We traveled from Stuart to Vero Beach. We had just one night in Vero Beach. Just an overnight stop. We didn’t get off the boat. We BBQ dinner and enjoyed a relaxing night. We stayed at Suntex Marina which is essentially a condo complex. It was really nice, clean and a perfect overnight stop. Not someplace I would want to spend any length of time. I am using an app called NEBO that shows our time, mileage and speed. I am liking that it helps us track our days. The map is above.
Cocoa Village Marina
I forgot to turn on NEDO this day until to late. Learning!!
We traveled from Vero Beach to Cocoa Beach in just 3 hours. We left Vero Beach early thinking we would have a rainy afternoon (as predicted) and we didn’t want to get caught in a lightening storm, but we wanted to get some miles in, We left early as the sun came up. We traveled faster then we usually would at 12-14 knots. One of the benefits of our boat, it CAN travel fast if need be! There wasn’t a sole around!! The homes were grand again. I love looking at them as we pass. Then I load Zillow and see what they cost. AGAIN, not in our budget but boy can I appreciate a beautiful property. We had a nice dolphin showing along the way as they jumped and played in our wake.
When we arrived we were met at the dock by the nicest dockhand. He had owned a Bayliner for 18 years and he sold it a few years back. When we pulled in and he saw we our Bayliner he just wanted to stand and chat boats! You could hear the sadness in his voice and some regret about selling his boat. It makes me wonder how I will feel in the future if we ever decide to sell AQUAMAN. I invited him in to see it and he was really impressed with all the work we have done. I was happy I showed it to him.
Cocoa Beach is a cool town. It is a historic old town with a lot of vintage stores and consignment shops that had independant vendors and artists. It’s a real funky artist town, just my style!! We decided to stay 2 nights because we thought it would be great chance to tour the Kennedy Space center. The locals then informed us that there was a Space X launch scheduled. WHAT??? It had been scheduled for last week but postponed due to weather. The chance of being here for this was worth us staying the extra day. We were totally excited and wondered if it would actually happen. We decided to rent a car and last night we went to see Cocoa Beach and found a happening beach bar. The weather was kinda yucky but we made the most of it. Today we went grocery shopping, stocked up on water and essentials, and drove around the town a bit. We turned down the riverfront street and I just about freaked out. Turns out Cocoa Beach is a historic town with a row of historic homes that are preserved to the period. They had big signs designating which homes were part of the Historical preservation. They were all done in the Queen Anne style, they looked very Victorian and they were just amazing. Some where beautifully restored and some needed serious help. I can only imagine all the stories these houses could tell. We turned down the right street. We had no idea. I will be researching this to find out who, what this is all about. It will give me something to do as we travel up the ICW tomorrow. A history lesson also. (I will update this blog as I learn about this area!)
The people of this small town are just charming. They could not be nicer or friendlier. They wave, say Hi, ask how you are, and are just plain cool. It’s a real refreshing break to the “get out of my way” mentality I’m used to in L.A. On top of that, we are finally starting to find other loopers. “OUR PEOPLE!” We have had several nice conversations and I’m sure as we all hopscotch our way up the ICW we will continue to cross paths. Everyone is on their own journey, where to stop, what town is next, how far they want to travel, how long they stay in one place, how fast they go. Some people are like us with no agenda, taking it a day at a time, Some are moving quickly eager to finish and get home. This is our home now. I love our pace so far.
Today I was pondering my thoughts as I was walking down the wood dock back to my boat and I took a deep breath. I absolutely LOVE being on the water. Not like, “Wow, this so pretty” but like “ Wow, I cannot be happier then I am right now, In this moment, right now, just as I am.” I have always been told I am an earth sign, which cracks me up, cuz I have always been a water girl. Well my stars don’t align to my passion. Who cares. This IS my life. Water, water, water. After all I met my husband IN THE WATER!! Now, here we are living on it. So far it’s been awesome.
Travel day to New Smyrna.
This day felt like a 6 hour jungle cruise. Definitely my favorite part of the ICW so far. We left early, again, because we had a 6+ hour cruising day. We saw the NASA space center in the distance and we could see the Space X rocket on the launch pad with binoculars. We felt bummed we had missed the launch last night being so close. Oh well.
