December 28, 2014

December 28, 2014  Day 37 South for Winter
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL

After being here in Cocoa Village for ten days, it is time to update the blog! We spent a very nice Christmas Day on the boat.  It was strange not to be with family during the holiday, but we had a good day.  We opened our presents, chatted with family on Face Time, had traditional Christmas food – a breakfast brunch and a big dinner slightly scaled down for the two of us. We have enjoyed having the boat decorated for Christmas.

On December 23, we walked a few blocks into the village and attended a wonderful performance at the local Cocoa Community Playhouse. Margaret Cross performed in “A Christmas Card” and did not fail to amaze us with her incredible voice.

Yesterday, we took a walk to Riverfront Park which is also nearby. It is nicely designed with an amphitheater, fountains, play area, small boat access, and good landscaping. 

We also ventured out to do provisioning last Saturday. This involved taking a city bus to Walmart and taking a taxi back to the marina!  We will probably make one more trip while we are here.

Overall, we have had a quiet stay here.  We have been reading, listening to music, watching movies, etc. Some Loopers are arriving tomorrow, so we hope to get together.  We will eat at a couple of our favorite restaurants this week and also decide how we want to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  We love the warm weather which has been in the 70’s and 80’s!

December 18, 2014

December 18, 2014  Day 27 South for Winter
Cocoa Village Marina
Cocoa, FL

We were so fortunate to have another good cruising day of just over 50 miles. It was sunny, calm, and warm. We departed our anchorage at 7:15 and only saw a few boats all day, but we did see many dolphins and pelicans. 

All the bridges had sufficient clearance today so we did not have to wait for any openings. We traveled through the Mosquito Lagoon, the Haulover Canal, and the Indian River, and had the current with us most of the time.  We also passed by Fort Pierce. We could see the Cape Kennedy Space Hangar in the distance. We look forward to watching a rocket launch tomorrow afternoon.

We arrived at Cocoa Village Marina around 2:00 and were greeted by the friendly staff. This was a big milestone for us as we will spend over two weeks here.  

December 17, 2014

December 17, 2014  Day 26 South for Winter
At Anchor
New Smyrna Beach, FL

Yes, another good cruising day of 50 miles– sunny, calm, warm. We left Marineland Marina in Palm Coast at 8:00. Thanks to our boating neighbor Chris who helped us untie our lines. We saw many dolphins and pelicans today.  We followed two sailboats most of the day and had little other boat traffic.

We had good timing with bridge openings. Some opened on request and one on a fixed schedule.  We passed many lovely homes that lined the ICW. We also passed Daytona Beach with its big skyline of condos and hotels. The picturesque Ponce de Leon Lighthouse can be seen from a distance and marks the inlet.

We arrived at our anchorage at New Smyrna Beach at 2:00 and relaxed for the evening. We look forward to our trip to Cocoa Village Marina tomorrow. We will stay for over two weeks and enjoy celebrating Christmas and New Year’s.

December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014  Day 25 South for Winter
Marineland Marina
Palm Coast, FL

Another good cruising day – sunny, calm, warm, only one boat wake (and it knocked our Christmas tree over). We saw many dolphins, white pelicans, and a deer swimming across the ICW! We left Sisters Creek at 0800 to travel over 50 miles to Marineland Marina in Palm Coast.

We reached St. Augustine at 1:00. Bill contacted the Bridge of Lions bridge tender for the current bridge clearance. With our antennas down we were able to pass under without waiting for the next opening.

We arrived at Marineland at 3:10 and went to the pump out dock before going to our slip. We were tired from our long day and spent a quiet evening. We were glad to have leftovers that made dinner much easier. 

We have two more days of traveling over fifty miles and look forward to staying put for a while when we reach Cocoa Village on Thursday. We will go to an anchorage near New Smyrna Beach tomorrow.

December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014  Day 24 South for Winter
Sisters Creek Free Dock
Jacksonville, FL

Another great cruising day – sunny, calm, warm, no boat wakes, dolphins, pelicans, and a fairly short day! It is a pattern we could get used to!  We left our anchorage at Cumberland Island and in 45 minutes we were officially in Florida waters!  We passed by Fernandina Beach and paid careful attention to the water depth. We waited for the tide to be high enough but still had to be extra careful in certain areas due to shoaling.

We arrived at Sisters Creek, near Jacksonville, about 2:00. Tom and Melesia had arrived earlier on Journey and were there to catch our lines. We had a fun evening and shared a chicken parmesan dinner on our boat.  We invited Tim to join us. He was also docked here on his sailboat and we enjoyed getting to know him.

