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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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Crab? Whose a crab...
Breezy & mostly sunny. Winds 13mph ESE at 7:00am 70*; High today 78* Low 68*
01/27/2009, Peck Lake, Hobie Sound, Jupiter Island Fl

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It was nice to be able to sleep without bundling up first and loading the blankets on the bed. I listened to the winds all night and sometimes over the wind - the surf of the Atlantic as it slapped onto the Shore of Jupiter Island. Where we're anchored at, Jupiter is very narrow. It's a barrier island, hence composed of a lot of sand that's skinnier in spots than other parts. We're anchored at one of the skinnier spots so the sound of the waves comes through quite nicely when the wind in the rigging lets up.

Well the water line was scrubbed clean today all around the boat and then we lowered the dinghy and went over to Jupiter Island to take in the beach there. It was really pretty and kind of deserted. I was taking pictures at the Hobie Sound Wildlife Refuge of the waves, sand, seaweed, etc... and came upon this pile of seaweed that looked like it had an exoskeleton of a crab in the debris. I thought, "oh cool - I can get a picture of the jointed exoskeleton" and started to touch one of the legs and move the debris away from it. Well it wasn't a corpse but thoroughly alive and paying attention to my every move. The crab jumped out at me and scared me as much as I probably scared it! Woosh! Anyhow I took a few pictures of him trying to get around him for a back shot. He was having none of that. It felt like we were doing some kind of dance on the beach and I'm sure I looked a little strange to anyone watching me. He was a cute little fella - well actually not so little for a _______ crab. (Extra Credit time - who can tell me what kind of crab he is? I already know but do you?) He was a little bigger than the size of my fist and I wasn't going to put my hand next to him for scale - he was ready to attack me when I came near with my camera! I got some decent shots of ocean spray and waves, but my favorites are the ones of the crab and of the boat as we came back to the other side of the island.

Wayne's napping while I write this but it's time to wake him I think. Steak, salad and sour dough bread for dinner with apple pie for dessert (of course). The wind has continued all day so we've been running the wind generator all day - it seems to be holding its own against the refrigeration and my computer so far (Yay)

By the way - if you don't know the type of crab - I'll post it in a few days for any one interested.

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.

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