Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Titusville - New Smyrna free docks


It would make a nice overnight dock except for all the fishing poles
The other two docks are much higher but I guess it's more convenient for the fishermen
on the lower dock, nevermid the boaters wanting to dock.

On the way back from Smyrna Dunes park, we drove through New Smyrna to look at the free docks just north of the high bridge. They have a unique shape, semicircular but only one is suitable for docking. All are fixed docks and the one used for docking has a second fixed dock that's lower to the water, suitable for getting off a boat. 

No fishermen on this dock! Why not here instead of on a dock that 
boaters could otherwise use?

There is also one floating dock that appears to be made for dinghies. We saw several tied up along side. It's a convenient place for docking since it's a short walk into town with restaurants and such. 

A dock for dinghies was provided too

On the one fixed for a good-sized boat, we saw the lower dock occupied with a family fishing, with multiple poles aligned by each piling. It didn't seem inviting for a boat to come alongside with all those fishing lines in the water. I wasn't able to check on whether overnighting was allowed for not. The one sailboat there didn't appear to just be for the one day. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Titusville - Smyrna Dunes Park


That's the Ponce de Leon lighthouse in the distance

We drove north to Smyrna Dunes Park for the day. It's a county park that's very popular with dog owners and those who want to spend a day at the beach. It's on the south side of the Ponce de Leon inlet, we visited the north side last week to see the lighthouse. 

Run and splash in the water - I don't think so, not for Hoolie

The northside was free unless you wanted to climb the lighthouse but the south side in the Smyrna Dunes Park cost $10/car. The area is very dog friendly and they have a trail leading to the inlet beach where dogs can cavort in the water. Personally, I wouldn't let Hoolie loose for that since what do you do with a wet dog? Conveniently, they have a dog wash area when returning to the parking lot that was seeing a lot of use. 

Haaa, cool at last - time for a treat!

So we walked out and back, very hot on a sunny day, Hoolie was panting. The park had a pavilion that allowed dogs and we sat inside, in the shade, and ate lunch. Hoolie rested with his belly against the cool concrete floor, must have felt good I suppose. It was a nice park, especially for dogs. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Titusville - Osprey nests


A typical osprey nest atop an electrical pole in Florida

At the top of many electrical poles are osprey nests. They are provided by the local companies in the hope of encouraging the growth of the osprey population. They are free from predators at such a high location and it allows them to survey their domain at leisure. The nests, of course, are handy for raising little ones. 

I suppose they mass produce these nests?

We walked by such a nest this afternoon and you could hear the osprey rejoicing in song - or screeches if you prefer a more accurate rendition. They fish very well but they are not known for a pretty melody. Nevertheless, we do enjoy seeing them around, diving to the water to retrieve dinner. 

We had intended exploring Smyrna Dunes park but it was too cloudy, we'll try again on Tuesday. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Titusville - Strange images


I never saw a sailboat up on a lift before!

On our trip down to Cocoa Village Marina several weeks ago, we saw the usual elevated docks for small boats, they are quite common in Florida and other points south. However, in one case at Cocoa we an elevated dock for a sailboat will a pretty good keel. I didn't think they made such docks for sailboats! I supposed it helps with making the bottom paint last. 

Now that's a long way down for a coconut to fall!

I took one more look around for killer coconuts. It only takes a few examples such as in the photo to appreciate the force that could be exerted by a falling 2 lb object. There were some towns near Miami that actually removed the palm trees by pedestrian walkways for fear of falling coconuts and the liability they represented to the towns. 

We're taking a road trip on Monday to the Smyrna Dunes Park, It's about an hour's drive north and it's dog friendly so we'll get Hoolie exercised too. This one is a county park so our Golden Passport for national parks does not apply, we'll have to pay. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Titusville - Death by coconut or shark more likely?


The coconut is circled in red, just lying there

I was walking Hoolie this morning when I came to the part of the path that goes under several coconut trees. Lying on the sidewalk was a coconut. It apparently had freshly fallen from the nearby palm tree. I wondered what would have happened had I walked under the palm tree at just the right time as the coconut was falling? An article in the New York Times stated that the force of a falling coconut could reach 2000 lbs given the typical weight of the coconut at 3 lbs and the height of a palm tree at up to 100 feet! 

