Well folks, we finally cast off the dock lines! No more living on a dock with easy access to land and hot showers for us. Chance is now a living-at-anchor kind of boat. After trying for days to actually leave, we made the move this past weekend. We emptied out our storage locker we still had, loaded up the boat which raised our water line a good couple of inches and made our way to the fuel dock.
To get to the anchorage at Cocoa Village we had to go through the Canaveral Bridge, the Canaveral Locks, cross the Banana River, through the Barge Canal, the State Route 3 Bridge and then make our way down the Indian River. A simple 15 minute drive took us about 2 1/2 hours on our sailboat.
Luckily we timed both bridges pretty well and didn’t really have to wait too long for them to raise them so we could pass under. We didn’t really have to wait very long for the locks either. We entered them right away and tied up and then only waited maybe 5 minutes for them to open the locks for us to pass through. There were a pair of dolphin in there with us. I was amazed at how they knew how to wait and would be let through. We also saw our first gator but he decided to hang out in the locks. I was pretty nervous about the locks as many other women had told me their horror stories about trying to tie up to them and missing the cleats and almost ruining their passage through. However, when we got there all I did was grab one of the big cleats using the line tied to our midship cleat and then I hooked on the bow line while Jason got the stern line. Depending on the tide at the time of passage your boat can raise or lower a few feet when they open the locks but we didn’t move at all. As with most things on this boat I was prepared for the worst but pleasantly surprised at how the situation played out.
After successfully making it through the locks we made a call to anchor out for the night near Ski Island and finish our journey in the morning. It was getting too late in the night and we really didn’t want to navigate the new anchorage in the dark. The moon that night was incredible! It was huge and gave us a nice little light while we drank wine in our cockpit. This living on the hook thing is pretty sweet.
The next morning we woke to SO MANY feeding manatees and dolphins – more than we had seen in the whole time being in the water. It was pretty magical. The dolphin even got within a few feet of our boat a couple of times. Every time I would whip out the camera those suckers would jet off. Before we headed out we took our first family dinghy ride over to Ski Island to let the dogs run around for a bit. They haven’t gotten the hang of using their grass mat yet so they had some business to take care of. The island had a pretty long sand bar that Riley willingly went out to explore with Jason. He’s still a bit water shy so it is always nice when we don’t have to drag him in.
After a nice morning we headed towards the Barge Canal to finish our journey. We had zero wind and had to motor the whole way. It wasn’t too bad of a stretch though as we had a few pods of dolphin playing around our boat. We timed the last bridge pretty well and I only had to do one donut while we waited for it to open. I still find it amazing that our little sailboat has the power to stop traffic. Once we made it out into the Indian River we threw up the sails and gave our engine a break. The wind went in and out and we made the very slow sail to our anchorage.
While Jason and I are still getting the hang of living on the hook (anchor) and remembering to charge all our electronics when the sun is shining and our solar panels are generating power, our dogs have already learned that a dinghy ride means they get to go to shore and they get super excited about it. We hope to only stay here until just after Thanksgiving giving us about 2 weeks to get this all figured out. Wish us luck!