NOVEMBER---Fernandina Beach, FL to Miami, FL

To Vero Beach:

Left Fernandina Beach on November 1. Our boat insurance requires us to remain north of Jekyll Island until November1----about 40 statue miles north of Fernandina. When Hurricane Sandy passed by Fernandina on October 26....we were south of where we should have been for insurance coverage. However, for this particular hurricane, we were in the safest spot along the entire east coast. At the Florida/Georgia border the land curves to the west so Sandy passed the furthest from land at this spot. . Still.....we decided not to press our luck and venture further south until November 1. This is the first year we ventured below our insurance restriction line. My theory is each of us is given a certain quantity of good luck so it should not be wasted.

On the trip from Fernandina to our first anchorage, Pine Island, we paid attention to the clearances of the fixed bridges. The clearance for fixed bridges is 65 feet at mean high water. Because of the astronomical tide, high tide was greater than normal. In other words ....higher water means less clearance at the bridge! Passed under the Twin Bridge just south of Fernandina easily at low tide with plenty of clearance---astronomical tide also results in lower low tides. Just south of the St. John's River we scraped the VHF antenna across the bottom of the roadway on Wonderwood Bridge---it was almost high tide. Our VHF antenna is the highest point on our mast. Continued two miles south to the Atlantic Blvd Bridge. It was now high tide--could not get under the bridge so dropped anchor to wait 2.5 hours for the tide to drop. The next two fixed bridges were a breeze to pass under because the tide was falling. Anchored at Pine Island for a quiet, restful night.

From Pine Island we headed to St. Augustine. The Usina Bridge just north of St. Augustine showed 66 feet of clearance on the stage board---breezed under that bridge. Picked up a mooring in the south anchorage. St. Augustine is a great city to visit. It is America's Oldest City--the oldest community continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. The city has fantastic architecture. The Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, dates back to 1672. Flagler College is located in the old Flagler Hotel built in 1887. Attended the Friday night Art Walk stopping in a gallery where our friends, Bentley and Jim on SALTY PAWS, were playing while people browsed around the gallery. Walked around town watching people and checking out the various shops. Stopped to listen to a local female singer, Amy Hendrickson, at the St. Augustine Music Festival. Her voice was wonderful--loved the type of music she sang (started with an Irish ballad, a couple of songs from the 60's and then a few of her own songs). Jim (SALTY PAWS) invited cruisers to meet for dinner at the Prince of Wales restaurant--about 14 people attended. The food at the Prince of Wales is pretty good. Met George and Doris (GRACE) for lunch one afternoon. Met George and Doris several years ago in Deltaville. This year, GRACE was on the hard in a boatyard up the St. John's River for the summer. Missed their presence in Deltaville this past fall. Will see them again in the Bahamas.

On the left .....shopping in St. Augustine. Went into almost every store but not tempted to buy anything. On the right...the photo was taken before Election Day. Two guys manned this station. As you approached they'd ask if you have voted yet. My response was yes so they left me alone. If you admitted you had not voted--they wanted you to take a brochure that would help guide your conscience.


Dinner at the Prince of Wales. Photos of only a few of the cruisers in attendance.


Listened to a couple artists at the St. Augustine's Festival of Music. Participating artist were given an hour on the stage. I just loved Amy Hendrickson.


Below is a photo of George and Doris .


Next leg of the journey to Vero---St. Augustine to the Palm Coast Marina where Carl rented a car to pick up our new batteries. About 5 minutes after we tied to the dock, Carl shut down the electrical sty stem and started to remove the old batteries. Called Enterprise for a pick-up. He found a cart to help ferry the batteries to the parking lot. While Carl drove to the supplier to pick up the batteries, I did laundry. Caught a ride to Publix with a local boater to pick up fruit and stuff for salads. Carl had the new batteries installed and the car returned by 4:00 PM. A busy, physically demanding day for Carl so he was ready for a shower, a quick dinner and then to bed.

From Palm Coast Marina we moved to New Smyrna Beach. Our VHF antenna "ticked" on the bottom of the roadway as we passed under the Flagler Beach Bridge (it is nerve wracking to be so close). Passed under all three fixed bridges in Daytona without any problems--did touch the VHF antenna on the Port Orange Bridge due to wave action. I brought the boat up too close to the George Munson bridge while it was opening---the operator said to continue at my speed but I should have slowed it down. Made it through without hitting---thought the bridge tender would scold me but he didn't. Anchored close to the New Smyrna Yacht Club. Turned on Sirius Radio to CNN to listen to election results but itt was too early for results. Switched to a music station because the new coverage was the same ole point/counterpoint crap that has been on for over a year. Woke up at midnight to check CNN on the computer---saw that Obama had all the electoral votes to win so back to sleep.

