An interesting fact is becoming more apparent as we hang around this coast and meet more and more boaters. Size really does matter! We are finding that our 42 foot ole girl is quite perfect for this cruising adventure. Let me explain.
We are meeting people who are now on a southbound trek heading for warmer Florida waters, the Bahamas, or the keys. As they make their plans they are each being met with the same problem. No room in the inn! Or the marina, I should say. Three couples in particular are finding it challenging. They have each sold all their dirt. They each call their vessel home. They are all between 52 and 62 feet in length. All are gorgeous vessels. All are too big!
Each is having to wait until November 1 to go any further south than the Georgia/South Carolina line for insurance reasons. It seems if you are big and expensive your hurricane coverage, which we don’t have on Pelican because we are neither of these, restricts you to remain north of the 32nd parallel until November 1. So there is a mad dash south about to happen in the next few weeks.
The hurricanes of the past two seasons have destroyed numerous docks. If your boat survived the storms but your dock did not you have to find new dockage. So between the displaced boats, the increasing number of transient boats cruising and looping, and the shortage of available docks and marinas one could find themselves scrambling for a place to tie the lines. It appears that the larger the vessel the harder it is for marinas to accommodate you. The big cruising cats have the toughest time because their wide beams restrict where the marina can put them.
We are hearing from most cruisers that they are trying to head to Stuart to winter over. Warm weather, friendly folks, access to airports, and lots to do in the area are just some of the reasons they choose Stuart. Not to mention the prices climb as one gets near West Palm, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. When you are looking at upwards of three dollars a foot it pays to be smaller!
Pelican, on the other hand, with its limited refrigeration, large water tanks, and portable Honda generator permits us to be pretty self sufficient while cruising. We prefer to be on the hook or on a mooring ball. It’s quiet, breezy, private and cheap! Three to four days between marina stops is doable for us.
We’ll help all the big boys toss their lines and head south. We’ll wave them on and wish them well. But for now, until the lotto ticket pays off, we’ll leave this humble vessel here in Shelter Cove. We are flying home to the Gulf today on one-way tickets. Mac will hunt and I will play with kids and customers. Then it’ll be east bound again with a plan for the winter that is yet to unfold. But one thing is for sure, where ever, and whenever, and if ever, we choose to go south we won’t take up as much space or turn our pockets inside out quite like the big dogs ahead of us. One more reason to love our Pelican.