Spring Transition 2016: The Personality of the ICW

Jekyll Harbor

Jekyll Harbor

The personality of Florida's ICW in the northeast quadrant is totally different than the southeast or west coast. I am sure the Atlantic waters have a lot to do with this. The people are also different. Many people in this area stay in Florida the full twelve months. They like the change of seasons and they experience a wider temperature variable. Many people from other parts of Florida and from all over the world flock in this direction of the Atlantic Coast in the summertime. My experience of other geographical areas of Florida is that they skip way out of state shortly after Easter or by June at the latest. The history in the northeast Atlantic coast is intriguing. America's oldest communities are here. Much effort and investment has been made to preserve the heritage. The state and federal park systems have wonderful venues available to the public for reasonable fees. Many areas are free. Parking in many areas is free. Many areas are free of crowds! The majority of the coastline is accessible to all, not just the wealthy elite. Condos and houses don't own the waterfront.
Some of the most delightful views in the whole state are experienced in this region.


The Moorings in Vero Beach is a class act. Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour has a totally dedicated, enthusiastic and welcoming membership. Going through the Mosquito Lagoon section is a nature lovers dream. From the minute you arrive at Halifax River Yacht Club in Daytona Beach you feel welcome as family by dock master Pete. The Marina at Hammock Beach is our east coast home port and a wonderful place it is! St Augustine is a favorite for history buffs. Fernandina Beach couldn't be much more charming. The cruise along the ICW in the northeast quadrant is far from a ride in a ditch!!
If you want to join us on one of these passages, just ask!

 

6 Feb 2015: Caloosahatche River - Lake Okeechobee - St Lucie Canal

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Crossing the center of the Florida state presents an interesting opportunity to experience a variety of bridges and locks.

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This journey is best done in good weather and calm waters when you can mosey along and enjoy the countryside and all the onlookers who love watching the process. Many of the bridges are old school and slowly hand cranked. Railroad bridges, lift, swing and fixed bridges. Some of the bridge masters have their work cut out for them with aging equipment and nature's ever changing weather. Each lock also has its own personality. Five opportunities to test one's skill. The lock masters are generally a kind and helpful club. The spectators challenge the boaters to do their best work. Be it bridge or lock, the conditions of both air and water require special attention. Each pass through is one's first pass through with these changing elements and we never take it for granted that we are experienced. Always diligent!

 

 
 

3 Feb 2015: Meeting Friends- Heading to Miami

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Cruising along the ICW  (intracoastal  waterway) from Venice to Fort Myers at a faster clip makes one realize that this portion of the journey is best enjoyed at a slow pace. The mid Gulf Coast has so much to offer that two weeks just bobbing along is a much more gentle way to stop and poke and enjoy all the quaint gulf towns  and yacht clubs and get the full benefit of soaking up all the positive energy along this coast. Having a individualized custom charter experience allows one to set the pace.

Doing a transition charter, however,  requires staying on course and sticking to a schedule. A transition experience is for learning new skills such as navigating the locks and getting the pace and timing of bridges. Often the captain must make decisions of going open water or protected waterways. There are many factors to consider in making these choices. Yesterday we were able to cruise the ICW in respect of the winds and currents of the time. We almost had no choice to go only open waters due to the closing of the Boca Grande bridge due to construction. That would have meant dealing with rough open seas which requires its own special considerations. The bridge changed closure dates caused by their own setbacks which gave us the desired option of running the ICW.

Our port of call for the evening was the St Charles Yacht Club in Fort Myers. We were heartily welcomed there and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner with some snowbird friends from Pennsylvania/Cape Coral.

 
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