Next stop.....Titusville. Dropped anchor to the east of boats at moorings. Carl took the dinghy to shore to see Karen and Chris on SYNERGY. Karen invited us to join them for dinner at a Mexican restaurant that night with another couple they know from Brunswick, GA. On his way back to the boat, Carl noticed signs "Mooring Field. No Anchoring". We were not in anyone's way and since only staying one night we did not move. Had a good dinner at the Mexican restaurant which also served some Cuban dishes. Both Carl and I ordered off the Cuban section of the menu and shared the entrees. Pretty tasty.

Finally--- good wind for sailing down the ICW. Mostly running with the wind (wind north at 20 knots). Found an anchorage in our cruising guide that sounded good by the description and the current forecast. Winds out of the northwest and diminish during the night. Well the anchorage, Rocky Point South, sounded better than it was. The island that was to provide protection was a tiny little spoil island barely above sea level with a few bushes and hundreds of birds. The winds clocked to the north and to the northeast and did not diminish so we were wide open to wind and waves (long fetch). A bumpy night. A few of the birds from the island decided sleeping on DISCOVERY's bow was far better than the bushes on that low spoil island. I got up in the middle of the night armed with my flashlight to shoo them away. I had this vision of waking up to find a hundred pelicans sitting on our lifelines crapping all over the place. It is hard to sleep with those disturbing thoughts running through your head.

From Rocky Point ....Vero Beach was only 21 nautical miles away. Started sailing as soon as we were back in the ICW channel. It was slow going but at least the engine wasn't running. Passed under the Wabasso Bridge with the antenna just touching the bottom of the roadway. Started our engine when we passed through by John's Island (the land blocked out wind). Tied to Mooring #9 by 11:00 AM.

Vero Beach:

Arrival in Vero Beach is a major milestone in the journey from Deltaville to the Bahamas. It is the perfect spot to top off the provisions, finish projects and pick up last minute supplies. Several of our cruising friends have homes in Vero Beach....so it is also time to socialize. It is like college homecoming! Some people stay in Vero Beach so long that it has been coined "Velcro Beach".

In Vero Beach......the marina staff will put up to three boats on a mooring. SYNERGY was on their way down from Titusville. Chris and Karen decided to raft up to us at mooring #9 (better to live with the devil you know than the one you do not know). The city marina has decent laundry facilities, sufficient showers, a large book exchange and a lounge with TV if you are so inclined. The city of Vero Beach has a free bus service that runs during the day with convenient stops (marina, West Marine, Publix, Walmart and the shopping mall).The bus does not run on Sunday and on Saturday the schedule is reduced. On the bus almost every day during the week to pick up provisions. Buy only what you can carry on the bus and I always have to struggle up the bus steps with all my bags. Did so much shopping that I almost destroyed that magnetic strip on the back of my VISA card. It is amazing how much food you can stowe on a boat. Poor Carl asked me several times "When do you think you will finish provisioning?" My reply, "When the storage areas are full."

Vero Beach is also a good place to check out the re-sale shops especially Goodwill and VNA (Visiting Nurses Association). Went shopping at the re-sale shops with Kris (TILT) twice. Found Carl a pair of Docker shorts for $4.00 with the price tag still on them. Found two pair of shorts, one skirt and one top for me for a total of $7.50. Kris did even better than I did. She found some wonderful bargains one afternoon at VNA--- some designer clothes that have look like they haven't been worn at all. Shopping re-sales is a crap shoot ......sometime you hit the jackpot and the next time you walk away with nothing!

While I worked on the provisioning, Carl worked on boat projects. Purchased new filters for the watermaker. When he went to start the watermaker up ......several fittings were leaking so ordered fittings. Replaced the impeller on the generator water pump. Installed an auto-watering system for the new batteries. Sent the solar controller out for repair. Probably other projects that I have forgotten about.

