January 8, 2012

The January Warmth

Hello everyone

It is a gorgeous sunny day here in West Palm Beach as we sit at anchor. But it hasn’t always been this lovely and warm and we have had several major issues since our last report.

In late December, we pushed hard and motored over 200 miles in the first few days of our journey. But Murray noted that our stern was more sooty than usual and we were also burning through the fuel at an alarming rate. This indicated to him that we had injector problems and needed to have them re-built before we could continue on our journey south. Using the MiFi ( I LOVE it!! and will write a report about it for the website) I checked the internet and found a couple of repair shops south of Vero Beach that specialized in injectors. One of these was very near to our friends, George and Nancy who have a place on a canal in Hobe Sound. They offered their dock for the duration of the repair and we took them up on it and arrived at the dock on Wed, 28th. They had left their house open, guarded by Katie , the springer spaniel, who greeted me with a lick and a wiggle. I remembered where to find the car keys and we delivered the injectors right away. Maybe Friday, maybe Tuesday was the promised delivery date.

George and Nancy do a lot of entertaining and we always seem to arrive when a party is planned. They volunteer at a local school and had invited some teachers and their spouses to dinner. It was a lively group that shared the table that night and the conversation flowed freely. Two nights later, they had a group of 17 workers and spouses from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store ( where they also volunteer ). This time I was able to assist Nancy with the preparations and again a wonderful time was had by all. We were especially happy as our injectors were repaired and ready to be re-installed the next day.

New Years Eve day found Murray buried in the engine room. Three injectors came out easily and were replaced by the re-built ones but the fourth gave him difficulty. George came up with a can of PB Blaster ( as seen on TV ) which did the trick. We were repaired and the larder was full. Departure was planned for the next day.

It was not to be. I received a Skype call from our son, Steve, who told me that Gramma was back in hospital. I spoke to the nurses and was told that she was improving but had chest pain and shortness of breath. Her bleeding time was also prolonged. They were going to keep her for a few days and that she may need a nursing home bed sooner than expected. After the New Years holiday, I contacted CCAC ( who administer the long term care beds ) to change her priority for placement. The CCAC caseworker from the hospital, Lisa Eichler, called back and we spoke extensively about the issues. Her plan was to support Mom in her current room with Personal Support Workers until a bed became available. With that news and the word that Mom was much improved and would be discharged very soon, we departed our friends’ dock.

It had been bitterly cold the previous nights, with temperatures reaching into the high 30’s and even frost in some areas, so leaving the umbilical cord of power and heat was a difficult move. But, a window to cross to the islands was in the offing and we were loaded to go. During the trip south from Hobe Sound, we found that the boat gremlins had again been at work. Our external speaker for the VHF radio wasn’t working! What the heck? It HAD been working! As it is an important piece of our safety gear, on Friday the 6th, we headed a little more south to an anchorage south of Flagler Bridge. Friends sitting there told us of a nearby marine supply place and we arranged to pick up the required speaker. Returning to the boat, Murray quickly installed the speaker and fixed our last ( we thought ) problem. I checked the weather once again, and made hard boiled eggs and cheese biscuits to eat during the passage. Now to get the charts organized, set up the route on the computer…..

Then the phone rang and everything changed once again. Mom had been deemed unable to return to the retirement home, even with assistance. She will need to stay in hospital until a nursing home bed is found for her. Murray gave me a hug and said ” I think we should go home”.

So, the plan has changed once again. Thank goodness we never write them in cement but always in Jello! We will continue our cruise for the balance of this month, staying in touch with the hospital and family the whole time. By early February, we will arrive back in Green Cove Springs, prepare the boat for haul-out, load up the car and head north. By mid February, we should arrive back in Tillsonburg. These dates are very flexible and subject to change as usual. If time permits, there are several cruising friends that we would like to visit on our way north.

So, hold on to your hats!! We will see you all soon. Much love and hugs,

Murray & Heather
still cruising after all these years

Christmas Travels

Here we sit, in our cosy boat, in a very quiet anchorage near Daytona.
Beside us is the SeaRay factory but it is quiet for the holidays.
There is only one other boat in our anchorage and he is a quarter of a
mile from us. Today was a long one, about 69 miles in total. I know,
that is just one hour by car!! But, a good day for a boat.

Early tomorrow morning, just after the dawn, we will slip out of here
and head on south. Ormond Beach, then Daytona Beach and then New
Smyrna Beach will all pass by before we anchor somewhere in Mosquito
Lagoon. It is much better than it sounds and we will again be alone in
a large expanse of water, with dolphins and pelicans stopping by for a
visit. I have a turkey breast to roast in the oven, along with some
potatoes. We will have stuffing, carrots and even a surprise dessert!
The wine won’t flow too freely, as we will be at anchor and anything
can happen.

But, when we lift that glass of wine, it will be in a toast to all of
our friends and family. May you have a wonderful and happy Christmas
and may 2012 bring all good things for you and yours.

Much love,
Murray and Heather
cruising again.

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