note that this page was getting too long and the download could
take too long. To alleviate this problem, I have added
a second page called "East Coast #2". To get
there, just click on the following button and you won't have
to scroll all the way down this page to get to the current "cruise
news". There is however, a duplicate link at the
bottom of this page.
However, if you are looking for our latest reports, go back to "Our Logbook" button (at left) and click on the Hudson Plus segment, as that is where we are currently posting.
Monday, February 8,
After 2 months (plus a few days) at Ft. Myers, FL, we are
back on the blue highway heading across central Florida to the
east coast. The weather is absolutely perfect today for
boating. We found this section of the Okeechobee Waterway
from Ft. Myers to Port LaBelle to be a very peaceful, beautiful
area. As we travelled along the waterway we saw many orange
groves, some cattle, and greenhouses; definitely an agricultural
area. As we continued eastward, homes and private docks appeared
along the waterway.
Today we passed through the Franklin Lock, our first lock
since leaving the Tennessee-Tombigbee River system. This
lock was much smaller with a much smaller lift than we had experienced
in TN. We were only lifted about 3 feet. The method
of locking is also quite different. Once in the lock,
you grab a line from the lock wall at the bow and one at the
stern and cleat if off tightly. The lock door is opened
only about 2 ft. and the water streams through until the level
is equal on both sides, then the doors are opened, you release
the ropes and away you go.
After arriving at Port LaBelle and settling in, we took a
walk around the area. This is a very quiet marina with
few boats. On our walk we saw one of the alligators, the
small one, that we had seen when we drove by car to LaBelle
back in January. I wonder the big one was?
Tuesday, February 9,
After leaving the foliage-lined river-like section of the
Okeechobee Waterway we travelled through straight stretches
with high banks on each side. We saw an alligator swimming across
the river but could not get a photo as he went under the water
as we got closer. There was still evidence of some agricultural
activity (cows in open fields along the dikes). There
were a few small but nice marinas here and there along the way.
In the distance we could see 2 plumes of smoke which were coming
from sugar cane fields that were being burned. We then approached
the Okeechobee Canal section which was a more barren section
with a high spoil along our starboard side and on the port side
the scenery was marsh-like with tall grasses and burned tree
trunks interspersed throughout. There were birds of all
types in these marshy areas. This scenery continued to
our destination in Clewiston. We travelled through 2 more
locks - the Ortona Lock and the Moore Haven Lock. Now
we are at the Lake Okeechobee water level. Although we
had high winds our approach to the Roland Martin Marina and
docking went fine as it is a little bit protected and docking
is along a face dock which is much easier that trying to maneuver
into a boat slip. After docking, we went for a short walk
towards town. Clewiston bills itself as the "Sweetest
Town in America" due to its role in sugar cane production.
Later in the day a catamaran named Moonstruck arrived with Doug
and Judy Jordan aboard. Tonight, Ken & Brenda, Bill
& Nancie, and Doug & Judy went to the Clewiston Inn
for dinner. This Inn was built in the 1930s and is now
owned by one of the sugar companies. The Everglades Lounge
inside the Inn has a mural that covers all four walls; it depicts
the flora and fauna of the Everglades. The mural was painted
by the outdoor artist, Clinton Shepherd, and a few years ago
the mural was appraised at $40,000.
Due to the high winds we decided to stay for 1 more day at
this marina. We are hoping the winds will subside by
tomorrow so that we can cross the Okeechobee Lake. Today
the only excitement was a 2-mile walk into the town of Clewiston
and assisting 2 boats with docking when they arrived.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Because the winds were predicted to be 10 to 15 mph we decided
today was the day to cross Lake Okeechobee which is about a 25-mile
run in open, exposed water. Naturally, the winds were much
stronger than predicted (as you can see above). We bounced
around a good deal and had to hold on whenever walking around on
the boat. However, we were never in danger; just not an ideal
crossing. Because this lake is quite shallow, it can get rough
if the winds are high. The shallowest water we saw was approximately
8 feet; mostly we saw depths of 10 to 12 feet in the channel. We
estimate that the waves were 2 to 4 feet in height. When we
got across the lake we went through the Port Mayaca Lock (the easiest
so far as there was no change in water level and we just drove through
it) and into the calm and protected inland waters.
