4/21/12 (Saturday) We arrived at Blowing Rocks marina (chosen so that we could attend Saturday evening services at a nearby Catholic Church). What good things can I say about this marina....nothing! We made a reservation on Friday and were given a slip # with directions into the marina. When we arrived (very windy and low tide) we followed the directions to the north side of the harbor, but there were no empty slips and no numbers on the docks. We had tried to hail the dockmaster on Channel 16 several times and called his phone number twice and got an answering machine. We finally approached the gas dock and people were yelling--it's shallow! We had 2.5 feet below the transducer. We yelled at someone on shore and he said, "I don't work here, but I'l ltry to find someone". An older man came out and yelled to go around to the south docks and stay in close. He told us to stern in, but we ALWAYS go bow in. He also said he didn't know any of the slip numbers. The finger dock was only 6 feet long, so getting off with Duke was a real challenge. The showers were just OK, but two lights were out in the women's shower room, so it was really dark. The restaurant which advertised live music was really a small trailer selling food and there was no live music. To top it off, this place charged $2.00 a foot and $15 for a pumpout. We got ready to go to church and it started raining. We couldn't have gotten the bikes off on this dock anyway, so we stayed on the boat.
4/22/12 When we awoke Sunday AM, we decided to leave, but it was storming, so we waitied until 0900 to pull out. There was a small craft advisory for coastal waters and a high wind advisory for the ICW. We did OK....no problems except rain. We pulled in to Ft. Pierce City Marina @ 1400. Very windy!! and lots of currents. We stopped at the fuel dock for a FREE pumpout and moved into our slip which was $1.50 per foot with Boat US discount. We had been following an American Tug (BIRD) all day, and it ended up in the slip just down from us on the dock. The dentist from Beaufort, NC gave us a tour of his very nice 36' tug. What a NICE MARINA!! It has a great location with nice slips. We were on a long dock--easy access for Duke, a downtown park, with shops and restaurants close by. The dock hands were extremely nice. What a difference a day makes. I met a young man walking his 16 week old Mastiff puppy. He was in need of a puppy poop bag, so I invited him back to the boat. He asked if he could bring his kids...they'd never seen a boat up close. He went back to get his 4 kids and his wife. Ron and I gave them a tour of the boat. We found out the dad was a fifth grade teacher and the wife taught kindergarten/1st. Very nice couple. They recommended New Smyrna Beach.
4/23/12 We had breakfast at at a nearby Bakery that offered great pastries and coffee. We left the dock at 1000 and headed north for Melbourne. As the day wore on, the wind became stronger and stronger. The coast guard had several securites and pon pons with vessels in trouble. Fortunately, the wind was off our port bow, so even the 40mph gusts were tolerable. The spray went completely over the top of our boat, but we were cosy inside with the doors and windows closed and the wipers on. We arrived safely at 1600. Still very windy!! Melbourne Harbor is sheltered, so it was an easy docking experience in the wind. While walking Duke, a couple who remembered us from the IVY Club (Peoria) approached us. They were there last Sept when we departed south. They are from Grand Haven, MI and had generator problems in Peoria. They are aboard BlueLine.
4/24/12 Melbourne to New Smyrna Beach.
We had a long day to New Smyrna Beach (75 miles). On the way, we saw jelly fish in a small canal, people fishing, kayakers who thought they owned the channel, and several dolphins. We could see smoke from a large fire which was burning near Cape Caniveral. Numerous acres had already burned in this out of control fire. We ate at Jason's, an outdoor cafe, and had a terrific meal.
4/25 Still in New Smyrna Beach (NSB) Ron went to the historical museum and I went shopping in their very nice shops. We took the bus to the beach. Their buses are door to door services for 60 cents per ride for those over 65 and $1.25 for those under 65. We had lunch at Toni and Joe's bar on the patio overlooking the beach. A perfect day...no humidity, no clouds, and a slight breeze. For dinner we went back to New Smyrna for PanHead Pizza. It was excellent. At dinner, we met Preston and Sherry, whose sailboat was next to our boat. They are from Norfolk, VA and are retired from NASA. They just returned from the Bahamas.
4/26/12 We left NSB and headed for Marineland Marina. At Marineland, we took Duke to a dog friendly beach where we were literally alone, so we let him loose to chase birds in the surf.
4/27/12 We rode our bikes 3 miles north and took the ferry to Ft. Matanzas. The fort was built in 1740 to protect St. Augustine from invasion by Georgia's Governor Oglethorpe. It is a very small fort with only 3 cannons. However one of the cannons could shoot a cannonball 3 miles. There was room for only 4 enlisted men and one officer at the fort. After touring, we rode our bikes back to the inlet and had lunch at "Inlet Restaurant" (clever name!). In the afternoon, we went to Marineland and watched people swim in large tanks (for $200) with the dolphins. We then took Duke back to the beach for a couple of hours. From 6-9pm we participated in a guided sunset kayak tour which brought us back after dark.
4/28/12 Marineland to St Augustine (River's Edge Marina)
We had a very short day (15 miles). Our goal was to arrive early, rent a car, pack up and go home for a week. We are now in Dunedin until May 4th, when we will return to the boat and head for Jacksonville.