We crossed the Okochobee Waterway and started our journey north on the Atlantic ICW last Tuesday (4/5), leaving behind locks for awhile and numerous smoky fires from burning off the sugar cane fields prior to harvest. (It’s an ag practice that’s been discontinued nearly everywhere in the world due to its ill health and pollution effects, but still occurs in the Florida glades.

One of many polluting fires from burning off sugar cane fields

Our first of many marina stops to come on the Atlantic ICW was Ft Pierce at Mile Marker 965. MM 0 is at Norfolk VA, so we will be counting down the miles as we head north over the next few months.

On Thursday we raced an incoming thunderstorm as we docked at the Titusville Marina just 4 miles from Cape Canaveral where the SpaceX Axiom rocket would launch Friday morning. Though not fans of the “billionaires race to space”, seeing a manned rocket launch from that proximity was pretty cool!

One of Titusville’s Many Space-related Stops
View of SpaceX manned launch from the Titusville Marina

Friday was a “free” day as we traveled only 26 miles after the launch to New Smyrna Beach. We intended to anchor out but the blustery winds 15-18 mph made us nervous…fortunately the city’s “free dock” in the downtown area was wide open. A sign indicated a 5 hr limit but a city employee told us we could overnight if we left in the morning. It was a great, safe spot in front of their civic center with easy on/off access for Zeke and much appreciated!

New Smyrna Beach North City Dock

We planned to arrive in St. Augustine on Sunday (4/10) and stay a few days at the Municipal Marina after traveling for 7 days in a row, much of it in strong winds. The marina is located on the waterfront in the old historic part of the city and we learned that a traditional Palm Sunday ceremony “the Blessing of the Fleet” was occurring at the marina from 12-3pm.

We planned to arrive in time to watch the procession of boats being individually blessed and sprinkled with holy water by the local bishop as they passed by an elevated stand on the dock. But..as the last boat passed us, we decided to join the line and be “blessed” also. We hope it helps to keep us and ’tis Grand safe and seaworthy as we continue our journey!

BTW, St Augustine is a great city to explore on foot and by bike, so much history here!

The Blessing of the Fleet by the Bishop – note the ladies in Spanish colonial garb too
Small boat approaching the dock for a blessing
The historical Bridge of Lions
One of the two lions fronting the bridge
Loop boats ’tis Grand from Ashland and Superior Passage from Duluth (in forefront)
Exploring St Augustine with friends who visited from Gainesville