A little hitchhiker
Mike and Kathy
11/15/2008, Vero Beach, Florida
November 13th... Vero Beach, Fl
Mike and Kathy
11/13/2008, Vero Beach, Florida
Side note: When we were offshore on our way to Fort Pierce, we had a little bird hitchhike on the back of the boat for a while. He/she was good company and we forgot to mention it the other day. We actually forgot until we downloaded some pictures.
Our main task today was to replace our bilge pump...probably the single most daunting task that we had to deal with in the last 16 months of traveling. The aft 6 feet of our keel is hollow( it's about 10 inches wide) and at the very bottom is the bilge pump, about 3 feet beyond my reach when I am crammed sideways into the basement of our boat. Through the hollow area, from front to back, runs out prop shaft.
After about an hour, I was able to work the old pump up and past the prop shaft by pulling on the discharge hose with one had and turning the slimy pump upside down with the other.
By then I was filthy and had to get cleaned up before taking the bus to West Marine for a replacement.
I was back at it by about 1:30 and got all the wiring in place.... but try as I may, could not get the pump to sit upright in the bottom of the bilge area. I tried everything I knew but failed. Nancy was supposed to be picking us up at 3:30 so I quit and we headed ashore for showers and a load of laundry to do at their condo.
The condo was really nice and we had a great time with Jim, Nancy, Jay, and Di who joined us for dinner also.
When we couldn't eat anymore without pain...and the laundry finished, Jim and Nancy drove us across town to the marina ...
November 12th, Wednesday Vero Beach, FL
We wasted lots of time this morning but finally got it in gear to make the 11am bus to town. (I did make a batch of marinara sauce for dinner at some point in there.)We got off at West Marine to look at bilge pumps before walking across the street to Publix for some vegetables and fruit. Our bus was running late so instead of taking it back to the marina we got to ride into the transfer point in town before making our return trip. Local color is always interesting.
My afternoon was spent ordering spare parts and reading while Kathy worked on ordering a few items from various places on the computer.
I talked to Dave for a few minutes about hunting .... But he seems to have it under control.
We had a very nice dinner of spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad.
November 11th, Tuesday Fort Pierce to Vero Beach, Fl
Happy Birthday Carol!
Happy Veterans Day!
Two other boats had spent the night with us but one was gone when we awoke and the other was on it's way shortly after. We made our requisite pot of coffee and checked the weather via computer. For breakfast I made cheese grits topped with a poached egg. Steve got a box of free grits while watching a Redskins game at a bar last week in Charleston and shared it with us. Now as most of you from north of the Mason Dixon know, grits are nothing more than mush...but if you jazz them up a little make "good eats" In this case I cooked the grits with a little extra salt and dump in a cup of sharp cheddar. Then poached two eggs and wala... a tasty breakfast
Our anchor was hauled at about 9:30 and we headed north for the first time in weeks, to Vero Beach. Motoring on the ICW for 14 miles seemed strange after our a week in the Ocean but in no time we were rafted to "Solitaire" on mooring number 45. We plan to be here for at least three weeks.
The afternoon was spent reading... I finished Cork Boat which was passed along by Bill and Christy last summer. If you can deal with nonfiction with an emotional bend, I send my recommendation. Kathy is working through a Grisham book that she doesn't seem to put down much.
We lowered the dinghy and went to shore to check in and check things out. All seems about the same here. We took a little ride around the mooring field to see who's here and then went back to the boat to wait for Jim and Nancy to come out for a visit. They came from their condo for a visit before dark and we made plans to get together on Thursday.
Finally warming up
11/13/2008, Fort Pierce, FL
November 10th, Monday .... Ft. Pierce, Florida
I slept like a log and was back in true form by 7:30 am. Kathy decided that we were going to do nothing today and for the most part that's what happened. I read a book that "Veranda" had slid our way last summer. I also logged into Cruiseheimers again today but didn't seem to have as good a signal as yesterday. Propagation was not so good but I am not as sure that we have fixed the problem. I worked on the ground plane a little, attaching our foil ground to the dynaplate (I know I've lost a few of you...sorry) and hope to improve on our transmissions. Time will tell if we are making progress.
Tomorrow we will move a couple of hours north to Vero Beach for a few weeks of boat work, bus rides, provisioning, and visiting friends before moving toward the Bahamas again.
November 8 & 9th.... Cumberland Island, GA to Fort Pierce, FL
Sapphire and Fine Lion were underway at daylight, which these days is about 6:15, and made our way out of the Fernandina Inlet. We had wind enough for sailing for a few hours but all too soon were forced to motor sail as it clocked to the north. Once again the seas were very moderate with waves in the 2 foot range.
We set a way point off Cape Canaveral 150 miles away and got out our books.
As a few of you are aware, our new SSB radio has never really worked as it should. One of my tasks in the next month here in the States is to get it working up to speed. We have been able to receive, but when transmitting we've always had a very week signal forcing others to relay messages for us.
One of the possible problem areas is the connection between the antenna and the tuner which is on the deck and in the weather. On our trip down from Charleston the water was so quiet that I could work on deck and spent some time tearing apart that connection. Our antenna is actually inside a line which is stretched to the top of our mast using a spare halyard. The core of a ½ inch braided rope was removed and the antenna wire inserted. The connection at the base of the rope is made by a small plug which is then slid into the rope.
To check things out I had to open a spot in the braided line and work the plug back through. In the process, the end of the plug attached to the antenna came off. After further investigation it was apparent that the plug had never been properly attached. It had been stuck on but someone failed to crimp the plug to the wire.
It took about 10 minutes to fix the problem and get the plug inserted back in the braided line.
To test the transmission side of the radio we had to wait until 8:30 to log into Cruiseheimers which is a loosely knit group of cruisers who keep track of each other via SSB or Ham. I went down and to the Nav station, dialed in the right frequency, and when they got the section asking for vessels underway, logged in without a problem.
Maybe we have things right. A few more tests and we'll know for sure.
Our afternoon was spent listening to the Michigan State Football game and then the Iowa Penn State game. Iowa picked the wrong day for us to pull an upset out of their collective butts... but even at 9 and 3 the Spartans should go to a real bowl game.
The moon was out during the night which is always nice... even though it makes things harder to see. As we approached Cape Canaveral I came on watch after resting for a few hours to see two lights quite close on our starboard side. Kathy didn't know if they were moving or anchored but seemed to be keeping their distance.
As the hours went by and the two light grew closer, I realized that we were not looking at ships at sea but at launch pads on shore.
Before daylight, rounding the Cape, the wind picked up from the north and we were out far enough that the Gulf Stream was affecting us as well. The opposing forces of north bound current and south bound wind make the seas pile up into square choppy waves of considerable height and for a few hours we were in the middle of things. As soon as we rounded the Cape and got out of the edge of the Gulf Stream, the seas calmed down although they still rolled us around all the way to Fort Pierce 56 miles further down the road.
We arrived and were anchored in Fort Pierce at about 2 pm. after a 32 hour trip.
"Fine Lion" went to shore to scout out possible diner sites... but their report was not exciting so we decided to whip up some collective hors d'oevres and call it good. We are heading north to Vero Beach from here while they push on to Bahamas. Steve and Kim have been great folks to travel with and we look forward to finding them again in the winter.