Southern Florida for the Holidays

After more than 1,000 miles and more than 40 days, we made it to Fort Lauderdale this morning, and with that – the end of the Intracoastal Waterway for us (there is a bridge we can’t fit under, so it is offshore for us to Miami and the Keys). Let’s catch up on the past couple weeks.

We left off in Charleston with the objective of moving through South Carolina to Savannah. We got to Savannah on the 28th with the tide and had a day to get provisions and laundry done. Then the next day, we went to downtown Savannah, took a tour of the city and then honed in on a couple of spots – Tali did a good job covering the day in her blog, so no need to repeat it here.

Can’t pass this story up… we’re taking a picture in front of the Harper house with their backs to a closed door, then the door opens. Any doubt about the difference in personalities : )

After Savannah, we worked through the waterway with anchorage after anchorage more beautiful and desolate. It’s good writing this sitting in Fort Lauderdale having been through Florida because those anchorages seemed to be a bit monotonous, but having not had an anchorage to ourselves since Georgia, they were very much appreciated.

A little background on the Georgia part of the Intracoastal, it’s shallow with significant current and tidal fluctuations. Unfortunately, Georgia has not devoted the resources to maintaining the waterway like the other states. So our progress was marked by timing the shallowest of spots at high tide and then, as the tide fell, anchoring for the night, and starting on a rising tide the next day. I’m sure it could have been worse, but the tide cycle gave us about 5-6 hours of daylight to work with, so progress was a bit slow.

In one of our secluded anchorages, it was time to get into the Christmas season, so tree decorating was in full swing, including sewing the angel. Not sure about everyone else, but there is an ongoing debate in our house about the tree topper – Angel or Star… The Angel has won out, but as a result – Chris needed to make it happen (since he likes the angel). We tried glue, but for anyone that is curious, Elmer’s glue and felt don’t work together; so out came the the sailing twine, the needle and an angel that could look a bit like a Voodoo doll with the stitching, but the tree is decorated. For those wondering, the tree moves from the salon table to the sink every morning to make sure it doesn’t topple over underway

Who knew waxed thread had so many uses!!!

The resiliency of the kids never ceases to impress me… This was the scene for decorating the tree – nothing like they have ever experienced before, but they were excited as ever!

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…

The good news about needing the tides, is that one of the shallowest parts is Jekyll Creek, on the west side of Jekyll Island. The way things lined up, we needed to be there at 9:30AM the latest, so a simple overnight for provisioning was stretched into 2 days and we got to do some exploring. Beach, history, and sea turtle museum – with golf cart transportation : )

Buzzing around in the golf cart was a highlight for the girls!!!

Wish there was a better picture of the beach, but it was filled with these trees… a kid’s tree-climbing dream!

After Jekyll Island, the next stop was St. Augustine, but there were still more shallows and currents to navigate, plus the added Florida ICW personality of drawbridges. Once again – you can want to get someplace at a certain time, but it just can’t happen sometimes. That said, you can do all you can to do the best with what nature (and bridge tenders give you), so a 7AM leave to catch the tide and then the bridge, and then the right current so we could pull into the marina, means a 7AM leave – fog or no fog.

We joke with the girls about being passengers or crew – they stepped up this morning and gave a good lookout, both with eyes and ears. As bad as this looks, at least you can see the front of the boat – New England fog, where you can’t see the front of your own boat – now that makes things difficult!

We made the tide, the bridge, and the current and arrived in St. Augustine to sunny skies. The early arrival gave us another full day to explore. Tali thought she knew the beginning of the US with the Jamestown Settlement, but now we added the Spanish into the mix. The hope is that she can connect it all and have a better understanding of early US History than we did ; )

In addition to touring the city, we got to meet up with Chris’ friend who started at the same time with him at Prudential. It had been years since we saw her and her family. We joked, the last time we saw each other, we sailed up to Newport to their wedding, now we sailed down to St. Augustine – funny how that worked out.

The tour of the fort really put the whole story together. They had a great workbook for Tali to complete, which required asking all sorts of the questions. Mom and Dad learned a lot too!

From there, we worked through Northern Florida racing a cold front that those of you in the eastern half of the country are very familiar with. After St. Augustine, the Florida ICW was very much like Georgia, desolate and beautiful anchorages. The next stop for provisions and laundry (and heat) was Titusville. For those that don’t know, it is the town next to the Kennedy Space Center, a few miles north of Cocoa Beach, and due East from Orlando. We met some friends in Orlando, took a trip to Cocoa Beach, brought Tali to the Titanic museum (her fascination with that story is uncanny!), and of course saw Santa. We extended a day because the overnight temperature was down to 38 – so we plugged in to shore power and ran the heat.

I know the picture doesn’t do it justice, but that was the super-moon – an incredible sight from our anchorage on the Amelia River.

Boat schooling continues – Savy is working on her writing and Tali is working in her journal in the background

Have to include this Savy milestone – she lost her first tooth. For the record, she wanted to keep it, so the tooth fairy did not come. What a personality!!!

Obligatory Santa picture… a brief side story here. The Elf had not yet made an appearance on the boat. In the past, the girls’ elf, Boyce, used to start dropping by after the first Sunday of Advent, but no Boyce this year. The girls were getting nervous that he couldn’t find them because they were on the boat moving from place to place. When they saw Santa, he said he knew Boyce, and he was aware that Boyce was having difficulty finding them, Santa would let him know, once he was done with pictures, where the girls were. Those smiles are great – but the expression on their face when Santa knew their elf’s name – priceless

…once Boyce came, the girls made a bed for him so he didn’t leave for the North Pole – they didn’t want him to lose us again

Our anchorage last night – Palm trees and sunset out in the cockpit…

Stay warm for those in the colder climates!!!

Miss you all…

7 thoughts on “Southern Florida for the Holidays

  1. Barbara Amatruda says:

    The angel is indeed very unique. I love her! (do angels have a gender?) The girls must be learning lots and what’s more important, loving the learning. Sounds like you did some fancy footwork to get Boye’s name to Santa. Stay safe, warm and off sandbars. Love Aunt Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer Blanchard says:

    To Tali,
    I still can’t figure out how to comment on your blog, which means you’re probably better at this stuff than I am! I can’t believe how grown up you are getting. You look too old in your pictures, is there a closet on that boat?? 😉 I loved hearing about the Titanic museum. I was also pretty jealous! Did you know I’m obsessed with learning about the titanic too?? Im so glad you’re having a great time! I miss you very much. Sending soooo many hugs and kisses!! Hopefully we will get to talk on Christmas. Love you!


  3. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing Becky. Tell the girls they did an awesome job on the Christmas tree and Chris did awesome to on the angel. Stay safe stay well. Merry Christmas to everyone love and miss ya


  4. Camille says:

    Hi, all of you look great and seem to enjoy being together and exploring new places – GREAT. Sending you 🎄Christmas Blessings ⛪️ and Safe Travels. Love, Cousin Camille


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