We decided we needed a change of scenery today so we jumped on the 9AM bus that showed up at 10AM (island time) and went into Lucaya. Shopped, had a wonderful Greek lunch at Zorbas, played a little in the casino and enjoyed the pools and entertainment around the Westin beach area. Stopped at the farmer’s market and City Market on the way home. A nice way to spend the day. Note the picture of the “DockWise” ship. It lowers itself in the water, floods its interior and yachts drive into it to be transported to other areas. Yachts are hooked to power and crews continue to live onboard their own yacht while in route. We heard that it was $24-30 thousand to come from Pacific Coast to Atlantic Coast via the Panama Canal. Wonder what they would charge the “Salvage Crew” for a quick hop to West Palm Beach, FL? That’s what I call some really protected waters no matter when you are crossing.
It looks like Tuesday may be our day to cross. For those of you headed this way, here is a little bit about what you can expect on the practical side of things. There are a few bargains here. Lobster (my favorite bargain) is cheaper to serve than hot dogs. Fresh herbs (especially thyme) are very cheap, as are limes, real butter from Ireland, fish filets (especially Grouper & Mahi Mahi), conch, local cheddar cheese, goat cheese, dried seasonings, rum and everything else is pretty expensive because of the additional freight charges to get products here. Provision well before you cross over. Cokes, water, beer cost 3 times as much as in the states. I admit that I will enjoy spending an afternoon in the Publix as soon as we hit the east coast. Postal service? Forgetaboutit! We have not been successful at all mailing out or receiving mail from here. Want to call home? Check into Skype. Everything else is cost prohibitive. But you have to have good internet to use successfully. All of the islands are getting better about providing internet, realizing the demand. Disable your phone & your broadband or you may get a big surprise bill even if you don’t use them. Some things less convenient, more expensive, require more planning? YES. Is it worth it to spend two months in a tropical paradise? YOU BET!!!
Kismet (Jim & Lisa Favors) and Freedom’s Turn (Charlie & Linda) caught up with us today. We watched them come in with the ocean tossing them around as they entered the marina channel. Now we are four Loopers waiting to see if Tuesday will be a good crossing day.
The marina is full of boats waiting to move. The winds have died down today and the weather is beautiful. Our window (all conditions are Go) opened this afternoon and many of the faster boats headed out for the Florida east coast. The trawlers and slower boats will make a mass exodus tomorrow morning. It will be about a 6 hour cruise for us and we like to give ourselves plenty of time to get in before dark. We got together with the other Loopers on our aft deck for cocktails and all had dinner together at “Bonefish Folleys”. Everyone is sad to be closing the door on this chapter of our trip. It’s been so awesome. Then we readied the boat by securing all loose items, packing everything tight, and locking down all doors, drawers, shelves and cabinets. Departure time 7:30 AM.
A prayer to God to keep us safe and off we go.
The gate opened before daylight when the sailboats started filing out the channel. We left the marina channel at 7:30 as planned. Looked around and cheered to see soft swells and no breakers. Not exactly “straight & level flight” but nothing like the sea conditions we arrived in. Half way across we heard the Coast Guard being contacted by a vessel not to far away from us. He had happened up on a boat that had been stranded & drifting for 3 days because of engine trouble, dead battery, and apparently no working radio. Considering the sea conditions of the last 3 days, today was their lucky day. There are good reasons for float plans, buddy boats, and all the safety equipment & precautions we take. Can you spell EPIRB? Today we even packed lunch & snacks in case it was too rough to leave the bridge (like last time-Yikes)! Mother Ocean treated us much more kindly today.We came in at Lake Worth Inlet and docked at North Palm Beach Marina.
And then Mother had second thoughts. Maybe today was a little too easy! So 45 minutes after we docked an unpredicted storm and tornado blew in. Unbelievably high winds, large hail, driving rain, I was hard pressed to come up with an answer for “Where is the safest place to go on a boat when there is a tornado?” Luckily, Brad was safe & sound up the block in a beer store!!!! Our steps blew into the water along with table umbrellas and patio furniture off the docks. By the time we cleaned up and took care of business checking in with Customs & Immigration we were “pooped”. Ordered take-out Italian with “Good News” and called it a night early. We’ve all noticed how much noisier it is here in the states than it was in the islands. Still, it’s nice to be back!
