January 28, 2015

Drawn To The Rhythm

When we wore a heart of stone we wandered to the sea
Hoping to find some comfort there yearning to be free
And we were mesmerized by the lull of the night and the smells that filled the air
And we laid us down on sandy ground it was cold but we didn't care.

And we were drawn to the rhythm

Drawn to the rhythm of the sea
And we were drawn to the rhythm
Drawn to the rhythm of the sea

Sarah Mclachlan

And the moon kept smiling down… 6 more days and she'll be full… and I'll be in Biscayne Bay by then, God willing…

When we last left off, Glory Days was perched in full view of the rocket launch at NASA on Jan. 20… since then she's traveled a couple hundred miles south over the past ten days and arrived safety in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, Jan. 27… I've traveled 355 nautical miles since departing Jacksonville, Jan. 12. 

I am pleased to report that all is well … quite well in fact, and this stop at Ft. Lauderdale will be a little resting time for me before heading south to Miami and into the Florida Keys… there's some boat projects here to do like replacing one of the four batteries that power her and some re-provisioning for the next leg.

Here's a few pics with narrations of what went down during the past week… there's also a few short video clips to tell the story.... (Evidently, the video clips don't always work when viewed on a phone or tablet... A regular computer seens to work better to view video clips)..... thanks for visiting!

After leaving Titusville and the NASA region, I decided to take a four hour detour east to view Port Canaveral… it would involve a direct east turn off the ICW as seen in the short video below:

Once you get past this skinny canal, it opens up into a larger body of water… then, get this, you have to go through a lock they have there to help control the huge tidal flow.  This was my first time entering a lock … the lockmaster on duty was very patient with me as I entered the lock and finally managed to secure my bow and stern line… see below.

entering the lock here... Bow line ready.

And I'm in! See video below...

Once you get secured inside the lock, they open up this here gate that allows the outside water to enter and raise the level of your boat to that of the water outside… it's sort of like taking a little step upward to a higher elevation …. 
it went without a hitch thankfully…

I found Port Canaveral to be a very industrial sea port… I lingered around for about an hour and then returned back to the ICW to resume my trip south towards Vero Beach… I stopped at Harbortown Marina and stocked up on diesel fuel and water… I did some calculations and determined that my little Yanmar 16 horsepower diesel engine only burns a little over a quart per hour… 40 ounces to be exact… that's phenomenal mileage in my opinion… the only thing better is the zero fuel usage when under sail!

 So now it was back to the waterway for me, passing under one of many many draw bridges I would soon encounter… It's a peaceful trip… once you get into the rhythm of it all, it just flows… there's always lots of scenery continually changing… 

By the end of  the day I found myself at one of my favorite towns in Florida… Vero Beach…. some sailors refer to it as "Velcro Beach", because it's so difficult to pull yourself away from it. 

The marina at Vero Beach is quite nice… it's in a protected little cove and mooring balls are only $13 a day… I chose to anchor in a place I've come to love called Bethany Creek just next door… Lots of cruisers congregate here mingling and sharing stories...

Geraniums in January… gotta love it...
The Beach at Vero is only a short walk away… or you can dingy up Bethany Creek and cross A1A highway and be there too.

Waldo's is my favorite place to do what I do… which is sit by the beach, write in my journal, and enjoy a good meal..

I always find it interesting that the house plant I call Snake Plant is used as a ground cover once you get south of the frost line… 

Vero Beach is just a good clean town with nice parks like this beachside park… I met a fellow in the hardware store who could tell I was a sailor evidently … he offered to give me a ride and  took me for a ride in his huge new Mercedes into town where I shopped for groceries… people do nice things and it's a beautiful thing… He was a boater too tho now retired… we chatted about boats and birds among other things… just a small bright spot in a beautiful day.

This mother and daughter embraced during their whole beach walk….. I was touched...
This Little Blue Heron posed patiently for me as I shot about 50 photos of him… here' a couple of them… His cousin is the Great Blue Heron… 

Soon I was back on the ICW again taking in the sights after 3 nights in Vero Beach… High winds kept me there an extra day….. no worries.
The next major port or inlet was Fort Pierce… I had entered this port from the Atlantic last summer… but I kept to the inside this time due to high south winds.
It was at Port St. Lucie where I first noticed the gray Atlantic waters suddenly becoming an aqua blue color… oh yes, getting closer each day…

This was a nice anchorage at Hobe Sound… lovely spot here with a short walk across the dunes to the beach where I caught my dinner as seen below...

