Thursday, 22 November 2012

No 39 Vero Beach, Florida

Hi from Clare,                              Wednesday 21st November 2012
We spent few days in St Augustine catching up with local residents Pete and Kourtney on 'Norna'. St Augustine has an Old Town and a Colonial Spanish Quarter dating back to 1740 and a well preserved fort Castillo De San Marcos which was built in 1672. The night we arrived we met Pete and Kourtney and walked around the fort and through the old town before settling in a bar for a few drinks, a chat and enjoying some local live music.
For the duration of our stay, the weather was overcast, windy and wet. Pete drove us around and showed us the sights through steamy car windows, took us food shopping and looked after us very well. We visited 'Norna' on the hard where Pete was redecking the aft cabin and repairing the copper sheathing. 'Norna" is in the same yard as 'Tactical Directions', an Aussie cat that we have cruised with last season. Tony returned to 'TD' today to prepare for the coming season.
A bit of 3M 5200 and hey presto, new boots & resplicing the anchor rope to the new anchor chain
We bought a new anchor chain and with the benefit of local knowledge we traded in our old chain for a dollar a foot. What a pleasant surprise as we considered the chain to be of no value. But the second hand dealer assured us that the chain had another life. Andrew said "yes, but not on my boat".
We stayed on one of the marina's sixty mooring balls. It was a pretty wild experience for at times we had strong current and wind coming from different directions. All the boats were charging around on their mooring balls. Taking the dinghy ashore was not for the faint hearted either. How embarrassing would it be to be run over by a boat on a mooring ball? Anyhow once ashore the reward was the use of the marina's laundry and bathrooms; lovely facilities and plenty of hot water.
We went out for dinner the final night with Pete and Kourtney to say goodbye and thanks. It was just a bit disappointing that the rain stopped us from seeing St Augustine at its best.

We are now at Vero Beach after traveling down the ICW for three days. This week the weather has been rough at sea. Many of our cruising friends are stuck up north still waiting for an opportunity to come south; and freezing to death in the process. Fortunately for us we are far enough south that we can use the ICW. It is frighteningly shallow in places and at times very boring motoring along a narrow channel but we are grateful to be moving south and seeing sunshine. As the weather got warmer we noticed that just about every house along the ICW has a huge fly screen construction attached. One place had the entire property under cover; we guess the bugs must be bad on the water.
Insect screens abound
Vero Beach is in Florida and although the weather in windy we are enjoying glorious sunshine. We are on a City Marina mooring ball alongside good friends Prue and Bert on 'Exuberant'. We had drinks together when we arrived on Monday and last night there were nine of us on Exuberant for a very enjoyable evening.
Rafted with Exuberant and Clare and Prue on Exuberant

It's a short dinghy ride ashore, we have access to laundry and showers and a free bus to town where there is terrific every day shopping (Supermarket & West Marine). Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the cruisers have a pot luck lunch. CLOD (Cruisers living on dirt) supplies the turkeys and hams and the cruisers bring everything else. It will be interesting to share in an American Thanksgiving. It should be a good roll up as there are thirty boats on mooring balls plus others in the marina. The boats are mostly American and Canadian. We are the only ones with funny accents.

We will probably leave here on Friday or Saturday and head for Fort Pierce on our way to Fort Lauderdale. We have enough time to do some sightseeing along the way. We will head for the Bahamas before our Visas run out on 12th December.

Love Candy xx

At 1:56 AM17/11/2012 (utc) our position was 29°00.94'N 080°54.76'W

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