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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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On the road or into the ditch...
Partly Sunny High 70, Low 50
01/26/2009, Vero Beach FL (N27*39.399 x W80*22.262) to Peck Lake FL (N27*06.863 x W80*08.563)

Monday, January 26, 2009

On the "road" again or should I say, "ditch". After coffee we cast off the mooring and headed to the marina dock for fuel, pump out water and a last look at Vero Beach Marina then we were off headed south again at 9:00am. The weather is nice today; the sun keeps shining through the clouds (mostly fair weather clouds). It was funny because while at the helm, I was acutely aware of the breeze blowing across the cockpit. A cool air whispered ever so briefly across the skin, on my arms & shoulders, tickling the little hairs there as the sun disappeared behind a cloud. When the sun's out it's perfect, but the air seems to be much cooler when the sun disappears behind the clouds. One minute we're all covered up and the next minute, off come the sweatshirts. It's that kind of day - sunny but still able to raise goose bumps in the breeze.

It's nice to see blue/green water again. The water at Vero was always a muddy brown color. We had dolphins around us again whenever we neared an inlet - it's interesting to watch them hunt. They team up and circle the small fry to round them up and then seem to pounce on the minnows.

Passing Red buoy 172 there was an oceanographic institution that was new to me - Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution - right before Fort Pierce. I'll have to look them up and see what they specialize it. We also passed an interesting island today - perfectly square in shape, with trailers and prefab homes on them. I've never seen such a thing. It's called Nettles Island. It must be some way of garnering more water front property or something - but it's packed - wall to wall with homes. The picture is one of our views of it - doesn't quite show it in it's entire square though.

I swear the water keeps getting skinnier and skinnier the farther south we go. Most of the way to Peck Lake seemed like it was between 8-10 ft and you'd think that it was still the weekend - I couldn't believe the amount of boat traffic and people out fishing. I'm not sure why they need to anchor "in" the channel to fish though. All this water from shore to the channel will accommodate the draft (depth) of most of the fishing boats and pontoons but it won't accommodate the draft on boats like ours that have to stay in the channel and yet they persist in anchoring in the channel. Perhaps they're secretly trying to run us aground, or trying to collect on some insurance, as we have to run into them? LOL... whatever...

In trying to anchor in Peck Lake, I did run aground. But I expected to because I wasn't sure where the shoal was and most of this area is very shallow so I had to nose around looking for where to get into the anchorage. We nosed in, grounded (ever so lightly), backed out, and circled and then "Our Way" a powerboat/yacht (I think I remember them from another anchorage but I'm not sure where), radioed directions on where to get into the anchorage (up to the danger sign at the weather station and to the north of them). I was really grateful for the assist. My depth sounder read 5.5 as Wayne dropped anchor and I happily backed up as he dropped anchor. I realize that our depth sounder is maybe a couple feet below the water level, but I get really nervous when we approach that 5 ft depth because right after that we go "clunk".

I can hear the waves from the Atlantic washing ashore from the anchorage. I think tomorrow we'll go investigate it. It's on the other side of Jupiter Island and we're on the ICW side of it in Peck Lake.

By the way - I almost forgot! Happy New Years! Today is the Chinese New Year and so begins the year of the Ox. It lasts from January 26, 2009 to February 14, 2010. Based on traditional beliefs, some form of this quasi-lunar calendar has been in use for almost five millennia. Based on archaeological evidence some form of it has been in use for three and a half millennia. It is the year 4705, 4706, or 4645 (depending on the epoch used). In ancient China, the new year began on the second new moon after the winter solstice (in times under some other dynasties in ancient China, the year might occasionally have begun on the first or third new moon after winter solstice). But since the time of the Emperor Wu of Han, starting the new year on the second new moon after winter solstice has been the norm for more than two thousand years. So the year of the Rat is over and the year of the Ox starts today.

Soooo Gōngxǐ fācái (sounds like - gung he fat choy) time to kick back and celebrate with a beer (in my case probably a diet coke or green tea - beer for Wayne LOL).

01/29/2009 | Lily
How cool to see mention of Nettle's Island on this VERY cool blog! I am hooked to the blog by the way...I'll sail vicariously with you as I am in a land of MUCH SNOW and NO WATER! Oh do I miss the salt water.
Check out for the scoop on Nettle's Island. We started putting together an FAQ about Nettle's and I'm going to include the background on "square island" tee hee...give me a couple days to write it up! I always think space aliens would find it a funny sight too!
01/29/2009 | Pat Aben
I had to add one of my views of Nettles Island as we passed it. It doesn't really show it's "squareness" but it is a view of it. I look forward to reading your write up on the island - it really piqued my curiosity as we passed it :)
Some go to the beach, some do chores...
01/25/2009, Vero Beach, FL

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Today was chore-day (after coffee, showers and breakfast). Most of my day was spent doing laundry, linen changes, and packing away all the stuff that managed to escape from their proper places during our stay here (along with finding places for all the items we bought this weekend). I ran into Marie and Chris (Spirit) while doing laundry in the marina facilities. They're heading over to the beach for the day with Autumn Born. It seems to be the thing to do today. I ran into Midi later and they were heading over there too.