When looking up, don't stand directly under the palm tree!

Sharks kill about 5 people worldwide per year according to the latest statistics. The estimates on "death by coconut" vary widely, from 150/year to in the tens. There are a lot more coconuts near beachgoers than sharks. Certainly, a 2000 lbs knock on the head could do serious damage. It's probably wise to look up to see if there are any coconuts about fall, better safe than sorry. 

I survived coconuts today, no problem, and we'll celebrate by having donuts Sunday morning. We don't need much reason to celebrate with donuts on Sunday anyway. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Titusville - Superhero and sunset?


Pointing at me?

We have someone with a sense of humor in the marina who posed a figure on his bow, photo attached. I'm not sure what it is but it seems to keep the birds away. Maybe I should get one too?

Oh well, it's about the best I can do here.

We do not have a clear view of the western sky so sunsets are partially obscured. Every once in a while, we get some clouds with some color so I thought I would take a photo of the best sunsets we get. It's not on the caliber of sunsets along the ICW from anchorages and such but still enjoyable.  Once we get started north again near 4/15 or thereabouts, I should get better photos. 

This was the week we were to finally get the WiFi that was approved on 1/12/2021 in the city budget process. Well, it seems they are still missing a part and the activation is delayed for one to two weeks. It will be a real race between me having to leave and having the WiFi up and running! All the dock towers are installed and the ready lights are lit, just no signal for now.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Titusville - Ponce de Leon Lighthouse and Hoolie blockade


Going somewhere?? Try and get past me! (he was asleep on the sofa before we stirred)

We decided to take a road trip today to see the Ponce de Leon lighthouse. We've seen it often in the distance from the Rockhouse Creek anchorage but never up close. As we were getting ready, Hoolie sensed we were going somewhere so he went up top and positioned himself between us and the exit off Fleetwing. We were not about to sneak out and leave him on the boat! At least, not without him trying to block our exit as you can see from the photo!

Our view for lunch

The lighthouse has to be approached from the north, going through the southern part of Daytona, it takes about an hour to get there. Ann packed a lunch and we found a picnic area with a clear view of the lighthouse. With temperatures in the high 80s, it was a very pleasant trip. 

I always liked the styling of the 1957 Chevy

I saw a classic 1957 Chevy that looked spotless. They go for anywhere from $60k to $120k depending upon the condition. I think it was parked there just to brag. It's one of the top classic cars ever made by American manufacturers. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Titusville - We see a Crested Caracara


Crested Caracara - in the Falcon family

I was out walking in Sand Point Park when I saw a strange looking bird on the ground. As I came closer, he seemed in no hurry to move along. He kept turning his head as I walked by so he could keep an eye on me. He appeared to have something on the ground that occupied him but I couldn't be sure. 

One of many exercise equipment - out in the open for use by runners

I later looked him up on the internet and found that he was a Crested Caracara, a type of falcon that's common to mid-Florida. I found that they tend to spend a lot of time on the land scavenging. I looked at him, he looked at me - and we passed each other. He was still there when I left. 

There's a running trail through the park and at spaced intervals, they have exercise equipment for use by the runners. The equipment is not cheap and seems to be kept in good working order. I never use it since I'm more interested in the running part but I see others taking advantage of it when I pass by. 

On Thursday, we're headed for a road trip to see the lighthouse by Ponce de Leon inlet, looks like fun. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Titusville - Too big a fish?


How to eat this??

We have a cormorant that has claimed the fairway aft of our boat. We see him fishing every evening, diving under the water to catch his evening meal. These birds do not have strong oils to prevent water penetration. If they did, they could not dive for their food. You'll see them often sitting on a post with their wings spread out, drying them. 

I've come to help.... rival or mate? Can anyone tell?

Tonight he caught an especially large fish and he's been struggling to eat it. We watched him dive, surface, dive, surface, and he still hadn't downed that fish. After a while, we saw another cormorant swim by that we had not seen before. We don't know if it's a rival or a mate. We'll continue watching to see how things turn out. 

