November 11-14, 2009... Delray Beach or Bust

We continued down the ICW for the final leg to our destination in Delray Beach. Our intent is to spend about a month catching up with family and spending some quality time on boat maintenance. So, for the last few days we pushed on through Melbourne, Ft. Pierce, North Palm Beach and all the way to Delray where we are keeping Anhinga in the Delray Harbor Club Marina.

The high winds kept up all week. Going outside for an ocean leg was not even a consideration -- ICW all the way. It was a little tedious in the gray weather, though the sun showed itself a bit towards the end of the week. We began to wonder how many green and red markers we passed over these weeks as we drove from one to the next. And, the bascule bridges in south Florida are incredibly aggravating. But, we have seen some beautiful scenery -- the mangroves in the Indian River; the mansions in Vero Beach; and finally, the turquoise waters in St. Lucie. It is hard to believe we have come so far -- over 1,000 miles since we left Annapolis in October. Adding our northern trek to and from Block Island from July to October, we guess we’ve covered 2,000 miles all told. Can’t wait to start the international part of our adventure. Come back and read about the Bahamas in January!

Nov 11: Melbourne: +28° 7' 43.74", -80° 37' 13.68"

Nov 12: Ft. Pierce: +27° 27' 26.28", -80° 18' 7.38"

Nov 13: North Palm Beach: +26° 50' 22.02", -80° 3' 12.84"

Nov 14: Delray Beach: +26° 26' 45.12", -80° 3' 53.22"

November 9-10, 2009... Sunshine!

Monday morning we left the anchorage and set south for Daytona. The trip down the ICW was fairly uneventful, even though the winds were howling. It was so nice to be in shorts and t-shirts again -- the temperature got up into the 80s and we needed sunglasses. You can’t complain about that. The dolphins are everywhere in the canals, welcoming us wherever we go. Lots of pelicans, herons, egrets, and to our delight, ospreys! Maybe some of our Annapolis ospreys are spending the winter here in northern Florida. Forgot to mention the newest birds added to our list -- we saw masked boobies feeding in packs when we were out on the ocean the other day. Another bird that dives full force into the water -- astounding. One sour note to our day. Upon arrival in Daytona, we had some trouble anchoring with the winds and currents opposed, and during that time drifted aground into the mud. Sheesh. Scott, from TowBoat US was a lifesaver. In addition to getting us out of the mud, he escorted us to a terrific DEEP place to anchor, where we had a quiet night.

Daytona Beach: +29° 13' 26.88", -81° 1' 12.78"

Tuesday we were up early to find out if we were going to make it through the Main Street bridge in Daytona. It was undergoing repairs and had closed ‘indefinitely’ the day before. Luckily, they had called in a crew to manually open the bridge at 7am and we were on our way. Pretty rough day on the ICW -- the winds and chop didn’t make for the easiest passage through. But by late afternoon we made it to Titusville with no incidents and anchored south of the Titusville bascule bridge. Tonight we celebrate the lack of adventure with a quiet night on the boat.

Titusville: +28° 36' 47.94", -80° 47' 51.42"

November 6-8, 2009... Onward to Florida

We left Beaufort Friday morning for a short motorsail on the ICW to Daufuskie Island. Our plan was to stay over on Saturday and attend the Autumn Festival, leaving for the ocean voyage south on Sunday. However, once we awoke on Saturday and checked the marine weather forecast, we saw that Sunday into Monday was going to get a little wild on the ocean. We weren’t interested in another rock ‘em sock ‘em time out there, and the Saturday into Sunday weather was much more benign. So, we changed plans -- put everything away and readied ourselves to get out there. The purpose of the ocean voyage was to skip the Georgia ICW which is prone to shoaling, that put lots of boats our size in the mud. And we wanted to cut a day or two off the southbound journey to Florida where we have family we are anxious to see.

