28 miles to Jacksonville

These short distance hops have been very nice,  Jacksonville by car is 10 miles further than it is by water when coming from St. Augustine.  My two nights at Conch House Marina were very nice, there is lots to do in St. Augustine.  A few days prior I made friends with another cool powerboat headed to New York with a final destination of Lake George, Craig and Jeff have been motoring the same direction as me ever since we left Smyrna Yacht Club the same day.  Craig’s boat is a beautiful Pearson True North 33


The lines of this boat are timeless.  Its efficient in the water, elegant, fast, can handle weather, and is comfortable to drive.  The transom opens to easily pull a dingy aboard or use for boarding.  Down East style luxury lobster boat roots


I look forward to visiting Jeff and Craig when I make it up to New York this summer.  They were nice enough to introduce me to two girls they had met in St. Augustine, Summer and Mara here vacationing from California we all had a fun evening Thursday and I talked them into riding to Jacksonville with me!


Its super cool the connections you can make on the waterway.  St. Augustines Conch House Marina was going to be busy this Memorial Weekend so Friday I headed north to a well protected marina in Jacksonville called Beach Marine.  This is a very pretty ride through narrow areas with beautiful homes and also lots of wooded areas and marsh land.  This area of the ICW is part of the Tolomato River.  Some homes have directional arrows in their yards that have the distances to various destinations like the keys or other stops north or south on the ICW, those are cool to see!


This one home says Jesus Is Lord, I like that a lot

The boat houses and docks in this area are incredible and make me dream of the one I would like to have one day.

There is a little storm brewing in the Atlantic right now so this is a great area to layover a few days and also let the memorial weekend traffic lay down.  My good friend Andrew Gund lives only a few miles from Beach Marine so he is going to spend the weekend here with me.



26 miles to St. Augustine

Palm Coast Marina is a perfect stop for any boat.  They are a full service facility, with a long face dock for transients.  This makes it easy to get in and out and is very protected from the wind.  I met a very interesting gentleman here who introduced himself too me because he saw my great loop flag.  He was 4 days from being on the loop for 1 full year, he was headed home to Quebec City.  He is doing the loop on a 25.5ft sailboat with a 8hp Yamaha outboard motor.  he had lots of jerry cans on the deck.  Great fellow and I hope to see Ron later down the line.  We will stay in touch and I’m sure ill have questions for him while I’m up in the great lakes.  This is another reminder of how lucky I am to be able to do this trip in a large safe self-sufficient diesel semi displacement hull.

From Palm Coast Marina you pull out onto the ICW which is the Matanzas River at this point and head north, the water starts getting super clear as you near the Matanzas Inlet.  There is a great anchorage here on the east side of Fort Matanzas, I plan to take advantage of this fine location one day.  Fort Matanzas National Monument was designated a United States National Monument on October 15, 1924. The monument consists of a 1740 Spanish fort called Fort Matanzas, and about 100 acres (0.4 km²) of salt marsh and barrier islands along the Matanzas river.  From here the water stays very clear, you pass west of Anastasia Island a protected wildlife sanctuary and enter St. Augustine.  These are all beautiful areas of the coast.

beautiful water, narrow ICW, pretty white sand and shell

The Conch House Marina is nestled in a small cove called Salt Run.  You go all the way up to St. Augustine Inlet but before you go out hook an immediate north heading and take a marked channel into Salt Run.  I arrived at Conch House Marina around 2:30 after filling with fuel and I have another nice spot on a long face dock.  Lots to do here in this old town just walking distance from the marina.



You can see the St. Augustine light in two pictures

St. Augustine Inlet


Pura Vida safely tied to the face dock



44 miles to Palm Coast

My run to the Palm Coast was short only 44 miles, I left the Yacht Club around 10am after breakfast and getting everything squared away on the boat.  The ICW around here is starting to feel more like home now that I’m getting away from the big towers, mega yachts and concrete seawalls I’m liking it a lot.  From Ft. Pierce FL to Norfolk VA the intracoastal is 12′ deep.  Pulling out of SYC I headed north up the ICW through New Smyrna Beach this part of the ICW takes you into the Halifax River which runs through Port Orange, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and Flagler Beach.  This is a very pretty route and you get to do lots of sightseeing of homes and stuff.  I arrived at Palm Coast Marina around 4:20pm and took a slip on their face dock for the evening, Palm Coast Marina is walking distance to European Village so I’m going to check that out this evening.  Hope everyone is having a great week! Pura Vida standing by.