We traveled up the ICW and saw so much wildlife today. We had to go thru a narrow cut to connect one bay to the next. We saw this on the chart but as we got close we had a group of slow moving sailboats. The channel was narrow and we either went their speed or we passed them. We called them on the radio every time we wanted to pass. It’s called a “slow pass” and it means the boat you are passing are supposed to slow down so we can slow down and decrease our wake so the boat being passed doesn’t get tossed in our wake. Most people abide by this rule and we were super conscious of this rule and called everyboat we wanted to pass.
We are learning a few things as we go:
1. Our boat throws a big wake. Doesn’t matter if we go 6 knots or 11 knots. It’s all the same. I get supper upset as I watch the boat we pass getting tossed. I am not sure what we can do about that. Also I have learned that we pass a lot of boats that go slower then us only to end up in the same marinas at the end of the day. We might get there in 6 hours and them in 8 but we all end up kind of on the same track.
2. Don’t piss off the boat we are passing with a huge wake. We will all end up clustered together, at the same dock. Not good!!!! That hasn’t happened (the pissing off part) but we passed several boats today and a few ended up at our same marina hours later. Our pace feels comfortable on this boat but slowing down is an option. We like to get tied to the dock and go find lunch. We will figure it all out as we continue.
3. I am learning to relax and enjoy the ride. Each morning we are setting off, I still feel anxious, but excited. Those emotions are so closely related that they are really the same. The IWC is just a big river trip. There hasn’t been anything scary. It seems like nothing. Especially after doing the Bahamas! THAT was some scary water!! Being an open water boater the last 12 years, the ICW feels so calm. I’m sure we will get our share of trouble but so far we are enjoying every second of it. The scenery is incredible and the wildlife is just amazing. Today as we traveled thru narrow channels going no more then 5 knots at times, we saw a bunch of manatees, tons of dolphins, ospreys catching fish, tons of birds, and pelicans.
We arrived to our marina and tied up. Again we were met by dock hands and they helped us get settled. We are not used to this kind of service. I am getting very spoiled. We decided to go find a beer in town and set off to walk the Main Street to stretch our legs. We found an old time pharmacy with a soda fountain. (I remember Jack taking us to one outside of Quincy a long time ago. We had root beer floats. This place looked exactly the same). Instead of a beer we had milkshakes and a hot fudge sundae. Killer.
We headed back to the boat and took the bikes down. We decided to ride around and check out the town and burn off the ice cream. We rode about 2 miles to the beach and realized everyone was gathering to see the Space X Launch. We hung out and waited. The beach started getting packed with people and it was fun to see the excitement. We saw it, a little ball of fire and a cloud behind, then we saw the side thrusters descend back to the ground. So cool to see it, even though I wish it happened yesterday when we were closer. All in all, a once in a lifetime event.
We rode down the beach. Just like Daytona where cars and bikes get to cruise right on the hard packed sand. We stopped at a great place for drinks and shared great appetizers and rode our bikes back to the boat in the dark.
As I am typing all this, just the thought of all we did today is exhausting. To say we are seizing the days, is an understatement. We are seriously doing everything we possibly can to see everyplace we are in. We had another moment at dinner. We keep having them. “What the hell happened, How did we get here, Are we seriously doing this and, We still cannot believe we are pulling this off!”
Today we spent the day exploring New Smyrna. We took the dingy down and went on another mangrove jungle cruise. We wound our way through the river that connects to the ICW. It was pretty. We only hit the soft bottom like a few times. We cruised to the Ponce De Leon outlet to check it out. The waves were crashing at the seashore so we didn’t go out. We took the ICW all the way back to the marina. Along the way we spottted dolphins. They are just everywhere. I guess that means that the fish life in this river is abundant. They have been swimming around the back of the boat and pelicans dive bomb and come up with fish. There is a small mangrove island right by the marina and it is loaded with pelicans and white herons. We put the dingy back and got on our bikes again and rode back into the beach town to find lunch. We stopped at Flagler Tavern for clam strips and chowder. Andy rode the beach again while I walked the street and shopped. Since selling most of my things I am not the same shopper I once was. I have to REALLY want something to buy it. I thought about a sweatshirt until I pictured the large bucket I have stored in a Rubbermaid container on the boat. Oh VEY!! Needless to say, I am a different person then the LA girl I once was. I am so enjoying the process of each day, they are all different, and letting go continually of things.
Tomorrow we have a long passage to St. Augustine where we will stay 3 nights.