Thursday, December 28, 2006

Okeechobee Waterway

We left Vero Beach on the 26th and came into the St. Lucie River at Stuart for the night. There were no mooring balls available so we had to anchor out. The bottom was very soft mud so it was difficult at best to set an anchor. We abandoned our first spot and moved to another and endured a strong wind from a local storm while trying to set the anchor. Stacy held the boat in place while I retrieved the anchor for our move. We ended up running aground next to the mooring field but we were able to back off safely. We set our anchor for the night and the winds abated.
Yesterday we left Stuart and traveled on the Okeechobee Waterway as far as Port Mayaca Lock. We tied up just before the lock and crossed the lake first thing this morning. We cruised for almost 10 hours today and pulled into Rialto Harbor Marina where Bill & Ellen knew a former neighbor from Mass. This is a very nice resort marina. We have a heated outdoor pool, guest house, individual docks, beautifully landscaped grounds and horse stables.
Our plan is to head out first thing in the morning and hope to pick up a mooring at Ft. Myers Beach.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Vero Beach. Bill made this Christmas tree on his flybridge deck although they don't keep it on very long as we try to conserve power. We think the battery problem is resolved today. We went caroling last night by dinghy through the mooring field. We must have been photographed 20 times. Stacy was up last night playing Santa with gifts. We had a pot-luck at the marina today. There was quite a turnout and some obviously good "boat chefs". We are on the boat now waiting for a line of storms that is supposed to arrive here in an hour or so. We are thinking about family and friends today as we remember the birth of our Savior.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve at Vero Beach

It is Christmas Eve at Vero Beach. We are still moored to our mooring ball (left center in the photo) and we haven't received the anticipated bad weather...yet. There is a pot-luck planned at the marina tomorrow. We are still having problems with Bill's battery charging. We were both up last night trying to narrow down a diagnosis. We will discuss the problems with the battery supplier and Xantrex (charger) on Tuesday. At this time we still plan to go to Stuart Tuesday to stage for our crossing of the Okeechobee Waterway. If we really do get the weather later then we may decide to wait here for one more day to travel on a clear day. Merry Christmas to all. Remember the real reason for the day - Jesus Christ's birth.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vero Beach Marina Mooring

We are presently in Vero Beach at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina. We have rafted together on a mooring ball. We will be here through Christmas as we will be getting stormy weather starting tomorrow and escalating through Christmas day. We have been working on maintenance issues. Today we replaced three 130 lb batteries in Bill's boat while Stacy and Ellen went shopping in town. We have started forming our plans for crossing the Okeechobee waterway. We will depart here and plan to spend one night in Stuart and then move to the eastern edge of Lake Okeechobee. This will allow us to start across the lake in the morning before any wind has a chance to get the lake up. I spent part of today taking apart my bow roller for the anchor. I will get a replacement roller tomorrow and install it before the rain comes in. We have been traveling approximately 50 miles per day during this last week. That takes around 6 hours and we are burning a little less than 3 gallons of fuel per hour.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Smyrna to Palm Shores

We've seen dolphins all the way from Jacksonville. Bill & Ellen are going through a canal on the ICW. We are currently anchored at Palm Shores (south of Cocoa). We will be traveling to Vero Beach tomorrow to pick up a mooring through Christmas. We have decided to stay in Vero because of some forecasted bad weather through Christmas. Stacy slept well the last two nights since we were in secluded calm anchorages. Picking up the mooring in Vero may be interesting, especially since they may want to raft us on a single mooring due to the popularity of this location.

Anchorage in New Smyrna

We traveled from St. Augustine to New Smyrna yesterday (Sunday). We found a good anchorage just south of town and dropped the hook for the night. We departed there at 7:15 this morning and are headed further south. We have a favorable current so we can go further if we decide to do so. We are initially shooting for Cocoa Beach area south of Cape Canaveral.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

St. Augustine

We decided to stay in St. Augustine today just so that we could roam around in town. St. Augustine is all lit up at night for Christmas. We are anchored in front of the fort (Bill & Ellen's boat in photo) and all during the day the fort and one of the sailing cruise boats would fire a cannon. We are right in the line of fire and it sounded and felt as if something had run into the boat. We will be leaving here tomorrow morning to make it to Daytona. We still have no idea where we will be for Christmas, but wherever we are, we will celebrate the day.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Here we go.. oh, yeah - ready or not

We left Jacksonville this morning at 9:15 and arrived in St. Augustine at 4:30. We are anchored in front of the fort at the Bridge of Lions. St. Augustine is lit up with Christmas lights on all of the waterfront buildings and trees. We may stay here tomorrow if the fog is heavy in the morning. We want to make north Daytona in one run so we need an early start. We may stay here tomorrow regardless and just mess around in town. We are having calm weather and the foggy mornings are supposed to be gone by tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The butter is too hard

The barometer for when to move on our boat is butter controlled. When the butter is tearing the bread, it is time to move to warmer weather and when it is melting in the dish it is time to move to cooler weather. Well, I haven't had a complete piece of bread for a while so we are moving south. We had originally planned to go over to the Bahamas with some friends and their boat but since their arrival, we have decided to delay that trip and make a trip to Southwest Florida. We are planning to leave Friday, December 15 and stop in St. Augustine as Stacy has always wanted to anchor at the Bridge of Lions. We will then move on down the coast over a few days and, if there is sufficient water, cross the Okeechobee waterway to Ft. Myers. This is all subject to change at any time between now and then so you will need to keep up on this blog.