Now for the social calendar. Keith and Rose (CAMELOT) invited us to a party to celebrate the Marine Corp's 237th birthday. Somewhere between 40 and 50 people attended. The appetizers were outstanding. Had a good time catching up with many cruisers we've met over the years in the Bahamas. Toward the end of the party---it was time to cut the cake. Cake cutting honors given to Keith and Mac (formerly WINDBORNE) who are proud ex-members of the Marine Corps. Mac explained that all around the country there are gatherings like this one held every November 10. The singing of the Marine Corp's Hymn ((Halls of Montezuma) brought tears to my eyes. What a fun party.

Invited one evening to Bob and Bev's for dinner along with Chris and Karen (SYNERGY) and Di and Jay (formerly FAR NIENTE). Bev gave Karen and I a tour of the new condo. Saw the condo last spring when it was being remodeled so it was fun to see it finished. It is really nice. I love the guest room and the dining room set Bob and Bev found in Maine (all hand crafted cherry). Bob grilled burgers and hot dogs for us. Discussed the upcoming season in the Bahamas.

Dinner at Bob and Bev's. On the left Bev, Karen and Di. On the right Jay and Chris (Carl way in the background). Bottom left is Carl and Bob.


Karen and Ron (SEA DANCER) invited TILT (Kris and Craig), DISCOVERY, Pat and Mac (formerly WINDBORNE) and CYGNET (Bob and Chesley) over for dinner. Typically, Kris and I bring something to dinner besides our drinks but this time Karen told us everything was taken care of. Karen made a comfort food dinner (Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and apple pie with ice cream). Pat made a loaf of bread. Lots of time to visit before, during and after dinner.

Dinner at Karen and Ron's. On the left is Pat, Chesley and Mac. On the right...Men and their fascination with smartphones??? Craig is thinking, "I just don't get it". Bottom left is Karen and Pat. At her request.....no photo of Kris!


Rose and Keith invited us out for dinner along with Kris & Craig and Ron & Karen. Rose made spaghetti, I brought an appetizer and Kris made dessert. Once again, a good dinner. Played Sequence after dinner....the girls got their butts kicked.

The hostess....Rose enjoying a glass of wine before dinner. On the right is the appetizer I purchased at Sam's Club. It is three layers of Italian cheeses. Tastes mighty fine.


Last dinner invitation was from Aime and Nancy's (SOUTHERN ESTATE) along with Keith and Rose. Nancy made a beef pot roast which I haven't had in years. It was good. My favorite part of pot roast......the roasted carrots and potatoes. Played Sequence .....another bad night for the girls. This trend has got to change.

Attended the Farmer's Market down by the beach twice.....the citrus fruit and fresh grapefruit juice are fantastic. Stayed clear of the vendor that sells bread. Their bread is so good that it is impossible not to eat all of it in one day! There was an Art Show one Sunday down by the beach with several vendors selling paintings and a couple selling jewelry. The artists selling jewelry were very talented (their stuff was made with sterling silver and real gold). Would love to design such beautiful jewelry. Decided this summer I am going to learn how to do bezel work.

Bob (SAVAGE SON) checked out Carl's elbow. Carl went to the Urgent Care Center in Fernandina for an infected and inflamed elbow. Suggested Carl continue the hot water soaks. Bob also prescribed two antibiotics to take with us to the Bahamas just in case the infection returns. By the end of the month....Carl's elbow looks almost normal (just a little red and some swelling). Thanks Bob.

One afternoon .....I joined a group of ladies for lunch at the Olive Garden and shopping at the Outlet Mall. Pat (WINDBORNE), Kris, Chris (ON WATCH). Nancy (SOUTHERN ESTATE) and Karen (SEA DANCER). Made a few purchases. I don't think you are always getting a bargain at the Outlet Mall but in this case I did alright.

Celebrated Thanksgiving at the Vero Beach Cruisers' Dinner. The city provides a building (River House) with tables and chairs. This year, cruisers living in Vero Beach provided 6 turkeys and 2 hams (I think those are the numbers) while Cruisers brought their own drinks and a dish to share. I brought Carl's favorite green bean casserole plus mashed potatoes. There was plenty of food for all. Also this year, different merchants in Vero Beach provided door prizes. SYNERGY won a free boat bottom scrub. They had just painted their bottom in Titusville (less than 2 weeks ago) so they passed the prize on to us!!! Left Vero Beach with a clean bottom!

Just a few of the friends we have met cruising over the years who we celebrated Thanksgiving with. Top left---Curt and Kathy on 5 and DIME. Top right---Barb on KUMBAYA. Bottom left Bert and Pru on EXUBERANT.


