Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Titusville - That’s all Folks, for now

Fleetwing will be standing by for our return

 This is the last post of the fall. We are headed back north for the holidays and perhaps a little (we hope) snow. We were successful in getting a rental car from Hertz, Enterprise would not rent a one way car. So it’s an early morning start up I95 towards Deltaville. We hope to reach Lagrangeville, NY by Saturday.

A night time goodbye

After the holidays, we’ll return south to continue onward to Key West for two months. Slips for an extended stay are hard to come by in Florida. The only reason we have slips reserved is our 10 year history of coming down, squatter's rights I guess.

It’s been fun and I look forward to meeting you all again in January. I restart the blog on January 6th if all goes according to plan, see you then.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Titusville - One more day until we leave to go north (in a car...)

An appropriate photo for going north - what awaits us headed into the Arctic?
Hopefully not an alligator. 

 People who are not boaters sometimes ask us if we're taking Fleetwing north when we say we're going home for the holidays. We explain that it's a rather long way and we just rent a car and drive north but we do return in January to continue our journey to Key West. We are reaching that time now when it's time for "northing". We will pick up our car on Wednesday and pack it that day for an early start Thursday morning. 

One last sunset

For the first time in a long time, I actually removed some stuff off Fleetwing. The things you accumulate over the years are astounding. When going through each time, you think, "well, I might possibly, maybe, just in case, might need this item at some unforeseeable future date". One must resist the temptation. It is very hard since it's so easy to toss it into the depths of the locker (never to be seen again). However, today I was successful in actually getting rid of some stuff (an aside, this will guarantee that what I tossed will be vitally needed at some point in the future, probably in a remote location not near anything - I guess I'll just have to go aground, "for the want of a nail, a shoe was lost, etc."

So I took the step into the abyss and departed with items I thought I no longer needed and with no reasonable thought of needing in the future. We'll see how that goes... (it hasn't gone well in the past)

Wednesday is packing day and we'll see what we can forget to take this time. I have a list but that only works if you actually look at it. I'll try. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Titusville - Getting ready for the trip north


Woods Storks - they are all over Titusville by the water.

I am battling two problems on Fleetwing. One is a slow leak at the seacock for the genset. And two is the repair of the enclosure. On the first problem, we're due to have a diver come by on Tuesday morning to see if he can seal the seacock from any more water coming in. I made an appointment for the boat to be hauled in the first week of January to replace the seacock. In the meantime, the temporary patch to be applied b the diver should suffice. 

We occasional see an alligator - this one was on Merritt Island

The canvass guy was supposed to come by to take two of the side curtains for zipper repair but he never showed up. You're at the mercy of boat labor availability whenever you need something done. Maybe he'll come by Tuesday. We can get by without the repairs but it would be better for durability if they were. 

We have two more days left before leaving to go north. The diver comes Tuesday and then Wednesday Ill pick up the car. Time is short, 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Titusville - Sunsets


Titusville is home to TowBoatUS for the area

I spent most of the day hunting down at slow leak. It was a saltwater leak because I tasted the water in the bilge and it was definitely salty. In the past, I've had freshwater leaks from loose connections to the house water system but this was saltwater so it had to come from a seacock or a connection nearby. 

Not too scenic but necessary, a pump out boat to service the marina on Wednesdays and Saturdays

We're leaving for New York on Thursday so I need the leak fixed before we leave. The sump pump on Fleetwing could keep up with the leak but only if it continued at the rate it's at now. If it were to suddenly increase a lot, then the pump could be overpowered and Fleetwing would sink. I don't want to spend the time in New York worrying about my boat in Titusville. 

Nothing like a nice sunset to brighten up the end of a day

I called a local diver and he's coming over on Tuesday to apply a patch on the outside of the hull covering the seacock since the leak appears to be coming from the seacock to boat bond. The seacock is almost 20 years old. 

After that excitement, things settled down and we had a relaxed afternoon which included a colorful sunset. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Titusville - We visit the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and see another Space X launch

Early morning for us, 7:19 am. Can you see the very small 
bright light in the middle, just above the clouds?

The Space X launch of internet satellites was this morning at 7:19. We rolled out of bed and went to the end of the dock to watch. The sun was up bright so there wasn't the usual contrast between the sky and the rocket ascending. Nevertheless, you could see the rocket as it climbed in altitude. We learned later that it successfully put its payload into orbit and landed on its ship in the Atlantic, another rocket recovered for reuse. 

A bird...

We also visited the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, a favorite of ours to watch the latest migration birds. There was a lot more water than last time when we saw many of the pools dry. We just enjoy looking at the birds as they go about their business, nothing special but we like it. 

