Lift Off!

Pine Island Anchorage – north of St. Augustine, FL (Monday, 4/8)
We left Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island just after sunrise and were greeted to a beautiful morning.  Although the weather looked to be good for most of the day, the wind was going to blow just enough to keep us from going offshore. So we said goodbye to our home marina (Harbortown on Merritt Island) and made our way up the barge canal to the ICW.

 

As if to send us off, our local dolphins were out to wish us well on our journey. We never get tired of seeing these beautiful creatures.

Dolphins always there to see us off

Dolphins always there to see us off

As we made our way north we were joined by others heading for cooler weather during the summer, including many sailboats. Because our boat’s wake would knock these boats over if we passed them doing 20 knots (our cruising speed), we must constantly slow down. Likewise, we have to slow down for the small fishing boats who like to anchor just outside the channel, the boats that are tied to docks in back of houses along the ICW, and southbound vessels who would become airborne rockets once they hit our wake. Add this to the miles of no-wake or minimal-wake zones and it becomes tedious; speeding up for a while only to slow down again, then speed up, then slow down.  THIS is why Captain Mark likes to run offshore, with no speed restrictions and minimal boats to deal with.

But along the ICW we are always amazed at the changing landscape of houses, and the interesting sites that we get to see.  Today we came up on a very interesting 100% solar powered trimaran that looked like something out of a space adventure movie.

Solar Tri near Daytona Beach

Solar Tri near Daytona Beach

We also got to see up close the construction of the new bridge in Daytona Beach, the newly rebuilt Caribbean Jack’s marina, and the brand new luxury Coquina Marina & Tennis Club. But sadly, there is still evidence of the damage done by hurricanes Matthew and Irma over the last few years. Unfortunately we did not capture pictures of all of these sights because we have become complacent running this route so many times.  But here is what we did see.

 

While underway we had heard the Coast Guard put out a warning on the radio about pending bad weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, including hail and wind gusts to 60 knots.  Since we had been planning on anchoring out at Cumberland Island, GA those nights, we began rethinking our itinerary.  One day out and we are already re-planning things. About this time we were coming through St. Augustine and considered just stopping here for the next 3 days.  However, we really wanted to get a little further north on our first day. We decided to continue to Pine Island anchorage for the night, and then we will go on to Amelia Island Marina on Tuesday where we were able to secure a spot to wait out the bad weather.

When we arrived at Pine Island Anchorage there was already one other boat settled in, and it was near low-tide. This enabled us to see where all the oyster beds are and we were able to land a good spot that would hold us for the night, without swinging into them or the other boater.  Rain and thunderstorms were forecasted and we wanted to have the best protection possible.  And of course once the burgers were on the barbeque, the storm hit with wind, thunder and lots of lightning. This was challenging for Mark, but he managed to get them cooked perfectly between the worst squalls. It rained for about an hour and that gave us time to eat dinner and clean up the galley before settling down for the night.

Rain at the anchorage

Rain at the anchorage

We really like this anchorage and have now stopped here 3 times.  We love the wildlife that you get to see, and how peaceful this place usually is. Apparently other boaters do too as two other sailboats joined us before we turned in for the night.

Tomorrow we will move north, but only to Amelia Island and await the pending bad weather. It has been 4 years since we were last there, and we are looking forward to seeing the place again.

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