25 January, 2015

Ahoy, Me Hearties,

January 6th.  We departed St. Augustine mooring field at 0730 for the 8 hour run to New Smyrna Beach.  Still a coolish 63 degrees, but the sun was out.  Passing by Daytona Beach, we’re joined by a pod of dolphins, swimming, diving, and jumping in our bow wave.  This is getting to be a pretty regular occurrence, as they seem to be drawn to the sound of our trusty John Deere diesel.  It’s a darn good thing that we called ahead for a reservation, as there is exactly 1 space big enough for The Girl at the city marina.  The next afternoon, our pals, Gary and Gail Mallernee drove over from the Orlando area to pick us up for a visit to their home.  We had a couple of great days seeing their beautiful new home and reconnecting.  Old friends are where it’s at.

The morning of the 10th, we’re off the dock at 0830.  As we’re catching up on the news, courtesy of CNN, we hear about the SpaceEx launch at the Cape earlier in the morning-@#!%!!  We had checked the launch schedule on NASA’s web site earlier in the week, and could’ve sworn it said 4:25 P.M., not A.M.  Would’ve been cool to watch from the anchorage just a few miles away.  Oh well, maybe in the Spring.  Or next Fall.  Or the following Spring.  As it is, we pass by empty launch pads and the gimundous Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest (by volume) building in the world.  Our plan is to stop at Vero Beach for a day or so, but it’s too far for one travel day, so we anchor in the river at Eau Gallie, just north of Melbourne.  It was blowing like stink, so we tucked up under the lee of the highway bridge and didn’t leave the boat.  It wasn’t really a bad thing, as we were entertained by a pod of dolphins practicing their synchronized swimming and aerobatics.  I’m gonna have to Google this, but I’m pretty sure that these southern dolphins must be a different species than their northern cousins.  They are much bigger.

On our way to Vero Beach we begin to feel like we are finally in tropical Florida. Lots of palm trees, mangroves and warm sun. Yay!! As we enter the mooring field at Vero Beach, we’re met by Bill and Lisa (Changing Course), who escort us to our ball in their dinghy.  What a pleasant surprise, we thought they were leaving before our arrival.  They’re liking it here, big time, and tell us we gotta stay more than the one day we had planned.  I guess the boaters call it “Velcro Beach”, ‘cause you stop here and get stuck.  It’s that cool.  I’m sure that 13 bucksanight mooring balls don’t hurt, either.  The Admiral rings up Sunset Bay Marina, where we will be staying for a week, and they allow us to push back a day.  Cool.  Suz and I dinghy the bikes in through the rain, and head to The Riverside Cafe for a little NFL and grub.  Next day, B & L biked with us for breakfast at a little beach restaurant on the other side of the island.  We took a walk on the beach, and got caught up on each other’s’ adventures since we last saw one another, while dodging all the Man O’ War bodies that had washed up during the blow a few days previously.  We part ways, agreeing to get together in the evening at our place to watch Ohio State win the National Championship for the Big Ten.  That evening, thunderstorms were rolling through, so they opted not to make the ¼ mile trek over.

January 13, and we’re off at 0800.  We really could have stayed a few more days, but Sunset Bay is calling.  We’re scheduled to meet our electronic, mechanical, and all-around boatstuff guru, Scottie, who is in residence there to take care of a few routine maintenance issues.  More than half of the Krogen gang from Solomon’s live here in the winter, so Scottie moves down too, and is kept busy 18/7.  (would be 24/7, but the guy has to sleep).  A lot of our stuff I can do myself with his direction, and I love to have him around to bail me out if I get into trouble.  Some issues are way beyond my capabilities-Scottie gets those.  We roll into Stuart around 1400, and are informed that there are now 24 Krogens here!  This week will be tough on the liver and waistline.  Scottie’s finishing up on “Anne Louise” who will be heading to the Caribbean for a 4 year cruise, but stops by so we can formulate a game plan.  We’re in the engine room, and he leans against one of the battery boxes.  It’s warm.  “Dude, you need a new battery”.  This is the trickle that leads to a cascade.  Okay, so it’s now the 25th.  We’ve paid for a month stay at this marina that was completely booked (for this year and next) when we arrived.  We’ve replaced (8) 186 pound batteries (with the help of “the swamp boys”-2 football players from Weber State that Scottie knows).  I’ve rewired our autopilot and one of our navigation computers.  Upgraded our software and chart portfolios.  Changed the coolant and hoses on our propulsion and generator engines.  Replaced the water manifold for our air conditioners.  Built a shelf for the pantry.  Waxed the entire boat.  Replaced a circuit breaker.  And are currently waiting on a new clutch for the generator to be shipped from Texas.  (The routine belt replacement became not-so-routine when the aforementioned clutch vomited the bearings from its’ battered case during removal)  The tech from Texas where we sent it to be rebuilt was amazed that it even worked-too trashed to repair.  Funny thing is, it never sounded bad, and worked like a charm.  A friend said “Your boat’s always broken-you just don’t know it.”  I ain’t cryin’, just sayin’.  There could be worse places to be stuck.  Or, we could’ve been in the Bahamas when this stuff crapped out.

-That’s it for now

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