Saturday, May 13, 2017

Vero Beach FL - May, 2017

May 11 thru May 13

--Blogpost written by Bob

It's feels great to be back in the U.S., particularly when I took a shower this morning, Thursday, May 11, with unlimited hot water!  We will be staying in a slip here at Vero Beach City Marina for a full week--actually, our rented slip is on a floating T-head in front of the Vero Beach Yacht Club.

S/v Rainy Days gets a well-deserved week-long
rest at the Vero Beach City Marina.

This is the second time we've been in Vero Beach this year--the first time was in mid-February before we left for the Bahamas.  (We may actually stop here yet another time this year on our way back to the Bahamas this fall.)   This has become one of our favorite stopovers.

This morning I called U.S Customs & Border Protection to clear back into the U.S.  I finally got an official arrival number and was informed that we have to drive to Ft. Pierce and check in personally with our passports within 24 hours of our arrival in U.S. waters (which was yesterday at 4 PM).  We were planning on renting a car anyway but not so quickly.  This turned out to be a minor fiasco, the address we were given for the Customs & Border Patrol office was a little off--it was actually in a small airport.  Our appearance at this office did nothing as far as keeping our borders secure--it was a big joke!  I picked up information on the Small Vessel Reporting System, which, hopefully save this hassle for next time unless the government changes the rules again.

We're off to Ft. Pierce in a rental car to
personally clear back into the U.S.

I have to say that our day (our first full day back in the U.S.) was overwhelming for us.  Not only did we experience driving fast again (in our rental car) but our sensory systems were completely overloaded by all the selections we needed to make.  This statement mainly refers to the number of restaurants and food choices.  In many of the settlements in the Bahamas (like Man-O-War Cay and Little Harbour) there was only one restaurant and they may have had six or seven food choices and they all had similarly exorbitant prices.  Hope Town had four restaurants for us to choose from while Marsh Harbor and Green Turtle may have had six or eight restaurants.  Here we had available restaurant choices within various price ranges, types of food, and had many, many choices at each restaurant.

We went into Publix Liquors today in Vero Beach to get Goslings Black Seal Rum (we couldn't buy it in the Bahamas) for Maggie's Dark and Stormy's and the liquor store was larger than all but one of the grocery stores in the Bahamas.  We walked up and down the isles (full of every type and brand of liquor) in complete bewilderment.  The prices that we paid in the Bahamas for a 1-liter bottle could buy a 1.75-liter bottle here in the U.S.

We couldn't figure out what days of the week we needed the rental car, so we rented it for the entire week.  What to do today and in what order to do the things required serious thinking (and we were not very efficient at it)--not just doing things on auto mode as we did most of the time in the Bahamas.

Our view from our slip at Vero Beach City
Marina at dusk on May 11.

One of the best things we did today was starting a regime of antihistamine to stop the itching of all the "no-see-um" bites we have on our legs and arms!


When the boat is in a slip (like it is now) and you have a car (in our case a rental car right now) you live a more land-based life style.  Weather is really not that important because it really doesn't impact on your plans.  Crossing the Gulf Stream seems like a long time ago already and it was just two days ago.  It is surprising how quickly we can assimilate into a land-based life style.

The weather here in Vero Beach is very similar to the weather in the Bahamas.  It feels a little warmer because of the higher humidity here.  The boat's deck is wet from the condensation this morning.  It was 69 degrees (but my weather app says it feels like 72) at 8 AM this Friday morning, May 12.  It is funny that now I have to look at a weather app on my iPhone to describe the weather.  There is a nice cool breeze coming from the northwest.

I notice a lot more birds singing here in the morning.  Lizzie just jumped off the boat and is sitting in the shade under a dock cart--she seems to do this whenever we are at a dock.  Maybe she notices the birds singing as well.

Lizzie sits in the shade under a dock cart
at Vero Beach City Marina.

We picked up our boat's replacement registration decal at the local county administration office in Vero Beach.  What an efficient operation!  It only took a few minutes and I was out the door, replacement decal in hand.

We also needed to get a couple USB-to-Apple's Lightening connector cords--our old ones that we started this trip with no longer work.  In addition we needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store.  So, we went to the Super Walmart in Vero Beach.  Talk about completely overwhelming!


In an attempt to kill the last "no-see-ums" that might still be onboard, we made up a trap according to some instructions we found online.  It involves mixing yeast, sugar (we used honey) and water.  We put this concoction in a disposable plastic bottle and let it sit out in the open.  This morning, Saturday, May 13, I noticed we caught a gnat but no "no-see-ums"--so, we must have killed all of them previously by washing all our bed linens (and most of our clothes) and using flying insect spray two days in a row (or our trap didn't work).

The sky is overcast this morning and there is a nice cool breeze out of the SSW.  I've already seen four sailboats leave this morning (before 9 AM) and get back to their northward trek.  As I'm writing this blogpost in the cockpit, a beautiful almost black heron-like bird walked along the dock looking for his/her breakfast.  It looks like a black heron but they are only supposed to be found in Africa.

A black heron walked along the dock this morning looking
for his/her breakfast but they are only
supposed to exist in Africa.

My primary task today was to replace a bent lifeline stanchion on our starboard bow.  I have no idea how this got bent to almost 30 degrees from vertical but it took a substantial force to bend the one-inch diameter stainless steel tube.

I have no idea how this lifeline stanchion
(center of image) got bent.

I previously ordered a replacement from South Shore Yachts and it came to the marina here in Vero Beach yesterday in our mail drop.  While the new stanchion matches the dimensions of the old one exactly, it is constructed much better.  I removed the old stanchion and installed the new one.  However, I needed to drill and tap the new stanchion for a threaded retainer and I didn't have that type of equipment with me on this trip--so, I picked up what I needed at the local Ace Hardware store.  This project will be continued tomorrow morning.

After our trip to the hardware store, we stopped at a PUBLIX grocery store (which in my opinion are excellent) and picked up a few more groceries.  We had a list this time but again we were overwhelmed by the large selections.

The bread isle at PUBLIX in Vero Beach and I think there are
three PUBLIX grocery stores in Vero Beach.  The quantity
and selection of groceries is still overwhelming to us.

Our next blogpost will resume tomorrow morning, still in Vero Beach.  We will be here until Thursday of next week...stay tuned for more of our crazy adjustments to stateside life...

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