Fernandina Beach (July 6th) coming and going

This was the route up to Fernandina Beach from Palm Cove

The marina at Fernandina Beach is near the historic downtown area and between a couple of large industrial plants (paper mills) and a huge ship repair facility. We walked around downtown, but it was raining, and by the time we arrived after our storm experience to get here, it was close to 5PM and many places were shutting down. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant within walking distance from the marina and then called it a night.

Living the Dream is in the center of this photo, our neighbors in the HUGE yacht next door were on the Reef Chief
Prior to the American Revolution several British military members occupied the coastal areas of FL and GA. Notice the large crane and cruise ship in the background which are >1/4 mile away.

After our harrowing experience the day before, we really studied the weather to determine the best time to leave out of Fernandina Beach. It looked like there was another chance for thunderstorms on Tuesday around lunchtime, so we opted to get moving early at 7AM to make sure we got to Jekyll Island before noon and avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.

Beautiful morning sunrise as we are leaving Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island at daybreak.

On the way, to Jekyll Island, we passed a naval base near Kings Bay and St. Mary, GA. As we approached the naval security area, we were hailed by naval security and reminded to “keep maximum distance” from the naval ships docked there.

This cute little lighthouse was between Fernandina and Jekyll Island in the St Andrews sound near ‘The Hole’, a location known for Lots of deep water.

Palm Cove (July 5th)

We departed beautiful St Augustine after church the morning of July 5th headed toward Palm Cove Marine, a short ~30 mile journey up the Atlantic ICW. On the way to Palm Cove, there were quite a lot of nice mansions and many docks on the water to motor by. Here are some of these great mansions we saw.

Notice the Mother -In-Law quarters too!?!

This sleepy little marina has a shallow entry but once we docked we found things to be quite nice, although at low tide, there was quite a bit of mud visible just 100 yards from the boat! Within a short walk we found a West Marine store, McDonalds and Publix. We’re all restocked now! We also hired a local diver to do a bottom cleaning ($120), which had not been done since early June in Titusville. We waited for high tide around 11AM Monday to avoid bumping the bottom or running aground when we left the shallow\narrow waterway out of this small marina. All was good until about 2PM when we were caught in a major lightening thunderstorm!!! We were pummeled with rain and talk about being nervous! One strike hit the water just about 100 yards from the boat and knocked the cellphone right out of Mary’s hand — she felt the lightening shock from the phone !!! Needless to say, we were glad when the storm passed and we were able to dock at Fernandina Beach Marina

St Augustine, the oldest City in the US (July 3rd – 5th)

In 1513, Juan Ponce de León, in search of the ‘Fountain of Youth & Gold’, landed on the shores of a new land which he named ‘Florida’ and claimed for Spain. About 50 years later in 1565 Spain founded the first city (St. Augustine). This beautiful coastal town has a rich heritage and is well worth visiting. We had a fantastic slip in the municipal marine adjacent to the Bridge of Lions.

We took advantage of the ‘Old Town Trolley’ to see the town as well as several tour packages (Old Jail \ Ghosts & Cemeteries \ Oldest Store \ Old Florida Museum \ Winery Tour \ Distillery Tour). At St. Augustine, we took the trolley and went to several locations. We walked around the historic downtown St. Augustine, and had a great Cajun seafood dinner. Some things we saw included the oldest house:

We went to the Fort Castillo De San Marcos and got pictures from outside since it was closed down by the National Park Service due to the Pandemic. During COVID-19, it sometimes seemed like we were the only ones at the sites.

We toured a Bourbon Distillery enjoyed several wonderful restaurants, watched fireworks from the back of the boat and

We went to the old Jail where we learned about prisoners and how they were treated. We also went to a ghost tour that included the jail(not worth it…)

Mary in the old Jail Cell – there is just enough room between the 4 bunks to stand up and that is all. No running water, no A/C, no toilet-only a bucket!

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine is “American’s First Parish” (450 years old). On Sunday, we attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine. We walked around the historic downtown St. Augustine, and had a great Cajun seafood dinner.

We went to the Fountain of Youth, but only outside. Several Peacocks were in the trees at this location.

Palm Coast (July 2nd)

A quick one-night stay in the lovely Palm Coast marina just off the Atlantic ICW between Daytona Beach and St Augustine. It was a rainy day, so we spent the afternoon washing the boat. There’s an awesome European Village within walking distance of the marina that had several dining options which were great after a long day. We settled on a great Italian dinner at”Mezzaluna”.

Speeding by Daytona Beach and the Speedway

We left New Smyrna mid morning and made our first stop to fill up with diesel fuel at Daytona Marina and Boat works — 268 gallons (@$2.48/gal, that’s a $663 fuel up)! The weather was beautiful with light wind, lots of dolphins, people fishing or pulling kids on tubes with their boats in Halifax river. We saw several beautiful mansions along the ICW.

The boat “slogged” along today — which likely means that a bottom cleaning is desperately needed. We arrived at Palm Coast Marina and docked like pro’s! Then began a much needed boat cleaning as the boat was black from 2 months of sitting in Titusville. We’ll have to clean the other half of the boat exterior tomorrow at St. Augustine Beach.

Happy hour started around 6:30 with Mary’s famous Rum Punch and then we headed down to the European Village — 10 minute walk from the boat. Had dinner at Mezzaluna Italian eatery for Mediterranean Salad and a Calzone. Yum!

