Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers! Welcome back for the 2018 cruising adventure. Hope you are staying warm where ever you may be holed up for this cold spell.
The crew made about 200 miles south, over the four days of travel. The crew stopped at:
1 – Marine Land Marina for the first time ever. They will be back in the spring to enjoy the amenities when it is not 35 degrees outside.
2 – New Smyrna Beach Marina and had a short walk around town.
3 – Cocoa Village, dropped anchor, and watched NASA launch an Atlas V Rocket at night.
4- Vero Beach Municipal Marina where they will sit thru the weekend.
Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.
This week there will be multiple videos.
The first showcases why some people hold to the thought that you should always wear a lifejacket while out boating. Sometimes there just is not enough time to put the life saving device on before you have to abandon ship.
The second is a launch from Kennedy Space Center. The crew observed the launch Thursday night while anchored near Cocoa Village. Amazing how the fuel burn lit up the night sky. The T-10 countdown starts at about 1.24 on the video. Pretty exciting to watch a night launch from the boat.
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library now contains 47 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop
The crew started their 2018 cruising season where they left off 2017. That would be a continuation of the cold weather they have endured ever since they turned south in Maine back in September 2017.
The skipper assures me that others will not be sharing any empathy because they have had it much worse than our crew. For example, back home in Texas they have already had three snow falls which is highly unusual. And while the crew was suffering thru 50 degree days, those back home were experiencing 20 degrees and below. And those up north even have it much worse.
The Coast Guard is running up and down the Hudson River breaking up ice so that the tankers carrying heating oil from parts north can get to the market in New York City. A far cry from the beauty the crew saw as they were cruising the Hudson in October. I guess all that cool fall weather was a harbinger of things to come.
Well with the temperatures expected to fall below freezing in northern Florida, the crew opted to pull into Marine Land Marina and get AC power so they could run the heaters.
This marina was damaged by hurricane Irma, and has new electric power pedestals. Unfortunately, the new electric code requires GFCI breakers on the power pedestals. The breakers trip set points are less than 100mS if they sense a ground. Still Waters II has a relay that trips the required ground at 85mS. When the crew plugged into the power pedestal, the pedestal breaker was faster than the boat relay so the crew could not get power.
The dockhand said they had one “old” power pedestal still available. The skipper looked the situation over and believed he could get the boat safely in the spot. They shoved off the first dock and headed over to a corner bulkhead opening. He was able to slip the boat between the bulkhead and a catamaran.
The power worked and the Admiral had heat. That makes the sun setting on the first cruise of the new year a complete success.
The crew woke up to below freezing temps and 12 mph north winds. The crew waited until 0930 to leave. One reason was to allow the temperature to warm up a bit. And second, to get help from Eric the dock hand to get out of this tight situation.
At noon the temperature finally climbed above 40 degrees, but the wind blowing from the north at 15 mph did not make for much comfort.
The weather did not seem to be bothering the pelican population though. The smaller Brown Pelicans were numerous, as well as their big brother, the White Pelican.
An interesting observation about Pelicans. The Brown Pelicans usually feed individually and can be seen dive bombing into the water after their prey. The White Pelicans work together in the water to scare up their prey. This is why you will normally see large flocks of White Pelicans hanging out together, waiting for the next scheduled feeding time.
The dolphins seemed to be feeding aggressively during the day also.
By late afternoon the temperature finally climbed to 48 degrees. This is the warmest weather so far in 2018. With lows in the 30’s again, the crew opted for a marina stay at New Smyrna Beach.
The crew got settled and prepared to view a night launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately, within an hour of the launch window, the mission experienced some kind of valve malfunction. The space center announced a 24 hour delay in the launch.
All is not lost, this will allow our crew to travel 50 miles closer and get a better view for tomorrow night.
The move south seems to be working. The high today climbed all the way to 60 degrees. Other than that, there really was not much news today. The run down the Indian River is a tad boring because the river is more than a mile wide. Today the channel runs down the middle and there just is not much to see.
With that said, the skipper did notice a pair of Roseate Spoonbills. This is only the third time the crew has spotted these birds in the last 2.5 years. They are a pretty pink with bald heads.
As neat as seeing Roseate Spoonbills, the next bird the crew would see was out of this world. The crew decided to forgo heat to get a good anchor spot to view the rocket launch. The overnight low is only forecasted to be 50 degrees, so they should be just fine with no heat.
The crew managed to set anchor about 10 miles, as a crow flies, from the launch site. The crew set an alarm for 1930 so they would not miss the launch. After the alarm went off, the skipper used his countdown app to verify everything was still going to plan. The rocket launched at 1948 with a hugh fireball that lit up the surrounding area.
The rocket seemed to almost fly right over Still Waters II and you could see the flames shooting out the back of the rocket. After lift off the crew watched for about 5 minutes, until the rocket was completely out of site. Pretty impressive. Just another unique experience on America’s Great Loop.
The crew got an early start for their run to Vero Beach. For those who have been following this adventure since the start, you might recall this is where the crew launched their solo cruising career. Captain Geoff Gow completed his training of the crew and cut the umbilical chord back in July 2015.
While cruising today, the crew was overtaken by a boat named Island Spirit. The skipper did not recognize the boat, but he did recognize the voice of the crew member who hailed and asked to pass. This is the ‘new’ boat of the crew Leap of Faith.
Always fun to catch up with ole friends on the water.
Speaking of ole friends, the skipper got in contact with the crew of Hydrophilic to see if they had gotten across the Gulf Stream and over to the Bahamas. John wrote back that they have been and still are waiting for a weather window to open. They have been waiting to cross since December 30, 2017.
When the crew pulled into Vero Beach, they noticed the mooring field was full of boats. In fact, there are two boats rafted together on many of the mooring balls.
One ball actually has three catamarans rafted together.
The buzz around the docks and in the Captain’s Lounge is all about a potential weather window to cross over to the Bahamas on Tuesday. By the looks of the marina, all the double parking on Mooring balls, the skipper thinks people are itching just to go. Many people have been waiting weeks to get across and they are running low on patience.
Best Day Ever found on a sailboat in Vero Beach Municipal Marina.
The skipper will study the weather and determine if they will head across on Tuesday with the crowd. Tuesday is a long way off and many things can change between now and then. If the crew does not cross, they will head to Ft Lauderdale and sit and wait for a better window to get across the Gulf Stream.
Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.