Now we are in the St. Lucie Canal section of the Okeechobee Waterway.
About 1 hour later we arrived at Indiantown Marina in Indiantown,
FL. There are several Canadian boaters at this marina. Although
they cannot be seen from the marina, we have learned that Indiantown
is situated in the midst of large citrus groves.
The first known inhabitants in Indiantown were the Georgia-born Seminole Indians. After getting established at the marina, Nancie and Brenda walked approximately 1 mile to the small downtown. We visited the Seminole Inn, a historic site. The Seminole Inn was built in 1926 by Davies Warfield, a Baltimore financier who was building a railroad from central Florida to West Palm Beach. Among those who attended the opening of the Inn was Warfield's niece, Wallis, who later married Edward the deposed King of England, and became the Duchess of Windsor.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Because a front was forecast to move through and the weekend weather did not sound great, we have decided to stay at this marina until Sunday. This was a day to clean inside the boat. Tonight we went to a local restaurant for pizza. Because it was raining, the restaurant sent a truck to pick us up and then return us back to the boat afterward.
Saturday, February 12, 2010
Since arriving at this marina there has been a big alligator
who appears on the shoreline at the far end of the marina. The
"alligator man" has been trying to capture it but apparently
the alligator seems to know when he is nearby and he escapes into
the water before he can be captured. There is a much smaller
alligator who sometimes appears on the shoreline just a short distance
from the large one.
This marina has a huge 'do it yourself' work yard and storage
area. When walking amongst the boat on the hard we noticed
boats from various states, Canada, and even one from Japan. Every
Saturday night this marina sponsors a cookout and any boaters who
wish to participate bring a dish to share. Tim, the self-designated
cook and Jim (from Nova Scotia) cut the firewood and built a fire
in a huge outdoor grill. Tim grilled 4 large pork roasts which
were delicious. At our table were Pat & Richard from Winnipeg,
Ken & Brenda, Bill & Nancie, Klaus from Pickering, Ontario,
and Jody & Steve from Melbourne, Australia.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
This was a good day on the blue highway. There were a few other boats on the waterway, mostly travelling west while we were going east. We went through the St. Lucie Lock, being locked down this time. There was a manatee in the lock with us. After arriving at Harborage Marina we were visited by Chuck Berry. Chuck and Pat used to live in Knoxville but now live full time aboard their boat 'Got The Fever' and winter here at Harborage Marina. They are good friends of Ben & Sharon Birdwell who introduced us approximately 2 years ago. They invited us to their boat and were kind enough to take the time to review the charts of Florida and Georgia with us.
Monday, February 15, 2010
We launched our dinghy and went across the St. Lucie River to the city docks and then walked around old town Stuart. In the afternoon, Pat Berry took Brenda to a local produce stand, smoke house (fish), and Publix, the grocery store. Ben & Sharon Birdwell arrived around 4 p.m. and stayed overnight on Tellico Lady. Pat & Chuck took us all to a local restaurant for the best barbecued ribs and we were not disappointed.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Brenda, Ben & Sharon drove over to Hutchinson Island to visit
the last remaining House of Refuge, a national historic landmark.
Back when Florida had only about 300 inhabitants, approximately
10 of these structures were built along the east coast to assist
ships and sailors who wrecked and washed ashore. Ken stayed on the
boat to download some programs to Sharon's computer and to wait
for 'The M.S. POOP'. This is a small boat that comes to your
boat to pump out the septic system. You place a phone request
the day before and then wait for his arrival the next day. After
lunch, Ben & Sharon drove back to their boat at Port LaBelle.
We enjoyed their visit with us and were sorry to see them
Wednesday, February 17,
Today we finished the Okeechobee Waterway section of the ICW
and began our journey north on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
(AICW) which we shall be on for several weeks as we head north.
