Heading North on the ICW
On Saturday, May 12th, anxious but with some reluctance, we left our slip in Fort Pierce City Marina, filled up with diesel at the fuel dock, pumped out both heads, and headed out into the ICW, northbound. We had been a part of this community and marina for thirty days. We felt a connection here, but it was time to go. Temperatures were rising, hurricanes were coming, and our plan (see Our Plan) called for us to be in the Chesapeake for the summer.
Jane and I are long on adventure spirit, yet short on experience. Consequently, we, at least for the time being, consider ourselves thirty-miles-a-day cruisers. In other words, short hops during the day so we can settle in somewhere early in the afternoon and drink a glass of wine in the cockpit. We’re also NOT marina people. We prefer to think of ourselves as anchoring and mooring ball types. It’s lots less expensive than marinas every night, and being at anchor or on a ball has us pointed into the wind for added air flow and ventilation through the boat.
Our bible for our trip north is Skipper Bob’s “Anchorages Along the Intercoastal Waterway”, the “ICW & Atlantic Coast Mile by Mile and Planning Guide”, and the Navionics app on our Apple iPad. With these resources we can usually know at least twenty-four hours in advance where we’ll be spending the night. And, if bad weather approaches, we know exactly which safe harbor we’ll seek for cover.
This will be a slow process heading north. At only thirty miles per day, we’ll require a month getting to Norfolk. And that doesn’t even take into consideration stops we want to make along the way.
We’ll undoubtedly want to spend a few days in St. Augustine. And then there’s St. Mary’s, Georgia and Cumberland Island. Along the way we’ll want to spend time in Savannah, Charleston, Beaufort, Oriental and Elizabeth City, to name just a few. And we’ll want to take our time heading up the Dismal Swamp.
So, this could take awhile.
UPDATE: We made it two wonderful days up the ICW before experiencing some wiring issues effecting our instruments and propane flow for cooking. We’re currently in Melbourne Harbor Marina having completed repairs and preparing to depart north again on Tuesday, May 22nd. We could have left much earlier, but the constant rain and thunderstorms Florida has experienced for the last month has kept us in a marina slip ducking for cover. From here we’ll head up to Titusville and pick up a mooring ball for the night. The next day we’ll make our way around Cape Canaveral and up to New Smyrna Beach for a night anchorage. After that, thirty to thirty-five miles per day until we arrive in St. Augustine, where we’ll spend a few days, pick up our mail in Green Cove Springs, and relax before heading up to Georgia and Cumberland Island.