At 5:00 am on Wednesday morning, there's a SpaceX launch of 60 more satellites for Starlink. It will be dark and that makes for a more spectacular launch, I'll try to get photos. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Titusville - We try Philly Cheesesteak for dinner


Main Street Philly

There is a local restaurant that advertises authentic Philly cheesesteaks. It had good reviews on Google so I thought we would try it out. Neither of us had ever had Philly cheesesteak before so we didn't know what to expect. I got the large and Ann the medium. When asked, how did we want it (toppings), I just replied whatever is authentic, the way they serve it in Philly. I was taken aback when she answered that she didn't know. I thought this place had the real thing. The cook in back piped up and said that Cheez Whiz was the way to go. 

Too much, soggy buns

So we ordered the Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz with an order of buffalo wings. The servings were huge, more than enough. However, the bun was soggy, as if the hogie type bun was loaded with meat and Cheez Whiz and then heated in the microwave. I had thought the bun should be crisp with hot meat and cheese inside - but maybe that's the way Philly cheesesteak is served? 

On the way over, we noticed a small alligator sunning in the pool by the statues to astronauts;

It all tasted good but it was too much for one meal. Ann saved half her sandwich (small order) and I couldn't finish mine. I don't think I'll order Philly cheesesteak again. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Titusville - Ann continues to paint in pastels



Ann's studio is up in the cockpit, my office is down in the main salon. As long as the wind is less than 15 kts, she can work upstairs. The cockpit is fully enclosed but winds above 15 kts cause the boat to bounce and the bimini to have drafts, but less than that is fine. 

She's been taking a course over the internet (there are lot's of art courses available given the pandemic problem) and it's ideal for her. She will usually paint from a photo and "enhances" reality to her way of viewing. As she says, if you want photorealism, buy a camera. I like her paintings better anyway. 

Ann will complete a pastel in one to two days and then start on another one. One of the perks I enjoy are the paintings mounted around the salon, very beautiful. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Titusville - The water level drops and a visit from Pat and Kathy


Pat and Kathy O'Sullivan on s/v Puffin

With the continued north wind comes a further drop in water levels in the Indian River Lagoon, the body of water by the Titusville Marina. It's at least a foot lower than normal and it's still dropping as the north wind continues to blow. We're wondering just how low it can go. We have plenty of water under us, 11 feet, so we're not worried about hitting bottom. It's just rather startling to see the water drop so dramatically. 

Down, down, down goes the water level. Normally it's a level step between the dock and Fleetwing

Getting back to a semblance of normality, we had Pat and Kathy over for wine in the cockpit. It's nice to have company again and pleasant conversation after a year of avoiding all contact. Pat and Kathy are headed for the Bahamas on April 15, the same date when we plan on heading north. We got a taste of what it's like if you head north too soon - 15 to 20 kts winds out of the north with lows in the 50s at night. Such weather does not make for a comfortable ride home. I'd rather have mid 60s at night and high 70s during the day, temperatures we would hope for in late April. 

The winds are due to die off late tonight, we hope, and Sunday is donut day!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Titusville - 321 Farm Store and sushi


Shopping for groceries at 321 Food Market

We did our usual grocery shopping in bed this morning using the Walmart app, easy. They spend the time pushing a shopping cart around the store and checking out, we just drive up and they load the groceries in the back of the SUV, no extra charge. Once we go north, we'll miss that service since the nearest Walmart at home is too far away. 

I do enjoy sushi!

We stopped by the 321 Farm Store to pick up local grapefruit, tomatoes, dell peppers, and a few other vegetables. They appreciate the local business and we enjoy the fresher than supermarket choices. Their grapefruit is larger than you can find in Publix or Walmart. 

On the way home, we picked up a loaf of bakery bread from Publix and a tray of sushi too. It was the first sushi we had in the last year. Sushi can be filling with the fish served with rice and we would up saving the chicken dinner for tomorrow, the sushi was enough! I got a taste for sushi when I made five trips to Japan on business with IBM, great meals but I don't miss the long airplane flights!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Titusville - Black Point and road work


Can a bird look unhappy?

