FLORIDA TREASURE COAST
140 Miles of 140
150 Gallons of Diesel
1 Locks of 1
140 Miles of 140
150 Gallons of Diesel
1 Locks of 1
We leisurely started our day as this is our last day on vacation. Our day would consist of packing, cleaning, and prepping for the day when we would start again. Leaving the lock after pulling anchor in quiet calm waters and barely any breeze we head west down the Cape Canaveral Barge Canal toward the ICW. Diesel is available at Harbortown Marina on the canal and we need to top up and drop off garbage. Scott deicdes to run a video on the go pro for the trip. The video consists of pulling up anchor, heading west on the canal, stopping at Harbortown Marina and then pulling out to head west on the canal again to the ICW where we will head south toward Cocoa Village Marina. This trip would be one of the calmest in winds we have encountered this trip.
At the marina, where Conductance will call home, we set the lines for no tidal waters but waves from winds and big wakes from passing boats on the ICW that do not slow for marinas. Then the cleaning of the interior, laundry, washing the entire hull, rinsing the gas motor on the dingy, Low Voltage, rinsing the A/C units and engines from the salt water, and deep clean after 10 days of being together.
Cocoa Village Marina is a great marina that offers transient slips, security, restrooms, 24 hour laundry, showers and a short walk to the village. It is a tight turn around so if you are planning on going here be sure it is a calm day and you have help from staff getting in. Grocery is over 1 mile away. The hardware store is across the street. The boys found out that there is a homemade ice cream shop nearby that Obama and his family have been to. Apparently there is a Youtube vid as well.
It’s a long day of prepping and getting set to leave at 5:00 AM to make our flight home.
We decided to stay at the lock another night so that we could spend our last full play day on the beach. We packed up all our snorkel gear, boogie boards, and wet suits. We headed south on Banana River in the dingy about 2 miles to a marina called Island Time Marina. Island Time Marina is undergoing a full and major renovation. It is to be completed by July, 2017, with showers, laundry, restroom, tiki bar and restaurant. It is situated about 3 blocks from the tourist strip in Cocoa Beach where the beach entrance is also. This marina had several boats with about a 3-4 foot draft. They have about 50 slips available.
We had a great day for the boogie boards. The surf was good with about 2-3 foot waves. The beach was busy and people watching is always in season. Cocoa Beach is known for its surf. This is the place to be for small and big surf in Florida. We noticed that the winds were getting big. We decided to leave and found that the Banana River had at least 4 foot waves. That would be too much for the dingy with our gear and us. We decided to hug the shore where there would be several homes and places to get to if needed. It proved to be the best of the worst situation. We found ourselves caught in water 1 foot deep and had to “portage” the dingy over. The waves were better near the shore but the 20 minute ride we had in the morning turned out to be about 2 hours to get home. We were very lucky that we left when we did because the winds picked up to gust of 35 mph. The last 600 feet was in open water to where we had Conductance well anchored. We watched as the waves grew and watched the weather. We had about 4 more hours of big winds so we watched a movie and put on the anchor alarm. The anchor alarm lets out a sound if the boat moves from its positioned anchor space.
Before the sun went down and in the big waves we watched another anchored buddy from Montreal when their anchor let go. We sounded the horn 5 times hoping they would hear but Scott figured they hit bottom on a shoal that was directly behind their boat. They quickly got on deck and reset their anchor. We settled in for an old time movie, Groundhog Day, and checked our position periodically. We were in really well considering the 35 mph gusts which started to taper off around 1 AM.
We were looking for something to do today and thought a beach day would be in order. As we looked at opportunities we found that the Banana River just south of Cape Canaveral would be a good anchor spot as it would be near the manatee centre, a ramp to leave the dingy to head to the beach and also a decent depth. The river seems to have several very shallow spots so we called our marina for local knowledge. He stated there would be a launch of a rocket at Cape Canaveral. We know have our mission for the day.
We head out from Sebastian on a northward path. It’s an easy pass the entire distance. We see those dolphins today but none of them want to play. Several Loopers are heading north as we pass them. The more humble homes of the catch our attention. There are lots of causeways heading to the Oceanside. We pass Vero Beach and Melbourne. The only way we know we are passing these cities is by the causeways and our charts. There are no high hotels and condos. We did put in the video from the day that they were jumping in our wake. Please ignore my dog training response squeals for the performance by our dolphins.
We make our way to the Cape Canaveral Barge Canal and head east. There are anchor spots at the north and south part of the entrance to the Lock. The Canal itself has 2 marinas available where the locals go for hurricane holes for their boats. It is a natural setting with a no wake zone the entire canal. Several fisherman are here in the canal as well as boats getting ready to go through the lock and head out to the Atlantic Ocean.
