First of all, kudos to Jim Malkin for the appropriate use of "Chubs" in a comment on our blog. That was very chubby of you!
Wow... weather permitting, we're moving tomorrow! Headin' down south.. takin' the ditch... goin' on our merry way. Well, we're moving as long as we can get out of our slip.
We like to get a slip for a day or two before we leave for a leg of our journey, and we kept up this tradition here in Vero Beach. It allows us to finish projects, fill up our water tanks and just relax a bit more since we don't have to dinghy back and forth. Since it was supposed to rain today, we moved over to a slip yesterday. They assigned us a slip on the north side of the docks - perfect since there was a 15-20kt breeze from the south blowing. When there's lots of wind, it's helpful to head into it in order to dock dock. If it gets behind you or on your side it will push you all around, usually right towards big expensive brand new boats with shiny painted bullseyes on the side of them.
We called in to check on our slip. "Sorry - the boat that's supposed to be leaving the slip today decided to stay another day. We have a different slip for you on the south side of the dock." Great - wind from our stern that will push us really hard into the slip. "Do you have any other slips?" "Nope - that's it." Guess that's our only choice.
We loaded our dinghy onto the foredeck of Pelican. The bottom was covered with slime and the start of some barnacles. I know that the bottom of Pelican probably looks worse since we haven't moved her for quite some time. When we started the diesel, a huge whoosh of water and silt was ejected our of our wet exhaust. Yeah - remind me to run our engine every few days in the future. At least the water intake wasn't blocked, which is what I was concerned about. We dropped our mooring line and headed in. Forward seemed to work well, but reverse was a bit sluggish - we didn't see the normal turbulence in the water when I tried to go hard astern. While Pelican did slow, we probably have a few barnacles on the prop that are keeping it from switching into its reverse position. Oh well, at least we can slow down some.
We've been running our generator a lot lately so we needed to fill up on diesel. We headed to the fuel dock. As I said, it was blowing 15-20, sometimes with stronger gusts, and there was another boat tied up at the dock. It's been a couple of weeks since I last piloted Pelican, so I was a bit nervous about tying up to a dock in heavy winds when there wasn't much room to spare. Kristen said I'd do fine - it's like riding a bike. I can see the similarities between a pedal powered 25lb transport and a 27,000lb boat, diesel driven, steered from the back and with a mind of its own as to where it wants to go. Anyway...
I motored up to the fuel dock. As usual, Kristen is freaking out as I come close to the dock. She likes to second guess whether I know what I'm doing, and usually tries to yell out directions as I'm 6 feet off. That's OK - I'm the same way about a lot of her stuff. I won't tell her my docking mantra that I continuously repeat to myself as I close in on where I'm going - "Please don't let me damage anything! Please don't let me damage anything!" My landing was actually one of the most perfect landings I've ever done. I felt like taking a bow afterwards. The bow got close, my stern tucked right in ahead of the boat already at the dock, and Kristen could gently step off of Pelican to tie us off - all in 20kts of wind. That was the pinnacle of my career. We should just stop cruising now.
I don't know if we can afford a sailboat any longer. Our fuel bill came out to a ridiculously high $34 from the 17 gallons of fuel we took. Oh well, I'll just have to go for one less steak dinner at Denny's.
We cast off from the fuel dock, did a couple of circles so that Kristen and the kids had time to switch our lines and fenders from one side to the other, and then headed to the narrow fairway leading to our slip. Has anyone ever heard of something called momentum? Think about trying to park your car in a parking spot surrounded by concrete pillars. You drive down a really narrow street - twice the width of your car - and then have to make a sharp left turn, while still moving forward, into the pillar lined spot, almost the exact width of your car, only being to slow down a little bit while making your turn. While you are doing this, 12 burly guys are pushing your car from behind trying to keep you from slowing down to the speed you want. That's what docking a boat in wind is like.
We approached our slip. I, once again, managed to execute the perfect turn, get lined up for our slip and pull in straight. Then we stopped. Unfortunately, we didn't stop because I reversed us. We stopped because we were grounded. Apparently, the new slip they assigned to us only had 5 1/3 ft of water in it at low tide, and we draw close to 6 feet. We were 2/3rds the way into the slip, and now we were about 2 feet off the finger pier you walk on. Great, but whatcha gonna do? We put some lines on and just went with it. Unfortunately, since we're grounded we can't fill our water tanks. If we do, we add another 800lbs to our weight and we'll sink into the mud even more. We'll have to let Vero Beach keep the 110gals of water we were going to take with us.
We spent today finishing up some projects. We bought a bunch of jerrycans, but we hadn't finished up the boards on the side of the boat to hold them. We bought a new waterpump, but we still didn't have a water filter. We bought a freshwater shower for our cockpit, but we still didn't have the hose or fittings. Today was spent buying all of the stuff we needed, mounting things, cutting boards, and generally getting things ready.
Tomorrow morning, hopefully around 7am, but more realistically at 8 or 9, we'll attempt to unground ourselves and head south. Our first destination is Lake Worth, about 55nm from here. I think it will be too far to make in one day, so we'll anchor somewhere and take a couple of days to get there. We'll be visiting with my 2nd cousins there (I have to call them tonight to let them know!) and then we'll head down to Ft. Lauderdale on Monday.
We'll be running the SPOT so you can track our short passage. You can click on the link at the right to follow along. We'll talk to y'all soon!