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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Going On The Hard
Nice but cold
11/09/2008, Ft. Pierce (I'm presently in Oriental)

It's 48 degrees here in Oriental. Supposed to get down to 40 tonight. Fortunately the Rebounder has a great propane ducted heating system so we are nice and cozy. It's surrealistic to be back on the motor home, yet it feels almost like being back at home. It's been a decent couple of days since putting the boat on the hard. As usual it was a lot of work getting the boat ready to store. They did a great job spraying and scraping the growth off the hull. That cheap West Marine bottom paint did just fine for the 4 months I was in the water. My main zink wore completely off. Still need to check the engine zink - I bet its gone too. No blisters that I could see. I could be cruising again on Tropical Dreamer in less than a week when and if that happens. I went as far in 13 total hours of driving as I went in a month or two cruising down the ICW. Different trip altogether on the way back. Stayed at a hotel with the dogs last night. Tried to listen to the radio while driving north but most everything sucked. Rental car broke down on me 92 miles from Oriental and I had to get a tow to the New Bern airport to get a replacement and then unload and re-load all my stuff into the new car. Jake and Anne had to stay in the old rental for over on hour during the tow while I had to stay in the cab with the chatty driver. We all did fine. After what we've been through, we can handle most anything at this point. More unpacking to do tomorrow morning, then off to return the rental car to New Bern. I'm planning on departing Oriental the next day, but you know how Oriental can be when it comes to departures. I'd like to find someplace to get the oil changed on the Rebounder before I drive it another 2500 miles but Oriental probably isn't the place for that. I'll ask around. I managed to obtain a ride back from New Bern tomorrow so I won't have to take an expensive taxi. I have to say it's mighty nice to be on dry land for a change. Less exciting... less damp too. I imagined the motor home to be much roomier than than the Catalina 36, but it's really not so much roomier. The sailboat has the deck space that really makes a difference and the boat appears wider or at least uses that space better. Regardless, it's nice to be back "home." Even the dogs are resting comfortably. Jake is sleeping on my bed, which he hardly ever does. He must be ok. Goodnight.

Packing Out
Nice, getting warm
11/08/2008, Riverside Marina

There simply isn't enough room in the car. I took so much stuff with me sailing because I didn't know how long I would be gone. A lot of the stuff I'm leaving will be useful for continued cruising, whether long or short. But things go bad on a stored boat pretty quickly so who knows how much of it will last since it will be at least 3-6 months before I'm back on the boat... maybe more. I managed to get plenty of sleep last night except for waking up at midnight to drag the dogs inside the cabin because they wouldn't stop barking at something that got too close to the boat. Awoke at first light, put the dogs in the car (they are already getting the back seat sandy and nasty), and headed to Dunkin Donuts for a well-toasted everything bagel and creme cheese and a coffee with creme and sugar. Yum. Jake hasn't left the car since we got back. Anne is hanging on the boat with me while I work to get the all the final details tied up. There is another boat in the travel lift space so I gather my 9:00 a.m. haul-out is in jeopardy. Oh well, I could use some more time to get the boat ready. Means I will be driving at night some to make it to Oriental within the 3 day window. In the meantime, there are several BBQ places in this town that I've been eying. I tried one yesterday for lunch. It was good, but I think there's better. Seems like I'll be here until least lunch. Well, gotta keep on the packing. It's not hard, it just takes continual effort until there's nothing more to do but put on the locks.

Docked at Riverview
11/07/2008, Ft. Pierce, Florida

The photograph is of a man fishing off the beach off the Ft. Pierce inlet. He was actually kind of a jerk and told me to leash the dogs so the picture didn't make the first cut, but I didn't take any pictures today and I needed material. It was a very busy day. Filled up with fuel, did the final pump-out so the head is officially closed, and enjoyed a nice short cruise on perfectly calm water to Riverview. This place is an old school everyman-type marina. Few rules, not altogether organized, people working on their boats, people living on boats while in dry dock, lots of activity with boats going in the water for the season. There is a close-knit community of people who are essentially living here under the guise of getting their boat ready to cruise. The problem is some of them have been doing it for years. Got a ride with new friends to the Hertz outlet about 7 miles away (good thing I didn't try and walk). They are former professionals and now living aboard after having sold the house and most of their worldly possessions. They are happy, as are almost all of the cruisers I've seen. She pointed out at dinner that all the working people drive over the bridges but the cruisers cruise under them. They stress out in traffic on those bridges, we simply do not. Of course, I may very well be driving over the bridge before too much longer... The rental car is really nice. A Mazda small SUV. It will be comfortable and safe to drive the 800 some miles to Oriental. There isn't enough room to take everything I want in the car so a number of things are being left on the boat. I gave away several bags of food and packed several more bags away in the car. I've devoted the entire back seat to the dogs even though the seats fold forward to make more space and I could use the space. It's a long way in the car and I don't want the dogs to suffer. They've been through so much over the last 6 months and have adapted remarkably well. No need to push it. When Jake saw that I was packing the car with our things, he jumped in and refused to leave pretty much all day and part of the night. I guess he's ready to go home. We all are. As I pack to go home the cruisers around me are excitedly getting their boats ready to splash. I've met many cruisers recently and I'm sure if I stayed around for another few weeks I'd meet a ton more. Met a solo sailor who said he had so many friends among the cruisers that he never felt alone. Had new friends over for beers tonight (they don't have a refrigerator in their boat so it was a treat for them). Then they treated me to salad and pizza at the local place down the street. I'm back on the boat now. Still lots to do tomorrow morning. Lots and lots. Don't know if I will be ready by my 9:00 haul out. Some things I can do even after it gets hauled so I should be ok. Once the boat is out of the water, it's too far of a climb for the dogs. They are evidently fine in the car for a while. I need a good night of sleep tonight so I'm going to head off to bed soon. Tomorrow I'll be writing from dry land.

