Vero Beach Gets Sticky

Early cat catches the 'coon

Scanning the water for breakfast

Once again we gently swing on a mooring in the mangrove surrounded mini harbor that is Vel- I mean Vero Beach marina. We’ve been here since Wed. Nov 16, enjoying the beautiful weather and access to a car even more! Thursday brings the annual cruisers’ Thanksgiving potluck dinner beginning at 2pm with music for your listening and dancing pleasure afterward. The morning will be busy: the women will be cooking and baking while the men check out the wares at the boaters’ flea market.

Now for the sticky part.  In St. Augustine we met John on m/v Vulcan, a Mainship, oh about 36-38’. He’s a never-married Brit, flying solo – no accent though –  with interesting stories of all the places he’s been. Retired 11 years, Vulcan is his third? boat, his first a fishing trawler, second a monohull and recently he’s taken a liking to catamarans. That’s where we come in; moored close together in the St. Augustine mooring field John was checking out the nearby cats and stopped to visit us. Gave him the tour and the guys talked boats, cats and Maine cat technical details.  The day after we arrive in Vero, Vulcan comes along. Friendly folk we are, we dinghy by later to say hello and see what’s up. Oh those Mantas, several here and a decent cruising cat. More eye candy. John mentions that he expects to stay two nights. Russ and I look at one another and provide John with all the reasons to stay awhile; Thanksgiving dinner, free local bus to all the shopping you could want, an easy walk to a hardware store, laundry- with more dryers than washers!- not to mention the price is right. Plus a ton of cruisers, most who love to talk boats!

Several days later and guess who’s still here? Hee, hee- told him so.

We have a comfy, although sorta buggy (sand fleas are nasty) spot next to the mangroves. Benefits are the wildlife: raccoons one morning, osprey the next, augmented by the regular appearance of dolphins, egrets, herons and a dead fish.  I am getting over my dinghy driving fear- call it extreme reluctance –  and am building arm muscles trying to pull that darn string on the outboard.  Isn’t this 2011? I mean who still thinks a string on a pulley thingy will effectively start an outboard motor? Yes, I get it- men can do it and women who work out – on their boats?  Anyway, I am having some luck at getting the beast to start; now if I can only remember which way to move the stick thing that makes the outboard move in the opposite direction from the direction I want to go!!!

Wednesday, I rose to the challenge. After a boat visit and tour of Vulcan, someone commented “let’s see if she can start it on the first pull.”  Wouldn’t you know; I did. Have yet to repeat that feat.

Now, on to the getting our mail ritual. A week ago we contacted the UPS Store to send our mail to the marina.  Last year we gnashed our teeth again and again as each mail receiving event turned into an ordeal. Over the summer we confirmed that we could email our request along with the address as that might work better than calling (often bad timing on our part). We email the store and ask if we have any packages or bulky mail; not expecting any, but sure don’t want to pay to have it sent to Florida. Nothing heard. Next day I call; already this isn’t going well. No, no packages. I explain I had emailed; only the owner deals with emails- ok. I email the marina address requesting no catalogs and send everything else via UPS (we’d prefer Priority but decided since this was a UPS store…).  Please confirm. Confirming email arrives; mail going out Tuesday- UPS.

A week later, no mail. We already have a lost package- another sob story- not another one- please. I call the UPS Store. No record of a package to us. Ends up that it was removed from our spot, but never sent. Fortunately they did the right thing; sent all our mail, less the catalogs, UPS next day free of charge. Nice. I was very delighted to get two pieces of mail from Lats & Atts; the Nov/Dec issue and a check for $75 for my Tale of Two Pirates. They also used two photos; one of Fort Matanzas and at the end, one of Russ & I in our pirate outfits.  No doubt the start of a highly lucrative writing career; ahem, right.  I’m OK being published in a magazine with a worldwide readership.

We pose with John of m/y Vulcan on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thursday brought heaps of delicious food, interesting dinner companions, more Bahamas intel gathering and enough breeze to blow away most of the annoying sand fleas. Our ankles and calves are covered with itchy bites. Not as bad as a mosquito bite thank goodness.

Friday, our mooring companion, Polar Pacer broke loose; we’ll be a day behind. Also bid farewell to one of our inflatable kayaks. It was beyond repair and we salvaged a few parts to use on the other.

Arrived in Beaufort, SC

Sometimes we think we plan so carefully…  Everything must be planned, from weather to our daily route to diesel fill-ups to water fill-ups to head pumpouts to being able to receive UPS shipments & our mail.

Several days ago, we calculated we could arrive in Beaufort today ( this is pronounced BEW-fort as opposed to Beau (BOW)fort , NC), so we had our mail sent ahead to the Beaufort Post Office, held for General Delivery. This PO is one of the few Post Offices within walking distance of the waterfront.

Our first sign that things were off was the swing bridge just before Beaufort was late to open & all we heard were lots & lots of sirens.  When the bridge finally opened & we made it to the dock, we found out that no, Beaufort was not on fire, but that it was Veterans Day & there was a big parade in town!  Great we thought … but wait … isn’t Veterans Day a Federal holiday, as in Post Offices closed??  We have trouble enough keeping track of the day of the week, much less pending holidays!  Oh well, we’ll be first in line tomorrow morning at 8:30!
Lori immediately declared that breakfast in town before the PO stop would be a good thing to do- the cook always looks for a way out!!
We didn’t get to see much of Beaufort due to: lunch, taking the courtesy car to get propane tanks filled and a grocery stop, laundry, washing the boat, paying bills and updating the blog. Always next time. The town is filled with lovely southern homes and the waterfront is beautiful- wooden porch-type swings and a view of the harbor.

Beaufort waterfront 2010

View of waterfront from restaurant back porch

Southern friendliness abounds; we enjoyed lunch at Plums,overlooking the waterfront. A query of our waitress as to a breakfast recommendation  and she had it- Blackstones- a block away. Perfect.
Our first impression of a Publix from our trips to Florida, remains as good as then. You get the feeling that the seafood person (in this case) really has a stake in the store and boy, she went out of her way to get us just what we wanted and offered all kinds of helpful info. So how y’all feeling up north there?