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December 25, 2013

5

Florida, Warm Florida

by frankandems

All we can say is “Ahhhhhhh…” Yes, people, after months of listening to us WHINE about being cold in Maine this summer and being cold going south this fall, it appears as though we may cease and desist with the whining . . . we are warming up!

In our last post, we had made it to Florida. We left Georgia via St. Simon’s inlet and went “outside” into the big old ocean to make our last get out of the state of Georgia. It was a nice day and things were going so well that we skipped the inlet at St. Mary’s, Georgia and kept right on going to the inlet at Jacksonville, Florida instead.

Although this looks like a picture of Eleanor Q at first glance, it is not! It is "Slow Waltz," our little sister ship - a Gozzard 37'.

Although this looks like a picture of Eleanor Q at first glance, it is not! It is “Slow Waltz,” our little sister ship – a Gozzard 37′.

A glimpse of a sandy beach on the way in to Jacksonville

A glimpse of a sandy beach on the way in to Jacksonville

We had an interesting occurance in Jacksonville – we briefly ran aground. After receiving some less than accurate information about the water depth at one of the two free city walls in Jacksonville, we ran hard aground on our approach. Frank was at the helm and I was poised at the ready to loop a line around one of the cleats when we just stopped. We couldn’t have been more than 15 feet from the wall! No panic. Frank came up on the bow and spent a few minutes trying to lasso one of the cleats, which he did. So there were two bits of good news: 1) We knew the tide would start coming back up in about 30 minutes, and 2) we had a line on the cleat, so we weren’t going anywhere.  So . . . wait we did. With each little inch the tide gave us, we pulled in a little closer. Finally the tide came up enough to lift us just off the bottom and we pulled up to the wall.  We did that long enough to assess that we did not want to stay there overnight since we’d just end up hard aground again at the next low tide! We pulled around to the other free wall with deeper water and got the last parking space of the night. Once we got settled in, it was a great place to tie up and we chatted with very nice fellow boaters.

Dawn at the Jacksonville City Wall

Dawn at the Jacksonville City Wall

Sunrise at the Jacksonville City Wall

Sunrise at the Jacksonville City Wall

After a short night, we were off and running again the next day. After all . . . we were still trying hard to get further south!

Next stop: St. Augustine. We really enjoyed the town and found a terrific marina to stay at within walking distance of town and all it had to offer. We found good restaurants and really good music.

Walking through St. Augustine

Walking through St. Augustine

First stop on our first evening: a wine bar with Anthony and Annette. And we picked up a friend or two along the way!

First stop on our first evening: a wine bar with Anthony and Annette. And we picked up a friend or two along the way!

Then we found some great live music in St. Augustine - acoustic guitar and vocals . . . outstanding!

Then we found some great live music in St. Augustine – acoustic guitar and vocals . . . outstanding! Annette listening intently.

A reminder that Christmas is coming . . . Christmas trees for sale in a palm tree lined lot.

A reminder that Christmas is coming . . . Christmas trees for sale in a palm tree lined lot.

Frank was able to reconnect with a high school class mate who lives and works in St. Augustine now. John was a delightful host as we visited the restaurant where he works . . . a piano bar and restaurant with great food and music. Now if only I had remembered to take a picture of the two of them together!!! Argh. Nice seeing you, John! Magnolia’s crew, once again, met up with us there and then, after dinner – well the picture says it all!

Of course . . . ICE CREAM!

Of course . . . ICE CREAM!

Frank and I knew that we wanted to fly back up to NJ some time in December to see our families before the holidays. We couldn’t plan it very far in advance because we needed to feel our way through the logistics of leaving the boat parked in Florida for a week. We had to find a place that was reasonably priced and where we felt secure leaving the boat. Hidden Harbor Marina was the perfect place, and so we quickly made some travel arrangements and buzzed up to NJ for a few days. We got there just in time for the first major snow of the season. Ugh.  But we were thrilled to see some family!

MaryMarie got to hang with Mama and sister Christine!

