Day 176, Year 10: Happy Anniversary, Justin and Jo
Date: Saturday, April 4, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Temp in the 80’s
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida
Our son Justin married Joanne Elizabeth Hunt from Haslemere in the county of Surrey, England, on Wednesday, April 4, 2007. They met at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts during the summer of 2006. Jo had to return to England in the late fall and they quickly learned that they just couldn’t live apart. Justin flew to England in December and Jo returned to Massachusetts in early January. They were married atop Eagle Rock in the Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles on April 4 and the rest is history. Eight years later they are still passionately in love and that passion spills over into everything they do. And one of the most important of those things is being the parents of two of our adorable grandchildren, Ziggy Milo and Coco Annabelle. Happy Anniversary, Justin and Jo!
Today was all about doing photos, taxes, and taking a little urban walk and ride. We are still anchored on the Palm Beach side of the Waterway and I think we will be here until we leave on Thursday afternoon. The anchorage between the city docks on the West Palm Beach side of the Waterway is still filled with temporary docks and pilings from the recent boat show. And after watching them work yesterday, we realize just how slow the dismantling process will be. But we are fine here. The Royal Palm Bridge with its colorful night lights is just to the south of us. The Society of the Four Arts with its 20-foot silvery pyramid on the waterfront is to the east, the waterfront of West Palm Beach is across the Waterway to the west, and the beautiful Flagler Museum is to the south. If I don’t look down into brown water, the location seems fine. But the brown water of the Intracoastal is a constant reminder that we are no longer in the Bahamas!
I spent my entire day working on organizing and uploading photos to our website while Mark worked out the mystery of why our boat would start and did our taxes. It turns out that we really didn’t need the new battery. The problem was corroded terminals, so now we can turn the key and start the engine, and we have a spare battery if we need it. In the late afternoon we went to shore in West Palm and walked the mile to City Place. This is the upscale shopping area and the location of the only grocery store within walking or trolley distance. We bought a few things, had a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and hopped on the trolley back to the waterfront.
Tomorrow we have been invited to my sister-in-law’s home for Easter dinner. We will take the train there and back and Brad will pick us up at the train station. We were also invited to Bonita Beach to celebrate Easter with Mark’s whole family. It would have been wonderful to see all of Mark’s family again while we are here in Florida, but we were just too afraid to leave Windbird here at anchor with no one to watch after her. But how nice to have two invitations. We won’t have to spend the day alone here on Windbird with just the Easter bunny to keep us company! And speaking of the Easter bunny, we had a Skype video call with Heather and her gang this morning and got to see the Easter eggs that they had just finished decorating. The sun was shining and it was 50 degrees there, so they had all the windows in the house open pretending it was summer. After the miserably cold weather they have been having, I’m sure 50 degrees F does feel like summer.
Day 175, Year 10: West Marine Withdrawal
Date: Friday, April 3, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Upper 70’s, Wind Easterly 10
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida
Today ended up to be a day of taking public transportation to buy a couple of items we really needed for the boat. Mark REALLY wanted to go to a West Marine store to buy a new starting battery, engine oil, and a new switch for our main bilge pump, not just because he loves West Marine, but because he also loves the employee discount. But the closest West Marine seemed just too difficult to get to via public transportation. This left Mark with definite West Marine withdrawal. But he took a deep breath and suggested we find a Walmart where we could at least get the battery. Ever since Kevin and Claire left, Mark has had to jump start the starting battery by hot wiring it to the house batteries in order to get the engine started. After a few twists and turns in our day, we ended up buying a new battery at Home Depot, not Walmart, but the engine will still not start. Now Mark believes we didn’t need a new battery at all! It is probably a corroded negative terminal, but I’ll have to continue this saga in tomorrow night’s log after Mark has time to trouble-shoot. But I can tell you about our crazy day. After deciding that West Marine was too far and too difficult to reach, we looked up the address for the closest Walmart. We realized that there was no way we were going to be able to carry a heavy battery on and off two different buses and then a couple of blocks from the bus stop to the dinghy dock. So we knew we would also need to buy some sort of rolling cart. We stupidly left our handy little cart in our storage unit back on Cape Cod. Mark’s research told him that a Home Depot might have the kind of cart we needed, so we looked for a Walmart near a Home Depot. Bingo. We found such a combination a few miles inland with a public bus to take us there from the Tri-Rail Station. We took the local trolley to the train station and then caught bus #43 to Walmart. But when we got there, we found a Walmart Neighborhood Market that sells only food. I didn’t even know such a thing existed, so I did not narrow my search. I’ll know better next time, but from where we were, it would mean another bus ride and more than a mile walk to the Supercenter. We were willing to do this, but we hoped that maybe the Home Depot across the highway would have a cart and a battery. And they did. And there was a Publix supermarket right next door so I could buy eggs, yogurt, and English muffins. So in the end, we had success. And we have a new battery whether or not we need it.
