Monday, November 23, 2015

From Vero to The Keys

Our stay at Vero Beach, "Velcro Beach" as so many cruisers call it, was great. We can see why so many people arrive there and end up staying. The mooring field was just about full and we know that rafting is mandatory, so we chose to raft up with Links as soon as we got there. Thanksgiving is a big deal for cruisers in Vero and by the time we left there were at least 2 boats, sometimes 3 on each ball. We knew we would be staying 3 days, so we took our bikes to shore to make the most of our visit. We rode through the neighborhoods, up to the beach, to the farmer's market and even to church on Sunday. Another great thing about Vero is the bus that comes right to the marina. You could easily get to any store you may need. The hardest part is getting back on the bus with full backpacks and multiple bags in each hand! Bud and I also got some fishing in. We didnt catch anything for dinner, but I did catch the biggest catfish I've ever seen! The day before we left we ran into Cathy and Ed, whom we had met in Ft. Myers on our first trip. They invited us over for a potluck dinner, and since they upgraded their catamaran since we saw them last, dinner for 9 was no problem. It's always nice running into old friends, along with meeting new ones!

The next morning we traveled just over 40 miles to Peck Lake. This is a neat anchorage where we can dinghy to shore and walk the beach. This is where Jill and I found our first sea heart, sea beans of the trip!

The following morning started our "3 days of bridges". We had seven bridge openings on our way to Lake Worth, Palm Beach (not too bad). We arrived and anchored early enough to explore Peanut Island and enjoy our first snorkling. Just south of Vero Beach is where the water changes to the "pretty water"!

Traveling the next day to Lake Boca Raton, we had 12 bridge openings, and the following day to North Miami had another dozen. There is one bridge where we actually don't need an opening, but it was already open. We were obligated to call the bridgetender and let him know this, so he closed it. Even though I knew we would safely make it under, it was un-nerving to have a bridge closing on us.

Sometimes only half of the bridge is working, that's not so much fun either.
Luckily we were done with most of the bridges because we knew weather was coming in and we had a long 63 mile day from North Miami to Key Largo. So, that's where we are now and will probably be stuck here until Monday. It's an easy place to get to shore and everything we need is within a bike ride. We set a second anchor today for the heavier winds that are coming , but we are in a good spot. We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with Links with a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We have so much to be thankful for!


Sunday, November 15, 2015


We have finally made it to Florida! But let me recap the last few weeks...We have always enjoyed Georgia. Many beautiful islands, and there always seems to be an adventure waiting for us. We Stopped at St. Simon's Island and Fort Frederica and had a nice bike ride, and did some re-provisioning. The next island we stopped at was Cumberland Island. This was our first time visiting the north end of the island, But Tim and Jill had been there before so we followed their lead. Supposedly, there was an old mansion on the island, so we decided to go ashore and see if we could hike there. With the exception of some dock workers, we felt like we had the island to ourselves. Now, Jill would tell you we had a lovely stroll along the island...and I guess we did. I, on the other hand would describe it a little differently. I would say it was more of a hike on semi-open trails surrounded by wild animals! Ok, maybe not scary wild animals, but wild none the less.

One of the 3 wild horses we saw
"Wild" armadillo
When we were (hopefully) coming to the end of our walk, we came across a few fellows who explained to us why we had the island to ourselves. This was the weekend for the annual boar hunt and the island was closed! The nice, and well armed hunters promptly showed us the quickest way back to our dinghy, and we were on our way.

The next day we crossed into Florida and spent our first night in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island. From there we stayed for a night at a free dock in Sister's Creek, Jacksonville. That is a great spot to meet a few more cruisers, and we ended up having an impromptu jambalaya dinner with everyone in our cockpit. Another great night!

Sister's Creek free dock

Next we headed to St. Augustine. We were lucky enough to be there for the annual Pirate Gathering again. I must say, this is where I met a bump in the road. My Grandma had a saying, "If it's not Jackson, it's Johnson" meaning that if one thing isn't going wrong it will be something else. Well, the boat was running well, so it was my turn. Friday night we ended up taking a trip to Flagler Hospital. No worries though, just a pesky kidney stone. The next few days were a bit uncomfortable but I was feeling better each day.

St. Augustine mooring field
The Fort
Two days later we were headed to Sunnyland, Melbourne Beach to see our friends, Maureen & Jimmy. Not only would there be one Gemini arriving, Links was coming too!
Our escort!
Links navigating the mangroves
We stayed 2 nights, and had a great time! And great things do happen in Sunnyland...I finally passed my kidney stone Wednesday night! Woo Hoo! Friday morning we departed for Vero Beach. We did end up with a stowaway though! Jimmy came for the day and we had a great sail!
Jimmy driving

We plan on staying in Vero until Tuesday morning, and then making the push towards Marathon! We're hoping the mooring field doesn't fill up before we get there, but I think we are making good time!

Will keep you posted!

Love the Birds of Paradise