Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Like Old Home Week in Vero Beach

Vero Beach has seemed like a big cruiser's reunion. We have been visiting with friends whom we have met over the past three trips as well as meeting new cruisers. 
Carl and Marilyn in their new condo.

The first day we were here, our friends, Carl and Marilyn, from the boat Discovery picked us up and had lunch at Kelly's pub and then out to see their wonderful new condo that they had purchased this fall. They are just in the beginning process of furnishing it. They plan to cruise this season yet, but then sell their boat and become a CLOD (cruiser living on dirt) in Vero Beach for the winter and Michigan in the summer. 

Skip and Harriets new home.
We also visited with Harriet an Skip from Moon Dance who already sold their boat and bought a lovely home here too. It has a pool and a workshop for Skip that had Al drooling!
Al drooling over the workshop!

Skip, Harriet and Bailey.

 It is interesting how so many cruisers end up in this area. One highlight is the great Riverside Park with tennis courts, fitness trail, art museum and theater.
Riverside Park with lots of amenities.

Like a reunion at the marina happy hour.

On Thursday evening at the marina is the standard appetizer and drink get-together at a pavilion there. Many CLODS came as well as the cruisers anchored in the harbor. As you can see, we eat pretty well.

Lots to eat!

Although much was left due to the fact that many cruisers, including ourselves, went to Chef Lin's all you can eat Chinese buffet for lunch. I have never seen such a selection of dishes from sushi, dim sum, and peanut chicken, to steam shrimp, salmon, apple strudel and four kinds of ice cream. I never even saw half the dishes there. All for the low price of $6.95pp. (It is located on Rt.1 and 19th St. for those in the area.) Needless to say we were not hungry for the appetizers later that day.

Libby the pine basket instructor.
I have been using the “Fitness trail” at the local park to get in my 3-4 mi. walks in, and using the free bus service to get our needed shopping done. I also was lucky to meet Libby Mills on Tarwathie who teaches how to do pine needle baskets. 
I spent one afternoon with her learning how to begin the basket and learning two different stitches. She also taught me how to finish the basket another afternoon on a basket she had made. 

Lovely pine needle baskets.
She showed me some of her baskets and some of her students which were just beautiful. She gave me all the supplies necessary to make one basket. I will be asking Al to stop in the Carolinas to look for the long pine needles on our way home in the spring. I can't wait to try some more! Thank you Libby for sharing your talent. All she asked is that I pass the knowledge on to someone else. Any takers?

Groucho or Al?
One day we got up and I took one look at Al and I said, “You're starting to look like Groucho Marx with your uncontrollable hair. So into the marina we went, where I trimmed him up enough until we get home in a week or so he can go to his regular barber.

Mershons caught up with us here in Vero Beach so of course we shared several happy hours and dinner on board Blue Heaven and dinner out one night. We both departed on Sunday but each heading to different locations. We headed into Harbortown Marina in Ft. Pierce. We are leaving the boat here while we fly home to share Thanksgiving with our family. Dave and Toni moved down the intra-coastal. We will meet them in Miami once we return and hopefully get across to the Bahamas.  Harbortown is a very large but nice marina.  

The treasure seeker called Aaaar Booty.
We happened to be put in a slip next to this boat which we were told is a treasure seeking vessel.   They reportedly just found a half a million dollar treasure not far off the coast from Ft. Pierce.  Maybe there luck will rub off on us.
We leave Friday and return Black Friday.  Maybe the flights won't be crowded since they will all be out shopping the sales!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Even Blue Heaven has a Tom Turkey!
Blue Heaven's Tom Turkey

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Minor Tribulations Add to the Cruising Life.

Practicing going close to reed beds and up again.
After Cumberland Island we motored to an anchorage north of St. Augustine called Pine Island. We were the only one in there for most of the afternoon which is unusual. We figured most boats were waiting for the November 1st date to cross into Florida for their insurance requirement. It was Oct. 31st.  We don't have that restriction. While sitting in the cockpit in this remote area, we got to watch someone practicing maneuvers with a helicopter. So much for the peace and quiet!

Laurie and Jim from Kismet at King's Bistro
The next morning we went to the St. Augustine mooring field to stay for a couple of days. On the dock we ran into Laurie and Jim on Kismet and met Mary and Dave on Mona Mie´. We ended up going to to this hidden gem, King's Bistro for lunch which was just as fantastic as the last time we were there. It is one of these places that I would not go into from the outside appearance, but once inside, what a cute 9 table place with interesting and delicious selections. We did not know they are only open Friday to Sunday but we lucked out, it was a Friday! (For those cruisers going to St. Augustine, it is one block past Sailor's Exchange on the left. It is small so look carefully!) Laurie and Jim could not get over how great it was, especially for the price.  
Later in the evening we went into town with Kismet and Mona Mie´ to do the First Friday Art Walk and to splurge on some ice cream which was our dinner as well!
St. Augustine Municipal Marina

Witches, ghosts and goblins were all over this boat!
Saturday dawned with loads of rain. We finally got off the boat later in the day to walk to the closest little grocery store called Stewart's which was across the Bridge of Lions. As an added bonus, we got a good view of the marina from the bridge. The store is great for meat, seafood and produce. Not great for canned goods or paper products. We got the produce I needed and headed back before more rain.  On the docks were several boats really decked out with Halloween decorations.  We were told that Halloween is highly celebrated here with a huge parade and lots going on.