Wayne stayed on the boat and worked on the heat dissipater for the wind generator and other asundery projects that required tearing the boat apart & when I got back, decided to leave again and take a jaunt around the water in the dinghy. There's a Bayfield 32 here and I went over to say hi to them. Pretty little boat - the 32 looks similar to the 36! So there are 2 Bayfield 40s, one 32, and our 36 moored here (there'd be 2 more 40's but they left earlier in the week). We could have had a Bayfield rendezvous here!

Made a meatloaf for dinner tonight (once again no leftovers for sandwiches tomorrow). Apple pie is on the menu for dessert. I almost feel like I'm leaving home again tomorrow - can't believe we've been here so long and, alas, there's still so much I wanted to see and do here.

1 Day = 1.5 weeks in cruiser time
01/24/2009, Vero Beach, FL

Saturday, January 24, 2009

After coffee we made a garbage run into shore and then caught the bus into town. You know it's becoming home when you start recognizing the people at the post office, cashiers in the stores and the bus drivers - even when they're not on the bus!

It's kind of comforting; except for that niggling feeling that you're supposed to be somewhere else. So with the boat chores we set out to do here about done - we decided that it's about time to leave Vero Beach and head south again (There's got to be some non-30/40 degree weather somewhere south!) The plan for the day was to hit the post office, bank, West Marine and Sam's Club for some last minute provisioning of things we've been told we won't be able to get in the Bahamas (things like crackers, chips, snacks, etc.) except at premium prices.

The bus runs stop earlier on Saturdays (3pm) and are nonexistent on Sundays so the buses were a bit more crowded today than we normally have. It could be that there's a new crop of cruisers in town too though. Most of the boats that were here when we got here 2 days ago (interpret as: 1 day = 1.5 weeks in cruiser time) are now gone.

We chatted with 3 couples on the bus into town that are moored together here. Nice people. Marie (from Spirit) was having her 74th birthday today; this surprised me because I'd have taken her for 55 if she or anyone else had asked me. Good genetics!

Anyhow - we got off at West Marine, then our mail was sent off at the post office and then we hit the bank.

Next stop - Sam's Club. We had hot dogs and pop for lunch there - my goodness I never knew that they had such good dogs to eat there and cheap too! Then, with our energy restored, shopping - M&Ms, cookies, M&Ms, nuts, M&Ms, crackers, M&Ms, lunch meat, and did I mention more M&Ms? They had the Susan G Komen for the Cure; pink M&Ms on sale for half the price of the regular ones and since snacks are expensive, where we're going (where ever that is) and Wayne loves peanut m&ms (which don't melt all over the place in warm weather - ummm I hope) - we bought M&Ms. 6 months worth that will probably last, ohhhh.... 3 months? I also could not resist one of their caramel, walnut topped apple pies either - mmmmmm - as good as homemade Mary & Elaine! It'd been over 6 months since I had one of these pies, soooo I toted that back to the boat in my arms and lap, which was a feat between all the snacks, etc in my backpack and in our shopping bag.

We were a little concerned when we got back to Wal-Mart's to catch the bus. The amount of people waiting for it (the last one back for the day) was over the capacity that the bus could seat and we were all toting food products. It was standing room only, and we were packed in like sardines - but we allllll made it! One young lady gave up her seat for me (you know you're getting older when this happens) and everyone was eyeing my pie (10 inches of nut encrusted, carmel topped, heaped tall, tart apples) so much so, and commenting on it that, I thought for a while I'd have to start sharing it on the bus with everyone or get mugged for it LOL. I'm wondering how many will be going to Sam's Club on Monday!

Any how, it made it safely back to the boat, then got a bit smushed when we tied the dingy to the boat and started lifting stuff up into the boat. I had gingerly set it down on the floor of the dingy to climb aboard and a bag fell over on it. It doesn't look as pretty, but my - it tastes good just the same.

We have new mooring buddies again (George & Brenda S/V Rosie) - they were here when we got back. Nice people with a very pretty blond Lab. The dog is well mannered and quiet. We chatted with them for a little before I started my email and journal. He gave us the name of a marina in Deltaville VA if we wanted to haul out there. Hope we run into them again.

By the way - the picture is one of a type of palm that dates back to the dinosaurs that we got in the Publix parking lot.

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