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Two If By Sea
Always Making Improvements
04/19/2014, Stuart, FL

When getting ready to cruise, it is important to test the boat's systems and equipment. Then, if needed, you have time to make repairs or replacements. This year, we, or I, did not check two items. As I noted several days ago, after leaving, I discovered that our handheld GPS no longer worked. After having it for over ten years, this seemed reasonable. Therefore, I purchased a new, updated version through Amazon.

I recently discovered that our Toshiba television also had quit working. Today, it is not uncommon to have a television on board. Patty and I don't use the television when out on short trips. However, when we are out for a month or more, we like to keep up with the news and a few of our weekly shows. So, after having been out for over two weeks, we thought we would turn it on. Nothing! After playing with it, I got it to power up, but could not change channels, there was no sound even after I finally got the volume button to move the loudness scale, and the remote did not work. I was not able to activate the menu button to try to reset the television. So, off to Walmart on the marina shuttle bus and back to the boat with a new Vizio 23" television that works. The only drawback is that channel selection is very limited to over-the-air signals. No cable out on a mooring ball!

Weatherwise, we are now looking at leaving here on Tuesday. It did finally rain hard early this morning and more is predicted this evening. The radar shows it's out there, but not here.

Weather 101
04/17/2014, Stuart, FL

Thursday has come and gone and we are still in Stuart. This past week it appeared that the prediction for Thursday was 10-15 mph out of the East, with a chance of showers. Considering our recent weather, this would be fine for traveling to Vero Beach. By Wednesday evening, this had changed. Now, the prediction for today was 15-20 mph out the East with 70% chance of rain. We checked the radar around 6:00 am and it showed several cells coming in over our route on the Indian River and Ft. Pierce. As the sun came up, the skies were ominous. This picture does not accurately depict what we saw. With no need to go to Vero and preferring Stuart if the weather came as predicted, we called Bob and Mary and said we were staying put. No argument on their part. Did I mention a chance of thunderstorms Friday and Saturday with locally heavy rain?

We had ideal weather crossing Florida. After we arrived in Stuart, a cold front came through, which is not unusual for this time of year. Such a front is preceded by rainy weather and then it is followed by cooler, drier temperatures. This did not happen. As it sometimes occurs, the front stalled over southern Florida. This results in cloudy skies, wind and threats of rain. Then a stalled front will move back north, pulling warm, humid air with it. More clouds, wind and rain. Reportedly, another cold front is due to pass through this weekend. When is it going to stop?

Last Tuesday, while sitting in the cockpit, I turned and looked upriver. There was a wall of rain speeding down the river. We had about two minutes to get ready for it. As we watched it go through, Patty saw one light dinghy behind another boat completely in the air, upside down. In all, it lasted about 15 minutes.

We are beginning to question why we come to the East Coast at all. It is very difficult to plan our trip north as we don't know when to leave, how long to get there, and how to return to the West Coast. Bill and Patty have even tried to convince us to cross to the Bahamas with them. If we can't even leave here, how is there ever going to be a suitable window to cross?

Does it sound like I'm venting? Well, I am. Fortunately, Stuart is a great area to wait out weather. We just don't want to live here.

04/17/2014 | Jan
If it makes you feel any better, the weather's not cooperating on the west coast either... :( Cheers! J&D
04/17/2014 | Carol & Gil
It's hard to wait..we remember...but you are still lucky to be doing it. We miss it. Good luck
04/18/2014 | Marilyn
Enjoying reading your blog! Be grateful you don't have to shovel snow... The bay covers with ice each night and then breaks up in the wind and sun. Still have a lot of solid ice over 2' thick. No bugs here - which is hard on the birds which have already arrived. Poor robins are surviving on dessicated crab apples. Enjoy each day. Marilyn & Glen
The Decision Has Been Made
04/13/2014, Stuart, FL

There is a reason this is called Sunset Bay Marina. Other than Regatta Pointe Marina in Palmetto, the sunsets here are unsurpassed by any. The boat shownhere is Bill and Patty's Renaissance, a Dutch Flyer 32.

