Thursday, December 31, 2009

Julie's Birthday

Most people don't even know they are celebrating Ms. Proudfoot's (AKA my sister Julie's) birthday tonight but all over the world they do. Here in Vero, we will be lucky if we are able to stay up past 9pm. I talked to several other cruisers and they too plan to sleep thru the celebration...sorry Julie.
Today we had a treat and went to a movie at the mall. Meryl Streep starred in "It's Complicated" and Florrie and I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I think tomorrow is laundry. Such is life.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pelicans and Potluck

Anne, Lew and Florrie at the potluck.
This morning we watched the "pelican show" from our deck. We're at the south end of the Vero Beach mooring field, about 50 yards east of a mangrove and Australian pine island. The birds take naps after fishing in the early dawn. There was a Great Blue Heron, an egret, some smaller blue bird and an osprey, all within a few feet of each other. It is so funny to see half a dozen pelicans roosting on the same fluffy tree, making it bend almost to the water! About 8:30 they all take off and we don't see them until the next day, not in so many numbers anyway. There were over a dozen pelicans roosting in the area this morning.

We are very happy here. I love the sunny weather and all the wild life. Occasionally a dolphin comes into this mooring field to fish or just investigate us all. We are warm enough and are quite content to just hang out here for awhile longer.

Boaters are an amazing bunch of people. They really sieze the moment. In the past two weeks Lew & I have had more social life together than we have in NJ in 6 months. If anyone wants to get together, it is NOW... not two months from now, when someone's social calendar permits. We all know that we might not be able to spend more time with each other because everyone is on their way somewhere else. This morning a lot of boats left, going south. Yesterday our friends on Wilde Mathilda left. We have enjoyed their company so much and I wonder if we will catch up with each other someday in the future. I hope so. Their boats name, in German, is pronounced Vil-dah Matilda. It sounds like the beginning of an Ogden Nash poem.

The Christmas Day pot luck luncheon was so much fun! We were really lucky that the 40% chance of rain only gave us about 7 minutes of running for cover. More than 80 people from about 38 boats all brought their best recipes to share. Thanks to the folks on Kumbaya, who have a printer on board, we had an official signup sheet. That is all it takes to get such an event started. At about noon, Barbara from Laughalot, Sarah from Wilde Mathilda and Marge from Winfield Lash helped decorate and organize the varous dishes as they began to arrive.

The "buffet" was set up on the clothes washers and dryers. People could file through from one side of the building to the other. It was really very civilized. Then we all dispersed and found places to sit under the gazebos or in the lounge or on the various benches around the marina. For those of us who enjoy such marginal chaos, this was a wonderful event. A few boats had arrived the day before and were so glad to find out that something was going on to celebrate. We all miss our famiies and it helps a lot to enjoy happy company for awhile.

Of course such an event is not the cup of tea for some people. Probably less than half the boaters at the Marina participated, though some dropped in to say hello. Many flew home for the Holidays and will begin to return over the next few days. There will be a lull before whatever happens on New Year's Eve. For now, we all seem to be getting back to boat "fix it" chores.

We hope you all had a happily memorable Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cold on Harmony

I know the northerners will give no sympathy and the southerners won't admit it but it gets cold in Florida. Went and checked the west coast even down to Key West and it is cold everywhere down here. In Vero it got down to 39 degrees last night and the Keys were not that much better. Thank goodness the sun is now least until Thursday...and it should get into the high 50s today and a little warmer tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harmony in Vero

