Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nov. 23-29, 2010 (Week 8, Day 50-56)

Tues. Nov. 23, 2010 (Week 8, Day 50): Destination: stay in St. Augustine Weather: magnificent dawn, full sun, some evidence of smoke fire on the eastern shore, pleasant temp high =75F Winds: light to nil with a heavy East component; boat direction--> according per tides

Breakfast, boat showers because of the convenience, although marina has 2 nice showers + 2 toilets (swipe card accessible only) & laundry facility consisted of 4 washers, 4 dryers + a lounge with a T.V. (open 0800-2000 hrs.---swipe card only). We made arrangements with the marina office to have the head pumped out; we wired the head’s valve shut on entering Florida--> frequent police boardings & checks apparently. We had a glance at emails then it was time to walk to the bus stop (blue line) by the Flagler Auditorium for 0915 hrs.--> age 60 or > (seniors)= $0.50, <60 style="mso-spacerun: yes"> At the Publix we grabbed all the fixings for US Thanksgiving dinner on the 25th to be hosted by the Morrows + a few other basic necessities until we reach Vero Beach. We returned to the marina & Lynn had finished her laundry; home, groceries packed away, lunch & back to the historic area for our walkabout. We had our beers at the A1A & bumped into Karin & Patric, & on leaving Sandy & Steve & their friends (Beth & Jim—Madcap). Graeme & I were hosting dinner for the Morrows & the Collins; I was a mad rush until our guests arrived shortly after 1700 hrs.--- BBQ stuffed pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots (Morrows) & cherry Danish cake for dessert (Collins). What a wonderful evening! The party broke up at 2100 hrs. as all are moving on tomorrow. Dishes were washed, then time for bed. Another calm & quiet night with clear skies & <>

Wed. Nov. 24, 2010 (Week 8, Day 51): Destination: St. Augustine (Mile 778.1) to Daytona (Seabreeze- Mile 829)
Departure: 0800 hrs. Arrival: 1445 hrs. 
Mileage: 50.9 SM Weather: amazing dawn sky & sunrise, full sun, blue skies, temp. 62F to mid 70’sF, dew+++
Winds: if any existed it came from the South

Out of bed at 0645 hrs. & ready to move on after breakfast. We were off the mooring ball at 0800 hrs. on a rising tide/against the current, exiting between R8 & 10 but closer to R8. We motored along the Matanzas River to Crescent Bascule Bridge (Mile 788.9) & on towards Matanzas Inlet area where buoys are often moved because of the frequent & changing shoals; we were fortunate to be passing through on a high tide (14 ft. average). In this area marshland alternated with forest & it seemed desolate & eerie until we reached Palm Coast on the west side & it’s 3 canals off the ICW. Grand Haven was about 5 mi. further south again on the west side; it is a country club community of condos, golf courses & private homes. Next was Fox Cut where exposed rocks lined both sides. We passed under yet another bridge, Flagler Beach Bridge (Mile 810.6—fixed 65 ft. clearance) to L.B. Knox Bridge (Mile 816---bascule); the bridge tender(female) was so casual & funny, but was difficult to understand. Mile 814 marked the beginning of the manatee zone. ICW entered the headwaters of Halifax River which widens towards Daytona; it was a straight & well-marked channel with attractive homes on the East bank. A 5 mile passage from Tomoka Basin to Ormond Beach Bridge (Mile 824.9---fixed) required close attention sticking to the middle as there were shoals on east & west sides just outside the channel. We anchored East of R32 in 7-1/2 ft. water, just north of the Seabreeze Bridge. Daytona Beach--> 4 bridges; Seabreeze, Main Street (bascule), International Speedway & Memorial (bascule). Supper= chicken with vodka sauce, rice & fresh beans. Internet via ‘Twomorrows’ secured site + reading & in bed at 2130 hrs. Light traffic noise, but clear & calm night, stars & ¾ moon.

