December 19, 2015
The day is cloudy and winds are out of the north at 15 to 25 knots. It is blowing like hell out there.
We pulled up anchor and traveled 15 miles to Melbourne to meet up with Grace (The Brooks family), another boat from our sailing club. The Brooks family are live-a-boards. Two adults and four boys ranging from ten to seventeen share the space in one 39 foot Beneteau.
It was a rough ride down to Melbourne and difficult to keep in the channel with all that wind. Our path was pretty exposed. We tried to park just below the Melbourne Bridge near Grace but the wind was blowing so hard that the anchor did not have time to set. On the third try I let out about 50 feet of chain in seven feet of water and the anchor finally set.
We took the dinghy into shore and went into Indialantic looking for a Wi-Fi. We walked to the beach. The seas were really ugly out there. We finally found a Starbucks and tried to get some work done on the internet but the connection was way too slow.
That night we all got together on Grace. Kerri fixed us all chicken enchiladas with rice. It was a nice surprise. We did not expect them to fix a meal for us. It was also a nice visit to exchange stories and learnings. Went back to the boat and stayed up to 22:30 a new record! Usually we can't make it past 21:00.
By the way, resetting the alternator regulator back to factory settings cured my overcharging problem in the electrical system.
December 20, 2015
Got up early and pulled the anchor at 7:30. Tarsie had already left. The winds continued to blow out of the east at 15 to 25 knots. We put up a bit of sail and made good time down the ditch. Next stop is Ft. Pierce. We furled the sails near Vero Beach because the intercoastal canal does a lot of twisting in that area.
At about 13:30 we saw Tarsie take a left out of the channel. We could not figure out what they were doing? I was afraid they were having mechanical trouble and were about to run aground. Actually they were looking for shelter in the lee of an Island nearby. They were tired of being knocked around and so were we.
Once they set the hook, we went over and side tied to them. Early Happy Hour! The spot was good and we were glad to get a break from the beating we took all day.
December 21, 2015
Untied from Tarsie this morning and headed back down the ditch to Fort Pierce. Tarsie led us past our anchorage despite our calls to let them know we had. Finally they figured it out and turned around. We were in tight quarters in our turn and almost ran over one of the local buoys due to the strength of the current. We got back to the anchorage and set the hook in about 8 feet of water and put out about 50 feet of chain due to the strength of the winds and the current. It ended up being an uncomfortable anchorage. The winds and counter current kept twisting us around as much as 180 degrees. At one point we got the chain wrapped around the keel we were twisting so bad. I waited for a lull and dumped another25 feet of chain. The weight of the extra chain fell off the keel and we got unwrapped. Whew!
We rented a car so we could drive to an Apple store in North Palm Beach to get my I-phone fixed. We went to all that trouble to get to the Apple store only to find out that the recall had expired last month. Great, I ended up buying a new I-phone. We did the mall thing, ate lunch and went back to Fort Pierce to return the car.
December 24, 2015
We spent several more days here at Fort Pierce. Ate and drank at several of the local restaurants. Most of the food was mediocre. They did have a great light show in the park at night with the Christmas lights. It was probably the highlight of our stay there.
We watched a couple of close calls out in the anchorage. One big motor cruiser came in late and was anchored near us. I noticed the current was pushing really hard and his anchor finally broke loose. They were down below and had no clue they were adrift. I grabbed my air horn and let out five blasts. I saw no response. I let our five more blasts just before he broadsided another boat in the harbor. That got their attention.
They got their engines started and got moving just before they almost hit the bridge. We watched them back around the anchorage. They were having trouble getting their anchor up. We were all worried about whether he was going to back into us during his antics. He finally got his anchor up and dropped the hook (after several tries) on the other side of the channel. Our entertainment was over.
Today we watched a catamaran try to sail under the bridge. The sailboat was a bit too tall and he got stuck under the bridge. Several smaller motor boats came over and helped get them out from under the bridge. Then they had the bridge open and got towed back under to our side of the bridge. They finally came sailing by us and to my surprise it was a much older man with what appeared to be his young grandson. I was expecting to see some reckless youth on that small cat, not a mature individual like us.
Steve and Jenny Dark came to visit us with their daughter. It was a nice visit. We met them at the local restaurant and had a few drinks while we caught up. Their daughter is a Microbiologist working for the state of Florida. She was sharing with us how bad the Lionfish infestation was in Florida. Apparently they consume three times what a normal fish of their size consume and are propagating far more often than they do in their own environment. This invasive species could devastate the native species in their competition for food sources and the Lionfish have no natural predators in these waters. Not sure what they are going to be able to do to correct this problem.