"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

December 31, 2014

Dec. 30 - Miami, FL

Marine Stadium - Anchorage

“We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don't have something better.” - C. JoyBell C.

We're in the land of beautiful water now. Mansions, yachts, people and bridges...this part of Florida is filled with excess. They say everything's bigger in Texas...well I'm beginning to think not. Some of the houses we went by today were huge compounds that took up a full block of land on the ICW. Beautiful homes and even more impressive yachts, and we could only see what was along the ICW. There are canals everywhere with more mansions and more yachts. There were a lot of boats moving around today but we saw no one outside any of the pretty homes or around their beautiful pools. In fact most looked like no one was home at all. I guess they were out working to pay for their huge homes. I think I like our simpler life.

By the time we reached the Hillsboro Inlet to the Atlantic Ocean we had been under 15 bridges and only gone 30 miles in about six hours. If we wanted to make it to Miami tonight we decided we better do the rest of the trip in the Atlantic. It was a wonderful day to be on the outside, the water was beautiful and we could finally get moving. Even though our top speed is still slow we made much better time. We came through Government Cut into Miami and what a zoo...there were tugs, yachts, small boats, speed boats, sailboats and a few crazy kids on jet skies. It seemed smaller than other ports we've come through so everyone was in very close proximity to each other. Once through the cut and traffic we were close to our anchorage in Marine Stadium. The anchorage has a beautiful view of the Miami skyline and we were treated to a pre New Year Eve fireworks show. It was short but very nice and very close...I guess they were making sure things were right for tomorrow night's big show.

West Palm Beach
Some of the bridges were very low today, so we took our bimini down so we could get through without waiting for a scheduled opening. This bridge Stan would touch when he reached his hand up.
A few of the large beautiful homes on the ICW
We're use to seeing pelicans, seagulls and terns on the bridges, but this was something new for us.
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse
The port of Miami...at least there wasn't a cruise ship leaving.
I think this is the closest we've ever been to a ship being loaded with box cars.
The view of Miami from our anchorage

December 30, 2014

Dec. 29 - Palm Beach, FL

Lake Worth - Anchorage

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. Robert Louis Stevenson

We pulled out of Ft. Pierce a little later than our usual starting time. We had to return the rental car, settle our bill and retrieve a package that has been waiting for us. It was a beautiful day to be on the water, although a very busy day. I think everyone is still on vacation and they were out enjoying the warm sunny day. We are entering the land of the wealthy now...large estates and large yachts. From Palm Beach south to Miami the shoreline is covered in million dollar mansions and the marinas are full of mega yachts. It's hard to believe that so many people have so much money...it's definitely the land of the over indulged!

With all the development come lots of bridges and slow no wake zones, making our progress south very slow. We had ten bridges today but we were low enough to clear all of them, which meant we didn't have to wait on scheduled openings. That is one benefit of a smaller boat. We enjoyed our evening anchored across from the Palm Beach Country Club with a beautiful view of the lights from West Palm Beach.

Christmas in Florida 
A few of the pretty homes along the ICW
We finally saw some beautiful water today...most of the ICW isn't this pretty, but when we cross an inlet to the Atlantic Ocean the water is sooo nice.

December 29, 2014

Dec. 28 - Ft. Pierce, FL

Harbortown Marina

"The sea is calling and I must go.”

We did an over nighter from Rockport, Texas to Ft. Pierce, Florida...almost 1300 miles. We left Texas Pearl Friday morning and drove back to Port Lavaca, rented a car and then to went to our home and loaded up. Our plan was to drive part way on Friday, spend the night somewhere and then come to the boat on Saturday afternoon, but plans have a way of changing. We were ahead of a front moving across the country and wanted to stay ahead of the rain...so we just kept moving.

We arrived in Ft. Pierce just in time for a nice breakfast at Importico’s Bakery & Cafe and a quick look at the Ft. Pierce Farmers Market. We definitely would have spent more time and enjoyed the market more if we weren't so tired. We still had a lot of work to do at the boat before we could relax, so we unloaded the car and began the job of getting The Pearl ready for our trip south. I spent the rest of the day getting things stowed while Stan took care of a few things in the engine room.

Sunday was a little more relaxing, although we still had a lot of work to do. Today was cleaning day...inside, outside and underneath! We had a diver clean the bottom and the running gear. Now we’re ready to move on to the Keys! By lunch we were looking great and could actually sit back and watch the action in the marina. The birds, the people, the fish and the manatees were very entertaining. The Harbor Cove Bar and Grill is close to the boat and we were able to sit on our deck and listen to the music and watch the sunset. Life at the moment is good.

Views of the farmers market
Just one of the special booths at the farmers market 
Saturday night's sunset from our back deck 
Sunday evening's very while we listened to music
This is the reason we are going to Marathon for the winter!

December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

It's been another busy year, but not quite the same as the last three. This year was more about family and less about new destinations to discover. The majority of the year was spent getting to know our new grandson Graham and spending time with our granddaughter Mayven. We didn't put as many miles on The Pearl but we did manage to cover a lot of ground. We returned to the boat in February and moved it from Myrtle Beach where she was docked for the winter to Charleston. We spent a month in our favorite town enjoying some of our favorite hangouts and catching up with our friends on Gallivant.

In March we moved south to Jacksonville Florida, where we left the boat and returned home to spend Easter with our family. When we returned to the boat we spent a month exploring the St. John's River. We cruised south from Jacksonville to Sanford and it was a beautiful trip through a lush environment that makes you feel you've stepped back in time. We saw a lot of wildlife and enjoyed swimming in several crystal clear springs.

We spent May redoing the teak on The Pearl and exploring Jacksonville, while we waited for the birth of our second grandchild. We received a call in the middle of the night on June 3rd that Brytanie had gone into labor...we loaded the car and were on our way home in less than an hour. Before we were out of Florida we had received word and pictures that Graham Thomas had arrived. Our family is growing and we love it. We spent the summer with our family...especially enjoying our time with the grand wonders.

After Labor Day we returned to The Pearl. We've spent the last year looking for another boat, one that would have room to accommodate family and friends...one we could use as a second home in Texas. We found that perfect boat just a few slips away from The Pearl at Lamb's Yachting Center. We spent the rest of September going through the process of buying the 48' Hatteras that we call Texas Pearl, moving The Pearl further south and preparing the new boat for her trip home to Texas.

We spent 24 days from October 9 through November 2 moving Texas Pearl 1700 miles from Jacksonville Florida to Rockport Texas. We had 24 days of incredible weather and we really enjoyed revisiting some of the places we'd seen in 2011 when we started this wonderful adventure. We even had a chance to see a few new places. It was an amazing feeling for both of us to cruise back into Texas...it's always nice to come home. The last six weeks have been fun...catching up with friends and family and collecting hugs from our little ones. The Texas Pearl is docked in Rockport and we truly love our new little town.

The last few weeks we've been celebrating Christmas at a handful of family gatherings. We will head back to The Pearl in Florida this weekend to begin our 2015 cruising season by spending the winter in the Florida Keys and the Abacos.