ICW Waterway: Matanzas River-->past Matanzas Inlet-->Fox Cut-->Halifax River-->Tomoka Basin (part of Halifax River)

Thurs. Nov. 25, 2010 (Week 8, Day 52): Happy US Thanksgiving! Destination: Daytona (Mile 829) to Titusville (Mile 878) Departure: 0635 hrs. Arrival: 1500 hrs. Mileage: 49 SM Weather: lovely red hue over the water at dawn then full sun, blue skies & clear to the S & W & some clouds to the NE Winds: very light S in the am & nice 8K S in pm

Larry had started turkey dinner preparations for tonight yesterday evening; we did a pass by starboard to port & handed over a package of mashed potatoes & chopped celery for the stuffing. The bridge tenders at the Main Street & the Memorial Bridges were in a cheerful mood & all openings were on request due to the holiday. Some shallow water in Ponce de Leon Cut that leads into the Indian River North; someday I would like to climb the stairs of the Ponce de Leon lighthouse. No problems with the George Munson Bridge (Mile 845--bascule) today. We took the Sheephead Cut around New Smyrna (Mile 845.5). The ICW followed a dredged channel between mainland & numerous small islets X 10 miles; on the west side there are several fishing camps. From Mile 855 to 870 runs Mosquito Lagoon, an open shallow expanse of water followed by a sharp turn to starboard into the Haulover Canal, home of herons, egrets, alligators & manatee, & through the Allenhurst Haulover Canal Bridge (Mile --bascule). A whole string of sailboats in single file motored through the Lagoon with the NASA shuttle hangar in the background-->impressive view (photos). Two thirds of the way through the Lagoon ‘Twomorrows’ experienced a sudden loss of power from the engine whereby they could only run at 2000 RPMs; dirty fuel & dirty filters expected cause. Thus we limped slowly into Titusville anchorage. Numerous boats here tonight. We anchored in 8ft. of water (60 ft. chain). The sun of the day till early pm was now on & off clouds & the winds had picked up nicely to 8K from the south; our travelling direction was south as well, so dead on our nose. The anchorage got a little bumpy for a while before sunset then settled down but there was enough wind to keep the wind gen turning. Pat & Karin Collins dinghied into shore & found that the West Marine is no longer. The aroma of turkey dinner whafted from ‘Twomorrows’ as we made our arrival. And the taste of supper was even better, absolutely scrumptious= turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, bean casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, heated buns, & warm pumpkin pie & whipped cream for dessert! We even watched a live NFL football game on T.V. Stuffed to the gills we motored back home. Larry insisted that he would not ruin Thanksgiving doing the filter changes on the engine till tomorrow am; so it will be a later start tomorrow am. Generously cloudy& moon not visible but a pleasant temp & breeze to keep the wind gen working & the boat head to wind & pulling on the anchor. Thank you Lord for yet another wonderful day surrounded by wonderful friends!

ICW Waterway: Halifax River-->Ponce de Leon Cut-->

Fri. Nov. 26, 2010 (Week 8, Day 53): Destination: Titusville (Mile 878) to Melbourne (Mile 918.2) Departure: 1000 hrs. Arrival: 1635 hrs. Mileage: 40 SM Weather: cloudy dawn but clouds quickly dissipated & bright sun & warm temp Winds: strong & gusty South 10-25.7K

