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