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Misty Pearl on The Loop

So here’s a map of Misty Pearl’s stops, right down to our actual slips.  We’ll keep it pinned to the top and hopefully fairly current.  Pressing one of the little red balloon-looking thingys will load up our blog posts related to that spot.

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That’s why they call Vero Beach the Windy Coast

We’ve now been in Vero Beach since Friday, and the wind it is a-blowin.  Although we’re tied up safely and all, wind is hell on outdoor pickleball.  More on pickleball later.

We left Fort Pierce a tad cranky since we didn’t really need fuel but Carl had told Charlie (The Lower Place) that the volume price was $2.96 per gallon which is a great deal and then Charlie told us so we pulled around and topped off with 280 gallons and then the guy said that the price had gone up to $3.10 and Carl wasn’t working that day to clear things up.  We didn’t blame Charlie even though he’s from Mississippi.  Regardless, the Indian River portion of the ICW was  pretty currenty coming north but we made it to the Vero Beach City Marina in time for a cloudy lunch.

Supposedly we’re now at the edge of the Space Coast, after having cruised the Emerald, Forgotten, Nature, Sun, Cultural, Paradise, Gold, and Treasure Coasts, as called by the locals.  We’re not rocket scientists but this probably is called the Space Coast because of promimity to Cape Canaveral.  In fact, it’s almost exactly 56 miles from the spot on the beach where we stood for about an hour in the cold to the launchpad where a Delta IV rocket was scheduled to launch at 6:56 p.m.  We arrived at 6:30 to make sure the new GoPro would work.  The western sun would light up the contrail beautifully.  We’d have an awesome video.  Launch moved back to 7:11?  No worries.  Doug started filming at 7:10.  He held the GoPro up until his arm started aching.  Dana started her phone but gave up quickly when nothing happened.  Long story short, after several delays we walked back to the boat.  The sun set.  They indeed launched the rocket—and we even tried to videotape it—but mostly it was just a  minute or so of a small light moving through a dark sky too faintly to photograph.  Maybe they should call Vero Beach the Worthless Video Coast.

Saturday brought yet another Farmers’ Market, which was timely because Dana REALLY needed a combo candle and skin moisturizer.

Saturday also brought David and Sherry—Doug’s friends from high school—down from Orlando.  That put 40% of the Big Five on Misty Pearl for a few hours.  It was great to catch up with them and nobody gossiped at all about other people from the small town outside of Chattanooga.

The marina is kind of secluded from the beachy stuff, but the streets along the way are way cool.

Given the orchid knowledge about which we’ve previously commented, we even spotted a few up in the higher branches.  It’s true that most everything grows in southern Florida.

It’s also true that around here it’s important to watch out for crab holes.  We know that, because there are signs posted all around the marina.

So far we’ve seen neither crabs nor crab holes but at least we know enough to keep an eye out.

Vero Beach has so many courts that it should be called the Pickleball Coast.  We Ubered over to a huge tournament.  The professionals are really really good.  The dude on the far right supposedly is one of the best players in the world, although it’s hard to tell that from a single fuzzy photo taken a long way away through a chain-link fence.

Today we wanted to go back for a clinic at Pickleball University.  The website was a bit ambiguous so we thought maybe only members were allowed.  But the other places we found to play—including the courts at the nudist colony—were too far to Uber so we took a chance.

Things worked out great.  We got the clinic and a private lesson.  They suckered us into new paddles.  Now we’re pot committed.  We still suck, of course, but we’re committed.

The other thing so far is that we were docked for a couple of days beside Esmeralde.  That’s the green American Tug we saw fresh out of the factory mold a couple of years ago and then just missed in Stuart.  The tugs weren’t quite right for us but it’s a beautiful boat.

We’d planned to leave on Wednesday but it’s looking more and more like Thursday.  Did we mention that it’s windy here?

We’re in seat 15, seat 15

The worst thing about leaving Stuart for Fort Pierce is that we left empty handed in terms of Poop.  That’s the local pump-out boat.  We didn’t need a pump out, but we wanted to get a photo of the Poop.  Oh well.  We’ll live.

Big wind yesterday but we took off anyway.  Pretty much big wind the whole way.  The Fort Pierce municipal marina said to radio when we reached the bridge.  We did, and they said “Come on in.”  We did, and they said “Oops, we need to dock a couple of other boats first.”  “Watch out for the wind and the current.”  After we spent fifteen minutes or so fighting to keep off the rocks, they told us to come on around.  But “Watch out for the wind and the current.”  In fact, they kept repeating the warning.  And we got in just fine.  See how that works Palm Harbor?

Today was a visit to the Navy SEAL museum.

We know a bit about the SEALs, because we’ve seen them training on the Coronado beach and drinking in Danny’s Palm Bar.  But this was extra extra cool.  No replicas here.  Real stuff.

Like a Blackhawk helicopter that actually was in the Blackhawk Down Mogadishu engagement.

