Allen and I are anchored just outside the Ft. Pierce South bridge. I finished tidying up the boat down below and Allen is touching up the bright work. It’s a beautiful sunny day, about 65-70 degrees. Nice way to spend New Year’s Day. Last night we were surprised to have a “front row” seat for the fireworks here too. Lucky us!
We are taking it easy today since we do not think much is open today. And, we did recently have a wonderful few days at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina which allowed us to take long walks, go shopping (provisioning is what mariners call it), do a load of laundry and charge the boat’s batteries.
Before that, we spent Christmas with my Aunt Natalee (Lee to me.) She’s only two years older than I am, and we were very close as kids, and now after 20 years, we plan to keep in touch with her and her wonderful husband Randy. She took good care of us for almost a week while we both enjoyed her granddaughter’s fabulous cooking for Christmas dinner—twice baked potatoes, gravy, and lots of other superfoods. Her husband Randy can take credit for the well-cooked roast beef—made rare the way I like it. Yummy! Lee also had lots of goodies to serve, including some whiskey cake we brought and other treats. Cherry pie is always a hit with Allen. For me, I enjoyed sneaking some chocolate pretzels and eating them for pre-breakfast. (I can’t believe I am sharing this tidbit???)
VERO BEACH: We really enjoyed the McKee Botanical Gardens and its history. Once 80 acres and owned by Henry Flagler, the gardens by the new owner Mckee turned this area into a world-class tourist destination replete with bears, a pet alligator called Old Mac, chimps, monkeys, and wonderful exotic plants and trees. Today, the current gardens are 18 acres of artwork and fantastic hammocks (we looked this word up—a cluster of trees). It was wonderful to view the fabulous variety of water lilies and palm trees including also a bamboo forest, children’s area that adults enjoy also, and water trails winding their way around the lush vegetation with trolls hidden among the various greenery and colorful plants and orchids. Worth every minute of the 4 hours we spent walking around!
Allen is still working out when and where we will transit to the Bahamas but he/we are in no hurry. I’m pretty nervous since I think I am a coward, weak crew, and so the burden is on him. I navigate only when I use the "Bob line"—a bright yellow line on the Navionics charts. We both wish the Bahamas had that line.
The current plan is to head down to West Palm Beach, probably this coming weekend, then on to Fort Lauderdale where we hope to see some friends' from Annapolis and Allen's Cousin Richard. From Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, the best route to the Bahamas is to head to the Exuma Cays since everyone told us not to miss these islands. In fact, I am going to start reading our waterway guide now.
If we want to jump to the Abacoes, we may need to come back north to West Palm or else take a bit of a longer ride along the Gulf Stream. The most likely scenario is we will meet up with other cruisers and transit with them during a good weather window. That may not happen until late January or even early February.... we shall see. Stay tuned!