Monday, September 18, 2023

March 17-25, 2023 Ft Pierce prep for Bahamas, Tow Boat US

3-17 We moved to the north end of Daytona by 1:30.  There weren’t very good anchorages for a long stretch after this, so we stopped early.  Wunderstruck anchored near us.  John and Deb and crew, Oscar, are from our marina in Brunswick (who we saw in St Augustine).  We went over to their boat after dinner for a couple drinks.  I made pistachio pudding to share.  It was the only thing I had that was green for St Patrick’s Day. 

Dave, Mary, Deb, John, Oscar

Pete was in Rapid City playing for St Patrick's Day with his old band

3-18. We had nasty weather today to go through a long, exposed stretch of the ICW.  So we stayed put, and so did Wunderstruck.  Dave used his new parts to repair the water maker, then made water.  There was still a little oil leak.  He’s hoping it’s just residual from the previous leak.  He’ll watch it over time. 

Dave also worked on our aft head, which hadn’t been working properly.  He took apart he macerator pump and installed a rebuild kit.  “Fluid” had been leaking back into the toilet bowl, so he replaced the joker valve.  I will clean toilets for the rest of our lives, if I don’t have to work on the parts of the toilet. 

3-19 Wunderstruck left about 8:00am and we left about 9:00. We followed them all day and anchored near each other at Titusville, south of the Max Brewer bridge on the west side of the ICW.  The weather was still windy, but both boats went to shore for dinner at Pier 220 Restaurant.  My cousin, Doug Dwyer, joined us.  He lives in Cocoa.  

the dinghy was jumping up and down at the dock.  tricky to get in and out of

On the way back to the boat, our dinghy outboard was sluggish.  Dave took a few spins around the anchorage.  He thought there may have been water in the filter.  It had been covered by rain water back in St Augustine.  
3-20 We left the anchorage at 9:30am with Wunderstruck behind us.  We passed Knot Quitters, friends from Brunswick, as they were heading north on the ICW.  They had been to the Bahamas and back.  We anchored on the south side of Wabbaso bridge about an hour north of Vero Beach.  Kind of a small, tight anchorage.  

3-21. We talked to friends (Jason and Barbara from our dock in Brunswick) in Ft Pierce that were at a mooring ball at Causeway Cove marina.  We decided to join them there to finish prepping to cross to the Bahamas.  We made the 1:30 bridge opening.  They gave us detailed instructions to enter the mooring field because of shallow areas.  As we made a turn to port to enter the mooring field, Dave headed to the bow to grab the mooring ball.  The wind and current pushed us to port and into the shoals.  We were stuck!  

After 10 years of paying for towing service, we called Tow Boat US, the “red boat of shame”.  We were off the shoals and on a mooring ball within 45 minutes.  We hate to admit it, but we think the auto pilot somehow got switched back on.  As we were being towed, the boat was moving strange, so that’s when we noticed it was on autopilot.  Had we noticed that right away, we probably would have been able to take care of everything ourselves.  

looking at this now, we could have gone further east before turning north, saving this for future reference


We took the dinghy to the marina dock and went to the office to pay for our mooring ball and check out the marina.  They had a great tiki bar, so we drowned our shame with gin and tonics.  Jason and Barbara, on Haven, joined us.  Deb, John and Oscar, on Wunderstruck, anchored nearby and joined us.  We all walked to a restaurant for pizza and wings.  Fun night.



Jason, Barbara, Oscar, John, Dave, Deb, Mary
3-22 We were waiting for a good weather window to cross to the Bahamas.  So I did some cleaning and Dave worked on the dinghy Mercury outboard.  Gary and Ann Marie (from our dock in Brunswick) were at another marina in Ft Pierce and had their vehicle here. Ann Marie still works from the boat.  They joined the rest of us for dinner.  Three is a food truck at the entrance of the marina with great sandwiches.  We were back to the boat by 6:00 for my monthly family FaceTime.  We actually used Viber instead of FaceTime because my sister, Janice, was in Belize.  
3-23  Dave is still struggling with our outboard.  Gary took us to West Marine for parts.  It runs, but is sluggish.  It is a fuel injected outboard.  If something isn’t working properly, it runs at half speed.  We went to their marina, Harbourtown Marina, and met Ann Marie for lunch.  There was a going away party for a couple from Croatia that were leaving after being at the marina for 10 years.  It was a complimentary lunch, part provided by the couple and part potluck.  They also had a band playing.  
Dave worked on the motor that afternoon.  It was better, but not normal.  
3-24. I did laundry at the marina while Dave took the dinghy to the Municipal Marina on the west side of the ICW to get fuel.  He made water again, working fine.  Then kept working on the outboard motor.
3-25. We planned to leave for the Bahamas tomorrow, so we decided to go to the Bahamas and use our smaller outboard if need be, 3.5hp.  We worked on our taxes before leaving.  We also processed our “click2clear” forms to enter the Bahamas, paid online, and printed the forms.  I updated our inReach device that sends out messages of our location.  Then I sent our “float plan” to 2 sailing friends that will track us and call the Coast Guard if we don’t check in with them after a designated time.  
I made some comfort food for the overnight passage to the Bahamas.  It’s can be too rough to cook underway.  Dave organized the cockpit and hung the dinghy.  Then we had a nice chat with our son, Pete before going to bed early.


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