There was a great breakdown of the operation that took down Osama bin Laden.  And the actual lifeboat from the Maersk Alabama, with the bullet holes and blown-out window.

So tonight we watched Captain Phillips again.  If you’re a Somali pirate in a hijacked lifeboat and there are U.S. Navy ships with SEAL snipers in close range with a bead on your forehead, you probably should rethink your choices.  Anyway, there also were weapons and boats and a bunch of other cool things.  This museum is on the must-see list.

The other cool thing today was The Lower Place showing up unexpectedly.  A fun dinner followed.

One more thing.  Two days ago was the one-year anniversary of us leaving Arizona to move on a boat.  To paraphrase Professor Nathaniel Burke, in the past year we’ve learned a thing or two because we’ve done a thing or two.

Spread your arms and hold your breath

While in Orange Beach, we missed Mallory’s college roommate’s great-aunt and -uncle by mere seconds.    They chased us the first part of the Loop in their Grand Banks Trust Your Cape, then passed us when we stopped at The Wharf.  We headed to Marathon and they cut across Okeechobee to their home outside of Stuart.  We turned up the St. Lucie River basically to finally meet them.

Great folks, and not just because they brought over a car we could use to re-provision.  They also hosted us for a great evening at their home.  But even without all that we really enjoyed them.  Jack even sang that Guy Clark classic while playing a guitar he made himself.  Way cool.

When we docked yesterday we focused so much on the American Tugs that we only gave a sideways glance at Tanuki, a Great Harbor N37 we first met on Staten Island more than nine months ago.  Jerry and Sam stopped by to chat.  Fortunately they had gone into the city when we docked at Great Kills Yacht Club, so they missed what was our worst docking experience prior to Palm Harbor.

Over on B Dock, we found yet another sister 43, this one a non-Looper named Duet.  Unfortunately nobody was home.

Even more unfortunately, nobody was home on Josephine.  Josephine is a Selene 59.  We would’ve given up wine (for a day or two) to get a look aboard.  Gorgeous boat.

Anyway, the point is that Sunset Bay was a pretty cool stop.  Lots of friendly people and interesting boats.

Tomorrow off for the short trip to Fort Pierce.  We have business to conduct with some Navy SEALS.

 

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider

Saturday in West Palm Beach means the Green Market.  Yum.  We loaded up with deliciousness for later.

Sunday was the day for exploring.  We had a list.  First up, the Downton Abbey exhibition.  We admit it’s lame to go look at stuff from a TV show that’s been canceled, but despite Lady Mary’s unexpected trampiness and the unacceptably untimely death of Lady Sybil and Cousin Matthew, we decided to go.  As far as the lobby.  Because tickets were $35 each.  So we got to see a model of Downton and some costumes, but at least it was well worth the nothing we paid.

The murals around town are plentiful, and because they’re free we enjoyed them immensely.  On the walk back to the taco place we passed our favorite.

At the taco place Dana spotted a couple who looked just like Jeff and Terri from Change of Pace.  Wait a second.  It WAS Jeff and Terri.  And Marshall and Judy (Let’s Go).  We last saw Let’s Go at Green Turtle Bay.  Now they’re all off to the Bahamas.  Safe travels.

As we crossed the bridge towards the beach, Misty Pearl sat in her slip pretending like getting in there was easy.

Next on the list?  The Flagler Museum.  This Flagler guy was a big deal around Florida.  The museum used to be his house.

It actually was pretty cool.  Most of the stuff was over the top, of course, but Doug did decide that our next house must have a drawing room.

Dana walked down the grand staircase like Daphne after she discovered that Harry Bright Dashwood was her father but before she went bad and ended up in a rehab place for “mental patients.”  Our bet is that it was the first time—ever—that someone walked down the grand staircase in a Bobby’s Fish Camp t-shirt, although Bobby’s does have the self-proclaimed “Best Catfish in The South.”

Finally, a quick walk down to the beach.  It’s an okay beach but nothing like Delray.

We missed the sunset last night because we were watching Justified.  Plus—being from Arizona and all—the whole time-change thing confused us.  Thanks to that time change, however, this morning we were up to watch the sunrise as we prepped to get underway.

As seems to be the case every day we travel, we passed some interesting stuff on the cruise up to Stuart.  For instance, we saw a $10 million boat being towed by a $10,000 boat.

That friends is why you should change your fuel filter regularly.   But seriously.  The big boat probably has four huge engines and redundancy across the board.  Hard to figure out what could have crippled it, unless terrorists were involved.

At the north end of Lake Worth is the marina where Tiger Woods keeps Privacy, which at 150-feet is about average for the boats around here.  Unfortunately we had to make a hard left on the ICW and would’ve had to wait a long time for the next bridge opening if we had gone to look at it.  Anyway, it’s right behind these buildings, unless it isn’t.

