We entered the Ft. Pierce inlet after dark, which we shouldn't have to tell you, makes things a little more exciting than most people would prefer. If you remember our last entry into Ft. Pierce, you'll wonder if we are gluttons for punishment, and I guess we might be, but we figured there was no way that anything could top that last time. We slowly navigated our way between the rock jetties that lurked in the darkness. The fact that you couldn't see them out there in the blackness made them all the more threatening, and tensions ran high until we made the inner harbor and its' relative safety. We made our way to an anchorage that we were familiar with, but when we arrived, a thorough scanning with the spotlight revealed that the anchorage was packed with boats - not something we wanted to deal with seeing that we had been underway for almost 48 hours now except for a short fuel stop in Nassau. We were tired and were determined not to have to find another anchorage, so Mike made the decision to anchor partially in the channel, turn on the anchor light, and slept in the cockpit with a kitchen timer to wake him up every 30 minutes to check on things. We stayed there until first light, when we perked up Perky and moved into a marina for more fuel and to get some info on checking into customs.
We were back in the USA, and with that accomplished, we only have the trip up the East Coast to deal with before arriving in Beaufort.
We were told by the Customs and Immigration officials that we must show up in person at the Immigration office in Ft. Pierce, which was at the airport. This was somewhat of an inconvenience, as we would have preferred to just get fuel, a little sleep, and keep on truckin' north. But, instead, we had to lower the dink, rent a car (cheaper than taxis in FL), and go to the immigration office which took all of 5 minutes. With that out of the way, we drove around a bit, which was weird since it was the first time either of us had driven a car in a long time. That afternoon, we decided that we would probably go up the ICW starting the next day since the weather offshore was forecasted to be pretty heavy.
The next morning, we dinghied into the marina, and got hooked up on their wireless connection. We took care of some business, checked email, and checked the weather. The weather in Ft. Pierce seemed great, and didn't in any way resemble what had been forecasted, so we both decided that we could make the offshore hop to Port Canaveral, and maybe event to St. Augustine. Back to the boat, raise the dink back up and tie it off, prepare for offshore, and out the Ft. Pierce inlet we went, heading north towards Cape Canaveral. The conditions offshore were just about what we thought, difficult but not impossible - bordering on uncomfortable. We were taking big rolling swells on the aft starboard quarter, which lifted the stern of the boat and tried to rotate us clockwise before rolling underneath and setting us back down with the opposite rotation. It was pretty rolly and at some times uncomfortable, but we'd seen worse, so we kept her pointed north and strapped in for the ride. About two hours out of Ft. Pierce, the wind started picking up and the swells started to grow bigger and steeper. It didn't take us long to decide that St. Augustine was out of the question as it would require an overnight passage with an after dark entry into the inlet. We would be very happy to be safely inside the Port Canaveral harbor, which at our current pace, would happen before dark. So, we attempted to take an approach angle to Port Canaveral that would put the ever growing following seas directly on our stern, and try to minimize the rolling effect of the quartering seas.
Kate's very happy because of the amazing dolphin video she caught. Click the link below to see.
An unusual boat seen on the ICW in Florida
The houseboat restaurant
What a great idea, We need one in Beaufort!
This was just before we ran aground on a shoaled in section on the ICW, even though we were inside of the channel
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
A colony of Brown Pelicans and Great Egrets
The water was very rough from the extreme winds
The Bird Island was a bit stinky
A shrimp boat at Daytona Beach
A cormorant drying it's wings
Thank God for windblock fleece!
It's cold and windy, but we know how to stay warm and happy
There were many forts on the Intracoastal waterway
This was a boathouse that was bigger than the house on land
Lots of pretty colors and palm trees on the ICW
Another beautiful home on the ICW
St. Augustine Lighthouse
The ICW can be a little boring at times, so you just have to figure out how to have some fun. Good thing Mike's really good at that.
The two palm trees grew right through the middle of the roof
Kate: "I know he's getting ready to throw the rabbit ears on me"
He can't help it ! - It's an involuntary response
I guess the Pelicans didn't read the sign "For Boat Ramp Use Only!"
The ICW has it's moments
This Gator was swimming right by us at anchor in the Frederica River in Georgia
We heard a big thud on the transom of the boat during the night and Kate thought the gator was coming to snuggle up with us
Frederica River where we anchored for the night
A river near the Sea Islands of Georgia
Moondoggy's in Saint Simon's Island, Georgia
Mike & Kate back in the U.S. it was almost strange
A country club on Saint Simon's Island
The Saint Simon's Light
The Outback Blimp - Seen while heading out to sea from the St. Simons inlet
Another overnight trip
Nothing like the sunset on the water
The lighthouse at Winyah Bay, SC where we came in from offshore.
Winyah Bay, SC