Monday, April 14, 2014

Passing Time in Ft. Pierce

The deed is done and it is a success (so far). My hernia surgery was a week ago and according to the Doctor it went well and I am on the road to recovery. Many thanks to Ivy and Mike on s/v Abner E who we met in Nassau. While continuing their trip down the Exumas, they contacted some friends in Vero Beach and found us a Doctor that did two hernia operations for the husband of another Doctor there. Cruisers are always there to help other cruisers.

The first few days after surgery were rough and I developed a big appreciation for Vicodin. We became very good friends but like the friends we meet cruising, we will soon go our own way until we meet again some day. The frustrating part of this process is that full recovery will take time and I am not supposed to do anything other than short walks for another two weeks as things heal up. This is frustrating because our life has been so active almost every day for months. On top of that, I have a list of things that would be easy to work on here at the dock with electricity that I just cannot do yet (like sanding and repainting all the wood on the deck). Time will hopefully pass by quickly and before we know it we will be at anchor somewhere worrying about the next weather front that is going to pass through. In the meantime, Gayleen (aka Florence Nightingale) is taking very good care of me running to my side whenever I ring my little bell.

Before I continue this post I want to share a photo that Trevor posted on Facebook that has become one of my favorites. It was taken at a snorkeling spot called The Aquarium at Cambridge Key, the Exuma Islands, Bahamas. It is obvious how it got its name. You feel like you are swimming in one big aquarium.

So, what do liveaboard cruisers do when they are forced to be tied to a dock. We do things we don't normally get to do like rent a car! We have indulged by renting a car for a couple of weeks mostly to get to my Doctor appointments but also to feel what living on land was like once again. The first thing we did was go to a restaurant in Ft Pierce that was highly recommended and we have always wanted to try. The Bouy 12A Ahi Tuna dish looked too good to eat and tasted as good as it looked.

Next we went for a long drive. We drove more in the second day of having the rental car than we have been in a car the past year total. Our destination was Lake Okeechobee smack in the middle of Florida. We knew it was a big lake but when we got there we were surprised to see how big it actually is. It looks like an ocean. It's 35 by 29 miles and it looks like you would have to wait for the right weather window to cross it safely.

On either side, Lake Okeechobee is connected to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico by rivers that have several locks. Boats can cross the state using this waterway saving the hundreds of miles and a number of days it would take to round the southern Keys of Florida and go back up the other coast.

The waterway is deep enough for Pearl to transit except, there is one bridge that is too low for Pearl's mast to pass under that prevents us from making the 152 mile trip across Florida on the waterway. It is the Port Mayaca horizontal railway bridge on the background of this photo.

It has a clearance of 49 feet and only boats less than 54 feet can make it through. Pearl is closer to 59 feet. may be wondering how a 54 foot tall boat could make it under a 49 foot high bridge? You hire a boat tipping service..of course! They bring a bunch of plastic drums. Line them up on your deck against one of your rails and fill them with water causing the boat to lean just enough to fit through the horizontal and vertical space under the railway bridge.

Even though we are tied to the dock here at Harbortown Marina, life is good and we are enjoying all the other boaters around us as well as the great Florida weather. When we really are looking for excitement we pull out our high definition screen with its add on surround sound and watch a movie.

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