Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Marineland to New Smyrna

South of the Ponce de Leon inlet near New Smyrna Beach is the George Musson Memorial Bridge, Chicken Island and the Harris Saxon Bridge.  Going under the 23ft  Musson Memorial is possible for us at low tide, but requires an opening at other times.  The markers at Chicken Island are confusing.  The area past the Harris Saxon Bridge is a now wake zone for several miles.  Because of these nuisances, we have avoided staying in the area.  On the advice of one of my tennis pals, we chose to make a stop at the New Smyrna Beach City Marina.  

National Geographic named  the city one of the "World's Top 20 surf towns in 2012 and Dr. Beach (more on him later) included New Smyrna is his yearly Top 10 Beach's.  It is also known to be a great city for the arts and his home to the Atlantic Center for the arts, an educational facility as well as an artist in residence community.  

In 2007, the University of Florida bestowed upon New Smyrna a rather unpopular distinction of the world's shark bite capital.  Twenty four shark bites were recorded in 2008.  The beach is not close enough to the marina for a walk, so we can't comment on any of these honors.  The marina sits on the west side of the Indian River between the two bridges I mentioned above and is one block from old town.  

Boutiques, gift shops, antiques and small businesses line the streets of New Smyrna.  This small town loving girl felt right at home wandering the shaded streets.  

The grill at the Little Drug Company is large and reminiscent of days gone by

Clown photos for sale at the antique store

Dinner at the Corkscrew 

The fresh scallops topped with a Mojito Cream Sauce served on a bed of jasmine rice with grilled asparagus was delicious and filling.  I couldn't eat all of it.    Steve had the Skillet Mac & Cheese- a combination of corkscrew pasta sautéed shrimp and mushrooms in a creamy cheese sauce topped with candied pork belly and toasted panko crumbs.  Are you as surprised as I that Steve would venture to eat candied pork belly?  No worries--its just a fancy name for bacon. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Marineland Marina

Piper the traveling Labrador Retriever is 14 years old.  She has slowed down significantly over the past year.  She has trouble seeing, hearing and getting up and down the steps on the boat.  Her olfactory senses however had not failed her.  She knows instantly when there is an open jar of peanut butter.  She has begun a barking routine in the evening before her bedtime demanding a spoonful of creamy Jif peanut butter.   

Piper in the Exumas with Lainey

Many dogs raised on a boat are able to take care of their business on special pads, boxes, or artificial turf.  Piper needs to be taken ashore.  Anchoring is fun, but presents a problem sometimes in getting her to shore, especially if we arrive late in the evening after the sun goes down.  Tying up to a dock makes like with Piper much easier.  

On trips south of Jacksonville, we always try to stay at least one night at Marineland.   This is perhaps the closest marina along the ICW to the beach.   The small marina is easy to get into and has floating docks.  It is also one of the least expensive.  

The video below offers some great aerial shots of the marina and details the rich history of Marineland.  

The dockmaster and two other boaters met us at the slip after hours to help us get into the slip.  Piper enjoyed her walk as the sun bid farewell to the day.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Spy-Hopping along the ICW

The rhythmic splash of a  dolphin or two or three swimming alongside Meandering Joy was a welcome sound.  This festive sound and sight is one of the most pleasurable events we experience while boating. According to ancient Greek history, dolphins riding in a ships wake was regarded as a good omen.  We will take that any day.  

Jumping out of the water to take a look at its surroundings is known as spy-hopping. These lovely, curious, fun-loving creatures are around around 6 to 8 feet long and can weigh between 400 and 600 pounds yet they are nimble enough to spy-hop.  

Hoping this video brightens your day!



Friday, March 25, 2016


Wow!  We have been cured from SAD (seasonal affect disorder)!  After a family shower on March 12, for the delightful Laura Springer who is expecting her first baby girl in May, we took off for the warm weather of Jacksonville, where Meandering Joy has been enjoying the nice weather at Lamb's Yacht Center.  Thanks to the time change, we arrived about 1:00 a.m. with Piper, our elderly labrador retriever.  Piper has slowed down quite a bit, but wants to be wherever we are and loves her nightly peanut butter snack.

