Thursday, February 25, 2010

SEA Update 3: Arrival in Ft Pierce, FL

From 24FEB2010

Ahoy there!

It took us 4.5 days, but we finally made it to Ft. Pierce, FL. We left JAX on Friday afternoon and the wind was very calm, then Saturday it was calmer, Then Sunday it was non-existent. We stayed busy working on the boat, fishing and reading in the warm sun. At night a group of whales noisily accompanied us for the entire night, though we never saw one until a couple days later. By Tuesday I felt like I was going to go nuts, no wind and several problems were developing on the boat; Including a magically re-filling bilge a failing hand-pump, and a electric pump which shorted out from the water level frying the wires. I traced the source of the leak to one of the underwater valves, which was spurting water through its small greaseport, though when I turned the valve handle slightly it stops. So I have a few repairs to make here, and luckily there is a WestMarine within walking distance.

By Tuesday my ship’s log began to reflect my frustration and so we sailed up to the national park north of Cape Canaveral, where it seems to me there were huge NASA launch towers. The park was isolated and very nice, we dropped anchor in 20ft of water and took the dingy toward the breakers with Lexi happily swimming her way in behind us in her lifevest. “Lets row fast and surf this one in!” “WHOA, oh, s%$#!” SPLASH! The dingy did a summersault and everything in the boat including us went into the surf. We laughed it off and waded in. Before I could catch my breath, there was an image, which is unfortunately burned into my eyes. A random 40yr old man powerwalked up to us right away, effeminately flailing his hands in the air. I quickly realized that all he wore was an American flag bandana around his head, and the rest was all horribly clean shaven hotdog like splotchy skin. Way too much bare skin. “Excuuuuuse me! You can’t have a dog here! You can’t walk on the dunes! Your dog isn’t on a leash, your dog just made a mess! You will get fined!” I grabbed my dingy and dragged it another 200 yards south of him and was not bothered again, not even by the park rangers who blasted by and waved from their 4 wheelers. After a relaxing couple hours - looking across the surf at my content, bobbing little white boat - we set out into the surf back to her, having a similar wet experience with the waves on the way out!

We had a squall that evening, a carbon gray wall of clouds came at us and I quickly doused the jib and put a double reef in the main. The wind blasted us and the clew of the staysail whipped its shackle overboard, flapping wildly in the wind with the staysail-boom falling to the deck. I doused that as well and we rocketed south for about 20 minutes on just the shortened main. Then it was back to our 3-5 knot wind for the rest of the trip. We saw a sea turtle with a head larger than my own and had absolutely no luck this trip catching fish.

What a relief to sail into Ft Pierce this morning with the sun on our faces, the trip taking over double the time it should have. We dropped anchor by the marina here, took showers, and rowed the dingy through scores of dolphins, pelicans, manatees, and sea turtles; right up to the restaurant, tourists' faces lit up and laughed at Lexi standing at the dingy bow, itching to feel sturdy land. The two of us behind her, rowing her to shore in a tiny inflatable dingy must have been a funny sight. I expect to be here 2 nights and then on to Ft Lauderdale.

Q: “I have to ask, where is the head for the dog?”

A: Lexi holds it, unfortunately… I am training her to use a mat on the bow which can then be thrown overboard and dragged to clean, I’m sure she will get used to it soon, but for now she just decreases input and waits for shore. She seems happy aboard.

Q: “Thanks for the updates, where are you heading?”

A: This is an open adventure, I could go to the Bahamas and come back or go clear around the Earth… I’m just staying open to all possibilities, making no promises, enjoying my freedom and we will see how it goes and where that takes me!

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