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Continuing North up the ICW – Boca Raton to Ft. Pierce & the MTOA Southern Rendezvous

I had intended to cover our entire repositioning up from Miami To Ft. Pierce in one post – after all, 125 nautical miles shouldn’t require that much content!

Maybe it’s because we’re smitten with returning to cruising, or it’s all still so new to us – or maybe a slower pace does means more experiences to the mile.

So, here’s the continuation of our cruise leaving Miami to our next destination – West Palm Beach, Hobe Sound and our arrival for the MTOA Rendezvous in Ft. Pierce.

Continuing The Cruise Up the ICW

First, the video version of this chapter (at about 14m long) with some spiffy drone footage too:

First Stop: West Palm Beach, FL

Our 22.7 nm cruise from Boca Raton to West Palm Beach. Cruising time, 4 hours.

We left our anchorage at Lake Boca Raton in the morning to head to our next. With about 75 nm remaining on our repositioning to Ft. Pierce we were trying to find the right pace to split the trip up.

With some impending weather systems growing in the forecast, and the weekend upon us (we prefer to not be in transit over weekends to avoid traffic) – we decided on an extended stay followed by an overnight.

Reading anchorage reviews (we utilize Active Captain and Waterway Guides primarily) we selected Cocoanut Anchorage just off the Flager Museum in West Palm Beach.

The anchorage has lots of room and only reported minimal waking from passing by boats.

But more importantly it has easy (free!) city dock access to downtown for walking, a free trolley, shopping, dining, movie theatre and community theatre.

That sounded perfect for a weekend stay!

The only difficulty noted was the strong tidal currents that can cause fairly unpredictable swing patterns for anchored boats, and some spoils to avoid.

That just means you need to be sure to leave plenty of room between you and your neighbors so you don’t cross paths. There were only a few boats there, so plenty of room to spread out.

Anchored off the Flagler Museum.

We had an absolutely lovely stay here – anchoring perfection, really.

Unlike anchoring out along the Everglades last summer – where opportunities to get ashore were scarce and usually met with biting insects on a mangrove beach – this city access thing is pretty fricken awesome.

We went ashore several times a day. We enjoyed dining out, wandering around the Saturday morning farmer’s market, taking in a movie in a real theatre (Ready Player One for these Gen-X geeks) and just enjoying city life.

I know I said it last post, but I’ll say it again.
THIS is what we signed up for!

We could have easily convinced ourselves to stay more than 3 nights.

Except for one pesky problem.

Our generator is continuing to give us problems with frequent brown outs. We’ve been battling this issue since last summer, have consulted with multiple mechanics and spent hours of diagnostics of our own (including much of our stay here).

Not being able to reliability charge up our less than ideal house battery system is getting old when we stop for more than a night (a single night isn’t a big deal, especially since the batteries now recharge while underway).

We have pretty high energy needs on this boat with four fridge-type-units on board (residential fridge, Domestic portable CFW freezer, ice maker and beer fridge).

So we bid adieu to West Palm Beach and continued onwards.

Stop 2: Peck Lake, Hobe Sound

Our 26.7 nm cruise from West Palm Beach to Peck Lake. 4.5 cruising hours.

We weighed anchor on Monday morning with excitement to be crossing through Lake Worth and then Jupiter Inlet.

While we didn’t intentionally plan it this way, our passage was at slack tide which made crossing the inlet a breeze. Apparently it can be quite harry for vessels that have to wait out a bridge opening in high currents (plenty of air draft for us!).

Being lighthouse nuts (we were volunteer hosts at Cape Blanco Lighthouse) it was a highlight of our day to cruise on by Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse in our own boat.

Our goal was to find an anchorage in Hobe Sound, just south of Stuart, FL. That would leave us within 30nm of Ft. Pierce. We’re getting more and more comfortable with longer cruising days.

In the RV we typically tire out by 2-3 hours of driving – advancing us 100-150 miles in a day. (Remember, we work full time too!) But on a nice weather day, cruising can be sublime – and it’s so easy to swap who’s at the helm to take breaks.

Peck Lake Anchorage – drone shot from the ocean.

We had our eye on Peck Lake on the northern end of the sound, with access to a beach not reachable by land.  Arrival was reported to be a bit tricky via a ‘wine glass’ approach with a narrow channel that then opens up.

Hey, if it involves a wine glass – we’re your nomads!

We followed the reviews and easily found plenty of depth and space for us. We dropped the dink (boater speak for dinghy) and went ashore for a walk on the beach before sunset.

And then we hosted a spontaneous sunset live cast once we noticed we were moments from ticking over 50,000 YouTube subscribers (crazy!?!?!?). A perfect spot to share a perfect moment.

Destination: Ft. Pierce & the MTOA Spring Rendezvous

Our 23.4 nm cruise from Peck Lack to Ft. Pierce. 3.5 cruising hours.

You may recall, before we hit the submerged channel marker back in November – we were on our way to Ft. Pierce for Irma repairs and boat projects.

5 months late.. not bad.

Ft. Pierce is a boating mecca, but on a more affordable scale than mega yacht centric south Florida. And we knew we’d have lots of resources there for the generator and tackling something from our never ending boat project upgrade list.

So when the MTOA (Marine Trawler Owners Association) announced their Spring Rendezvous would be in Ft. Pierce AND they had locked in a great rate on monthly slips – perfection for us.

If you know boats, then you may be asking yourself why on earth we’d attend a trawler event? Aferall, Y-Not is a motor yacht that can go fast when desired, not a trawler (traditionally trawlers have displacement hulls, single engines and move at slower speeds – thus the turtle mascot).

