A wild stretch of the St. Lucie River
Quite often the ICW winds its way, like a river, through mangroves or other types of forests. These are some of my favorite parts of the waterway since the river is usually fairly narrow and you are close to the scenery. There's lots of birds (wish I knew what they were!), lots of dolphins, the occasional crock, and manatees, of course.
Actually, I haven't seen a single manatee, although I have seen plenty of signs telling me not to run them over at high speeds. They are supposed to resemble large lumps of grey clay floating in the water. This hardly seems like a major tourist attraction, but It's fun to look for them.
A 'spoil' island
Great long stretches of the ICW are big open bays. You still need to stick to the dredged channels, but the channels are often wide and there's usually enough wind for a good sail.
These channels are often bounded by what are called 'spoil islands' on the charts. They are ranged in straight lines along the channel, so I assume that these are man made islands, built up from the sand and mud dredged during the construction of the ICW. There are full size trees on these islands and beaches that attract swarms of small boats full of swimmers, picknickers, and explorers on the weekends.
Here's another island that caught my eye.
I called it 'Treasure Island', because it had a beach all the way around it, and looked like the perfect place to bury treasure.
Occasionally, even the ravages of civilization can be beautiful. The following picture was taken in the middle of a long stretch of undeveloped coast. Right in the midst of pristine beauty, bull dozers were clearing 5 or 10 acres, pushing trees down in rows, and burning them.
Bulldozers at work, 'improving' the land.
I'm not sure what they heck they are planning to build there, but there was a kind of savage beauty in what they were doing. If you like burning deserts.
Most of the towns along the ICW are forgettable, and frequently little more than a collection of fishing camps, but occasionally you pass a charming little town that gladdens the heart.
Town on bay -- no idea where!
Makes me miss the beautiful villages on Long Island and along the New England coast. Can't wait to take Helena on a cruise to Block Island or Nantucket.
But I'm not always ruggedly sailing north along the coast...
Me, shortly after dawn. Note tarp rigged for shade.
I actually stopped in Daytona to watch a World Cup match the other day. I found a delightfully cool Irish Pub on Beach Street, and 'wasted' an entire afternoon eating a Ruben (disgustingly delicioius!) and one or two Guiness Stouts. Uruguay defeated South Africa 3-0.
By the way, scheduling this voyage during the World Cup was a frightfully bad bit of planning on my part. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Luckily, I'm able to listen to games on my iPhone, and I will be stopping along the way to catch major games -- particularly Brazil games.
Beach Street in Daytona. The beer was good.
But the most dramatic scenery came in the form of thunder clouds, just this afternoon. I'd been hoping to reach an anchorage near Fort Mantanzas, and visit the fort itself in Cabin Boy, but one of the thunderstorms that roam along the coast every day, roamed in my direction for a change. Usually, I manage to sail around them, but this one had my name on it.
Scary Thunder Clouds
I try to avoid spending the night in marinas, as much as possible, but there was no anchorage within reach, so I ducked into the Palm Coast Marina with about 10 minutes to tie up, rig fenders, and clear the deck before the storm hit.
I broke out a bit of rum and my current book, "Peter Duck", by Arthur Ransome (highly recommended for sailors of all ages.) There was sound and fury outside, but inside my snug little cabin, all was well.
So that is where I am at the moment: Palm Coast, FL. I'll try to remember to post my location more frequently (I promise, mom!)
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