Oh I just can't tell you how wonderful it feels to be moving again and on our way to the Bahamas. The cold winds of winter have released us from their clutches and we've actually begun to sweat again! Ah, that glorious sheen... I promise I won't complain about being hot... ever again!
|We found some new streets to walk in St.A|
We enjoyed our short stay in St. Augustine where we spent a day walking around the town with our old friends on Stephanie Dawn. We met up for happy hour with Cinderella and Rockhopper, which turned into dinner at Mojo BBQ
, Bruce's favorite!
|Cruisers Happy Hour at A1A|
St Augustine was all dressed up for Christmas. Walking the festive streets after dark was a magical thing!
We don't decorate Dos Libras for the holidays and I do miss it some. But with the cities we visit doing the decorating for us... I get my fix!
We said "so long" to our friends and left St. Augustine to revisit one of our favorite anchorages just about 13 nautical miles further south. Since we were in no particular hurry to eat up the miles, we put up the sails and turned off the engine.
This has only occurred a handful of times in all of our time out here. The winds always seem to be from the wrong direction or nonexistent... but today...
We got in a little over an hour and it was glorious!
The cats came out of their "battle stations" spots and joined us in the cockpit. I don't think Jezabelle even knew that we were under way!
|We passed big flocks of white pelicans along the way|
|A rainbow heralded our arrival to the anchorage|
|We all settled on the deck to enjoy the balmy breezes and sunshine|
|Until a line of rainclouds began to drop their burden|
|Once the rain passed, the moon lit the scene|
It was just a gorgeous day, followed by an even more gorgeous evening. We were pleased to see four other cruisers have found this anchorage.
We stayed in the cockpit until well after dark just watching the progress of the moon. We looked forward to the coming day in hopes that we could splash the long unused dinghy and revisit the white sand beaches that lie just around the bend... maybe get some sun on our pasty white bodies.
But the morning never dawned. I guess there was a dawn... but we never saw it. The anchorage was enclosed within the icy grip of a dense and suffocating fog. We felt as if we were alone in the world with no sound penetrating from the outside.
This is how we spent our day... Not how we had planned, but not a bad way to pass the time.
I did some baking... snicker doodles and a double batch of sweet cornbread. We cooked up a pot of ham and beans and enjoyed our shut-in day.
The next morning was no different. The fog still hung around but we were on the move again.
We pulled up the anchor and flipped on the radar. The visibility was maybe a quarter mile - if that - as we eased ourselves out of the sleeping anchorage.
|Looks like a STRONG current in our favor!|
We had the tail end of the rising tide with us to help our progress. The information on tidal currents is not as readily available in these waters as it had been in South Carolina, where it is more important... So we had no idea how our day would go.
We were making good time with speeds reaching 7 knots. Bruce manned the ship's bell, every three minutes - DING! We may have radar but that doesn't mean everyone else on the water does...
|Radar on top and chart on bottom|
Late morning, the fog began to burn off in patches allowing us to relax a bit. It made for some very peaceful views and I was reminded that we are so very lucky to see places that most people never see...
|We upset a flock of birds splashing on the water|
|The tide remained favorable all day!|
|We were passed by many power boats. Look at that brown water!|
|Long stretch of Fox Cut|
|More Christmas cheer!|
|Are we there yet?|
|Patchy fog with pockets of weak sunshine|
Our intended destination was Daytona Beach. As we approached the curved twin bridges born fast on the favorable tides, we decided to skip Daytona and press on. You just don't get this kind of luck with the currents every day...
Another couple of hours brought us to a late afternoon approach to our final bascule bridge for the day. Just beyond it lie the anchorage where we hoped to stop.
We passed beneath the fixed bridge at New Smyrna Beach and found disappointment. The anchorage was full of transient and derelict boats, leaving no room for us to anchor safely with enough swing room and depth.
We motored around and then backtracked to find our "plan B" anchorage.
We quickly settled between two other boats and made friends with our neighbor.
What a stoke of luck THAT was. The anchorage at Chicken Island in Sheephead Cut turned out to be much more scenic and less crowded.
We enjoyed the sunset and the dolphin rolling in the channel with our sundowners.
|Chicken Island to our north|
|Setting moon taken the next morning|
The moon rose huge as we finished our dinner and I retired. Bruce stayed up on anchor watch. The anchorage is a bit tight and he wanted to see the reversal before he went to bed.
