December 5-28, 2012... The Palm Beaches

Anchored again at the Royal Park Bridge, we settled in to wait out John’s jury duty.  He called every night for two weeks to see if he had to appear, and didn’t have to.  That left us plenty of time to explore the neighborhoods in both Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, go kayaking, and even spend a day at the beach.  

On one walk, near the Flagler Museum, we passed this amazing tree -- a Moreton Bay Fig.  Wow.  The buttress roots are taller than Patti. 

Sitting on Anhinga next to the bridge, openings are a source of excitement...would we know any of the boats coming down the ICW?  One day, an unusual sighting...

Really, a house on a barge?  This was different.  The tug pushed the barge over to the West Palm Beach side where it tied up for the night.

Next day, all kinds of activity as a crew rolled the house off the barge, over the sea wall, and onto the street.  We dinghied over to join the spectators to watch as this historic house was ever so gently inched up and over.

Then, a couple of weeks later, on one of our walks through the neighborhoods of West Palm Beach, we saw the house!  Still not settled, but waiting to be planted in Grandview Heights.  So... the end to that story.

We took several walks along the pedestrian/bike trail on the Palm Beach side of Lake Worth, along the ocean, and through the neighborhoods.  Some of these houses are gated compounds -- the main house, the guest house, if on the ocean side -- a beach house connected by tunnel under the road to the main compound, servants quarters, pool houses.  Gorgeous architecture, statuary, fountains, amazing plantings and landscaping.  Can’t say enough about the bougainvillea.  

Many houses in the El Cid neighborhood of WPB are also beautiful...

Some people take their space very seriously -- though some afford themselves a bit of whimsy -- see the colorful alligator statue...  

But really, this is like being on another planet.  There is so much money here.  Patti took such an interest that she read a thick real estate brochure cover to cover.  Almost half the properties on the island seem to be for sale.  Do people pay $35M for a house?  We are anchored across from a house for sale -- has water views on three sides -- asking $30M.  We have the same water views from four sides... worth $40M???  Gets you thinking...

Royal Park Bridge, West Palm Beach:  26d42.156’N  80d02.871’W

November 5 - December 5, 2012... Delray Downtime

While Anhinga rested in her slip at the Palm Beach Yacht Center and had some well-deserved engine maintenance done, we rested in Delray Beach at Renée & Irwin’s.  It is always fun to be off the water for a bit, but that doesn’t stop us from keeping in touch with nature.  One day we went with Renée to Green Cay Nature Center to walk the boardwalk.  Such a beautiful place, so many birds, (see the heron catch a snake...), and a couple of HUGE gators.  Glad we didn’t go by kayak!

Patti’s sister Karen came down from Virginia for Thanksgiving week as her daughter Lauren was in a national field hockey tournament in Wellington.  Just imagine 4,000 high school girls let loose on Palm Beach County!  Lauren’s team did really well; we went to a couple of the games and formed the Lauren cheering squad.  John captured the action:

All good things come to an end.  We provisioned till Anhinga was bursting at the seams and departed the marina.  But only to go a few miles to anchor off West Palm Beach.  We weren’t going anywhere yet... John was summoned for jury duty and so we wait to see if he jumps into the jury pool.  (He keeps threatening to show up at the courthouse with a towel...)

October 28 - November 5, 2012... And Finally, Florida

After leaving the St Mary’s River we headed down the ICW and plopped ourselves in the middle of marshes off Amelia Island, FL.  We really like the marsh as the waters are usually calm even when the wind is up, the holding is good, there are lots of birds to watch, and the tidal changes make shorelines come and go.  Our birdwatching reward this time were the flocks of white pelicans that sat on the beaches nearby.  

Next day we headed to Pine Island, a favorite anchorage off the ICW.  We intended to spend the night, and go to St Augustine to wait for weather for the last leg of the journey south on the ocean.  The winds were up and it was a little rocky at Pine Island, so we changed our plan and decided to stay put and wait there in the marsh.  Two days later we headed south to the inlet.

The St Augustine inlet has constantly shifting shoals with uncharted markers, so we checked to make sure Hurricane Sandy hadn’t moved the bottom around or pushed markers out of place.  Moving at slack tide, we followed two commercial fishing boats out the L-shaped entrance channel and breathed when we cleared all the shoals.   (John’s white knuckles resumed normal coloration...)  On the ocean again!  We found our course, set the sails, and were on our way.

All was great until after dinner.  Just north of Canaveral, John was below for his first break when the winds came up and we started having 30+ steady winds.  Why does this always happen when the sun goes down?  Well, it was only an hour of sheer terror, and we did manage to get the headsail down and put up the staysail.  Sailing through the night was fine as the winds eased and the next day, everything was fabulous.  There was a warm breeze, the ocean was aqua blue, and with three sails up, it was just perfect.  Patti was as relaxed as she’s ever been on passage.  By evening we had to slow the boat to get to Lake Worth inlet after daybreak.  Arrived Friday morning, puttered down the ICW to anchor in West Palm Beach, and congratulated ourselves on making it to south Florida.  After spending the weekend in West Palm (it felt great to walk again) we took Anhinga to the Palm Beach Yacht Center for some engine maintenance.  We docked, packed, Patti’s parents picked us up, and we headed to Delray Beach for some time on land.  And yes!!  We got here in time to vote in the Presidential election!!

Alligator Creek, Amelia Island:  30d34.437’N  81d28.351’W
Pine Island:  30d03.136’N  81d21.838’W
Royal Park Bridge, West Palm Beach:  26d42.156’N  80d02.871’W
Palm Beach Yacht Center:  26d33.591’N  80d03.034’W