01/16/2011, Stuart, FL
I ran a few errands today. Running errands when you live on a boat is not like running errands from a land based home. The first thing I had to do was get from the boat to shore. Since Bud and Fuzzy were staying aboard, that meant my first solo in the dinghy. Oh great, and I got to go to the crowded dock. Luckily there was a pretty big empty space along the inside of the dock and I putted around the end of the dock, along the empty space, grabbed the dock and flipped the engine into neutral like I knew what I was doing.
Next I had to check out a bike. The marina had bikes you can borrow for free, so that seemed easier than hauling one of ours ashore. Off I went. I needed to go to the hardware store, the drug store, and, of course, West Marine. The drug store would fill Bud's prescription, but it would take a while. Happily they were just a block from West Marine, so I said I'd go there and stop back for the prescription. Simple enough, except that one of the things we wanted from West Marine (besides the correct rearming kit for my PFD) was a cart to haul groceries, etc. back to the boat. They no longer carried a cart with big wheels, but they had a hand truck and a collapsible crate that could be bungeed to it, so I got those.
Now I had to figure out how to carry them back on the bike. I asked for a piece of rope to tie them together and they gave me about 6 feet. I put my bag in the basket and tied the crate and hand truck on top of it. It was a bit wobbly, but I used the bike cable to hold it a bit better. Once I got back to the drug store, I managed to get part of the cable around a post to lock the whole thing up. I was worried about my things being stolen, but actually it looked like the set up of a homeless person, and probably too pathetic for anyone to bother. Prescription filled I came out and reloaded and retied everything. This time I got it more secure and better balanced, which was good because I realized I'd forgotten to get a circuit breaker we needed at West Marine. So back I went.
I finally checked the bike back in at 11:55. I'd taken it at 9:16 and gone to three stores within about 2-and-a-half miles of the marina. And I still had to take all the stuff to the dinghy and get it loaded. Then I had to get the dinghy out of there. The dock was now crowded, really crowded. I had to kneel in the bow and drag the dinghy out past the others until I got to the end and had enough space to actually move with the engine. I made it without mishap and soon was back aboard.
Still, I probably had the better part of it today. While I was gone Bud got to rebuild the other toilet. This one needed a shaft replaced to stop a leak. He was just finishing up when I got back. After he was done we started up the generator and turned on the water heater. Bud took a shower and I did up a day and a half's worth of dishes.
We spent the afternoon sitting out in the cockpit trimming poor Fuzzy again. We need to trim him a lot because it's hard to get enough off. We're slow and he runs out of patience. This time after a lot of scissor trimming we actually used the clippers and took him down to less than an inch all over. We are hopeful we'll be in warm weather now. While we were working on Fuzzy one of our fellow mooring field residents stopped by in his dinghy. He also has a Norseman 447. It's the first person we've met with one. We had a nice talk, him standing in his dinghy hanging on to our gunnel and us in the cockpit. We invited him aboard, but he had to run (so to speak). We promised to get together before we left Stuart to exchange information and tour each others boats.
We ended up eating supper at the little café in the photo. They let Fuzzy sit with us outside. It's just under the new high bridge for US 1 that runs right by the Marina. Like many of these bridges we've seen in Florida, this one has a fishing pier built underneath it. That connects to the riverwalk and that connects to the café. I put a picture of the pier in the gallery. It was starting to get a little cool while we ate, but all in all, it's been lovely.
01/15/2011, Sunset Bay Marina and Anchorage
We arrived at Sunset Bay Marina and Anchorage at about 2 PM today. We didn't leave Vero Beach until 7:30 because we waited until almost sunrise to take Fuzzy ashore in the dinghy, as we have no navigation lights for the dinghy yet. Once back on board leaving was pretty quick. No power to disconnect, no dock lines to release and no worrying about getting away from the dock. We did have to take the gas can off the dinghy and tip the outboard up. Then we moved it to tow from the stern, Bud fired up the engine on Earendil, and I uncleated and dropped the mooring pendant.