Cathedral of St. Augustine
I attended mass at the Cathedral of St. Augustine the next day. What a beautiful church with loads of history. It is the oldest Catholic church in the USA. 

The main altar.

 The altar was stunning 
The beautiful Spanish influenced ceiling and beams of the cathedral.

and the Spanish influence is evident in the black, gold and red ceiling. 

After church I went shopping while Al was doing laundry and meeting other cruisers in the “cruiser's lounge.” Believe it or not, this is one of the best ways to meet other people. We invited a couple whom Al met at the laundry, Sue and Dave from San Cle´, and Laurie and Jim for happy hour.  We were not sure they would come because it was blowing about 20 knots, but they braved the elements anyway as many sailors would.

Many boats left St. Augustine the same day as us.  The wind was still blowing quite a bit so you can see the boats looked like ducks in a row coming through the waterway.  
And the sailboats just kept on coming!
 We motored sailed to Daytona going into Halifax Marina for fuel, water and a pump out. Then we went out and just anchored off the waterway with several other boats doing the same.   These sculling boats went by with the instructor shouting instructions through a megaphone from his motorized whaler with an interesting dark cloud over them!
Sculling team practicing.
We had rain showers and gray skies all day going to the Daytona area as well as the next day when we motored to Titusville. 
At this point we thought they might hit the bridge!

 Before reaching Titusville, we had to pass through the Haulover Canal which was having trouble with their draw bridge. They could not get both spans to go up, and there was a huge tug and barge trying to go through in front of us. They finally got both spans to go up, and it was interesting to watch the tugs, one in front and one in back, trying to get this barge with a crane on it through the narrow opening. It was hardly moving so it was a very slow go through the canal. Once outside the canal we finally were able to pass it.
This is what we followed through the canal.
We took a mooring ball at Titusville and were able to go in for a walk and a chance to do a load of laundry. We signed up for the free shuttle to Publix grocery for 9am the next day. The local merchants pay for this van and it runs every two hours. You can even go to the Space Center for $30 a van round trip. If you have others going with you in the van, you all share the cost. That is a great deal! 

Al in the Titusville cruiser's lounge, a screened in porch.
We got our restocking of food done and several phone calls that needed to be done without possible loss of connection which can happen in the waterway. After lunch, Al wanted to enjoy a cigar, so that meant I was going for a walk in town, far, far away. I was surprised to find several interesting sights in this small town.  

Space Walk Hall of Fame

 I came upon Space View Park which was an excellent spot for watching the launches, and the Space Walk Hall of Fame with all the men and women's names involved with the space walks.

Veteran's Memorial Park

I also saw Veteran's Memorial Park with it's great view of the Titusville bridge and waterfront and the Brevard County Museum with its menageries of items from clothing, household items, military uniforms and even the control panel of the old Max Brewer Bridge that used to be in Titusville. I must say, I had never seen a bridge control panel before!
Old bridge control panel.

Beautiful sunset at Titusville.
After another beautiful sunset, we went to bed in quiet conditions and awoke about 5am to howling wind and bouncing on the mooring ball with the northeast wind. The front had come through earlier than we expected. We still had the motor on the dinghy and had to remove it before continuing on. That was a real challenge with 20-25 knot winds but was accomplished but not without Al getting “a saltwater shower.” We could not wait to get motoring to get off the bronco busting mooring.

Accident on the bridge holds us up!
We got to the first and only drawbridge of the day, Addison Point bridge, and we saw flashing lights and a fire engine on the bridge. This did not look good!  There had been a car accident on the bridge and so we motored around for an hour and fifteen minutes waiting for them to clear it, and clear the traffic on the bridge before finally opening the bridge for us. There were only three sailboats, so that was probably why they did not push much faster to open the bridge. Our luck with bridges in this area has been terrible. At least we did not have to wait four hours like the one year! Luckily we were not traveling that far. 

Cocoa's waterfront park.

We went into Cocoa and found the conditions much better for anchoring because the winds were blocked more here. I had a good afternoon visiting the many small shops while Al enjoyed the various park benches around town. We decided to have an early dinner of pizza at Ryan's Village Pizza and we were not disappointed.
We got out to our boat about four hours later to find Blue Heaven just about 15 ft. away from a moored boat. She had dragged her anchor which we have never done with the Rocna anchor. When Al brought the anchor up, there was a plastic bag caught on the plow tip, but we can't believe that would have caused it. Needless to say, we quickly re-anchored and had no problems through the night and were just thankful no damage was done.

We were up early and sailed almost the entire way to Vero Beach. The wind was 14 to 20 knots on our beam which made for great sailing. It was probably one of the best sails of the trip so far. We are in the mooring field here for about a week. This is where we meet old friends and make new ones. We have two friends who recently bought homes here and plan to visit with them and just plan to hang out and enjoy the luxuries of the states before crossing over to the Bahamas in early December. We are heading home on the 22nd of November for one week to see family and friends and have a welcomed turkey dinner! At least we won't have to have roasted pelican. 

JUST KIDDING!  OOH, I bet they would be fishy!!!!