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We wake up early to watch the sunrise. We get a surprise and get to see the moon rise as well. It is still a little rough and there are thunderstorms in the forecast so we decide to go home and not play with the paddle board or dinghy.

We leave at 7:00am and see some storm clouds along the way, but they pass by us.

We get to Bonefish Marina at 11:00am. Joel helps us with our lines and there are balloons and streamers waiting for us.

After the boat is tied up in our slip we hook up the power cord and turn on the AC. It keeps stopping. I back-flush it and Fran sees lots of mud come out. Maybe this was our problem in Biscayne Bay.

When back-flushing, I accidentally leave a hose unconnected with the thru-hull open and before we notice we have a bilge full of seawater. Now we spend about an hour cleaning up. At least we have AC now.

Next we try to start the Honda. It sat there for three months. The battery is dead. I take it out and hook it to the charger. The next day I try it and it still won’t start. Eventually I take it to the auto store. They charge it and check it. It is still under warranty. I get a new battery. I put it in and it starts.

After a while someone tells me that the brake lights are on. This could explain why the battery wouldn’t charge. I see the problem. There is a switch on the top of the brake pedal that closes when you step on the brake and opens when you release the brake. The little spacer is broken, with pieces laying on the floor mat.

We take the Honda in to have the switch replaced. Things are almost starting to get back to normal, but we have a big pile of laundry waiting. Fran decides to use the washer/dryer on Questeria.

A while after the first load has started I go into the front head (laundry room) to look at something and I notice suds. The drain hose from the washer has come out of the drain and put soapy water all over the boat. Now we clean that up. At least its better than seawater.

By Saturday we feel we are starting to catch up. We still have a list of things to do, but we get a chance to relax a little.

track20140625.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Indian Key

There was no wind all night so it was hot, muggy and buggy. We don’t plan to go far today, but we head out early so we can stop and let the boat cool off. We want to go to Indian Key and play with the paddle board.

We go through Angelfish Creek out to Hawk Channel. We get to Indian Key at 2:00pm. There is no wind until we try to get the mooring ball. Then it starts blowing, making it hard to get the line.

There is only one mooring ball. We have been here a few times before and there has been three or four moorings. Later we find out our friends were tied to one ball and it pulled out completely. When we go to tie to the line we see that it is chaffed more than halfway through. We pull the line through and cleat it. We think about anchoring, but we are not sure if it is allowed. The wind and the current make it really rocky with the short line to the mooring. We should have anchored anyway.

We decide that it is too rough to paddle board. Instead, we decide to pour our four jerry cans of diesel into the fuel tank. At least the wind is keeping us cool and keeping the bugs away. Maybe we will try paddle boarding, or take the dinghy to Indian Key in the morning.

track20140624.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Ocean Reef

We sleep in until 6:30am. We take our time getting underway. We don’t plan to go very far today.

We have some current against us for a while. The wind picks up around noon and we put up the sails and turn off the engine. We aren’t going very fast, but it is great.

We start the engine and drop the sails to anchor in Ocean Reef anchorage. This is near Angelfish Creek, which will take us out to Hawk Channel tomorrow.

Today was an awesome day after a few not so awesome days.

track20140623.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

After dinner, the wind completely dies, and it is very hot below deck. We start the generator and run the AC. It doesn’t run so we clean the strainer. It still doesn’t run long enough to cool down before the generator overloads.

Key Biscayne

Today our goal is to make it outside from Lake Worth to Miami without encountering thunderstorms. This will be a challenge because there are thunderstorms likely in the afternoon and it will take us over 13 hours. We will leave early. When we get to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale), we will go inside if there are thunder storms around.

We get up at 4:30am and leave before 6:00. There is no wind and flat seas. We motor all the way.

There are no signs of storms when we get to Port Everglades. Shortly afterwards we see a storm coming behind us. The winds and seas are building so we are slowing down. As we get closer to the inlet we see a storm building in front of us as well.