We met about 8 boats heading south and there were about 6
boats including us heading north. We got to our destination
before the winds got too brisk. Ken did an excellent job of
backing Tellico Lady into our slip - a lot of the marinas in Florida
require what is known as Mediterranean docking where you back between
pilings, which is very tricky and especially on a windy day or if
there is a current. We spent the remainder of the day doing
laundry and computer activities. We will wait at this marina
for Bill & Nancie (Watauga) who will come here from North Palm
Beach. They left the marina at Stuart 2 days before us so
to get some service work performed on their boat. We are missing
them and will be happy to have our boating buddies back with us.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It was a quiet day. This morning we explored the city of
Fort Pierce. Like most down towns it has office buildings but some
very nice shops and boutiques and several restaurants. This
afternoon, Ken washed the boat while Brenda finished the laundry
and went for another walk. Tonight was biker night in town,
which means motorcyclists come to the downtown to visit bars and
restaurants. We walked to that portion of town - it was not
too busy so we came back to the marina and had dinner at Cobb's
Landing, a restaurant right next to the marina.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Bill & Nancie (Watauga) arrived today. After having dinner on Tellico Lady we went to the music fest held in the park beside the marina. It was fun people watching and in particular watching the little kids dance and especially one little boy, who was about 6 or 7 years old, who had legs like ropes and stole the show.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
We went to the farmers' market and craft fair located at the park near the marina. In the afternoon we were visited by Peter and Susan Hampson who are from Hamilton, Ontario but are renting a condo here for the winter. Peter came by our boat the day we arrived and chatted with Ken. We, along with Bill & Nancie, went to Yianni's Greek Restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow we plan to travel to Melbourne, FL.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
We had a great travel day - sunny and no wind. We continued our
travel on the Indian River portion of the ICW. Again, it is
imperative to stay in the middle of the channel to avoid shallow
water. We saw a grounded sailboat along the way. Although
the channel itself is relatively narrow, the ICW is quite wide in
this section. On one side is the Florida mainland and on the
other are barrier islands with the Atlantic Ocean beyond that. Even
the dolphins enjoyed today's weather; we saw several playing and
rolling around in the water around our boat. After arriving at Melbourne,
Nancie and Brenda went walking to explore the downtown.
For dinner we walked to Meg O'Malley's, an Irish pub. This restaurant is noted for its 18-cent cup of Irish Parliament bean soup; we tried and it was delicious and it was the best 18 cents we have ever spent - come to think of it, what can be purchased for 18 cents?
Monday, February 22, 2010
Brenda & Nancie walked approximately 2-1/2 miles while Ken
& Bill did engine work. While walking downtown we noticed
a tree completely covered in white blossoms. Could spring
be just around the corner? Later we charted our course for
travel to Titusville tomorrow and then made plans for our travel
to Charleston, SC.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Due to fog we could not depart at 7:30 as we had planned. We
are still travelling on the Indian River portion of the ICW.
after leaving Melbourne we had Merritt Island on our starboard side
as we headed north. This island is the home of NASA's Kennedy Space
Center, which we plan to visit tomorrow. We could see the
NASA building in the distance as we sailed up the ICW.
After arriving at the marina our boat neighbours, Doug and Beth invited us to their boat for happy hour. Also invited were Bill & Nancie, Jim & Paula (docked here for some time) and Bill & Kathleen (loopers on boat Tucandu). We have rented a car and after our happy hour visit, the four of us went grocery shopping.
Wednesday, February 24,
We went to the Kennedy Space Center and thoroughly enjoyed it.
We saw buildings and structures associated with the NASA space
program including the Apollo/Saturn V Center, Vehicle Assembly Building,
launch pads, crawler transporter, and crawlerway. Our guide
pointed out the building that currently houses the Endeavour shuttle
which just returned from space a few days ago. We saw an excellent
IMAX presentation of space station astronauts and a typical day
of work at the space station.
A very touching display at the
space center was the monument to astronauts who lost their lives
in the name of space exploration.
Tonight we had dinner at the world famous Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, famous for their rock shrimp, and they were excellent. Rock shrimp have a texture and flavour of lobster. They live and spawn in warm deep water, 120 to 240 feet.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
It seems like winter has returned. It was cold and windy
all day but it was sunny. Nancie & Brenda went shopping
while Ken & Bill did some engine work on Watauga. Loopers,
Nancy & Ross Hiner (Oddysea) arrived at this marina today and
will also be travelling to Daytona tomorrow. Bill & Nancie
invited us to their boat for dinner and then we played Tripoly with
Friday, February 26, 2010
We travelled more of the Indian River, then through the Haulover
Canal, into the Mosquito Lagoon, and then the Halifax River, all
part of the ICW. Mosquito Lagoon was an area between the mainland
and a jumble of small islands with backwater marshes and mangroves.
This section of the ICW is not as wide as the Indian River
section. There were many fish camps, RV camps, and a few homes
along the way. There were crab pots galore but mostly out
of the channel. Speaking of channel, it was again very necessary
to pay attention to the buoys and stay in the middle of the channel.
Dolphins were plentiful and we were entertained by them as
they jumped and played around us. After docking at the marina
we washed the outside of the boat.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Brenda & Nancie walked to the farmer's market at 8 a.m. Almost
everyone there was wearing rain gear or winter clothing. It
was a small market but we got our fresh vegetables and headed back
to our boats before it got too rainy.
This is bikers' week at Daytona Beach and we could hear them
in the distance, over on the Atlantic side of the town. We
spent most of the afternoon planning our travel to St. Augustine
with particular attention to the Matanzas River/inlet area where
severe shoaling is taking place. Tonight Ken & Brenda,
Bill & Nancie, and Ross & Nancy Hiner (Oddysea), loopers
we met at Titusville, walked to the nearby Chart House for dinner.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Since we did not have far to travel today and did not need to
worry about tides, we did not need to leave as early. Just
a narrow strip of land separated the ICW from the Atlantic Ocean
during today's travel. The waterway was narrow and there were
many crab pots just outside the channel. We went through a
marsh land area but as we got closer to Palm Coast there were many
homes with private docks jutting out into the water on both sides
of the ICW. We saw many pelicans and hawks (we think they
were hawks) but only 2 dolphins. There were few boats on the
water and Watauga and Tellico Lady were the only boats heading north.
This afternoon the wind died down considerably and even though
the temperature only got as high as 64 it felt warmer in the direct
sunlight. The marina is a small one right off the ICW but
it is a very nice one. We walked about 1/2 mile to a development
called the European Village and it really was similar to one with
many shops and restaurants with apartments above surrounding a central
courtyard. To take advantage of high tides we will be leaving
early tomorrow morning and heading to St. Augustine.
Monday, March 1, 2010
As planned, we were off at 7 a.m. to take advantage of high tide to get through the Matanzas River/inlet problem area. The shallowest water we saw was approximately 8.9 feet, so our plan worked. Because we left early and did not have far to go we arrived at our marina mid morning at mid ebb tide so the current coming into the marina was not a problem. This is a very nice marina and we are glad that we chose it. Once again we have shared the cost of a rental car as we plan to be here for one week. In the afternoon, Ken & Bill worked removing an injector pump from Watauga. Brenda & Nancie drove to the beach (Atlantic Ocean) and then drove around the downtown to familiarize ourselves with it. We can't wait to explore this historic city. Tomorrow Ken & Bill are going to take the injector pump to Ocala for repair. Since we plan to be at this marina for 1 week we will not update our website on a daily basis.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Ken & Bill drove to Ocala to deliver Watauga's injection pump for repair. Brenda & Nancie used the courtesy car to go shopping at the outlet mall and then to get groceries. The remainder of the day was spent doing domestic chores.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
We drove to Vilano Beach and toured the area by car; this area
has a lot of homes from the 1950s era. We had pizza at Benito's.
