Monday, February 21, 2011

From Daytona to Marathon with Russ

Russ at our computer reading the news or checking his email. We get internet through our cell phone!
Russ Wolf joined us in Daytona Beach for a 2 week cruise. The plan originally was to go to Mexico with us but he happily adjusted to our new destination in the Keys. He has a home in Duck Key and always enjoys a visit there. For the last half of the second week the three of us moved into these luxurious land quarters.
The wide white beach at Vero Beach, FL 
And of course, he's a doctor - very comforting for Heather, recovering from surgery. Really he's so much fun she forgot her aches and pains.
We had a long first day down to Coco where we anchored off the town just before sunset. There was a stiff breeze making it really cold for the person at the wheel. We used all our blankets that night!
It was sunny the next day and felt warmer. The harbor at Vero Beach is tucked way down a long channel and is filled with moorings.
The view from the passenger's seat as Russ and Scott
use the oars to paddle our dinghy home.
Scott, Heather, Mitch and Diane

We arrived in time to take a long walk down to the beach. Our outboard has been defunct unfortunately so Russ and Scott had to paddle their way back and forth to the dock!
Next day we had a short trip to Ft. Pierce, FL. Our great friends Diane and Mitch Korbey live there and we enjoyed several days visiting them. We stayed at the very friendly Harbortown Marina on the west side of the ICW. They had courtesy bikes which Russ and I used both days to ride to the beautiful beach. We had dinner the first night at the marina's restaurant and the next at Mitch & Diane's.
Russ is the alter ego of the Energizer Bunny and not only bicycled but swam 1000 strokes every day!
He particularly enjoyed a very early morning swim with Mitch.
Meanwhile Scott got our outboard motor repaired nearby and repaired the toilet and the wind generator. There's always something - poor guy!
It was another long trip to our anchorage in the north end of Lake Worth. We arrived just as the sun was setting and had a quiet evening.
That day was nothing compared to the next. Never again will we take the ICW from Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale!!! There were more than 20 opening bridges, all with different schedules. It was a nightmare and took us 10 and a half hours. The last bridge was on the narrow crowded New River and involved tight maneuvering with strong currents and commercial traffic waiting almost a half hour for it to open.
Trees arching over the road to the beach in Vero Beach, FL

We passed under the bridge to a fabulous horn solo from Gene, Diane and Mitch's friend who with his wife Shirley live in a condo nearby. A triumphant entry indeed. And then as we tied up, our friends Larry and Leslie on Algonquin ran up. They were moored right across the canal and heard us on the VHF. We hadn't seen them for years but have known them since our first SSCA Gam in Maine our first year cruising. We made plans to see them the next day for breakfast.
Larry and Leslie(on the bow) on Algonquin
Looking up the New River from the 3rd Ave Bridge,
Ft. Lauderdale
Poor Tony Gonzalez! We had made plans to spend the evening with him and told him to meet us around 3 PM. He had to return home and come back again at 6:30PM. We did have a fun evening with him though eating at a great burger joint on Los Olos Blvd.
The next day we met Leslie and Larry at our favorite breakfast place on Los Olos, The Floridian Cafe, a piece of old Florida (or at least fifties Florida). Then we toured their new (to them) trawler - beautifully restored and redecorated! When we first met them they were on a sail boat but they sold their house in northern N.Y. and this is their home now.After that Scott went with them to the Miami Boat Show and Russ and I walked down to the beach. It was packed with sun worshipers but unfortunately for Russ, a flag was up warning potential swimmers of Portuguese Man of Wars in the water. He decided against risking it. From then on we saw these weird creatures in the water in big numbers. Several times while sailing south turtles appeared to be nosing up to them. We heard later that they eat them! GO turtles!
We exited the channel out to the open ocean for the first time on this trip and sailed (not motored or even motor sailed) down to Miami and Key Biscayne. The channel into the Bay behind the Key was very shallow and we had some nervous moments negotiating it. But the anchorage was very pleasant and calm. Russ and Scott took the dinghy over to a sand bar and joined the young crowd swimming and partying there.
The next day we took the Florida Channel out of the bay and sailed again down to Rodriequez Key where we anchored well off. Some windy weather was coming in during the night and we didn't want to bounce on the bottom and even thought we might want to make a quick exit if it was too rough. Happily though we didn't have a problem and again had a lovely sail down to Boot Key Harbor in the town of Marathon, Florida. Our last stop for a while.
Another favorite restaurant on Los Olos, Saint Tropez
French Bistro where we ate on Mother's Day last spring.
The beach at Ft. Lauderdale
Pelicans are everywhere and really fun to watch 

The balloon like top of the Portuguese Man of War on
the surface of the water. 

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