Bird, version 2

We're having the bimini looked at for repairs and hopefully, we'll get that addressed on Monday. The enclosure is about 15 years old and is showing its age but not so bad that it needs to be replaced, just some fixing up around the edges, sort of like us. 

We enjoyed the drive out to Playalinda, the Cape Caveneral National Seashore

We have another four days to get ready for our departure on Thursday morning for New York but first, Sunday is Donut Day and a walk to Donuts 4 U!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Titusville - At the 321 Market in Titusville

They had a nice selection of grapefruit

 I picked up my car at Enterprise in the morning by walking the 30 minutes to their office after I discovered they are still not providing pickup service due to leftover COVID restrictions even though Florida has the lowest level of COVID on the east coast. 

The store had four areas laid out like this, attractively arranged to display their products

So it was a 30 minute walk which is really about the same as our usual morning exercise anyway. The Enterprise parking lot is usually full based on past experience in renting a car from them but this time it was nearly empty. In talking to the attendant, they are having great problems in securing cars for their business. It's reflected in the sky-high prices they are charging too. 

It doesn't look like much from the outside but they have great vegetables

Nevertheless, we got a car for the day and one of the first places we went was the 321 Market in Titusville. They have produces from the area and we enjoy picking out the best from the local supply. They have recently renovated the market and it's better than ever. 

We also did a bunch of other stuff which I'll cover in a later post. It was a fun day!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Titusville - Space X Launch of astronauts at night


The rocket is just now rising, lighting up the clouds

At 9:00 pm yesterday we went outside to see the launch, at the end of our dock. We have a good view of the sky towards the Kennedy Space Center. The launch was right on time and the first thing we saw was the sky light up. The rocket was still below where we could see but the entire sky glowed. 

Now the rocket itself comes into view

Then we saw the rocket rise up enough for us to see the exhaust flames. It was so bright that it only appeared as a round ball of light but it gradually moved upward. Then the roar of the engines reached us since the sound had to travel far from the launch pad. 

Into the clouds!

As the rocket rose higher, it disappeared into the clouds but then the clouds lit up too, very beautiful. We continued watching and finally, we saw the rocket through an opening in the clouds briefly as it rose up and away. 

One last peek in a hole in the cloud cover

I'm always mesmerized by a rocket launch, such controlled power, and nighttime launches really show off the beauty of the flights. There are so many things that can go wrong but Space X seems to have it all under control.

We did a lot more today since we had a car but those adventures are for another blog. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Titusville - Launch tonight!


Some say it's never too early...

Titusville installed a new WiFi system over the summer. I recommended OnSpotWiFi but the town thought they could do the same service for less money if they did it themselves. It took about 6 months to get the system working and when I pulled in last week, I had high hopes of poor internet was a thing of the past at Titusville. Alas, that was not to be the case.

On Tuesday, I took a walk along all the docks while measuring WiFi access and speeds. It was a mess. Only one of the five docks had decent WiFi, the other four docks (me included) was a crapshoot. Sometimes you had a connection, sometimes not. When you did connect, the speeds were all over the place, mostly very low. 

After gathering the data, I wrote a letter to the city council detailing my findings. They were supposed to have someone come out and examine the system for problems so I thought I would give them something to think about before they walked the docks themselves.

We are waiting for a manned launch to the space station tonight. It's due off at 9:00 pm so we'll go out to the end of the dock to watch. It's overcast so we may not see much but we'll at least see the early part of the ascent. 

I'm due to pick up our gold plated rental Thursday morning and Enterprise is not offering to pick you up anymore - citing COVID risks. With that, it's a 2.4 mile hike out to the rental agency. I'll get my exercise in early on Thursday!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Titusville Marina - Cook's night off


Ann's oil pastel painting today

The weather turned warm today with lots of sunshine, a great change for the better. Sarah studied in the cockpit all day and Ann painted in pastels. Her painting is featured at the top of the blog. She's been using oil pastels recently and they have a different look than the traditional pastels she used to use. They are brighter in color and look smoother. 

Every boat should have a liveaboard cook!!

Sarah cooked supper tonight. We had her specialty of chicken wraps with all the extras secret ingredients - known only to Sarah. It was delicious. The rice was cooked in the Instant Pot which we've found very useful on the boat, easy to set up, and foolproof. 

I reserved a car for the trip back south and was introduced again to the rising prices of rentals. If you haven't rented a car recently, prepare yourself for a shock. We will have a rental on Thursday to see the sights and what used to cost $30/day is now $75/day. I was prepared for an increase along he lines of cited inflation numbers (5%, 10%, etc.) but not almost 300%! The one way rentals are even worse. 

Nevertheless, we now have cars reserved for the trip north in November and the trip south in January so we're all set. It will really be nice to return to Key West!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Titusville Marina - The Sun comes out, the winds subside, ...


