Warmth is in the Air: February 16 2015
Everyone keeps saying to get further south and it will get warmer…the elusive “truth” that never quite gets fulfilled…on go the long pants and fleeces. We moved from Melbourne to Fort Pierce and hunkered down for two nights as a blow passed through. We were anchored in Faber Cove protected on all sides by lovely homes, grass to the water and swaying palm trees (Feb 16). Our lateness in the season heading south has been great for anchorages. In this perfect spot there was only one other boat – a 50ft monohull sailboat. He stopped by on his way out to meet friends and offered his car if we need anything ashore. Wow – cruisers are great folks. But we had friends ashore, too, so no need to borrow his car.
met friends for lunch in Fort Pierce that we have not seen in ten years but
sailed with back in 2006. It was a lunch spot a dinghy ride away across a
wet and windy wave filled river.
Chris and I got the dinghy craned off our boat and we are still smiling at each other - phew. We double-checked our supplies; flashlight, hand held VHF radio, camera, drybag, rain jacket (wet ride)...all good. Off we went from Faber Cove, made it across the river to tie-up at the marina (after avoiding hitting a manatee). Lines were passed and secured. Then I looked at Chris standing in the dinghy and asked if he had remembered his...shoes. Oops. Luckily we picked up a pair for $1 (after lunch) at the Dollar Store. I guess we need more practice with our checklists.
We sat on the patio at the restaurant but our friends were ready to do battle for us if we were not let into the restaurant...after all...dogs were allowed. The shoes were creating blisters after the few minutes that Chris wore them; however, he made it through a visit to the supermarket for some "essentials." Enjoy the photo. While at the supermarket our friends clued us into a great citrus juicer. Yep, it is small, clever and functional. Along with a bag of oranges and we were on our way - thanks for the souvenirs and chit chat, Bruce and Lin.
So long Ft Pierce and onto Lake Worth and the start of the section of the ICW crammed with bridges. We would have preferred to go outside for this part; however, the wind and seas were too strong to be pleasant. Day 1 was Lake Worth to Lake Boca Raton. It’s only 33 miles but involved 17 bridges (Feb 20). The whizzing current while waiting for the bridges to open can really get the adrenaline flowing. Thankfully, all gel coat is still in place. This part of Florida looks as glitzy as the magazine and TV shots display. At one point we hovered for a bridge opening beside Honey Fitz – she served as the Presidential Yacht from Eisenhower through Nixon. Today, she is fully restored and stunning to see (http://www.myhoneyfitz.com/).
Day 2 was Lake Boca Raton to Ft Lauderdale. The bridges are generally becoming less stressful but a twist was thrown into the mix as we went up the New River to Lauderdale Marine Center for our haul out (Feb 22). Yikes – the river is pretty narrow – and made even more narrow by mega-yachts parked on either side. Honestly, it looks more like a creek than a navigable waterway. We did not full understand the characteristics of the river which had us going at a time with current pushing us toward the bridges...without enough room to turn around. Once the bridge is in sight we call ahead to the bridge tenders and hope for a speedy opening. Okay, the adrenaline flowed again like crazy. Gulp.
We took friends Kurt and Katie's advice (s/v Interlude) and got hauled out at Lauderdale Marine Center. We are by far the smallest boat in the yard with the smallest project...no really…by a HUGE margin. There were hulls tented with workers looking like they were off to the moon, tenting that looked like buildings and boat stand after boat stand with 100+ foot boats. And this is the "small boat" yard. The East Yard has boats even bigger. It was staggering. However, that said - everyone has been nice and responsive to us and we are getting accomplished what we need. Pre-haulout we had an overnight visit from Tom and Suzie who could not resist the siren call of the largest West Marine in the USA...just a short walk from the marina. It was a fun night of grillin' and cocktails.
We were hauled ahead of schedule on Monday (10am rather than 1pm); stabilizer guys arrived soon after, took a look and are doing maintenance (nothing more needed at this time); Erin tracked down and swapped out bow and stern thruster zincs - getting there and back via Uber; we had three companies come to bid a boat re-paint job...and we splashed the next day (Feb 24). A 24-hr haul out and splash keeps us busy but it is wonderfully efficient when accomplished. The work was nicely broken up with a drink and snacks visit from John and Travis...on the hard.
Next up is Bahamas prep and off we go - only three tasks appear to remain (Feb 25). 1) Track down a small diesel leak from the generator after Chris gave it some lovin' in St Augustine (sound shield needs to be removed - drat). 2) Commission the watermaker for the first time (yep - could be a can of worms but we are optimistic). 3) Provision for a couple of months in the Bahamas by sparking up the extra fridge and freezer for a frozen meat locker and a cheese cave. Holy cow - we are getting close! But we are not looking at the perfect crossing forecast currently in effect...there will be another one.