Other than our little shopping excursion, we did little else today. This was a well-deserved day off. I didn’t even get up to listen to the weather at 6:40 am. But I’ll be up tomorrow morning to see what the latest forecast is for late next week when we will be leaving here. We now have internet and can get NOAA weather and other weather/wind reports, but nothing is as good as Chris Parker’s early morning synopsis and forecast for off-shore travel. So like it or not, I’ll be up every day before the crack of dawn to hear what he has to say. It is such a gift to have his expertise to guide us at no cost. Enough cruisers who want to talk to him directly and get specific information on their travel plans are subscribers to his service that he willingly shares his information with the rest of us. We can’t talk to him, but we can listen in. So thank you, Chris Parker.
Day 174, Year 10: The End of an Adventure
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Winds Light and Variable
Latitude: 26 42.485 N
Longitude: 080 02.717 W
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida
After spending 93 days traveling together for a total of 1,684 nautical miles, Sea Turtle and Windbird said their farewells this evening. Tomorrow morning Sea Turtle will head up the Intracoastal, hoping to do part of their traveling on the outside, as they make their way home to Little River. We have had adventure and misadventure, good times and trying times, but we made it!!! This was Sea Turtles first major cruise and tonight they were already talking about what they might do differently next year. So I’d call this venture a success. Congratulations, Lee and Lynda. You are both now officially cruisers and we’ll all be waiting to hear about your trip back to Little River. So keep those logs coming. And remember that the end of one adventure is really just the beginning of another.
The passage from Chub Cay to here was a smooth ride all the way. We had almost no wind, so we had to motor, but the chance for an easy crossing of the Gulf Stream doesn’t come by just every day. So we took advantage of the opportunity. We entered Lake Worth Inlet at about 10 am and were immediately reminded of what it means to be back in the US of A. As we entered, a Coast Guard boat was working on a buoy. Big and small boats were coming and going in the inlet. The view was of cruise ships and a working port. The dredge that was working in the anchorage when we left is still there working away. We entered the Intracoastal and were reminded of how narrow and shallow it can be. We had to slow down and wait for the Flagler Bridge to open. And when we got to the city docks at West Palm Beach, we immediately saw that no boats were at anchor. We didn’t know why, but we headed to the east side of the Intracoastal to an anchorage off Palm Beach. We soon learned that the Palm Beach International Boat Show ended on Monday and that they are still deconstructing. And the water is not crystal clear. In fact, it looks brown. So we have to make some adjustments in our expectations. We are no longer in the islands where time is measured by today, tomorrow, and yesterday—not in days or weeks or months. Nothing there is hurry up. Everything here is hurry up, hurry up. But we’ll adjust. At least we once again have phone and internet service and we are close enough to visit with family again. So we’ll just have to keep ourselves busy dreaming up a new sailing adventure for next winter.
Day 145, Year 10: Birthday Wish
Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Winds SE 15, Temp in the 70’s F
Location: No Name Harbor, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, FL
My wish for my birthday tomorrow is that we would be in the Bahamas. And if things go as planned, we will definitely be in Bahamian waters sometime tomorrow afternoon. Where we land to check in will depend on the wind, but our strategy is to check in and then get as far south in the Exuma chain of islands as we can before the strong SE trade winds start blowing again. We will get a break in the trades starting tomorrow afternoon, but how long that break lasts depends on many factors. So we’re taking this trip one baby step at a time.
