Friday, November 26, 2010

St. Augustine, FL to Delray Beach, FL

Delray Beach, FL
Pelican Harbor 26 25.39 N 080 04.1 W

Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends! We apologize for not updating our blog for this past 3 weeks. The truth of the matter is that with past postings we have taken advantage of rainy days to update our blog and there have not been any rainy days since we arrived in sunny Florida. As a matter of fact we have been having spectacular weather... mid 80's, warm breezes, low humidity, etc. everyday. 
So here’s the rundown of what’s been going on with us since we left St Augustine on Sat 11/6:

Daytona Beach anchorage on the
Halifax River with  a view of the
2 fixed and 2 bascule bridges
 We continued traveling south down the ICW and made an overnight stop in Daytona Beach anchoring almost within sight of the Daytona raceway. It was too windy and choppy to feel like dropping the dinghy to visit the area, much to Kathy’s dismay (avid NASCAR fan). As we move further south we are entering into more developed / populated areas which means we need to contend with more bridges. Many of the lift and bascule bridges open on a fixed schedule. This often requires us to wait or slow our speed to match openings.

We had hoped to leave the ICW and venture outside some during this stretch to avoid the bridges. However, on those occasions when we were at a good inlet the weather was not suitable or when the weather was favorable there was no navigable inlet. So we just kept motoring inside down the ICW.

Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle Assembly Building
 Sunday was extremely windy as we traveled 15 miles down the shallow Mosquito Lagoon, then through the Haul-over Canal and into Indian River. The enormous  526' tall Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center was visible from 20 miles away. Entering the Indian River marked the end of the strong river currents that we have been experiencing. We arrived in Titusville and entered the protected Titusville Marina basin in 25 knot winds with the intent of filling our water tanks and then anchoring in the harbor just outside the marina. However strong winds and choppy conditions in the anchorage and a dockage fee that was too good to pass up ($1.20/ft/night) made it a no-brainer to stay dockside for the night. The marina facilities were excellent and Kathy took advantage of the laundry facilities We sighted our first Manatees lolling around in the warmer marina waters. 

Dolphins following us while we
dinghied around the
Banana River one evening 
We left on Monday morning 11/8 bound for Melbourne. The space shuttle, who's launch had been cancelled just 2 days before was visible on the launch pad through binoculars. We had planned to come to Melbourne to attend another SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Assoc) GAM, as we had done back in Annapolis in Sept. While we were in St Augustine the week before, we crossed paths with Rich & Carol Wellman who own another Manta catamaran "The Great Catsby". They were bringing their boat down from Point Judith, RI. traveling a similar route as ourselves to their winter home in the Melbourne area. Rich arranged to have us stay on a friend’s private mooring ball on the Banana River near their lovely condo. We had a wonderful time with them all week as well as meeting up with other cruisers at the GAM.
High rises along Palm Beach from
our Lake Worth anchorage 
 Monday 11/15 we left Melbourne traveling down to Fort Pierce and anchoring in a place called Faber Cove. This is a calm, protected little cove (just the way we like 'em! ) surrounded by pretty homes a mile off the main ICW channel. After a great night’s sleep we continued on through more bridges to Lake Worth in North Palm Beach. High rise apartments stretched along the beach signaled we have now entered the “Gold Coast”.

We arrived in Delray Beach last Wed 11/17. It had been our intended destination for spending an extended period of time while we provision Carina for the Bahamas as well as carrying out boat maintenance chores, receiving various parcel packages and mail and other business. Since departing Norfolk VA on 10/15 it has taken 22 actual days to travel 1066 statute miles, entirely on the ICW.

Arriving at Peg & Paul's condo with
Carina anchored in Pelican Harbor
We anchored in a man-made lagoon called Pelican Harbor, just in front of our friends Peg & Paul Zawadski's condo  complex. Peg & Paul were our landlords for the 4 winter seasons we had rented their condo in Milford CT (while they were down here in Delray). They made us feel right at home and we were immediately befriended by many of the other folks at the condo complex also.

Major provisioning for the 6
months we'll be in the Bahamas
 Coincidentally, we have other close friends in Delray Beach. Mattie & Ed Sears have Piscataqua (another Manta cat) but they also have a beautiful condo just 2 miles back up the ICW. Like Great Catsby, they had also just returned south after spending the summer aboard Piscataqua in the northeast. Mattie and Ed graciously gave us the keys to their car for many days so we were able to accomplish all our errands. We moved Carina over to Peg & Paul's condo guest dock to make it easier to bring on board cat litter, cat food, food staples, paper goods, booze, engine oil, etc. - All the things that are typically more expensive to purchase in the Bahamas. We are also now official FL residents having obtained our drivers license, voter registration and dinghy vessel registration.

Sand sculpture along Delray Beach
 We've also had time to walk the beaches and drive A1A with the top down (did I mention the car was a convertible !) past gorgeous multi-million dollar beach side homes. Downtown Delray Beach still has much old beach town charm mixed with  trendy shops and restaurants along Atlantic Avenue. We have been splitting our time and getting a change of scenery by moving Carina between Peg & Paul's docks and up the ICW to just off Mattie & Ed's condo docks. The nightly socializing and partying has been delightfully excessive and endless. Between the two locales, we've been to 4 poolside barbecues and out to dinner at 5 restaurants thus far this week.

View of Carina from Mattie & Ed's
11th floor condo balcony. ICW to right,
Atlantic ocean distant left

After spending two days anchored in the basin overlooking Mattie & Ed's place, we raised anchor on Thanksgiving morning and motored 2 miles back down the ICW, returning to Pelican Harbor where we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with Peg and Paul, their daughter/ son-in-law and another couple. 

Experiencing a traditional fall holiday in a sub-tropical settings is certainly something different for us so it was strange arriving for Thanksgiving via boat and dressed in shorts and summer shirts. It will take a little getting used-to seeing shopping center Santa Claus' wearing shorts or of live Christmas trees being sold amidst palm trees. 
Typical precariously perched Barnacle
in Pelican Harbor. Peg & Paul's
condos and marina background 
 We plan to stay in Delray Beach through next Wed. 12/1, the expected arrival date of our last engine parts shipment before heading south down to Key Biscayne where we'll wait for a good weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream to Bimini.  

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