13 January 2010 | Vero Beach, FL
Beth / positively warm in midafternoon!
We can see how Vero Beach has earned its nickname - Velcro beach. It's extrememly well set up for cruising visitors. From the protected harbour with heavy duty moorings that will hold 3 boats, to the free bus service to town and the beach, to the large library with free wifi and lots of options for activities, to the Fresh Market, Publix, West Marine, Walmart (all accessible by bus) to the theatre and arts centre and the fitness trail that are within walking distance, it's a place to stay a few days, or weeks, or even months if one is so inclined. I met a couple in the laundry room this morning who are in the last category. They are on a mooring ball near us and plan to stay the winter. Another couple has been travelling south for years and now pull into a slip here and spend the winter. There are many more of us though, who are still on the move - staying long enough to meet friends, shop, wait out weather before venturing onward. We were delighted to see Kolibrie (another Bayfield 36) and several other familiar boats in the harbour. As we dinghy back and forth to the dock we say, "Oh, we last saw that boat in ..." and sometimes I leaf back through the pages of my boat card book from the 2007/08 cruise and there it is!
We got here on Monday afternoon, intending to stay a couple of days and already we've been lulled into a couple more. Steve and Sandra (Princess) were waving as we went past the docks and we weren't long getting the dinghy in the water and going ashore to see them. It was the first time we'd set foot on land since Thursday noon and it felt good. First stop was the showers and, oh boy, those felt good too! We enjoyed a yummy spicy pork and greens dinner with them before dinghying back to the north end to bed.
On Tuesday, Steve, Jim and I rode the bus to a local breakfast place near Publix (it was a number - I'll have to look when the bus goes by!) where the eggs and bacon with home fries, toast and coffee are $2.99! (and everyone else there had a good 15 years on us) Next stop was the public library where I got a card that allows me to use my own computer on their wifi system - and borrow books too, of course. The place was filled with people - just like a library should be.
Princess left her slip and rafted up next to us for the night before the 2 crews went off to explore the trail along the waterfront and get some exercise. By the time we got back (knowing that our achy muscles had been out of practice), we moved into host mode.
We were happy to host our first cockpit party of the trip. Our neighbours, Steve and Sandra (Princess), Karin and Ed (Passages) and Barb and Mike (Nelleke) joined us for the first occasion when it was warm enough to sit in the cockpit for happy hour. As always, the combined food was delicious (we coveted the pecan sauce on cream cheese and wished Barb had been able to tell us of a source closer than Beaufort), the conversation was lively as we shared experiences and plans, and by the time the evening ended we really felt like we were cruising again instead of just getting to where we'd be living the cruising life.
Princess left for points south on Wednesday morning, and we spent the day doing laundry, filling the propane tank and making a trip to Fresh Market - stocked with delectable produce and gourmet foods. (Speaking of propane, we are very happy we bought that new tank in Fernandina Beach because the last one ran out in the middle of dinner preparations on Sunday night. As Jim says, it would have been even frostier than usual on Madcap if we'd had to go without a hot dinner, heat and morning coffee!)
Tuesday night was cold again but Wednesday's sun warmed things up considerably. Tonight we'll join a number of other cruisers at Waldo's - a beach place that has free live music.
(The pic is from our stern looking back through the north mooring field)