Happy New Year! It’s sort of snuck up on me. Guess I need to write a year in review post. But first, a regular update.
I’ve been enjoying the Keys more than I thought I would. There are fewer boats and people than I was expecting, and the area more vast. Weather has been relentlessly fair. I haven’t been ashore much, partly due to Covid concerns, but have had a couple of decent meals out.
Up until now I’ve been in Florida Bay, the west/north side of the keys. It’s all shallow, with lots of banks and keys. Endless fair weather anchorages. Yesterday I came under Seven Mile Bridge to the Atlantic side, then into the Boot Key Harbor anchorage in Marathon. I’m anchored here for a few days.
This is a huge collection of liveaboards. The city runs the harbor, with something like 300 moorings and scores more anchored. It’s quite a community. There is a big facility on shore with all support services – dinghy and car parking, laundry, showers, water, garbage disposal, mail, etc. I registered and paid $84 for a week’s stay. Going to do some cleaning and laundry and a few other housekeeping tasks in preparation for guests. Miles and Joe are due in next week, but it’s time, regardless.
It really is quite beautiful down here. I’m looking forward to exploring the ocean side. There is a barrier reef on this side.
Merry Christmas to all. I’m anchored here just north of Key Largo enjoying perfect weather in a beautiful spot.
My stop at West Palm Beach lasted a little longer than expected, but I haven’t been in a rush to move. I had planned to be in Marathon by now, but when family travel was curtailed changed my plans.
I’ll be working my way down the keys for the next two weeks, then (hopefully) having Miles and friend(s) for a visit. Hard to make firm plans with Covid, but that’s firm enough for me.
I like it here. Coming down the ICW from Lake Worth to Miami wasn’t fun. I wasn’t expecting it to be, but I haven’t traveled that stretch since I was down here in the 1980s. I left WPB Thursday, stopped in Pompano Beach for the night and came through Forth Lauderdale and Miami on Friday. I thought things would be quiet Christmas eve and it was. I’m happy to avoid the crowds on the water.
This is new territory for me. So far I’m reminded of the Bahamas. Looking forward to seeing more, and keeping a watch for manatees and alligators.
These pics were taken yesterday coming through Miami and down Biscayne Bay to here. I’m planning to retrace that stretch with Miles and see a bit more of Miami. It looks like an interesting area by water.
I’m anchored here just off the public dock. Nice spot. There is a park with public docks and a vibrant downtown with lots of restaurants and shopping nearby. Everything I need to chill for a day or three.
I’ve been traveling nonstop for days. Not a lot to report. Anchoring out at night, with the very occasional meal ashore. Weather has gotten progressively nicer and warmer.
Filled up with fuel yesterday, 125 gallons to go 602 nautical miles. That was pretty much entirely at my waterway cruise speed of 6.8-7 knots. I’ve been thinking of speed and range heading into the rivers. At that speed my range on my existing tankage is about 750 miles. But I may want to travel faster going upstream.
I’m in no rush now. Plan was to get down to Marathon and meet Samantha and Sarah there on the 28th – 11 days from now – but those plans are in jeopardy due to Covid. This is getting old. Oh well, I’m happy to be on my boat with the windows open.
I think there are dolphins in one of those pics. Have been seeing them lots since South Carolina.
Last night I anchored just north of the St John River, here. Tonight I’m here near the Mantanzas inlet. Nice quiet spot with lots of room. Three other boats anchored closer to the inlet. The current is strong, and reverses according to the tide. I don’t mind that.
I thought about stopping in St Augustine, but didn’t have any real need to get off the boat. I’m just ticking off the miles now to get to the keys. It’s about 300 miles to Miami from here. I’m not a huge fan of southern Florida, but am starting to get excited about the keys and Florida Bay. I’ve never been in that area. Should be through Miami by the weekend.
Not many pics – the scenery isn’t that interesting, mostly cut channels lined by private docks along this stretch. Not much boat traffic, a few sailboats and trawlers like me making the trek south on the ICW and local small fishing boats.
Warm today, mid 20s and sunny. I was up at dawn and had another good day. Took a detour in to Darien and had lunch out, then came back down to the coast via a couple of narrow cuts and anchored here mid afternoon. Walked a couple of km to get dinner and stocked up on groceries and caught an Uber back.
All is good aboard. I’m well stocked and ready for another week or so of plodding south. Should be across the Florida border tomorrow.
Last night was at anchor about 20 miles north on the ICW. Today I came into Charleston and anchored here, went ashore for the afternoon, and am now hunkered down for the night. Tomorrow I’ll noodle down to Beaufort.
I like the ICW all through here. Most of it is empty and isolated, with a mix of natural and man made channels. There is almost no traffic. Current is highly variable up to about 1.5 knots. Always interesting.
This is my second trip through here by boat. I came north on Mazurka in 2019, and it was all novel. This time I’ve got more time to look around and gain perspective.
Traveling on Escapade is a joy. I’ve settled on a waterway cruise speed of 6.8 – 7 knots through the water. Hardly any wake, and fuel consumption < 4 l/hr. The pilothouse is marvelous. Good visibility and comfortable all day.
I entered South Carolina this morning. Today was quiet and fine. Not much boat traffic. Most of the day was in the man-made cut that runs inland of Myrtle Beach. Not the most interesting scenery until you get to the Waccamaw River. I stopped for lunch at a canalside bar.
I’m anchored here in the middle of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. Nobody around, very peaceful and quiet. Haven’t seen an abundance of wildlife but am keeping a watch. I was fascinated by this area when I came through on Escapade. It’s a meandering river through a Cyprus swamp.
Tomorrow it’s down the river to Georgetown, where I’ll stop for lunch and maybe go to a grocery store. Then press on south towards Charleston.
I was underway about an hour before dawn. Left the inlet in the dark, and ran about an hour to the Carolina Beach inlet, then the ICW cut over to the Cape Fear River.
I timed things so that I could easily visit Wilmington, which is about 20 miles up the river. Caught the tide up and back. There is a big port there.
Wilmington was delightful. There is a public dock downtown, and lots of shops and restaurants. I wandered around, had a great breakfast, and picked up some supplies.
After coming back down the river I continued south on the ICW, stopped in Southport to take on fuel and water, and anchored here just off the ICW in Lockwood Folly’s River.
I’m slowing down now. Rather than rushing to south Florida to leave the boat and travel to Ontario for Christmas I’m now planning to stay aboard and meet up with folks in Marathon Dec 28. Looking forward to more relaxed travel with stops and diversions like today’s as a result. I like the next couple of hundred miles through South Carolina and Georgia.