Vero Beach has a reputation for being extraordinarily convenient for cruisers. It’s the kind of place where cruisers come to stay for a day or two and end up spending the rest of the season. A not-insubstantial number of cruisers end up swallowing the anchor here and moving to Vero permanently, with the CLOD’s – Cruisers Living on Dirt – organizing a Cruisers Potluck Thanksgiving every year. You can see why it gets the nickname “Velcro Beach.” With this kind of build up, we were excited to finally pull in and see for ourselves what it was all about.
One of the reasons we’ve been in Vero Beach for so long is that we decided to switch back to a roller furler. Yes, I finally agreed to give up my beloved hank-on jib.
Little Bristol came with a furler and so did Pegu Club, but a few years ago we decided to remove it and switch back to a hank-on jib. We tend to be a bit old-school and liked the simplicity of a hank-on with the added bonus of better pointing ability into the wind. It was great while we were sailing on weekends and vacations.
However, what we discovered while cruising over the past almost-five months was that the hank-on jib wasn’t really working for us any more. Jeff did NOT like me going up to the foredeck when conditions were sporty, and the jib bag was taking up valuable foredeck space making anchoring more of a hassle than it needed to be.
After leaving St. Augustine, our next planned multi-day stop was Vero Beach. We left early on December 29th, anchoring in a place known as the Cement Factory and at Callilisa Creek the next night.
On New Year’s Eve we were motored down Mosquito Lagoon and then the Indian River. Although the forecast had called for 10-15 knots, we were instead getting a steady 20-25 knots, right on the nose. The water was rather choppy and the channel was narrow with depths of about 2 feet right outside.
Because there are never any engine issues in calm conditions with plenty of room all around (it’s always in rough water, or when you’re going through a narrow cut with rocks on either side, or trying to dock), at that moment the RPM’s on the engine dropped, almost to the point of stalling. Almost as quickly as it had dropped, it went back up again. A few minutes later, it dropped again, but not quite as severely as the first time. Once our heart rate returned to semi-normal, we decided to siphon our remaining diesel from the jerry jug into the tank on the off chance the choppy water was interrupting the diesel flow from the tank. Continue reading “It takes a village to change a fuel filter.”
We reluctantly left Cumberland Island after a short visit due to the incoming weather, but it was the right choice. We tied up at the free dock on Sister’s Creek near Jacksonville and spent the next three nights hunkered down while the wind blew and the rain poured. We picked this particular spot based on the forecasted wind direction, and it did not disappoint. We were rather protected by Florida standards, and after the system passed we were ready to move on to St. Augustine.
St. Augustine was the first place we’ve been where some cruisers spend the entire winter. We knew that wouldn’t happen to us because we’d prefer a bit more warmth, but we were still looking forward to staying for a bit and exploring, so we made a reservation for five nights on a mooring at the municipal marina. We had such a nice time that we extended our stay for two more nights!