Date: Mar 8 to Mar 11
Total Distance: 328 nm
Route: Atlantic Ocean (Ft Lauderdale, Ft Pierce, New Smyrna Beach), ICW
(St Augustine, Fernandina Beach)
Click on the map for a bigger image. The purple
line is the ICW route.
|Mar 8 Our broker Gerard insisted that we hired a
captain to help us break in the boat, and so we did. It was one of the
best decisions we've made on this trip. Captain Chris, who was
also an ex-programmer, came by at 06:00, checked the engine and
decided we needed parts, so we didn't leave Royal Palm Yacht Basin,
Dania Beach until 10:30. It was a beautiful sunny day, around 65
degrees, with a slight wind. It felt colder up in the fly bridge
when we were out in the ocean. Along the way, we saw schools of
dolphins frolicking around. This was wonderful. Our
adventure was about to begin.
out the anchor
|We drove 97.4 nautical miles at around 13.5 knots and got
into Harbor Town Marina around 18:00. Before entering into the
marina, Chris showed Sophal the ropes of anchoring. After fueling
up (not too bad at $1.20 a gallon for diesel, albeit we took 122
gallons, marina was $0.95 per foot), we waited for Chris' girlfriend to
come by. Then we all went to dinner at the restaurant on site to
celebrate our first successful day of cruising without any mishap.
|Mar 9 We were on our own. We both felt
apprehensive and excited at the same time. Luckily for us, it was a
glorious sunny day with no wind! The current was a little strong
as we left the marina, but not a big deal. We left at 8:30am and
traveled out in the ocean. Five hours later, we saw Cape Canaveral
from a distance, but unfortunately, there was no launch.
At around 15:00, we passed by Titusville, and winds started to
pick up. We saw rollers of about 5 feet. Water was splashing
all the way up the fly bridge! And it was COLD! Around the
same time, the high temperature light came on for the starboard engine.
Eileen panicked. Land looked very far f-a-a-r away. Sophal
turned off the engines, and went down to the engine room to check them
out. Fifteen minutes later, he claimed everything looked fine, and
when he turned the engines back on, the light went away. We
continued on our merry way. By 18:00 we should be getting into New
Smyrna Beach, our destination for the night.
Just as we were entering into this inlet, right in front of
Lighthouse Boatyard Marina, we grounded ourselves! A SeaTow boat
immediately (a sign that the area is quite shallow) showed up. It
would cost $10/ft to be towed, but we were already on the phone with
Boat/US with whom we are members. The gentleman on the SeaTow boat
was nice enough to tell us that we had 5 feet of water at our stern, so
if we backed straight out, we should be all right. We were able to
get out of here without being towed, thank goodness, but at this point
we were so disoriented we didn't know where to go since the chart took
us down the wrong road! Again, the nice SeaTow gentleman showed us
the way. So, 114 nms later, we tied up at Inlet Harbor Marina.
What a long trip that was!
Inlet Harbor Marina is near Daytona Beach, where all the action is.
The marina has a popular restaurant complete with live band and singer
and a well-stocked bar. One thing we noticed was that once away
from Ft Lauderdale where all the mega yachts reside, our boat was about
to become bigger and bigger.
Mar 10 Strong winds and current (6 knots) as we left Inlet
Harbor at 8:45, but later became calmer. This time we decided to
cruise on the Intra-Coastal Waterway (ICW). What a change of
scenery! We saw homes after homes, most with docks, all beautiful,
especially by Ormond Beach and Summer Haven. The ICW itself was
neat, with its twists and turns. One has to go slow though (lots
of no-wake zone), around 8 knots, so if you're in a hurry, this is not a
route for you. We did 62 nm and stopped at St Augustine Municipal
Marina around 16:00.
Little did we know that St Augustine is the oldest European settlement
in America! It is a charming little town with lots of history and
beautiful architecture. Since the marina is right in town, we were
able to explore the town by foot. This is definitely a place we'd
like to come back to on the way down.
Mar 11 We departed from the marina around 09:30. It was a
little breezy, temperatures of 73 degrees. The sun came out a
little later on. Along the ICW, we passed by some more beautiful
homes and saw dolphins. It was all very exciting. At around
15:10, we anchored at Fernandina Beach after cruising for a total of 54