Daytona Beach to Cocoa, FL

Daytona Beach to Port Orange, FL

Monday, December 1, 2003

We hoisted anchor mid-morning and headed a couple of miles down the river to Seven Seas Marina where we planned to spend a day exploring the beach side of Daytona. Seven Seas is a laid back, do-it-yourself place that is as much a yard as a marina. We found the place to be neat with a fairly well-stocked marine store. The staff was very friendly and efficient, laid back and very helpful. There is even Pat’s Riverside Café on site. Yes, that means Bill can get his cup of coffee early!

A downside to the marina is that there is no breakwater, so that wakes wash right through the docks. Likewise, there is nothing to break wind-driven waves when the wind is from the west. Fortunately, for us, there was an east wind and, being a weekday, there was little boat traffic along the waterway.

After a great lunch at the café (Sandy had a spinach salad with grilled tuna and Bill had a cup of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich), we crossed the few blocks to the legendary Daytona beach where it is a tradition to drive your car on the sand. There is even a traffic separation scheme with signs along the water indicating where you can drive, where you can park and where you must leave room for sunbathers and beachcombers. An interesting twist to sunbathing seemed to be to park your car and set your blanket next to it, using the car for a wind-break. We took a walk along the beach. It sure was a bright, sunny glorious day to be at the ocean. Later we walked to a small shopping center to buy greeting cards.

Port Orange, FL

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Sunset In Port Orange
Sunset In Port Orange

We liked Seven Seas so much, we decided to take a kick-back day and simply spend it doing not much of anything. Besides, Jack and Edie Rorabaugh, our next stop, were still making their way south from a family celebration in Reading, PA. And, we had rather strong easterly winds!

We both did some correspondence, read and took a walk in town. Sandy did some minimal grocery shopping and took the marina staff up on their offer to pick some grapefruit from a tree on the property adjacent to the marina. Jack and Edie called during the day to let us know they were home. They also confirmed the availability of transient slips at the New Smyrna Municipal Marina where we hoped to stay. There are only two transient slips, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Port Orange to New Smyrna Beach, FL

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

That morning we motored the short, 11-mile stretch to New Smyrna. Along the way, we passed under a draw bridge. Now, drawbridge operators usually have little to say on the radio. Not this one. The gal talked to everyone, letting us know that there were five minutes until the opening, then 1½ minutes to the opening, etc. Refreshing, if a bit over the top!

Arriving at New Smyrna, we quickly claimed one of the slips and Jack showed up a few minutes after we arrived. We filled out the self-serve form and enclosed a check for two days dockage. Then it was time to load a ton of clothes, laundry, food and computer toys in the van for the ride to Edgewater where Jack and Edie live.

The 55-and-over community is delightful. It is situated on the ICW with a couple of hundred one-story homes, many with beautifully landscaped yards. Jack and Edie’s house backs onto a small tidal stream with lush gardens and no houses visible in that direction. There are walking paths, a great, heated pool, court game facilities and all the other facilities you’d hope for in such a community. The owners association is very active with lots of activities.

We went for lunch at a lovely restaurant just across the ICW from the marina. Wonderful atmosphere, great food and inexpensive to boot. Trust a couple of cruisers to know all the best buys! (P.S. A term we heard used to describe ex-cruisers, like Jack and Edie, who have sold their boats and moved into houses is CLOD: Cruisers Living On Dirt.)

One of our New Smyrna priorities was to have Sandy’s knee looked at, again. The swelling presumably from a fall in Wrightsville Beach, had increased. So we went to a quick service medical practice to have a doctor look at it and to order an x-ray. We were told we’d get a read on the x-ray the next day.

Edie prepared a delicious grilled salmon dinner. We felt very cozy and at home!

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Beachcombing with Jack and Edie
Beachcombing with Jack and Edie

We started the day with an easy walk along the community path next to the ICW. What a nice community! We saw many of the facilities … all well cared for and actively in use.

Edie and Jack were given a cool, Kodak, 10:1 optical zoom, 4 M-pixel digital camera as a gift from their kids. They’d taken a bunch of pictures while in Reading but had yet to install the software on their computer and to download the pictures. One of Bill’s priorities was to do that for them so that they could practice and could plan for using the camera while on an trip to Alaska next spring. So, he did the installation and showed Edie how to download the first set of pictures.

