Monday, November 21, 2016

Southbound to the Keys 2016 (Part 1)

How evenings at anchor are supposed to be

With the boat put back together, the weather settled again, ICW generally back in shape, our doctors' appointments complete, early voting done, things shuffled into storage and back, and generally the mess of errands necessary before a long trip accomplished, we were ready to sail south. We left St Augustine on the high tide, mid-afternoon of election day. We only traveled about 10 miles before anchoring for the evening, but we were in a different world - quiet, peaceful, surrounded by nature instead of city noises.  Our cruise had begun!

To say we were disappointed in the election results would be beyond an understatement, but we were soothed a bit watching the pelicans going about their morning fishing like every other morning; at least for now the world goes on. We had our coffee and breakfast smoothies, raised the anchor and continued south.  There was much evidence of the storm; buildings with blue tarps where roofs should be, broken docks, boats washed up on shore; but the ICW itself was generally where it belonged and almost all the markers were in place.

We spent the next four days in perfect weather, easy traveling by day and wide open anchorages with views of stars at night.  Just the two of us, in our little private bubble.  Private, that is, except for leaping dolphins and diving pelicans. Quiet, except for the blaze of orange glory that was nearly every sunrise and sunset.  Solitary until just before Vero Beach we heard a familiar boat name on the VHF and friend Jody from Annapolis came past on their catamaran, and we photoed each other's boats underway before, faster than us, they pulled away ahead.  Dan and I both function best with alternating solitary and social segments in our lives, and our brief connection with Jody was the last "solitary" we were going to have for a while.

Jody's photo of us underway near Vero Beach

Vero Beach is a popular spot with cruisers, and people tend to stay a while on its sheltered moorings. It's a practical spot, with easy free bus service to necessities like grocery and hardware stores. For us it was also a chance to reconnect with some folks we'd met on our first cruise, when we were trapped for days by a nor'easter in South Carolina, and stayed in touch via Facebook. They had since sold the boat and moved ashore and were happy to show us their town.

They took us to the lovely McKee Botanical Gardens near Vero

Nope, it's not pixels; the garden had an exhibit of Legos sculptures!

Our next planned stop was Stuart, and some marina time. It was also going to be a chance to connect with fellow bloggers from s/v Octopussy; and the Cynical Sailor and His Salty Sidekick. A hilarious gathering in our cockpit ensued, including a spirited debate on the best use for their last can of pumpkin puree -- pumpkin bread, or curried cauliflower and garbanzo stew, or Caribbean pumpkin soup, or something else.  (We had two extra cans of pumpkin in our locker -- hey! this is not a limited resource!) It was great fun introducing friends to other friends, showing off our boat, and meeting their son again. He was a kid when we left, now at 14 he's clearly becoming an independent person.

Stuart is the halfway point.  Another couple days of rest here and then we continue on the second half of our adventure.

Just another sunrise ...


  1. It was so great catching up with you and meeting what I now call the Pumpkin Family :-)

    I had to stop at the store after I left you guys and the first thing I saw when I walked in was a huge display of canned pumpkin. It cracked me up.

    1. I saw that in your blog! It cracked me up as well!

    2. So, I've got two cans of pumpkin and no ideas! What did you decide?!

    3. So, I've got two cans of pumpkin and no ideas! What did you decide?!

    4. So, I've got two cans of pumpkin and no ideas! What did you decide?!

    5. So, I've got two cans of pumpkin and no ideas! What did you decide?!