Getting Ready in Vero Beach

While in Vero Beach for only a week, we’ve rented a car, made several trips to our storage unit, attended dentist & doctor appointments, gotten together with some cruiser friends, changed the oil in our engines, performed various maintenance chores, replacing the foam in our flybridge cushions & made over a dozen grocery, liquor & parts runs.  Now with our rental returned, we can relax – not really – going to the Bahamas next month!

A cool looking lunar halo as seen from our boat last night.  More colorful than most we’ve seen.  They are caused by the light of the moon passing through a very thin layer of cirruform (ice-crystal) clouds in the upper atmosphere.  The ice crystals refract the light of the moon, similar to the way water droplets in the lower atmosphere can refract sunlight to produce a rainbow.  And just like a rainbow, it disappeared several minutes later.

This was just bulldozed dirt last year – there are now new houses under construction for nearly 1/2 mile along the waterway x 4 rows deep!  This is only one example of many near Myrtle Beach, SC.

The biggest shock this trip traveling through (especially) South Carolina & Florida is that it seems nearly everyone is moving down here!  While the south has always been a major retirement destination, this sudden acceleration is astonishing, especially when it’s now all ages for all sorts of reasons.  Slowly growing waterside housing developments we’ve been cruising past for years are suddenly full or nearly full.  Construction is everywhere.  Nearly a third of the vehicles on the road here in Florida are construction/service/work trucks.  New schools & parks are going up. We’ve driven by nearby large developments just beginning construction, already with a “Sold Out” sign.  New & expanding aerospace companies are begging for engineers at $80,000 – $170,000/year.  It can take more than a month to get a medical appointment.  Established residents are complaining of the ever worsening traffic & long waits at their favorite restaurants.  Here in Vero Beach, the local real estate prices are rising nearly 2% a month, houses often sold before you can even take a look.  Of course, this may all change with a likely upcoming recession …

While we ponder COVID conditions, testing procedures & regulations in the Bahamas for our crossing next month, Florida’s COVID rates have been nearly the lowest in the U.S. for several weeks now.  It’s certainly nice to finally get together with others & no longer hold our breath walking past people!  What the winter holds for Florida or the Bahamas – much less the U.S. or world – who knows?





Down the Florida Coast

Our 190 mile run down the Florida coast from Georgia went smoothly, except for a forecasted Nor’easter.  A Nor’easter in Florida? They usually form in Georgia or South Carolina before roaring to the northeast – we experienced many living up in Connecticut.  This one formed more to the south & looked as though it would slam us in St. Augustine, with winds of 20 – 30 knots, gusting to 50.  This sadly shorted our planned 3 day stay to just one.

During our single day in St. Augustine, we still made it to our favorite restaurant, The Floridian. Not only is their food very tasty, their craft cocktails are outstanding!

These egrets kept this up for an hour – one would march down the dock forcing the other to fly off – repeat.  So much for catching any fish.

Meanwhile on the next dock over, this cute little rattlesnake floated in on a mat of reeds. The marina folks caught it in a net & brought it over to Florida Fish & Wildlife.

We got out of town just in time.  From prior experience we’ve learned that neither the St. Augustine Municipal Marina nor it’s large mooring field is the place to be in stormy weather – especially with northeast winds (the ocean inlet is only a mile away to the north).  This sailboat is one of several which broke free during the storm & was swept under the bridge with 3 people aboard.  Fortunately fire-rescue crews quickly rescued the people & were able to keep their sailboat from sinking.  Remarkably there were no injuries.

During all of this, we were safety tucked in about 15 miles further south at Marineland – a much more protected marina.  While we experienced nearly the same winds, we had no issues other than the tide pushing the water to 2′ over normal.  The normally gently sloping ramp down to the dock became a mid-air climb.

Once the winds died down a bit, we continued on.  We considered delaying our travels to anchor near Cape Canaveral to view a SpaceX launch, but that would have cost us another 2 days.  We’ve seen a few launches while in Florida, but never “up close” – maybe next time!