We departed Stuart this morning at 0800 with the hope of getting close to home and anchoring for the night - - then in the morning we would get fuel and be in our marina by noon. We had a particular anchorage in mind (an island at Marker 21 where we have anchored many, many times) about 15 miles from our marina. Shortly after departing Stuart we came to the Old Roosevelt Bridge, which the data tells us has 14 feet clearance closed - - it was closing when we got there and the marker boards said 9 feet, but we were told there is "at least 4 feet more in the center of the bridge" (I need 13 feet with antenna and anchor light down). What the heck - - we'll give it a try - - and we cleared by God only knows how much, but not a lot. Onward we pressed into a brisk 15 knot wind out of the North and every wave we hit brought salt spray over the boat. On our way north we passed our final barge of the Loop:
It was certainly nothing like what we met on the Mississippi, but it was a barge and our final one, no doubt. We continued north, passing Fort Pierce at 1030 and Vero Beach at 1300 - - then we came to our anchorage around 1430, BUT the winds were blowing a sloppy swell around the island and it did not look like how we wanted to spend our final night of the Loop. I lit it up and we pressed North toward the Pineda Causeway - - a very protected anchorage only about half a mile from our marina as the crow flies. We dropped the hook at 1530 after a run of 86 miles for the day (bringing our total for the trip to 5511.3 miles so far with several to go). We caught a picture of our familiar causeway - - the one I traveled to work at the base:
and we had a beautiful sunset over our home turf for the first time in 8 months - - we certainly saw our share of beautiful sunsets, but this one looks particularly nice:
Tomorrow we will have a leisurely breakfast then backtrack to Dragon point and get fuel before we head into our marina at Patrick AFB. We should be back in our slip by noon, then we'll spend the night on the boat and join in the Friday night happy hour at the Tiki Bar festivities - - it is hard to believe it is over and to comprehend all the places we've been and the things we have seen. I will summarize our trip in a final blog, but suffice to say all is well aboard the Jolly Mon tonight after a wonderful grilled Flat Iron Steak (probably one Kevin brought us from Memphis - thanks) and chicken fried rice, with Shiraz and chocolate squares for dessert.