We weren't too worried about the time as this was the shortest leg from St. Augustine to Stuart. We did bump the bottom twice today, after I made the comment yesterday that the ICW hadn't given us any problems in Florida. Just as we were nearing the St. Lucie Inlet we passed a Coast Guard barge putting up a new day mark. Not long after we went by them, they finished and started to come our way. Bud was keeping to the starboard side of the channel to let them pass to port. He was still 30 feet inside the channel when we bumped the bottom for the first time. It made Bud very nervous, but the Coast Guard barge passed us safely.
Then we made the turn from the ICW to the St. Lucie River to come up to Stuart. The information I had said to keep to the south side of the channel from Red 4 to Red 6 (markers). We were just passing Red 2 and going slowly to allow some boats to pass so Bud could move further out into the channel before Red 4 when we bumped again. This time it was more worrisome to me, we were going slowly and bumped at least twice; I was afraid we might get stuck. But we didn't and had no more trouble. After the inlet there seemed to be no more shoaling on the 7 or so miles of the St. Lucie we traversed.
This marina is very nice. We are again at a mooring ball, it was warm enough today that I was in short sleeves a couple of times. It's a big marina with a lot of mooring balls and a crowded dinghy dock. I guess we can put up with that kind of traffic jam. The photo above is of the marina taken from the sidewalk of the bascule bridge we came under on our way in. I put a photo of the mooring field from our place in it and one of the traffic at the dinghy dock in the gallery.
We'll be here until a package we ordered arrives. It is due in on Tuesday afternoon. We also have that vet appointment for Fuzzy on Monday, and some shopping to do (we need a light for the dinghy, for one thing). We'll have a taste of the life to come, commuting from boat to shore in the dinghy. It should be interesting.
01/14/2011, Vero Beach, Florida
We woke up early as usual. We got ready and left as soon as it was light; the days are getting longer here, we were off the dock just before 7 AM and it was already light enough to see. We had a pretty uneventful run. The ICW here is reasonably well maintained so there were no shallow areas.
Towards the end of the day we came through what must be the beginning, or an outlier, of the gold coast, as the waterway was lined with huge, beautiful homes. We got to Vero Beach at about 3:30 and decided it was warm enough to moor out on the water. This was the first time we've ever used a mooring ball. Aside from a tense couple of minutes waiting for the marina to get back to us on the radio and then finding the correct ball, it went smoothly. I was able to snag their pendant line with a boathook and cleat it on our bow and the boat seems to be sitting happily.
We deployed the ladder, set up the dinghy with gas and lifejackets (Fuzzy got to wear his, he was so happy) loaded ourselves in it and off we went. It was the first time Fuzzy had been in the dinghy, the first time I'd been in it with an engine, and the first time more than one person had been in it. No problems. (Well, one little problem, the self-stick numbers we bought at West Marine are falling off; we're going to have to get stencils and paint.)
We hung around the marina office for a while waiting for the folks to register us (the mooring ball cost just under $15, and includes use of the dinghy dock, bathrooms and laundry). While we were waiting a number of people walked by in shorts and t-shirts. I still had on a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, and my foul weather jacket. I was a little too warm; it felt great!
After Fuzzy walked and we registered we motored back to Earendil. Bud made me take us back so I'd learn to use the dinghy. I made him take the picture of Earendil at her mooring. We both did a pretty good job, but I had trouble turning the outboard sharply without also turning the throttle, so I was a little jerky.
I've added a few more photos to the gallery, including one of the little houses we saw and me at the helm of the dink.
01/13/2011, Merritt Island, FL
We came to our senses this morning. It was windier and colder than yesterday. Our next stop with an agenda is Stuart. We are going to try out the mooring field at the Sunset Bay Marina, as recommended by Jon & Arline. We wouldn't get there until Friday, so I called the vet they told us about and got Fuzzy an appointment to get ready for the Bahamas for Monday morning. We realized we would make no progress towards our next big goal, which is to get to the Bahamas and hopefully find Jon and Arline, by getting to Stuart on Friday instead of Saturday. And since this marina is comfortable, if basic, and really cheap, we decide to stay here and stay warm one more day.