Ponce De Leon Inlet Light.  At 175 feet tall, it is the tallest in the state and one of the tallest in the United States.


Halifax River is like the boat dock district lol

I saw a couple does in this persons yard, right next to Tomoka State Park


old tug beached on the bank of the river, would make a nice riverside home if you keep your tetanus shots up to date lol as a kid that would be a killer fort


Last photo is the beach access for your vehicles that New Smyrna beach offers, sand was hard enough packed that I was able to ride my folding bike down it and it definitely doesn’t have wide tires



65 miles to New Smyrna Beach

My friend Drew flew out for Alaska Thursday from Miami after I rented a car from Indian Harbour Beach and drove him down there.  My friend Jeff wanted to come spend the weekend on the Pura Vida so he drove down Friday AM which worked out perfect, and I met him 65 miles north at New Smyrna Yacht Club where we left his car.  We drove back south to Indian Harbour Beach where Pura Vida was docked.  We returned the rental F150 and had a nice evening at the EAU Gallie Yacht Club where we enjoyed a good dinner and went to bed early for our long 65 mile run in the morning.  I was anticipating some rain this day but we were happily surprised the front that was moving west across the state blew past us overnight and we had a beautiful day of ICW cruising all the way to New Smyrna.

Pictures from EAU Gallie

We saw lots of dolphins manatees and cool birds the whole ride, leaving Indian Harbour Beach we took the ICW north up Indian River in-between Merritt Island and Titusville.  The ICW took us through Haulover Canal which is a narrow canal through Merritt Island that takes you from the Indian River to Mosquito Lagoon, once you are in Mosquito Lagoon it is only 21 miles to Smyrna Beach.  This day of travel took us 8 hours and it was beautiful going through the small towns and seeing all the wildlife.  Merritt Island is a National Wildlife Refuge so it was really cool seeing all the Flora and Fauna and not so many buildings.  Going past the Canaveral Peninsula we could see the NASA buildings and all their land.  I wonder what its like on the property now a days, according to google there are about 700 facilities grouped across the center’s 144,000 acres.  Among the unique facilities at KSC is the 525 ft tall Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking NASA’s largest rockets, Operations and Checkout Building which houses the astronaut crew quarters, and 3-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility. There is also a Visitor Complex open to the public on site.

a nice storm came through the day before we left for New Smyrna


Hallover Canal west entrance


We arrived at New Smyrna Yacht Club about 4:45 close to slack tide.  Felt good to get docked and washed down, Established by 36 charter families in 1928, New Smyrna Yacht Club is nestled on the Indian River Estuary, a part of the Intracoastal Waterway, just a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean via the Ponce de Leon Inlet.  Over a century ago, around 1884, wealthy sportsmen whose leisure time was spent hunting, fishing and cruising on luxurious yachts, decided to form a yacht club.  In New Smyrna Beach they found the ideal location for cruising and holding regattas.  The great industrialists and Europeans with titles traveled and sailed for weeks to spend their leisure time in this wonderful cruising area.  In the thirties an architect noted for his Spanish Renaissance designs was chosen to build a clubhouse.  SYC soon became a landmark along the Indian River.  The Spanish Renaissance styling is preserved and admired by members of other clubs in the Florida Council.  This is a great Yacht Club to visit, all the employees are like a big family and care a lot about the club and its members.  Food is great and Sunday brunch is casual and good as ever!


55 miles to Indian Harbour Beach

Today was a fun day of cruising the trench in the rain, I’m sure glad Pura Vida has a new flybridge enclosure.  We left our anchorage around 10AM with a 55mile journey ahead of us with a destination of EAU Gallie Yacht Club.  EAU Gallie Yacht Club is located in Indian Harbour Beach just south of Satellite Beach, a great surf spot my friend Larry from Pensacola talks about.  (And yes it is spelt Harbour not Harbor) We were expecting some rain around 11am and it was only a few min late, we zipped up the enclosure and it went to at most a 1/4 mile of visibility.  This isn’t terrible, but when your trying to drive right in the center of a narrow channel with sandbars on each side it makes it a little more challenging especially when the markers are spaced very far apart.  Thank goodness for GPS and radar.  Any experienced navigator has been in zero visibility conditions, it feels good to be able to do this and practice makes perfect.  When you see the clear skies on the other side the feeling of relief is unrivaled.  Going through a thunderstorm on Pura Vida brought back a lot of good memories like getting caught in a summer storm on the “Caroline” after a long day at Quietwater Beach with the whole family.