On Sunday, after a quick trip to Publix to stock up, we left Lamb's with a goal to reach Marineland before nightfall.  We made the 85 mile trip in nine hours and arrived just before sunset.  Long day on the water, but beautiful weather.    We had to go under three bridges before getting to this railroad bridge in downtown Jacksonville.  

Jacksonville Landing

It was a beautiful day on the water with great views all along the way.  The rains  began about 20 minutes before we docked at Marineland.  


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Another cure for SAD

Another cure for the dreaded SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) that Steve and I have contracted is to get out of town and head for warmer weather.  (If you don't know about our ailment check out the blog from yesterday)   We plan to do that in just a few days.  As usual, our schedule is never definite until it is definite but we are heading out to Stuart, Florida in the next couple of weeks.  Look at the weather there--I can definitely see a recovery in Stuart.

Stuart is located on Florida's Treasure Coast, just south of Vero Beach and north of Palm Beach.  It is known as the "Sailfish Capital of the World."  We have passed through Stuart on a few occasions but have never stayed in the area for any reasonable period of time.  I look forward to visiting its historic downtown which claims to be pedestrian friendly.  

Our plan is to arrive in Stuart before the Palm Beach Boat show so that we can go to the show and not have to find a hotel room. 

Coastal Living magazine calls Stuart a coastal dream town with a quaint village made of mostly locally owned business with something for everyone.  Art galleries, restaurants, upscale boutiques interspersed with more affordable shopping throughout the historic waterfront downtown.  

Meandering Joy will arrive in St. Petersburg sometime in May.  Why go to St. Pete again? Our Lainey graduates!!!!  We want to have the boat there for graduation and celebrations! Her sisters plan to join us for the weekend festivities.  We will be staying at the marina at The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in downtown St. Petersburg where will have full access to all of the amenities at The Vinoy, pool, spa, & tennis courts.  The hotel, built in 1925, took just 10 months to complete.  When it opened the rooms were $20 per night.  Today the rooms average $300 a night.   

I am excited to look for the ghosts which have been sighted walking the halls of the hotel which was used by the army for a training school in WWII.  It was sold for $700,000 after the war and was prosperous until the 1960's and subsequently closed in 1974.  It was purchased in the early 1990's at which time a renovation costing $93 million was completed and the Vinoy was reopened. It's location is perfect for walking around the parks, restaurants and shops along the waterfront.  

Looks like we are going to find sunny skies and warmer weather soon.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Test Results

Test results are confirmed.  Steve and I both have SAD. Seasonal Affect Disorder.  How about you?  It is highly contagious, especially in February and March in Georgia.  There is no vaccine.  There is no cure.  One must just trudge wearily through this affliction until March 20. 

Our physician, Dr. Wik I. Pedia, told us that this mood disorder sometimes effects people who have normal mental health (has he met us?) throughout most of the year but experience depressive symptoms in the winter.  One treatment is to get some exercise or get outside and get some fresh air.  That seems illogical.  We wouldn’t feel depressed if we could go outside without freezing to death.  Steve went out earlier this week and look what happened.  He had a chainsaw in hand and did some damage. Some might call it a massacre...

Notice the peacock running away

The pine was dead and had to come down

My symptoms seem to subside if I can play some tennis.  I don’t even mind playing in the cold.  There is something therapeutic about hitting a tennis ball. 


No tennis for me today, so I took a walk around the yard—bleak, wan, lonely.

Asparagus fern survived winter but needs a trim

It's too cold to climb up the tree with a good book

Results of the chainsaw massacre ready for a fall burn

Too dreary for a nice swing

Ahh, but I kept looking and I found hope.  Those sweet little yellow faces smiled up at me. The jonquil!  Spring is but a few days away…

Best of Luck to all of you suffering with us through your bad case of SAD.  Look around and maybe you, too, can find some evidence that spring is on the way!