The Treasure Coast, as this region of Florida is called, was named for the Spanish Treasure Fleet lost in a 1715 hurricane, and emerged out of residents’ desire to separate themselves from the Miami and Gold Coast regions. I like to think of it as a place full of natural treasures; loggerhead turtles, manatee, sandy beaches, citrus groves and inland rivers.
Sunset Bay Marina and the town of Stuart 5 miles up the Okeechobee Waterway were well worth the 5 mile detour. The marina facilities and staff were top-notch. I loved the building with its rocking chairs overlooking the water-front. We explored the town on foot on Sunday via the boardwalk – went to the flea market, which was more of a farmer’s market where we got some fresh veggies, cheese and grass-fed beef. On a stroll down the main drag I spotted the dress I had previously purchased on-line for my son’s wedding on a manikin in a shop window.
Monday we got a good soaking rain – Jim took the dinghy from our mooring ball to the marina and did a load of laundry. Later, after the rain subsided we met up with Ron and Carol aboard ‘Dragon’s Dance’ whom we were dock mates with in Clearwater Beach and saw again on the mooring field in Ft. Myer’s Beach. It was good to see them again! We walked into town and enjoyed gelato and ice cream in a cute little shop, then hung out in the air-conditioned lounge at the marina.
Tuesday was my 57th birthday and I was blessed with perfect weather – 80 degrees and sunny. We took the dinghy to the marina, then got the use of free bicycles and rode around town. I tried on the dress that I had seen in the shop window, and was pleasantly surprised. We stocked up on a few things at the Publix, stowing our purchases in the baskets on our bicycles. Then we had lunch at Mulligan’s – and I enjoyed a cucumber mojito – very cool and refreshing. Later that evening we face-timed with son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter. Our dinner was apples slices, cheese and crab cakes from the farmer’s market. It was a memorable day.
The following morning we left our mooring in Stuart, then went to the gas dock to re-fuel, pump-out, and add fresh water. Another boat at the dock was getting ready to head to the West Indies. It still amazes me the places people take their boats, the exotic destinations, and the freedom that goes with this life-style.
From Stuart we back-tracked up the St. Lucie River toward the inlet to the Atlantic. Here we joined the ICW which runs through the Indian River for many miles. This stretch of the ICW is wide, with many islands created from dredging spoils running parallel to the channel. Many of the islands had sandy beaches which boaters took advantage of. It was somewhat reminiscent of the river beaches back home on the Miss.
We cruised past Fort Pierce, established in 1837 as headquarters for the US Army during the Seminole Indian War. There is a large inlet here out to the Atlantic, and because of easy access by water and rail it became the economic hub of the Treasure Coast. Bridges on this stretch were further apart and fixed.
We made our way to the Vero Beach Municipal Marina where we radioed in and were assigned a mooring ball. We enjoyed our stay there – one day taking the free city bus to a shopping area where I was able to find embroidery floss, denatured alcohol for the stove, propane tanks for the BBQ, and a few items at the Publix.
One evening at 4:00 there was a get-together at the marina where everyone brought a dish to share and a musical instrument if they had one aboard. Jim brought his harmonica, several had guitars, and a great sing-along ensued. We learned from a live-aboard about ‘Active Captain’ and ‘Bluechart Mobile’, a Garmin application that we down-loaded to my iPad. It is another great navigation tool, and interacts with Active Captain which gives you up-to-date comments on anchorages, marinas, etc. and shows the depths and markers in channels.
Friday we decided to bring our bag chairs to the beach, quickly got our stuff together, and dinghied over to the marina where we could catch the bus. We ended up missing the bus, so started hoofing it. We had only gone a few blocks when some guy in his driveway yelled out to us, “Hey, are you cruisers? Do you want to take my car to the beach?” Wow, people are so accommodating and helpful everywhere we go! He ended up giving us a ride, and took us to the best beach area. We enjoyed playing in the crashing surf and people watching. A brightly colored blimp flew overhead, following the beach north.
Since we recently got a request for more stats, I will add a few now. These pertain to our 2nd phase from 2/18 thru 4/27.
- Nights off boat: 13 (10 in Miami during new lower unit installation)
- Slips/Docks: 20 (5 free)
- Anchorages: 7
- Mooring Balls: 29
- Running Time – Engine Hours: 58
- 327.86 Gallons of Fuel Purchased
- Statute Miles Traveled: 627 (approximate)
- Average Gas Mileage: 1.91 mpg (approximate)
Today we got underway early and cruised about 50 miles north up the ICW in the Indian River to the little village of Cocoa, famed as the setting for the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie”. We pulled into the marina here, and tomorrow Jim is anxious to explore the famous Travis Hardware store – supposedly they have every kind of hardware imaginable, including marine supplies. Our Florida Guidebook says Cocoa has a trolley system, if so that is always a fun way to get around.
Our current location at Coca Village Marina.
Until next time, ARiverDerci!