Hi everyone,

I hope this is the last time that I say to you “We are still in Vero Beach”. Tuesday, the 3rd, Murray installed the engine and we started it before the end of the afternoon! She purrs like a kitten. We have to do some sea trials before we head off, but on Saturday, we “be gone”. It has been a long time tied to this dock.

The people we have met here have made our wait quite enjoyable. We have made many friends on the dock and will miss them when we move on. Jeff and Heather Van Dyke have been just wonderful to us – feeding us and loaning us their car. Jeff and Murray have re-done most parts of the little Honda, so that, when we return it, it will be better than ever. Jeff and Heather are going to travel with us this weekend as we proceed on down the waterway.

As you have probably heard on the news, there is quite a storm going on in Florida at this time. In fact, they are calling it ” The Storm of ’98”.In Miami, they had wind speeds of 104 mph! There have been several tornados touch down. Most boaters are staying hunkered down and not even traveling the ICW. So, we have been very glad to be tied to a secure dock in a harbour with very little wave action. Monday night, after the engine was lowered into its bed, one of our neighbours on the dock invited us up to their condo for dinner. So, we watched the first of the storm in comfort. The lightning was spectacular but the thunder didn’t seem to indicate a close strike. During that night, about four inches of rain fell! Since then, it has not rained again heavily. But the wind has just not let up. The boat sits here straining at her lines – of course, it doesn’t help that we are doing an engine burn as well. Even when the engine is not running, she bucks and pulls. I think she is trying to tell us ” It’s time to move”.

Since we have been sitting, Murray has worked on the teak and many of the other jobs on the list. The teak just glistens now. He has four coats of satin and three of glossy Cetol on it. He has added a remote oil filter system for the engine that will allow him to more readily reach the oil filter. We put two teak steps on the boarding ladder. And I think every cubby-hole is full of stores for the Bahamas. We found a box that will fit in the dinghy and hold safety equipment while also acting as a seat for me. The dinghy itself also needed repairs. The patch, that we had put on after the close encounter with an oyster bed, was leaking and needed replacing. I attacked the mildew that seemed to suddenly appear in the back of our lockers. Almost every locker had to be emptied, cleaned,dried and then re-packed. So, we have been busy here.

Due to the wind conditions, I think we will stay in the waterway as we go further south. If it works out, we may attend the Miami Boat Show near mid February. But, we can’t spend any more money. The budget is still reeling from the engine hit! What a time for the dollar to be at an all time low!

Once we leave here, it will be hit and miss for the e-mail. We have to find someplace that will allow us to us their phone line. That means we have to be ashore during business hours. And that means we are not moving. When we get to the Bahamas, the major centres have phone buildings where calls can be placed and we can hook-up. But, we will try to stay in touch with everyone. It may just be less frequently.

This is Windswept IV signing off for now. All the best to everyone.

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA