Mike and Kathy
January 3, 2008
Back in Vero...
We had a wonderful time visiting our families and friends in Michigan over the holidays. Sadly, we didn't get to see everyone we wanted, but I guess that is to be expected with everyone coming and going during Christmas.
We are preparing in earnest now for our trip across the Gulf Stream but the high pressure system that is controlling our weather currently will give us a few days to work. It looks like this system will hold on for at least four or five more days. The weather here is cold with temps in the mid 30's the last two mornings and constant north winds of about 20 kts.. Our propane furnace (which hasn't been used at all this trip) has been working like a champ.
Yesterday we stowed all the provisions that were purchased before our departure for Michigan and I finished the SSB installation. Last night we listened to BBC radio and this morning to the Cruzheimer's Net. We even checked into the net to test our transmission and ....everything worked.
Today we are going to attempt to hook up the radio modem which will allow us to send email via the radio.
It was very cold and mostly cloudy in Michigan. Mike took some pictures in of snow and we will post some in the gallery. We even went to the beach in Saugatuck!
The beach is for the birds in this weather
12/18/2007, Vero Beach, Florida
Actually, it wasn't bad at the beach today!
Ok...So most of have figured out that we are kind of in limbo here in Vero Beach and with no traveling it's hard to get fired up about blog entries. We have a long list of projects to be completed and I am happy to report that we knocking a few of them off every day. Some days we go to town which tends to be an all day proposition. ... making lists, getting our backpack organized for the trip, bailing the dinghy, pumping the dingy tubes a little because of a slow leak that I have been unable to locate, motoring to the marina which is about ¾ mile away, finding a place to tie up, waiting for the bus, taking the first bus to the transfer station, switching busses, then riding to Walmart or the Mall, shopping, loading our goods into our backpacks... and doing everything again in reverse order.
I have been up the mast with the "Top Climber" and learned quite a bit about it's operation. We have wired our new radio including copper foil grounds and ground plane ...and are currently waiting for the antenna to fire it up. We sold some things on eBay and have to get them in the mail tomorrow. Luckily there is a packaging store just down the street. I have been playing my new guitar and tonight played with some folks at the marina... it was fun and I kept up.
We do listen to basketball and monitor webcams in Lansing and Crystal... the webcams are like snooping but it's fun to see winter from a distance.
We are going to meet Kathy's cousin (who lives here) tomorrow (Wednesday) for a real tour of the town...and will complete our packing.
The first real cold front has moved through central Florida... with highs only in the 60s for a couple of days. It actually a pleasant change. I think that today we will walk to the beach and see if they have anything to sell us there....although it's doubtful.
I do have one interesting occurrence to report. One of our many projects where here was to ship our Navman units in for repair. During the last year the LCD displays have not been showing complete numbers. Sometimes they are fine, but sometimes only part of a number with be shown. The problem has been getting worse the last few weeks... so I called the listed repair number.
After a few missed attempts, I finally spoke with an associate and explained what was happening as well as our circumstance ... getting the repaired units back by the first of year was critical. She explained that she doubted that our time frame could be met because they were closing the shop between Christmas and New Years. She also mentioned that ours was not an uncommon problem and that I should speak with her supervisor . She forwarded my call to his office where I was asked to leave a message. I explained our situation again for the recorder and hug up.
Later that day I received a call from yet a third person with the news that the supervisor had ask him to call to get our address in Vero so that they could ship us new displays. He went on to say that there was no need to ship the malfunctioning units but to just toss them in the trash. There were no questions like ... where did you purchase the units, or when were the units purchased.... just ....we'll make it right.
We look forward to seeing some of you in a few days...bye.
12/12/2007, Vero Beach, Florida
Vero Saturday.. December 8
We left the boat about 9am to get on the bus at the marina office. We got a tour of Vero Beach (no stores there) and then went west over the Indian River to the city proper. Rick, Linda, Kathy and I got off at a West Marine and made a few purchases then crossed the street and got on another bus to Walmart. After spending a couple of hours there we took yet another bus to the transfer station and switched again to the bus that returned us to the Marina. It sounds complicated but really isn't. All bus routes are ½ hour long (there are about 8) and all busses meet at the transfer station on the hour and the half hour.
By the time we made it back to the boat it was time to relax and think about making something for supper. However, someone had the bright idea that we should dinghy to a nearby restaurant/bar for dinner instead. So after listening to the miserable first half of the MSU/BYU game, we (Sapphire, Sojourner, and Shin Ay) were off. We had a nice time and great hamburgers...which were served with black beans and rice?????
Vero Sunday...December 9
After coffee we pulled the dinghy up to the foredeck and I worked on locating and patching leaks. Meanwhile Kathy worked on polishing the stainless trying to stay ahead of the rust. The dinghy had rubbed on some cement and worn a small hole through the pvc. It was not too hard to fix and I repatched a couple of older bad spots. We really need a new dinghy but are hoping to get through the winter with this old one.
Shin Ay left for Lake Worth this morning so we're down to two boats on our mooring.
In the afternoon, Rick and I went in to the club house and watched some football while Kathy and Linda cleaned boats and washed salt off our ports.
We marinated a port tenderloin, which Rick grilled, to accompany a salad, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.
Vero Monday ...December 10
Rick and Linda were off shopping early trying to fill their boat before heading south to Lake Worth to wait for a proper weather window for crossing to the Bahamas. I worked on getting some stuff out on eBay for sale since we're going to be here for 10 days or so. It rained on and off most of the day.
Sojourner left about noon and I finished up about 2pm. We took a dinghy ride to purchase some gasoline and to check the mail and later followed the channel into Vero Beach with its nice homes.
We planked some chicken on the grill along with fresh asparagus. The chicken was wonderful and we will be looking for more planks.
Vero Tuesday... December 11
Our main goal for the was to get some laundry done. We went to shore at abut 10am and found the place packed so we bailed. I replaced a Y valve that allows us now to pump sewage overboard ...it was one of those jobs that was done by feel. There were three 1 ½ hoses with clamps that I never saw...what a pain.
Our second try at laundry at about 2pm was more productive... although still busy, we managed to get three loads done. I am reasonably sure that we have way too many clothes on board.
Before leaving the Marina, I checked the mail and found that my new Bahamas electronic charts had arrived. We picked up some ice... (it was over 80 today) and headed back to spend the rest of the day reading.
For the second night there are no boats rafted with us... all of the other mooring balls have at least two boats, but as the furthest mooring from the marina I suppose we're in the cheap seats and used as overflow.
Sitting here in cockpit, looking to the west into a pink setting sun, we see only mangrove islands and no sign of civilization.