MaryMarie got to hang with Mama and sister Christine!

I think we both felt a little disoriented dropping in to our “other” life for a week. One of the odd things for me was putting on “real” clothes!

The view at takeoff.

The view at takeoff.

The day we were to fly back to Florida it started snowing again, and our day started with our first flight out of Philly being canceled. Fortunately, we were able to do some finagling and managed to end up back on the boat by the end of the day as planned; we just didn’t take the exact route we had planned!

Back in Florida, we took one more day in St. Augustine to do some much needed boat chores and to start provisioning for our trip to the Bahamas. Certain things are not as accessible in the Bahamas, and when you find them, it’s expensive, so it is advisable to stock up on supplies before going over. After being parked in the same spot for more than a week, it was time for Eleanor Q to move on! Next big stop: Daytona!!

Pelicans watching us make our way through one of the bridges.

Pelicans watching us make our way through one of the bridges.

The last bridge before our stop in Daytona.

The last bridge before our stop in Daytona.

Florida in December

Florida in December

Daytona

Daytona

Ems has some very dear friends who live in the Daytona area! A part of the gang from Bethlehem, PA were reunited! So fun to see my peeps from Pennsylvania. We had a great day of walking downtown Daytona, having lunch and hanging out on the boat . . . our first REALLY warm day!

Downtown Daytona

Downtown Daytona

Reunited with Anne, Bob and Leigh!

Reunited with Anne, Bob and Leigh!

Being silly for the camera in front of Leigh's old work place! Ironic that Anne and Leigh are both originally from Florida, moved to PA for a period of time, and then ended up back down here about 30 minutes apart from each other.

Being silly for the camera in front of Leigh’s old work place! Ironic that Anne and Leigh are both originally from Florida, moved to PA for a period of time, and then ended up back down here about 30 minutes apart from each other.

They introduced me to Angell & Phelps candies. Don't laugh, the chocolate covered bacon is AMAZING! I had to get some.

They introduced me to Angell & Phelps candies. Don’t laugh, the chocolate covered bacon is AMAZING! I had to get some.

Christmas lights on the Halifax River Yacht Club

Christmas lights on the Halifax River Yacht Club

The further into December we went, the more boats we saw lit up for Christmas!

The further into December we went, the more boats we saw lit up for Christmas!

We enjoyed the first taste of some truly warm days in Daytona . . . and we were craving more! So after a very nice stay in Daytona, it was time for us to continue the trek south. We started peddling hard again, anchoring overnight in Titusville, stopping briefly in Melbourne where we met up with Magnolia again, and then heading on down to our next stop, Vero Beach.

Vero Beach is an extremely popular stop for the cruising community, and many end up staying longer than they anticipated! There’s also a number of cruisers who have ended up moving to Vero, thus earning it the nickname, “Velcro Beach,” since people seem to get stuck there. We enjoyed our two nights and also had to resist the urge to stay a little longer, but resist we did.

I’ll stop for now, but will give you a preview of the next post which will come up shortly: More on Vero Beach, Palm Beach, and the 18 bridge day to Ft. Lauderdale where we are spending Christmas with Magnolia.

On that note we’ll say Merry Christmas to one and all!!

 

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cheryl Duvall
    Dec 25 2013

    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  2. Donna & Rich
    Dec 25 2013

    There you are! We’ve been missin’ your updates. Merry Christmas to you in the sunshine state. Love, R & D

    Reply
  3. Caroline
    Dec 26 2013

    Merry Christmas from Austin! Xo. Caroline and David!

    Reply
  4. Dec 26 2013

    On my way to Miami, I crashed my car in Vero and stayed for three years. Great town.

    Reply
  5. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Dec 27 2013

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you both! Glad to hear you have made it to sunny Florida and it’s time for provisioning, etc. for the crossing. That’s always exciting stuff. Pack that freezer, you’ll be glad you did! Don’t forget the beer and wine! Looking forward to your posts. Fair winds, Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply

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