Titusville, FL to Stuart, FL December 23-31, 2005

Click on the above thumbnail for a map of points visited during this time period.

The Holidays and warm weather at last...

We were glad to be tied up to the docks of the Titusville Municipal Marina so Chuck could give Tusen Takk II a needed washing.   It had been 13 days since we'd been at a marina and it felt strange.  It will be nice when we get out of the ICW and have clean salt water to be able to make our own fresh water and not have to rely on stopping at a marina to refill the water tanks.  Barb began food preparations for the holiday week-end and biked to get provisions.  Monica and Deb arrived around noon on Saturday to join us for Christmas.  They left one of their cars in Melbourne so we could drop them off there on Monday morning.  On their drive to the boat, they stopped at a restaurant for lunch and Monica left her purse there.  She discovered it just as she arrived at the marina in Titusville.  Back they went in panic for the purse and fortunately discovered that the staff had set it aside for her.   All was well and no credit cards had to be cancelled or new drivers license gotten.

Monica and Barb have been friends since grade school back in North Dakota.  They have stayed in touch all of these years except for a few years in the late 70s.  Monica lives in Tampa.  She and Barb rode the 350 mile Bike Florida together last March which was a seven day camping trip along with 1,000 other bikers including 25 members of Savannah's Coastal Bicycle Touring Club.  Monica and her friend Deb arrived with oranges from Monica's orange tree, and with more wine, cheese & crackers, and ham than we could eat or drink over the three days -- but we sure tried.  Shortly after Monica and Deb arrived, Roger and Jacki Arrowood on Goin' South (another Krogen) arrived at our marina.   We have socialized with them at numerous stops along the waterway way -- really nice folks.  They joined us for cocktails that evening and a great time was had by all. 

On Christmas day the weather was sunny and warm.  Chuck went for a run while Monica, Deb and Barb went out to the beach east of Titusville (near the Kennedy Space Center).  It is a national park and wildlife sanctuary.  Quite beautiful.   They had the beach to themselves and saw a scarlet ibis while driving through the park.  At first they thought it might be a flamingo because it was such a bright pink and almost red, but Monica pegged it right as a scarlet ibis since she had seen one in a zoo before. 

We had a big Christmas dinner and later joined Roger and Jacki for cocktails that evening.  On Monday morning we said good-bye to Titusville and headed for Melbourne.  It was another sunny warm day.  On the cruise to Melbourne the Sirius radio/tuner/CD/DVD player went on the blink.  Thanks to modern technology including the web, our T-mobile card, and cell phone, we found a service technician willing to come to the boat the next day.  We dropped Monica and Deb off in Melbourne and after a warm goodbye, they headed back to Tampa and Orlando respectively.   We were anchored just inside the mouth of the Banana River, with a good view of the famous Dragon.   Or more precisely, the wreck of the Dragon, since he has collapsed.   We read that plans were afoot to replace him during the summer of '05, but it obviously didn't happen.

The next morning we called the Kenwood service technician and discovered two things.  He was located back north 20 miles in Cocoa, FL and he was not willing to drive to Melbourne.  Thus, we started up the boat and cruised back north to Cocoa to meet him.  It was only 20 miles so not a big deal.  Of course it took us about three hours -- what with loading the dinghy back on the boat and pulling up anchor on the Melbourne end and reversing it all on the Cocoa end.  Actually it worked out well as he was able to diagnose the problem (bad cable) and get a new one overnighted from California so we were fixed by noon the next day.  The delay gave us time to discover the charming town of Cocoa, FL.  The historic downtown area is called Cocoa Village and is filled with lots of art galleries, good restaurants, parks, and interesting shops.  We wandered into a ceramic art shop and discovered the headquarters of the artist who made the beautiful ceramic parrotfish we had for years in our Richmond Hill home.  We bought it in Key West maybe 15 years ago and only now met the artist, Harry Phillips, who fashioned it.  But we had left the fish in storage because it was too large for the boat.  So it was with considerable glee that we browsed the shop, looking for a suitable "replacement."   We bought a smaller and perfectly-colored four-eyed butterfly fish that fits the boat quite nicely in both size and color.  We were quite pleased with ourselves, and so celebrated with dinner out that night and lunch the next day before we headed south again.

We then headed for Stuart, FL where we were going to pick up our mail, our new water pump and spend the New Years week-end at the location where we bought Tusen Takk II -- at Stuart Cay Marina, which is managed by Krogen, the manufacturer of our boat.  We arrived in the dark Thursday night since we had gotten caught by two bridges that each delayed us for more than 30 minutes before opening.  So we anchored near the marina and went in the next morning.  But not before Chuck got all dressed up in scuba gear in an abortive attempt to dive the boat to see if our stabilizing fins had been damaged in a collision we had had with a submerged log.   "Abortive", because the water was too murky to be able to see anything.   And too cold for Chuck to have much patience with.   After signing in with Stuart Cay, we rented a car for the week-end so we could do provisioning for our Bahamas trip and run a number of "errands", including filling a scuba tank and going out for sushi on New Year's Eve. 

We received a heart-wrenching call on Friday morning from our former neighbor Gene Hahne.  He reported that overnight the dock at our former home had slid into the river and the bulkhead had collapsed.  The blowout apparently runs most of the way across our former wall (100') and into Gene's wall.   We corresponded with the new (absentee) owners, Greg and Juanie,  and gave them some suggestions about who to work with to get it repaired and some thoughts on how it might have happened, but that was about all we could do.  Chuck had looked at the bulkhead while we were there only a few weeks ago and had mentioned a few items that needed attending to, but had no inkling that something like this was about to happen.  The river is almost 40 feet deep right off the dock and the steep slope up to the bulkhead must have collapsed or slid down which took the pilings holding the dock with it.  Our dock was one of the nicest docks on the Ogeechee River - what a loss!   And what a frustrating and tragic experience for Greg and Juanie.  We are in shock and sick about it.

We enjoyed our time at the Stuart Cay Marina as we had a chance to meet several new Krogen owners and to catch up with the nice staff at Krogen.  Tom Button, the operations managers, spent time with us answering a few questions we had about Tusen Takk II.  He also assured us that it would be no problem if we didn't pick up our new bow roller (arriving January 11th) until we get back from the Exumas. 

We have recently gotten a new email account that will allow us to send and receive email through our SSB radio, which is the only access we will have for most of the next six months.  We do not list the email address here, since it is important that the address not be harvested by spammers -- the account has very limited bandwidth.  We have also signed up for specialized weather reports on the Bahamas that will come to us daily through the SSB.  

As this is written we are finally wearing shorts again.  We are in the process of putting down a couple of coats of varnish on the cap rails.   Then all we have to do in order to be ready for the Exumas is to change out the water pump, finish provisioning, and get ourselves on down to Miami in order to stage for the crossing to our first stop in the Bahamas:  Bimini.  Can't wait!

 

Monica and Deb on beach

Is it Neptune?

Monica and Barb

Christmas dinner on Tusen Takk II

Guess who is doing dishes?

Deb relaxing

Monica awaiting dolphins

Dolphin in the wake

Monica helping as lookout

What's left of the dragon at Dragon Point

Our new butterfly fish

Chuck prepared to dive the boat (in water too cold for him) to see if log caused any damage