Charleston to Vero Beach

December 1st, 2011 by John

The “trips to get there” are getting repetitious. I apologize for the infrequent posts but there just hasn’t been anything “new”.

Weather turned ugly after we anchored in Whiteside Creek, in the ICW about four hours from Charleston so we decided to head into the marina at Isle of Palms. While the weather didn’t get as bad as we expected, we did enjoy a great meal and happy hour at the restaurant there. The appetizers were unbelievable.

After sleeping late, (Ben Sawyer bridge is closed until 0900) we left and timed our arrival for the 1000 opening. As we approached there was a small cruise ship crosswise in the channel. A call to the bridge tender explained everything. She had locked herself out of the bridge house. Luckily she had her radio. Keys were being driven over from who knows where. This bridge tender is a real piece of work. Her exploits are legendary. She has plenty of attitude and has been known to not open for someone she feels has disrespected her and has inadvertently closed on others. The fire department showed up but couldn’t break in. I don’t think they tried very hard. Finally the house was unlocked and we got our opening at 1115. We were followed closely by our cruise ship friend.

We had our quickest stay in Charleston, ever. We love Charleston but when weather says go, you go. Our original intention had been two nights out and go inside at Port Canaveral but things don’t often work out as you plan. The trip from Charleston was uneventful and the conditions were tolerable especially since we had an almost full moon. As we approached Fernandina Beach we decided to go in. Cumberland Island is always a great stop and we used Goliath’s need for some beach time as an excuse.

He was a very happy puppy.

Kings Bay Submarine Base is not far from Cumberland and as we left the anchorage we saw we were to encounter our first submarine, “up close”. The Coast Guard informed me to stay away and not point my bow at the sub. I chose to cross the channel and stay clear where I felt I had more room. The Coasties weren’t sure what I was doing so they rushed over to us in their “fast boat” with some recruit manning the machine gun on the bow. It looked very menacing and I wanted a picture real bad but decided pointing anything at these guys might not be the best idea. I waited until they chased off to menace some other boat before I got my sub picture. All in all, pretty darn cool.

Mary loves the ICW. I don’t. We both agree that once you get to Florida the opportunities for bird watching are phenomenal, so we proceeded south in the ICW. White pelicans, roseate spoonbills, bald eagles, osprey, whooping cranes, blue herons and many egrets were seen as we made our way south.

As we made our way to Pine Island anchorage we saw our first manatees. Pretty cool. By mid day of day two in Florida we stopped at Palm Coast Marina to visit our good friend Per Hans Romnes. It was a great opportunity to catch up on news and we got to meet his new friend Brenda. She’s an artist and we picked up “One Happy Crab” to add to our collection. More of her mosaics can be seen here.

Soon we were heading south again. Normally we stop at Daytona but our stop at Palm Coast changed things a bit so our next day ended at New Smyrna Beach, where we stayed for three days. The City Marina was excellent and we walked and explored everyday. We loved the Little Drug Co. on Canal Street. They have an old time, lunch counter with real ice cream malts. YUMMY!!!

Mahoney’s Oyster Bar also deserves a mention. The food is great and the atmosphere friendly. The make seafood stews and pan roasts right their at the bar and they are delicious.

Needless to say we’ll be stopping again in New Smyrna Beach.

As we continued south we passed through Haulover Canal that connects Mosquito Lagoon with the Indian River. This well protected stretch is home to many manatees and this time through the little boat basin was full of slumbering giants. At least a dozen were visible as we slowly passed by. For the first time we also saw several large alligators lurking along the shore. By midday on the second day after leaving New Smyrna we were in Vero Beach where we will stay until weather allows us to move off shore and on to Marathon.

Posted in The Trip South 2011, Trip Log

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About s/v Marylee

John bought a 23 foot O'day sailboat which he lovingly restored. We enjoyed sailing it so much that we bought a bigger boat, a 40 foot O'day. A couple of years ago we decided to plan for a retirement lifetime of cruising on the 40 foot sailboat. Now we are retired and we're underway on our lifetime journey on the 40 foot O'day. The 23 foot O'day is in good hands with the Fuller family.

Thank you all for your support. Please follow us along on our journey.