Florida, Warm Florida
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 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!!
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!
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!!