April 1, 2009
This trip is so boring we are catching a flight and heading home! NOT!!!!April Fools!
We rented a car today with Mary & Andy and spent most the day shopping. First we went to the Immigration office and checked in. What a great surprise and delight to see Judy and Joe from “Night Star” along with their son Joey. We thought they were still in Abacos. Boating is a small world. They are staying at the “Old Port Cove Marina” one block up from us. Tiger Woods 155 ft boat “Privacy” is docked there. We shopped at the marine stores, CVS, Wal-Mart, Costco, Publix, and all the while we had divers putting zincs on our trim tabs and another guy replacing one of our new (6 month old) batteries that run our inverter and starts our gen set. If we have bad luck with this battery we will have the charger replaced. And although she has performed admirably, when she’s not perfect, we shrug and say “Well, hey, she’s a boat!” Wish I could be excused so easily!!!!! It was 7pm before Mary & I got back from our last run. But we still had dinner together because it is our last one. They will be here waiting for out of town guest to arrive from the North and we will travel up to Jacksonville and go home for 2 weeks to see kids and their babies. I need to rub some heads!!!! Can’t believe I made it this long! We hope that we will hook back up with “Good News” later. Regardless, these are friends for life. We shared such a wonderful 2 months together in the Abacos.
We had 50+ miles to go and 10 bridges. About half of those bridges were 25 ft or less elevation. So hugged the Sarvers good bye and hit the road. It was a slow day on the ICW waiting for some bridge openings and lots of “No Wake” areas so that we would not disturb the big yachts that lined the channel in front of the huge mansions that stood side by side for miles on end. Lots of money here in Palm Beach. Passed through Jupiter & St Lucie’s Inlet where Buck & Haldine (from Darling) hailed us on the VHF radio after they heard us talking to some traffic. They are staying a week or so at the Harborage Yacht Club before heading further North. Got to Fort Pierce around 2pm so we had time to tour the historic downtown area. And everywhere you go here they give you oranges. This is Indian River country and they are generous with their fruit! Did you know that it is generally accepted the California Oranges are for eating and Florida oranges are for making OJ? Kismet, Freedom’s Turn & Wanderin L&M are all here at the Fort Pierce City Marina. We enjoyed a cocktail aboard “Kismet” and walked into town to a Greek Restaurant. They had a street closed off for several blocks because Thursday is “Bike Night”! Yee haw, look at them hogs!!!!We will do 70 miles tomorrow to Merritt Island (near Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral).
Out early and it was a warm but overcast day. We cruised through Vero Beach & Melbourne to get to Cocoa Beach. We don’t have the aquamarine clear water anymore but the dolphins are back in force and I have missed them. Only saw two the whole time we were across the Gulf Stream. We saw more than 25 today. Will also have to get in the habit of watching for crab pots again. Not millions of them like on the west coast of Florida, but scattered about. Arrived Cocoa Village Marina around 2:30. Two Looper boats here, “Double Trouble” (met them on the TN-Tom & “Libations” who we met at the Jib Room in Marsh Harbour. We met for doctails and then Brad & I rode our bikes into town. It’s lovely and we will explore in detail tomorrow. We need a day off after two days of running hard. We are headed up the coast to Jacksonville but we will take time to enjoy the sights along the way.
Perfect day weather-wise, low 80’s and low humidity. We cycled 3-4 miles south of town along side the Indian River where the streets were shady and the houses so lovely. A neighborhood so charming that just made you feel good to ride through it. When we came back to the boat for lunch & siesta we saw “Freedom’s Turn” pulling into a slip. They are jazzed because Michigan is in the Final Four tonight. Walked into town and visited many of the shops & galleries. It reminds us of Fairhope, AL. This town attracts a lot of tourist because it is just across the river from Merritt Island where Cape Canaveral is located. We will be on the move again in the morning. Next stop, New Smyrna Beach!