2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #3 04/19/06 - 04/26/06


Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #3   4/19 thru 4/26/06.

Most all of you have already read through our email updates that covered the period 4/1 thru 4/18.  We have heard from some of you that you enjoyed hearing about our trip so far

Please send us your comments, thoughts, and ideas via email.  We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.


4/19   Day 19        Wednesday   J N Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge to Glades Marina, Okeechobee Waterway

  We were underway this morning at 6:50am.  Our anchorage was near mile 5.3 of the ICW.  This means that after rejoining the ICW from this anchorage, we had to proceed south for only 5.3 more miles to the completion of the ICW on the west coast of Florida.  Mile 0 is located in San Carlos Bay just north of Ft. Myers.  Here we turned onto the OWW (Okeechobee Waterway) at mile 149.0.  This route will take us across south central Florida from near Ft. Myers to Stuart, FL on the peninsula’s east coast.  At 9:30am, we stopped in at Ft. Myers Yacht Basin to take on a load of fuel.  They were very efficient and helpful. We had planned to stop later on at Port LaBelle Marina well into the OWW.  We learned that they are now closed and not dispensing any fuel.  We decided to fill up here in Ft. Myers.  By 10:45am, we were all fueled, water tanks full, and an ice chest full of cubes.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  We met some folks at the fuel dock that had been at the same anchorage the previous night.  The vessel “Lazy Daze”, a 41 foot SeaRay sedan cruiser, with owners Dan and Janice, are headed to the Chesapeake Bay.  Interestingly, there home is on the Sassafras River near Greggs Neck.  This is also our Chesapeake destination inasmuch as our good friend, Joe DeMaris, keeps his boat there.  Small world.  Anyway, we will get to travel with them a little.  We traversed numerous high bridges, swing bridges, and two more locks.  The Franklin lock and the Ortona locks, like others in the OWW, are different than most of the locks in this country.  They do not fill by pumping water.  They fill by opening the lock doors about a foot or so and letting the natural fluid dynamics take place.  Since water will seek its own level, the chamber fills or empties depending on direction.  There is considerable water turbulence while the process takes place.  We decided to stay at Glades Resort Marina located east of LaBelle, FL at OWW mile 88.5.  We made reservations and were fortunate to get the last available slip.  We had nice help getting tied up along with a warning not to fall in the water since this is prime Alligator country.  We believed since we had seen several along the way.  I don’t think I’d enjoy being their next meal.   It was only 5:30pm, so we sat dockside and enjoyed the sunset and cocktails.  Dinner followed from the BBQ charbroiling chicken breasts, served with buttered Farfelle noodles, and crisp salad with Thousand Island dressing.  “Oww-Oww” on the OWW.  Our location is N26 47.285 W081 13.809.

4/20   Day 20        Thursday   Glades Marina, Okeechobee Waterway  to Stuart, FL

  We awakened at 6:30am to foggy conditions.  It didn’t take much to get us back into bed for a few more winks.  By 7:20am, the fog was lifting and we prepared to get underway.  We cleared the dock at Glades Marina at 7:50am.  As we approached Moore Haven, FL, we could see that the railroad bridge was down.  Shortly after the train passed, the bridge rose and we proceeded to the Moore Haven locks.  Our friends on Lazy Daze were just coming off the Moore Haven docks as we arrived.  They had spent the night there.  We passed out of the lock at 9:30am.  The waterway takes a sharp, 90-degree turn at the mouth of the lock and continues along the edge of Lake Okeechobee to Clewiston.  We traveled quite slowly along this section at the advice of Lazy Daze.  They had heard of possible shoaling along the way.  We did not experience any problems however.  Clewiston, FL is home to the famous Roland Martin fishing camp.  Martin is well known for his fishing shows on TV.  The waterway splits at this point to either the “Rim Route” or the “Lake Route”.  We chose the Lake route straight across Lake Okeechobee.  It was very nice and quite smooth today.  If the wind is up, this area of shallow water can become quite uncomfortable to traverse.  For us today, smooth sailing.  At the eastern end of the lake, we come to Point Mayaca locks.  Since the water levels are stable, the locks were wide open and we were able to pass through unimpeded.  The canal continues from here passing by numerous bridges before reaching the St. Lucie locks.  There is a 15-foot drop here, which is the largest change we have seen since the start of the trip.  We decided to take a mooring at Stuart, FL.  The city has placed many “mooring balls” here in the bay.  These are fixed buoys connected to a huge weight underneath.  The boater comes alongside and grabs the line and attaches it to the boat cleats.  We are now securely attached and evenly spaced with many, many other yachts.  It is a great method to maximize the area and fit in the most transient vessels.  The city charges $10 plus tax for the overnight use.  So by 6:30pm, we were relaxing on the sundeck.  Cocktails and dinner specialties featuring beverage of choice, grilled breast of chicken, stuffing, and that wonderful salad that we both love so much.  The breeze is nice and we shall soon find a way to head for beddy-bye.  Location is OWW mile 7.9.  Coordinates N27 11.777 W080 15.686.  Tomorrow, we will complete the OWW quite early and then begin our northerly journey along the ICW east coast.  More about that later.

