April 2010 Vero Beach - Melbourne - Cocoa - Daytona - Palm Coast - Jekyll Island - Hilton Head Island Issue #21


This month started with a bang!!!  Kate and Steve, full-time cruisers aboard S/V Santih, are friends we met in Charleston 4 years ago.  They are on their way north from Miami and stopped for the night with us.  We had dinner ready when they arrived knowing that their 10 hour day would be a tiring one.  Our visit was fantastic!  Kate's the sage who offered so many aphorisms prior to our embarkation on this life-style...and every one of them was on the button!!

Barber Bridge Near Vero Mooring
     April Fool's Day we arose early (for us---not saying what time!!!) and went for our run, meeting for breakfast at Mulligan's on the ocean.  On our way home we encountered a raccoon foraging along the sidewalk and in broad open daylight. (Pete P., we did no harm!) Later that afternoon as many of us were in line waiting our turn with the resident hair cutter, a bunny hopped up, looked us all over and went on his way.

  The evening before Jesse and Ginny, also full-time cruisers aboard S/V Wind Dust, left for their virgin voyage to Abaco, we dinghied to dinner on the mainland.  We'd beached our dinks and as we left the restaurant, someone came out on the deck and said, "Are those fun?  Do you have to paddle them?"  We laughed later because, besides our bikes, those are our modes of transportation.  And also, both had outboards hanging off the back so hopefully we don't ever have to "paddle".

   We took a long bike ride---long for us on those minuscule Bike Friday wheels--of 21 miles riding north on A1A to Wabasso.  The beach entrance was closed for renourishing so we had lunch under a tiki hut at a tiny deli/grocery then headed home. As we were putting our bikes away, the same little rabbit hopped by for another look.  The only other "wild life" that day was a snake who slithered across our paths.

      When I lived in Louisiana decades ago, crawfish holes were as common as ant beds but I've not seen nor thought of them in years. Another day on a bike ride to South Beach, I experienced a deja vous.  I shrieked to Bill who was riding ahead of me, "have you ever seen a crawfish hole?"  He shook his head, probably chalking it up to another of my "Laura-isms".  After all, he's a native of north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  And a 'crawfish hole'?  Think about it.  Isn't that a strange habitation to ponder?  Of course I came to a grinding halt to take a closer look at this abode which sent me plummeting back to the 60's. He kept truckin' so he STILL hasn't seen a crawfish hole. 

Arising Early Has Its Benefits
     Several years ago after I'd retired and was hanging out in Charleston waiting for Bill's wurkin' days to be done, I met Curt and Judy, S/V Decoy, who were there for a while on their boat, taking a hiatus from their home in Solomons.  We connected and have stayed in touch.  Last summer when we were in Solomons, we were guests in their home and they gave us a great tour of the area.  This month on their way north from the west coast, they interrupted their trip for a respite in Vero.  We had them aboard for a little social hour then dinghied to the mainland, Royal Palm Point,for dinner---without reservations.  At the 1st restaurant we were told our wait would be 30 minutes or greater.  Restaurant #2 said the same.  I was about to invite them back to our boat for PB and J when Curt spied a little Thai restaurant where we were seated immediately and the food was superb.
                                               Bill, Laura, Judy, and Curt- photo compliments of Judy

     One afternoon just before Easter, we had a delightful surprise.  Because of the holiday, the marina and mooring field were fuller than full!  A boat approached us to share our mooring and to our glee, we realized that our new neighbors were Nancy and Peter on M/V Sea Angel.  We met them in Crisfield, MD, last summer at a trawler rendezvous.  Peter took his guitar to the common area on shore and joined Bob with his mandolin and a bass guitarist.  Peter's music isn't your run-of-the-mill James Taylor/Jimmy Buffet style but many original tunes.  They played and sang till the no-see-ums drove us inside.  What a captivating evening and yet another serendipity!!!

We arose early 5 April to witness the last pre-dawn launch of Discovery, headed for the International Space Station.  T'was a clear and calm morning allowing us to see the horizon illuminate from the launch pad.  We were surprised that it took several minutes for us to hear the sound at 70 miles south.  There are only 3 launches remaining before the program is retired.  The photo on the right was taken from our fly bridge.  The photo below, reflecting the sunrise, is shared by our friend, Cozette, S/V Misty, taken from her deck in New Smyrna.

Each time I ride one of my oft-traveled bike routes, I see a deep lizard imprint in the cement and each time I report that to Bill who thinks I'm hallucinating! Today I was forced to drag him along for him to see. Don't suppose this is something pre-historic, do you?  And you can't really tell how big it is!
Early Easter morning, 5 dolphins lazily swam by "dolphining" and exaggerating their snorting.  Quite a site and as if it were for our entertainment only.  Later a colossal manatee slapped her barnacle-studded tail and we never saw her again.  Guess that's all she had to say!  And did I tell you about the otter nosing along the shore and then swimming past our boat with its lustrous coat mirroring the late afternoon sun!

