Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Vero Beach

We’ve been in Vero Beach Municipal Marina for 3 days. Kathy and Rachel are working on enrolling Rachel into the Calvert home school program. Rachel took a 4 hour entrance exam today, bless her heart. All this time off from school, and wham! A 4 hour test. Kathy sent the test to Calvert, and we’ll go from there.
Joe Bostik and family sailed with us on Sunday, just north of the St. Lucie inlet. We had a wonderful day in light winds and smooth seas. Joe delighted the girls by towing them behind the boat using a loop of rope. Kathy just about had a heart attack. Georgia enjoyed a last day of freedom before starting a new job on Monday.
Monday, we motored up the Atlantic in building north wind and seas. All of the sudden, the engine temp rose. I shut down the engine and we raised the sails. In rowdy conditions, I went below to find a broken fan belt. Put on a spare, and we continued to motor straight into the 20 knot wind. We made the Ft. Pierce inlet just before running out of energy. Rough seas really take it out of you. The motor up the intercoastal waterway was glass smooth, even in 20 knots of wind.
Then the engine quit. We hastily threw out the anchor in the middle of the “ditch” (can’t just anchor if the engine quits in an airplane). The coast guard happened by after 2 minutes to tell us we couldn’t anchor there. Well, hello! So I changed out a filter, and discovered that the other filters which the Sailors Wharf marina in St. Pete (where we bought the boat) was supposed to supply, were the wrong filters. Makes me think that they didn’t replace the filters as requested either. So I drained the fuel lines, bled the lines, and the engine ran fine. We entered the Vero Beach Marina, and took a mooring. Today we got the filters installed, and spares on board.
Tomorrow we head for Melbourne for another rendezvous with Joe. He’ll loan us his van to get around. We plan on visiting friends in Clermont and taking care of some errands.
I cooked steak on the grill tonight, and Kathy and I watched a blue heron fishing not far from the boat. Yesterday, Rachel and I encountered a group of porpoise on the dinghy ride back to the boat. I shut down the engine, and we watched the porpoise play around us, listening to the sounds of their breathing on each surface. Whitefoot was in the dinghy as well, and was going nuts. Once again, the choke collar was needed.
We continue to mix the good with the bad. Running a modern boat with complex systems isn’t easy. Corrosion and vibration really mess with things. But we’re still on the “plus” side of the curve. Kathy just told me that Stardust feels like home. Rachel still laughs all the time. What a crew!


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