He was small but yummy… do I look hungry or crazy?
There seems to be endless supply of gorgeous homes along the Intracoastal Waterway… I kept asking myself, "who are these people?"

Oops I almost forgot....Cocoa Beach is a nice stop too… the town is funky with lots of shops, galleries, and eateries… this artist was carving this Tiki right from the back of his van downtown while I watched… he worked so fast… he sells these for only $75

Meet Sally Gardiner-Smith.  At 19, she is on a one year sailing trip solo all the way from Maine.  We met at the dock in Cocoa Beach and tinkered on her outboard motor … She's been sailing solo since September but had some girlfriends down visiting here… Her plans are to continue south, on to the Bahamas, then to the Keys and on to Tampa where she will start college in Sept…  Evidently her mom and dad raised her while cruising and dear old dad just passed the tradition on to here!  you can read more about her here….Sally sailing trip

 Always be sure to keep looking behind you as you get lost in the trance of the ICW… you never know when one of these big guys will come roaring up your back side out of nowhere…. it happens… some hail you on the radio to pass… other just zoom by.

After Hobe Sound, I made my way to Lake Worth where I would plan my next long run sailing in the open ocean for the final leg to Fort Lauderdale.  By sailing on the outside, I would gladly miss 18 bridge openings that I would have to navigate… Often times draw bridges only open on the hour or half hour… that means if you get there too late, you may have wait in a holding pattern for the next opening… it can alter your whole day, which is why I chose to sail on the outside for the final 55 miles to Ft. Lauderdale.

So despite the dicey weather, I made my decision and departed Lake Worth near West Palm beach at daybreak on Tues., Jan 27.  The wind forecast was for 15-20 knot winds out of the west and small craft advisory issued… I studied it all carefully and poked my nose out of the inlet to view the seas… I knew it would be a sleigh ride south and so i committed to doing it… after all the sun was shining and I felt I was well prepared… it was an awesome 8 hours out in the big blue ocean off the coast… here's how it all went down… short video below in slow motion.

Sailing on the outside in the Atlantic is totally different from traveling on the ICW so I took all the usual safety precautions (yes mom!) like being tethered in, wearing a life jacket, and keeping an emergency GPS locator attached to my life jacket… It's not a place you want something to go wrong like equipment failure or, lord forbid, falling overboard.


Once you get offshore, flying fish like these are fairly common… The flying fish is one odd bird… they just come out of nowhere and go skipping across the water like crazy … I can't decide if they are traveling in a school or a flock… I really need to read up on these guys and what they are all about.... Why do they fly I wonder.... Escaping a predator?

You encounter all types of vessels meeting you while way out there… everybody's trying to get somewhere…Everybody waves...

and the moon smiled down.

After about 8 hours, the tall buildings of Ft. Lauderdale soon came into view… ahhhh

Here's a little video clip below that shows what a wild ride it was indeed… sweet.

It seems like every time I enter or leave a commercial shipping port, there's always a huge cargo ship to negotiate with… actually, there's no negational at all… wherever he wants to go is where I will get out of the way, especially when he's traveling at 12 knots like below here.
As soon as I entered the jetties, I noticed these crazy surfer guys riding waves right next to the jagged rocks and heavy surf coming in… brave, I thought… but they probably would think the same thing of someone single handling a boat for 50 miles in the open ocean… still, it was entertaining to watch… video clip below...

This is my boat entering the Ft. Lauderdale harbor called Port Everglades… this is a major hub for cargo ships and cruise ships...

I was pleased with my numbers above… averaging 5.9 knots in heavy seas with high winds was rewarding but I was exhausted upon arrive as I entered the port… hard to believe I topped out with a speed of 7.7!
final video clip below here...

Once in the harbor, I noticed that Stephen Spielberg's yacht, Seven Seas, is still here and still for sale… 
only $200 million
There's always interesting sights here… Evidently, this is a car that can also go into the water like a boat… like an amphibian I suppose…
Young sailors in training at sailing school here.

I thought this cormorant was so cute perched on the bow of my dinghy today so I took his picture… little did I know he was in the process of leaving me a huge pile you know what… I should've known better… there will be a clean up job tomorrow… If that's the worse thing that happened to me all week, I'm doing pretty good.