Tonight we went to old town and walked around old St. Augustine;
it has many narrow, brick streets with old buildings that
have been turned into many shops and restaurants. We walked
by old grave sites (1790s), Flagler College, Lightner Museum, old
Spanish quarter, just to name a few places.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
We returned to the historic downtown to visit Castillo de San
Carlos. St. Augustine was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles who
was sent to Florida by Spain. It is the oldest permanent European
settlement in the continental U.S. Shortly after coming to
St. Augustine, Menendez was instructed by Spain to build a fort
to protect the city and to protect Spain's interests in the area.
The resulting fort was Castillo de San Marcos which we toured
today. It was built of coquina (tiny seashells crushed and
mixed with sand to form a type of concrete). We learned that
although it was attacked many times during colonial warfare, it
was never defeated. It was designated a national monument
Friday, March 5, 2010
Brenda & Nancie (and Stella, the dog) went back to the beach to walk and to collect more seashells while Ken & Bill installed the repaired injection pump on Watauga.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Back to the historic downtown. We visited the oldest drugstore
complete with its very old stock of medications and paraphernalia.
We once again walked past Flagler College which originally
was a grand old hotel built by William Flagler, a millionaire in
his day. He decided to develop St. Augustine into a winter
retreat for the northern rich. Flager College was a hotel
called The Ponce de Leon, the grand and greatest Gilded Age structure
in St. Augustine. To this end he built 2 other hotels. One
of them was the Alcazar Hotel which is now the Lightner Museum which
we visited today. Otto Lightner, a publisher from Chicago,
acquired the vacant hotel which fell upon hard times after the crash
of 1929. He purchased the property in 1946 to house his extensive
collection of Victoriana and gilded age artifacts and opened it
as a museum. It is an excellent museum with displays from
America's gilded age exhibited on the museum's 3 floors. The
splendor of the hotel itself is evident throughout. The building
is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At
lunchtime we met Bill & Nancie at O.C. White's, a downtown restaurant
housed in a structure built in 1790.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Since we plan to move on to Jacksonville Beach tomorrow, we spent some time studying the charts and charting our course for the next several days. Today 2 boats we had seen before came into the marina. One was Masquerade, a boat from Toronto, that we had seen at Fort Myers. The other was Sandpiper who did the gulf crossing the same night we did and we all arrived at Clearwater around the same time.
Monday, March 8, 2010
We travelled on the Tolomato River section of the ICW. There was more boat traffic in both directions than we usually see. We saw a lot more crab pots (and often in the channel) and fishing boats. We went through marshy areas and saw fewer palm trees but more pine trees. The last 10 miles was through a dredged canal known as the Palm Valley Cut. There were many homes with accompanying docks lining this section. It was a beautiful day on the blue highway. We arrived at our marina early and took a walk around the area. We ate dinner at Billy's Boathouse Grill, a family run restaurant on the marina grounds.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
We had no problems crossing the St. John's River or the Nassau Sound. Even on a rising tide we saw some "skinny" water along Sisters Creek and Sawpit Creek, and in fact, we had our first grounding in Sawpit Creek. In an attempt to avoid a crab pot, we grounded, despite being still between the red and green markers. However, we were able to back off easily and carry on. Needless to say, we were glad to reach our destination marina. The marina is right downtown in Fernandina. We walked around the town for about 2 hours before returning to the boat to do emails and other chores. Tonight with Bill & Nancie we had dinner at Pablos, a Mexican restaurant. We plan to stay at this marina for 3 days until the next weather front passes through.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
After lunch at the Happy Tomato, we visited the Museum of History.
