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Cruising the Space Coast – Melbourne to New Smyrna Beach

After the extended project-packed time in Ft. Pierce and then cruising with crew – we were more than ready for some time just being at home and on our own schedule.

So we pulled out of Melbourne after just 4 days and continued our journey north.

First, our video recap of our cruise:

First Stop: Indian Harbour Beach, FL

Our 6.3 nm cruise to North Mathers Bridge Anchorage. Cruising time, 1.3 hours.

Our first stop wasn’t far away at all – just one causeway up from our marina in downtown Melbourne.

But this anchorage had long been on our list of places to return to – after all, I lived just a couple blocks from this location before I met Chris and joined him on the road in 2006.

We used to walk over Mathers Bridge to the tip of Merrit Island while we were getting to know each other – longing at all of the boats in the marina and anchorage.

We told each other then… one day. One day, that’ll be us.

And here we were. Twelve years later. Still together, still loving each other, still nomadic.

And anchored in that very spot in our own boat.

(Huh, did someone cut an onion? My eye just got a little wet.)

It was also handy that the stop was only 6 nm away, just shy of an hour cruising time. We were exhausted and desperately in need of re-charge time.

This spot did just the trick to reset the stress meter.

Sentimental journey aside, it’s simply lovely and tranquil here. The same pod of dolphins that frequented these waters when I used to kayak here swam around us non-stop.

You just can’t be stressed when dolphins are around.

We were unsuccessful in finding a proper dinghy landing to get ashore and walk around my old hood – but we did scour out Sampsons Nature Park on an island accessible only by boat. It was only about 3 miles away, which made for a great exploratory ride and hike.

Second Stop: Honeymoon Lake

Our 10.2 nm cruise to Honeymoon Lake Anchorage. Cruising time, 1.7 hours.

We had been looking forward to anchoring off Cocoa Village – a popular place with easy dinghy access to a historic downtown.

Alas, our research showed that the boat docks were still damaged post-Irma and closed. Thus getting ashore here wasn’t easy anymore.

So instead, we selected an anchorage off a little cove called Honeymoon Lake just south of Cocoa.

It wasn’t really anything worth writing home about.. so thus, not much to blog about.

It was a relatively unprotected anchorage outside a ritzy neighbor with no-trespassing signs on the little island.

But. It was a stop.

 

As is typical this time of year, every afternoon you can pretty much count on storms popping up. We try to be set in our new spot by early afternoon as a result (after all, this is pleasure cruising and we’re in no rush!)

And just as predicted, storms popped up all around us. We watched them intently on our newly install doppler radar – and they somehow seemed to dissipate before giving us too much grief.

Third Stop: Titusville, FL

Our 19.3 nm cruise to ‘Sean’ Anchorage. Cruising time, 3 hours.

Next up, the spot that makes the Space Coast the space coast.. Titusville, directly across the lagoon from the Kennedy Space Center.

I’ve watched many a rocket and shuttle launch while living in the area – but none quite so memorable as joining up with our RVing buddies Sean & Louise of OurOdyssey to boondock across from the launch pad to watch the last scheduled night launch of the Shuttle Endeavor in February 2010.

Not only was it an incredible launch…

.. it was also where we bonded with our friends over sharing our mutual dreams of boating.

Sean & Louise were ramping up their research into trawlers and we were actually on our way to the Miami Boat show to start our search for a sailboat.

Sean & Louise switched to boating in 2013 after an exhaustive boat hunt, and a couple years ago scoped out an anchorage right off the very spot we boondocked at together

Of course we HAD to go there!

We even followed Sean’s Active Captain review to get ashore and eat at the same restaurant we shared a meal together at.

It was a lovely stop picking our way through shallows and reminiscing. As does any visit to the Space Coast for me.

Fourth Stop: Mosquito Lagoon

Our 20.7 nm cruise to Mosquito Lagoon Anchorage. Cruising time, 3.3 hours.

Following the ICW out of the Cape Canaveral area takes you through a tiny cut called Haulover Canal – frequented by manatees and recreational boaters.