4/21    Day 21       Friday      Stuart, FL to Dragon Point, mouth of the Banana River, just north of Melbourne, FL

   We arose early to try and get a good start through the bridges in Stuart.  Well, best laid plans….  We dropped our mooring at 0638, just as the railroad bridge was closing.  We approached the two bridges at 6:45am.  The road bridge will not open when the railroad bridge is down so we idled around waiting for not one but two trains to pass.  Finally at 7:30, we got the opening and proceeded along the final stretch of the OWW (Okeechobee WaterWay).  Our anchorage was at 7.9 miles.  The homes and boats along the shores of Stuart are just fantastic.  It makes one wonder where it all comes from…..    We joined the ICW ( InterCoastal Waterway) at mile 979.0.  We had completed the 149-mile OWW and now the mileage numbers change again.  The east coast section of the ICW runs from Norfolk, Virginia to Key West, Florida.  We will not travel the section south to Key West located at mile1243.0.  We will have to save that for another time.  Now, we will travel north in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia until reaching Norfolk, Virginia located at mile 0.0.  Today, we passed the cities of Stuart, Jensen Beach, Ft. Pierce, Vero Beach, and Melbourne.  Much of the route is through the Indian River.  This is citrus country to the max.  We found a nice little anchorage just north of Melbourne.  It is in the mouth of the Banana River.  The northern land point is called Dragon Point.  For nearly 30 years, a huge statue of a Dragon guarded the entrance to the river.  It was bright green, 100 feet long, weighed 20 tons and was known as “Annie”.  In July of 2002, Annie collapsed and now lies in ruin.  Perhaps someday she will be restored to her renowned grandeur.  We are near mile 914.2 as of 4:50PM.  Just in time for cocktails and dinner.  I don’t know how she does it, but Judy always seems to know exactly what would be the best for dinner.  She is truly amazing in every way.  How does this sound?  Emeril’s Chicken and Apple sausage on the grill, salad with blue cheese dressing, applesauce, and crisp hash-brown potatoes.  Just too good, aye-aye!

Coordinates  N28 08.548 W080 36.125.

4/22   Day 22    Saturday    Dragon Point, Melbourne, FL to Daytona Beach anchorage

   We awoke at 0600 to get an early start on the day travel.  I had received some info that a certain bridge in St Augustine, FL would be having a scheduled closing from Monday 4/24 through Thursday 4/27.  I tried to check further on this and it seems that maybe we could pass it if we lowered our antennas.  Rather that take a chance on the possibility, we decided to press on and try to be north of the bridge on Sunday.  That would take care of the problem.  I must tell you the story about the bridge.  As most of you know, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the USA.  Much of the city is based on historical architecture and historic structures.  The particular bridge in point is the “Lions Bridge”.  This is a lift bridge that is quite beautiful and very historic.  The bridge is in need of extensive renovation.  In its infinite wisdom, the government decided to build a high bridge to use while the old bridge is restored.  The new bridge would be 95 feet tall.  Now here is the catch.  In 2010, the old bridge will be fully restored.  At that time, the new bridge will be taken down.  What’s that all about?  Go figure…….

