When we pulled into Ft. Pierce in early April for the MTOA Rendezvous, we were only thinking we might stick around a few weeks.
But then boat projects were taken on, and at that point you might as well let go of a concept of schedule.
Despite a lot of project chaos during our stay, we made a point to get out and enjoy the amazing little town of Ft. Pierce – there’s a lot to discover!
First, our video recap of our time:
Where We Stayed: Causeway Cove Marina
Our time in Ft. Pierce was at Causeway Cove Marina – the site of the MTOA Rendezvous. The club had negotiated a great price for monthly stays of just $10/ft plus electric – which made it a super affordable option. And bonus that the marina was brand new and mostly empty our entire stay.
Situated on northern end of South Hutchinson Island, it’s conveniently located to the Ft. Pierce Inlet, and just a quick walk over the causeway to downtown Ft. Pierce.
From our slip, we enjoyed wide open views of the Indian River to our south.
But that wide open view had a price – no protection from the south provided. So any little storm that would blow through could cause lots of chop and swell in the marina. And most slips, including ours, have your beam to the south – meaning we could get really rocking and rolling.
We ended up pretty much keeping our boat in a constant storm tie and at least a foot off the finger pier. Even on a calm day, fetch from the south could cause 2-3′ swells causing boats to roll (or slam) onto the docks. The video above contains footage of several incidents we captured, and we heard from other cruisers staying in the marina that they experienced their first motion sicknesses here – as well as snapped lines during swells.
The lack of southern protection will definitely be a downfall of this marina, as will the extremely shallow and tricky approach at low tide – several boats were grounded arriving or leaving. We’ve included some drone shots of the approach that might help others in the future.
But despite the things the marina has no control over, we had a very enjoyable stay – the staff was extremely friendly and attentive, and it was super cool to experience that ‘new marina smell’ (well, except for when the wind was blowing from the west and smells from the neighboring waste treatment plant wafted over).
And we mostly had the place to ourselves, so it was super calm – except when they were hosting events on land.
While here, we ended up tackling two fairly major projects.
First, was addressing our failing generator – our boat came with a 1999 12.5 kw Westerbeke. In the past year we’ve shared a growing issue with it simply browning out regardless of load. One time it even completely shut down, not to turn on again (thus causing us to speed up our departure from the Keys that indirectly lead to us hitting the submerged channel marker). That turned out to be just a stuck solenoid, but the brown out issues have lingered.
We’ve spent dozens of hours troubleshooting and trying to fix it, and have had multiple mechanics take a look. Once in Ft. Pierce we were referred to Eddie of Eastern Power Systems by our friends at Ask Captain Chris. He did some diagnostics as well, and after ruling out build up in the heat exchanger and a lot of other potential small issues – he advised considering a generator replacement instead of just tossing more money & time at the problem.
We’ll go into our thought process and the replacement project in a future post (along with some riveting footage narrated by Captain Chris) later – but now we’re back to reliable power with our brand new 6kw Northern Lights genset. It’s much better suited for our future energy system plans.
Also upon arrival, we were referred to a local cabinet maker who was open to some of our interior remodeling projects. We met and hit it off, so decided to tackle our dream of a TV lift system, corner desk and completing our kitchen.
We’re super happy with the end results – but the getting here was way more challenging. What was bid as a 3-week project was more than doubled, leaving our living space in constant chaos and our time at the whim of the contractor.
We have a video tour upcoming of the results, as well as some more detailed project footage that fellow Bayliner 4788 owners might find useful.
Exploring Ft. Pierce
While the delays were annoying, I can’t say we were too bummed to be ‘stuck’ in Ft. Pierce – it’s a great town! And we had our MINI Cooper with us to make getting around even easier.
Downtown was just a mile and a half walk over the causeway (or easy drive) offering a weekly Farmer’s Market, lots of dining options, a community theatre and shopping. And we had a cute little park for walking just across the street.
There are museums galore to explore – we particularly enjoyed the St. Lucie County Aquarium across the street from the marina, and the Navy SEAL museum a causeway up.
And the Ft. Piece Inlet was a bit over a mile up the road from us, with beautiful walking and many dining options. We also had a bit of a social life with fellow cruisers we met and local friends. And my mom came down from Melbourne for multiple visits.
We definitely were not bored, and did a pretty good job of finding balance between our work days, boat projects and enjoying our surroundings.
We even ordered an inflatable paddleboard, something we’ve been meaning to do for a while as another form of water exploration and exercise.
Great Loop Log (6/4/2018)
- 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:
- Florida ICW:
- The Keys:
- South to the Keys:
- The Great Loop: South to the Keys (Part 1) – Ft. Myers to Naples
- The Great Loop: South to the Keys (Part 2) – Naples to Marco Island
- The Great Loop: South to the Keys (Part 3) – Cruising Ten Thousand Islands
- The Great Loop: South to the Keys (Part 4) – Everglades National Park – Little Shark River & Cape Sable
- Sometimes Nomads Need to Grow Some Barnacles (Two Months in Fort Myers)
- Starting the Great Loop – First Adventure: Punta Gorda, FL to Fort Myers, FL
View all our Great Loop Posts
on our new Interactive Map!
Life has been super busy lately, and seemingly unrelenting in providing us ‘down time’. We left Ft. Pierce the day after the cabinetry projects were completed with my Mom aboard for a cruise up to Melbourne (where she lives).
And then big stuff came up in our work life running the Mobile Internet Resource Center (continual shifts in “unlimited data plans” the carriers are offering being the primary culprit). We’ve spent the past couple weeks in red alert status helping our members navigate through it.
After the 6+ weeks of not really being able to feel at home due to all of the projects after just having escaped Miami, the building stress has been a bit too much.
We’re long overdue for some chill downtime to just focus on us and Kiki.
Hopefully thing are calming down work wise and we can turn things over to our more than capable team for a bit.
We’ve managed to make our way a bit further up the coast and have found ourselves in the lovely city of New Smyrna Beach – officially out of Central Florida. We’re taking it a day at a time here, and will attempt to get the blog caught up a bit as we find time.
While we’d ideally love to be much further up the coast by now, the reality of the matter is – we just don’t have the ambition or energy to keep that sort of pace and stay sane. It’s been non-stop crazy for us since last September.
So, we’re adjusting plans and the pace with an eye towards suitable hurricane holes.