Space Coast



Yesterday we set sail in glorious weather. Cast off was first light with breakfast on the go. We enjoyed a colourful sunrise in peaceful surroundings. 

D323E00C-9944-4A5C-AC4A-552523476284Mark worked hard at charging his solar batteries in temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius.


We arrived in Cocoa Village Marina mid afternoon in time to rent a car and explore Cocoa Beach on Cape Canaveral. Cocoa Beach is the home of “I Dream of Jeannie”, space and surfing memorabilia. Cruising down the  colourful main street brought back memories of black and white tv news reports of the rocket launches of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. 

756A73D5-4571-4742-9667-272F3F3D5F38Today we visited the John F Kennedy Space Center (KSC) which is located on Merritt Island, a causeway away from Cape Canaveral. We did a bus tour to the launch site pads for the Apollo and Shuttle missions. Cape Canaveral is used for unmanned rocket launches with three launch pads still used today. The launch sites on KSC have been repurposed for NASA’s Orion , SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft which are in the testing phase for manned  flights.

We saw the huge Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Control Center, and spent time at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Exploring the Apollo to Space Shuttle age; observing the Racing to the Moon era; visiting the modern day International Space Station; celebrating pioneers, heroes and legends of the space program; seeing up close original rockets and spacecraft; and enjoying interactive activities – these were all totally inspiring, showcasing human ingenuity and curiosity. 

I am so pleased we were able to visit Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. It was a richly rewarding experience and one I can now cross off my bucket list.

It was fortuitous we spent the day on land as the weather gods decided to play ugly. Temperatures plummeted, rain fell and winds blew oysters off rocks! 

Such is Life!

Time to rest and take it easy

So! Our plans to sightsee were tossed. Mark and I were just too crook to explore on foot. We spent the day in Fort Pierce alternating between working on Bushranger and resting/sleeping. Mark’s cough was worse and I was wrung out from my migraine. 

395B0C3C-1229-4B44-B9B3-352CDA6CF875With the coolness of evening, we ventured out for dinner at the local Tiki Bar – a hundred metres from Bushranger. Feeling pleasantly full, we strolled the downtown area. We immediately realized we had missed a golden opportunity of discovery. The historic downtown, although most shops were closed, looked a vibrant and interesting area. 

A43461BF-48EF-41CB-9D27-EA6C07378D06We even roamed around the Manatee Observation and Education Centre. We are amazed at the size of these animals so when we came across the height chart, I snapped a photo of Mark next to it.

With us both rested and on the mend, Bushranger fully provisioned, fueled, watered and pumped out, we decided on a very easy sail of only 2.5 hours to Vero Beach. The weather was sublime. The sailing easy. We docked at Vero Town Marina in a pretty little offshoot of the Indian River.

1F3B632D-4D33-420F-9FCC-4099D2639E30Vero Beach is an affluent resort community with great shopping and dining. We know: we did both! The trees are adorned with Spanish moss, which gracefully undulate in the wispy air. Tree tunnels span the cobbled roads. Graceful southern architecture embellish the ambience.

It is also where we came face to face with the Atlantic Ocean.6363C426-DCFB-4ACB-8A64-26212B870BB9

Decided to hop on a free bus to do a circuit of Vero Beach. Quite an eye opener culturally. Drove across the Indian River and wove through sections perhaps not seen by most boaters. It was very entertaining when a few women embarked and spoke a dialect of English we could not understand. Everyone was loud and happy. Perhaps ‘colourful’ would be more apt. 

These few quieter days were just what we needed.

Such is Life!

We made it to the other side

Today was a turning point. Or more specifically, a day we reached Mile ‘0’ on the Okeechobee Waterway (OWW). In doing so, we crossed the state of Florida from west to east and caught our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean at Stuart. We are now heading north on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW). This part of the USA is known as the Treasure Coast from the many sunken ships from centuries past.

9707D371-15D7-4130-86D9-CCA7841638FDToday was a glorious day for a sail. The only things which marred our passage were Mark’s barking cough and my rotten migraine. We set sail early to catch tides. The St Lucie Canal is a very pretty canal – part of the OWW, complete with jumping fish just begging to be caught or shot. In parts, one side of the canal is untamed, with the other side cattle grazing. 

We did not see any alligators today but we were thrilled to have an aggregation of manatees swimming parallel with us in Stuart. (I know… I had to look up what a group of manatees is called!)