But we actually started our search with trawlers, and during our boat hunting in 2016 we attended a mini-rendezvous of the MTOA in New Bern, NC. We were so warmly welcomed in and learned so much – and were assured that no matter the boat we ended up with, all are welcome.

This rendezvous is one of their bigger national events – with seminars, dinners, entertainment and training.

The skies let loose soon after our arrival. Perfectly timed!

We arrived 6 days prior to the event, just hours before a big storm hit that lingered for days (yup – we were closely watching the weather and DID plan our arrival!).  We got safely tied up in our slip just in time for 50 mph wind gusts, rain and lots of swells coming through the newly opened Causeway Cove Marina (without any southern protection.)

Being onsite early allowed us to jump start meeting with contractors and moving forward on selecting which projects we’d tackle in the month ahead.  And then we were able to assist with arriving boats – as many came in during the high winds.

The rendezvous started on Monday and ran through Thursday. We learned about boat odors from Peggy Hall (author of the Get Rid of Boat Odors book), learned how not to be dock entertainment (I’m sure at some point we will be anyway), updated our CPR training, had a voluntary Coast Guard Auxiliary safety inspection (we passed and earned our sticker) and made a lot of new friends!

 

We kinda equate the MTOA with a similar agenda as the Escapees RV Club that we love so much – a focus on community, education, providing resources and the lifestyle in general. Definitely recommended for trawler owners, and they do welcome us ‘other boats’ too.

In the days following the rendezvous most everyone headed on – leaving us to be the last boat remaining.


Our Great Loop Progress to date..

Great Loop Log (4/19/2018)

  • Distance: 477.3 nm
  • Stops: 33
  • Marina Nights: 252
  • Anchored Nights: 25
  • Bridges : 93
  • Locks: 0

Other Travel Posts in this Great Loop Travel Series:

View all our Great Loop Posts
on our new Interactive Map!


 

Current Status:

Quick haul out to take the old generator out. Now awaiting weather to bring the new one in.

We’re still in Ft. Pierce – deep in wrapping up boat projects. We ended up deciding to give up on the old generator after several more mechanic hours and contemplating thousands of dollars of parts to try to fix it (with no promises it would be fixed.)

So, we’re having a new one installed more suitable to our eventual planned solar/lithium setup – more on that later.

We’re also tackling a bunch of cabinetry work with some super cool long awaited upgrades!

Add that all up together, and the boat is in constant chaos mode. We’re definitely looking forward to completing these projects – but weather keeps getting in the way.

Hopefully next week.. and then we’ll be on our way to keep heading north.

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20 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. We love following your boating trip on the blog, but especially on YouTube! I love how y’all are taking your time and enjoying the stops along the way! (And sharing the trials as well. I think that getting out and having adventure will have its challenges, y’all have a great attitude and thanks for being so transparent!)
    **Question:
    We are currently looking at 33’-35’ motor yachts to do a Great Loop in the near future. We are caught in the gas vs diesel. Beside the obvious economic advantage for diesel, just wondering about the diesel generator noise level. Do you find it loud either inside the cabin or sitting outside? We have had only gas powered boats in the past, but nothing that would be considered for a Great Loop trip.

    • Never having had a gas boat.. we have nothing to compare to. We do find our new diesel genset to be quieter than our generator on our RV if that’s of any consequence 🙂

      Highly recommend joining http://www.greatloop.org – lots of great resources to tap into there in their forums for planning your adventure.

  2. What a great start to this year’s loop adventure. That looks like a great area to gunk-hole and
    I love the icon of Y-Not on your progress map!
    Your old genny like a Westerbeke that has seen some service, what did you choose as a replacement?

    Tight Lines,
    Capt. Bill

  3. I hope you get the generator and battery issues fixed soon, Solar can wait a while I think. But be safe and have some fun, and always where your Life Jackets.

    • Generator and batteries should be up to working again this week (fingers crossed). Solar will indeed need to wait – mostly because finding someone to make us a new bimini to integrate into it is difficult while we’re on the move. Most are backed up several months.

  4. I don’t know why, but I keep missing your posts and I always enjoy them so much. We love boating but I don’t think I would be brave enough to navigate the storms living full time on a boat. Now I need to go back and get caught up since you left the Keys. Glad to hear you’re getting a new generator.

  5. Have you been to Summer Crush (formerly Endless Summer) Winery in Ft. Pierce? They have music from 1-4 on Sunday. Might be able to Uber over there for a little getaway!

    Hope your projects wrap up soon!

    • Ooo.. thanks for the reminder. We had forgotten there was a winery nearby – I recall looking into stay there as a Harvest Host last year. If this rain ever clears up, we may just need to take a break! (Thankfully, we have the MINI here with us for local transport) 🙂

  6. Like RVing, those maintenance and replacement issues still arrive. Just in lovely areas :-)) Sound like the event was a big success with lots learned for more fun on the water. Hope the new genny solves the issues and adds to peaceful living once again.

    • Thanks Jodee (and thank you for your constant positive attitude you bring with your comments – we so appreciate it!). And for sure, RV, boat, house – maintenance and upgrades are the just the name of the game. 🙂

  7. Another great video. It was a pleasure meeting you both a few weeks ago, hope to connect at some point on the road or water.

  8. Thanks for the excellent coverage. And, as always, professional videography, editing, and music. You guys set the standard, for sure. Following your pow’a upgrades with bated breath. Luv! Clint

    • *blush* Thanks. Think that’s the first time anyone has referred to our videos as professional quality. Hoping we’ve found a balance between minimizing the effort involved and creating something that captures the journey to share and remember.

  9. My favorite quote read on another boaters blog regarding docking, “Sometimes you’re the audience; and sometimes you’re the show.”

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