Week 1: Cocoa, FL to Beaufort, SC


Dave, Murphy and I set off on our Great Loop Adventure on March 23, 2021 in beautiful 70-degree weather, with fair winds, heading north on the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway.    We stopped after 7 hours of enjoyable cruising at our first anchorage at Ponce De Leon, near the inlet.  I was thankful for Dave’s years of sailing experience.   He carefully noted the upcoming changes in the direction of the current based on the predicated tides, to ensure our anchor held as the boat would swing around 180 degrees at each change.  We also stayed in an anchorage the second night, near Ft. Matanzas, as we have lived in this general area for the last 25 years, we really didn’t need to stop for sightseeing as other loopers do.   Dave didn’t get much sleep the first two nights, ensuring our anchor held during the tide changes.  Me, having complete confidence in my captain, slept like a baby.  Murphy enjoyed dinghy rides and playing fetch with his ball at beaches at both anchorage locations as he scooted around the beached jellyfish and occasionally went for a dip to cool off.

The third day we arrived at Fernandina Beach, FL and grabbed a mooring ball (you pay a small fee to be attached to a fixed anchor – no worries about dragging or another boat in the anchorage dragging on top of you).  Dave thought, this is terrific, I’ll sleep great tonight.  However, the noisy paper plant which runs at all hours of the night and a frequent train kept Dave awake again.  Poor guy!  Fernandina Beach was a delightful town and Murphy and I were able to jog the next morning and get much needed exercise.   They have a trolley that runs from the downtown/marina area to the beach and also stops at a grocery store.  This is a great location for boaters to stop.  We met fellow loopers on the marina dock and look forward to catching up with them along the way.

Our next stop was at a marina in Brunswick, GA for two days.  Oh boy a marina!  Laundry (it was even free), long hot showers, and the best part, a dog park for Murphy to chase balls until he dropped.  The marina had loaner bikes so Dave and I rode to a strip mall with a grocery store and a West Marine.  After completing our respective purchases, we loaded up our backpacks and rode back to the marina.  We also walked into the quaint Brunswick downtown area to a meat market and stopped by a Farmer’s Market in a park.  I had an impulse buy at the Farmer’s Market, a large piece of Red Velvet cake.    Later that day we had an awesome dinner at Indigo Coastal Shanty on their outdoor patio which even gives a complimentary meal for your fur babies.  Murphy was in heaven.   His own meal (chicken and rice).  The Mahi I had literally melted in my mouth it was so fresh.

The next morning, after fueling and a pump-out (getting rid of our toilet holding tank), we headed out for two more nights at anchor as we traveled north.   While Murphy was giving me sad puppy eyes to share my scrumptious Red Velvet cake I was enjoying for breakfast, Dave said “wake” as a larger power boat zoomed past us.  Murphy quickly laid down. Whoa!  He’s learned it’s best to be laying down when we cross a wake, such a smartie.

Fun Fact:  Brunswick, Georgia claims Brunswick Stew originated there.  We saw a large iron pot which the sign claims the first Brunswick Stew was made in on July 2, 1898 on nearby St. Simons Island.  However, Brunswick County in Virginia and the capital of Duchy of Brunswick-Luneburg in Germany also claim Brunswick Stew originated there.  The mystery continues…

Next marina stop – Beaufort, SC to start our second week.

4 thoughts on “Week 1: Cocoa, FL to Beaufort, SC”

  1. Wow. I wish I was aboard to enjoy all the sites and sounds of being on the water. How many light houses will you encounter on this trip. Lots I hope. Would love to see pictures of everything you think is interesting, cool, old time, silhouettes of the cities and marinas, both day and nights…

    This is so exciting.

    Ron Keffer

  2. Sounds absolutely wonderful. Are you sure you don’t need a dog sitter along for the ride! Keep having fun and give Murphy a hug for me. Lori

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