We decided to take a short trip up the ICW to visit some place new, and to practice our newly developed skills. Melbourne is 26 miles up the ICW (which at our boat speed is about 3.5 hours). We charted our course, researched anchorages, checked and recheck weather. On the morning of December 5th, we cast off for our first solo voyage.
With Neil at the helm, and Kathleen working the lines and calling out directions, we moved slowly and peacefully out of our slip in the early morning light. Two dolphins, a mother and her baby, swam behind us to wave us off.
That ripple in the water is the dolphins – too fast for me!
We had an easy and fun cruise up the ICW – the weather helped – no wind, no current, just a nice day on the water. We anchored, successfully avoiding the ever-present crab pots and also avoiding running aground (at one point, had 0.5 feet beneath the keel – fun times…). It was beautiful. It was quiet. And we had done it.
We relaxed the rest of the afternoon. Kathleen played guitar in the cockpit, and looked up at one point to see an audience of five pelicans – they weren’t feeding, they were just floating and listening. We guess they are James Taylor fans from way back….
Yet another spectacular sunset and evening. The next morning, we launched the dinghy and went exploring. There is a city dock here, and we watched some folks launching their boats from trailers – they do it so well, and make it look easy. Then we went down Crane Creek to another marina, with lots of boats and Ichabod’s Spot café (get it? Crane Creek…) – anyway, we drove the dinghy at a very leisurely pace, going down a river for a bit. On the way back out, we saw a manatee up close – nose in the air, body, and tail flip – it was exceptional to view one of these shy, peaceful creatures so close. We ran around in the dinghy to another anchorage, then tied up to the boat, relaxing for the afternoon. We went out for an evening cruise, having so much fun we almost ran out of sunlight to secure the dinghy back on the deck. But we did. Feeling very accomplished!
The next day, we left around 10:00 am, needing time to clean off a very muddy and grassy anchor, and headed back. On the way, 4 dolphins, including a baby, rode with us. These playful, fun creatures always amaze and thrill us. Not sure we’ll ever get used to them – we hope we never do.
We pulled into our marina around 2:30, and we got the boat docked in style. Each time is a little less frenetic. It may never be without “heightened awareness” and really never should be. But we’re feeling good that we can use our boat. Here’s to many more adventures and amazing journeys.