Top left is Robin on COOKIE MONSTER. Top right is Robin with Corbett. Bottom left is Bentley (SALTY PAWS) and his guest. Bottom right is Jim (SALTY PAWS) with Kathy (5 and DIME).


On the left is Chris and Karen on SYNERGY. On the right is Bess and Jimmy on DESTINY.


The food line.


This year, I have so many reasons to be thankful. The most important is my that Mom has recovered from a fall and is back home after being hospitalized for about ten days. She fell down the basement steps. Did not break any bones... bruised body and her hands needed to be stitched up. While in the hosptial.....she started slurring her words and lost the ability to speak. My Mom has had two strokes in the past 6 years. She had a cat-scan that showed no bleeding in the brain. Her family and friends were concerned and afraid. Mom's doctor told her "You are going to recover from this so concentrate on going home." Two days later she was talking again. So much to be thankful for.

By Monday, November 26, all the provisioning was done and our last package arrived via UPS. Went to the dock at the marina to take on fuel and water. Finally broke free from "Velcro Beach" and headed to Peck Lake.

Escape from Vero Beach:

No longer in the astronomically high tide cycle. However, the Indian River has wind tide. When the winds are strong from the north it blows water into the river. South winds blow it out. The winds were blowing hard from the north most of the month so water was piled into the river reducing the clearance at fixed bridges. Cleared the Barber Bridge. The VHF antenna touched the bottom of the roadway of the 17th Street Bridge a couple times. Easily cleared the bridges south of Fort Pierce with the falling tide. Dropped anchor at Peck Lake at 4:45 PM. Had a nice quiet night. In the morning had a decision to make. According to Chris Parker, there was a 24 hour window for crossing to the Bahamas starting in the afternoon. However, if you are crossing---wherever you are at noon on Wednesday is where you will stay for 5-7 days because of strong northerly winds. So......if we went to Lucaya or Nassau we'd probably be stuck in a marina or after clearing Customs and Immigration---with luck could move to anchor. Another choice---just stay in Peck Lake for a couple days to explore then move to Lake Worth to sit out the windy weather there Option three---move down to Miami to sit out the weather. Decided to head to Miami.

From Peck Lake we traveled to North Lake Worth anchorage for a couple hours. Carl walked to West Marine to exchange a pump for the watermaker (picked up the wrong pump in Vero). Then moved to Lake Worth anchorage just south of Peanut Island. Carl installed the new pump and emptied one jerry can into the fuel tank. Took the dinghy to a marina to re-fill the jerry jug. Had dinner and a short nap. Woke up at 8:00 PM and underway by 8:20 PM.

The weather during the trip to Miami was different from the forecast. Forecast was "diminishing southeast winds will back to the east less than 10 knots by sunset and continue backing to the north after midnight at 10 knots or less. The actual weather......for the first 3-4 hours the wind was on our nose (southeast) at 15 knot with gusts to 20 knots when the big black clouds were overhead. The winds continued to clock to the south but dropping to 12 knots. Eventually the wind clocked to the west around midnight and northwest around 3:00 AM. It was slow going at first but eventually we picked up speed. Lots of shipping traffic around Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Reached the channel to Government Cut at 7:30 AM just in time to hear the Coast Guard announce that the inlet will be closed from 7:30 AM to 8:15 AM for a pyrotechnics shoot. The seas were pretty mild so I just made two long slow circles in the channel to kill time.

In the channel headed to Government Cut. A view of Miami early in the morning on an overcast day.


Anchored near the Venetian Causeway between DiLido and Rivo Alta Island along with SYNERGY and two catamarans. After picking up the boat, taking a shower and a short nap .......joined Chris and Karen for a trip to shore for lunch and a walk. Had a great pizza at Rustica (half shrimp pesto the other half was shrimp chilpolte).

Lunch our first day in Miami on Lincoln Street Mall at Rustica.


BLUE HEAVEN arrived in the anchorage sailing down from Fort Lauderdale.

Sitting out a period of brisk northeast winds in Miami. It is a good place to be with lots of things to do. Karen and Chris had us over for dinner (grilled pork chops that were served with wild rice and green beans). Played Sequence---the girls lost again. The following day, Karen, Arleen and I walked around South Beach. Had Happy Hour on Blue Heaven that evening.

It has been an interesting month. In all the years we have cruised this area ......never been so close to the bottom of the fixed bridge's roadway. Don't remember so many days of brisk northerly component winds.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
December 02, 2012