From Vero's Art Museum's Sculpture Garden
We finally tore ourselves away from Vero but didn't aim the pointy part of our boat south and east as had been our long-time plan.  There was a great weather window before Easter but situations precluded our Abaco departure at that time.  When we were able to go, there wasn't a favorable window for several weeks.  Our vagabond spirit got the best of us and everyday, our strong desire to cruise intensified---which direction---it mattered not.  It was just time to Go!!!  And so we did and headed north.  We spent 2 nights in Melbourne and great friend, Bobbi came by for a visit.  She and Mike (M/V Sybaris) live there and are oft mentioned in tales of our rovings. As is typical of them, she offered us a car, which we declined.  I'd provisioned for the Bahamas so we have enough meat in the freezer and food to last us 2-3 months.  Publix will notice a sharp drop in their sales for a very long time!!!  They'll miss us but our on-board larder is a mini-Publix.

In Vero's Sculpture Garden

While we were in Melbourne, Bill and Ana, from M/V Knot Tied Down, came over to say hello.  We'd met them in Vero and they're also member of the Marine Trawler Owner's Association.
Melbourne Sunrise
Had a little serendipity one day and we passed our friend, Greg, from Charleston, headed south, on a delivery.  We knew he was south-bound but afraid we'd missed him by our 2 unplanned marina stops. So that was a fun treat.

We stopped for a night in Palm Coast at Sarah and Phil's dock, and were happy to see their new red and white tug, M/V Lowe Fin, at home in their back yard.  Before enjoying a repast at their favorite restaurant, they loaned us their vehicle to make a trip to Publix.  Bill and I made a pact prior to entering that store's portals that we'd walk out of there with ONLY dairy and produce.  We have not room for another morsel of food but we do have a great affinity for fruits and veggies which necessitate frequent replenishing.  (We stuck to our 'pact').

Halifax Harbor, Daytona, was our home for a couple nights.  We always very much enjoy re-visiting the little village of "old" Daytona and another opportunity to put more miles on our bicycles.  Of course a stop there isn't complete without a trip to Caribbean Jack's--great location and always good music.
                                                                                Mosaics on bridge pilings in Daytona
As we cruised through Fernandina, we spied a submarine flanked by escorts.  We've seen them docked but never underway.  Quite a site!

The Jekyll Island Club House
We've always eyed Jekyll Island as we cruised down the AICW so, as a result of our aborted Abaco plans, we had time for a weekend visit so made reservations for a few nights at Jekyll Harbor and what a delight!!  We had NO idea that JI was such a beautiful, moderately developed, pristine island.  We had miles of cycling trails that we utilized every day.  It was such a treat and relief to not have to watch out for careless motorists who have not a clue that a cyclist might be in his cross-hairs!  Wildlife and serenading birds were abundant and the elegance, old fashioned southern charm and service of the Jekyll Island Club was memorable.  Below is a quiet lane shaded by a canopy of moss-garbed oaks on Jekyll.
                                                               Aren't these trees absolutely spectacular in their stately grandeur!
                                                       We're Turtles, you know!  We travel slowly and carry our worldly possessions with us.  Jekyll Island has a turtle hospital/museum so that was on our list of things to see.  We found our way there by following these stenciled turtles.
Between Jekyll Island and Brunswick, we stopped to re-fuel---1st time since February!  The depot has a capacity for 1/2 million gallons of diesel!!!  That quantity is difficult to perceive!!!  We expected to take on about 500 gallons so we didn't put a dent in their store.

This most beautiful month of April is too quickly coming to a close but before these spring days merge into May, my youngest son, Stephen Lane Breaux, celebrated a birthday.  I've no idea how he got so old but ya know what's bad????  When my children become the age I think that I am!!!  Happy birthday Stephen!!!
2 days before the end of April we landed in Shelter Cove Marina on Hilton Head Island where we'll call home for 2 weeks.  We're in the perfect slip right up against the board walk in the shadow of the bronze statue/sundial of Neptune.  We love live music and we can sit on our fly bridge and hear a cacophony of several styles.  The people-watching is a bunch of fun--we're watching people watching us!  This is a marvelous place to run, cycle, and I've found a pool that I can be in and out before vacationers converge upon it later in the day.  Any morning when I can get in a swimming workout is a superb day in Laura-ville.  The aura of this place says "tourist", making it difficult for us to keep our focus.  For 99% of those we see, it is their holiday, but for us, this is just our life!  I must confess that we have already 'slipped' and pretended to be vacationers. We rationalize by saying it's a reward for our 2 days of hard work of doing things others never see when visualizing this life-style. It's not all fruity drinks with a little umbrella teetering over the glass's edge, dressing in "cruise wear"--it's wearing our grubbies and washing, waxing, and polishing the hull; touching up the varnished bright work on a areas where flexion cracked its integrity and water crept in; polishing the brass; keeping the stainless sparkling; washing and softening lines (those are 'ropes" for non-boaters); shampooing rugs; cleaning cracks and crevices with a toothbrush where salt residue and dust and taken up residence; resolving sanitation issues; cleaning strainers.... But at least we're able to be outside doing most of this and it sure beats pulling weeds, mowing, edging,  painting trim----you know the routine. Some folks have been surprised to know that we don't sit around all day with a book in one hand and a drink in the other. We just do the same things you do except we do it on water with a little different twist. These 2 weeks are already beginning to fly. Boat owners on our dock have been so friendly by coming over to make our acquaintance and chat. So, not complaining---just stating the facts! And we're lovin' every second of it!

We'll report back in to you May 31. Won't divulge our plans/intentions since none of those have come to fruition anyway. We'll just go with the flow and let you know where that takes us.

Bill and Laura
Kindred Spirit III
docked in Shelter Cove Marina
Hilton Head Island, SC


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