Happy Birthday, Melissa
Happy Birthday...yesterday...Sarah

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One adventure after another

From Vero Beach Municipal Marina,Thursday Morning.
Well folks, we finally made it to Vero Beach Municipal Marina.  We're rafted near "Puff" the boat of our friends Kathy and Dave, from Sayerville NJ. Considering that Harmony left Keyport early in September, it has taken over three months to go the distance it would take about 24 hours to drive.  This is not what people imagine when they think we are going "cruising". 
The past four days have given us a season's worth of adventures already.  Lew described the fog very well. We considered staying put until the fog completely cleared.  However, we really wanted to reach Dave & Kathy before they left "Puff" here to go north for Christmas.  Harmony as a good GPS system, so we decided to risk boating traffic and go south from our anchor spot in the Mosquito Lagoon.
By the way, the lagoon is well named.  Even in weather so wet you'd think the little critters couldn't fly, we killed seven buzzers during the night.  I think we got them before they got us.  The fog was too dense to see the birds that are abundant in that area.
It was a bit tense motoring just on the instruments but if Honeywind can do off the coast of Maine in fog, we figured we could.  We had far less to bump into than that rocky coast.  All we had to do was stay on the GPS line of the ICW.  That's all.  
We pulled up anchor at about 10 AM and headed on our way.  It felt like some clipper ship from "Master and Commander" was going to emerge out of the fog at any minute!  That's silly, of course, because the Lagoon is about four feet deep in most places, except for the dredged canal marked by red and green buoys.  We couldn't see from one marker to the next but when we got closer, the next one would emerge like a very still ghost.
We saw a number of local fishermen in their little 17' boats.  I guess fog is good fishng weather.  Thank heavens a power boat was coming out of the Haulover Canal, where we turn west through a narrow island out ofhe Lagoon, into the Indian River.  Totally unexpectedly the fog lifted completely when we went past the Bascule Bridge in the middle of the canal.  All of a sudden there were clear skies.  We looked back behind us and it was as if the bridge were holding the fog at bay. 
Across the expanse of the IndianRiver to Titusville, there was more fog but it was less dense.  It felt like we might be in an airplane flying through the very tops of cumulus clouds. It was a magical seascape.  Here and there there were glows of different colors as the sun reflected through thin clouds off denser ones farther away.  Hundreds of birds were sitting on sand bars, waiting for better flying weather maybe.  
We made it to Titusville about 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon. We were making good tme!  Even in the fog!  We got the fuel we needed, some simple groceries, and a pump-out.  Ready to keep going south in the now-clear weather, we found out that the swing bridge just below Titusville was broken! The Bridge Tender couldn't tell when he'd be able to open the bridge for the boaters.  It might not be until 5:30 - after dark!  Oh No!
Fortunately he was able to open it briefly.  Now the nerve wracking suspense was, would we be able to make it through the NASA (Addison Point) Bridge before it closed from 3:30 to 5 for Cape Canaveral commuter traffic?  Harmony was leading two more sail boats.  We all kept going at our fastest speed, which varied for each of us.  Harmony and Wide Matilda made it. TaTo got stuck on the other side.  NASA runs on a very strict clock!
Having anchored the night before near Wide Matilda in the fog and having been near her at a couple of previous bridge openings, we had some radio contact but no real meeting.  Tuesday evening, both anchored in a broad area of water that was not particularly protected but seemed fine.  We finally met Les  and Sarah when they dinghied over to us, joying drinks and noshes on deck as sun set.
The nights had been calm so far, which made for peaceful sleeping.  And that's what we got - until 3 AM when the anchor alarm went off!  Harmony had dragged quite a way away from the other boat.  Lew and I "did the deck dance", succesfully resetting the anchor and going back to sleep... until 5:45 when the alarm went off again. This time we said "the heck with it".
For the second morning in a row we took off in most unusual (for us) conditions.  In the pre-dawn dark, we relied on instruments again to get us down "the ditch" until we  see the markers.  The wind picked up to about 15, which helped us go almost 8 knots with the jib up.
You think the adventure was over?  Read on...
We surprised "Puff" by getting here at about 1:45.  We were tired but so happy to get a mooring right near our friends.  All we had to do was get our dinghy in the water and motor over to them.  Lew untied and lowered it and started the engine just fine.  Imagine our surprise when, as soon as I let the line to Harmony   go,the motor konked out! We were pushed by the wind back down the mooring field!
Lew was trying to row us but the wind was too strong and the oars kept coming out of the locks.  He got us near enough another boat for me to hang on.  I "walked" us around that boat and it's buddy on the mooring, finally getting up to the mooring ball a hanging on for dear life.  Thank heavens for cell phones.  We called Dave, who jumped in his dinghy and towed us back .
The end of this saga (so far) is that we had a wonderful evening with Dave and Kathy and Tom&June-their buddies on their mooring.  Today we will take it easy and maybe even get our motor fixed.  We're warm and safe and glad to be here.
(by Florrie it is extremely diffcult to correct spelling - sorry!)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

8 AM on Harmony

Picture the color light gray. Then picture youself surrounded by light gray. Thats us in pea soup FOG. It did clear up last night to a beautiful starry night. At least about 4 AM. But by 6, you could barely see the mast head light from our bunk so it was back to sleep for awhile. NOAA weather reports a "fog advisory" for all of central Florida so drivers take extra caution. We could go down the ICW by GPS except that it is very narrow and there is some commercial traffic. Do not want to meet a tug with no room to move. Parts of the channel have 2 feet debths on either side. So it takes an extra day or two to get to Vero. Oh well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mosquito Lagoon

View Larger MapThe fog began to clear about 10:45 so we took off. Got to Mosquito Lagoon when it socked us in again. Pulled about 1000 feet east of the channel and set the hook...about 3:15. We will stay here tonight and set out again, hopefully, tomorrow.

Daytona in fog

Another great picture from National Geographic.

Yesterday we left St. Augustine heading south. Got a late start (8:40) but averaged over 6 knots with the usual troubles. Arrived in Daytona about 4:30 and anchored just south of Memorial Bridge with about 20 other boats.
View Larger Map

This morning we got up about 5, Florrie misread the clock as 6, to heavy fog. Not going anywhere until that burns off at least enough to see the next mark.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

pogo Xmas

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker 'n' too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloupe, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!

Dunk us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an' polly voo!
Chilly Filly's name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!

The picture came from National Geographic

Friday, December 11, 2009

Harmony at the dock

We are still in St. Augustine and at the dock. It has been rainy, windy and cold with fronts coming by every 2 or 3 days. I know we will get no sympathy from those from the north. Only one more package expected from West Marine and, if it warms up by Sun/Mon, we will take off for the Municipal Marina at Vero Beach for about 3 weeks. And now back to my book: Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (a birthday present from Florrie).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St Augustine

We arrived here yesterday morning...41 degrees and drizziling. Yuck. The sun came out in the afternoon but it didn't do much for the temperature. Luckily we are at a dock and have electricity and a heater for the boat. Woke up this morning with dew dripping on my face from the hatch. It doesn't look like it will warm up much until Tuesday when it will also rain (NOAA says 30 per cent chance). Florrie keeps asking about why we are here and do I really want to live on a boat. Bad times make good stories.