We took our weekly Black Point Drive tour today. it was near 90 and the wind was running out of the south. We like to go during the week instead of the weekend due to less traffic. However, there were very few birds, about as many as you could count on one hand. I guess they were all hiding from the high winds. We did see one bird in a short tree (the photo), he didn't look too happy. 

Nice, bright lines - just applied. At least they finish the job properly

At least the drive gave us some time off the docks. The road crew finally completed their months long work on the road by the marina. Everything seems to take months to get done, especially the new WiFi installation - still waiting. 

We're due for a change in the weather on Friday with a drop of 15 degrees in the high for the day with winds out of the north instead of the south, a good change. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Titusville - WiFi ready and road work


Well, the main WiFi antenna is installed - but not yet connected!

WiFi installation continues at a snail's pace but the snail would win! After installing all the dock antennas and the antenna on the office to distribute the WiFi signal, they seem to be missing a part. It's supposed to arrive by the end of next week but I hold no hope for that. The installation was approved 1/12.2021, how could they have a part missing!? Nevertheless, we have no recourse but to wait. 

The road is finally paved

Meanwhile, they are repaving the road they tore up to install the lift pump for the showers. That was supposed to be done by the end of December (ha!) I guess everything will be done eventually, who knows? 

We have one more day of high temps before a cool front sweeps in from the north to drop temperatures into the low 70s (as opposed to 90 due on Thursday). We will either watch the WiFi being installed or watch paint dry, it's a dead heat for which one is quicker (I bet on the paint).

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Titusville - The Expert Alternator Shop - Lenz Automotive Electric

Lenz Automotive - inside the front door - a few alternators?

 If you have a problem with your alternator, you take it to a shop that specializes in alternators - a shop that's an expert in that area. You don't waste your time with the local marine or automotive store - take it to the experts. In Titusville, there is only one place to go, Lenz Automotive Electric

The front of the repair shop - all business - people come to him

One step through the front door and you know you're in the right place. The walls are lined with shelves and the shelves are full of alternators! He's been here as long as I can remember and I trust no one else. I have a 100 amp alternator that's only putting out 35 amps at best, that's not good - something is wrong. It could be the regulator, perhaps, but I'll have the alternator checked out first. 

The time to leave Titusville is approaching, not too close yet but close enough to start thinking about all the things I have to do to get ready to go north - like making sure the alternator puts out its full rated amps. I'll take it over in the next few days. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Titusville - Road Trip! Down to Ft Pierce for the day (by car)

The new docks are off to the right, protected by a breakwater all around the marina

 Ft Pierce was on our list to look at for a possible alternative to Titusville for a winter stayover. We had looked at Cocoa City Marina but it looked very open to me and I didn't see anywhere to take my morning runs except through the streets of Cocoa, not much for Hoolie either. 

Another requirement for us is a place to run in the morning - this walkway fits the bill

It's a hike to get down to Ft Pierce, about 1.5 hours by car. We took I95 down and explored the area, we were impressed. The docks look first-rate, at least the ones out by the breakwater. The docks all have gates for controlled access, a good feature for the area. I didn't test the WiFi but it's provided by OnSpotWiFi, a top-rated company that I've always found to give excellent service. 

How nice to have a free table in the shade of a palm tree in 70 degree weather - and a place for Hoolie

We found a table under a palm tree that was great for a quick lunch with Hoolie tied to one of the legs. With a 5 kts breeze and temps in the high 70s, it was perfect. I order takeout for two appetizers, just enough for lunch for us, very good. 

With the warmer weather, we're starting to get out but I'm also starting to think about getting Fleetwing ready for the trip north, the departure time is approaching. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Titusville - Sunday stand by - Donuts 4 U


Florida grapefruit and donuts, yumm

Our Sundays always start with donuts from Donuts 4 U, a local bakery that's very popular. All the donuts are baked on the premises and are always fresh. The donuts with fillings are overstuffed, very nice. We always get the same order: butter crust, plain, cinnamon roll, and blueberry filled. The clerk sees me coming and has almost has the order ready by the time I get to the counter. 

We meet great cruisers along the way!