We will depart in the morning and go to Marineland Marina near Palm Coast.  We said goodbye to Tom and Melesia until January when we will see them in Ft. Myers.

December 14, 2014

December 14, 2014  Day 23 South for Winter
At Anchor
Cumberland Island, GA

This was a perfect cruising day – sunny, calm, warm, no boat wakes, lots of dolphins, and a fairly short day! We left Brunswick Landing just before 9:00 and were passing Jekyll Island by 10:10.  Forty five minutes later we were in St. Andrew sound and it was wonderfully calm.  We slowly cruised by the Naval Submarine Base at Kings Bay. There is always a patrol boat guarding this base. 

Shortly after that we arrived at our anchorage at Cumberland Island, joining a few other boats. We have anchored here twice before but did not go ashore this time.  We had hoped to see the wild horses that roam here, but were not so lucky!

We will not leave until 10:30 tomorrow morning. We need to wait for high tide, and we have a fairly short cruise that will take us to a free dock at Sisters Creek, near Jacksonville, Fl.   Yes, Florida!

December 13, 2014

December 12-13, 2014  Days 21-22 South for Winter
Brunswick Landing Marina
Brunswick, GA

Friday was another very calm and sunny day of travel! We arrived in Brunswick in about five hours and were greeted by a friendly dock master. We stopped at the fuel dock first, again taking advantage of $3.00/gallon for diesel!  We moved to a slip and shortly got settled in, picked up our mail that was waiting for us, and met the people on the boat next to us. Then Bill washed the salt off the boat! Tom and Melesia, on Journey also arrived an hour later.  We decided to stay two nights and get some things done and also walk around the area.

We went to the Farmers market Saturday morning and came back with vegetables and pecans. We walked downtown and had a very nice lunch at Tipsy’s.  Then Joyce was very happy to get a hair appointment after lunch.  Bill did a lot of chart plotting today working on our travels as we continue south. Add laundry to the list and that about took up the afternoon.

We will go to an anchorage tomorrow at Cumberland Island where we have been twice before. We will not leave until after 9:00 to wait for high tide when we pass Jekyll Island.  This was our first time in Brunswick and we will definitely come back!

December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014  Day 20 South for Winter
At anchor
Duplin River, GA

In spite of enduring a very cold morning, we had a good trip today between anchorages.  The sun finally came out from behind the clouds and the afternoon was warm enough that we could shed our hats, gloves, and parkas!   Again we timed the tide right and got through Hell Gate with no problem.

We arrived at our anchorage on the Duplin River at 2:15.  There is plenty of room to anchor here!  We had a simple dinner of pizza tonight and worked on getting reservations at various marinas for the next few months.

Tomorrow we will go to Brunswick Landing Marina, our last stop in Georgia.

December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014  Day 19 South for Winter
At anchor
Vernon River, GA

We had a very good day traveling 60 miles from Port Royal, SC to our anchorage on the Vernon River in Georgia, south of Isle of Hope.  The sun was shining brightly all day and we were able to open the windows on the bridge for much of the time.  We timed the tide correctly and did not have to worry about low spots today. 

Tom and Meleisa on Journey were with us all day and we anchored near each other on the Vernon River, just after 3:00. They came over for a shared dinner at 6:00 and we had a great visit.

We will go to another anchorage tomorrow in Georgia as we strive to get farther south!


December 9, 2014

December 7-9 2014  Days 16-18 South for Winter
Port Royal Landing Marina
Port Royal, SC

Sunday was a very windy, cold, and cloudy day. We traveled from our anchorage at Church Creek to Port Royal Landing Marina. We were grateful to have the strong wind behind us. The wind was blowing the Spanish moss sideways on the live oak trees. The current and wind were from the north so we docked into the wind on our port side. This is our second trip to Port Royal and it has one of the most helpful and friendly staff we have met.

We borrowed a courtesy car on Monday and stopped at the post office to mail Christmas packages, the hardware store, and Publix to do provisioning.  The wind damaged a bracket for our ladder so Bill made repairs to it Tuesday morning.  We also got a pump out, and got the boat ready to travel on Wednesday.

We will anchor in Breakfast Creek on the Vernon River with friends Tom and Meleisa on Journey. They are docked on Lady’s Island not far from here. We look forward to the potluck dinner we will share tomorrow night!  We will also celebrate another milestone as we will be in Georgia!