Celebratory Feast
11/07/2008, Ft. Pierce Marina

Yesterday was, among other things, a day of gluttonous eating. Pizza for lunch, grilled shrimp and chicken for dinner. I've been cooking for myself so much over the last 6 months and with the marginal food in the Bahamas, and all the canned food (boat food Rob calls it) I was ready for some American eats. Ate myself into an afternoon nap. Ft. Pierce is a nice town that caters well to boaters. It was pretty busy at the City Marina last night but that didn't keep me up. No, Anne kept me up. I don't know whether it was something she ate or if she got bit by something or if she was sensing something from me, but she threw up in the middle of the night and then couldn't settle herself down for hours. She kept getting up, turning around in circles, laying down, then moving around while laid out. If I left her sight she started whimpering. We took a few walks throughout the night but that didn't help. By morning's light she settled down and now appears fine. I, on the other hand, need to sleep tonight so I can be fresh for the road trip. I'm leaving the dock in a few minutes to drive the boat the short distance to Riverview marina and boat yard. I'll dock there, get the rental car, load up the things I'm taking off the boat, spend the night on the water with the dogs, haul the boat first thing in the morning, and head off. We'll see how that all goes. Should be an exhausting day.

My Last Stop Before Dry Dock


First Light At Faber Cove Anchorage
Nice, but chilly
11/06/2008, Ft. Piere, Florida

I'm in this fully protected anchorage along the inland waterway so it was nearly smooth as glass last night and this morning. When I arrived I spent time on the computer studying boat storage options in the area and finding a rental car. There are basically two places I can store the sailboat without taking down the mast. There is the fancy Harbortown marina and the not so fancy Riverside marina. Harbortown has all sorts of rules and regulations and hoops to jump through before they will store the boat and naturally they are more expensive. Riverside has a do-it-yourself yard for pre-departure boat prep and they offer full service repairs and bottom painting and such as well. I think I'll take the everyman's yard. It turns out that after the fees for hauling, powerwashing, and blocking, their monthly rate is way less expensive than what I was thinking of paying in Daytona Beach when I almost got off the boat after the hurricane and less expensive than what I was paying in Oriental. Rob recommended coming here for storage and he was right about the price. And Ft. Pierce has a class A inlet so it is easy to depart from here to west end, a mere 80some miles. The choices in car rental were similarly limited. All the major car rental companies now have hubs at the New Bern, North Carolina airport but only Hertz was willing to rent a car from here to there. I have it reserved. The largest I could get was a small suv (like a Rav-4 or Tucson). I'm trying to time things out so I can pick-up the car at about noon, pack that afternoon, stay on the boat that night with the dogs, haul the boat first thing in the morning, close it up, and head off for a full day of traveling, stay at a motel (with the dogs), travel another full day to Oriental, stay on the motorhome with the dogs, drive back the next morning to New Bern (with the dogs left on the motorhome), drop off the car, and get a taxi back to Oriental. If I can do the entire operation in three 24 hour days, it saves me like $100 bucks. Not that $100 more matters that much after all it took to get me this far, but I like to create little adventures for myself and... well you know.

Crossing Paths Again
11/06/2008, Near Ft. Pierce, Florida

I spent a second day on the ICW yesterday cruising 20 some miles from Peck Lake to my present anchorage in Faber Cove at Ft. Pierce. The current was with me pretty much the whole way for my last day of cruising on this trip. It was sunny and nice outside with a fresh north breeze against me the whole time just to complete the experience. A few miles from my destination I crossed paths with the Canadian folks I encountered during my first few miles on the ICW two Octobers ago. When last we met while anchored on a wall in Virginia they invited me onto their boat for lunch and we spent time together later that evening on my boat. There is a picture of them in the blog aboard Tropical Dreamer. They invited me once again to follow them back to the Bahamas but again I declined. Even through I'm once again getting off the cruising path while the rest of the cruisers head south along the water road to paradise, I'm content with what I've done so far and ready to embark on new adventures, whatever they may be. As I turned off the ICW towards last night's anchorage I saw dolphins ahead, always a good sign.

