Florida not only represented the last and longest stretch of the ICW for sv Smitty and crew, but also new challenges and sites.
Jacksonville Nice free dock with water and we got to see Bonnie
St. Augustine Beautiful! Would highly recommend to anyone.
Daytona Beach ehhh…I wouldn’t stop here again
Cape Canaveral – Titusville Pretty cool to look over and see a space ship
Cape Malabar – Marker 21 Lagoon First spot we got to swim in warm, clear water
Vero Beach Hated it! Overly congested with boats and people.
Fort Pierce Cool town & people. Peacocks roaming the streets and we got to catch back up with Lori & Marty.
Indiantown Okeechobee waterway side trip (not the ICW)
Jupitor – Hobe Sound Pretty & quiet
West Palm Beach We experienced two TORNADO warnings – NOT COOL!
Fort Lauderdale – Sunrise Bay Nice spot with a park; saw iguanas swimming
North Miami – Oleta State Park Very well maintained park with many trails
Dinner Key The mooring field was terrible – totally exposed.
Key Biscayne – No Name Harbor Beautiful! We saw rays and huge orange iguanas.
Smitty’s height from the water to the top of the mast (including the antenna and other instruments on top), is just under 50’, which means that we need a bridge to have a vertical clearance (the space from the water to the underside of the center of the bridge in the closed position) of at least 50’ or we will need to have the bridge opened. Some bridges are “on demand”, which means that when you get near the bridge you hail the bridge tender on the VHF to request an opening. Other bridges only open at certain times during the day, for example on the hour and half-past the hour. Some bridges are fairly close together, requiring us to time our journey each day in order to coordinate openings so we did not have to sit there and wait. Holding station (trying to wait in the same spot) in a sailboat is quite challenging to do when it is windy or in strong current, you cannot just put the boat in park and have it stay in place. In total, we passed under almost 90 bridges in Florida!
My favorite travel day was the day we went from Daytona Beach through Mosquito Lagoon to Cape Canaveral. The lagoon is a large body of shallow water that is part of the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge. At one point we took a sharp right turn into a very narrow canal known as Haulover Canal. This spot was majestic. As we rounded the turn we saw dolphins all around us and seabirds of every variety diving into the water and swimming about. There were lots of people fishing, one guy even held up his catch for me to get a picture. Once we were through the canal, a large flock of Flamingos flew overhead and landed on a small nearby island. Shortly thereafter we spotted our first group of manatees! Once we were anchored for the night, I looked over to the distant land only to see the NASA space shuttle. Then as we were on a nearby island with Summer we saw yet another manatee. We ended the day with a beautiful full moon that night. Needless to say, it was a great day.
Okeechobee Watrerway – Indiantown
In order to have Smitty hauled out (put onto land), our itinerary for Florida included a diversion from the ICW to go to Indiantown. We had many projects to complete that could only be done out of water (like clean and paint the bottom). Living on the boat, on land, and having to get Summer and ourselves up and down a ladder was not easy. However, not all of our time was spent working. We spent a lovely afternoon with my Aunt June and Uncle John (thank you again for making the long trip over to visit us). We were also able to meet some blog friends in person – Matt & Jessica, authors of the blog MJSailing and Ellen, author of the blog The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Side Kick. And…we finally saw an alligator!
Much bigger houses and boats starting in the Treasure Coast and south.
Smitty and crew have now sailed to every state on the East Coast of the United States. On Saturday, January 30th, at 11;30 pm, we departed from No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne, Florida to continue on to the next leg of our journey – the Bahamas.