We left Smyrna Beach around daylight to continue on our way south. The northeasterly winds would give us a smooth downward sail. We had already passed the Ponce de Leon inlet so we had to stay within the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).
Tom (Nomad) passed through the Haulover Canal Bridge directly behind us. Once he cleared the bridge he radioed the bridge master to thank him for “holding it open”. Willow immediately grabs the radio and says “That’s what she said!”. I’m not sure if the bridge master found as much humor in his comment as I did as he didn’t respond.
We made it to Titusville with a few evening hours to spare. As soon as we anchored, we met up with Tom for a relaxing evening of dinner and a movie.
**We selected the Hold Fast documentary, which I can never get tired of watching.
The next day, we left Titusville early to get back on our way. After a few hours, we got some great north easterly winds to sail almost 7 knots throughout the day. This is good speeds for Willow Mist, especially sailing in the ICW.
Willow did discovery when we sailed directly to the port side of Tom (Nomad), we were able to steal his wind and keep him at our pace! He didn’t seem to mind as we were in no hurry. An added bonus is that we were also close enough to chat directly without using the VHF radio.
As we neared the Hubert Humphrey bridge near Cocoa Beach, the guys decided to clear it side by side simoultanisly. As soon as we cleared the overpass, I looked over at Tom on Nomad and asked “Was that even legal?”.
As the day passed, we noticed a lot more boat traffic than usual. Since we had changed our direction and destination, we had forgotten that most cruisers head south every year for warmer weather, usually around this time of the year. These boaters are referred to as “Snowbirds.”
With more traffic comes more passing of oncoming boats. Most power boaters have the courtesy to use passing etiquette by requesting a slow pass on the port or starboard side, to not wake the boat they are passing. However, not all are as courteous.
**Wakes from huge rolling waves have a tendency of causing a little discomfort. Not to mention re-securing everything that got thrown to the other side of the boat.
Most times the overtaking boats are close enough to read the name on a boat to call them on the radio as they pass. By the afternoon, we heard a Captain come across the radio saying “To the sailboat that just got waked by that powerboat, we would like to give you a slow pass on your starboard side”. It was courtesy and a little humor all in one.
Then, Wally (Gypsy Wind) came up behind us. He passed us on our starboard side and slowed down a few minutes to chat. It was so great to see a familiar face out here.
**We met Wally in Oriental, North Carolina shortly after we left Baltimore. We shared dinner and wine one evening while he gave us some of his sailing knowledge. Wally had been a journalist in Canada until he bought a sailboat (Gypsy Wind) and sailed away! He leads the ICW Rally south every year, writes for Sail Magazine, and publishes a blog.
We made it to Melbourne to anchor back up beside of Nomad and Lotha. It had been a long successful day of sailing. It was time to rest, relax and sleep.
We woke up with another day of easterly winds, hoping for another good day of sailing. The winds were light, giving us very little speed. However, the weather warmed up enough to not feel so chilly as the last few days.
Willow decided to pull in the roller furling sail to hoist up the Spinnaker sail. It is lighter, larger and perfect for light wind days. As soon as he got it up we made it to an average of around 6 knots.
**Another huge plus to using the spinnaker sail is the added visibility as it is a few feet higher from the deck.
The winds picked up and we spent about two hours with high enough winds to stay keeled over. While keeling over is fun, it proves a difficult task to make lunch, standing sideways in the galley. Much improvising, attention and patience is required for this task.
**It’s time to go back to preparing lunch with breakfast each morning.
We made great timing to anchor in Vero Beach a few hours before dark. Since this is such a calm anchorage, Nomad rafted to us as soon as Willow got the anchor set, while Lotha anchored behind us.
We made it up to the Vero Beach Municipal Marina for hot showers and water. Hot showers are always so nice after spending a few days taking cold showers, especially in cool weather.
**After spending a few weeks in cool weather for the first time in over a year, we realized a solar shower or hot water heater would’ve came in handy.
While everyone got showers, some land time, Mic (Lotha) made dinner for everyone and we all relaxed with a great meal and few glasses of wine while the guys discussed possibly getting the mast stepped tomorrow. After all, it is a calm anchorage.
While I really enjoy cruising and making overnight passages, I do still enjoy “land time”. Living on a boat can make you appreciate some of the most simple things in life, that become luxuries.
We were also really starting to miss the open ocean sailing. We had spent over 9 months in the Keys having the privilege of pulling anchor and going out for a day sail or even a voyage beyond Key West to the Marquesses. Navigating the ICW is an amazing experience, but those are the luxuries of sailing we missed.
Our next inlet will be in Fort Pierce, which is around 20 miles. Weather permitting, we hope to head out there for our next inlet hop.
“The only time you should look back, is to see how far you’ve come”.