shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

North Palm Beach, FL Anchorage

November 16, 2015

We all have our favorite anchorages. Some of us have more than one. In Florida alone, Dave and I have our favorite "secluded beach" anchorage (Peck Lake), our favorite "no one ever anchors there" anchorage (not telling), our favorite "free bus service" anchorage (Vero Beach), and even our favorite "pizza" anchorage (St. Augustine). We are currently anchored in our favorite "get shit done" anchorage: North Palm Beach.

Coming into this anchorage from the north always confuses us. While waiting for Parker Bridge, we study the chart, reminding ourselves to go SOUTH of G27 before turning up the clearly marked channel into the anchorage. Approaching from the south, the channel is easier to identify and makes more sense. There are several advantages to this anchorage even if you never go to shore. There is a LOT of space, good protection (depending on where you drop the hook) from every direction but south, and we have never dragged, though we have sat through some pretty good squalls and gales here. Contrary to what some publications are STILL printing, we have never been hassled regardless of where we anchor in here or for how long we stay. We have taken our little boat close to the north shore, but in Eurisko we usually hang not far from R10 in order to give ourselves some breathing room during the migration. Because we despise the ICW between here and Miami (mostly because of all the opening bridges, but also because the boat traffic is generally less friendly), we stage here to go out Lake Worth Inlet and head offshore to Miami. Or we make this our first stop after coming in the inlet when headed north.

What you'll see as you head toward the dinghy dock

We once spent Christmas week here and never went to shore, though we did launch the dinghy to go visit friends in the anchorage. But to take full advantage of this as a "get shit done" stop, you'll want to head to shore. If you've never been here, the "dinghy dock" (and I use that term loosely) may be hard to find. Head north and just to the right of a six-story apartment building is a canal. Not far up the canal, before you go under the bridge, there is a patch of sand on the right. It is best to bring a dinghy anchor to hold your stern off the beach and make it easier for other boaters to tie up. There is a cable running along a fence that you can lock your dinghy to, just remember that there are several feet of tide, so, depending on where you leave the dinghy, you may be wading out to it if you park at low tide and return at high.

Dinghy dock, such as it is

Secure the dinghy, walk up the path to the road, turn left, cross over the small bridge and Palm Beach County is at your fingertips...or bus fare. Several stores are within walking distance including Publix (across the street from the dinghy dock after you cross the bridge), West Marine (turn left at the light, US1, and it is across the street about a half mile), and Trader Joe's (keep walking west on the road the dinghy dock is on--it eventually becomes PGA Boulevard--a little over a mile on the left hand side). While you're walking to those places you'll find dozens of interesting stores along the way.

If you don't find what you need, such as, let's say a pillow block to complete an item that's been on the TO DO list for 15 years, then try the Palm Beach County bus service. At $2 a ride, there's no easier way to get to Wal-Mart or many other one-bus locations. But if your needs take you on more than one bus, it's cheaper to get an unlimited day pass for $5. You can buy them on the bus. The nearest bus stop is for Route 21 on the SW corner of US1 and PGA. (In other words, on the same side of the street as the dinghy dock, past the first light.) In one day, for $5 each, we shopped an Oriental Market, a Caribbean Market, bought a fuel pump at an auto parts store, bought some do-dads at Wal-Mart, ate lunch at a Jamaican restaurant, got propane tanks refilled, and brought home a few groceries. What a bargain! We were on three different bus lines, but with our day pass it didn't change the cost, so we just kept marking things off our chores list. Accessible by one bus is the industrial part of town where you can find Florida Bearing, a few machine shops, a starter/alternator place, some automotive guys, welders, and many other handy folks for a "get shit done" stop.

Maps available online or on any bus

If you stay long enough to need water or want to fuel up by dinghy, North Palm Beach Marina just south of Parker Bridge is friendly and accessible from the anchorage, even if you row.

Whether you have a list of chores or just want safe, easy access to a Class A inlet, the North Palm Beach anchorage may just become one of your favorite anchorages, too.

With people already counting the days 'til Christmas, MONDAY we'll share my latest nearly free, SIMPLE craft idea for kids.

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