   Anyway, we left Dragon Point and continued north on the ICW.  We passed Cocoa Beach area where we could see the NASA Space Center at Cape Canaveral.  We could see the Vehicle Assembly buildings and many of the launch pads.  We passed by Titusville and then into Haulover Canal.  This was a beautiful little area with hundreds of people enjoying all kind of water activities from canoes, kayaks, runabouts, tubes, and fishing of all types.  The canal led to Mosquito Bay.  I don’t know how it got its name and we didn’t stay to find out.  In the daytime, it was very beautiful.  I wonder if the mosquitoes own it at night?  We traversed the waterway through New Smyrna Beach where many, many boaters were slowly passing through.  It is a no wake zone for several miles and heavily patrolled by the local gendarmes.  I imagine the take from the tickets is pretty good revenue.  We even saw them giving a ticket to some kids in a rowboat.  Perhaps an equipment violation likes no life jackets or something.  The weather had been clouding up over the afternoon.  As we approached Daytona Beach area, the sky was quite black and ominous.  Then came the winds.  It was probably 25 with gusts to 30.  We closed up the upper helm windows and chose an anchorage.  There were about 10 other boats anchored here too.  Just as we were lowering the anchor, the rain came.  Not to heavy but plenty to get us soaked.  The first anchor attempt did not hold well, so we raised the anchor and moved to another spot in the same area.  The second shot was good and we were well anchored by 4:40pm.  We are at mile 831.9, just northwest of red marker 44.  Coordinates N29 11.834 W081 00.234.  We relaxed a while as the weather improved rapidly.  We undertook some maintenance chores and soon it was dinnertime.  We were able to have dinner on the sundeck.  The evening repast started with a salad with blue cheese dressing, then Beef tips in sauce served over egg noodles.  Very wonderful.  Tonight, I’m quite tired again so it’s off to La-La Land soon.

4/23   Day 23   Sunday    Daytona Beach anchorage to St. Augustine anchorage north.

   By 6:50am, we were underway.  The anchor retrieval was particularly arduous in that both the anchor and the chain were heavily encrusted with a thick, sticky mud.  This was the heaviest of coatings we have seen since we started the trip.  We would raise the anchor chain a foot or so and hose off the mud with the washdown pump.  Raise it another foot and hose off again.  We had about 75 feet of chain out so you can see that it took a while.  As I’ve said before, it is somewhat reassuring to know that you have been well attached to the bottom and were quite secure.  We pressed on north through Daytona, Ormond Beach, Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, and into the St. Augustine area.  We picked up some ice at the Municipal Marina and headed under the “Bridge of Lions”.  The bridge tender reminded all that not only the bridge, but also the channel, would be closed from the 24th through the 27th.  He did mention that for some boats of less that 24-foot clearance, they could proceed through an alternate portion of the bridge structure.  This meant that no sailboats could pass either way for the entire closure period.  We could have passed through, but now we were secure on the north side of the bridge.  The anchorage was quite crowded and became more so as the afternoon passed.  We were in position by 1:25pm, so we were still able to get a pretty good spot.  We decided to put our dinghy in the water and cruise over to the municipal docks.  This is the first time that we have launched the inflatable.  The process is somewhat time consuming.  We keep the dinghy, complete with outboard motor, on top of the sundeck roof.  We have an electric crane that lifts it from its cradle and swings it out over the side of the trawler.  It takes a bit of effort to untie everything, rig the crane, and to coordinate the drop to the water.  Within 30 minutes though, we had the dinghy ready for travel.  We loaded the required gear aboard and started the outboard motor.  The municipal marina has a dinghy dock area that they charge $10.60 per day to use.  It is quite handy to the sights of the area.  We took a walking tour of the historic area of the city.  St. Augustine is a very wonderful place.  Being the oldest city in the United States, the historical significance is clearly evident wherever you look.  The architecture is beautifully preserved and reminiscent of an opulent era of long ago.  We strolled leisurely along the pedestrian walkways throughout the city enjoying the “people-watching” that is so much fun on a Sunday afternoon.  There was a pizza parlor that was making wonderful looking stuff right in the window of their shop.  With Judy’s pizza business background, she was interested to try this little place.  Pizza and beer sounded real good to me too.  The beer was cold and the pizza was delicious at Pizza Time.  With tired feet, we returned to the boat to relax and unwind. 

 Our position is N29 53.668 W081 18.596.

