South to Vero Beach

We’ve traveled another 400+ miles along the ICW since the last update sent out as we arrived in Beaufort, SC.  Our stop there provided us the opportunity to meet up with friends we’d known from Newport News and also from Marathon. In both cases, we enjoyed the company and appreciated being driven to stores.  Thanks to Janelle and Bob and to Brian and Jan. Best wishes to you Brian and Jan as you shop for that next boat… assuming that you don’t change your mind. It was sad to see Windchaser in such a sorry state.

Here’s all that remains of their marina.

The terrain has become more subtropical as we’ve traveled south, and the animal life has reflected that fact. We continued to see evidence of Matthew’s work, and we’ve enjoyed good weather just about every day.  

We left Beaufort at sunrise.

For those who wonder why we don’t just go out into the ocean and skip all the busy areas, it’s because the ocean has not been very pleasant. We nolonger are willing to get knocked around just to save a bit of time.

So it took us five days to get through Georgia and into Florida. The travel schedule was influenced by tides, since a few spots were too shallow at low tide for us. We also enjoyed most of a day at Cumberland Island, run by the National park service. Here we walked a couple of miles on a beautiful beach, saw wild horses up close and personal and got a close look at an armadillo – great fun.

This was the only crowd we saw on the beach.

This driftwood was pretty but a bit too large for us to get on the boat.

Our next stop was in St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city. We always enjoy wandering the streets of this old city and appreciating the architecture. 

Henry Flagler’s first luxury hotel in St.Augustine, now part of Flagler College.

We also knew we needed replacement netting for our lifelines to keep Maddie and things we drop from ending up overboard. We knew of a marine store that sold fish netting that works well and lasts for years, so we made a stop there in addition to other activities.

This was found at the entrance to one of many beautiful galleries in St. Augustine.

Then it was off once again heading further south to Vero Beach. Along this stretch we saw more dolphins and at least a half dozen manatees in addition to several flocks of white pelicans.

We stayed at Vero for a week. This gave us the chance to visit with my sister Mary Jo and her family in West Palm Beach which included a Thanksgiving dinner. We also go our car up to Vero, so we could accomplish a number of errands, visit a couple of great eating  establishments and catch a movie as well. Maddie got to run on the beach, an activity she always enjoys. The downside to the beach walk was to see how much of the sand had been washed away by Matthew. This made us a bit sad and reminded us that nothing remains unchanged.

A good sign as we left Vero Beach

It was a good week, and now we are off once more, heading south of course. We have six or seven more travel days to Marathon. We’ll pass down the ICW through Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. We find more extreme wealth on display here in this stretch of approximately 90 miles than anywhere else we’ve ever been.
More to come…

Captain Bob

Carpe Diem

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 We Continue South And View More Hurricane Impact

Since the last update, we have traveled another 240 miles. (That may not seem like much, but it’s a lot when you’re best speed is about 8 miles per hour with a boost from the tidal current.  

 Our first sunrise in South Carolina

As we left North Carolina and entered South Carolina, we begin to see more evidence of Matthew’s work. A section of the ICW is a narrow canal with steep Banks. Most of it is loose dirt with some areas rock. Because of the rocks present, this portion of the route is a problem for boaters and is called the “Rockpile”.The high water from Matthew created other issues that we noted along the way. The loose embankment didn’t hold up with the high water, so it collapsed bringing down with it trees and bushes. 

We saw many examples of this. We also saw a few docks damaged and boats pushed up onto the shore because of the high water.  

When I reached the Socastee Bridge, we were glad to see that it was still functional. Following the storm, the water rose an additional six feet, creating problems for its electrical system.

 If you look closely at the next photo you will see a line on the vegetation marking the high water there. 

As we traveled down the Waccamaw River, we noted areas where the shoreline was still covered with water. 

During the past couple of days we spent time in remote areas of coastal South Carolina. This area is called Low Country, an appropriate name for the area given the expansive areas at or near sealevel with  little dry land at high tide. This area reminds us of the Everglades with occasional “hammocks”. Hammocks are small pieces of land in the Everglades that generally remain dry enough for trees to grow. Most of the territory both in the Everglades and coastal SC was just grass and very wet with occasional small spots with trees growing. 

Our next stop will be in Beaufort, South Carolina for a couple of days with the chance to visit some friends. Then we’ll venture into Georgia’s remote Coastline. This section of the ICW has some interesting challenges due to shallow water and high tides. One is even called Hell Gate. Once we reach the Florida line, we will still have nearly five hundred miles to go before we reach Marathon.

Carpe Diem

Captain Bob