Monday, April 23, 2018

Titusville - Last day and with storms

Derek and Jan form the boat next door
Today was predicted to be the stormiest day of our stay and it didn't disappoint. We had three storms roll through, each with its rain and wind gusts. There wasn't any lightning, just wind and rain. In anticipation of the windy weather, Ann hosted a "High Wind Party" at 5:00 and we sat in the cockpit and toasted the storm with wine. Our neighbors on the dock came over to join us and we had grand time trading stories - and producing empty wine bottles.

Whenever there's rain, the manatees gather at the run off drains to sip the fresh water
I paid my bill at the rate of $6.50/ft for a week which is a pretty good for the area. I would rather have moved on but at least it's very reasonable on cost. The marina still only has very few slips available. I think I ought to get a discount for helping to fill the place up through my reviews in my guide but I pay the same as everyone else.

The clouds are breaking! Is that the sun?
After the storms passed this afternoon, it appears that we will have a quiet night and a rain free day on Tuesday. We have a few shallow spots ahead of us at the Ponce de Leon Inlet and a couple of places just north of there. I'll be updating Active Captain on what I find so stay tuned. Our final destination on Tuesday is Bethune Park just south of Daytona. It's an anchorage area we're fond of with easy access to a park for Hoolie relief. We have a dock at Stl Augustine the next day.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Titusville - Waiting for weather (good weather)

Just a dreary, overcast day with rain - but it is warm at least
We continue to count the days. We really don't want to travel in rain and high winds but we may do some of that on Tuesday. The forecasts keep slipping and slipping. When we first arrived, the first good day was to be Monday. Now Tuesday is not looking so hot but we will weigh that again on Tuesday morning. These delays are getting ridiculous.

Each dock has its own gate for security, a good added feature over the last couple of years
We are still getting wildly different forecasts for Tuesday. Once again it's PredictWind against all the other apps. This time I truly hope that PredictWind is wrong since it shows 20 plus kt winds once we get through the haulover canal bridge vs less than 10 kts from all the other apps. At least it's predicted to be out of the south so even if it's true, the wind would be behind us which is very different from being on the nose.

Monday, however, is supposed to be very rainy with lots of wind. At the moment it seems very calm but when I looked at the wind gauge, it showed 20 kts. The difference is the wind direction, now it's out of the south and we're protected from that direction. If it continues out of the south, it should not be a problem with us going north on Tuesday. There are several boats looking for good weather just like us so there will be a bunch of us leaving when the weather clears.

Ann is still having her "High Wind Party" Monday at 5:00, just some wine and socializing. Everyone's invited.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Titusville - 20 kts winds all day

Just a dreary day (the bird is flying backwards)
We are just hanging out waiting for something other than 20 kts winds on the nose with rain. The weather is predicted to worsen over the next two days with nothing but rain all day on Monday, oh joy. On Tuesday we have another disparity forecast between all the apps vs PredictWind. Once again, PredictWind is showing high winds on Tuesday when the rest of the apps are predicting winds in the 10 kt range or less. Given my last experience where everyone was wrong except PredictWind, I'm a little concerned. At least the direction is on the aft quarter so it's not on the nose like last time.

One response to the weather is just to pretend to be an RV
Meanwhile, we did laundry and had a pump out which is free at Titusville twice a week. Ann is organizing a "High Wind Party" Monday night to celebrate our leaving Titusville and continuing our northward trip the next day. She's out recruiting attendees tonight while I do the blog. Monday evening is also when we're due for heavy rain along with the high winds, a double helping of Florida "sunshine". The party is also a sign that we are fully recovered from our chest colds. It "only" took two weeks.

This is a sunset?!  NOT
We plan on reaching Daytona on Tuesday night and St Augustine on Wednesday but only for one night since we really have to get going. We are so late this year.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Titusville - Provisioning and Black Point

The manatees have arrived in force! Note the propeller scars on his back
We did our usual provisioning today but chose to go to Winn Dixie instead of Publix which seems to keep raising prices from week to week. They simply do not carry boneless chicken breasts in six packs and the breasts they do carry are 2 to 3 times the price at Winn Dixie or Walmart. The coffee in Publix is $2 more per 12oz package and other items are along the same lines. They bought out many of the local stores and I guess they are trying to corner the market, so to speak. Publix is a very nice store with a wide selection but at boutique prices.