‘Artful Dodger’ passed our stern on leaving Titusville at 0700 hrs. Larry was having his breakfast coffee & then was going to start changing engine filters. In the meantime Graeme filled 2 jerry diesel cans into the boat tank & 3-1/2 jerry cans of water into the water tank in preparation for a top up in Vero Beach in a couple of days, while I did housekeeping. No news from Larry at 0800, 0830, 0900 & at 0930 hrs. he radioed that the fuel filters X2 were not very dirty & not the solution to his problem; he found a crack in a elbow but no reason for the low engine power & the upsetting news that they would not be able to continue today & may even call the rest of the trip off! I choked up. And we have to press on in order to make our deadline. Larry will check to see if there is a engine mechanic familiar with Yanmar engines in Titusville, but it is a long weekend. Oh Pat, where are you? We need you! Graeme thought he had an elbow--- it’s on the Viking, but he had some JB Weld. At 1000 hrs. we lifted the anchor after dinghy engine lifted from the dinghy, etc. We passed the package of JB Weld to Larry as he did a pass in his dinghy--- it is getting windier & a little rough by now. I now have tears in my eyes. We motored south on the Indian River with a stiff South wind that increased (averaging 17-20K & maxed at 25.7K) & the skies became grey & threatening in the south & west. Our boat speed varied between 4.8-5.2K but the south wind was too far in front to fly our head sail. Finally shortly after noon the wind shifted ever so slightly to the west, enough that we were able to unfurl the jenny some, increasing our boat speed to 5.5-6.1K. By 1400 hrs. the wind shifted back to dead south. We passed Mile 900 at 1340 hrs. The bad weather clouds seemed to be south of our location & crossed over from the west to east side of the ICW & sun & white fluffy clouds prevailed. When we were approaching Eau Gallie & getting ready to turn off the ICW & anchor, we hailed Patric Collins & he responded; his group were anchored 5 miles further south, on the northeast side of the Melbourne Bridge. We phoned Larry that we had made contact & agreed to have Pat speak to him at 1800 hrs. Larry had info re mechanics in Cocoa, Tel Mar Marina on the Banana River & Melbourne. Skies now were very dark & the wind was up. Heavy rain apparently in Titusville but nothing here till a little later that did not last more than 5 min. Pat called Larry asking multiple questions & giving instructions so as to diagnose whether air filter or dirt in the aluminium fuel tank (methyl hydrate & automatic transmission fluid) vs transmission. Pat told him that he would wait for them in Vero until they got there & would look at the engine if Larry could not get any satisfaction along the way. That continues to be the beauty of this trip & the last--- the people, the kindness, generousity of fellow cruisers! We will continue on to Vero Beach with the rest of this group (an early start), reservations made, & God willing will meet up with the Morrows on Sun. Supper= ham, pineapple slices, potato/rice & fresh beans/broccoli. Winds have shifted to the west & are to continue to shift to the north by the am; skies were now clear & stars visible.

Sat. Nov. 27, 2010 (Week 8, Day 54): Destination: Melbourne (Mile 918.2) to Vero Beach (Mile 951.7---Vero Beach Municipal City Marina) Departure: 0715 hrs. Arrival: 1215 hrs. Mileage: 33.5 SM Weather: cloudy especially to the west & north with blue skies mainly south, & sunny when we departed & hazy, warm from 60’sF in am to a high of mid 70’sF Winds: shifted to the west last night & had the wind gen whirling like mad, but more south & <>

Up at 0600 hrs. because of proposed 0700 hrs. departure; the other boats (3) left at 0640 hrs. Usual am routine before lifting the anchor; a bit of mud mixed with tiny shells--- sprayed off chain & anchor. Water calm & in no time skies to the west & north black & threatening; foul weather gear ready. We were rolling along at 6.2-6.5K & with encouragement finally got Graeme to unfurl the jenny, increasing speed to 6.8-7.0K; we kept the sail full until the last bridge before Vero Beach at which point the winds shifted on the nose & we had catch up & had passed Pat & the other 2 boats. Just as we were approaching the last few markers before our turn into the marina Lynn called saying that they were able to leave, moving all at full RPMs towards Melbourne as their destination for today; Larry was unable to crack the fuel injectors but was able to blow air through the tube to the injectors & probably cleared dirt from the line. At G139 we made a wide turn into the marina channel, announced our arrival & received our mooring assignment---M54, deep in the north field. Our mooring buddy (Memento Mori) was not present on his boat but our tie up went well nevertheless--- a lot easier with previous knowledge from 2 years ago. Lunch & into the marina to register. The last bus had just departed--- reduced service on Sat. & nil on Sun. Instead we decided to get 2 loads of laundry done & out of the way; 5 washers ($2.00 each—35 min.) & 5 dryers ($1.50 each—45 min.) + a shower that felt so good just letting the water run & run & run. By noon the temp. was very warm & the skies were continually changing between dark threatening clouds to sun & white fluffy clouds & back again; we even had some short lived rain; the wind in the afternoon blew from the west. At 1730 hrs. Larry called that all was well & they were anchored on the SE side of the Melbourne Bridge. Supper=hamburger with fried onions, seasoned potatoes & fresh beans. Instead of journal writing or reading we watched a DVD (Happy Feet) that Karin & Pat had loaned us--- so cute, great music. Read a bit, then to bed at 2230 hrs. Clouds with a shift of the winds from the north at 10-15K all night; quite warm. This section is commonly referred to as Florida’s “Treasure Coast”.

