“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Florida – The Last ICW Frontier

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Florida not only represented the last and longest stretch of the ICW for sv Smitty and crew, but also new challenges and sites.

Itinerary                                                             Thoughts

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.

random sits of the FL ICW

Scenes going along the ICW in Northern Florida

Ft.Pierce

Jesus, Beer, and Breakfast with Marty & Lori at Archies in Fort Pierce

Bridges

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!

Florida ICW1

So many bridges – about 90 in all

Florida ICW-002

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.

Haulover Canal

Flamingos

ShuttleJPG

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!    

Alligator

OK 2

We had to go through a lock to get into and out of the Okeechobee waterway; and of course this waterway had bridges as well

OK 1

A baby fawn hanging out with some horses along the Okeechobee waterway

Smitty before & after

Smitty before and after

Much bigger houses and boats starting in the Treasure Coast and south.

Florida ICW 2

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Waterway “streets” and neighborhoods are all along the southern ICW – every house has at least one boat “parked” out front

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Florida ICW 3

Yes, that is a boat carrying several megayachts and yes, you can own that super sweet tent-boat  it is for sale

Florida ICW

Miami and West Palm

Florida ICW-001

We were treated to the World Cup Races (the Olympic Qualifiers) as we went into Dinner Key

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.

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4 thoughts on “Florida – The Last ICW Frontier

  1. Fred misses you. He wants to know when you’re going to come back and have a swim in the marina with him 🙂

    • HAHA! I am guessing that Fred is even bigger now – so I will pass on that swim, but please tell him I say hi! 😉

  2. really like reading your blog and following your adventures. Enjoy your dolphins and safe sailing. Love, Mom & Dad

  3. When I was a kid growing up in Fl, my dad and I fished in Mosquito Lagoon, and would pass through Haulover Canal in our fishing skiff. Back then (1960s), the bridge was an old swing-style mechanism that opened by pivoting on the center support. Two men would place capstan bars in the mechanism 180 degrees opposed, and walk in a circle around the capstan, pushing on the bars. The bridge would slowly pivot on the center support until the roadway was parallel to the canal. The boat traffic could then pass through. It was fun to watch as a 10-year-old. My dad said that it was one of the last bridges of its kind still operating. From your photos, it looks like its been modernized. I haven’t been down that way since I was a kid.

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