After filling our bellies at the St. Mary’s Cruisers Thanksgiving we began our trek south. We waited around on Friday morning to get our much needed new battery for the handheld vacuum (my FAVORITE item on the boat) and then left for a free dock….yes FREE with water too…..on the St. Johns River. We pulled in right at sunset and were lucky to get the last space available thanks to our overnight offshore cruising buddies SV Perfect Match, SV Island Queen, and SV Freya who had measured the depth for us before we arrived. We joined them for a fish fry on SV Freya. Experiencing the fellowship of other cruisers is a highlight of this lifestyle no matter age or background. QP, who primarily speaks Chinese aboard Freya, bonded with Avery despite the language barrier. Avery wrote her name of a sheet of paper so she could tell QP her name. Now Avery wants to learn how to speak Chinese! Leslie had her first taste of fried shark the same night. The next morning we departed for St. Augustine.
After our first leg of this adventure to the north, we were very determined to spend less time at marinas….it gets pretty expensive and we want to prolong our cruising life as long as possible! However, it is still football season so we have compromised on staying every Saturday night at a marina so we can make sure we have internet access to watch the Clemson games. This was a good thing in St. Augustine since there were no mooring balls left…..a downfall of not looking ahead! After watching Clemson beat USC, we spent the next day with Dave, Gwen, Grace, and Maya at their house in Ponte Vedra. The girls really enjoyed spending time with some “older” girls and we enjoyed seeing the sights of St. Augustine and time with friends.
We left St. Augustine heading for Daytona with a stop over at Fort Mantaza where we anchored for the night and did a little exploring. Once we got to Daytona, we stayed for a couple nights and went to the Museum of Art and Science. We LOVE our ASTC Passport….it has allowed us to visit so many great museums at no cost to us (the membership fee more than paid for itself at the very first museum we visited and we’ve been to at least a half a dozen since then.) We spent nearly five hours at the museum and we had it all to ourselves. The girls loved making rollercoasters with magnetic pipe to “making pizza” in a pizza parlor. Avery and Leslie also got to see their 2nd planetarium show, “The Little Star that Could” which continues to fuel Avery’s curiosity about space!
We had a great sail to Titusville (more than 6 knots); however, a cold front caught up to us and the Indian River got pretty rough just in time to pick up a mooring ball. We stayed two nights on the mooring ball and they were not comfortable nights, especially the 2nd night. We swung back and forth and up and down ALL NIGHT LONG. Despite the rough sleep, we found an excellent playground and rode the bus around town. This was a highlight for the girls since they had never ridden a bus before. We missed our stop at the library but made it to the Chocolate Cafe, so all was good!
After another awesome day sailing, we made the short distance to Cocoa and stayed at a marina (ACC championship game). We were also able to catch up on laundry…..the marina had four washers and four dryers, so laundry was done in no time! Cocoa Village was having a Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival in walking distance. The girls danced with one of the bands and we found another great playground and ice cream store. We joke rather often that our adventure is really just a tour of playgrounds and ice cream stores up and down the coast. I bet I could write a book detailing the best playgrounds from Florida to Vermont!
After our one night marina stay, we anchored on the other side of the causeway. Our food was low, so we needed to provision. This required a mile walk with our little wagon to Publix, loading up the food, a few meltdowns on the way back, and then loading into the dingy, into the boat, into the cockpit, and into the galley. The simple things take so much longer, especially with two kids in tow, but it is so rewarding when the task is complete and I swear the food (and drinks) taste better. We rewarded ourselves with a day at the beach….the weather could not have been any better.
So, that is a quick catch up of what we have been doing the past couple weeks. We are now moving on to the middle portion of Florida and are starting to think if and when we will cross over to the Bahamas or if the Keys are in our near future.