That afternoon we took a drive, stopping to walk the beach on Canaveral National Seashore. Edie and Bill took lots of practice pictures with the new camera. There were tons of Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish washed up on shore and sea-bean maven, Edie, found a couple of beans among the shells on the beach. On our way back, we finally got to see a few armadillos and even got a picture of one of these shy beasts. (They’re surprisingly quick to disappear into the scrub growth along the road.)

Next, Jack took us for a drive on the beach. It was neat, but the tide was high and we finally had to turn around because the northern portion of the beach was closed due to high tides.

On the way back we stopped in to get the read on Sandy’s x-ray. The doctor reported that is was not fluid, but soft tissue swelling and that it shouldn’t be a problem. She is to get a knee brace to stabilize the knee and to help with the swelling. There is little change that it would cause serious problems later in the cruise … whew! However, she has had to cut back on her walking,

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Friday, December 5, 2003

It was a bit chilly this morning, but Edie and Sandy walked along the waterway. We did several loads of wash, including our sleeping bags. It’s really nice when you don’t have to use a laundromat!

That evening we had dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch on Wednesday. Then we took in the local Christmas festival. Most of the local shops along Canal Street were open for the event, all with treats to top off our meal. Local talent was featured in the many dance and musical acts along the street. And we toured a beautiful new day spa that was just opening. It was complete with outdoor waterfall massage therapy.

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Saturday, December 6, 2003

During the morning, Jack and Bill visited a county park that encompassed the ruin of an old sugar mill. There were still enough artifacts to get a pretty good idea of what went on, with a horse- driven sugar cane crusher, boiling kettles and various storage facilities. Meanwhile, Sandy and Edie, along with Edie’s friend Kathy, went to the farmers’ market in New Smyrna and did some cruising around town. It was really chilly and very windy. Then, Sandy & Edie went to the grocery store while Jack, Bill & Bill found a nearby bar.

That afternoon it was time to practice with the new camera. Edie successfully downloaded, filed and edited photos that we’d taken in the back yard.

We were fortunate that the New Smyrna Christmas boat parade was this evening. Jack and Edie dropped us off at the boat with all our gear and groceries and later returned for the parade, which ended near the marina. We all had winter jackets on (some three layers thick). We didn’t think it got this cold in Florida! There was quite a crowd in the park for the twenty or so beautifully decorated boats. It’s amazing the trouble some people go to for these events. Interestingly, there is a special prize category for best decorated Boston Whaler boat, since the factory is just down the road.

Before we said our good-byes, we had some hot tea and cookies on board Whistwind to warm us up. We then joined a group of local boaters from the marina who were gathered around an outdoor fireplace. They even treated Bill to pizza reheated on a grill.

New Smyrna Beach to Cocoa, FL

Sunday, December 7, 2003

We headed out fairly early … destination Cocoa, FL. Jack called us on his hand-held VHF to say he’d wave as we passed by their community dock. Sure enough, there he was. We had a great time in New Smyrna. And, of course, Jack and Edie (and Critter, their dog) are wonderful friends and gracious hosts.

We knew that Bill and Susan (Osprey) were going to leave their boat in Cocoa for the holidays. When we said our Thanksgiving weekend good-byes, we assumed we’d be ahead of them. But, since we took it real slow, we thought they might have beaten us to Cocoa. Sure enough, a phone call told us they were there and we made arrangements to meet them that evening.

Along the way, our boat’s engine began to run hotter than usual. Nuts! More detective and mechanical work for Bill! We made it into Cocoa just fine and set our anchor just south of the bridge right next to the town park. There was good holding, excellent dinghy facilities and no current or tide to worry about. Since the winds were from the north, we had calm water, too. Nice anchorage.

Happily, there were still a couple of hours left of the big craft show in town. So, we quickly dinghied ashore and arranged to meet Bill & Susan there. Downtown Cocoa has been carefully restored and maintained as a vital reminder of the gracious days of earlier times. The shops are interesting and there are many good restaurants, a post office and a library, all within a few minutes walk.

Cocoa Downtown
Cocoa Downtown

We spent an hour or two at the show and returned to Osprey, tied up in a new section of the marina, for drinks and to talk. Making arrangements for dinner the next evening, we headed back to the dinghy and our boat. Dinner was burgers, string beans & potatoes on the grill. Mmmmmm!