4/24  Day 24   Monday    St. Augustine, FL

   Today was reserved to accomplish our chores.  First in order was the repair of the washdown pump.  The pressure-regulating switch had failed on us a while back.  We had by-passed the automatic switch and this had been adequate temporarily.  The mechanism is located in a difficult position under the forward V-berth.  I was able to install the switch and then Judy had to crawl down into the opening and connect the wires.  We make a great team and work and play well together.  We now have the automatic pressure control and a heavier duty switch cycling at 30 to 50 psi. Hopefully, this will be a better match for the pump than the 20 to 40 psi that was installed.  I also repainted the red markings on the anchor chain so that we have a readily visible indicator of the amount of chain we have released.  The steering has seemed a bit sluggish since our gulf crossing.  I decided to check it all out and completely bleed the hydraulic system.  We started by pumping up the reservoir and then systematically bled the cylinder, lower helm, and finally the upper helm.  When we are again underway, we will know if this improved the handling.  We also serviced the hydraulic trim tab system. 

     We had accumulated more laundry and our supplies were in need of restocking.  The municipal marina has a very nice Laundromat with coin-operated machines.  We did two full loads of laundry and had the opportunity to visit and talk with several other cruising couples also dealing with chore day.  With the laundry folded and back in the dinghy, we found the city operated, Sunshine Bus service.  It was able to take us to a Super Wal-Mart and actually drop us off at the door.  We re-provisioned our food supplies and picked up some wanted items before meeting the bus for the return trip.  It is a great service, although the frequency of operations is only about one and a half hour intervals.  For us, that was about right.  We returned to the boat and prepared for dinner.  We were both feeling like kids again, so what better kid food than “tube-steaks”.  Yes, we picked up some great Hebrew National brand kosher hot dogs and buns.  They grilled up perfectly and we certainly enjoyed our dinner with Pringles chips.  The evening became a little windy and the slap of the waves against the hull of the boat was a little disquieting.  In this area, there are two tidal changes per day.  Two high and two low tides.  The range is fairly significant at approximately 6 feet of differential.  The associated current is quite strong causing the boats to swing on the anchor lines.  It is somewhat deceiving in that all the boats are swinging in slightly different directions.  This gives the appearance that you are moving or even appears that you are dragging the anchor.  It keeps you alert and causes a somewhat restless sleep.  I would get up every two hours just to be sure that neither we, nor any other boat, were dragging down on us.  Fortunately, everyone was secure and there were no conflicts.

4/25   Day 25   Tuesday     St. Augustine, FL

   We had originally planned to continue north today, however, yesterday afternoon we decided to spend a little more time enjoying this lovely city.  Our domestic chores were done and we could concentrate on relaxing and enjoying.  We fired up the dinghy and headed to the docks.  We took a recommendation for breakfast at Mary’s Waterfront View café.  It was quite good.  We decided that after walking much of the city on Sunday, we would have seen most of the sights along the trolley routes.  What really interested us was the waterfront fort known as the “Castillo de San Marcos”.  The structure is operated by the US Park Service and is very interesting to see so much history.  The many cannons are almost works of art and so many different kinds including mortar style cannons with a range of 1.2 miles.  Over the years, these bronze relics have taken on a beautiful patina of turquoise color.  The narrative segments provided by the park rangers dressed in period uniforms are very informative and educational.  We took lots of pictures.

  The day provided us with beautiful sunny skies and light winds.  We decided to go exploring in the dinghy for the afternoon.  We chose the area of the San Sebastian River.  We cruised through the southern anchorage with its many boats and then up the river.  A small pod of porpoises greeted us at the mouth of the river.  Several miles up river, we saw a neat looking little place called Hurricane Patty’s.  It looked like a fun place so we tied up the dinghy and went in to this quaint little place.  The special was Grouper sandwiches.  Delicious.  We passed on the cold beer specials since we still had a long way to go to get back to AMARSE.  Our afternoon cruise continued up to the end of the navigable portion of the river and we returned toward the “Mother ship”.  Along the way, we stopped of for another stroll of the downtown area.  The buildings are so spectacular that we wanted to see more.  In particular, we wanted to see more of the luxury hotel, Casa Monica, the Lightner Museum, and, especially, the fantastic Flagler College.  The college was formerly a luxury hotel resort built by the wealthy Henry Flagler.  He is the same one that built the railroad down to the keys and also built other luxury hotels.  This place is nothing less than spectacular.  The former hotel now beautifully restored and maintained serves as a small liberal arts college of some renown.  The legacy of Henry Flagler is very evident throughout the state of Florida.  When you visit St. Augustine, be sure to visit this lovely building.

