Finally Fixed and Free!

Well, we finally left Vero Beach! It was two weeks of repairs, shopping and waiting for parts. It is a lovely spot to do that sort of work, as there is a free bus service to most of the shopping areas. But, the boats are on moorings, and rafted ( that is tied beside) to another vessel. Sometimes even two other vessels. And the moorings are close together. So, as you can imagine, there is little privacy and a lot of noise from generators. Some people have no concept of quiet times and even start their generators as early as 6:30 AM. Or run them as late as 10 PM.

So, it was with great glee that we slipped our lines early Tuesday morning and headed further south. We didn’t go too far – just approx 40 miles to Peck Lake. Peck Lake isn’t what you are imagining as a lake, but more a wide spot in the ICW. There are sand dunes and a beach to walk on, if we decide to get the dinghy down. Right now, we are just catching our breath. It seems as though we have run from one job to the next for the past three weeks, so it is good to just relax a little.

I say relax, but this morning was boat jobs, as usual. I polished the brass clock, barometer and bell below decks while Murray waxed and removed marks from the cockpit. Then, using some broccoli stalks, I made a chowder for lunch. Now, we can sit and read or write for a bit.

Hurricane Olga is kicking up some large swells in the Atlantic, so it is unlikely that we will be able to cross for a few days. A cold front is also expected soon, and that will give us winds from the north. Not appropriate crossing weather.

Likely, on Thursday or Friday, we will move down to Lake Worth. There is too much traffic on the weekends in the waterway and we prefer to be hunkered down before then. Thursday at 1930 there is a shuttle launch scheduled. Hopefully we can see it from our location.

Lake Worth is more like the lakes up north, although it is surrounded by condominiums, marinas and very expensive houses. In fact, Arnold Palmer lives on the lake, or so we have been told. We take the dinghy down a little creek, land it on a patch of beach, clamber up the embankment and walk to grocery and marine stores. The grocery store allows boaters to deposit their trash in the dumpster behind the store. This is great, because most locals do not want the boaters around. I can understand that some cruisers caused problems in the past, but it sure makes it difficult for the ones who follow behind.

The wind generator is whirring away again and keeping our batteries topped up. It is so good to have all systems working again. But, I must qualify that, we haven’t tried the watermaker yet. It needs to be run for a half hour before we can taste the water and we need to be in the open ocean before we can run it. If any oil or fuel by-products come into contact with the membrane of the watermaker, then the membrane is ruined. So, as you can imagine, we are extremely careful to only run it while in clean open water. That test will have to wait. As the watermaker worked fine before we ‘pickled’ it for the lay-up, there is no reason it won’t work fine now. I hope.

Well, that is what is happening here. Not near as much as the last few weeks, but it sure feels better.

Stay warm up there and watch out for the snow. A little bird told us that Barrie had 5 inches the other day. Winter is closing in soon. Light the fires and cuddle on the couch with your hot chocolate. And write long letters to your boat-bound friends.

Hugs to all, Murray & Heather aboard Windswept IV

Fall Update

It has been a while since I wrote, and I am sorry but we have been very busy. This retired life is hell. How did we ever find time to work?

Speaking of work, we left Killarney Sept 25th. The departure was delayed one day due to a road wash-out. Yes, the only road into or out of Killarney was closed. Luckily, only for 36 hours. But, it certainly gives you that isolated feeling.

Once we did get away, we headed to assist my mom with her move. From there, visits were made to the rest of our family and friends in Ontario. Oct 17th, found us headed south to our boat once again.

We took the suncover off and unlocked the hatches. What was that awful smell? I explored below decks while Murray checked out the engine etc. The bilges were full of water ( due to 15 inches of driving rain during hurricane Gabrielle ) and this had encouraged the growth of mildew. But the worst smell was coming from my box of canned goods. I cautiously lifted the lid. Yuck. The pop cans had exploded and their contents had drained into the box and rusted all of the rest of my canned goods. Hundreds of dollars of stores. Destroyed. Another lesson learned – don’t store carbonated beverages over the summer in the south, as they blow up!

So, our work was on. I washed all of the inside of the boat with vinegar & water or bleach and water to destroy mildew spores. Murray waxed the hull, and prepped the bottom for paint. We hired a sign painter to touch up the name and prepare a decal for the stern. A fiberglass wizard was also hired to fix the chips in the stern due to contact with dinghys.

Eventually, Windswept IV looked as good as new. The insurance survey was done, our lockers were full and it was time to set sail for another adventure. Did someone mention a hurricane? Just then Michelle popped up in the Gulf to give us more grey hairs.

We did leave the dock on Nov 6th and turned the bow southward. Well, sort of… it is the St John River and meanders in every direction.

Now, plans are to spend some time at the SSCA gathering in Melbourne, meet friends in Vero and then wait for a window to cross to the islands.

We will be in touch.

Heather & Murray aboard Windswept IV