No swimming here! I did see an alligator there one time.

The storm that plagued the east coast has finally moved out to sea. Even though we were not as hard hit as areas north of us, we did get some of it. The winds are back to the normal northeast winds of 10 to 15 with bright sun with whose encouragement, the temperatures reached into the 70s. 

This is a flashback to Jekyll Island Marina - they had free golf carts to use in exploring the island.

We chose to use Walmart's delivery service today instead of Instacart. Walmart's service has much better prices since you get the in-store pricing. Instacart services Publix and everything you buy through them includes a markup just for using Instacart even though you pay a monthly fee on top of everything else not to mention the tip. We ordered in bed before we got up and the groceries were delivered by 11:30 am. I much prefer ordering groceries that way, who needs to see everything you buy? We've never had any problem with what's picked out.

I wrote an article today for Waterway Guide on the backups on the ICW this migration due to the bad weather, the closing for four days of the #7 Railroad bridge in Norfolk, the high water impacting clearance under bridges for the sailboats, and more. Everyone is bunched up in clusters as they proceed down the ICW, not good for trying to get reservations at marinas. 

Tuesday is laundry day and catching up with Waterway Guide work. We're snug, warm, and chilling out.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Titusville Marine - Donut Sunday!


Titusville Donuts from Donuts 4 U!

One of the attractions of Titusville is Donuts 4 U, a privately owned donut shop where they make the best donuts on the east coast. It's run by a couple who do everything themselves. From the marina, it's about a 20 minute hike but the donuts are worth it. Both Ann and Sarah are great fans of good donuts. 

It was a cold day here with temperatures only in the 60s for a high. There wasn't much sun so I just worked on ICW stuff and Ann painted while Sarah studied. In all, it turned out fine. We are fine but the whole east coast is backed up with delays due to the terrible weather we've had with winds in the 30 kt range. Coinjock is full, Alligator River Marina is full, the anchorages are jammed packed - it should all break free on Tuesday, the first day of weather suitable for cruising on the water.  It's been so bad that the Alligator River bridge has been closed since Friday due to high winds. It's a swing bridge and if there are gusts above 34 kts, it cannot open. 

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight...!

We're sitting pretty here, all protected and enjoying the solitude. We will get groceries on Monday, our last provisioning before heading north. Hopefully, our reservations for a car with Hertz will be honored. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Titusville Marina - 40 kt winds last night!


This is someone's home, not to be taken lightly - sad. Looks mostly okay

Looking at the weather wind pattern, it looked like a mini hurricane complete with an eye. The entire east coast of Florida from Titusville north had high winds. We rocked pretty well but we had fenders out and lots of lines. We were fine and since we had electricity, we were warm and toasty. 

Looks like a boat for storage, no sails

Three boats out in the anchorage area did not fare so well. Two were on moorings and the moorings held fine but their lines to the moorings did not, they chafed through and came to shore. The third one was anchored and something gave way so they joined the crowd ashore too.

Too shallow for that approach!

We will have one more day of high winds before things settle down with temperatures in the 70s again. We are only 1.5 weeks away from our departure north. I reconfirmed our reservation with Hertz for a car and they said all was fine for the pickup of a minivan on Wednesday two weeks from now. 

We will drive to Deltaville and drop the minivan off along the way. We have to return north for Thanksgiving and Christmas before returning south and continuing on to Key West.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Titusville Marina - Rain and wind


Titusville is right in that blue area of calm winds on the coast!

Florida is being battered by the east coast storm. St Augustine is suffering through high winds with several boats coming ashore after breaking loose. One even hit the bridge. Up until now, the high winds have passed us by. We seem to be in the eye of a swirling pattern with typical winds of less than 10 kts 

A rate moment of no rain today

The weather just 80 miles north is entirely different with 20 to 30 kt winds pounding the ICW. We may yet have the winds down here but so far we haven't although we've got the rain. Taking Hoolie out has been a contest of finding gaps in the rain pattern using our radar weather app. 

Meanwhile, I've been doing Waterway Guide work (Alert updating) and Ann's been painting. Sarah has been doing her homework so we've all been busy. The rain is predicted to stop Saturday morning so we're looking forward to that! At least we're well protected with winds and waves here in the northeast corner of the marina. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Titusville Marina - Getting ready for the coming storm


One wonders what the Ospreys do, fully exposed to the wind and rain

There's a front headed our way so I spent the morning getting the boat ready for the anticipated high winds and rain. The goal is to spring off the pilings and cleats enough so the boat does not touch the fixed dock. Just in case, of course, I put fenders in place at all the potential hitting areas. 

A care package from home

Sarah continues to study hard in her college work. Next semester will be all in-person classes but this time period has all remote classes. She spends the better part of a day hitting the books and laptop. She also is very handy having around when I have to adjust the lines and for other odd chores. 

Our last sunset for a while

We're having a canvass guy come over Friday morning to see what can be done with our enclosure which is now about 15 years old. We now have a dodger and bimini combination but the dodger part of the setup partially obstructs the view forward. It would be nice to get rid of that obstruction. We'll see what he has to say.

We restarting our walking/running program today. It felt good to get out and exercise. We got Hoolie into the regime too with a trip to the dog park. He ran and ran. It's to be a quiet night until about 10:00 pm when the winds and rains start but we're snug here. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Titusville Marina - at last!


Here's a big barge coming through Ponce de Leon inlet on the ICW
We saw 8 MLLW on the ICW, probably helped by the frequent barges plowing through

Storms are due starting Thursday so we wanted to get settled in a Titusville before the bad weather. It was a beautiful trip south with light winds and full sunshine, couldn't ask for a better day. After an overnight at Bethune Park, our batteries which we zeroed out appear to be okay after a full charge at St Augustine, thank goodness. 

Titusville is full, again

We had the most protected dock in Titusville Marina and will all the lines we put out, we're secure for even major storms. Thursday morning will be the start of our re-entry into walking and running. When underway, we seldom get to exercise at all other than just being on a boat. 

Secure for the predicted storms on the way

We still looking for a car for our trip north over the holidays. Enterprise refuses to rent a car one-way. When I looked at just keeping the car for the time we're up north, the total came to around $3400! That's a bit rich. We kept the car for two month before at times and the total came to around $1400 so Enterprise has more than doubled their price! 

We are looking into other options but we're not sure what we'll do yet. Soimehow, we have to get north for the holidays. Meanwhile, we're well situated since we provisioned and did laundry in St Augustine so we'll take it easy for a day or so before proceeding.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Bethune Park in Daytona - at anchor


White pelicans are somewhat of a rarity but we saw this flock today

We left St Augustine at slack tide after a flood so were expected a foul current heading south but we got the opposite! Once out of the St Augustine mooring ball area, the tide started to pick up again and we got a lift all the way to Daytona! We were doing 9 kts at times but mostly 7.8 to 8.4 kts. It was an unexpected lift and we reached our anchorage by 2:00 pm. 

Veterans Memorial Bridge in Daytona - it's a beautiful bridge, finally finished

The anchorage here at Bethune Park is one of our favorites since it has a dock for Hoolie and a place to walk around to exercise him. There are a lot of boats anchored but it's a big area and we have always been able to find a spot in about 10 ft of water like tonight. 

Can you make sense of this? There's a different speed limit depending on whether 
you're going north or south in the ICW channel!

There's a storm on the way for Thursday for the next three days but Wednesday is clear and a good day to reach our destination for leg 1 of our trip, Titusville. We are still having a lot of trouble getting a car to go north in. The local car rental agencies don't like to rent one way trips anymore! We made a reservation with Hertz several months ago and we hope they will honor it but we've heard some are not, we'll see.

Nice, cozy anchorage, easy shore access via floating dinghy dock

It's due to be a calm night and it will be good to get settled and prepare for our holiday trip north before returning in January to continue on to Key West.

Monday, November 1, 2021

St Augustine Day II - We explore St Augustine

I was putting on my shoes when I got this look from Hoolie, "What's taking so long? I've got to go!"

 Before exploring, we had to do laundry and do a pump out. In conversation with Ann's friends up north, they all think we are on an extended vacation. We say that we're doing everything you would do in a house except it's floating. You have to buy groceries, do laundry, take out the garbage, be a handyman for repairs - in fact, you do more: plan the day's trip, look in detail at the weather, look at tides, be careful in docking your boat, and so on. It's not a vacation in the normal sense of the word where everything is done for you. It's a floating home where you're the chief repairman, handyman, sanitation engineer, and so on. Still, we do enjoy the cruising. 

A view of the main thoroughfare - at least is't not full

After the morning chores of laundry, pump out, and groceries (delivered to the boat), we all went for a walk down the pedestrian avenue in St Augustine. It was a Monday so it was not as crowded as yesterday on a Sunday. Almost nobody was wearing masks but then the virus level in Florida is now one of the lowest anywhere, besides, we stayed outdoors. 

A night walk with a picture

The house batteries that were completely discharged have been recharged after 24 hours of pumping amps into them. We'll see if they hold a charge overnight when we anchor out on Tuesday. We're headed for the Bethune Park anchorage which has a convenient dinghy dock for Hoolie relief. There's plenty of room there in 10 ft water for lots of boats. Then it's on to Titusville the next day.