|Florida, Jacksonville to Miami|
|The Fort in
|“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” - Louisa May Alcott
The Florida east coast has been divided into four sections; The First Coast, from Fernandina Beach to just south of Flagler Beach, The Space Coast, from Daytona Beach to Sebastian, The Treasure Coast, from Vero Beach to Jupiter, and The Gold Coast, from North Palm Beach to Key Biscayne.
The First Coast – Fernandina Beach to Flagler Beach
The First Coast is so named because it is where the original European settlements occurred, in St. Augustine and Jacksonville. This stretch of the ICW slowly meanders through marsh islands, rivers and inlets to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also home to the St. Johns River, Florida’s largest and of only a few rivers in the US that runs from south to north. This stretch is a series of rivers and creeks connected to one another by the ICW.
Jacksonville Beach, FL – MM – 747 Fri Nov 21
We left the anchorage at Cumberland Island, GA around 8:00 a.m. with our friends from Minnesota, traveling on their boat, Khira. We had planned to all go to St. Augustine together, but wanted to make it in two days, breaking up the 70 mile trip. (The other boat, ‘Aura’ from Martha’s Vineyard decided to make the haul in one day traveling outside on the Atlantic vs. going the ICW route.) We crossed the Georgia, Florida border about mid-morning and we were back in Florida waters. We stopped at a marina in Jacksonville Beach for the evening. We met for happy hour on our boat, while the kids met on Khira for snacks and movies.
|The ICW near Daytona|
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|The Space Coast – Daytona Beach to Sebastian
The Halifax River took us into Daytona Beach and the start of the Space Coast, so named for NASA’s presence on the Cape Canaveral area. This is where the Banana and Indian Rivers meet. Inviting destinations and long, straightforward runs through beautiful waters made this stretch a most enjoyable one.
|Banana River Melbourne|
|Daytona Beach, FL on the Halifax River – MM – 830 Wed & Thu Nov 26 & 27
This stretch of the ICW from Jacksonville Beach to the Halifax River has beautiful seaside communities that sit between the ICW and the Atlantic Ocean.
We planned to stay at the Halifax River Yacht Club in Daytona Beach for Thanksgiving. We arrived at the yacht club before noon and spent the afternoon walking around the town doing some sightseeing. The weather was beautiful with temps in the low 80’s and low winds. The following day, Thanksgiving, was just as beautiful. We spent the morning riding bikes, doing chores, and watching Green Bay lose to Detroit. We then headed over to the club for a Thanksgiving buffet dinner that was a feast.
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The Space Coast
|The Treasure Coast – Vero Beach to Jupiter
This stretch is best described as variable, with long stretches of nothing but nature are a few planned communities with manicured landscaping and clusters of marine facilities around the three Atlantic Ocean inlets. In this region we found it essential to carefully plot our routes and decide in advance where we were staying, no ‘winging’ it in this area. Boat traffic is much heavier and marinas and anchorages fill up quick.
|Vero Beach, FL – MM – 952 Sat Jan 3
We left the Eau Gallie Yacht Club around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, getting an early start. We had 40 miles to go, not a long day, but we wanted to arrive at a decent hour to check out Vero Beach.
The trip was very nice, even though we had no winds to sail with, the weather was perfect, with a high of 78 degrees. We certainly needed the sun tan lotion. This stretch of the ICW was pretty with upscale neighborhoods dotting the way.
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|The Gold Coast – North Palm Beach to Key Biscayne
There’s a reason this stretch is named the Gold Coast, it earned its name because of the wealth that exists here. There are multi-million dollar homes with mega-yachts docked alongside. Mansions with manicured lawnscapes that make most botanical gardens green with envy! Many mariners choose to travel outside on the Atlantic Ocean for this stretch due to the numerous bridges that must be opened for sailors, but we decided to stay on the ICW so we wouldn’t miss the scenery that makes this region famous. We weren’t disappointed.
|The Palm Beaches & Lake Worth, FL – MM – 1015 Mon Jan 5
We crossed the line from the Treasure Coast to the Gold Coast and cruised through North Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach all three upscale communities bordering and across the ICW from one another. The homes were opulent, some still adorned with holiday decorations. As Monica said, “Wow, this is where the movie stars live”. We continued south into the Lake Worth area. We headed off the ICW into the North Lake Worth Channel about 1:30 p.m. where we had planned to anchor for the evening. We could have continued further south, but the anchorages south of here were questionable, and we never complain about a short day. The Lake Worth anchorage was very nice. Lots of boats, but not too crowded. We stayed on board and got caught up on email and some last minute business items as we looked forward to our trip to the Bahamas. The evening was beautiful and Monica hung out on the bow, listening to her music and enjoying the view. We had an early dinner, watched a movie, and made it an early evening.
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