As we exit the canal the area opens up to a large area. We see several day boats beached on an island to the north of the lock and several sailboats and trawlers to the south of the lock. We head to the northern side where the island is. At Ski Island we take the dingy in to this tiny 200 foot island. It’s crowded on a Saturday. The island effect is quickly over as more and more people show up. We hop back in “Low Voltage” and head over to the next island and through the bay where there are 3 cruise ships waiting to disembark.
Now we wait for the launch. It’s a Falcon 9 capsule on a Delta 4 rocket. It is a military communication system satellite that is being launched. Apparently it is more powerful for the military comm than all of the combined systems available now. There are 6 countries involved including Canada, The Netherlands, USA, Luxemborg, and a couple more. The window for launch is from 7:44 to 8:59. It’s now 8:02 as there is an issue with a swing arms. So we wait…….8:08…….T minus 4 minutes.
We had lift off at 8:18. Awesome!!! Spectacular! Tick off another item on the bucket list!
We left in the morning for the 30 mile trek to an anchor spot we found on Active Captain. It is the closest we could find to the Sebastian Inlet and still anchor in 6 feet of water. The morning proved to be more than we expected as we cruised the beautiful estuary area between Fort Pierce and Vero Beach.
We were passing boats of all sizes including sails, catamarans, cruisers and lots of fishing boats heading out for their morning catch. We didn’t expect that we would have several trailing dolphins several during this stretch. The pods of dolphins followed directly behind our boat in the wake. They liked the big wakes more than the little ones as they played and we cheered them on for more. In fact one dolphin started the whole thing when we heard his familiar squeal behind the boat. Both Aiden and I went back and started clapping and coaxing them. Sure enough there were at least 5-6 jumping our wake and enjoying the applause. They continued to dive and jump at the rear of the boat in the wake for several miles. We had to slow for a slow moving boat and they moved on. What a great experience.
As we traveled past Vero Beach the many marinas and large homes stood out. The homes were equal in size to the ones south but it seemed they had more land which were perfectly manicured. The water is a crystal blue colour and really clear. I’m sure we can see several feet down.
Then again as we started up again more dolphins started jumping in our wake. We could see them at the back of the boat just under the props as they kept the same speed and then would give us a show with a jump. We would take pictures and videos as they jumped. They continued with us for several miles again until we had to slow down for other boats. Then we saw 2 manatees. One was just coming up for air as Scott happened to notice him. Then another had a flipper come out of the water and Aiden caught sight of him.
Eventually we found our anchor spot just off the channel leading out to the Sebastian Inlet. It is not protected from winds at all but we checked the forecast and winds are to die down overnight and only start building by tomorrow afternoon. Our spot is just off the channel, before the sea grass area in about 6 feet of water. The tide here is only about 4 inches where the inlet is 2 feet. So we feel comfortable staying put. There is a bit of current from the tidal flow.
We headed by dingy to the inlet area where there is a safe and shallow snorkeling area deemed excellent. It is a beach area, with rocks at the water side of the inlet to allow a safe haven for swimming for the smallest of persons. The beach is a white soft sand. You can snorkel by these rocks on the “lagoon’ side in about 3 feet of water. For the more experienced snorkel you can go on the outside of the rocks on the inlet side and ride the tide either in or out depending on the direction. Note that at tide changes the current is at least 3 knots. Be sure you know the direction of the tide before heading outside the rocks to snorkel. Both spots are excellent for viewing fish and sea life.
After a day of snorkeling we headed to the beach which is on the other side of the “lagoon’. It was only a 5 minute walk to this secluded beach area. The pier has several local fisherman, the beach is one of the most natural beaches and doesn’t have many people. The beach has untouched shells which includes finds of several types of very large intact shells. On a calm day you could spend all day swimming, searching for shells, snorkeling, and beach time. There are no amenities close by so bring whatever you need.
We stayed another night here by the Harbortown Marina on the hook. We decided to head back to the Navy Museum with the dingy to our new found mooring spot. The museum opens at 10 AM and we are there shortly after opening. It is worth a look if you like learning about military and historical war scenarios. We did it in about 2 hours only because we read everything there is to read about something. The original “Captain Philips” lifeboat is here complete with bullet holes where the Seals saved him from the Somali pirates. There are also several retired helicopters and various Seal boats. The video was too long at probably about 1.5 hours. The boys like it but I was done in about 30 minutes.
I had made sandwiches for lunch as there is no food anywhere near the museum. The museum has a vending machine with chips and pop. We decided to head to the Manatee Centre located directly next to the Fort Pierce Marina just south of our anchor spot. This museum is small but has an interactive display with some small starfish, coral and crabs to touch. They also have “Big Red” the largest hermit crab I have ever seen. He must be the size of a lobster. No one picks him up. It’s a quick informative tour but we didn’t see manatees today.