Today being Sunday, it's Farmers' Market Day. We went, expecting it to be as before. However, we were surprised to find that, at least for this weekend, it was a craft fair with at least ten times the normal number of booths. They were located all down the main downtown street and then some. We love Stuart!

The weather for today called for NE winds of around 20 mph and 40% chance of rain. We certainly had the wind, gusting to 25. Fortunately, it was from the east, so that water was basically flat. No rain.

The decision has been made. No Bahamas. The weather through next week has no weather window to attempt a crossing. The wind prediction is either north, northeast, or east with seas three-to-five feet. Not good. For that matter, the prediction is not good for leaving Stuart until Wendesday with a southerly wind direction. That would be good for heading north. This still gives us plenty of time for a trip up to St. Augustine and then return to Punta Gorda.

As many of you know, Stuart is a great place, but it is time to move on.

End-Of-Season Picnic
04/12/2014, Stuart, FL

Yesterday afternoon late was the marina's annual end-of-season boaters' appreciation picnic. Other than no music, which I believe we had two years ago, the only missing items were brownies and cookies, which I know we had then. Seated with Patty are our cruising partners, Bob and Mary, and our nearby mooring ball friends, Bill and Patty.

Afterwards, Patty and I headed to the boaters' lounge to watch some of the Masters golf coverage and to see when Minnesota would be playing for the NCAA hockey championship, which is tonight. Then back to the boat for a game of Hand and Foot. It was my first win of the trip. I then started to check out mooring ball fields, anchorages, and marinas for our probable trip North.

The two Pattys are off to town this morning searching for bargains. Meanwhile, I have stayed on the boat to check out the engine for leaving and do various chores.

It is a beautiful day here, after yesterday's clouds, light sprinkles, and, of course, the afternoon winds. We still have not made the final decision but it favors heading North, probably on Tuesday.

04/12/2014 | Duane Ising
May you continue to enjoy, regardless of the direction you travel.
The Cruising World
04/11/2014, Stuart, FL

I mentioned previously our mooring ball is next to Bill and Patty on Renaissance. We first met them at Regatta Pointe Marina in 2004/05. We then moved to Burnt Store Marina and Bill and Patty subsequently went to the Chesapeake, Bahamas and continued cruising. We passed them on the ICW in 2011 north of Miami as they headed north and we were southbound. We next saw them at Sarasota, Cape Haze and Ft. Myers Beach in 2013, and now in Stuart. That is one thing about the boating/cruising life, you develop a friendship and it remains because you never know when you will cross paths at some time in the future. We had them over for dinner last night and had great fun catching up.

This afternoon is the boaters' farewell party put on by the marina near the end of the cruising season. We were here two years ago at this time and look forward to this event.

We are still uncertain as to our departure date. Again, NOAA was not accurate as to the weather. Instead of the sunny day predicted, it's been cloudy and windy with some light sprinkles, with good rain passing just to the north. Oh, well.

A Test Of The Mooring Ball
04/09/2014, Stuart, FL

As I mentioned yesterday, we were expecting rain and some wind. What came was a blow from the southwest at 25 mph, gusting to about 35, for over two hours. From that direction, a great deal of fetch can build and we were experiencing two-to-three foot waves. Fortunately, we were on a mooring ball, so there is no concern about dragging. The good news is that this occurred in the afternoon. Daylight is much easier on the nerves when you can see what is happening in the distance and around you, as opposed to the middle of the night when all is black. As for the rain, practically nothing.

As we were leaving Punta Gorda, we discovered that our handheld Garmin GPS had quit. I like to have a backup to our main system and I usually have it set for statutory miles because that is the standard for the ICW. Seeing as how we spent only $70 for it ten years ago, we got our money's worth. Now they run five times that for a marine model with charts. Thank heavens for Amazon with two-day delivery. Now, we are ready to go, wherever that may be.

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Who: Patty and David Power
Port: Punta Gorda, Florida
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