Florida ICW & Staying Happy in these Tough Times…#43

We are all quarantined in our homes, boats or where ever you are held up. I’m sure Dan and I are similar to you with our quarantine time. We are staying put as much as possible, doing some deep cleaning, repairs and boat projects that we have been putting off way too long and a bit of Netflix, Audible, podcast etc. Also we are trying to not forget to do things we enjoy doing too. Hopefully “YOU”are doing some hobbies or stuff you like doing too.

We have always wanted more time, now we got forced into it. What are you doing with it? 

I feel like we are all facing a mixed bag of happiness, sadness, confusion.  We are all feeling that we are forced into this containment. It is important that you stay happy? I’m happy most of the time, but also struggle with containment anxiety. Every day looks like the day before. I work on how to make “today” better. What project will I accomplish today?  Dan is way better at this than me.. It really does matters to your health if you are doing things that make you happy? Do you know what makes you happy? Try and find time to do what you enjoy and stay happy! Dan and I wish the best for everyone!

Going North up Florida Coast 

If you read our last blog, Leaving Jamaica #42 you know we made it back to the United States. We feel much safer here and don’t feel so shut out. Even if we can’t go anyplace. Many countries are not allowing boats to move around or leave. We are hearing stories about some friends and other boaters, just like us that are held up in Panama or Costa Rica. Not allowed to leave, move, fly out and they even feel at risk of backlash from some locals.  A group of boaters have banded together and put safety measures in place to help each other out if needed. There are even boaters at sea near countries that will not let them in and are still moving long distances. It is scary times. We count our blessings!

When we hit the florida Keys we landed at Stock Island Marina Village in Key West Florida for the 10 days. This marina is top notch. “IF” everything would have been open, it would have been a fun place to hang.  When we made reservations we were asked to only stay a short time, as Monroe county had closed it borders to all visitors, that is what we were, a visitors. Our plans were to go north anyway, so our planning began.

Stock Island Marina = Closed restaurants, evening sunset and Coconut Row…One of the last liveaboard communities in Key West. Boats sternin on both sides and have an area for cars and/or patio, plants and hangout zone.

….And the town chickens/roosters, They all run free along the walkways

We were watching the weather out a week or so to plan our departure. As the window started to form and we saw we had 4 good days. We had a projected target at a marina near Cape Canaveral off the ICW (Intracoastal Waterways) called Telemar Marina. This was a long jump to go the 275 nm up the coast. I really didn’t want to do any underway overnighters, we had just done so many nights on the way to Florida, I was hoping Dan could find a few anchorages that we could just tuck into so we could make the run during the day, without traveling at night. Well, Dan worked hard on looking for those spots.

Here is our list and a couple maps showing our path & stops.

  1. Key West, Stock Island Marina
  2. Long Key, Long Key Bight Bay
  3. Miami, Biscayne Bay
  4. Fort Pierce, Fort Pierce Inlet
  5. Indian Harbour Beach, Telemar Marina

We were planning on going into Fort Lauderdale area where we had some boating friends. But couldn’t get in and out within the weather window and didn’t want to wait longer, so made the hard decision at the last minute to not go into Fort Lauderdale. Sorry #undaunted we missed you guys!

First Leg = Key West to Long Key Bight, 55 nm – Very rarely do we get such calm seas where the ocean looks like glass. We had a beautiful day and enjoyed it as much as possible. We felt very lucky to be traveling on such a perfect weather day.

We often see dolphins and were able to see 3 dolphins at our bow that day. They didn’t stay long, just a couple minutes and then off they went. I noticed that they sure held their breath longer then I normally see. They must have been practicing for an event or something… haha

We arrived at Long Key bight around 3:30 pm, dropped the anchor and enjoyed dinner and the most beautiful super moon. The color was amazing and it was so big, bright and so very close. We had a great view. The next morning we were up before dawn and got another moon shot in the dark.

Second leg = Long Key to Miami Biscayne bay 80 nm – The sea wasn’t as smooth as the day before but it certainly wasn’t rough. We had a long day and we were going to run as hard as we could to make it to Miami before sunset. As we arrived around 6:00 pm to the entrance to Government Cut which would lead us to our anchor spot in Biscayne Bay. We hit the Government Cut entrance at maximum ebbtide with 4 knots of current coming at us. It was a pretty turbulent and hard to steer going in, but as soon as we got through, it settled down and we cruised on in and found a place to anchor. Miami is a Hot spot for the Covid 19, so we stayed far away from land and just enjoyed the view. 