A storm hits as we enter the inlet. The storm hits hard and heavy but doesn’t last long. It has completely cleared by the time we anchor in Marine Stadium.

It has been a long stressful day. We treat ourselves to a shot and a beer. tomorrow we will sleep in.

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track20140622.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Lake Worth

Yesterday we anchored in Fort Pierce so today we go could out the inlet and go in at Lake Worth Inlet. This way we avoid seven draw bridges and Saturday boat traffic. When we get up we check the weather. The forecast is for thunderstorms likely after 1:00PM. We decide to continue going south down the ICW so we can pull over and anchor and wait out any storms.

There is a lot of activity on the waterway today; sailboats, power boats, kayaks, paddle boards, and people swimming. It is really crowded as we pass Peanut Island. There are even boats selling beer. (We resist the temptation to pull over and have a few.)

Nine and a half hours, and seven bridges later we get to Lake Worth anchorage, just in time for the storm. It doesn’t rain, but we see wind gusts of 25 knots (29 mph) which makes it very difficult to anchor. After we get the anchor down, we leave the engine running for a while so we can re-anchor if we start to drag.

The anchor holds and the wind eventually subsides. We shut off the engine and have “grilled spaghetti” for the third night in a row.

It has been an exhausting day, opening bridges and looking out for clueless/drunk boaters. We go to bed early because tomorrow we will get an early start. We want to go out the inlet and get to Port of Miami before the afternoon thunder storms. We expect it to take over 13 hours.

track20140621.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Vero Beach

Vero Beach is one of our standard stopovers. There is a mooring field, run by the Vero Beach Municipal Marina. It is well protected and very reasonably priced. Many cruisers intend to stop here for a night or few and end up sticking around for a season. Hence it has been nicknamed “Velcro Beach”.

We like Vero Beach for several reasons. This time we stop because it looks like we have storms coming, and we need to catch up on laundry and groceries. One of the attractions of this place is the free city bus system. They also have a very nice laundry facility.

track20140618.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

We get here early in the day so after we check in and buy some gas. I take the bus to Publix and buy some groceries. Fran and Sandy stay on the boat so they can close the ports in case of rain. I make it back before any rain. In fact it doesn’t rain, so we are very hot on the boat.

It does rain the next morning and we wake up and close everything. When it stops raining we get all the laundry ready. We put the dinghy down and I help Fran get everything  to the laundry room. Once we get the washing machines going, I dinghy back to the boat and check on Sandy. When the laundry is ready to come out of the dryers Fran calls me and I dinghy back. We get the clean laundry back to Questeria and put it away.

It looks like it might rain, so we plan a dinner that we can cook inside. We take Bolognese sauce in a food-saver bag out of the freezer. At dinner time it is not raining, and it is too hot to cook on the boat. We are already committed to pasta. We make dinner on the gas grill.

I take the grill off and heat the sauce in a pot, then I cook the spaghetti noodles in a pot on the grill using a tip from the boat galley. Everything turns out great, but we have more food than we thought. Now we have at least two more meals of pasta from a package of sauce that was leftovers already.

After dinner we take Sandy ashore to potty and then we take a short dinghy ride around to explore the area.

We take our time the next morning. we go to shore twice with Sandy and fill our solar shower.

We leave Vero Beach and motor to Fort Pierce.  We don’t get to the anchorage before are hit by thunderstorms.

We anchor in the rain. When the rain stops we see a double rainbow.

track20140620.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Melbourne

We sleep in today. We had set the alarm for 5:30 and we leave at 6:45. We can’t get through the Addison Point bridge until 8:00. We get there 10 minutes ahead of time and have to wait.

We make pretty good time today and stop by Serenity Island in Melbourne at 2:00. There is a sand bar extending from the island that is giving us excellent protection. We can  go farther, but it looks like we might run into some thunderstorms. The thunderstorms go past, the skies clear and it turns nice.

