ICW 781 to 952

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The trip from St. Augustine is a tedious trek down a narrow channel that has water everywhere but is not always deep.  This guy is fishing in about 18 inches of water, so even shoal draft vessels need to pay attention here.
Dragon Point is a long time favourite anchorage for cruisers.  The huge Dragon statute (green stuff) that marked the entrance has crumbled to ruins.
We spent a night behind the "Dragon" watching porpoise and pelicans fish the water around our boat.
The next stop was at Grand Harbour Marina, which is a very posh community.  Our good friends Fred & Judy Clement, who we hadn't seen since 1997, arranged the docking privileges.
We were really excited to see Fred & Judy.  These are friends with whom we had sailed the Grand Bahama, Great Abaco and Eleuthera Islands. We spent a wonderful week in their company.
At Christmas, we decided to take some time off for personal R & R.
We rafted with vessel Two by Two (an Island Packet 40) who had a 16lb. Maine Coon cat named Jo.  Today Len decided that Jo needed a bath. I kept my distance while "Len the Brave" executed Plan B.
Jo quote: "I don't care what you say, you need the bath more than me."
Jo quote: "Yes, yes - scrub me more there!"
Let's see now - a 16lb cat, that I soaked and soaped, placed between my legs for drying.  Nah - I don't think so!
Jo quote: "Yes - the hair dryer would be fine now!"
Welcome to Vero Beach. As luck would have it, our refrigeration compressor decided to quit the day before New Year's. Nobody locally was open so I called Dwight Hamilton at Ocean Marine, Toronto and presto, a new unit was on the way.
Vero Beach is very boater friendly with great service and good docks at reasonable rates.  We chose to sit on the moorings.
The harbour is large and well protected.
There are lots of little basins to dinghy around watching Manatee feed.
There are good public launch ramp facilities.
The anchorage has islands on the west protecting you from ICW traffic wake and land on the east protecting you from the Atlantic waves.
The marina itself is modern with gas, diesel, water and pump out service.
View of north anchorage from the Marina.
There are local facilities for the larger projects.
Behind the marina is a building housing showers, laundry facilities and a Captain's Lounge.  The lounge has telephone and high-speed internet access.
All day, people congregate at the lounge.
The big attraction is the "Free" bus shuttle that picks up and drops off boaters all over town.  Vero Beach is a good size and you can provision easily here.
Some people come in and like Vero so much, that they just stay.  The local joke is that this is actually "Velcro Beach."
Here's a boat sneaking up on a mooring.
All did not go as well as planned. Mooring missed; boat drifts back on the wind; try again.
Vero Beach also boasts a Yacht Club.
Here a VBYC member takes sailing back to his yacht very seriously.
We decided to name the punt, the "Merry Pop In."