2163nm from Wiarton, ON and you are in Stuart, FL. 61 times we slept in a new location. Now, it's time to relax and enjoy some nice weather for a change.
The weather has not been great lately. I have said it before and I will say it again, "go where the winds blow you". There is no sense making this tough. Well, there has been a nasty north wind blowing since we left Hilton Head, SC. That was two weeks ago! It is not that complicated, when the wind is from the north, head south. Lucky for us, that was where we were headed anyway.
St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Village, Vero Beach and finally Stuart.
The plan was to fish our way down the Florida coast. Two problems with that plan. We haven't got our Florida fishing licenses yet and the seas have been rolling anywhere for 7' to 11'. The one problem just requires a taxi ride to a Walmart. The other? No sense making this tough. Inside we go.
For those that aren't familiar, there have been three walled cities in North America. St. Augustine, FL, Charleston, SC and Quebec City, QC. St. Augustine lays claim to the title of, the oldest continuously settled, European settled, city in the continental United States. There are a few conditions to that statement. Just the same, it is fair to say, they have got some history.
So, how does the Brooks' family enjoy St. Augustine? On Day 1 we clean the boat and get our hair cut, followed by a very nice diner. And Day 2? Well, the weather was a total downer. We jumped in a taxi and hit the local tackle shop. The taxi driver gave use a small guided tour on the way. We had no luck getting our fishing licenses, but we had a good chat about tackle and fishing techniques. A trolley ride around the city would have been nice, but we went to the Alligator Farm instead. What can I say, the Alligator Farm was fun.
Daytona Beach, might have been a lot more fun had we got there 20 years quicker. That and it is not even Spring Break.
Next stop, Cocoa Village. The Space Coast. And, more crappy weather. Rough even in the marina. The winds here topped 30knots. We only saw a little more than 40knots from Hurricane Sandy. We weighed our options and a trip to Kennedy Space Centre lost out to our urge to get further south and find some nicer weather. We spent two nights in Cocoa Village because of the weather and then foolishly put out on Thursday, American Thanksgiving. We weren't the only ones, there were plenty of Snow Birds out on the water. The problem was, there wasn't any marina staff back on shore. There aren't a whole lot of anchorages around this area. We had planned on picking up a mooring ball in Vero Beach. Unfortunately, we had heard on the radio that they were already full and starting to raft up. We didn't envision too many happy faces seeing a Sportfish with outriggers begging to tie up. So, we started to look at other options. When we finally chased down the dockmaster (fully immersed in Thanksgiving Festivities) for the Loggerhead Marina at Vero Beach, we were right at their entrance. He told us to grab whatever we could and we would square up in the morning. Hard to starboard!
Loggerhead Marina at Vero Beach, now here is a place I could settle down for a while. Beautiful amenities and full of great people. A lot of Canadians. At least 5 on our dock alone. Without even thinking, one night turned into two. And soon, they are asking us why we are leaving? If we had stayed one more night, I am not sure we would have never left. Thanks so much to the Prime Time V and Jennica Ann for your hospitality and we look forward to meeting up again in the Bahamas.
Finally, off to Stuart, our projected Florida base. Mercifully, the breeze has settled. At long last, shorts from morning until night.
Moments out of Vero Beach, Kerri makes an off the cuff comment to the effect of we are still seeing lots of dolphins, but they are not as playful as up north. Almost on cue, we had 3 dolphins on either side. The younger ones seem more playful and we had one on either side. Ask anyone who has tried, dorsal fins and blowholes are easy to get, but to capture a full breach is a treat. On rare occasions, after riding our wake for a short while, we have had them leave our wake then suddenly resurface with a full flip. I have yet to capture that.
So, what makes Phase 1 complete? We have just signed a one month lease at a marina in Stuart, FL. I have a cousin in Jupiter, FL. She treats us royally and because of that, we keep coming back. We now have a vehicle and we will be provisioning all month long. Bahamas in the new year.