Ft. Pierce, FL to St. Augustine, FL April 8 - 27, 2006

Shopping 'til Dropping...

On 4/14 we moved on down from Ft. Pierce to Stuart, where we secured our "goodies" from the trunk of Bill and Staci McLauchlan's auto.   (They had intended on doing us the big favor of delivering parts and supplies to us in the Exumas; when their destination changed to the Abacos they arranged to have the stuff stashed in their trunk at Stuart via Pat and Ted on Seclusion.)   They also offered us the use of their car, and we took outrageous advantage and shopped until we dropped.

We also attended the week-end Rendezvous sponsored by Krogen Yachts.   We anticipated an enjoyable time, and our expectations were exceeded.   Krogen really went all out to make the Rendezvous a success; slip for the boat, great program, great food, lotsa drink, nice prizes, very nice party favors, and a terrific band for dancing on Saturday night.   All for a very modest price.   Krogenites:  you gotta attend one of these!

On Easter Sunday we moved on down to West Palm Beach by running down the outside (in the ocean).   Found a very cluttered and crowded waterway upon entering the Lake Worth Inlet.  Spent the evening at the Lake Worth anchorage, and then jumped back outside early the next morning.   Arrived at Ft. Lauderdale mid-afternoon, in time to find a spot in the tiny Lake Sylvia anchorage.  Undertook another early departure the next morning, in order to arrive at Harbour Towne Marina by 8:30 am for the scheduled hauling of Tusen Takk II.

I had put out a query on the web about recommended bottom painters, and Harbour Towne had been mentioned by many.  We could see why almost immediately.   It is a large operation with a large staff and a very substantial lift.  The manager mentioned that they averaged about four bottoms painted a day.   All the more remarkable since most of the other vessels in the yard were huge -- huge as in well over 100'.  (At one point I got a cell call asking us to return to the boat so that it could be splashed -- the bottom was done.  Unbeknownst to them, we were already in the yard, and there was so much noise that I had trouble hearing the caller.   Apparently thinking that my many requests to repeat must be due to a wrong number, the staff member backed up and asked:  "Are you the skipper of the little trawler?"  Harrumph!)

It took them only one day to clean and paint the boat, and to wax and buff the hull.   But it took another day and a half for them to wax and buff the rest of the topsides (after putting TT II back in the water.)   While we were in Ft. Lauderdale, we went on a shopping spree and got charts and guides from Blue Water Charts and Books (for our forthcoming expedition to the Caribbean), parts for the water maker, and new boating shoes and other supplies from the many marine supply dealers in the area.   With our shiny new boat,  we got up super early on 4/21 and inched our way out through the darkness back out to the deep.  It had taken us two days to get down to Ft. Lauderdale from Stuart, but with the help of the Gulfstream, we made the return trip of 96 miles in only 9 hours!  We arrived at the Roosevelt bridge just in time (as usual) to have a 30-minute wait for a train to pass.  We anchored at South Point Anchorage, and quickly put the dinghy in the water.   Why so quickly?   Because we were saying goodbye to the beast.   We traded in a Cadillac for a Ford.   But it is a Ford pickup.   That is to say, we traded down in order to get more cargo space.   We are happy, and I'll bet the dealer is ecstatic.   Imagine an even swap between a new Ford and a slightly used Cadillac.   Had dinner that night with Bill and Staci, our friends from Tapestry.

Teri Goodrich and John Kistle arrived about noon on Saturday, 4/22, in order to spend the weekend with us.  We had a great time, eating and talking (about life and boating [is there a difference?]) and drinking.  Much rum was consumed.  Many of life's problems were (theoretically) solved.

