Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #60 We Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Every now and then we get a day when things fall into place. As many of you who are regular readers can attest, such is not the norm for us. But today was not a normal day. Early risers we’re not, but today we were on the 8:00 AM bus to have breakfast at a highly recommended breakfast and lunch place, The 2002 Restaurant, in Vero Beach. Truthfully, based on our experience this morning, we don’t share the rave review, but breakfast out is always a treat. West Marine was our primary goal, and, sure enough, they actually had the two items we’d gone for. We’d called ahead about both, but that never guarantees the result when we get there.

One of the needed parts was a new anchor light to replace the one that hasn’t worked since we left Deltaville. Jim had gone up the mast—all 60 feet of it—a couple of days ago, only to discover that a) he didn’t have the right bulb, and b) the lens was disintegrating. So after acquiring the whole assembly, he planned to replace just the bulb and the lens. Unfortunately, West Marine had only the whole light in stock, no single replacement bulbs or lenses. Up Jim went—60 feet up, remember—to make the anchor light illuminate once again. Of course, my role whenever Jim goes aloft is to watch and pray that a) the repair is successful, and b) that Jim comes back down in one piece, preferably before dark. While I’m watching and praying, however, it’s helpful if I can see anything that comes tumbling down from on high. Today the first thing was some sort of black screw cover that bounced off the bimini and came to rest on one of our stern perch seats. Was I surprised that it didn’t actually land in the water? You bet! I didn’t really know what it was, but I quickly rescued it. (Jim later informed me that it belongs on the Top Climber that gets him up and down the mast—not integral to its operation, fortunately.) Moments later, as I was giving my aching neck a rest from looking up, I heard something else hit the bimini and bounce, but this time the errant item was nowhere in sight. Since I didn’t hear any…er, “comment” from Jim, I assumed that whatever it was had little value to the project at hand. Besides, it was probably watery history, anyway. As Jim spent more minutes (or were they hours?) up there trying to get the recalcitrant light to operate correctly, his eventual loud “comment” confirmed my worst fear—that something was on the way down that shouldn’t be. Fortunately, it wasn’t him. But the clickety-clack of something important—the light bulb?—hitting the deck was almost as bad. Yep, the light bulb. Oh joy. Now he’ll have to go back up there AGAIN, I thought, since we only have the one bulb. I was able to retrieve the sky-diving light bulb from our mooring neighbor’s side deck, although I was sure the filament was toast. Well, no, the filament looks like it’s in one piece. Hmmm. One end seems to have come unglued, but we have lots of glue on board. I called up to Jim that maybe I could glue it back together and send it back up to him. Neither of us expected the fix to work, but to make a long story shorter, that’s just what I did and it did. He was able to come back down—all 60 feet—after successfully accomplishing the task. The anchor light is now working properly.

When our mooring neighbors returned from shore, they found an unfamiliar item in their cockpit—an “ear” from a wind indicator. Upon their asking if perhaps it had come from our boat, I immediately recognized the second of the three high-fliers that had fallen from the masthead. Now, what are the chances that three things could fall from 60 feet above a floating sailboat, and not one of them would land in the water?! Maybe we should start playing the lottery regularly!

The day wasn’t yet over. We’ve been carrying around a TV antenna since Deltaville, waiting for both the opportunity and the inclination to put it up on the stern arch. Flush with our morning’s success, we decided that this afternoon was the right time. I was hopeful that we could at least get the thing out of the aft cabin, and worry about the wiring another time. We not only got the antenna erected, but we also got all the wiring run and connected it to the TV. On top of everything else going so smoothly (well, relatively) today, we are now actually getting better TV reception. Wow! What a day. I thought the recent full moon had a somewhat bluish cast.

Yesterday’s rains finally left us, and it was time to head for the dock for water and pump-out. We managed to get a spot on the dock before a fleet of other boats began circling and waiting for space. That was after Jim was successful in getting both our cell phones cooperating with the computer again. Last night when we tried to get our e-mail the computer refused to recognize the cell phone data connection. Ugh! One more computer problem! But today’s fix was relatively quick compared with others. We seem to be on a roll!