Peck Lake Landing (Please Don't Tell The Authorities)
Sunny but increasing wind

It got down to 60 degrees last night. I almost had to put on a second blanket. When I awoke the sun was up and there was dew all over the outside of the boat. I turned on National Public Radio to hear about President Obama's victory. We are definitely turning a new leaf and I look forward to what the change will bring to the US and the world. There are a lot more boats traversing the waterway than when I departed four months ago. Lots more sailboats especially. Many are probably headed for the Bahamas or the Keys or Dry Tortugas or points further south. I don't envy them. I've had my cruise for now and I'm quite content about what I've done and experienced. My mom asked me why I'm not taking the boat back up to Oriental, where the motorhome is located. I explained that I didn't want to motor all the way back up there some 750-800 miles (three weeks of cruising hard every day at least) and that it was going to get colder and colder and that would become very uncomfortable. The north winds in central Florida are chilly enough to put on a long sleeved shirt or two during the day. But I think the main reason is that I want to keep it in southern, Florida. That way it's only a day or two of ICW cruising to the easiest departure point to the northern, Bahamas and a cruise down to the Keys or points further south is readily available. This boat is really perfect for Bahamas cruising, with its relatively shallow draft and combination of nimbleness and toughness. It's also relatively cheap and easy to maintain. Time will tell, but Tropical Dreamer is not going back north just yet, if ever.

Back To The ICW
Clear and Windy
11/04/2008, Peck Lake, Central Florida

The picture shows the last bridge before Lake Worth inlet and the first bridge that I went through to get back to the ICW today. I departed this morning from the Rivera City Marina to my present location, Peck Lake. I stopped at Peck Lake prior to picking up my cousin, which was just before the departure for the Bahamas almost two months ago. Unlike the first time I was here, there are several boats anchored tonight. Unlike my first visit, there are north winds gusting over 20 mph tonight. In the Bahamas that would be uncomfortable but in the intercoastal waterway (or the inland waterway as the internationals call it) it is no problem. Prior to my present adventure I would have been nervous in these conditions. Now it is worry free. I know the anchor will hold just fine and the motion of the boat tonight will be rather minimal in spite of the winds. Likely it will calm overnight and pick up again over the day. I need to take the dingy off of the bow and put it into the water so I can bring the dogs to shore. I may get to doing that tonight or I may do it tomorrow morning. The dogs will be ok either way. It's actually nice to be back in the ICW and the relatively calm, protected water, but it's not as adventurous as the open ocean. That's ok tonight. It's like the Bahamas adventure is just a memory and the ICW experience I had for over two months is back on. I'm heading past Port St. Lucie to Ft. Pierce to find a reasonable place to store the sailboat and to find a rental van to take to North Carolina. Of course, the winds were from the north all day. That mean they were against me. When I came this way last they were from the south, also against me. Fortunately the universal diesel has worked like a champ to get us this far. The sun sets earlier these days due to mother nature and the changing around of the time by society a few days ago. It is almost dark now. Three months ago there was still a few hours of light at this time of day. No matter, I can dingy to shore in the middle of the night if need be based on what I've experienced in the last few months. By this time tomorrow I will be in Ft. Pierce and looking for a place to store the sailboat. Just like this was my last night of remote anchorage on the ICW before arriving in the Palm Beach area it is my last remote anchorage before arriving in the area where I will store the boat until the next sailing adventure. Thanks for the kind and supportive comments. It means so much.

The Crossing Back To Florida
11/04/2008, Somewhere in the Gulf Stream

We left at 11:00 p.m. and headed out as a three boat group into the darkness. One of the boats immediately went his separate way and Rob and I continued on as buddy boats. After about 45 minutes Rob's little engine needed refueling and he decided that he had enough wind to just sail. I tried turning off my engine and sure enough so did I. Sailing out to sea in the pitch darkness with only the stars providing light - it was amazing. We continued that way for several hours as the night turned into early morning. Rob's engine wouldn't start again and he wound up sailing the entire way back. About 2/3 of the way he decided to divert to West Palm and I followed for safety. I sailed and motorsailed, the light came up, and by mid-morning I could see the buildings of West Palm. It was a lumpy ride as you can see, but nothing dangerous. The boat handled it fine. Jake and Anne did well and so did I. I got stopped and boarded by the police just as I entered the inlet, but nothing came of it. Rob's girlfriend came last night and we all went to their hotel to shower and clean up and then Rob took me out to dinner for Mexican food as thanks for sticking by him during the crossing. Fell immediately to sleep when I returned to the boat and now I am rested and ready to clear customs and immigration this morning and then to work my way to storing the boat and getting us a rental van to travel to North Carolina and the Rebounder. Then its another cross-country trip to Tucson, perhaps stopping in Omaha along the way to visit family. Lots still to do but at least the hard part should be over. I actually enjoyed the crossing and wouldn't mind longer ocean sailing trips in the future.


Singer Family Adventures
Port: Tucson, Arizona
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