April 8 – 15 Leaving Fort Pierce and heading north up the ICW to home

Well, the time had come for us to start heading north on the ICW. Since a lot of the sights along the way would be the same as on our way down, we decided to do a few days at a time. That is, unless we have a lot of interesting photos for one day and then would make it a one day post. (Another reason to do a few days at once on a blog post is that some evenings when we anchor, we are out in the boonies and have no cell service for a hot spot to upload a day at a time). And for all our sailor friends who are interested in the miles we travel daily, we will include those in our blog post. So here goes:

April 8 Fort Pierce to Vero Beach

First things first….. We dinghied over to Amazing Grace to say good morning and so long. It had been so nice travelling together and finishing the Bahamas trip with them this year. There were a few tears for sure as we bid each other bye for now. We made some great memories and had some fun times. They were waiting there to get Amazing Grace hauled out and set on the hard until next winter. Hopefully, on their drive home, we will be somewhere near on the ICW for them to stop and rest awhile or spend the night….oh, and maybe if we are lucky and in a city where there’s a Golden Corral, we can go for a feast again. 🙂 If not, we will see them back in Ontario.

After our dinghy was on the dinghy tow, we weighed anchor at 08:30 and headed north up the ICW. We got to our first lift bridge before the 09:00 opening and had been texting with Sue from Cardea so knew they were anchored south of the lift bridge. We chatted with them on the radio for a few minutes and then the bridge opened.

It was a short motor sail to Vero Beach, only 14.25 nm. We had hailed them earlier to let them know that we would be coming in for fuel and to get a mooring ball. We fueled up and got our water tanks filled. It is great to be back in the USA where the water is free, abundant and easy to get right from the fuel docks! We slipped the mooring pendant on Persuasion at 12:20. After our showers, we took the free bus to Walmart. Mike had picked up the wrong transmission fluid in Fort Pierce so he exchanged that and we picked up a couple of groceries. It was another hot, sticky day! We had hoped to be back in time to go to Mr. Manatees for the cruisers burger night but we didn’t get our connecting bus in time to go. We dinghied down to the sailboat, Barry Duckworth to see James and Amanda. We noticed their boat when we got to the mooring field.

They had been with us since Canajoharie through to New York City and also were the ones that were locked in Lock 11 with us for 4 days on the canal system when Florence blew through. They were not there so we left our boat card. We texted them later and they had been to Mr. Manatees.

Also that afternoon, two tall ships came in and tied up to the dock. They were from Wilmington, Delaware.

Pinta

Nina

April 9 Visiting in Vero

It was a work day. Mike dinghied me in with the laundry and he worked on changing the oil and transmission fluid. While I was doing laundry, I noticed Cardea come in to the mooring field. They had decided not to leave their boat in Fort Pierce and would be storing her at Green Cove Springs in Jacksonville. Mike came over after he finished his job and while I was folding laundry, Gary, Sue and Max came over. It was nice to see them again and hear about their last few weeks in the Bahamas after we had left the Exumas for the Abacos. They, too are anxious to get home.

We also met up with James and Amanda. They had a great winter staying at Vero. They will be heading north in a little while as they want to go to Montreal this summer. So nice getting caught up with cruisers.

We were planning on heading out after our laundry and oil change but it was giving rain and wind overnight, so we booked the mooring ball for another night. We showered and dinghied over to say goodbye once again to Cardea. And luckily got back to our boat before the rain started.

April 10 Vero Beach to Titusville

We left Vero Beach at 07:00.

A few of the days sightings are captioned below:

Beautiful homes along the ICW in Vero Beach

A power plant on the Indian River

NASA Causeway Lift Bridge

NASA

People waiting on the bridge for Space X to launch.

We anchored on the north side of the Titusville bridge at 18:15 and had travelled 65.20 nm.

Sunset at Titusville. We kept watching for the Space X to launch. Unfortunately it didn’t happen because of light winds and it launched the next day.

It had been a very long day on the water.

April 11 Titusville to Daytona

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise!

We weighed anchor at 06:45 and motored through the NASA Railway Bridge.

Here are some things we saw while motoring along the ICW:

A crab boat out checking his pots and a pelican hoping for some food

Haulover Canal Lift Bridge

Two derelict boats; one already sunken

Some bushes full of birds

George Musson Memorial Bridge

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

A massive house

Halifax Harbour Marina where we fueled up and filled our water tanks

Still dismantling an old bridge in Daytona

And the sunken boat on the north side of the Main Street Lift Bridge in Daytona that we noticed on our way down last fall

There are five bridges in Daytona. We anchored north of the fourth bridge at 14:25 and had travelled 44.6 nm. An earlier than normal stop for us but we had some maintenance to do. One of the jobs was the macerator pump for the head. It was still acting up so that stinky, dirty job had to be done again. Then, we focused on why we were having so much water coming in to the bilge. We took everything out of the locker and Mike climbed down in to look at the engine. He couldn’t believe what he saw. The water spray and the salt that was on the engine was just crazy! He was going to change the mixing elbow in Marsh Harbour before we left there April 1st but it was too hot.  He started to remove the small rubber elbow that connects the raw water discharge to the exhaust.  When he put the elbow back on it wasn’t seated properly and caused water to spray everywhere when the engine was running.  Lots of salt water had come in since then! We washed it all down with hot, fresh water and Mike tightened everything back up. Then he sprayed everything with a liberal amount of WD 40.  Here are a couple photos of the salt on the engine.

April 12 Daytona to Pine Island

Good morning Daytona! Must be an even more beautiful sight over Daytona Beach.

