Monday, February 13, 2012

It's A Boat!

Bob Belcher taking a brief break 
Our engine on the bottom and the generator on the top of
the photo, taken looking down at the salon floor (when
all the floorboards and insulation boards are removed.
That's a comment boaters make (mostly to other boaters) when their heads are down in the engine room and the boat isn't leaving the Marina as expected. We've said this a lot this last month. First of all let me bring you up to date. We're in Ft. Lauderdale tied up at the Downtown New River Marina and as I write this Scott's whole body is stretched out over the engine. But a lot has happened since my last entry so I'm going backward and starting with our repairs at Green Cove Spring Marina after we returned from Savannah.
The view from our stern of  Green Cove Springs Marina
The office and "Tree of Wisdom" location here. That's our
euphemism for the gathering spot outdoors for the cruisers,
usually men and often smokers. A TV was installed in the
It took eight days before all the repair work was finished and on Saturday, 1/28, we cast off our lines and headed down the St. John's river. We had a long day ahead of us, over 60 miles, through Jacksonville to a small anchorage at Palm Island, mile 765. We've stayed there before and although we need to be quite close to the ICW end to get enough water, it's a peaceful spot. The next morning we were off early again for another long day to Daytona. It was cold up in the cockpit steering and one really has to pay attention all the time with a 6 and 1/2 foot draft and a 63 foot mast! Not ten miles south we heard a squealing noise from below. A hose had come loose and was spraying on the fan belt. Luckily it was a wide area of the channel and we were able to get our anchor down - and Scott was back in the engine room. After some difficulty he managed a repair and we were off again.
It was late when we pulled into the Marina in Daytona and the next morning we decided to take a break. We had a great lazy day exploring the town and resting. So we were bright and bushy tailed the next morning early for another long day, this time to Port Canavaral. We anchored far off the channel behind the NASA Causeway in a rain of ash. Yes, ash - there was a huge brush fire nearby that cast an enormous plume of smoke.
Approaching Jacksonville on the St. John's River. There
were limited hours on the railroad bridge, making an
additional complication
The quiet anchorage at Palm Island, mile 765 (the mileage
starts in Norfolk, VA)
The view across the marshes and the channel
Scott affecting repairs in close quarters (the floorboards
aren't up).
A row of pelicans watch us cross under a bridge
The next morning we used a broom to sweep off some of the ash and were off at dawn. Our next stop was a mooring in Vero Beach at the Municipal Marina. This left us with an easy day down to Ft. Pierce the next afternoon. We'd been on the phone to Diane and Mitch Korbey, our good friends who live there, and Peter and Julie, our Kiwi cruiser friends who were waiting there for us on Anything Goes. So we had a nice long walk to the beach in the morning and had a great breakfast at the Lemon Tree Restaurant overlooking the ocean. More the come soon...
At dawn the smoky haze still left after the fire turned
everything  pastel hues and the sky and water were often
Dolphins followed us and played next to the boat all
the way down the ICW
At first we thought a lighthouse was headed our way!

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