It was nice to stay mostly in the boat through the cold morning. I didn't even take a shower, since they are not heated here. We didn't exactly take it easy. I ordered and downloaded our next set of electronic charts for the computer and did three loads of wash, including the sheets and blankets. Bud put the extra 15 gallons of diesel we've been carrying since Wilson into the tanks and polished the fuel. He rebuilt the aft toilet so that is now flushing correctly. (The photo is Bud working on the toilet base. Yes, that's a TV outside at the work area of the marina, not sure what it's there for.) We both worked on combing and trimming Fuzzy and then I gave him a bath.
At about 5 PM, when I figured the building had warmed up as much as it was going to, I took a shower. Bud is also showering now (he felt dirty after that toilet rebuild). Now neither of us will have to shower in the cold in the morning and we'll be able to take off pretty early. We want to cover most of the rest of the distance to Stuart tomorrow, as Vero Beach has a mooring field that gets high marks on the "Active Captain" web site, and we'd like to stay there. We'll see if that happens
01/12/2011, Canaveral Barge Canal, Merritt Island, FL
The best part of today was when our daughter, Jamie, called to say she'd gotten her score and passed her Step II Medical Licensing Exam. Yeah!! All her work and my help and all the help of our friends paid off.
As for the rest of the day, at least it was sunny. We left the dock at 6:45 AM in a north wind with a wind chill of about 26. We left that early because we wanted to get past the NASA Causeway lift bridge, and it's closed from 3:30 until 5. It was 55 miles from the marina to that bridge. Leaving early worked out, we made the bridge, but it was deadly cold until after 11 AM. Bud had on a pair of cloth gloves under his winter gloves and wore his work boots because his feet were cold in his boat shoes. He also wore a balaclava, another regular knit hat over it and pulled the hood of his foul weather jacket over it all. It really felt like the coldest day we've had on the boat. We're not even in North Florida any more; this is Central Florida!
Still, it was sunny and the pelicans and dolphins continue to entertain us. The boat is running fine. Best of all I found a cheap marina so we have power one more night. (It's actually supposed to be colder tonight than last night.) We ended up making 60 nautical miles today. We are better than half way to Stuart, so we have two easier days left. We've been towing the dinghy for two days and have yet to use it. Maybe tomorrow.
01/11/2011, Daytona Beach
We finally got going today. We asked a guy from the marina to help us with the lines, Bud was still a bit worried about prop walk and hitting the very nice boat next to us. We had no trouble backing out of the slip and at 7:30 AM were on our way. It was misty enough that you could feel the droplets in the air, and it was only in the upper 30's. I was in four layers with full foul weather gear and gloves.
The first thing I did was test my inflatable PFD. It wasn't on my list of things to do today, but when I was coiling the stern line I managed to get it caught on the manual pull-tab on my inflatable life vest and WHOOSH! It scared me, but it was nice to see that it worked. Bud thought it was hilarious and took my picture. Of course, now I need to rearm it or it is useless.
We are staying in the ICW because the inlets that are navigable are so far apart that we can't easily get from one to the other. Besides, today there was no wind (one extreme to the other - I thought we'd left those fluky winds behind at Lake Ontario). It stayed cold all day long. Finally, about 1 PM, the sun came out. I took my gloves and foul weather pants off and as long as I stayed behind the dodger and out of the wind I was almost warm.
We are at another marina. I needed to get the carbon dioxide cylinder to rearm my life vest and since it's supposed to get down to 34 with a wind chill of 26 I voted for a marina again. We could run the generator to heat the boat, but we'd still have a cold dinghy ride to take Fuzzy ashore and go shopping. So we are at Halifax Harbor Marina, the municipal marina for Daytona, and I went to the West Marine that is right at the marina. Happily, we needed a few other things besides the rearming kit, because I just tried to fix my PFD and I have the wrong kit. (I also didn't figure that out until step 6 of 7 and when I tried to put the little pieces back in the box I broke a tiny plastic spindle, so I guess I own this rearming kit.)
Tomorrow we are getting up early and again pushing south. It doesn't look like we can get far enough to escape the cold. We may get a reprieve by Friday, when we hope to arrive in Stuart. By then this cold snap will be lessening and we will be far enough south that it may actually start to feel like Florida.