Sun. Nov. 28, 2010 (Week 8, Day 55): Destination: stay in Vero (Mile 951.7) Weather: warm & cloudy at first, then skies cleared mid morn & sun quite warm; clouds late evening & rain shower Winds: N at about 8K in am & E in the afternoon then S by evening & calm

Up at 0615 hrs. breakfast & dressed for church. Graeme dinghied me in to shore at 0800 hrs. & I walked 2 blocks east & 7 blocks south to the corner of Mockingbird & Iris then up Iris to Holy Cross R.C. Church--- 25 min. walk; too early for 0900 hrs. mass & just sat & took in the beauty of this contemporary modern church & it’s stained glass windows. I was asked to bring up the Eucharist gifts to the priest--- what an honour! Mass was 1 hour, then I walked back via A1A to Beachland Blvd.& turned left (west) to the RBC Bank & withdrew some cash then to the marina. Graeme picked me up at the dinghy dock at 1040 hrs. He had emptied the diesel jerry cans into the boat tank & refilled those jerry cans + gas jerry can into the dinghy engine & refilled it. I scrubbed the deck & both deck edges as best as possible + the hatches & ports & stern with vinegar & water; now we need a good rainfall. The Morrows had arrived & were at the fuel dock & they would moor up with ‘Artful Dodger’ so Pat could more easily check their engine. Lunch, then dinghied over to the Morrows & chatted with all. Pat even showed me how to transfer all my emails from my Rogers Yahoo account into my gmail account; hooked up to the Morrows internet site & checked my emails. Larry made arrangements through Enterprise for a car rental for tomorrow, although car rentals only $9.99 over the weekend. Marina shower at 1600 hrs. then all 6 of us to the Riverside CafĂ© at 1700 hrs. for supper; Morrows paid the whole bill! Rain on our dinghy ride home. We said our goodbyes to Karin & Pat as they are moving on tomorrow but hope to meet up later. A warm, calm night with some rain thrown in.

Mon. Nov. 29, 2010 (Week 8, Day 56): stay in Vero Beach &take advantage of our car rental to reprovision to a certain extent. Weather: warm & humid+++ (H= 80’ish) & variable, some clouds, some sun & blue sky, threatening clouds & rain & start the rotation over again Winds: not of any significance from the SSE till overnight

Breakfast, a boat shower& prepped with lists of places & things to get with the car rental today. Enterprise picked the 4 of us + 1 other couple up & brought us to the office on US 1 South to conduct the administrative part; busy & slow service. We finally got our vehicle at 1030 hrs. & headed south on Hwy. 1-->West Marine, propane tank refill for the Morrows, Total Wine in Jensen Beach about 30 mi. away for box wine X 4, cases of beer X 4, variety of rums. On return route we hit an Ace Hardware (wood bleach to clean pale yellow moustache stain on bow & stern from tannin water), Sun Landing Canvass (canvass snaps & strap) by Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce & Pet Smart in Vero for the first round of shopping; transferred all back to boat & grabbed a quick sandwich. It was now 1400 hrs. & back to land for the second run--> Verizon (Lynn’s Blackberry), Wal Mart (groceries); 1800 hrs. already so forget Publix & drove to Mulligan’s Beach House right on Vero Beach at the end of Beachland Blvd. for Happy Hour & supper. Rains socked in good & hard, fortunately with a little reprieve as we got back to the dinghies--> bailed the dinghies, loaded the groceries & headed home in the dark to pack all away. Strong gusting E & SE winds up to 20-25K & rains began short time later; we could feel the boat rock back & forth despite being tied to the mooring ball & lashed well to ‘Momento Mori’ which happened to continue ALL night long. After several attempts of phoning Mom & Donna & finally got Donna; she & Tom had a good trip to Florida; too bad we couldn’t hook up. I thought Mom had arrived home from NZ/Australia late last night but arriving tonight (29th) & will call her tomorrow. No internet, journal writing &reading--> I’m nearly finished my first novel. I slept till 0430 hrs. waking up now & again to sounds of strong gusts of wind & rain, but fortunate to fall back to sleep. There were occasional clear patches in the night sky with stars & ½ moon visible.

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