We weighed anchor at 06:50 and headed out. Below are a few photos of our day on the ICW:

Crescent Beach Lift Bridge

For all our railway friends; this lift bridge has a gear drive

If you need live bait, you can’t miss this sign!

St. Augustine Lighthouse

Beautiful St. Augustine; America’s oldest city

Bridge of Lions Lift Bridge

People enjoying the surf at Vilano Beach

It was very windy when we pulled in to the day docks at Vilano Beach at 13:30. We had a hard time even getting close to the dock to get tied on. We took the short walk up to Publix to get fresh fruits and veggies. We also got their good chicken tenders and potato wedges from their deli for supper. I had to snap a couple of photos of the Vilano Beach blue bird.

We headed back out, continued on and set the hook at Pine Island at 17:20. We had travelled 56.8 nm.

April 13 Pine Island to Abraham’s Point, on the Brick River, GA

Our sunrise!

Some photos below of how our day unfolded and things we saw:

Big houses

Concrete blocks for erosion where the Pablo and St. Johns Rivers meet near Jacksonville

A Navy vessel in dry dock

Lots of security around there

A swing railway bridge

The cellulose plant at Fernandina Beach

Right after the last photo, my camera battery died. I forgot to put it on charge. Missed the photos of Fernandina Beach and the marina. They closed last year right after we were there. We had stayed on a mooring ball and dinghied in but unfortunately now with no docks, that can’t be done. Their docks are now under construction and should be up and running by early fall. Fernandina Beach is beautiful and has many nice shops and restaurants and a great church where we enjoyed a good service.

We continued on into Georgia and went by the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay off the Cumberland Sound.

U.S. coast Guard

We set the anchor at Abraham’s Point, off the Brick River, GA at 16:20. We travelled 61.6 nm. It was another long day on the ICW. But even though we were out in the middle of nowhere land and had no cell service, we were in awe of this spectacular sunset; God’s handiwork!

April 14 Abraham’s Point to Tea Kettle Creek, GA

We weighed anchor and left at 06:35. There were lots of pelicans out fishing. 🙂

I watched for crab pots on the bow for awhile as they were all over the place. It was an overcast, warm and windy day. We passed by Jekkyl Island.

We went through Jekkyl Creek on the falling tide and never saw less than 8 feet so that was good! We saw dredgers out working.

We stopped at St. Simon Island for fuel and water. Lots of Pilot and SeaTow boats there.

The young man on duty was very helpful getting us on the dock. He was telling us that the wind would help keep the sand gnats away. Now, I don’t know if they are like noseeums or if that is just what they call them in Georgia. We could see the St. Simon Island cable stayed bridge in the distance.

As we pulled into the anchorage, we could see dolphins playing in the water.

We set the hook on the ICW at Tea Kettle Creek, GA at 14:50 and had travelled 48.7 nm. The wind finally died down, and we had a lovely sunset.

April 15 Tea Kettle Creek to Herb River, GA

Well, I think I found out what sand gnats are because when the wind died down, some must have gotten in through the screens. Mike is the one that usually gets the noseeum bites but he didn’t seem to get any from these pesky insects. I had a lot of bites and was up in the night scratching like crazy! We weighed anchor and left the anchorage at 06:50. We headed out onto the Sapelo Sound. Winds were 23-26 kn and it was quite rough. There were white caps. We had a rough trip on this Sound in the fall too. We did have the current with us though and good speed.

Then came St. Catherine’s Sound. The winds were up to 30 kn and the water was splashing up over the boat. The windows were white with salt spots. It was 17C in the salon when we got up so not cold but a far cry from the 28 – 30C we had been used too. And it turned colder too with the wind. There were lots of sandbars out on the Sound too we had to be careful of.

We slowed down and waited a bit before entering Hell Gate as it is shallow. We went in on a rising tide and boats were radioing back and forth with us on the depth. We made it through without a problem and never saw less than 6 feet.

The wind stayed with us all day and even as we tried to anchor it was gusting up to 25 kn. We set the hook in Herb Creek off the Herb River, GA at 17:30 and had travelled 55.7 nm. It sure was a long, cool, windy day on the water.

4 thoughts on “April 8 – 15 Leaving Fort Pierce and heading north up the ICW to home

  1. I am constantly in awe at the amount of work you two are doing to make this journey happen… fixing, replacing or micky-mousing your way across the ocean. My hat goes off to you both! Great photos, by the way.

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    1. Thanks Nelse. Yes, it has been quite a journey. Having things that go wrong and then to fix them, is all part of the experience people tell us. Some days, we wonder though. 😂 You know and appreciate how much work blogging and photographing is. It surely is, but I must say that we have looked back on our blog posts and journals many times from our last adventure. And will for this adventure too. The blog will help keep the memories alive. 😄

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  2. Hi Mike and Mary Ellen, Just catching up on your blogs and I realized that we almost crossed paths in Titusville! The night the launch was delayed we were with a group from Westland Marina on a Sportsfish and had motored out to anchor and watch the launch. Where are you now? Safe travels, Jane and Ben

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    1. Oh that is too bad. Were you on the north side of the bridge too? We watched a long time and then as we saw some police cruisers on the bridge and the traffic started moving, we realized it wasn’t going to go up. We left the next morning. I did notice on your FB a few days later that you got to see it. Sorry we missed you guys. We just arrived at Solomons, Maryland this afternoon. I am a few posts behind on the blog. 😢 The NY canal system only opens on May 17th so we will take our mast down at Castleton on Hudson yacht club and be in Waterford, NY for the flight of locks on opening day. We are getting anxious to get home now. 😍

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