Hi from Clare, Monday, 3rd December 2012
BLOWING IN THE WIND
We experienced our first Thanksgiving lunch with the cruising community at Vero Beach Florida. The food was plentiful and delicious and as one lady commented when viewing our combined efforts, "It's a pity we can't cook?" We ate out on the verandah in lovely sunshine enjoying good company and music provided by a two piece jazz band. Eye Candy won two door prizes, Andrew won a $20 gift voucher from the fresh fish market and I won a Harmonica. Our American friend Prue on "Exuberant" found it quite amusing that I would go to a Thanksgiving lunch and come away with a Harmonica. She is expecting a recital when next we meet. So we went to the music shop the following day and bought a beginners book. So far I can play a few basic tunes and there's a chance I will drive Andrew crazy. Oh well, I figure it's payback time for the constant racket of the ship's radio.
The Thanksgiving Feast
The prize winners and Breakfast with Prue and BurtSTUCK
Vero Beach has been nicked named Velcro Beach as it is very hard to pull yourself away. The marina people are very friendly, the facilities are excellent. The anchorage is calm and a free bus runs hourly into town for shopping. It's a very comfortable existence and it would be very easy to stay.
We took our dinghy up the river with Prue and Bert and experienced an American breakfast in a quaint sea side restaurant. Blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, French raisin toast and bacon and eggs isn't something I could eat every morning, but it was a fun outing.
We tore ourselves away from Vero Beach mid afternoon Friday and traveled 20 miles along the ICW to West Palm Beach. From here we could either go outside and sail down the coast to Fort Lauderdale or we could take a shorter route and motor to Fort Lauderdale via the ICW. After two nights of waiting in vain for the strong wind to drop we decided to take the ICW route. This meant negotiating 23 low bridge openings along the forty miles to travel. The bridge openings are either on the hour and half hour, or on the quarter hour and three quarter hour. So as you can imagine we couldn't afford to miss too many openings or we would not make the distance.
THE GREAT RACE
In the early hours of Sunday morning four boats including Eye Candy left the West Palm Beach anchorage for the first bridge. It didn't take long before we realized there wasn't a mathamatician amongst the other boats and so Andrew took the lead calculating the distance and speed required to catch the next opening. After a few bridges the others would call Andrew on the radio asking "Do you think we can catch the next bridge, what speed do we have to do?" We decided to let a couple of openings go as the speed required was 7.2 knots and we had some smaller boats with us. So we would sit at a bridge for 25 minutes waiting; time to relax and enjoy a bite to eat and a coffee.
We arrived into Fort Lauderdale around dark. We are anchored in Lake Sylvia which is a man made bay about the size of a football field and surrounded by up market waterfront homes. There are several canals running off from this lake where there are more beautiful homes with expensive power boats parked alongside. Our friends Steve and Karen on 'Threshold" live close by in one such canal. We first met Steve and Karen in Sardinia, and they are home at present having left "Threshold" in Turkey for the winter.
Steve and Karen have been wonderful making their home available to us, running us all over town for supplies and provisioning in preparation for our trip to the Bahamas and Cuba. Today is the first time I have had some spare time to write this newsletter. I still have provisions to store but Andrew and Steve have gone off hunting for some tools, so I have seized the moment.
CRUISERS AT HOME
We have also been very busy socializing. We had dinner at Steve and Karen's home the other night and met up with Ron and Sue on "Gemini". We have been in contact with "Gemini"via the radio in Europe but never actually met. So when they arrived for dinner Sue put her hand up to her mouth as if holding a microphone and said "Eye Candy, Eye Candy this is Gemini, Gemini" it was just like old times, she sounded exactly the same.
The following day Karen organised lunch at a local restaurant so we could meet a dozen of their cruising friends. They were all long time cruisers, some had circumnavigated the world and others had done it twice. We talked cruising non stop until we were the only ones left in the restaurant. Fortunately Steve and Karen are well known there and so the staff just left us alone and worked around us cleaning up. We all agreed cruising is terrific and there is no need to stop.
A WALK IN THE PARK
Yesterday we walked to a park along the waterfront where local families gather in great numbers for a picnic lunch and a free jazz concert. It was a lovely sunny day and the place was packed. Steve commented that after twelve years of living locally but cruising extensively he comes to local events like this and doesn't know a soul. But we had only been there for fifteen minutes and he ran into someone he used to work with when he was a pilot, so that blew that theory. But not to be out done, we even ran into someone we knew; a fellow cruiser of course but nevertheless , we knew them.
SO WHAT'S NEXT
I think we will be here for another week. We are waiting for the wind to drop so we can cross the Gulfstream and head for the Bahamas. At present the forecast is suggesting that our first opportunity is around the 11th. Still if we are caught here in a holding pattern, this is a pretty good place.
Love Candy xx
At 6:54 PM3/12/2012 (utc) our position was 26°06.30'N 080°06.67'W
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