Monday, February 27, 2017

Melbourne FL...who knew??

Sunset in Ft. Pierce FL

And we have arrived in Melbourne Fl after spending the night in Vero Beach by way of Fort Pierce…we have been ON. THE. MOVE. And having a great time!

Bald Eagles nesting on the Indian River

After the fun of Fort Pierce we cruised to Vero Beach on Sunday and had the BEST visit with a former colleague of mine…Linda!  She lives in Vero and was so kind to pay us a visit…and that transitioned into a trip to Ulta and Publix!!!  All in one trip…I felt almost normal again!!!  You never realize how much fun a grocery store is until….you can’t get there!!  Anyway, Linda was full of local knowledge; we talked about work, family, retirement…so good to touch base with her!!

A little shallow in a few places
We threw off the lines from Vero Beach and headed to Palm Bay to see another set of familiar faces…Bob and Paula from Tupelo!  They winter in Florida at a local motor home park and we ventured north to pay a visit.  Original plan…anchor in the Indian River (ICW) near the Yellow Dog Café in Palm Bay.  Spend a few days then head south to Stuart FL.  But…the wind was blowing about 15 mph from the South then clocked to the Southeast. After several attempts to lower the anchor (me on the bow, Charlie at the helm) we switched places.  Suddenly, it was my responsibility to keep the boat from blowing into the channel while also not making any sudden turns and knock Charlie off the bow as he was trying to manipulate the anchor chain. Yeah…no pressure!

Following several urgent prayers to God for safety AND wisdom, Charlie abandon the anchoring repair in white capped water and called a local marina for dockage.  Prayer for wisdom ANSWERED!  And here we are at Melbourne Harbor Marina!!  Safe and sound…and happy!!

Bob and Paula were at the marina just as we docked the boat and it was so good to see familiar faces!  Charlie went to the office to get us checked in and…the next thing I hear???  “Hey, what do you think about staying here for the month?”  HUH?? Ok, plan B.  The first rule of cruising…never have a schedule and always be flexible!!  So plan B it is…we are docked in Melbourne until the end of March and we have land-based friends 5 miles away…God is so good.

Tomorrow will be spent getting a punch list together for a little mechanical work done while we are here. AND I will make adjustments to our reservations for a rental car since we are headed home for a week in March!!  And I’m super stoked about that road trip!!

Oh and the anchor trouble?  A simple manual anchor lock…use your thumb and flip it down.  Life. Is. Fantastic!!!  Thank you Jesus!!

Enjoy your week and prepare for land-based narration…Melbourne is FULL of sidewalks and walking trails…YIIPPEE!!

God Bless!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ten Months 'til Christmas!

Prudi on the bow of Rascal's Retreat - looking for the USA!  Me too girl!

We have recovered from the Bahamas Crossing and departed North Palm Beach Marina on Friday (2/24/17) morning headed north to Fort Pierce!  It felt sooooo good to be on the ICW again…the homes, boats, landscape – all of it felt so familiar!  No wide open seas with the wind pushing waves over the bow or any other unique forms of excitement we’ve experienced underway!

The boat is named “Bull Pen” – I wonder if a professional baseball player camps out here during spring training??

The Waterway Café looks like a great stop for lunch…but it was 9:00 AM when we passed by.

If I were a little girl...I'd be talking to Santa about this!! WOW!
We dropped the hook at an anchorage near Fort Pierce City Marina around mid afternoon.  And then the aft head (master bathroom toilet) wouldn’t stop running…yes, it’s a glamorous life.  After 2 hours of working in and around the starboard engine – because that’s where the plumbing system is – we were done!!  And soaking wet from the sauna (heat from the engines) but what a great pore cleansing treatment!
Fort Pierce Marina is also where Bob & Helen – Gold Loopers we first met in Florence AL – are docked on their boat Allez! 

So Saturday morning we dropped the dinghy and headed to the marina.  Super great surprise to learn of the Fort Pierce Farmer’s Market right at the marina!!  Fresh tomatoes, baby red potatoes, string beans, sweet peppers and cheddar bread…YUM!  Grocery shopping done for the week…$25!!

Then we took a foot tour of Ft. Pierce downtown – what a lovely town. Again, no camera – it’s kind of a dinghy rule…if the commute is a mile or longer we don’t take electronics or cameras.

We have company in the "back yard" today but they have to be home by dark!
Sunday we will continue to Vero Beach (15 miles) to visit with a friend and spend a little time there.  The weather report seems to be favorable for inter coastal travel so we are making the most of our “idle time”.   I am so ready to find a church service to attend…it’s more difficult than I expected.

We hope you have had a marvelous weekend and taken the opportunity to rest and relax.

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

God Bless the USA!!!

We arrived in Florida on Tuesday 2/21/2017…after 8 hours of rocking and rolling across the Atlantic Ocean!!  What a journey – it started out choppy with 2-3’ swells and ended with 4-6’ breaking waves the last 15 miles…UGH!!  We knew the ride would be rough but based on the long-range forecast we decided Tuesday was the better crossing opportunity.  The next window wasn’t suggested until early March.

There were a few opportunities for photos along the way and I will post the pics later.  We are still gathering and sharing photos with our buddy boats Rascal’s Retreat, Moni Jean and Lady Catherine however I wanted to let everyone know that we are docked safely in the North Palm Beach Marina waiting for the predicted downpour of rain!  But hey, we have our cell phones, wifi and credit cards back on the domestic plans…waHOOO!!!