December 6, 2014

December 5-6, 2014  Days 14-15 South for Winter
At anchor
Church Creek, SC

We got an early departure on Friday from Barefoot and Rick and Margi were there to help us with our lines. We traveled two hours to Osprey Marina for fuel. Can’t pass up their low prices. With our Boat US discount, we paid $2.96 /gallon.  We were back on the Waccamaw River shortly. We had the water pretty much to ourselves again! We cruised until we reached the South Santee River where we anchored for the night.

Today we left our anchorage at 0700 and entered the ICW. We timed our trip as closely as possible with the tide to avoid low water areas. We had one close call but Bill maneuvered through it.  Two sailboats did run aground there about 30 minutes later.   We were constantly affected by the current and were cruising at 10mph or 3 mph today! We even had fog for a half hour!  We enjoyed passing the Charleston Harbor although we did not stop this time.  We are seeing more and more wildlife and spotted eagles, herons, egrets, dolphins, and more today.

We arrived at our anchorage at Church Creek and joined two sailboats in this peaceful anchorage. This is our third time to stay here!

We will travel to Port Royal tomorrow and stay three nights at the Port Royal Landing Marina.


December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014  Day 13 South for Winter
Barefoot Marina
North Myrtle Beach, SC

Day two here at Barefoot.  Joyce cooked, cleaned, and did laundry and Bill had to troubleshoot the radar problems. Unfortunately we need to order a replacement part.

We had Rick and Margi over for dinner and had a very nice evening sharing boating memories.  We will see them again in January at the Gold Looper reunion in Florida.

We will depart early in the morning to travel 66 miles plus a fuel stop.


December 3, 2014

December 3, 2014  Day 12 South for Winter
Barefoot Marina
North Myrtle Beach, SC

We woke as planned at 0600 to be able to leave our anchorage at 0700.  We had not planned on waking to fog!  We waited until 10:00 thinking it was some better. However, as we entered Snow’s Cut, it had not improved. We continued on for 1 ½ hours in the fog including the Cape Fear River.  Our radar was not working much to our surprise. We suspect a loose wire which we will check out before we depart again. 

By 11:30 the fog lifted as we passed Southport, NC and Joyce felt more comfortable!  We had to watch for shallow water at the inlets but got through with no problems.  We had a good current with us and finally arrived at Barefoot Marina in North Myrtle beach at 5:00 just before sunset.

Our friends, Rick and Margi, on Journey, were here to greet us and help catch our lines.  Then they had us over for dinner on their boat.  We had a great evening catching up with them!

We will stay here for another day or two before continuing south again.

December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014  Day 11 South for Winter
At anchor
Carolina Beach, NC

Another long travel day as we continued south from Swansboro, NC. Sixty-six miles and four bridges concerned us at first, but we made it through with no problem.  One of the bridges had enough clearance at low tide that we were able to go under after Bill lowered our antennas.

We did see some skinny water and had to slow down and get through these shallow areas.

We saw several dolphins today which always pleases us.  We could finally see sections of the ocean in areas of the ICW that had inlets.  There were very few boats out today and we usually had the waterway to ourselves.

We arrived at our anchorage at Carolina Beach at 3:40.  We had dinner onboard, watched some television, and prepared for our trip tomorrow. We will go to Barefoot Marina in North Myrtle Beach, SC for two or three days.  We look forward to visiting Looper friends, Rick and Margi there.

December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014  Day 10 South for Winter
Dudley’s Marina
Swansboro, NC

It is December! And yes, another good travel day – sunny sky and calm water again! We could get used to this. We left Whittaker Pointe Marina shortly after 0700 and by 0800 we were in the scenic Adams Creek.  We passed Morehead City by 1000 and were in Bogue Sound lined with homes on the west side of the ICW and with homes in the distance on the east side that faced the ocean. 

We were treated to seeing dolphins three times. We feel like we are actually getting further south each day. We also enjoy watching the pelicans swooping down for their catch.

We arrived in Swansboro, NC at 1:30 and docked at Dudley’s Marina after stopping at their fuel dock first. We are happy to find lower diesel prices than ever at $3.03/gallon!

Shortly after we got secured at our dock, our friends, Tom and Meleisa on Journey pulled in behind us. We had not seen them since last spring, so we had a good visit while we both got settled.  We will see them again in Florida in January.

Bill borrowed the courtesy car to go to the hardware store and Joyce washed the decks on the boat.  It was such a warm day and the boat needed washing!

We had pizza for dinner, did laundry and planned our route for the next few days. We have a long day tomorrow of 66 miles and four bridges we need to time for their openings.  Our destination is Carolina Beach.