Tiger Woods’ house is in Jupiter.  Not the house in Windermere that Elin got in the settlement, but the other one.  Here it is, concealed by the trees.  Don’t celebrities know that it’s rude to hide the stuff that gawkers want to see?

Know what else is in Jupiter?  The Orchids of Asia Day Spa.  We didn’t stop by, of course, because we aren’t that kind of people.  People like Robert Kraft, that is.   We’ve no idea why it didn’t occur to a billionaire owner of an NFL franchise—albeit the cheatingest franchise in all of sports—to follow Tiger’s lead and just pick up a desperate Perkins waitress for a parking lot quickie.*

There aren’t many lighthouses to be seen along the ICW for obvious reasons, but we did spot one today.

It’s actually one of the prettier ones.  Our friend Erin recently informed us that Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state.  She’s from Michigan, of course, so thinks that’s a bigger deal than it really is, although we do find them dang cool.  And we admit that we enjoyed climbing up a few of those cool ones ones on the shores of Lake Michigan.

We also hit a stretch of the ICW that strangely reminded us of Canada, but with more mangroves.

Immediately upon docking we spotted a gray American Tug that looked very familiar.

How’s this for crazy?  Before we settled on Misty Pearl, we visited the American Tug factory in La Conner, Washington.  We got to climb aboard a gray boat that was awaiting final touches outside on the deck.   Yup, same boat.  It gets even weirder.  While inside the factory we saw the freshly-painted hull of a green boat that at the time lacked innerds.  That boat coincidentally just left here.

Tomorrow we’ll explore Stuart.

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* When they were little, the girls used to think the line that titles this post was quite funny.  Kraft probably would find it even less funny than we did.

Hey Palm Harbor, how about a little heads up?

When we pulled in to Delray Beach yesterday, we got busy exploring and forgot to put a red dot on our big pilothouse Loop map.  Which meant we didn’t put a number on the dot.  Which meant we forgot to celebrate our 100th stop since leaving Washington D.C.

Delray Beach was a pretty awesome spot for an important milestone.  Because today the plan was to cruise only three hours or so, we had time for a leisurely breakfast and a walk to the beach.

Now this is our kind of beach.  No rap music.  No marijuana hanging in the air.  No garbage.  None of those pesky kids.  Just clean white sand and cooordinated umbrellas in a pleasing shade of blue stretching to the horizon.   Some of this even was codified.

We understand outlawing ballgames and some of the other stuff, but the “no pet” thing brought flashbacks of those those miserable slobs at Half Moon Bay.   Because Delray Beach is such a nice town, however, we’re pretty sure that if the city council knew Oscar and Benny they would’ve included an exception.

Even this stretch of A1A was pleasant.

Then off to the north again.

Since we’ve been Looping we’ve seen bridge houses and lock houses of all shapes and sizes and conditions.  The bridge tender at Ocean Boulevard works in one of the coolest.  They looks like the kind of towers where an evil king might imprison his daughter for having the temerity to fall in love with a common bridgekeeper.

As we approached West Palm Beach, another tower loomed off to the side.  It looks like the kind of tower where a resort owner might position Marine snipers with orders to mow down anyone who has the temerity to say something unflattering about the size of his, um, “tower.”

The common wisdom is to stay put on weekends in Florida in order to avoid the crazy boaters.  Fridays aren’t too bad, but as time passed today more and more folks came out to enjoy the day and to give the State Law Enforcement guys some action.

They take their no-wake zones seriously around here, although we got off yesterday with just a warning.  (In our defense we were desperate to catch the next bridge and we go too slow to make up any lost time.  Plus our cruising speed basically is what would be considered a no-wake speed for most boats.)

Anyway, we got our slip assignment just outside Palm Harbor.  Palm Harbor has a great website with a map of  numbered slips.  We’ve noted before that this also should be required by law.  We pulled up the map and found A209.  Nice easy shot down the last fairway, then slide right in.

What the map doesn’t show is the huge breakwater protecting the nice boats in the marina.  THAT’S BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ONE.   And exactly no place on the glossy website did anyone bother to mention what felt like a 10-knot current ripping perpendicular to the A-B fairway.*  Perhaps we’ve had a more harrowing docking experience, but when we later discussed it at lunch nothing came to mind.  At one point in the process Dana helplessly closed her eyes and waited for the certain crunch that only sheer luck prevented.  But we’re in.

We have some basics—like Little Debbies—aboard Misty Pearl, but we’re not sure we are provisioned enough to last in West Palm Beach through the weekend.  Supposedly the restaurants around here are quite persnickety.   Doug’s Big Orange windbreaker with the Power T obviously would make a more-than-acceptable dinner jacket but Dana foolishly failed to bring along anything that reasonably might serve as a cocktail dress, so we’re screwed.

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* Yes, we probably should’ve recognized that there wasn’t protection from the current we’d been riding along the way, but we’re really not much into self-recriminations.