On March 4th, at sunset, we were launched from the boat yard! Because we were launched so late in the day, it meant we were also anchoring in the dark, in a 7 knot current, with 6 foot tides and a very narrow channel. We reset our anchor 5 times that night, with a good set finally being attained the next morning at 0600. It was not a restful night, but we were sooooo very happy to be floating again!
We wrapped up a few projects and were finally able to be underway on Friday. S/V Ventolines had contacted us Thursday evening. They are the friends we had met in Brunswick, who had also had some delays. They were currently anchored just a few miles from us! So, on Friday morning, we all set sail for a few miles off shore and headed south.
I can not begin to express the jubilation and excitement leaving that river had on us! The only down side, was that I had just had news that my aunt, the closest adult I had besides my parents and grandma, who had been on a ventilator for more than a month, had made the decision to stop all efforts that day. So, as we bobbed and rolled and sailed that day (it was a rolling sea), I grieved for my aunt. If we had still been in the yard, I probably would have lost my mind! The sea is truly therapeutic and I spent most of the next 24 hours crying and praying. Mike and Matthew were understanding and just let me mourn.
We were at sea for about 36 hours when we crept into Cape Canaveral. There was another channel, a lift bridge and a lock system. The lift bridge and lock being entirely new experiences. I think we managed like rockstars and were feeling pretty good until we saw where we were to dock. Docking a boat is likened to a controlled crash. Put the controlled crash between 2 pylons and a 10 foot long dock and things get tense. We knew it was coming and with the motor in neutral as soon as we nosed in, we used the gaffs, ropes and a very nice gentleman from another boat, we only knicked the bow a little.
We stayed at the Harbortown Marina for 3 nights. We were able to do some laundry, ate a few good meals and had fellowship with the Sivori family whom until now we had only had radio contact with for 2 days. Wyatt and Matthew get along so well, as do the adults. Mike and Jeff tuned the rigging of both boats and discussed all kinds of other projects, goals and plans. The boys swam, Jennifer and I went to Goodwill. It was a great place to rest for a few days.
We then proceeded south on the ICW. We looked at the weather and decided if we had to motor, we might as well stay a little more comfortable. This also gave us the chance for more practice with the bridges and anchoring. Since anchoring in the channel outside the boatyard, I had some anxiety about it.
Our first ICW anchorage was called Serenity. Some of you will understand why this name has special meaning to us. We had a short dinghy trip to shore on an isolated island and the dogs loved it. They swam and smelled everything. We had our buddy boat over for spaghetti and had a grand time. I still worried over the anchor all night however, despite us not moving even a little…..
Our second anchorage was near Vero beach. We were adjacent a bridge and there was a restaurant with a dinghy dock. Conchy Joes had delicious food. I had a grapefruit and fennel green salad with mahi mahi. It was soooo good! Mike had fish tacos which he claimed were equally delicious and Matthew had his usual burger. There was also a fishing pier and boat ramp at a park and we were able to give the dogs a good walk. It was a quiet night and yet I still checked our anchor all night long.
Our 4th leg brought us to West Palm Beach. We are in a huge anchorage with a prominent police presence (more on this later). There are cruise ships, mega yachts, various trawlers, fishing vessels and sailboats. We have access to the Palm Beach Sailing Club and their facilities. We can shower there, use the dinghy dock and participate in any events. Due to the weather, we will be sitting here until the next weekend. I have relaxed my anchoring worries a little while here and sleep has been welcomed. Last night we had some strange tides and wind, Voyager rocked and rolled enough that the hook holding our fruit and veggie hammocks came out! Still our Rocna 20 held! This is a confidence booster for us (me mostly).
Right- Police Presence. Well, as soon as we had set the hook, we lowered the dinghy and took the dogs to shore. We were about half way there and were pulled over by a young, zealous GFP officer. We were speeding. We also didn’t have our paperwork onboard. Mike had somehow thought to take his wallet, so we at least had some ID onboard. He gave us a warning and stern lecture on knowing the local rules. We thanked him and were on our way. After that, we have proceeded very slowly in our dinghy and I took pictures of our paperwork to keep on my phone for reference. Well, 3 nights later, we are towing Jeff on their tender, the motor had given out. It was dusk and I was using a spotlight in the bow. We are about 1/2 way back to the boats when we are pulled over, again! Same officer. He starts in on how neither of our boats have a 360 light….. Mike explains, the motor had broke down, hence the towing and we weren’t anticipating being this late, etc. The officer then recognizes Mike and says, “I’ve already stopped you once, I’m not giving you anymore warnings after this one!”. He then looks at Jeff and says, “do you have ANY documentation to show this boat is yours?” Jeff read him off the registration number, using military phonetics and promised to have a 360 light and the officer calmed down a little. While we have seen several vessels pulled over for speeding, etc, ours have been the only dinghy’s we have seen pulled over, most are power boats and wave runners leaving a significant wake. Most tenders around us have gone much faster and there have been no other 360 lights. As Jeff said, “that guy has a special place in his heart for Mike, now”. HAHA! Both guys report the police are very visible on shore as well. Florida has a reputation for harassing cruisers and I guess we are an easy target.
We came in last Thursday, the 11th. Saturday while Mike and Jeff went to Ft. Lauderdale for a water maker (YAY!!!) Jennifer and the boys and I took Meg (dinghy) over to Peanut Island. Its a lovely spot with beaches and a campground with a walking trail around the perimeter. There is supposed to be a museum, but it wasn’t open. Apparently President Kennedy had a bunker here during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His family’s beach house is just across the island from us, about 1 mile on the Atlantic side.
Mike took the dogs for their health exams today, so we are ready for our crossing as soon as the weather permits. As I write, Wyatt and Matthew are playing nerf guns and running, yes running all over the boat, up on the deck and down below. It’s very noisy and screetchy and I wouldn’t change it. Matthew has been missing his “brothers”, Kadrian, Kyrihn and Kyuss like crazy as well as nephew Luc and niece, El. Having Wyatt has eased his homesickness and having Jennifer to relate to on this journey has been a blessing for me, as well. Mike and Jeff get along like they’ve always known each other- it’s amazing. I can’t not believe that all our delays and frusterations were where God was leading us to these people to buddy boat with. I’m so thankful He put us in each others path!
Right- as we sit here, waiting for our chance to get our passage to the Bahamas started, Mike has put the water maker in, we are just waiting for the pump to arrive tomorrow. He has also completed a few other projects, shower drain pump, deck pump, etc. He wants me to post the complete list of all he has done since buying the boat, but I’m not up to that. Maybe he will have to do his own blog post 😉
Boat schooling is going pretty well. Matthew has a standardized test next week that I’m a little anxious for. The wifi and computer have to be a certain strength and settings. If we have been able to make our passage, I’ll have to make sure those requirements are met by Monday. Perhaps we can find a library to use the computer. We will be praying for all this to fall into place as everything else has.
PS Check out Sailing Ventolines on Facebook and Instagram
PSS I highly recommend Max Lucado’s book on Anxiety; Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
PSSS Sitting on the hook in windy, rolly seas can also make one seasick 😦