Friday, June 20, 2014

Joining The Dots Up The ICW

Wandering Star approaching one of the many bridges
Motoring up the ICW is like playing a child’s game of dot to dot. Long hours are spent following the ICW markers, reds to greens, greens to red; inching our way northwards navigating our way through the shallow murky waters; everyday putting miles under our keel. Sometimes fighting the currents sometimes they help us – pushing us along at over 8kts. Sim and I take it in turn to drive. I have to say that I like this motoring malarkey, the  flat and protected waters of the ICW make it very comfortable, if only the cost of fuel didn’t make this (motoring) lifestyle so prohibitive for us – I could get very use to it!
Some of the big properties we pass along the way
We love the scenery and the wildlife and the vast open spaces.  We have seen hundreds of Pelicans, nesting terns, and the odd Ibis and osprey.  Dolphins grace us every day with their presence, and manatees and turtles too.  We pass huge mansions one minute and then desolate mangrove areas the next.  Because there is so much space (don’t forget we are Brits from a tiny island) towns and cities lay alongside rural waterways in perfect incongruous symmetry. 
The more rural parts in Florida
We said goodbye to Khaya Moya and Wild Blue with dinner on Wandering Star and made our way north pulling in at our first stop at Peck Lake, Hobe Sound.  We left the dinghy on the beach and walked over the short strip of land to the Atlantic beach – waters so different from the ones we are use to but just as stunning in their own right.  This is a fabulous place for beach combing – miles of vast coast stretching out before you.  Parts of the beach are sectioned off because of nesting terns and sea turtles.  We caught up with a nice couple from Dos Libres who had followed us through some of the many bridges on the ICW earlier that day.

Jupiter Beach at the Peck Lake anchorage, Hobe Sound
The following day we had a minor Oops moment in Fort Pierce when our anchor chain (possibly pilled in a heap by me) got wrapped around the anchor a couple of times. A right old mess ensued which took Sim a good hour to untangle by unshackling the anchor.  Thank goodness we had settled weather while we sorted that out.
We had one night at the popular and pretty Vero Beach, where we took fuel and water and a mooring for the night/ $15.  They have an excellent DIY laundry and a TV lounge you wait.  A free public bus can take you down to the beach or into town.  Sim and I went to the strip mall where I got cheap retail therapy thrills at the thrift shop.  The mooring field is a little buggy but the trio of dolphins swimming around our boat in the late afternoon made up for any discomfort.
Sim in the driving seat

Another longer day and we reach the cute little town of Cocoa.  We anchored off the town and left the dinghy at the very nice public dock.  This is an artsy fartsy town, full of quirky antique and curiosity shops, ice cream parlours and bars and bistros. The highlight for Sim was the ancient hardware store with a patriotic flag hung over the cash till next to a deer head complete with antlers.  Rooms lead off to side rooms, stairs lead to loft rooms with doors in the floor, outside lead to more shop floor which in turn lead to more warehouse style rooms – the place was deceptively large and had a medley of this and that all at not unreasonable prices.  “I apologise for the flea’s” the guy who was helping us said as he watched me scratching my legs. “We got feral cats and they got baby cats and they got fleas! – Can’t get rid of them – make sure yáll dust yourselves off real proper before you get back on yáll boat”.  The hardware stop was an experience not to be missed and they were real nice folks too. ;-)
The hardware store -
So we try and blend in with the natives.  Sim wears his cap back to front and dons his wife-beater (vest top) occasionally.  We are trying to learn the lingo – “Yes Mam”. “Ten Four” and “Roger that”.  And despite all the creepy, crawly, bitey things (fleas, noseeums and mosquitos) and the daily thunderstorms, we are having a fab time.

Steaming along at over 8kts with the current

Beach combing at Peck Lake

The cut from Peck Lake to Jupiter Beach

Land your dinghy by the Palm tree in Peck Lake

The cat decides the only place to be is in front of the chart plotter!

Public docks at Cocoa

The quaint and quirky town of Cocoa

Me driving

What Sim does while I drive

The white is the only part with enough depth for our boat
More ICW

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