Spoonbills

The trip north on the ICW has been, thankfully, uneventful. Miles pass as the ICW changes character from narrow ditch to open bay to inlet. Depth is always a concern but we’ve “played the tides” and have not had any issues. The charts are remarkably precise for the bulk of the distance yet fail abysmally in several locations where the boat is often shown on land and far off the magenta line marking the ICW! Fortunately, the navigational aids are frequent and guide the way. Dozens of bridges must be passed but north of Palm Beach there are relatively few and all open with little fuss; our wait time has never been more than 5-10 minutes. The further north one gets the more frequent the shoaling hazards.

Miles pass, we see hundreds of beautiful homes and boats, marshes, bays, communities. Palm trees are now interspersed with old oak with the Spanish moss adorning their branches. The occasional dolphin entertains us by riding our wake. In Mosquito Bay we spotted Roseate Spoonbills. Beautiful pink wading birds that look like flamingos. Dozens were roosting in the trees on a passing island. Of course, by the time I grab my camera our blazing speed (7-8 knots) has carried us past and the resulting photo is of marginal quality. Were it not for our mandate to be out of Florida by May 30 we would have stopped (it’s an insurance requirement, not a law enforcement suggestion).

 
 
We stop at marinas in Daytona, St. Augustine, and Fernandina as we slowly move north. Fernandina is a cool place, Old sailing port with a rich history, quaint town, lots of restaurants and shops. It has an industrial look as well with neighboring paper mills and shipping port but that doesn’t detract from the charm. Of course, we are there Memorial Day weekend so its busy with tourists lining every sidewalk and even walking the docks at the waterfront marina. Many interesting boats here as well. We had a lovely dinner with a new friend Malcolm aboard First Light, a stunning Sabre 40 cruiser. We envy his speed (20 knots), shallow draft, and joystick maneuverability (Zeus pod drives). We decide to stay through the holiday, catch up with some maintenance, enjoy the town and let the craziness subside before continuing our journey.

From here on, at least through Georgia, the ICW is very shallow. We are watching the weather and hoping for a few days of decent seas to allow an offshore passage to St. Simon inlet, bypassing what could be a harrowing day of skinny water. Not looking too bad but we shall see.

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