This museum is housed in what was the county jail. Although
small, the museum provided an excellent display and history of the
events, people, and industries that shaped Amelia Island. We
then walked through part of the historic district where we saw some
of the buildings described at the museum. Several big boats
came into this marina as the weather is supposed to be less than
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Due to the weather, we stayed another day at this marina. Nancie & Brenda went by taxi to a grocery store.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Because of deteriorating weather we decided not to anchor at Cumberland Island tonight but carry on to Brunswick, GA. We departed a bit later so that we could take advantage of the tide to go through Jekyll Creek which is a shallow area of the ICW. We passed through Cumberland Sound and then along Cumberland Island which is home to about 150 feral horses. Even in the dismal weather we were able to see a few of the wild horses along the beach area. By the time we got to St. Andrews Sound the weather was more misty and windy and we had a bit of a rough passage but we made it to our marina with little trouble, just a bit misty and cloudy. Around 5 p.m. another boat arrived. On board were Ben Birdwell and Mike Arundt. Ben is assisting Mike with the transport of his boat to LaBelle Marina in Florida. We all went to a restaurant, 4th of May, across from the marina.
Saturday, March 13, and
Sunday, March 14, 2010
On Saturday we walked about the town. This town is laid out in squares in the same manner as Savannah, GA. It turns out both towns were designed by General James Oglethorpe. The downtown has many Victorian style commercial buildings and is gradually trying to revitalize itself. There are some small shops and several restaurants. On Saturday there was a fairly large farmer's market plus yard sale at the park. On Saturday night there was a St. Patrick's Day parade which we attended. However, due to the cool windy weather, there were few participants in the parade and even fewer spectators. We are still at the marina, today (Sunday) because the winds refuse to lay down. We will be here tomorrow for the same reason. We hope to move on to an anchorage on Tuesday so will not update our website for a few days. We have learned not to make plans that are too firm as the weather can quickly change everything.
Monday, March 15, 2010
We walked into town and had lunch at Fox's Pizza. While in town, Brenda went into an antique store and finally found the book "Death of a President" which she has been looking for since starting the trip. She has looked in every town and had no luck until now. This was a wonderful find. Hopefully the winds will lay down overnight so we can travel on. Our original plan was to stay here 1 night and here it is 4 days later.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Whew! We made it through Little Mud River which is known to be the worst area for shoaling along the ICW in Georgia. We left as soon as it was daylight and managed to pass through Little Mud River 1 hour and 15 minutes after high tide. The lowest depth we saw was 9.5 feet with mostly depths of 13+ feet. We are glad to have this section behind us, as with the 7 to 8 foot tides, you can do the math and see that at low tide there would not have been enough depth for our draft of 5 feet. Today, we went through St. Simons Sound, Mackay River (saw 2 dolphins), Buttermilk Sound, Altamaha Sound, Little Mud River, Doboy Sound, and finally our anchorage at Duplin River which has Sapelo Island on one side and Little Sapelo Island on the other side. Throughout history Sapelo Island has been occupied by wealthy individuals including R.J. Reynolds (tobacco magnate). Today the island is owned by the state of Georgia and is home to the University of Georgia Marine Institute. Visitation to the island is by ferry from the mainland. Private pleasure craft are not permitted to dock. Having said that, Bill and Nancie dinghied their dog, Stella, to their docks and were allowed to come ashore. Today there was a breakthrough with Miss Molly. She came to the main salon and got on the back of the couch and watched the seagulls flying behind us.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We dodged many crab pots on all of the waterway we travelled. We crossed through Doboy Sound, Creighton Narrows, Sapelo Sound, Johnson Creek, into St. Catherines Sound and up Medway River to our marina. Bill & Nancie decided to continue on to Thunderbolt where we will meet them tomorrow. Most of today's passages were narrow and with few channel markers. Again, we had lots of practice using ranges to keep us in the middle of the channel. Sapelo Sound was quite choppy. Our marina is quite quaint but very charming with wonderful staff. We enjoyed fresh flounder at their restaurant tonight. Most of the ICW through Georgia is through marsh land so you literally are travelling through waterways surrounded by tall grass and today was no exception. It looks strange to see a boat travelling through grass!
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Copyright(c) 2008 Ken Bloomfield, All rights reserved.