Bull Creek (opposite Daufuskie Island): +32° 9' 29.64", -80° 51' 6.48"

Saturday morning we motored out Calibogue Sound past Hilton Head and joined the Tybee Roads channel out of Savannah just in time to give way to a huge oil tanker. From there, sails up, and we had some pretty good sailing for a few hours. But once we started back towards land in a southwesterly direction, we lost the wind. So, we motorsailed, then motored. After sundown, the wind picked up again and the seas did too. We weren’t getting too beat up, but we put out the jib to get some stability on the boat. It worked, and we were able to take turns sleeping and taking the helm. It was still dark as we got to St Mary’s Inlet and Fernandina, so we decided to go the next 20 miles to St Johns’ Inlet towards Jacksonville FL and enter in daylight. The wind was really kicking up and the swells were following suit. The hardest part of the trip was Sunday morning when we had the seas (now about 4-6’) on our stern knocking us every which way. Luckily on Sunday morning there wasn’t a lot of boat traffic -- a couple of Coast Guard ships; a Navy warship that announced its departure but that we never saw; a few fishermen. It was early and we didn’t want to waste the daylight, so we motored to the entrance of the ICW and putt-putted down to StM 765 where we anchored for the night. The winds were really blowing -- they were gale force on the outside, and we were just a couple of miles inland. Again -- thank you Rocna.

StM 765 (north of Vilano Beach): +30° 3' 5.16", -81° 21' 55.08"

November 3-5, 2009... ICW to Beaufort, SC

On Thursday, November 5th, we met Rick Butler, the Seven Seas Cruising Assn. Cruising Station volunteer for Beaufort. Rick was a font of knowledge and we picked his brain about sailing south from SC and also about the Bahamas. And, he was so helpful, taking us to the grocery store and to buy a new fuel can, since the old one leaked all over our deck. Thanks Rick - you made our visit to Beaufort a real breeze! That night, we dined in style at the Saltus River Grill, in honor of our Saltus relatives!

Beaufort, SC: +32° 25' 43.62", -80° 40' 50.64"

November 3-5, 2009... ICW to Beaufort, SC

Final leg to Beaufort on Wednesday, November 3rd, was short, and we took advantage of the wide open space on the Coosaw River and motorsailed a little. It was nice not to feel hemmed in by a canal. We arrived early, so we had lots of time to fill our fuel and water tanks. We anchored across from the downtown marina. There is a pretty convenient dinghy dock there, so we went into town to stretch our legs and enjoy the SUMMER-like weather. We had two beautiful days in Beaufort where we walked around in shorts and appreciated the palm trees and southern architecture.

Beaufort, SC: +32° 25' 43.62", -80° 40' 50.64"

November 3-5, 2009... ICW to Beaufort, SC

We left Charleston on Tuesday, November 3rd, to continue down the ICW for Beaufort SC. The first thing we did was forget to check the bridge opening schedule. So there we were bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to depart at 7:30am only to realize that the bridge a mile away wouldn’t be opening until 9am. Oy. So, we re-anchored and waited. We made pretty good progress and found a place to anchor for the night in the South Edisto River near Alligator Creek (StM 510) where we were all alone for awhile. Only two other boats passed that evening, then finally one other sailboat came over to anchor nearby. Another gorgeous, bright orange moonrise.

South Edisto:
+32° 33' 37.98", -80° 24' 30.60"

October 31-November 2, 2009... ICW to Charleston

From Winyah Bay we started out on the ICW for Charleston. The first night out we anchored off the Harbor River in a cut through the marsh. Only a few other boats there; lots of pelicans. It is part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Reserve. Before entering the reserve (which runs 20 miles along the ICW) we saw a couple of bald eagles. Didn’t see any in the reserve... This was Halloween, so since there wasn’t any trick or treating, we celebrated by watching a really bad horror movie, The Snake People, starring Boris Karloff.

Harbor River: +33° 2' 2.58", -79° 32' 31.74" (StM 436)

Sunday, more ICW, and arrival in Charleston. What a pretty city. We stayed for a couple of days, anchored across from the City Marina and used their dinghy dock so that we could walk into town. We didn’t realize how residential the city is so close to the business district. The old houses are beautiful, well maintained, and of course the landscaping with all the palm trees is wonderful. Too bad we are in South Carolina, and it is still cold... Well, it is November... A plug for a terrific Italian restaurant - Pane e Vino on Warren Street off Marion Square is just marvelous. A small place - just 10 tables - if you are in Charleston, go!! Wish we had more meals in a day to eat so that we could take advantage of all Charleston has to offer.

Charleston: +32° 46' 26.16", -79° 57' 3.48"