Where to stop? So many choices.

So many choices.  We have about a month to go until we have to leave Pandora with the broker in New Bern NC where we will unpack all of our stuff and get her cleaned up and ready to sell.  We did have an offer on her a few weeks ago but it was a bit low.  However, after we countered the “buyer” bolted and decided to buy another boat.  Alas, better luck next time.  

Anyway, now we are down to the last month aboard our “winter home” Pandora and we are thinking hard about where we will stop.  We have been reminiscing about all of the great spots we have visited in the past along the 800 or so miles left on our trip.  Where to go?   Hmm…

However, with a month to go we are certainly feeling a bit pressed for time. Things sure have changed now when a few months seems like a short time to us. 

The other night I was talking to my friend Craig, who’s still working and he was quite amused by our take on how short a time a month is.  From his perspective a month is a huge amount of time and with “so much” time left we shouldn’t have to think much about where to stop.  “Just stop.  Don’t worry, you have plenty of time.”

Anyway, so last night we got out the cruising guide and made a tentative list of places we want to visit on our way north.  Our first stop, where we are now, is West Palm Beach, the home of the best public docks we have seen yet.  The downtown area is beautiful and there are loads of places to eat out.  We ran into friends of ours Jim and Joan aboard Jade, who we have seen off and on over our years of cruising.  We had a great time out for dinner at a neat Mexican place, Roco’s Tacos.   Don’t we look happy?  A bit too much perhaps. Yup.We’ll have spent two days here and now will head north along the waterway.  Stops we are thinking about are Vero Beach and Fernandina in FL and then we’ll do our best to jump past Georgia with it’s super shallow waters.  After that we hope to spend time in Beaufort SC, that’s “BEEWFORT”, unlike the Beaufort “BOFORT” NC.  Then on to Charleston, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach and a few others as time permits. 

With about 50 miles making for a long day on the ICW, we should have time for a few days in many of our favorite spots along the way.  We expect that we will have to be moving for a total of about 15 days to make it the entire way.  We are really looking forward to revisiting some of the places that we enjoyed on our first run south several years ago.

We had a few long days from Marathon to here and I can’t say that we will be too quick to visit the Keys again.  There are precious few good harbors along the chain and the experience of waiting nearly two weeks to get a mooring in Marathon left us pretty cool on the area.  However, we did get a bit of excellent sailing in along the way and plenty of experience in running aground  to round things out.   The good news is that as stuck as we were several times, we always seemed to find a way to extricate ourselves without the humiliation of a tow.  I guess that’s because we opted for the “unlimited” towing package from Boat US.  It’s sort of like carrying an umbrella when it’s threatening rain.  Works so far.

For a few days we waited in a lovely spot Angel Fish Creek, near Key Largo for favorable winds to make the run up to Ft Lauderdale.  The view was terrific although there was no place to go ashore anywhere nearby.

The late afternoon light on the mangroves was beautiful. Even though we had perfect protection from the ocean swells, that didn’t get in the way of our view.   Quite dramatic as squalls rolled though the area. And, after one of the more “exciting” squalls, we were rewarded by a beautiful rainbow.  The photo doesn’t do it justice.So, tomorrow we head north again.  I will have to find out if the Ft Pierce inlet is open or if it’s closed again before we decide to make the run on the outside instead of on the ICW.  A month ago a 100′ barge sunk in the inlet making passage quite challenging.  Last we heard it was open for limited traffic. However, I heard today that perhaps it’s closed now for salvage so I will have to call the coastguard before we head out to make an ocean run in the morning.

We hate to leave West Palm Beach but there’s lots of fun places to come.  It’s so great to have so many choices.

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