Sunday, June 22, 2014

Melbourne Beach

N28°04.013’, W080°34.308’

We picked the anchorage at Melbourne Beach as a stopover on the way to somewhere else...  Reviews on Active Captain about the wonderful little Market here had us curious.  How good could it be really?  We arrived early in the day and would have visited the market and the beach, and left the next morning... but the weather had other ideas.

Shortly after our arrival, the skies once again filled with full bellied rolling clouds that marched over our heads like an army.

We are really getting good at the storm prep these days.  Daily storm drills will do that for you...

Bruce busied himself with zipping in the enclosure panels we had taken out to allow more air circulation.  It's the time of year when we would have thought we would be leaving them rolled up in the v-berth, but with the daily deluge, it's nice to have a dry(ish) cockpit from which to manage the anchor watch.

We've learned our lesson about underestimating these daily downpours.  Now we go through our preparation every time and early.  No waiting to see if it's going to develop.  Just clear the decks, batten down the hatches and ports, and get ready.  I can't say the same about Jezabelle however... she seems to think this one will be no big deal.  She stayed on deck until she began to get wet with the first raindrops...

What was I doing while Bruce was saving our butts?  I was trying to get an awesome lightning photo of course...

I was actually able to catch three strikes this time.  A record!  Yes, I know...  I should be running for cover.

But how much cover IS there on a boat out in the open water?  How many pictures DOES one have to take to get three pictures of lightning?  That would be three hundred and thirty eight.  Yes I did...

This anchorage is a wide open space.  I guess some people would rather be in a tight, well protected spot in a storm.  So even though the small anchorage provides protection from fetch (waves kicked up by the winds that build as they travel across the open water), I'm almost thinking that I would rather NOT be in an enclosed space.  Having plenty of room to drag (should that happen) seems to be preferable to worrying about going aground should our anchor fail...  even if it means we have some wave action to deal with.

Unfortunately, our carefully chosen position here in relation to the other two boats was not so great when the wind direction changed and the larger boat began to drag down upon us.  What should we DO????

We kept swinging back and forth, sometimes in his path... other times not.  We had our engine running and were on high alert.  Luckily we could see that there was someone on deck.  We just hoped that he could get it under control in time...

The wind was whipping and driving the rain in sheets so thick that we could barely see the other boats for long stretches.  But when it let up momentarily we could definitely see that this boat was closer... and closer... and closer!

And then suddenly, we could tell that he was moving off across our bow and away from us.  Whew!  That was close.  What a relief we felt as we watched him motor off to a safe distance and re-anchor.  We felt sorry for the guy, but were glad the immediate danger had been averted.  Now if we can just get through the rest of this...

The waves and rain finally began to let up.  We saw 36 knots on our wind speed indicator.  Each storm seems to be increasing in intensity but with them, our confidence in our boat increases as well.  It feels good to know that we can be confident that our boat will protect us from a storm.  And as for the lightning?  Well, that's a whole 'nother story that remains to be told...

The sun came out just in time to set and to allow Bruce back on deck to grill our dinner.

Our night was peaceful after all the hoopla.  We awoke to a bright sunny sky and the prospect of a visit to the beach!

We docked the dinghy and walked up the LOOOOONNNNG pier to check out this cute little town.

It was a pretty sleepy little place, just a few touristy shops, a liquor store, and some B&Bs.

There wasn't a lot going on, but then it's Sunday morning... maybe we're out early and things will pick up.

It was fine with us though as we walked the short distance to the Atlantic side of the island.  We found the public beach access to be very nice in typical Florida style...

We spent an enjoyable hour or two basking in the sun with dips into the cool calm waters of the Atlantic.  Once again we marveled that so many people flock to the beaches of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, when they could be hanging out in places like THIS!

Once the cooler morning began to give way to the sweltering afternoon, we packed it in and headed back to the boat, by way of the market.

I would not normally rave about a market, but this unassuming looking little place is a must-see on anyone's trip up the coast...

It had a remarkably eclectic collection of foods from other countries and the produce and meat markets were fresh.  Prices on these were also about half of what we've been paying in the Publix stores...  HALF!  We bought some necessities and picked up two nice pieces of fish.  We have only bought fish one other time in Florida due to the ridiculous high prices...  We will enjoy these dinners!

We left the cool interior of the market and hoofed it back through town carrying our load in the heat.  The wind was very light, making it seem even hotter!

Siesta is the way we spend these hot afternoons.  Get out and enjoy the morning, then languish aboard during the hot afternoon... waiting for the cool evening breezes (and the next rain storm) to come and cool things off.

We had a small shower in the evening but nothing like the night before.

If you have the time to stop here, a short visit is well worth it.

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