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January 1st-23rd, 2004
Home Away From Home. Or Is This Home?

Our dock looked like a toy shop at times with Thomas the Tank Engine trains and tracks, scooters and our bikes occupying most of the space. The boys made friends with Helen, an affable lady with a quick wit and a knack for dealing with toddlers. She and her husband Bob also are liveaboards. They have two young granddaughters who visit often which made for great fun for the boys. They played for hours together but even when the girls weren’t there, the boys begged to go to Helen’s boat.

Pierre and I would decide on a day to leave and the day would come and go. Soon, another week would pass. Pierre and I were learning a lot about the workings of our boat. Pierre met a boat cleaner named John who spent a couple hours with us demonstrating the best way to clean the hull, stainless steel, teak decks, etc.. The amount of maintenance boats require can be overwhelming. The people we’ve met here have been gracious with their time and knowledge which has boosted our confidence in being able to maintain our boat.

Saturday January 24th, 2004
Time To Move On, Again.

When we dropped anchor in Daytona in early December, our plan was to stay 24 hours. Six weeks have passed and the time has come to move on. Ron, who is not usually an early riser, was on the dock bright and early to give us a send off. After refueling, we were on our way. Pierre was anxious to see how our new transmission would perform.

After a full day of motoring on the ICW, we dropped anchor north of Cape Canaveral. The transmission passed the test so far.

Sunday January 25th, 2004
Time To Move On, Again.

Our initial plan was to go offshore at the Cape Canaveral Canal but with a SW wind, this would make for a slow and bumpy trip so we decided to continue on the waterway. There were lots of recreational boaters out on this sunny, cool day. While underway I sanded the teak rails and eyebrows on the deck and applied a coat of varnish. The week before we left Daytona we had put a couple coats of varnish on so I wanted to keep it up.

We were all getting back into the cruising groove. We motored into Vero Beach Marina at sunset and picked up a mooring for $8. We stopped at the dock first to pay since we planned to take off early in the morning and were convinced by the dock master and his friend Mike to consider staying a day or two to see their wonderful city. Mike really talked the place up which made us think about staying.

The guys on the dock last night were convincing so we decided to stay. We walked several blocks through a well manicured neighborhood on our way to the beach and a nearby park. Vero has a free bus service so we used it to see more of the town. It’s hard to judge a place after a few hours but what we saw was nice.

Monday January 26th, 2004
Running Into "Velcro Beach".

When we returned to the dinghy dock, we met a woman with twin 8 year-old boys. She said they left Charleston in October with plans to cruise the Bahamas and have been here since November. She said her husband developed an inguinal hernia and needed surgery so they decided to have it done here. Thomas and Patrick had new friends as her boys and two other young boys from another cruising boat played together for hours. The parents home school the children. The twin's mother tries to tailor the education to the area where they are as much as possible. I’ve learned from other cruising mothers that a two and a half hour session of home schooling equals a full day at school. Since my boys are preschool age, I don’t have to follow a curriculum, but I do try to work with them on the alphabet, writing and other preschool activities.

After meeting these people, I was ready to stay. I had as much fun throwing the football around with the older boys as Thomas and Patrick did. I ran into Mike and he was happy to see that we stayed. He said they nicknamed this place Velcro Beach because people stick and can’t seem to leave. Tuesday January 27th, 2004
Honey Could You Pick Up Some Milk?

As much as we would have liked to stay, we had places to be so as soon as the sun came up, we took off. It was another pretty day motor sailing on the ICW. We were now entering the Gold Coast. All one had to do was look around at the houses and you knew how it got its nickname. We arrived at the Lake Worth anchorage at sunset. We needed milk so Pierre made a quick dinghy run in the dark to a nearby beach where a five minute walk would lead him to a Publix.

Wednesday January 28th, 2004
An Attempt To Visit With The Queen.

Then wind was 5-10 knots out of the NE making it perfect for an offshore run to Ft. Lauderdale. We sailed close to shore, avoiding the northerly set of the Gulf stream. I thought for sure this would be the day I caught a fish but once again I came up empty handed.

As we entered the Port Everglades channel I could see the Queen Mary 2 at a dock off our port bow. It dwarfed the other cruise liners docked nearby. I was waiting for the 17th St. drawbridge to open and thought I’d head closer to the QM2 to get a photo. Bad idea. Within seconds, an orange inflatable Coast Guard boat came charging up to our boat. Three men on board with serious looks on their face informed me that I was in a security zone. Luckily, the boys were in the cockpit with me which made me appear fairly harmless.

Once we passed under the 17th St. bridge we were now in the stretch of the ICW known as Miracle Mile. Mega yachts were everywhere and so were luxurious waterfront homes. We passed by a huge motor yacht named Aussie Rules and later learned that its owner was Greg Norman, the pro golfer. In this area, these kind of yachts were the norm.

Dockage in Ft. Lauderdale is not cheap so we were hoping to get one of only four moorings in the area. It was 5 p.m. when we arrived at the mooring area south of the Las Olas bridge and got the last mooring. To be in an area like this for $20 a day was great. Being on the mooring also gave us access to nice facilities at the City Municipal Marina at the east end of the bridge.

We had dinner with a nice Canadian couple, Ron and Leslie, who are also on a mooring. They recently cruised the Bahamas and would be leaving soon to return to Canada. Thursday January 29th, 2004
Some Old Paths Cross.

Our plan was to stay a couple days and see if the Neal Pryde dealer in Miami could deliver our main sail to us so we wouldn’t have to make a stop in Miami. We also wanted to get our Windbugger wind generator fixed since the company was based here. Well, two days turned into almost a week but at least we were productive and had fun.

We met two of Pierre’s friends from his delivery days, Jack Showers and David Strickland for dinner at Chucks in Ft. Lauderdale. In the late 60’s and 70’s they worked together for Patrick Ellam, a bluechip yacht delivery service based out of the New York/New England area. In 1969, after getting out of school, Pierre was making his way across the Atlantic on a Seafarer 31 with just the owner and himself onboard. After 31 days and several weeks of being lost, they managed to find the port of Horta in the Azores where they made the acquaintance of Jack Showers and his crew. Jack was delivering a Chinese junk, the Ding Hao from Jamaica over to Malta in the Mediterranean. One thing led to another and after hanging out in Europe for a year Pierre started crewing for Patrick Ellam Inc. Pierre crewed for Jack off and on for a couple years and credits Jack for getting him over the hump in celestial navigation. He was excited about seeing David and Jack and showing off the twins.