Poking around in a muddy pool where there is usually a shallow lake
Whenever we get a car in Titusville, we always find time to take the Black Point Wildlife Drive on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.  This year we were amazed at the low water level in the refuge. Many areas were completely dry when in the past it was all covered with water. The poor birds that were left were poking around in puddles. I know we've been dry for awhile but I didn't realize it was that dry!

A Night Heron
We did not see the usual array of birds but we did see two that we had never seen before. One was a black hight heron and the other was an anhinga (see photos). They were just sunning themselves and they posed quite well for photos.

Anhinga





















The storms are coming! We can see on the weather forecasts the strong winds working their way south and they should reach us starting tonight and last through Monday night. Thunderstorms are also in the mix so we'll just hang around until they pass by leave on Tuesday if they're done playing around. It seems there are no end of delays in keeping us from moving north in a timely fashion. However, the weather is boss.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Titusville - at a dock

Gordon and Eta Johnson came over for a visit,
they spent the winter in the Bahamas
We left at 6:40 from Quail Valley and headed north. The one sticky wicket was the NASA bridge which does not open between 3:30 and 5:00 pm. We had to average 7 kts to make the bridge before 3:30. As we started out, we initially moved at 7.4 kts so we got a head start even though we eventually ran into an adverse tide later one. We reached the bridge in plenty of time at 3:00 but as we approached Titusville, we heard other sailboats calling for an opening and were told the next one was at 5:00 pm! In that case, you just anchor out south of the bridge and wait, we've done that before too.

We have our usual slip, nice and secure
When we first started going south, the Titusville City Marina was run by the city and it was always at least 1/2 empty. There was never a problem getting a slip. For the last two years, they hired a management team that runs several marinas and there's been a turnaround. Now the marina is almost always full and you have to call ahead to reserve a slip which we did.

Somewhat of a sunset, we'll take it
The weather ahead does not look good. There are thunderstorms predicted all weekend but we hope to leave Tuesday for Daytona, maybe Monday if the weather changes. We are so far behind last year's pace that we're not even looking at the calendar anymore. We'll get home sometime.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Quail Valley River Club in Vero Beach - at a dock

Quail ValleyRiver Club and Golf Club
We spent a very quiet night at one of our favorite anchorage, Hobe Sound by R38. After taking Hoolie ashore at low tide (he had to wade to shore), we headed north on a beautiful, calm, and sunny day. Just perfect for traveling the ICW.

Nice pool for relaxing
We were invited to stay at Quail Valley River Club by Jack Apple, a fan of my blog. It's a private club with a marina and it looked very interesting. In order to get a dock, you need an invitation from a member, in this case, Jack.

You can also relax inside with a fire in the fireplace
We were somewhat concerned about the entry as to water depth but it never dropped below 7.0 MLW  on the way in so we had a two-foot cushion even at low tide. Pam, the dockmaster, met us at the dock and Ann made a perfect landing. Pam graciously gave us a tour which included several dining rooms, the spa, the exercise room, tennis courts, swimming pool, and Tiki Hut bar. Needless to say, it was all first rate.

The docks are first rate and just the right height for Fleetwing
We are going to take advantage of one of the restaurants tonight so I'm taking my all-time date out for an evening of fun after her bout with not feeling well for so long. They have their own chef on site so we looking forward to dinner and wine.

We will leave at first light for Titusville since we're trying to make the NASA bridge before it shuts down between 3:30 and 5:00. It will be a tight fit to make it and I expect we'll have some adverse tide just to make it interesting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hobe Sound - at anchor

Hoolie has four beaches to choose from
We left Suntex at 8:30 in order to make the 10:00 opening at Southern Blvd Bridge. When we arrived south of the bridge, we saw 14 boats waiting for the same opening. I guess that's better than the 25 waiting for the 7:30 am opening. Of course, the opening was late. The processes started at 10:05 and that consisted of first raising the new bridge before the old bridge could open. That took another 10 minutes and we were getting antsy since we would have to do 8 kts to reach the next bridge in time given the distance and time. Well, we can't do 8 kts and the other sailboats couldn't either but we powered ahead as best we could. It turned out that they held the bridge for us and we all made it through.

The rest of the bridges were the usual timings, no problem. It's a big relief to be moving again! We got tired of sitting and throwing $100 bills into the water. So about $1150 lighter, we are finally moving north.

Nice and calm!
The anchorage here is not generally used a lot. It's convenient for Hoolie relief and usually quiet and calm. Ann continues to recover and she's much better. We will stop at Vero next and visit Quail Valley River Club. We were invited to stay one night so we're headed there Wednesday. The next day, it's on to Titusville.