This morning we got up at 6:30 am to listen to Chris Parker’s weather and then discussed various strategies for reaching the Bahamas. We didn’t settle on one strategy as we want to wait and hear tomorrow morning’s weather before doing so, but we did definitely decide that we would be leaving. So we headed to shore to do the last minute provisioning. We needed some things from CVS which required a long walk into town and then we returned to The Fresh Market on the waterfront to do the food shopping, mostly fresh veggies, bread, and yogurt. Once we got back to Windbird, we ate lunch and prepared for take-off. We motored about five miles across Biscayne Bay to little No Name Harbor in the Cape Florida State Park. Lee and Lynda sailed up from the Keys to join us here, so we planned to have dinner at the Boater’s Grill in the harbor and discuss sailing plans. But first, we had Skype calls with our kids and grandkids. We had planned to talk to them separately, but Justin called while we were on with Heather and Skype automatically connected all of us as a conference call. What fun! It was wonderful being able to see all of the grandchildren at one time, but the absolute highlight was when they all sang happy birthday to me. I was one happy Oma.
Note: Once we leave here tomorrow morning, we will no longer have internet or cell service. We should be able to send the logs and receive email via Ham radio, but don’t be alarmed if tomorrow night’s log is not posted. It won’t mean there is a problem. It would be because of a technical difficult. But if that should happen, we’ll get it worked out as soon as possible. I say “we” but it is really our son Justin that deals with the techie problems.
Day 144, Year 10: Ready, Set, Go . . . or Not
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Winds ESE 15-20, Temp in the 70’s F
Location: Dinner Key Marina Anchorage, Coconut Grove, FL
We are poising ourselves for a Thursday departure to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, but we could still back out depending on the weather updates tomorrow and early Thursday morning. If the wind should go a bit more south we would feel better about crossing on Thursday, so we shall wait and see. In the meantime, we spent our day getting ready to go. We spent the morning taking a close look at the weather forecasts from various sources and in the early afternoon we headed to shore. We filled our water jerry jugs and put them in the dinghy (something we have been doing every time we go to shore) and then we headed for the bus stop. The Coconut Grove Circulator bus ends its route near West Marine, so we made the mandatory stop there before catching the next bus on to Coral Gables. We went to Coral Gables because the only TD Bank and Barnes & Nobles in this area are there, right next door to each other. TD Bank is our bank and we needed to get cash for the trip and to let them know that we will be traveling. If we don’t let them know, they invariably cut off our ATM/credit card—not a good thing to have happen just when you arrive in a foreign country. One of my birthday wishes was to go to Barnes & Nobles to get a few books that Detta recommended. So after visiting the bank, we did that. We then went to the post office to send a few items and hurried on to the bus stop to get back to Scotty’s Landing for a 6 pm meeting of cruisers interested in going to the Bahamas. We don’t actually know who the couple was that ran the meeting, but we did meet another couple, Deb and Drew from Exeter, New Hampshire, who are planning on heading to the Bahamas next week. It really is a small world. The meeting was very informative and we so appreciate the cruisers’ radio net here that comes on at 9 am every morning to let us know about things like this meeting. It was well after dark when we walked back to the dinghy dock and we had a rough ride out to Windbird. The dinghy dock is a LONG way from the anchorage and tonight it was rougher than usual. The only really calm weather we have had since we arrived here was last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday while Tom and Detta were here. We might have to ask them to come back if this wild, crazy, windy weather doesn’t stop!
Day 143, Year 10: Great News
Date: Monday, March 2, 2015
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Windy and Warm
Location: Dinner Key Marina Anchorage, Coconut Grove, FL
I love being the bearer of good news. Mark’s scan report today was the same as the one in December. There is no cancer that can be detected. Wish I could throw a big party and invite all of you, but we’ll just have to celebrate across the miles. Today’s report was done at Holy Cross Hospital. We will have to wait to get the report from Mass General, but according to the assessment by Dr. Gomez here and by us comparing today’s report with the one in December, it looks like nothing but good news. Immunologic treatment is working for Mark. We know that the doctors don’t know how long the panatumumab will keep working for him, but for now we’re elated to continue getting these results.
I’ve attached a few photos of Miami taken from the Metro.