Late Sunday afternoon we took our new dinghy over to Stuart Cay Marina and visited Steve and Ruth Jaroski, and became the proud (third) owners of Dahon folding bikes.  Bill and Staci had sold them to Steve and Ruth, because Bill and Staci had only used them a couple of times.  Steve and Ruth sold them to us, because Steve and Ruth had never used them.   Chuck and Barb plan on using them a good deal.  Our beach bikes had gotten horribly rusty riding around all year on the deck of TT II, so the thought was to get something that could be folded up and hidden away out of the salt.   The plan was also to get something that was lighter, and therefore easier to get down from the deck to the dinghy.   Well, two out of three ain't bad.  (I think they weigh as much as a "regular" bike.)

We left Stuart on Monday, 4/24, and have been making our way up the ICW at a leisurely pace.   In part, because we are retired, and can afford to be leisurely, but also because the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine is totally closed until after 4/27.   Not certain if the weather would be favorable for a long outside detour, we opted to lollygag.   And so we've used the Vero Beach Marina moorings (where we took a ride on our new bikes [See!  I told you they would be used!]), anchored off just south of the bridge at Cocoa Village, and are now anchored off just north of the Sea Breeze Bridge in Daytona.   Each night, just at the appropriate time, Barb gets out the conch shell and salutes the sundown with a melodious blast that I can only envy.

Oh, one other thing.   While moored at Vero, I noticed a home owner out walking his two bouncy little white dogs in his back yard.   Frisky little fellas.   Bouncing along the concrete wall.  Oops!   One of the dogs bumps into the other, and the other tumbles into the water!   The home owner has an arm in a sling, and takes a good 20 seconds to try to decide what to do, given his incapacitation.  And then he stands at the wall and shouts back to the house:  "Jill, Jill, Jill, Jill".   Etc.  Loudly.   Finally wife Jill appears at the rear door and is informed that "Fluffy" has fallen in.  "Oh god, oh no, on god, oh no", gasps Jill loudly as she runs awkwardly to the wall and peers over the edge.  Fluffy, meanwhile has swum a few feet and has found a tiny ledge upon which to lodge his front paws and wait while his owners decide what to do next.  Jill, a woman of action and decisiveness, thereupon commences to caterwauling plaintively and loudly:   "Help, help, help, help".   Etc.  Very loudly.   We had returned our dinghy to the upper deck at the conclusion of our marvelous bike ride -- did I mention how nice those new bikes are, and how much we anticipate using them? -- so we were of no help.   But the folks in the Grand Banks, just off our bow, had their dinghy out, and so the skipper jumped in and slowly motored over, telling his wife as he departed and Jill as he neared the wall, that he didn't want to come in too fast and frighten Fluffy.   But we have a contest developing, since a cute young woman from a nearby sailboat has been out oaring in her little rowing dinghy, and has also heard the plaintive cries for help.   She is closing in rapidly from the south, even as our skipper carefully approaches from the northwest.   Who will claim the credit for saving Fluffy from further humiliation and possible physical harm?   Even as in the movies, the attractive young woman, of course.   Jill, apparently overcome with relief, sat in the grass next to the wall, smothering Fluffy for a good long time.   But then all was fine, and the last we saw of them as they disappeared into the rear door was two bouncy little white dogs.   Frisky little fellas.

Chuck enjoying libations at the Krogen Rendezvous

Larry Polster - Our favorite Krogen guy

Lots of Krogens at the Rendezvous

Crowded waterway in West Palm on Easter Sunday

Pizza being served in West Palm Beach on the waterway

Tusen Takk II being hauled in Ft. Lauderdale to get its bottom painted, and exterior waxed and buffed

Being hauled

Definitely time for bottom paint

Bottom being spray washed

Busily sanding and waxing

New product called Prop Speed applied to rudder and prop - hopefully the paint will last longer

Stabilizer on Tusen Takk II

All done

Back in the water

Our new dinghy being unloaded

Our old dinghy being taken away

Teri & John spent the week-end with us

Chuck pumping tires for one of our new bikes

Dog rescued by boaters when he fell over the bulkhead in his back yard - the owners were quite frazzled and screamed for help