Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Here's what we look like at our normal cruising speed of about 7 knots. (Photo courtesy of Sea Bird):
Although we love St. Augustine, the anchorage leaves a lot to be desired because of strong currents and opposing winds, so we headed on south again. Unfortunately, we missed a chance to meet the folks aboard our sister-ship, Sea Knight, which was just finishing the "Great Loop"; a circumnavigation of most of the East Coast from Florida, up the Hudson River and the Erie Canal, through the Great Lakes, down through the middle of the country to the Gulf of Mexico, across the Gulf to the Florida Panhandle, down the east coast of Florida and back home. They kept up a great daily blog for the entire trip ( We waved at them and said hello on the VHF radio as we crossed paths south of St. Augustine.
As we headed south, we came across some more interesting boats, one of which I think I saw at Fort Meyers Beach last year. We have watched this dock house being built (or rebuilt?) for 4 years. It looks as if it might be finished -- at least until the next hurricane. One of our favorite anchorages is Rockhouse Creek, near the Ponce de Lion Inlet.
We took the dinghy out toward the lighthouse and the ocean inlet
and reminded ourselves why we like the IntraCoastal Waterway, rather than the ocean most of the time!
Our next stop was Cocoa, where we took a slip for a week, did a big laundry, took luxurious showers, and relaxed in our air-conditioned yacht. We got a dozen of the sweetest blue crabs on earth across the way and cooked them up on board.
We had diddled around along the "Space Coast" in hopes that we would see our first shuttle launch live, but whoever submitted the lowest bid for rocket fuel gauges apparently wasn't up to the job so they scrubbed the flight. [Question: Why do you need fuel gauges on a space shuttle? It isn't like you're going to detour to the nearest rocket fuel station if you're running out. It's pretty obvious that you oughta fill up the tank before you leave home!]
So we rented a car for a couple of days (free upgrade from a sub-compact to a full-sized convertible) to go to Kissimmee to wrap and mail Christmas presents (mostly bought through the internet) that we had been sending to daughter Lyz's house for the last few months. Of course, we had to spend a little time with grandson Mikey (15 months). He helped Grammie make Christmas cookies.
And he puzzled long and hard over where each and every decoration should go on the tree.
We even went to church to see and hear Lyz singing in her choir's Christmas Show.
The tree finally got decorated, the packages mailed and our stomachs filled with Chef Chris's latest creations) so we headed back to Cocoa. We saw a little rocket go off with a spy satellite or something else highly classified, so all was not lost.
We managed to eat 50 clams from our favorite fish market (cheap!) over a few days.
And we headed off to Vero Beach, where all kinds of boats gather and raft together on city moorings. Our "mother ship" is a Nordhaven 46, which makes us look like a dinghy. However, when they head to the Bahamas, it's an all day trip at their maximum speed of about 8 knots while we should be able to go 10 - 12 if the conditions are ok. We are decorated with red bows, a little Xmas tree on the radar, and a wreaths on the pulpit and the after awning.
We took a grainy picture of the 30 or so lighted kayaks who paddled through the mooring field singing carols one night.
We have stocked our larders and are waiting for some mail to arrive. In a day or two, we'll start the two-day trip down to a favorite anchorage in North Miami where we will probably re-unite with brother Jock and start waiting for a weather window for a crossing to West End in the Bahamas. If a window doesn't arrive, we're still in a delightful spot with beaches and easy access to supplies. We are only a couple of hours away from comfortable anchorages directly off multi-zillion dollar mansions built on dredged land about 3 feet above sea level. South Beach and its various attractions are minutes away.
IF we get to the Bahamas, we will be incommunicado except by email -- not a bad thing?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!