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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Great Sale Cay to Vero Beach, via Fort Pierce

We tried not to get up early at Great Sale Cay because we wanted to resist the urge of an early departure.  Old habits die hard and we were up at 6:30 am, having coffee and listening to weather.  I noticed a beautiful vessel with freedom masts over a half mile away and wondered if it was ‘Kera Bela’ from OYCM, Jacksonville.  We kept an eye on them as all the other boats emptied out of the anchorage.  Finally it was just the two of us.  We pulled up anchor and motored out of our way to go by them.  Sure enough, I saw David moving around in the cockpit and Jackie shortly thereafter.  I hollered at them to get dressed for company.  David got a kick out of seeing us and said “you meet the nicest people in far away anchorages!”  They had arrived at 2:30 am and were just about rested up enough to press on.  We were on opposite headings, leaving us time only to shout greetings and well wishes as we passed by.  I hope we see them again in the fall.

This was our shortest trip back to the states yet.  We normally head north for a couple nights out and ride a little in the Gulf Stream, but this time we wanted to get some maintenance and provisioning completed in Vero Beach, therefore we came across to the Fort Pierce inlet.  We did not want to enter Fort Pierce in the dark, so we kept slowing down Hold Fast.  Once the current gets you though, it is hard to reduce speed.  We turned south a bit, which helped, but we still ended up at the inlet at 5 am.  It was my watch and I woke up Myron just before we entered.  Fort Pierce inlet is well marked and deep.  That was not the problem, it was how work around on the ICW and find a place to anchor in the dark.  Our original plan was to anchor north of the entrance and just south of the Fort Pierce North Bridge (the one that opens), however we were blinded by the bright lights of the dredger parked on the ICW that direction and could not ascertain which side of the dredger was open.  We opted to go under the fixed bridge to the south of the inlet, work our way down the ICW and take a left into the anchorage area.  We anchored as soon as we were sufficiently off the ICW.

Once anchored, our next immediate task was to check in to the U.S.  We have the LBO (local boaters option) and can typically call in our numbers and location and get an arrival number to complete the process, eliminating the need to report to Customs Border Protection in person.  Myron purchased a month on our prepaid phone to make sure we were all set to make the call.  However, when we arrived the actual phone (hardware) completely crashed.  We pulled out the old Verizon phone, but our number had been recycled and I needed to go through an activation process.  Myron tried using our Google Talk number to make a call because we were getting free wi-fi in the anchorage.  Google Talk failed as well.  We were running through other options, like waiting for Fort Pierce City Marina to open, go get diesel there and use their phone to check in.  We were finally able to complete the check in process via Skype.  We were now free to move about the country.

Our next task was to move to Vero Beach City Marina for fuel and to take a mooring.  They let us chose between mooring 10 or mooring 1 in the south field.  We tried mooring 10, but it was too protected from any breeze and we were burning up.  Sometime after the marina’s closing time we concluded that we MUST change moorings.  There was no one on #1 yet and we went for it.  They are pretty relaxed here in the off season.  There are a number of moorings open and there is no need to raft two and three boats to one mooring.  I sent the office an email about our new location and have not heard a peep.  This is the first mooring on the entrance to the marina.  We could see all boats coming and going, if we were not so busy with projects. 

When we arrived, we picked up our package from the marina office and Myron got right to work on installing the AIS.  It was up and running before we even got in a nap.  A nap was needed.  I wondered why I was so tired.  Myron reminded me that I never got an off-watch rest after coming on watch at 3 am.  We did our best to sweat through a couple hours of sleep.  I tried for more, but Myron got up and did some trouble-shooting on the old refrigerator.  He found a leak and recharged the unit.  Maybe that will solve it for now.  Last night the temperature finally cooled off and we were able to sleep well.

We had a number of challenges to address today.  One was getting the rental car.  Hertz has free pick up at this location, but they could not call our broken phone to tell us they had no drivers, that they would reimburse us for the cost of a cab, well a $15 Klubcar ride anyway.  While we waited an hour for the ride, the Blue Angels started their practice runs.  They have an air show here this weekend and Hold Fast is moored very close to the flight path.  It will be good fun to watch from our boat, except for one thing:  I must return the rental car on Saturday…at the airport…during an air show.  We will try to figure out some alternative to me getting stuck in air show traffic for an entire day. 

We are doing well on our list of tasks.  Today we provisioned, bought a new starter battery and, also very important, got a phone going.  Myron just installed the new starter battery and it cranks the Lehman over just fine.  It is nice to have that off the list and to give the house batteries a rest.  A few more tasks and we should be ready to head offshore.  We are watching for a weather window and will let you know when we slip the mooring.

I had add that we just saw Debbie and Richard on 'At Last' from OYCM, Jacksonville, come in to the marina.  You never know who you will see out here!

Love to all,

Posted via wifi.

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