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As we left Miami we had another great morning moon shot. I think there is a song called “Moon over Miami”. We also got a closer look at the cruise ships that are anchored out East of Miami. These ships were empty with the exception of crew. I’m sure it isn’t easy being stuck on the ship…. but guess someone has to do it and they did sign up for long periods of time on a ship.

Third leg = Miami to Fort Pierce 108 nm – We had long run and another nice weather day. Still not as calm as the first day and we reminisced about it as we moved closer to Fort Pierce. img_6810For months and months I have tried to get a photos of the flying fish as they scurry away from the boat. They are kinda hard to see but at least I was successful. The fish swim in groups and as we motor along they will jump/fly out of the way. The bigger the fish, the further and longer they fly. I have talked about the flying fish in a couple other blogs about the birds chasing them and about them landing on the deck of our boat when the water is rough. First photo of them.

When we arrived at the opening of the ICW where Fort Pierce is located we were faced with another entrance channel to go through. There were a couple sailboats ahead of us that we followed into the bay. We also noticed that the breakwater had lots of fisherman that were not quite so socially distant as I would have thought. As we worked to try and find a place to set anchor we realized that the water was pretty shallow everywhere except close to the ICW channel.

We had to put our anchor down in 4-5 feet depth of water and hoped we didn’t move too much. We have 3 different navigations systems and they all showed us in a slightly different spot. What we “DID” know, we were just on the edge of the ICW channel. We were hoping we wouldn’t be awakened in the middle of the night by officials to move. We had put our anchor down late and we were leaving early, we felt we didn’t have much choice.  We set anchor alarms and watched the wind closely. No one bothered us, luckily.

“The IntraCoastal Waterways (ICW) has a channel marked to be able to navigate safely from Florida to Boston MA which is approx 10-12 feet deep, however, silting & shoaling have reduced the controlled depths in some spots to as low as 5 feet”

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Fourth Leg = Fort Pierce to Indian Harbor Beach, Telemar Marina 45 nm – This leg was the most challenging. We weren’t in the ocean where we could set a course autopilot, monitor the progress and adjusting once in a while. This was active, slower moving, all focused type cruising. We have done a bit of this in some places in the Columbia River that runs between Oregon/Washington, nothing to this magnitude. We traveled 43 nm through the ICW which took us most of the day. The majority of this trip we were in a channel approximately 200 foot wide and mostly 9 feet deep, with rocks, mud, or trees right to the edge. The charts did not match the aids to navigation markers very accurately. We were also battling a sustained wind of 20 mph with gusts to 40 mph. All this meant that Dan didn’t let “ME” drive very much… I’m sure all you boating wife’s have experienced this before, frustrating!

Some of the things we passed and saw along the way…..

We went under 6 bridges, only one had to be opened for us. Lots of expensive houses/neighborhoods. We saw a family fishing on a low sandbar with their boat just parked/anchored while they fished and their kids ran around. We passed a couple research institutes, a luxury community named “Windsor” that is customized to British style entertainment & sports such as Polo and Tennis courts like Wimbledon for the millionaires. We saw Ospreys nesting on top of navigation markers & a tug and barge business at Fort Pierce close to where we anchored.

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As we were pulling into the the Telemar marina it was pouring rain & thunderstorm, I was soaked to the skin doing lines/fenders and tossing our lines to the dock handler, who by the way, was holding an umbrella.. it was too funny.

img_6804Once we got tied to the dock, we always do a bit of adjusting of lines and fenders, connect our shore power and just get overall settled. One of the reasons we picked this marina is we have friends here. Gina and Chris welcomed us with 6 foot away hugs! They are so kind as they let us borrow one of their vehicles. As we were taking the keys and chatting it up…. we saw 2 dolphins in 4 feet of water near the seawall. They were chasing fish in the in the marina right beside us….. which we could see both the fish and the dolphins chasing them.

We are snug in our spot in the marina and will try and enjoy our time as much as we can, even being cooped up so much.

Thanks for all your support and happy you are one of my readers!

Keep well and safe!

Dan and Angela on Angelique ♥

 

 

4 thoughts on “Florida ICW & Staying Happy in these Tough Times…#43”

  1. So glad you folks are safe and enjoying your adventure. You will be able to talk about this for ever… Angela you are doing a super job keeping us all posted as if we were on the journey with you… So enjoy every minute with you…. hugs you two…

    1. Thanks Joan! Appreciate as always your comments. Hope you are well and safe too! ❤️

  2. Angela, you are doing a great job letting us all know of your adventures. Thank you!
    Now that we have all the time in the world to travel, we can’t come visit… 🙁 Hopefully we’ll be able to reconnect sometime.

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