We had docked the dingy at the Fort Pierce Marina while we toured the Manatee Centre and visited downtown Fort Pierce. It’s a cute town with lots of construction around the waterfront to attract more visitors. We stopped to have some craft beer at Sailfish Brewery on the main drag. Aiden saw an ice creamery and that also became our stop. At the brewery we played some corn hole and then strolled back to the dingy to make our day complete.
Back at the boat it was now dinner, probably a movie and hoping for some reprieve from these cold temps where we are wearing pants, layers of clothing and the north winds are strong. It is supposed to change but not for a couple days yet. At least we are not shoveling…….
We stopped at anchor spot #24 on the Active Captain app which is just after the Fort Pierce Marina at the 2nd causeway to the west of the ICW. It is located just before the Harbortown Marina. There isn’t much wind protection here but there is about 8 feet of water with a good hold on the anchor. It is a no wake zone as well. Not all Captains are adherent to the rules so you will get rocked by the occasional Captain that feels his time is more important than your comfort from his wake. It was the closest anchor to the Navy Seal Museum on the beach side. We took the dingy to the area closest to the Navy Museum and found that the docks were in so much need of repair that sections were taken out so that people didn’t use them. Also they had No Mooring signs on them. We found one area where a large drain pipe was coming out near one of the viewing docks and used that to tie up on, close to shore, and carefully slide on a 2×6 with our butts, or walking on it. It wasn’t a far butt scoot with only about 4 feet from shore. It was on Wildcat Cove. The viewing docks are being replaced one by one so that anyone coming in later in 2017 should have easy access. They are adding a low dock as well.
We made it to the Navy Seal Museum with an hour before closing. The outside exhibit was available so we did take in the Seal boats, the practice course with its high ropes, low ropes, rope swings and any other type of military obstacle course you might see on TV. Of course Scott had to try all of them. Aiden and I did the easy ones at a much slower pace. We decided we would come back tomorrow. The winds are very strong today so we knew the ride back to Conductance would be a long 20 minutes.
The temps are falling and the winds are strong. A NE to N wind causing the temps to fall to the 40”s overnight with a high of only about 62 degrees. It’s a chilly day in Florida but not the 18 inches of snow at home.
We’ll be taking in a movie tonight and preparing for our day tomorrow.
We have been having difficulty with electronics today. The new navigation electronics has been acting up and now it has lost most data. No explanation as to why. Then the app that we use to navigate and find anchor spots, Active Captain, stopped working claiming a network error. We did find it wasn’t working on anything but the laptop. Then the media player that we watch movies from stopped working. We decided it might be a good idea to head to a marina and find wifi to find out if updates are available and have a safe place to work on these problems. Scott fixed what he could on the navigation system however our Simrad has been flakey. Active Captain still isn’t working on our apps so we decided to use the laptop with the hotspot to our ipad. The media player was bogged down by too many pictures so we blew them away as they were saved elsewhere. So we are back in business. \
This marina is beautiful. There are 3 pools, hottub, laundry, breakfast, restaurant, restrooms, bike rentals, gorgeous manicured grounds and security. Diesel and gas is available as well. If you’re looking for a break from the boat lifestyle this is the place to be. The slips are all stern in with short docks and pillars to tie to. We went in bow first so that we had the dingy available.
We took the dingy to a dock that we found on Google Maps that is adjacent to the beach area. The area is called Jenson Beach where snorkeling is considered the best in the area. The area known as the “bathtub” where a reef keeps the area well sheltered. The waves break over the reef but it is a great spot to snorkel in about 5 feet of water. We spent the day at the beach enjoying the warm weather. There is a cold front coming in that will bring temps much cooler over the next few days.
Winds were to continue today with SE direction so the surf on the beach would prove to be a great day to body surf and boogie board. We decided to stay put one more night. The anchor is holding well with some shelter from this direction of wind. The spot doesn’t offer full protection however it is a good hold in mud. The proximity to the beach adds to the attraction.
We spent the day on the beach back and forth between the boat and beach. The surf was perfect for boogie boarding in the morning. We had to take a break from the boogie board to fill the tummy of a teenage boy. After lunch it was back at the beach for the afternoon. The surf wasn’t good anymore so body surfing became the passtime. It would have been chilly without the wetsuits. Glad we packed them. We walked on the beach for awhile as well. It’s so nice to be where the beach is not crowded knowing that very few folks ever get to this spot.
We took the dingy to Loblolly to check out their facility. Quite a nice marina with resort type atmosphere. No gas or diesel.
The winds were still quite strong but we were entertained by dolphins swimming by the shore.