Loop “Re-Start”

Finally back on the boat!!! We headed out this morning after a 5K run from the rental car place after dropping off the rental car at Titusville. It started out as a beautiful day, sunshine in the morning, lovely ride on the ‘I see W (ICW)’, we saw a manatee and a few dolphins/porpoises and several birds. Then we ran upon a major thunderstorm in New Smyrna Beach!!! All is well now we are safely docked and have started our Hump Day pub crawl.

In New Smyrna we saw this very cool florist shop that had these flowers made of old china plates. Also there was a neat bird bath in the window with 2 crows drinking/spitting water.

St Patricks Day \ Coronavirus Pandemic \ SpaceX \ Bonus Video

A slow week here in the Titusville \ Cocoa Beach area with all NASA museums and all the Orlando theme parks closed due to virus spreading fears. Pretty much non-essential thing is cancelled and closed. For us that included a cruise, a Disney trip, and a country music concert. No worries, we’ve adjusted and are making the best of the situation. Today we take the adjacent boat neighbors (Peter and Joice a couple from Australia who have been cruising the Bahamas on-board SV Doriana) to the Orlando airport (before Australia closes it’s border).

Fortunately, some businesses remain open and there are no shortages of anything. The coolest event this week was watching the SpaceX rocket launch from our back deck.

We got our green on at our favorite local bar. The bars that did not serve food were closed by the state due to the virus.
No hugs or kisses, but tips were encouraged.
Porpoise swimming along side.
SpaceX launch

Back to Titusville for the Ides of March

After a wonderful week in Las Vegas it was time to get back to the boat in Titusville Marina where we had some maintenance items to attend to along with a need to finish our Federal Taxes. Once we returned to the marina we relocated our boat to another, less windy slip of the marina with a great view of the local park. So far this week we’ve had 2 couples from TN visit us. Dave and Brenda Hrivinak were on a camping adventure in FL that allowed them to stop over and spend one night with us, then Gary and Shelley Kerr (who were originally suppose to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise with us and lots of others) decided to come on down to FL anyway. They stayed a couple of days before heading down to Key West. Here’s some photos of our most recent adventures….

Look closely in the center of this rising sun photo and you’ll see one of the many dolphins that play around in the marina.

There is an abundance of manatees in the marina. We see at least 2-3 everyday. They love to catch any drip of fresh water that might happen to run off the boat when we wash down.

Dora returns \ Coronavirus Update

We were blessed this weekend with the return of our cat Dora. She jumped ship ~2 months ago in Apollo Beach while we were docked at a residential dock. After days of searching for her we’d given up hope that we’d see her again and then we got the call on Saturday morning as we were making plans to return (by car) to our home in Bradenton that she had been found and was transported to the local animal hospital. She was very dehydrated and had lost half of her original weight, but we’re working to get her back to good health now at her dirt home in Bradenton. Given all that is going on now with the Corona Pandemic we’ve adjusted our plans to leave the boat in Titusville for the month of April. We’ll be making trips to check on the boat (~3 hours away by car) while maintaining our ‘social distancing’ and nursing Dora back. The Great Loop travels will be delayed for at least another month. Be safe and keep praying that we’ll all get through this quickly.

Titusville \ Manatees \ Dolphins \ SpaceX \ Corona Virus \ Friends from TN

What a crazy busy time it’s been for the last 6 days. Immediately upon our return to Titusville Marine from Vegas, we moved the boat to a less nearby windy slip. That morning the dolphins were playing early in the marina harbor. Later in the day we saw our first manatee, then several more that same day. Now it’s routine to see manatees everyday. We had originally planned to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Western Caribbean with a group of friends from TN and FL, but due to fears of the Corona Virus, we all bailed on that trip. Additionally, we had also planned a family gathering at Disney to celebrate our grandson’s first birthday, but soon found out that Disney closed the park and more travel restrictions were being put in place. We did however have the good fortune to have a 2 couples from TN visit us. Dave and Brenda Hrivnak were traveling in FL and made a quick overnight stop on Living the Dream before heading to Animal Kingdom, just a day before the park closed. Then Gary and Shelley Kerr flew down and stayed a couple of nights before they headed to Key West. We met some new boating friends David & Hannah de Regt looping aboard “Highwind”. They kindly offered to take us out near the Kennedy Space Center launch site to watch the SpaceX launch on Sunday morning. A beautiful day for a morning cruise with lots of dolphins playing in the wake, but unfortunately the launch was aborted at the last second. Maybe well get another opportunity to see a launch before we leave in a couple of weeks. Here’s some of our favorite photos from the week…

Sunrise from the back deck; look close and you’ll see the dolphin
This chubby guy is getting a sip of water from a leaky hose dripping under the dock behind our boat.
These guys are fun to watch and have no fear of humans.
Very sloth like!
Mary at Pier 222 for live music and libations.
Fun in the sun with the band at Pier 220
Mary is really good at lots of things, but chilling on the desk is a favorite.
Beautiful sunset at Pier 220
The Kerr’s having fun at Dixie Crossroads…. this place has amazing “rock shrimp”
Photo from the anchorage near the Kennedy Space Center Launch Site. The boaters we rafted up with were Ferrell & Tamara Shaffer on-board “Empty Nest” from Austin Texas. They were headed south on their way back to Texas.