Friday, February 17, 2017

Vero Beach - mid-February, 2017

--Blogpost written by Bob

This blogpost covers our 6-day layover in Vero Beach.  We spent 5 days in a slip (actually on a T-head) and two nights on a mooring.  We only planned on spending 2 nights here when we arrived.

Gulf Stream Crossing Plan

Since we arrived in Vero Beach on February 12 we have been watching the 10-day weather forecasts for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.  We are looking for a day where the wind has no northerly component, and preferably not from the east.  Next Sunday (February 19) the winds are predicted to be out of the south at 8 knots.  (The day before has 15 mph winds from the southeast and the day afterward has 10 mph winds from the east.  So, if the forecast shifts by a day either way, our tentative crossing date may still look reasonably good.). Every day we will check the forecast and adjust our plans accordingly.  From Vero Beach, we have 1-1/2 days on the ICW to get to Lake Worth Inlet.  We will anchor in Lake Worth the night before our crossing.

Vero Beach

Cruisers call this place "Velcro Beach" for good reason--it has almost anything a cruiser would want.  A sailing couple we met in a slip next to ours has been here for 3 years, after intending to visit for just a couple days.  On any given evening, the purr of outboard motors on dinghies is a common sound that reminds me that this is a sailor's paradise.  One can go to nearby Riverside Cafe for a bite to eat or to a shortcut to the beach by dinghy.

The Vero Beach City Marina has a very large mooring field.  It
is common to have two boats on one mooring--this
is unusual anywhere else.  Our boat is on a
T-head on the right side of this image.

(I took this photo from 
the Barber Bridge.)

The population of Very Beach City is currently about 15,000.  A small portion of the city is located to the east of the ICW near the beach while a larger portion of city is located west of the ICW.  The two portions of the city are connected by the Merrill Barber (Hwy 60) Bridge and the 17th Street Bridge.  A free bus service is part of the attraction that cruisers have to this area.

Mike (on right) met us for lunch at the
Blue Agave in Vero Beach.

Mike Giolitti met Maggie and I for lunch at Blue Agave in town after he gave us a brief tour of Vero Beach.   Mike works for Hartge Yacht Yard and he supplies marine electronics services here in Vero Beach.  Mike mentioned that the source of our bilge water problem 
might be our rudder shaft tube since our boat would sit slightly lower than in the water normal because it is heavily loaded with supplies and due to the new propeller's increased speed. 


One of the projects we tackled this afternoon (February 13) was to changeout the failed bilge pump float switch--it seems that these only last 2 to 3 years.  At the local West Marine store, we bought the replacement float switch and a spare one to carry with us.  While the bilge area was open, we thoroughly cleaned it to get rid of the bilge smell. 

Our two new Firefly Oasis carbon-foam AGM batteries arrived 
this afternoon from Coastal Climate Control in Annapolis.
We will be installing them tomorrow morning.

Our first order of business today (February 14, Valentine's Day) was to install our two new batteries.  Because we had to remove all the things in the starboard cockpit locker, it took a lot longer than you would think it should take.  But they are now installed and working great.  

We picked up a rental car this afternoon.  The Enterprise driver that picked us up at the marina gave us a little tour on the way back to the rental car location--he showed us new homes in a nice community--the homes cost only $180,000.    We ran some errands (Target and PetsMart) and went out for pizza at Giorgio's--even though it is a very small restaurant and located in a small strip mall, the pizza was excellent!


Maggie used our rental car to visit her sick friend in Sarasota today (February 15)--it's about a 3-1/2 hour drive each way.  I worked on a number of small boat projects today but, mostly just chilled. 

February 15 Gulf Stream Crossing Update: With wind predictions changing, next Wednesday night/Thursday morning is currently our best option for crossing the gulf stream with 11 mph winds out of the south on both Wednesday and Thursday.  We expect that the wind will die down further during the night when we will be traveling.


On Thursday, February 16, we got our cat's health certificates from the Cat Hospital of Vero Beach--these documents are needed for entry into the Bahamas.  We also dropped off our old batteries at Indian River Battery.   Grocery shopping at Walmart took up most of our afternoon.

This is the way Captain Jack rides in the car--he has to sit
on the driver's lap and look out the side window.

This is the view of the ocean just outside the
Ocean Grill where we had lunch.

There were a number of people on the beach today
but nobody was in the ocean.

We completely cleaned out and recharged our solids container for our composting head--it's been about a month since we last cleaned and recharged it.  The last two times we have emptied it, the composting was insufficient--we think it is because the coconut coir was too wet.

The evening light on the Merrill Barber Bridge.

February 16 Gulf Stream Crossing Update: The wind forecast has intensified for Wednesday and Thursday to about 15 mph but still out of the south.  Knowing that the wind generally dies down during the night, this crossing date still looks good.


Friday morning (February 17) is our last time in a slip for a while--we will be heading out to a mooring for the night.  A 94-foot boat has reserved the slip we last occupied.  We moved to the mooring ball around 10 AM.  Upon leaving the T-head, our barbecue grill got snagged on the piling and broke off--it was hanging onto the boat by the propane hose.  The damage included the shearing of 4 pop rivets and the loss of the grease drip pan.  We threw away the old grill and set out to find a new one.  After coming up empty at the West Marine in Fort Pierce, we searched on line for other companies that carried Kuuma grills.  We found out that Bass Pro Shops in Port St. Lucie and 2 of the Kuuma Model #125 in stock.  We drove there and bought one of them. 

Our new Kuuma replacement grill mounted on our stern
rail about 6 hours after snagging on a piling
and destroying the old one.

This is a building that houses small power boats
and its reflection off the water after sunset.

A mooring is so peaceful.  This photo was taken after sunset
looking toward the Merrill Barber Bridge
 just south of the marina.

February 17 Gulf Stream Crossing Update:  Tuesday night/Wednesday morning now looks like the best option for crossing with 14 mph winds out of the southeast for Tuesday and 18 mph winds out of the southeast on Wednesday.  But again, the wind generally dies out at night when we will be crossing.  Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday.


With some amount of perseverance, February 18 will be our last full day in Vero Beach.  We now plan to leave on Sunday morning, traveling Sunday and Monday toward Lake Worth Inlet.  Tomorrow's activities, as well as those of Monday and Tuesday will be covered in our next blogpost.

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