Monday, June 02, 2014


All the way to the Moon

So, here we are now cruising the surface of the moon on our Lunar Rover. I knit.

Not? Oh. Well, we DID tour the Kennedy Space Center the other day which has been on our Bucket List for many years - more on that later.

We spent two weeks in lovely Vero Beach. We loved it there and now know why other cruisers have called it "velcro beach". You could really get stuck there.

The City Marina facility is the best that we've seen - shady picnic and BBQ areas, large, secure dinghy dock, friendly staff, and all the needed amenities for cruisers. The city of Vero Beach runs a FREE bus service that stops both at the dinghy dock and the cruiser's lounge every hour. The long white sand beach is within easy walking distance through a beautiful neighborhood, plus the bus also stops at the beach which is great when you get worn out from beach walking and need a lift back. There's a farmer's market on Saturday mornings, a charming yarn store (Knitty Gritty) and even get-togethers with friendly knitters at the Panera Bread cafe. What's not to love? We certainly are enjoying all the conveniences of life in the USA.
Niki Wiki on a mooring in Vero Beach, FL

Here's a photo of our boat taken from the big bridge we went under to get to Vero so you can see that there are natural areas too. We were in Vero during the beginning of the low season so we had a mooring all to ourselves and several even were unoccupied. During the high season they actually raft boats together to share a mooring ball because this place is so popular. Sounds a little too chummy to me.

But, we have to keep our eyes on the calendar to be sure that we are north of Florida (latitude 31) by the first of July, so too soon it was time to head up the Intracoastal Waterway to our next destination.
Vero Beach - walk, walk, walk forever
My view of the shores of the ICW for 2 days


It was a short 2-day trip up the Indian River (which makes up this part of the ICW) to the City Marina in Titusville. Cruising up the river is much easier and more scenic than doing ocean passages! All along both sides of this wide river are houses, many of them with their private docks. We saw small, older fishing get-away cabins right next door to sprawling mansions with manicured landscaping.

The waters were so calm because we were entirely protected from the ocean waves and most of the winds by the barrier islands or strips of land. The channel itself is well-marked so it was like driving on an open highway at 5 miles per hour. Occasionally, we encountered another sailboat but mostly we had motorboats of all sizes traveling with us.

And yes, we did drop the hook and spent the night sleeping during this passage unlike our big-seas passages. People have often asked us what we do at night when we sail from one place to another and wonder if we drop the anchor to sleep.
Osprey (Fish Hawk) nest on a pole and in the background

Nope. When out at sea that is impossible and we have to have someone awake and watching the helm at all times. On the ICW, we can stop at many different places and drop the hook. That's because it is very shallow water. We are loving this easy cruising!
Jonesy watching an Atlas rocket launch

Another reason why we were in a bit of a hurry to get up to Titusville is that there was a launch of an Atlas Rocket scheduled from the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force station. There was no need to travel anywhere because we could see it right from our boat! The roar was exciting! Up, up and away on a secret mission!

So, I mentioned our trip to the Kennedy Space Center earlier. We had a wonderful day there! The space shuttle Atlantis is now kept there inside a special display building so that we had the opportunity to get up close to it.

Jonesy with the Space Shuttle Atlantis
As part of our entry fee ($46 for seniors) we got a very informative bus tour of the different launch pads. Along the way the driver pointed out an alligator lurking in a canal and a GIANT bald eagle nest that is ab out 50 years old and is still being used. And of course we saw plenty of osprey, egrets and herons.

Some of you may not know that Jonesy spend his early years on an Air Force base as his dad was a test pilot. This was during the time of the "Right Stuff" and some of these pilots went on to become the first astronauts. Then in later years we both worked in the Rockwell Intl. Palmdale, CA facility which also housed the Space Shuttle Program (we were on the B1-B program).

Jonesy and his rockets
When the space shuttles would land on the dry lake out at Edwards Air Force Base we could hear the double sonic booms from inside our little house in the desert! So it was fun for us to see these things up close at the Space Center.

All of the staff at the Kennedy Space Center were so friendly and helpful which made our time there even more enjoyable. It was like they wanted to be working there! We appreciated their positive attitudes and smiles all day.

Yesterday, while I was doing laundry in the marina's A/C'd laundry room we had a thunderstorm with some rain.
Check out this photo of the Titusville Marina - what is that in the water? See those grey lumps, one at the concrete wall by the center downspout and one sticking up out of the water?

Well - that's a manatee! His/her head is at the concrete wall and that's the thick, wide tail sticking up. These critters know that if it rains there will be fresh water coming out of the downspouts. They position their mouths right under the spout and drink the fresh water. This got me wondering how they do it out in the natural they catch runoff from rocks or trees? Obviously, they like the fresh water.

Here's a close up photo. He/she is so ugly that it's cute! The chin was covered in thick bristles. What a treat to see one up so close!

Anyway, we'll be here in Titusville for another couple of days and then we need to head north some more. Next stop will be a single overnight anchoring off of Daytona Beach and then in to St. Augustine for do some more go-see-do activities!
Next post: knitting

Life is good.

Well, I must say you've topped my picture of knitting on the Chattanooga Choo-Choo...lunar rover, yet! Well Done!
Love reading about your travels. Just reading it made me relax a little. Wonderful manatee and space stuff shots!
Hoping to see you in St A! Love the manatees, the osprey nests, everything!
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