Down the ICW to Vero Beach

We definitely prefer to travel offshore but the weather doesn’t always allow that. In this case the destination was Vero Beach where we would spend some time and relax. The weather wasn’t going to allow us out the St Augustine inlet so we left for 5 days of travel motoring down the ICW. We had never traveled the Florida ICW and truthfully it wasn’t too bad. We saw countless dolphin and our first manatees. We also saw a lot of docks and boats that were damaged in hurricane Irma. It’s always sad to see the sunken boats or those washed ashore. The pictures below show a barge full of wrecked boats being hauled away.

There were some areas of shoaling along the way that needed to be watched out for. The worst of which was at New Smyrna Beach where we found just a foot of water under the boat at low tide. New Smyrna Beach was a good overnight stop with a friendly marina staff, a quaint downtown, and even a brewery.

The next two nights were spent at anchor. The first night was spent at the NASA Causeway Bridge just a stones throw from the Cape Canaveral NASA launch pads. We got lucky and there was a rocket launch scheduled for that night and then got unlucky when the launch was postponed at the last minute.

Vero Beach is a special place for cruisers. The Municipal Marina is extremely protected and accommodating. There’s free bus transportation to get around and the ocean beach is within walking distance. Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year due in part to the giant cruisers potluck put together by the marina. The mooring balls were all full when we arrived the Sunday before Thanksgiving but in Vero they require that you “raft” with other boats so more can be accommodated. This only works because the mooring basin is extremely protected. We were able to raft with our friends Libby and Grant on Nightingale and new friends Lisa and Bennie on Rhiannon.

We inflated the dinghy and got the motor on for the first time this season, only to find “issues “. The motor was difficult to start and then wouldn’t run. In the process of trying to start it we found that the shifter was seized and wouldn’t budge. I disassembled the carburetor and solved that issue but the shifter was more than we wanted to take on. Time to break out the wallet and bring on the professionals. The first two professionals were booked out into January. Fortunately, the second one referred us to Neil at Marsh Marine. Neil was able to pick up the outboard at the dock the next day and returned it repaired the day after. We can’t say enough about him and his great service.

While we were boat bound, Bob and Connie, from the Cabo Rico 38 Meredith stopped by and introduced themselves. After a little conversation they invited us to dinner with them that evening. We had a wonderful time and expect to see more of them in the future.

There were 150 – 200 people at the potluck which was fun but noisy. Next year we’ll opt for a quieter holiday with a few friends.

Walking around Vero was beautiful and interesting. The beach wasn’t bad either.