We enjoyed the sailing and scenery during the day but we were pleased to reach Fort Pierce. Dolphins escorted us into the marina. We have decided to stay here for two nights. We want to bestow a little love and attention on Bushranger and also have time to recuperate. We may even do a little sightseeing. Where we are docked is in the revitalized downtown historic section with the Manatee Observation and Education Centre in view. How lucky are we! Tomorrow is Farmers Market day and the boat next to ours, who just happen to be Loopers, have offered their car for going further afield if we want to buy other groceries. The hospitality and generous nature of people, especially Loopers, always impresses me. It is a club where all belong and help is offered freely.

So for now, we shall enjoy a little down time and enjoy the pace of Fort Pierce. It is unreal to think the Bahamas are only 81 miles away!

Such is Life!


There were alligators to the left. There were alligators to the right. There were alligators ahead and astern. Started snapping photos of alligators, before they snapped at us. Then I realized they all look the same! We got quite a buzz out of seeing so many in the Caloosahatchee Canal. (Manatees are proving quite elusive!)

We sailed from Moore Haven later than we wanted. The unthinkable happened – Bushranger would not start. After tinkering for ages, Mark decided a mechanic was needed. A gentleman in a large powerboat berthed behind us came to our rescue. Small world – he had visited WA with his work on the oil and gas fields. With Bushranger purring, we did not turn the engines off until we reached Indiantown Marina on the eastern side of Lake Okeechobee in the St Lucie Canal.

It took us 3.5 hours to traverse Lake O, paying particular attention to channel markers. Entering Lake O we saw our first Everglades boat. Lake O is shallow, murky and is a little lumpy depending from which direction the wind is blowing. And with suffering a migraine, I was glad to reach the other side. Mark had a full day of helming.

The St Lucie Canal is quite a pretty stretch of water.


On our travels we locked through two locks, went under two road bridges, one lift bridge and one swing bridge. 

Such is Life!

Heading East

Today was the day to depart Fort Myers. Up early in the dark, to be ready to sail at first light, only to discover fog had descended and Bushranger wouldn’t start! After the boys found the bad connection in the fuse holder, we set sail a little later than anticipated. The Caloosahatchee was as smooth as an oil slick, but the fog was thick. It lifted after about an hour and half of careful sailing.

We watched for manatee and alligators, but alas none were seen. We did see evidence of manatees leaving Ortona Lock, but we didn’t see the body, just the movement under the surface of the water.

Today was a long sail. We sailed for 10 hours, through numerous manatee speed zones, glided under 8 bridges, past one power plant, numerous trailer home parks, through one swing bridge, beneath one lift bridge and negotiated two locks. A full day, indeed!

And now we lie peacefully alongside the town dock in Moore Haven, a sleepy little town on the Caloosahatchee Canal, on the outskirts of Lake Okeechobee. People have said we will see hundreds of alligators and manatees on the next leg. Yeh! Yeh! Yeh! 

CFBAC73F-A1E7-4285-AC79-E9DA75960B60We have squared away Bushranger. Enjoyed our aperitifs. Watched the beautiful sunset. Consumed our meal. And are now listening to classical music as I compose this latest blog entry.

Such is life!

Fort Myers

What a lovely place! It was made even more special for us by being the guests of Rick and Mary from Exhale. We were met in the channel after sailing down Charlotte Sound and escorted to their canal home. Their neighbour was very accommodating with us traipsing through his side yard to get to Bushranger. F764C8BD-8336-40FA-845F-5A4A3F363C7F

We were having such fun we stayed with them for five days. They showed us ‘their’ Ft Myers. Rick and Mary took us to a canal near a power plant to see manatees in the wild. And yes, we saw them! They are the most amazing graceful creatures.

The girls shopped and explored. Mary and I went to see the winter vacation homes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, who not only were two of the richest and most admired men in USA, but were very good friends and bought their vacation homes to be side by side along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers. And as luck would have it, the day we visited there was a car show happening in the grounds! 

We found time to eat at Ft Myers Beach, have lunch at a very nice tea house, Wisteria, and pound the pavements of the historic downtown. 

The guys did boy things – fitted a very handy Heather handrail for climbing onto the bridge. The clever design doubles up as a line (rope) dryer. They enjoyed their time planning, purchasing and building the rail. And it works!

We dined and played and chatted and laughed. And to think we only knew them for three days before we descended upon them! Some day we hope to return their hospitality. Thanks a million.

Such is Life!