Again, we had planned to leave the next morning but decided to stay another day after getting a call that my new GPS navigation system was available to be shipped.  We have been waiting for 3 months for this unit to be available so we had them ship it overnight to the marina here in St. Augustine.  The afternoon was warm and lovely and I felt the need for a nap.  I hadn’t been asleep very long when Judy announced that a very interesting and unusual boat had joined us in the anchorage.  He had anchored quite close to us, which was causing some concern after knowing how much the boats swing in the changing currents.  Soon, however, the captain moved his vessel over a bit giving us adequate clearance.  We soon received an invitation to join this couple aboard their vessel for cocktails.  We delightfully accepted.  Mike and Karen travel a lot aboard the “MI-T-MO”.  They have traveled the Great Loop and are members of the same association that we belong to.  They have been featured in PassageMaker magazine and are well known in cruising circles.  Now for the vessel, it is a former US Army tugboat, built 1953 in New Orleans, which Mike has converted to a cruising yacht.  His informative tour of the boat took me down into the large engine room of this all steel hull.  Two huge Detroit diesels run either independently or together to power a single propeller.  The 65-foot boat gets power from a large generator system and operates primarily on 32 volts DC with inverters and generator providing alternating currents.  A rectifier even provides special 110-volt DC current for some pump applications.  All systems have multiple backups due to its military background.  I was extremely interested in all this machinery and enjoyed every minute of our tour.  Mike is a retired ship captain and has retired from being with the Baltimore Pilot group.  These are the guys that bring the big ships into the Baltimore harbor.  He has quite an impressive background with Coast Guard licenses for any tonnage vessels.  We had a wonderful, wonderful time with Mike and Karen.  Before we knew it, it was almost 10:30pm and way passed everybody’s bedtime.  By the way, they said to say “HI” to Phil and Linda Hall whom they had met during their great loop cruise.

  The wind was calmer tonight so we slept fairly soundly.

4/26  Day 26   Wednesday      St. Augustine, FL

   Breakfast this morning was at the “Old Drugstore”.  This is a store that has cases and cases of old medicines and medicine bottles just like the old time druggists used to have.  Once popular remedies are now all but forgotten.  They have a nice little café that serves a very nice breakfast.  Try it if you come to town.  Although we didn’t have a chance to try it, I would think a visit to the “Bunnery” restaurant on the pedestrian walkway would be very good.  The pastries look very good.  After more strolling about town, we returned to the boat to address a couple other items.  We have had a bilge pump switch that occasionally sticks in the on position.  I decided that it would be wise to change out the switch to ease the stress on the pump.  These types of bilge pumps do not like to run dry for very long.  Other routine maintenance items like watering the batteries, checking the oil and fluid levels occupied much of the day.  An afternoon nap was most welcome.  A call to the marina let us know that our package had come in.  We headed over to the docks in the dinghy and took the opportunity to go to the A1A Brewery.  They have great micro brewed beer and the grouper sandwich is excellent.  We loaded the dinghy with the package and 3 bags of ice and headed back to AMARSE.  The wind had picked up and made loading the dinghy on the sundeck roof a real challenge.  It went rather well though and soon we were ready to continue our trip in the morning.  The installation of the new GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation unit will have to wait until another time when we can have access to some more tools.  We will continue to use our current GPS until such time.  The evening was occupied with updating these logs and re-organizing the Dock box to help balance the boat.

 Soon to bed, soon to rise…….


"AMARSE".  The name is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  You can find more info about the boat at our website at:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out for background info and some pics.  We are experiencing some difficulty in getting the trip log section up and running so we will attempt to keep you informed via email until such time as we can do everything through the website.  Please email us as we look forward to hearing from all of you, however…. (Please don't send us any email jokes since we have very limited email capacity and speed is slow).  Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law