This was a lucky thing... although it probably would have been fine, the boat next to us didn't turn with the tide as fast as ours... we were about 15 ft away stern to stern when Bruce called me back up to move the anchor. So, in my jammies, I joined him on deck and we repositioned the anchor. Not difficult. The water was flat calm. We found a new spot a short distance away from our neighbor and went to bed... but not before enjoying the gorgeous moonlit night.
In the morning, I watched the NSB free dock like a hawk. There were boats there overnight and I wanted to scoot over and take their place when they left. The moment the trawler left, we pulled up our anchor and quickly moved over there to claim our prize position.
The tide made docking on this curved dock a challenge, but we were soon tide securely with room for the lines to allow the boat to drop with the tide. We waited around until the tide turned so that we knew things were good, then we took off on our bikes to see the town.
|More Christmas Cheer!|
|We rode across the bridge we had passed beneath the previous day|
We rode across the causeway and found a cute little typical beach town with no shortage of places to dine and buy souvenirs. If we were not cruising and were just vacationing here... I could really do some damage to the budget!
We found the beach on the Atlantic side near Ponce DeLeon Inlet. The day was grey and misty, but there were still beachgoers out trying to enjoy it.
We backtracked across the causeway and stopped to take a snapshot of our boat parked on the other side. Can't have too many pictures of your boat now, can you?
Once back on the mainland, we found an odd fort
. We parked the bikes and climbed around on the old walls, trying to figure out what it was...
We met up with a couple of guys we had seen back at the dock and spent about half an hour chatting with them. Steve (the local) ended up offering to give us a ride to the grocery store, which we declined. What nice people... to just offer to take strangers for a ride in their car!
I did ask him to take our picture though... :)
I was getting hungry and talked Bruce into taking me to the Thai Mango
. I've been eating BBQ almost every meal out for months! It's my turn to pick the place and I want Thai!!! We biked down Canal street and found the little hole-in-the wall place, where we split a plate (thank goodness) and some spring rolls and both left there pretty stuffed. It was freshly prepared and divinely aromatic... I highly recommend Thai Mango if you ever get to NSB!
|More Public Christmas Cheer!|
We made our way back along the waterfront to the boat. Still no neighbors...
Bruce took over our dock to do a little maintenance on our folding bikes. There is already a little bit of rust showing up. He cleaned it all off and oiled the bikes in hopes of keeping it at bay.
The day melted into evening as we sat in the cockpit reading and watching the world go by... And what a world it is sometimes! This prompted quite a lengthy conversation about what in the blazes was going on with this boat...
Another unbelievably beautiful moonrise saw us safely to bed with smiles on our faces and thoughts of how supremely lucky we are to live this life.
We were up early the next morning with one more jump to make... Next stop... Titusville, FL.
|What bird is this???|
|Strange boat. Looks like he went under a bridge too low!|
|We found a tiny stowaway...|
We motored along all morning and early afternoon found us pulling up to mooring ball B1. Finally, after many months hanging on the davits, we threw off the cover and splashed the dinghy. We pumped it to full and attached the fuel in hopes that it hadn't gone bad...
I waited patiently while Bruce got the motor going and jumped in with once that sweet sound told me we were going to shore!!!
Our upper lips were sparkling with the unaccustomed sheen of sweat. SWEAT! In December!!!
Just like that, we shed the months of living on the dock and found ourselves back in Cruiser-Mode.
Our minds shifted back into that other gear... the one where every day is different from the last... the one where we see new sights and experience new towns every day. The one where we see wildlife galore, up close and personal as if we are a part of it!
And oh how good it is to be back to it! We docked at the Titusville Municipal Marina dinghy dock and checked in.
We took a little stroll around, checked out the facilities and talked to some locals. We were greeted by Dennis, who said he had followed our blog since we left home! How awesome is that???
|What ARE these birds?|
Back on the boat, we settled in for the afternoon to enjoy the light and balmy breeze. We reclined on the bow and watched the birds, dolphin, and even a manatee going about their day. The cats joined us on deck and everybody on Dos Libras was floating on a cloud of good feelings, and I don't even think it was the RUM!
|Our shy girl even came out|
|Lots of lines to scratch feline chins upon...|
|We had three osprey all looking for the perfect roost.|
|Here she comes again...|
|Beautiful setting sun|
|Clear water, but a bit brown...|
Titusville looks like a cute little place to be... It seems impossible that only one week ago, we were having Thanksgiving back in Beaufort, SC. Now we have just just made a hop, a skip, and a jump but it feels like we're worlds away.
And, yes... another moonrise!