And then you’re in Mosquito Lagoon, along the Canaveral National Seashore.

I’m really not sure which is worse – the mosquitos, or the abundance of recreational & fishing traffic.

We were whizzed and waked by more boats here than any other passage thus far.

Interesting fact, the Ponce de Leon Inlet was once named the Mosquito Inlet. Apparently, that wasn’t overly marketable for some reason?

We selected an anchorage off Apollo Beach, still within the lagoon, for the evening with reported shore access to cross over to the beach.

It was a lovely evening at anchor, after of course another Florida pop-up storm. This one rocked and rolled us a bit as the winds kicked up. It’s not overly protected here. Ok, not at all protected.

But our new Ultra Anchor dug in and held us rock-steady (so steady it took a little extra tugging in the morning to release it.)

But after the storm passed, mother nature delighted us with an amazing sunset complete with rainbow.

In the morning, we scooted over to shore to stroll the beach.

Apollo Beach (obviously, still clothed in my usual sun-protection gear).

Now, as this is national seashore..  there are beaches here designated clothing optional. Apollo Beach is one such example.

And you bet your bipidity we dropped our draws for some morning skinny dipping.

I wouldn’t say we identify as nudists or naturalists (heck, I’m usually the dork in a sun jacket trying to keep away from sun exposure) – but we’ve both always been comfortable in our birthday suits where it’s not an issue.

But seriously, a clothing optional beach along MOSQUITO Lagoon?

That’s just asking for trouble. It was actually the biting flies that were out in abundance. At least the flies don’t bite in the water!

After returning from our refreshing morning swim, we got the anchor up and continued on to our next extended stop – New Smyrna Beach.

But that story will be for next time.


Great Loop Log (6/17/2018)

  • Distance: 592.4 nm
  • Stops: 41
  • Marina Nights: 304
  • Anchored Nights: 31
  • Bridges : 107
  • Locks: 0

Other Travel Posts in this Great Loop Travel Series:

View all our Great Loop Posts
on our Interactive Map!


 

Current Status:

We may have fallen in love with New Smyrna Beach?

After a delightful month+ stay in New Smyrna Beach, we made our way a bit further north this week.

We’re currently in Marineland enjoying another unique Florida city. We’ll be here a few days, then we’re planning stops in St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

And much to our own surprise, we’ve decided that Jacksonville will be our last ‘Great Loop’ stop this 2018 season.

We’re taking a SIDE TRIP!

Instead of continuing north (which would feel way too rushed at this point – we’re embracing our ‘slow looper’ philosophy. In fact, we’re calling it slooping), we’re going to be making a little u-turn and heading back south down the St. John’s River.

We keep hearing amazing things about the adventure which will take us as far south as Sanford (north Orlando) along one of the few north running rivers. And heck, at our slooper pace it may be a decade or two before we make it back this way again.

And.. hmmm.. the route takes us to Green Cove Springs. Our domicile city, where our right to vote is currently in jeopardy.  Coincidence?

We’ll find somewhere to store the boat for the winter to return to RV life for a few months, and then pick the Loop back up come spring.

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  1. Sigh. Slow is way cool. And Green Cove Springs is the exit I take to the only truck stop for miles around, and… by considence… my boss and his family live in St Johns. Love the area. Have fun and get the idiots (politicians) riled up. They seem to have one viewpoint and are hard headed. Take care.

  2. Enjoy watching and reading about your new adventure. Years ago when getting ready to retire, we talked about and looking sailboats, talked to a few people and went to several boat shows in Annapolis, Maryland, but a motorhome purchase won out.

  3. Great video! We live in St. Augustine Beach about 3 miles south of the Bridge of Lions. Just sold our house signed up with St. Brendan’s Isle, (thanks for the tip long time ago). Heading out full-time in our 2012 Tiffin 44ft bus end of August.

  4. The St, John’s River sounds like an excellent route to take. It will be interesting to see your posts on the trip.

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