So I've returned to a really nice anchorage here at Sunshine Lake… it's just a stones' throw from my buddy Craig and Linda's condo… I'll be anchored here at the blue dot for a few days, rest up, gear up, and head further south very soon….  all is well!  I am so blessed!

Craig and I took a walk today in the nearby Hugh Taylor Burch State Park to see the the banyan trees… I found it hard to hug a tree that has multiple trunks… still I tried...

Stay tuned … the journey within continues…

So long friends… thanks for dropping by! And thanks Sarah Mcglachlan for this wonderful song… 
I believe it was the very first song on her first album, Solace.

We fell asleep and began to dream when something broke the night.
Memories stirred inside of us, the struggle and the fight.
And we could feel the heat of a thousand voices telling us which way to go.
And we cried out is there no escape from the words that plague me so.

And we were drawn to the rhythm,
Drawn to the rhythm of the sea.
We were drawn to the rhythm,
Drawn to the rhythm of the sea.

In the still and the silent dawn another day is born,
Washed up by the tireless waves the body bent and torn
When you wake in the face of the blinding sun, 
And you search only to find,
That heaven is a stranger place than what you've left behind.

And we were drawn to the rhythm,
Drawn to the rhythm of the sea.
We were drawn to the rhythm,
Drawn to the rhythm of the sea.

January 22, 2015

Birds and space rockets

"I need an eagle in my life everyday.  Some days I need an extra eagle."         Jeemer


It's nice to see the temperatures finally warming up a bit… Things are moving along quite smoothly here on the intracoastal waterway

Glory Days continues to putter along at a slow pace taking it all in.  I would like to have a little more wind but I know I need to be careful what I wish for.  Two little wind is typically better then far too much. 

Here's a few things discovered along the way

Ospreys need their breakfast too… It was amazing to watch this guy soar through the air with the fish in his talons

Snowy egrets form a fine formation

I passed the lighthouse at the Ponce de Leon inlet…

This is the drawbridge at Haulout Canal. This is a unique little place where I stayed for two days fishing and taking pictures of birds

Osprey… Sometimes called the fishhawk.  Sometimes mistaken as an eagle.

Just fishing with grandpa along the waterway

This is what you DONT want

This is what you DO want. Dolphins cavorting In a feeding frenzy while gulls recover the scraps

I SO wanted to sit under this Tiki hut umbrella as I cruised right by

White pelicans tend to linger in groups along mud flats

I stopped my boat right in the middle of the ICW to go into this bait shop. The locals were extremely friendly… I don't think they've ever seen a sailboat tied up to their dock just to buy a little shrimp bait

Typical scene along the way… Kayakers , fisherman ,boaters, birds, clear skies

Entering the rookery…

White Ibis

Rosette spoonbill

Chatty white pelicans

There's always lots of activity in this rookery… I passed it last summer and vowed to return in a different season to see what different types of birds might be there

No one seem to mind that I parked my 33 foot boat overnight at the boat launch pier…

The next morn, I departed Haulover Canal early, Jan. 20, and traveled over a huge open bay that was smooth as glass… I glided freely over prismic waters into promising plaines as I approached Titusville.  It was magical. 

It seems there was a bit of serendipity in the air because unbeknown to me there would be a NASA rocket launch at 8:04 this evening.  So I soon arrived in Titusville, dropped the hook at 1 pm, and settled in for a nice long nap before the launch…. a short dinghy trip into town yielded a few groceries and a nice southwestern salad at a local cafe… I'm must a stranger in your town walking the street with a 10 day beard.  Feels good.

That night was extremely calm on the hook as you can see here. I had spent an hour at dusk setting up 3 cameras, tripods and gear for what I thought would be a great photo op of the launch… But alas, the launch happened so quick and my nighttime photo skills are a bit lame… tsk tsk… no worries.

I did manage to get this shot tho as the rocket lifted off and lit up the entire sky… it was pretty powerful thing to witness.   Funny thing, all the birdlife must've been confused or startled by it all because they woke from their slumber and started shrieking and cackling like the world was about to end when the sky lit up at night… 

When the roaring sounds finally subsided and the earth stopped trembling from the rocket launch, things seemed to return to normal… birds must've thought it was a bad dream that creeped them out.

That's it for now folks… I'll be taking a side trip to Port Canaveral on Wednesday to see what that's all about,,, then on to the town of Cocoa Beach… great town with a great anchorage.