockmaster knocked on our boat at 7:10 this morning to collect the fee for docking, and apologized for not stopping by last night. Fortunately we were up at that hour! 

We departed the city dock wall at 8:00 and a few minutes later entered the Moore Haven lock. We had the lock to ourselves and were raised two feet. We were on our way about fifteen minutes later, leaving the Caloosahatchee Canal and entering the Okeechobee Waterway.  We followed this to the town of Clewiston.

At Clewiston, boaters must choose to cross Lake Okeechobee or follow the Rim Route on the southern border. The Rim Route is ten miles longer, but more scenic and was our choice.  We continued on this route, primarily a canal bordered by a levee.  We spotted many birds along the way, including herons, egrets, and pelicans.  We were passed by several fishing boats and an occasional motor yacht.  The wind was gusting to over 20 mph and we decided to stop after four hours and anchor in a protected basin at South Bay.  Other than the occasional fishing boats that came and left, we had this quiet anchorage to ourselves. We did share it with many birds and one alligator.  We spent hours photographing and watching them through binoculars.

The waterway splits here - the Rim Route goes to the right
and the lake goes to the left
In flight

The resident gator at South Bay anchorage
Sunset at South Bay
After a spaghetti dinner we spent a quiet evening at anchor!  Tomorrow we will go as far as Indiantown, which is beyond the lake on the St. Lucie Canal.




February 9, 2013

February 9, 2013 Day 274
Moore Haven City Docks
Moore Haven, FL
Total miles to date: 4677.7

We left our peaceful dock at Franklin at 8:00 and headed east on the Caloosahatchee River. We had over 41 miles to travel today and wanted to get an early start.  We expected more boat traffic since it was Saturday but were surprised to see few boaters out today.

We let this larger work boat pass us.
We did not want to be in the lock at the same time!

We reached the Ortona Lock before 12:30 and had it to ourselves.  It raised us 8 feet and then we were on our way again.

We arrived at Moore Haven at 2:30 and tied up to the city dockwall. They provide 50 amp power and water.  There was no one here to help but we did fine by ourselves.  There are only a few spots available on the wall, so we were happy to have arrived in time.  Shortly after our arrival, Lady Catherine, a 60’ Trumpy, built in 1947, pulled in behind us.  It is a beautiful restored yacht!

The lovely Trumpy!

We took a short walk and visited with some other boaters then came back for pizza on the boat.  We watched a movie and planned our course for tomorrow.  We will enter Lake Okeechobee and take the rim route rather than go directly across the lake.

We did not see any alligators today but Bill spotted a few manatees swimming near our boat just as the sun was setting!