The day started off sunny, all the red on the radar is the thunder storm

Our short 55 mile jaunt today took us north up the ICW trench through Vero Beach, Sebastian, Palm Bay and Melbourne.  This is a great area, the waters are nice and lots of pretty marine life to see.  I’m not sure why this is but rain water doesn’t leave water-spots on your boat like hose water does, Pura Vida was sure happy to get rinsed off by the rain after 2 nights at anchor and 75 miles of ICW cruising.  Indian Harbor Beach is nestled between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean with 5 nice parks and tons of good restaurants.  EAU Gallie Yacht Club is a member of the FCYC so I get one night free and a very discounted rate for the rest of the time, they have sailboats for members to use.  Multiple dinning rooms for whatever mood you are in, tennis courts and a fitness center.  Im going to try to stay at as many yacht clubs as possible during this Great Loop trip!

below a abandoned house on a pretty point across from the Yacht Club


These are some cool yachts I enjoyed looking at in Ft. Pierce

20 miles to Faber Cove anchorage

After 2 weeks in Palm Beach I had about a 1/4 inch of marine growth on my running gear, the strong current brought all types of organisms past my boat and some of them attached and tried to make homes.  They stick to my propellers, rudders, shafts and trim tabs.  I hired a diver to clean it for me he used my Brownie third lung which is a dive pump that supplies surface air to up to three divers.  After the diver finished we went and got some ice and beverages and headed out for our short 20 mile trip today up to a little protected cove called Faber Cove.  This anchorage is right across from the beach and there are a few places to eat and walk around.  There are chairs on the beach for people to use and a long jetty you can walk out on, along with the Jetty Bar with great live music.

This short leg of the trip was smooth and easy, having a clean bottom along with smooth props, shafts and rudders I was making great speed at 1200 rpms which I call my trawler speed or displacement speed usually 8.5knots or 10mph.  This is the speed where the boat hull moves most efficiently through the water, once you add more power it starts to want to ride on the surface of the water and that makes the engines work hard and they consume lots of fuel at planing speed which is around 2100rpms and 17knots.  Faber cove is surrounded by homes and seems to be very friendly to the occasional boats that come and moor here.  I didn’t get any pictures of the beach yet but its really nice and there is like a 30′ tall dune you have to go down to get to the water.

beautifully restored 13 whaler reminds me of the JAG “Jonathan, Andrew and Garrison” on Bayou Texar, my dive compressor hose coming out from aft cabin window, and Tug on the ICW


42 Miles to Hutchinson Island

My time in Palm Beach was awesome, I had my boat at Palm Beach Yacht Club one of the best yacht clubs around.  The facility is grand and in great shape, they make you feel right at home.  Captains lunches are offered every day I took advantage of that quite a few times and the food is great, the marina is close to everything it has 24 hour security and is fenced in.  Some great friends were made at Palm Beach Yacht Club I look forward to returning, Captain Luke the Dock Master always makes sure you are taken care of and if you decide to come stay one day give him or Shayna a call.  This is Palm Beach the heart of boating and fine living on the island, heck some boat people even use the term “Palm Beach” when things are in great order on your M/V.  This is a must stop when traveling north or south on the ICW, its only a short walk to the beach.  There are lots of neat shopping and dining establishments to visit and great beaches.

My sister Clotilde graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University, I am so proud of her.  Our parents came down for a week and we were all able to be together and have a good time.  I am so very blessed to have them in my life and have their support!  The cruise to Hutchinson Island was great, My friend Andrew Sorensen came to town and went to my sisters graduation, he is going to ride with me for a couple weeks.  I chose to run outside this day because there was no ground swell and just light 4-6mph east winds, we trolled the whole way and didn’t have any bites we did see a lot of flying fish and 6 BIG sea turtles.  todays route took us out Lake Worth Inlet then north in the Atlantic past Singer Island, Lake Worth, Juno Beach, Jupiter Island, Long island and came back to the inner coastal using St. Lucie Inlet then arrived at Hutchinson Island where the Marriott Marina is.  Ill be moving more steady now, Pura Vida out.