We will use today to determine our next direction of travel, wait out the expected rain cycle and make a to-do list for boat maintenance…the glamorous life of trawler living!!  And yes, I kissed the ground, hugged a flag pole and we ate cheap Mexican for dinner…nothing says “Welcome to America” like Mexican food!!

Have a Super Great Day and be thankful for the ordinary!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Wind, clouds, fun and when will we see the USA again???

(ed. note: In true public wifi fashion...I am unable to upload pictures at this time. Sorry...)
As you know by now…the weather dictates our travel plans.  We have ventured from Bluff House Marina to our original port of entry Old BahamaBay.  We arrived on Saturday around lunchtime with quite a battle the last 2-3 miles (winds picked up & we encountered 4-6’ swells) but arrived safely…thank you Jesus!!
Saturday afternoon we met boat after boat after boat docking after crossing the Atlantic from FL.  EVERYONE had the same story…what a ride!!  It’s a typical winter weather pattern and patience is the key ingredient (I didn’t see any patience for sale at the store).  We all (Rascal’s Retreat, Moni Jean & The Lower Place) felt confident we made the right decision to stay docked until a realistic forecast is available.  The marina was so full of boats (B I G boats) on Saturday night due to the high winds and seas, ironically these same boats blocked the wind (breeze) to our boat!!  We were melting!!  There is no power on the docks yet (Hurricane Matthew) but we didn’t want to use the generator because of the close proximity of other boats and our exhaust.  Very little sleep…but we survived! 

Based on the extended weather outlook we decided to rent a van on Sunday.  A trip to the grocery store was not essential but if we are going to be weathered-in for a 7-10 day period we needed a few things (bread, eggs, milk).  And a diversion from weather watching was a nice change…driving on the left side of the road – in the wind & rain – was quite the diversion!!  We made it & enjoyed a nice home cooked meal on the boat for dinner!

Monday…a new day with a new weather report!  The winds were calm, sun shining, humidity way down!!  Mid morning (about 9:00) I noticed several boats slipping off their lines and heading out.  Charlie & his band of merry friends started talking to other boaters, sailors, fishermen…you know, “those in the know”.  It seems there was an update to the weather (imagine that)!

Meanwhile back on the boat…I managed to tear my left contact in half while it was in my eye!!  Try as I might, I could not find the second half but I could feel it!  UGH!! Past experience told me that it would not “work itself out” so I headed to the registration office for local knowledge.  Again the hospitality of the Bahamians exceeded my expectations.  Two phone calls later I had an eye appointment for 11:30!

I was looking for Charlie on the dock to let him know the details & he was looking for me to suggest we leave for the crossing…hmmm….medical attention trumps 65 miles in open water with unpredictable seas.

Island Optical was top notch!!  In no time the contact was flushed out without incident!! The dr. recommended artificial tears w/o the contacts and rewetting drops w/contacts TWICE as often due to the salt content in the air.  $65 later we were on our way to the drug store…unbelievable!  Another very positive experience…thank you Jesus!!

It’s a calm and beautiful day so who knows what tomorrow may bring.  I predict we will try to cross back to the USA (Lakeworth FL) if the current weather holds true…but it’s weather…stay tuned!!  All prayers appreciated!!

God Bless & yes, we are READY to see the red, white & blue shores!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy belated Valentine’s Day!  It was a fun-filled day of running, walking, cleaning, snorkeling and ended with a fabulous 4 course meal at the Bluff House Resort with great friends!

Charlie has discovered a new hobby and I am thrilled!!  Snorkeling!!! So Tuesday he had the opportunity to join a group of guys for a day of diving (not him) and snorkeling (yes him)!! I was invited but felt strongly that it should be a guys’ trip.  He had a marvelous time and is getting more and more comfortable with the deep water part…and swimming above the sharks!  So happy for his new discovery of underwater fun…and thrilled to have a snorkeling buddy!!

Underwater selfie

Divers on the bottom (approx 40')

SHARK!! But waaay down on the bottom...

Never fear, I was completely entertained with a few chores on the boat and a much needed 4 ½ mile run/walk.  No I didn’t take a camera but trust me…there’s plenty of wilderness in the Bahamas.  And they need rain…because of the non-existent asphalt in Treasure Cay I was a dusty gray from head to foot upon my return.  But that was just fine, I enjoyed every step!

The evening was topped off with a delicious 4 course meal at the resort;  spinach salad with balsamic dressing, flaming lobster bisque, grouper (me) and prime rib (he), finished with Tiramisu.  Not only was the food top-notch the company was even better – Rascal’s Retreat, Moni Jean and MaryAnn (a real person) shared in the fun…and nobody brought a camera!  I guess getting dressed up and wearing jewelry put everyone’s focus on the moment!!

As I write this Charlie is on yet another adventure with some more loopers who arrived last night.  They are lobster hunting!!!  I wonder what’s for dinner??

We are tied securely to the dock at Bluff House and the wind is increasing.  Predicted thunderstorms for this evening and tomorrow then clearing by Friday morning.  All is well!

God Bless…

PS...He's back from the adventure...grilled cheese for dinner!!!  But I'm thankful to see him - rough seas in a 10' dinghy!! 

The Lobster Hunters!!!