This has been a challenging year for cruisers heading south this fall. While there was only the one recent east coast tropical storm (the least in years for the east coast)the winds have been nearly endless & the rain in the southeast has been several times normal amounts. While we arrived a week earlier than planned, most cruisers are many weeks behind. In addition to the challenging weather, there have been the COVID issues & delays, along with a few drawbridge breakdowns further up north. Ahhhh…. 2020.
For us, the projects progress in spite of the wind, rain with lots of heat & humidity thrown in too. First on the list was removing & bringing our watermaker to the “spa” for some R&R. While I’ve been making various minor repairs over the last 4 years, it became time for more attention than my abilities allow. Facing a 5 hour round-trip drive to Fort Lauderdale, we knew we’d be getting hungry, so ….
Other exciting projects include oil changes, water pump impeller replacements & upgrades to various systems.
COVID concerns are dictating our life (as with most of you), so Florida’s somewhat slackness takes some getting used to. While grocery stores are pretty good (the Publix stores wipes down carts between customers), smaller stores are a different story! At the hardware store, I didn’t even immediately notice that the employee who came right up to me face to face to “help” didn’t even have on a mask & only 3/4 of the customers did. It took me a while to check-out, as I left the line when a couple of contractor-looking guys were literally bumping into me, yelling over to friends in front. Rationally I know non-N95 masks only minimally help, but it’s still unnerving to have
We are relieved the tropical storm effects were fairly minor in our protected marina in Vero Beach, although amazed this was “only” a tropical storm passing 200 miles away. We were under a Tropical Storm Warning with 2 days of winds reaching 30 knots with gusts over 50. Although the storm has now passed to the west end of Cuba, there are still significant winds, rain & squalls continuing all week. While up to 5″ of rain was forecast, we only received an inch with another inch possible. Further south towards Miami it was much worse with up to 14″ of rain resulting in major flooding.
Although the entire marina is well protected, we temporarily moved from our T-head slip to this regular slip in which we could completely cross-tie ourselves off the dock preventing our fenders from even touching. Our only storm effect was a slight swell from the rough Indian River coming in thru the narrow marina entrance.
Eta will next head north into the Gulf of Mexico, hopefully weakening & dissipating. That would be nice as at one point, the NHC thought it would likely strengthen into a Cat 1 hurricane in the warm Gulf waters, curve in to hit the Tampa area, then heading inland towards us. No thanks – once in enough!
UPDATE: Eta went back to it’s original course & DID intensify in the Gulf of Mexico, crossing into the Tampa area, across FL toward Jacksonville & out into the Atlantic. We’re about 150 miles south of Jacksonville, so we received another 2 days of rainy & breezy conditions, but nothing substantial.
I jinxed things by recently commenting that this was to be the first year out of 9 cruising years we didn’t have to detour, hide-out or change our plans due to a tropical storm or hurricane! So now our record is intact 😦