Later in the day, Royce and Carol Hall came by for a visit, a regular occurrence when I'm in a marina. We traded the usual stories about ICW adventures. They had also received both shots of the vaccine so we were all good to chat. 

Huge store off by itself - wise?

The day turned out so incredibly nice that it was hard to leave the cockpit, the 70s with low humidity and a gentle breeze. Eventually, I took a walk in town to see the latest addition to commerce in Titusville, a huge beach store. I can't imagine that it could be a money-making venture but someone obviously thinks so. Then it was off to a Zoom meeting of the Sherers and that was the day. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Titusville - Washed in boat leaves and a revitalized park pond


Sand Point pond - now in full operation

Sand Point park suffered a sewage leak a couple of months ago from a buried pipe that was decades old. They had to drain the pond, replace the pipe, and redo everything disrupted by the work. By now, everything is back in order and the fountain is once again holding forth. It looks nice but the main purpose is to aerate the water. It's a nice park, it's good to see it back in full operation. 

Carefully towed out to sea - at least somewhere

We had a boat wash in with the powerful east winds of the last few weeks. They tied it up to an inside dock and today it was towed back out to sea - or somewhere else at least, don't know where it went - just not here anymore. 

The guy next door said today was from one of the three best weeks of the year, implying that it was either too cold or too hot most of the time. I'll take a high of 75 with humidity at 45% any day of the year, not hard to take!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Titusville - Visit by Terri and Larry Howard

Terri and Larry Howard, friends along the ICW

 We've been friends with Terri and Larry for years. They usually meet us around Jacksonville and we go out for dinner when we dock at the Jacksonville free dock on Sisters Creek. This year the tables were turned as they proceeded down the ICW while we were stationary at Titusville for the winter. So this time, we provided transportation to Shilos for seafood. 

It was pretty full upstairs at this time, it emptied out later in the meal - still not like the old days. 

I was concerned that the place may be full, as it has often been in the past for a Friday when they offer an all-you-can-eat fish dinner. I guess the pandemic is still taking its toll, the place was about 1/2 empty, still there were a lot of people, just not the usual crowd.

Their best dinner, in my opinion, is still just the fish sandwich, crisply fried. Ann and I both had the same selection at $12 a plate. Terri and Larry are headed south tomorrow for Key West, where we hope to return to in 2022. We'll follow them as they proceed south to get the latest updates on depths. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Titusville - Big fire? Lots of Smoke. Cause?


Wow, Titusville on fire?

We poked our head out for a visit to Walmart for Ann's meds and we were greeted with a huge cloud of dark smoke. It appeared at first that it was coming from our side of the river. It blotted out the sun, it was so dense. 

No, clearly it was coming from KSC

As we headed down the road to Walmart, it became clear that the smoke was coming from the Kennedy Space Center. We don't know if it was just a burn to get rid of excess shrubs or something more serious. We'll probably find out tomorrow but it was quite a cloud. 

It made a very dark cloud over Shilos Restaurant

In the meantime, we now have Ann's meds through Walmart. Our former pharmacy, OptonRX could not find a way to get her meds reliably mailed. We are hoping that Walmart will be better. 

UPDATE: Mystery solved - was a prescribed burn to clear brush off 200 acres.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Titusville - Zoom conquers all


The HDMI cable from the TV is plugged into our iPad

We spend about 7 months of the year on Fleetwing but we have families in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, how do we stay in touch? Everybody uses messaging and email, of course, and the telephone is ever-present - much better now with the universal offering of unlimited minutes (it didn't used to be that way). But then there are concerts, award events, and other activities for your grandkids, how to see those? 

The roses are still going strong

The answer is that you already know, the Zoom revolution. It's one thing to watch a video presentation but quite another one to actually participate in a Zoom meeting. We watched our grandson Rowan receive an award tonight from his competition at school, that was really neat. Ann attends her church in Lagrangeville via a weekly Zoom meeting. She can talk to the pastor in a give and take (the Zoom advantage over just a video) and trade stories with members of the church. This past Sunday, she even read the Bible lesson to the congregation, such is remote interaction nowadays. 

The roses I bought for Ann are still doing fine. We keep them on the main table and it adds a lot of color to the cabin, nice.