Saturday, August 31, 2013

Escape from Vero Beach - Finally Got Away To Sail With Trevor and Speed

Marina life at Vero Beach for the summer is nice (and HOT). We must admit that having unlimited electricity with full time high speed internet is spoiling us and we are enjoying reading and many movie nights through our Amazon Prime account. But, there isn't a day that goes by where we long for being at anchor and exploring new places as we had done during the winter and spring. Finally we got a chance to escape and convert back from Dock Rats to Cruisers for a couple of weeks.

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Trevor and Speed have decided to start their own adventure and move from Massachusetts to Boulder, Colorado. Before the move they made a plan to visit us in Florida for 10 days to do some sailing. With hurricane season supposedly in full swing and daily thunderstorms we made a plan and hoped for the best. The weather gods must have liked us for this trip and the plan worked out better than we had ever thought it would. The thunderstorms stopped, there wasn't a hurricane or tropical storm in sight and for the most part the winds and waves were exactly as we hoped they would be.

Much of the trip was reminiscent of our first trip down to the bottom of Biscayne Bay except even the part outside in the open ocean had small waves and a perfect wind from the east. We left Vero Beach and motor sailed south to one of our favorite anchorages called Peck Lake. Its still a favorite but in the summer it seems the mosquitos and no seeums take over and we had a challenging night even with the screens in the hatches. Next stop was North Lake Worth where we anchored and took the dingy ashore to do some grocery shopping at the store right near the dinghy landing. Our travels always take into consideration where we are able to buy food since we don't have a car.

Ten more miles south was a Loggerhead Marina which is a sister marina to our summer home in Vero. Because we have reciprocal rights we pulled in there overnight and waited for Trevor and Speed to fly into the nearby West Palm Beach airport and join us. It was so nice to see them again and this time they were going to get to enjoy sailing on Pearl instead of sitting in the marina like they did at New Years when we first bought the boat.

The rest of the trip was as follows.

Motorsail through a gazillion draw bridges south to Ft Lauderdale.

Leave Ft Lauderdale inlet and have a wonderful sail south to Miami. This was interesting because as we did the sail we listened on the radio to 3 boats that were sinking and being rescued by the Coast Guard, one of them we actually sailed within a mile of.

Anchor overnight in Miami and the next day have a great sailing day south to anchor off Elliott Key.

Just before we raised anchor to head south from Elliott Key we had visitors. We were anchored a half mile from shore and there wasn't a boat to be seen in any direction. All of a sudden out of nowhere there was a Coast Guard boat pulling up next to us letting us know they were going to board us to do a "safety inspection". We have heard of friends that had this happen but didn't expect them to be out here in the middle of nowhere. Three guys came on board and one was sent down below with me to go through a checklist of items we need on board. Even though it was early morning it was already almost 90 degrees and very humid. It was all going smoothly for us but they had long pants on, heavy belts with guns and bullet proof vests. My bilge pump almost went off from all the sweat the poor guy that was sent down below was dripping. After they checked about half the items the officer took his pen and checked a bunch of boxes on the paper on his clipboard, called us up from below and told me we checked out just fine, handed me the report and they quickly left. I think they had air conditioning in the small cabin on their boat. That was fun and now if we have another Coast Guard boat visit us we were told we could waive the current inspection report and get a pass.

Have another super day of sailing south to the bottom of Biscayne Bay and anchor in Thursdays Cove which is another quiet anchorage with nothing around.

Get up early the next day and sail off the anchor and do a full days sail all the way back up to the north end of Biscayne Bay and pick up a mooring ball at Coconut Grove so the boys could finish some internet work.

After a couple of days in Coconut Grove we motored out past the stilt houses and sailed out into the edge of the Gulf Stream back up to Ft Lauderdale. The wind was mild and we moved along nicely then we caught the gulf stream ride and Pearl was doing over 11 knots over the ground, a new record for us. We also got to hear on the radio and watch a hit and run where a sailboat evidently hit a diver then continued on while the Captain of the dive boat kept calling the Coast Guard to chase them down. In the end the local police boat caught up with them. There is never a dull moment on the water.

The winds the next day wouldn't be strong enough for us to sail up to Palm Beach from Ft Lauderdale so we motored up through the gazillion draw bridges to the Loggerhead Marina in Lantana where Trevor and Speed left to fly on to New Mexico to visit Speed's family. The trip was fun, relaxing and went by way too quickly. We stayed at the Lantana Loggerhead a couple more days just enjoying the pool, hot tub and surroundings and then made our way motor sailing back up to Vero Beach stopping at one overnight anchorage in Hobe Sound.

Now that I got all the trip details out here is the good stuff!

Did you ever wonder what a $50 Marguerita looked like??? Here it is. Trevor and Speed took the train from Coconut Grove to downtown Miami and found these at a place in Little Havana. Its a good thing they were there for the 2 for 1 happy hour or those things would have handed them a tab of over $100.

Lobster season finally opened 2 weeks before we left. In Biscayne Bay we caught our first lobsters, well we caught 24 of them all together. It was a long day and well after dark when Speed finally served the first of the catch. Notice the trusty headlamps we use to see our food when at anchor?

We saved half of the lobsters to share with some close friends back at the marina in Vero Beach. I tried my hand at grilling them and my secret recipe and preparation worked perfectly.

Our favorite evening activity is still watching the sunsets while at anchor.

I think Trevor must have shrunk a bit by the time we reached the beach at Ft Lauderdale. He had to look up at Gayleen and Speed.

Trevor said his goal for the trip was to learn how to fully sail the boat. By the end of the trip he attained Captain status. We don't have a picture as evidence but Speed did a great job too manning the helm for a full day sailing south from Miami to Elliott Key.

Trevor and the rest of the crew riding the Gulf Stream with Miami in the background.

For now we will wait out the next 6 weeks in Vero Beach as the hurricane season (or non-hurricane season this year so far) passes. Then we will have Pearl hauled out to get a fresh coat of paint on the bottom. Right after the first of November our plan is to get back to the Bahamas as soon as possible and start exploring more of the 700 islands that await us in the clear blue waters.

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