Saturday, May 20, 2017

Vero Beach To St. Augustine - 2017

--Blogpost written by Bob

Early this morning, Wednesday, May 17, a series of brief rain showers came through Vero Beach.  It was like the moisture was being wrung out of the clouds overhead.  I sat in the cockpit and watched the rain drops hit the water in the harbor as each little rain shower passed through.

This is a painted version of a photograph I took of the moored boats
as one of the brief rain showers passed through this morning.
I thought this photo treatment best captured
the mood of the rain shower.

We've identified a possible window for our ocean passage from Fernandina Beach to Charleston: 5/23, 5/24, and 5/25 having moderate winds out of the east and south.  We've adjusted our plan a little to take advantage of this possible weather window. 

This wind prediction (one week out) is for 5/22 off-
shore of Fernandina Beach, the day before our 
planned ocean passage to Charleston

We'll have a boost from the Gulf Stream and the wind at our back.

5/18: Vero Beach (MM 952) to Cocoa (MM 897) - 55 miles
5/19: Cocoa (MM 897) to New Smyrna Beach (MM 848) - 49 miles
5/20: New Smyrna Beach (MM 848) to Marineland (MM 796) - 52 miles
Stay overnight in marina at Marineland
5/21: Marine Land (MM 796) to St Augustine (MM 777) - 19 miles
Stay in St. Augustine for 1-1/2 days (nights of 5/21 and 5/22)
5/23: St. Augustine (MM 777) to Fernandina Beach (MM 715) - 62 miles
5/24 to 5/25: Ocean Passage from Fernandina Beach to Charleston (~30-hours overnight)

We will continue to monitor the identified weather window as we proceed northward on the ICW.  We turned in our rental car at mid-day.  We've had occasional high winds and thunder showers throughout the day.  It's still overcast--I wouldn't be surprised if we get more storms this evening.

This afternoon we filled up the boat's fuel tanks with diesel fuel and we had a terrible time docking because of the wind blowing us off the fuel dock and then the stern dock line mysteriously came loose from the cleat on the boat.  After fueling, we returned to our slip (on a T-head which is about as simple as a slip can be to dock and undock) and had another terrible time docking when one of our fenders popped up and over the floating pier and the line on the opposite end of the fender got caught on a cleat on the dock--this promptly broke the top off a lifeline stanchion.  I have never bent or broken a lifeline stanchion in the 34 years that I've owned s/v Rainy Days (or even prior boats) but this year, I'm up to 2 already.  Getting $33 worth of diesel fuel cost us $133 when you include the cost of the replacement lifeline stanchion!  We have eliminated any knots in the fender line on the opposite end of the one tied to the boat and have stopped our practice of tying fenders to the lifelines.

Our new practice includes NO knots in tailing fender
line and NO more tying fenders to lifelines!

Our most recent fuel usage resulted in a consumption rate of 0.874 gallons per hour (including a very rough hour or two against heavy tidal current in the Ft. Pierce Inlet)--the consumption rate averaged 0.66 gallons per hour with the old engine and the old prop.  However, we are generally moving a lot faster now (6.75 knots vs 5.5 knots while towing a dinghy).

Vero Beach to Addison Point

We departed our slip at Vero Beach City Marina this morning, Thursday, May 18, at 7:05 AM.  Our trip was going smoothly and we were making good time so we kept going beyond our original destination.

This sand bar was not on our charts and it was very close to the ICW.

This was the first motor vessel we saw that was sunk along the ICW.
I think this sinking was since Hurricane Matthew.

This was the second motor vessel that we saw sunken today.
Again, I think this sinking was since Hurricane Matthew.

At the end of our first day on the ICW we anchored in the Indian River just north of Addison Point at MM 883.  We traveled 69 statute miles today, the last 5 or so miles was traveling extremely slow due to the fact that the Addison Point Bridge was closed between 3:30 and 5 PM.  In fact, we anchored just south of the bridge for almost 45 minutes.   We could have made a 3:30 PM opening but we didn't calculate the distance and our boat speed correctly.  It was a long day--I'll sleep soundly tonight!

Addison Point to Daytona Beach

Despite being 3 or mores miles from land, last's night anchorage was fine as a nice 5-10-knot breeze blew through our open hatches.  We raised the anchor at 7:30 AM and got underway again.  It is difficult to be enthused about the water here after being in the Bahamas.  It seems like the water is more a means to transport us than to be a thing of beauty.

A tiny island on the Indian River.  This was 
actually a color photograph.

The Haulover Creek Bridge was broken--this bridge was broken
on our way south too (but the other span).

We traveled the entire length of Mosquito Lagoon today--this was a long and boring part of our day.

As we approached New Smyrna Beach, this was the
first derelict boat we encountered coming north--it 

was in the same spot when we came down 
the ICW earlier this year.

This was the second derelict boat we encountered.

...and the third derelict boat near New Smyrna Beach.

We anchored near Daytona Beach at about 2:45 PM, as our long day came to a close.  We got very close to running aground in New Smyrna Beach today, just like we did on on way south.  Our shallow depth alarm sounded but we just scraped by without a grounding and we were right in the center of the channel according to our chart plotter.  This is the only spot we had difficulty on the ICW in Florida.

This evening the sky is overcast and it looks like it will rain but the forecast doesn't predict any chance of rain at all.  We'll see what happens.  In any case, the overcast sky keeps the temperature down.  The sunset here in Daytona Beach was not at all interesting with the overcast sky.

We are anchored about 1/4-mile off the ICW just below Daytona Beach.   There are a couple boats near the spot where we anchored--one is on a mooring buoy and the other (with its rigging laying on deck) is at anchor.  There are several other boats anchored or moored a greater distance away from us.

Daytona Beach to St. Augustine

We pulled up anchor at 6:45 AM so that we could get an opening at the Memorial Bascule Bridge prior to rush hour traffic--it is closed between 7:45 and 8:45 AM.  Well, it is closed permanently--the guide book just hasn't caught up with that yet.  Two cranes were employed to tear down the old bridge supports and install the new supports for the new replacement (fixed) bridge.

This is a modest residential area along the ICW
just north of Daytona Beach.

ICW marker #23: an early morning reflection

Only the east span of this bridge was able to open for us.

We arrived at St. Augustine Municipal Marina and grabbed a mooring (#18) at 1:45 PM--that 53 statute miles in 7 hours (7.57 mph or 6.58 knots).  We were helped a large portion of the day by favorable tidal currents, a lot of times reaching 8 knots.

We will be staying here in St. Augustine for at least four days.  This afternoon when we mounted the outboard engine on the dinghy, the pull cord didn't engage with the engine and the engine could not be started.  We have located a repair technician but it will take until at least Tuesday evening for the repairs to be made.

This evening a nice sea breeze is blowing into the mooring field from the southeast.  It is keeping the boat nice and cool.  I'm sure we will sleep very soundly tonight!

We are facing the threat of severe afternoon thunderstorms during the next several days and have decided to cancel our ocean passage from Fernandina Beach to Charleston, opting for slogging up the ICW through Georgia instead.

Our next blogpost will cover some of our experiences here in St. Augustine...

Thanks for following our blog!

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