We are glad we stopped here because we take our dinghy to the island. That makes Sandy (our dog) very happy. Most of the island is covered by trees and there are many shady spots. Another boat comes to the island after us. There are nine people in the boat, who look like a family with grandparents, parents and kids. They are almost out of gas so we give them some out of our gas can. They are very grateful.

Today was great. Days like today are why we like cruising. Too bad they aren’t always like today.

track20140617.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Titusville

Questeria was not happy going north. We gave her some attention and she was okay. Then we left her for two months and she really got upset. She was hot even though we were going south. We gave her some more attention and now she’s cooled down. We made good time and she ran below 160°F.

We went from Daytona Beach to Titusville today. We noticed the mooring field in Titusville on the way up and found some good reviews about it. So we thought we would stop there. It’s okay, but nothing like St. Augustine or Fernandina Beach. There is a grocery store called Save-A-Lot. It is about a nine minute walk from the marina. It was too hot to take Sandy (our dog) so I went alone while Fran and Sandy waited at the marina. Some of the produce looked pretty good, but they didn’t have a good selction of things. No baked Cheetos, cold beer, humus or sandwich thins.

There is one restaurant there that you can walk to, or dinghy to, that is pet friendly. But when we got back to Questeria and put groceries away, we didn’t feel like trying it. Our dinghy must still be mad at us, because she is not running well.

There is lots of wildlife here in the mooring field. We have seen manatees and dolphins. There was an osprey sitting on the spreader bars of the sailboat moored next to us. I took a bunch of pictures, but my first snap turned out best

Osprey on Spreader Bars
Osprey on Spreader Bars

track20140616.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth).

Daytona Beach

We left St. Augustine at 6:00am and made it to Daytona Beach by 3:30pm. We could have gone farther but there were thunderstorms today. We stopped and dropped the anchor once to wait-out a thunderstorm. We had four bridges to open. We averaged 5 knots (5.8 mph). We ran the engine at 1900 RPMs most of the day and we never saw the temperature go above 165°F. Flushing out the heat exchanger did the trick.

We anchored in Memorial Beach Bridge Anchorage.

Sunset in Daytona Beach
Sunset in Daytona Beach

track20140615.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth).

Tomorrow we should get to Titusville.

St. Augustine

Thursday, June 12 – There are strong currents in this anchorage and we wake up at 1:30am because the boat is in front of the anchor and it keeps hitting the rode. The anchor holds fine.

In the morning I replace the v-belt. The old one is stretched and dusty. I need to change the bracket so the pulleys are aligned properly.

We get underway and the engine is still running at 190°F. Today the current is helping us and we get to St. Augustine at 12:30pm and get on a mooring just before a big storm hits.

track20140612.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

Later that day we put down the dinghy and go to shore. We go to dinner at the Backyard. This is a great place if you have a dog. It’s even pretty good if don’t.

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Questeria in St. Augustine North Mooring Field

We head back to Questeria in the dinghy. The motor cuts out when we slow down, but we are able to get back before it rains.

Friday, June 13 – Today we drain the coolant out of the engine and flush the heat exchanger. We find lots of crud in both the raw and fresh water sides. We put everything back and refill the coolant.

I change the fuel filter on the dinghy outboard to see if it will run better. Then we dinghy to shore. We go to dinner at Pizzalleys. This is an excellent restaurant whether you have a dog or not. We are really full. We should have split an entrée and ordered a dessert.

We get back to Questeria after dark. But it is light enough that we don’t have any problem seeing to get back. The dinghy motor still cuts out when we slow down.

Saturday, June 14 – We test the engine under load. We go through the Bridge of Lions and fill up on diesel and water. Then we get a mooring on the south side of the bridge. Not a thorough test, but we didn’t see the engine temp above 165°F.

track20140614.kmz (Download and open in Google Earth)

After we are tied to the mooring I clean the carburetor of the dinghy outboard.  I don’t get a chance to try it because we decide not to go ashore today. Tomorrow we will leave at 6:00am and try to get to Daytona Beach.

We really enjoy St. Augustine. We even discussed staying here all summer. But we decide to continue on south, knowing we will be back here again.