We arrived in Vero Beach yesterday afternoon after some perfect days of traveling the waterway and a brief stay in Cocoa.  Leaving St. Augustine at sunup we made the 7:30 opening of the Bridge of Lions.  The notoriously difficult Matanzas Inlet wasn’t a problem as the Coast Guard keeps the channel well-marked.

We heard Joe (Onward) mid-morning on the radio.  He was a few hours behind us and had to watch the tides to make it under the 65ft bridges that still hadn’t been marked correctly for minimum heights.  As we approached Daytona we heard a boat fretting over the height readings of less than 63ft.  Another boat behind us said that he needed at least 64ft and we watched as he made it through the bridges.  He had a laser measuring device and used it to take height readings as he slowly approached the spans.  I contacted the first boat (who was trying desperately to get some information from the Coast Guard) and told him that the height readings were not correct.  He made it through and was very grateful–there aren’t any options other than going offshore!

We saw this character just past Daytona–thought at first it was Larry!

Most of the boats stopped in Daytona but we continued to the Rockhouse Creek anchorage at the Ponce de Leon inlet and anchored right at sunset.  We were the only boat there and enjoyed a nice calm night.

Flocks of pelicans near sunset–difficult to photograph!

The only concerns for out Monday trip to Cocoa were making it through some troublesome bridges.  They’re working on the NASA railroad bridge (which they use to bring in the rocket tanks) and we had heard about delays there.  Luckily, we weren’t held up–the bridge was open and partially blocked by a crane barge.  Next was the Titusville bridge which will soon be replaced by a high-rise…yay!  The final bridge was having intermittent problems.  As we approached, one side opened and the other stayed closed.  We waited and it eventually opened.  Later, some boaters were held up as workers were on the bridge.  Whew–I was glad to get through there!

Coming through the Haulover canal
Coming through the Haulover canal

We arrived at the Cocoa Village marina in the late afternoon.  Cocoa is one of my favorite spots.  It’s a funky little town with great restaurants and fun to walk around.  Joe arrived later and anchored off the marina.  Our first stop in town was the Dog and Bone English pub.  After that we had a delicious dinner of Thai and sushi at Thai Thai.

We had breakfast Tuesday morning at Ossorio– a wonderful bakery/restaurant.  There’s a great used book store and the biggest, dustiest hardware store you’ve ever seen!  I spent the afternoon catching up on chores…Bailey got a much-needed bath and I did 4 loads of laundry.  Their machines are only $1 so it’s a great time to get the blankets washed!

For dinner we went to the local pizza place and shared a super-sized 24 inch pizza.  I’ve never seen one so big!  We took back leftovers and had them for lunch the next day.

We left Cocoa early Wednesday morning for Vero Beach.  It’s an easy stretch with no bridges and the wide channels in the Indian River allow for less intense focus on the autohelm.  Vero Beach marina has docks but most people choose to tie up to a mooring.  We picked up a mooring and Joe tied up alongside.  His 47 foot boat makes ours look like a toy!

Our friend Debbi (who house-sat for us the past 2 winters) had invited us to her house in Port St. Lucie for a cookout.  I originally didn’t think we could make it but we were able to get cleaned up and pick up a car in time for the party.  Debbi didn’t tell all of our friends from the Chesapeake Sailing Club that we were coming so we got to surprise everyone as they arrived.  It was so great to see everyone and hear all about their adventures, including a fabulous trip to Italy (for which we were consultants!)  It’s a great group of folks and we feel very fortunate to be included as their friends.

Today we spent a leisurely morning on the boat.  Joe had a mechanic come to do some maintenance on his engine while we waited around for the pumpout boat to arrive.   Lunch was a real treat at the TooJays restaurant.  We’re talking REAL JEWISH Deli–corned beef to die for, stuffed cabbage like my mother used to make and real bagels!  The portions are humongous–I saved a half sandwich for lunch tomorrow!

We have the car for a week and plan to do our provisioning here.  We’ll take Bailey to the vet’s next week for his health certificate and then we’ll be all ready for the next good weather window for crossing to the Bahamas.  It probably won’t be until after Thanksgiving so I guess we’ll just have to enjoy the holiday with several hundred of our friends we haven’t met yet!