Sunday, January 17, 2010


…the nick name given to Vero Beach by the cruisers because you can so easily get stuck here. And that is exactly what we have been since December 28th! Actually, we arrived here on December 14th, which is only one day sooner than we arrived here last trip, even though we departed almost a full month earlier. This year has simply been challenging for boat travels. We left the boat here over Christmas while we both went to visit our respective families (Lynn to Maryland and me to Ontario). After having a very nice time celebrating the holidays we returned hoping to leave soon after for our ultimate destination…that was three weeks ago and we are still waiting!

But, I am getting ahead of myself. I need to pick up where I last left off, which was some time ago. I guess I have not been in the mood to blog much, feeling a little frustrated by our lack of progress. We did have a nice trip down the ICW from St. Augustine to here. We first stayed 2 nights in St. Augustine, a great town that was particularly beautiful with all the Christmas lights. We mostly wandered around the old part of town stopping to do a little Christmas shopping. We had lunch one day in the Bubble Room which is covered in 40’s memorabilia…it was fun just looking at all the old pictures of famous people.

Next stop was New Smyrna, one of our favorite places on the ICW. Remember our pics of St. Patties Day last time…that was there. We went back to Maloney’s pub for the incredible oyster stew I had been dreaming about having for weeks. It was as good as I remembered and we even bought a second helping to go. The bartender (whose name happened to be Beth) was kind enough to tell me the recipe so now I can make it almost as well on the boat. It was again a perfect night to be in New Smyrna because they were having a vintage car show with a long stretch of the main drag blocked off…it felt like we had stepped back in time…which is kind of what New Smyrna is like all the time. The next morning, Cindy from Salty Dog, our friend we met on our last cruise, treated us to an excellent breakfast. We were joined by her sister Mindy and Mindy’s husband Carl. We had so much fun chatting and laughing and remarked how easily we picked up where we had left off two years ago. Unfortunately Cindy and Jeff are not going to the Bahamas this year as they are enduring the inevitable boat repair year.

The next night we anchored out and then we finally arrived in Vero Beach. The skies had been grey and the weather windy and bleak for much of the journey, but we did have a lovely day when we arrived here. Life in Vero is really quite nice, so it is not so bad being stuck here. The marina is very sheltered and staying on a mooring is relatively inexpensive. The city offers free bus service so it is very easy to get around for provisioning from West Marine, Publix and Wall Mart. Something that is often quite challenging due to lack of transportation. It makes me laugh though because the cruisers stick out like a sore thumb on the bus as we are usually in pairs, carrying huge armloads of bags and often wearing bright yellow foul weather gear (due to the crappy weather we have been experiencing). We are also only about a mile from a very nice beach and shopping/dining area. If the weather were better we would be spending more time at the beach…but then, if the weather were better we would be in the Bahamas by now! We have also killed some time going to the movies and have spent an afternoon in the bar watching the Ravens win. I have done a few more sewing projects, like a sack to hold my wine…we remove the bladder from the box and place it in the sack with the spigot sticking through a hole in the bottom and then hang it from the galley ceiling…I wish it was my idea because it is ingenious! I have one for red and one for white. I may go into business making them as they are also very convenient for the home.

While at Vero we have been experiencing the crazy deep freeze along with the rest of the east coast. Apparently Florida has not seen temps this low in the last several decades. We woke up to ice in the dingy the other day! I know, I know, I can't complain as it is not anywhere near as cold as most of you reading this have endured. But, it was unexpected and it sure is bone numbing when we have to crawl out of our warm bed in the mroning to start the generator and get the heat going. You can iagine how often we both said "it's your turn" when faced with that. But, sadly, it is the poor fish and sea turtles who have been really suffering and indeed dying in large numbers. Finally, the temperature has started getting gradually warmer over the last several days.

The best part of cruising in my opinion is the wonderful people you meet, and Vero has been no exception. First we met Sandy and Meryl on the Amber Marie, with whom we hit it off immediately. Sandy thinks that we must have met in a previous life…hmmm, who knows. They are a brave pair who have travelled all the way from New Brunswick on a 25-foot Oday sailboat. The first night they arrived at our boat for a visit they brought along Meryl’s guitar. After chatting a while I asked him if he was going to play for us, not knowing what to expect and wondering if we were going to have a sing along. Well, he started to strum and sing beautiful songs that he wrote himself. Lynn and I looked at each other in amazement. We begged for more and he kindly treated us to an evening of his lovely music that is a mix of country ballads and bluesy tunes. I am in awe of someone like Meryl who says he usually composes the music and lyrics to a song in about 20 minutes and doesn’t really know how the inspiration comes to him. We happily enjoyed several more evenings with them. Sandy is a ton of fun and I suggested they could tour with Sandy as the comedic talent and Meryl the musical act! We definitely miss them now.

We have had the pleasure of hanging out with other new friends, like Kathy and John on Makani and Cindy and Steve on Slip Away. It was with this crowd that we spent a very fun New Year’s Eve. Kathy discovered that it was a blue moon that night (the second full moon of the month in case anyone didn’t know there actually is a thing called a blue moon), so she suggested that we spend the day doing things you only do in…you guessed it…a blue moon. We finally had wonderful balmy weather so we all walked to the beach for a picnic. Kathy, who definitely knows how to enjoy every moment, went for a swim and a little body surfing. The rest of us were too wimpy as it was pretty chilly for that, but I am sure we all secretly wished we had her gumption…I know I did. Anyway, after that some of us (right Cindy!) found the ice cream store. That evening we joined together on Slip Away for noshes and to ring in the New Year. We talked about the best and worst things that happened in 2010 and took silly pictures with 2010 glasses on our faces. It was great fun.

Since then Cindy and Steve have headed south to the Keys and we are still here waiting to cross to the Bahamas along with Kathy and John. We have spent numerous evenings with them playing euchre, which has been really fun. We have also continued riding the bus to town and enjoyed happy hours on other boats with other new friends (like Jill and Dave on JilliQ, Gail and Bruce on Orient Express, and Marge and David on Winfield Lash). We have had a few very teensy windows to cross the gulf stream but have opted to wait for better conditions, which we think are finally here starting tomorrow. So, we are off this afternoon with a plan to head across the gulf stream sometime in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. We should arrive on the Little Bahama Bank Tuesday afternoon and anchor out overnight. The next day we will go on to Green Turtle Cay where we check in at customs. Then who knows…

This has been a long blog but I needed to do some catching up. Although the trip has not turned out as we expected so far, and has been at least a month longer actually getting there, I do think things happen as they are meant to be…we would not have had the pleasure of meeting such wonderful new friends had we not been here…I’ll post again soon when we are finally over there!!