We had a delightful visit with Mac and Pat on Wind-Borne who arrived in Vero this afternoon. We haven’t had a chance to meet up with them on the Waterway until today. A happy hour and then dinner with Jim and Lani on Sea Trekker and Jim and Annette on Windsong capped off the day. Vero Beach has been a fabulous place for visiting with other cruisers.

To go, or not to go—that is the question. (Sorry, Mr. S., but I couldn’t resist!) In some ways we’re ready to leave Vero tomorrow, but there are still things we’ve not yet done here. And it’s such a pleasant spot to sit. I guess we’ll decide in the morning.

Vero mooring field
Vero Beach mooring field

Brrrr!! It was too cold this morning—about 50—to get up and start moving. Besides, we hadn’t yet been over to the beach. So when the temperature warmed up to around 60, we caught the bus for a quick ride to the Atlantic. Surprise, surprise, there was no one in the water! We took a pleasant stroll through some of the beach shops, and landed at the Ocean Grill for a seafood lunch.

There are still things we haven’t done at Vero—like fishing among the mangrove islands, and riding the bus to the mall—but this time we really are ready to leave in the morning—provided we still feel like it, that is. Vero really deserves its cruisers’ moniker of “Velcro Beach”.

Vero sunset
Vero sunset

A couple of months ago when we first considered the possibility of going to Indy for Christmas we began looking at our options for making the trip as economically as possible. The biggest obstacle is always where to leave the boat safely and cheaply, if that’s possible. We soon discovered that marinas from West Palm Beach south were out of the financial question. However, the cheapest flights were from Ft. Lauderdale. What to do? On our way south on the ICW we encountered a few boats several times. One of those was Day-O, a 28-ft. O’Day. We chatted with Day-O’s crew, Maggie and Walt, a few times on the radio, and the last time they told us they were headed to their home in Stuart. When they asked about our plans, we told them we hoped to find a place for the boat so that we could go north, and they suggested we look into the mooring field at Stuart. We had been to Stuart on our way north just to see the town, but the mooring field was closed for renovation at the time so we anchored across the river. We hadn’t really considered returning to Stuart this trip, because it’s about 7 miles inland from the ICW. But we followed up on Maggie’s suggestion and discovered that Southpoint Anchorage, the Stuart mooring field, has a very reasonable (downright cheap?) monthly rate and plenty of space—presently. The hitch, however, was that they don’t take reservations, and the mooring field could be full by Christmas. Vero would have been a great place to leave the boat, and the price would be right there also, but they had a rule against leaving the boat longer than 72 hours—not what we had in mind. We checked with Southpoint Anchorage a few times about how full the moorings were getting, knowing that we could be there in a day if space started to get tight. We got enough assurance from the dockmaster about space that we went ahead and made our flight reservations from Ft. Lauderdale, with a rental car to get us there from Stuart.

Today we made the trip from Vero to Stuart, and we’re now sitting on a mooring ball just off the marina docks. We got a great spot for both security and shelter, the three bridges nearby notwithstanding. One of the bridges is a railroad bridge that gets plenty of use, especially at night. But we’re making absolutely no complaints. We’ve got a secure, affordable spot for Caloosa Spirit to sit while we enjoy the holidays with family. We really are on a roll!

We’re enjoying the down time. We’ve even had a library day or two. That’s partly because I’ve gotten the worst cold I’ve had since moving aboard three years ago. That’s not to say I’m deathly ill, far from it. It’s just that I’ve had so few colds since I stopped being around kids all the time that I’m kind of spoiled. Most of the few I’ve had have been very mild, but this one has hung on, and I’ve not had much energy. But at least it’s happened in a time and place when I don’t have to be busy. Still, there’s Christmas shopping to be done—mostly on-line, I think.

Some on-line shopping, boat preparation, and laundry are all done (even my cold!). Now we just have to pack, although most of our needed clothing is already there. On the 13th we’ll drive a rental car to Ft. Lauderdale and board a plane for Indianapolis. We hear it’s pretty cold up there with several inches of snow already. Sounds kind of ideal for Christmas. The real draw, of course, is our family, church, and friends, without whom Christmas is never quite complete. We look forward to some heart-warming and soul-enriching holidays.

We wish for all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season full of love, joy, and peace—and may the season never end.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

P. S. Don’t forget to look up Alice’s book, Reaching a Far Horizon, at www.lulu.com!

Posted Saturday December 10, 2005

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