Friday, December 6, 2013

Nighttime Cat Fight and Getting Ready To Shove Off

Once again it's time to catch up with what Pearl has been up to. After enjoying a month at Harbortown Marina in Ft. Pierce we are preparing to start making our way to the Bahamas some time next week. While we were here we have accomplished many things that were on our to-do list as well as made some new, very good friends that have given us tons of advice about the parts of the Bahamas we are going to head to. Cruisers and ex-cruisers never cease to amaze us with their generosity. Several folks have insisted we use their cars whenever we need to and if you need a tool, just ask as someone has it and will get it right in your hands.

The marina is one that works for us. It's clean with great showers, a nice Captains Lounge for Gayleen to do her jigsaw puzzles and there is on site everything. There is a West Marine store, supermarket, pizza place, CVS and Dollar Store all within walking distance, or a couple minute ride on our bike that we will be leaving for some friends to use. There is a small restaurant at the start of our dock that has live music during Happy Hour and most of the folks are on a first name basis with everyone. It feels a lot like the set of "Cheers".

Before I get into the things we have done while we were here I need to start with the funny story. A sailboat pulled in two slips away from us and they have a black cat that is almost identical in size to our crew member Turbo.

Their cat is named Verdi but they also call it "shit cat". I'm not sure what that name means and haven't asked. Well....two nights ago we went to sleep. At night we close our main hatch up and Gayleen was in the V berth with the overhead hatch open and I was in the aft berth. At 5 A.M. in the pitch black I hear Gayleen yelling my name and hear cats growling and screeching. With my eyes half open Gayleen says loudly, the other black cat jumped in through her hatch and is in our boat under the table....get it out! I find the black cat under the table, grab it, open our main hatch and toss it into the cockpit and quickly close the main hatch. Now that the problem was solved I went back to the aft bunk to lay down.

A couple of minutes later Gayleen starts yelling..something is wrong with Turbo, she may have hurt her neck in the fight. She felt something on Turbo's neck when she was petting her to calm her down. I come running forward and Gayleen turns on the light and to our surprise she was feeling the small rope collar on the other black cat! I threw our poor Turbo outside and the other cat was left laying on Gayleen's V berth bunk! Thinking Turbo was outside traumatized wondering what the heck just happened I quickly opened the main hatch and there she was in the cockpit with a look of confusion in her eyes. Poor Turbo.

Half asleep I went back into action. I grabbed Turbo and brought her in the boat and then grabbed "shit cat" and tossed it out and closed all the hatches. Phew...what a night. It wasn't funny at the time but has been worth a few laughs since then.

Earlier that evening we were treated to our first rocket launch sighting. While sitting down below eating dinner we hear lots of commotion on the boats around us. As we came up into the cockpit we realized we could see the SpaceX rocket crossing the sky that was just launched from Cape Canaveral.

We got to watch 2 stages separate and the final fuel tanks drop off. It was quite a show.

We continue to struggle with "stuff". One habit of land dwelling that's hard to break is accumulating "stuff". We try to stick to the rule of removing something from the boat whenever we add something but there seems to always be a reason to keep the things we already have. I got nervous when the guys painting the bottom of the boat suggested we may want to move our waterline up a little which meant we are floating a bit lower in the water. The latest addition was Gayleen's new kayak. She has wanted one ever since we bought Pearl and we finally found one that met her requirements. It was delivered here about a week ago. She likes to go rowing, now paddling, for exercise but our dinghy was very heavy and hard to row. She has been all over in that thing already, and as you can see it makes her very happy.

A couple of weeks ago we rode bikes a few miles to attend the annual "Muster" at the Navy Seal Museum. This turned out to be a bigger event than we expected with many high level military folks speaking as well as other dignitaries.

There were many interesting demonstrations.

As well as some hands on activities.

In the meantime we have changed all the interior lights of Pearl to L.E.D. lighting which takes about 1/12th of the power of the regular bulbs we had. We bought a hand held VHF radio to bring with us in the dinghy to call for help or communicate with Pearl if one of us stays on board. We bought a new hand held spotlight to find our way better in Pearl or the dinghy at night. The spot light was a must have after we visited some friends a 2 miles dinghy ride from us in Bimini and realized how hard it was to return in the dark on a night with no moon.

Now we are filling our propane tanks and provisioning to start making our way to the Bahamas. We have timed the departure to meet up with Evan and Ashley who will be meeting us in the Bahamas for a week in the middle of January..yay..we haven't seen Evan since the day we sold our house. Its been almost a year. It's always unwise to have a schedule when cruising because mother nature doesn't usually cooperate. Many cruisers have problems when they go in "not so great" conditions to get someplace on a particular schedule. We are leaving just over a month to get ourselves to the Bahamas which should give us plenty of buffer to get there early and not get caught in a timing issue.

We have a few more things to do here but plan on leaving mid to late next week. First we have to head south to at least Ft Lauderdale so as to be able to cross the Gulf Stream without being pushed too far north by the current. The trip to Ft Lauderdale will take a few days and then we sit and wait for a weather window to safely cross to the Bahamas.

After a slow summer, we hope to have lots of adventures to start writing about. Stay tuned.

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