Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Farmer's Market Orchids
Waiting is not easy.  Our choices are to sit and grouse about delays, or take my Mother’s advice and find happiness wherever we happen to be.  Such a simple thing in theory… but a timely reminder that helped us to (at least temporarily) push aside our frustrations with weather and mechanical woes, and allowed us to appreciate this place with all it has to offer.  

Proximity to the Lake Worth Inlet has pacified our quest for pretty water.  Every morning the tide comes in, bringing with it, the clear waters from the Atlantic.  We delight in the sight of our boat floating on air… We can see the bottom!  I wonder if the newness of that will ever wear off and cease to amaze…  I hope it doesn’t.  

Bruce’s interest in clear water is a bit more utilitarian than mine…  Our boat bottom needs attention and it has been literally months since we have found ourselves in waters that were clear enough to make bottom cleaning an enjoyable thing.  Although we had to wait for our generator to be fixed before we could use our Hookah type air compressor for cleaning the keel, Bruce was able to get in and do a pretty good job on the waterline and belly of the boat.

Keeping with the theme of household chores… we had to find a way to keep our stores of water, food and fuel topped off.  We also needed to order parts for our generator and have them mailed to us… Luck was on our side as we just happen to be anchored very near to the Palm Beach Sailing Club.  What a nice bunch of people they are.  Their welcoming hospitality is unequaled anywhere else in Florida.

 Not only would they accept mail and faxes for us, but they allowed the use of their dinghy dock, provided potable water to refill our tanks, opened their doors to us for luxurious showers and even gave us their wi-fi password.  SCORE!  Suddenly our prolonged stay here became pleasant.  

Toting our new diver down flag from the pawn shop
We had everything we needed.  The public busses run frequently, making it easy to get to the grocery store, auto parts, marine chandlery, post office, laundry… anywhere we wanted to go.  The discovery of this made most of our problems just melt away, leaving room for thoughts of days spent lying on the beach in the sun.

So what if it’s technically winter… this is Florida!  We are far enough south and east so that few of the cold fronts that are ravaging the rest of the US have any appreciable affect on us.  We are safe here and we took full advantage of it.

We loaded our beach bag into the dinghy and did a little exploring on Peanut Island.  We visited this tiny button on our northbound journey but didn’t fully appreciate all it has to offer back then.  There is a really nice facility here for camping and a walking trail that circles the island.  There are public restrooms and freshwater showers and plenty of places to dispose of trash.  

The beaches are numerous and at this time of year, nearly deserted on week days.  We felt like we had the world to ourselves.  Ahhh it was so nice to just lie there on that blanket and forget about everything.  There is little that an afternoon spent soaking up the sunshine can’t fix… and the fix has a relatively long shelf life.  Which is good, because we had quite a few days of high winds, clouds and cooler temperatures that had us stuck on the boat.  

So this is what it's like to be a cat...
Snow days.  Although I’ve never actually experienced a real snow day… I liken these days to be very similar.  The first day we’re stuck on the boat is an enjoyable one.  It’s like a free pass to do nothing.  The boat is rocking and rolling, making work difficult.  The clouds reduce our solar energy intake, so we try to limit our energy consumption.  The wind and waves vanquish any thought of going ashore in the dinghy.  So our day is spent napping, reading and maybe cooking.  Yes, we basically lay around and eat.  Not the most healthy way to pass time, and after the first day I’ll admit… it wears on one’s nerves.  

Jetsam taking a walk-about on the dock

During one period of particularly nasty windy weather, we took refuge at a nearby marina.  Although this was costly, it allowed us to relax a little and plug into shore power and recharge our batteries fully.  We were able to pump out our waste tanks and top off water tanks the easy way.  We were also able to get off the boat and walk around town, running errands, taking care of some business (applying for new Bahamas pet permits) and exploring a bit, without regard for the wind and waves.  It’s fun to have a change of venue sometimes… even the cats took advantage of being at the dock for a little walkabout.  

Neighbors on Stephanie Dawn
But dock days are expensive and very soon it was back out into the wild for us.  At some point, we realized that we would require assistant in repairing our generator.  Parts were in hand but the fix was going to be more complicated than our skills could handle.  We called a serviceman and moved the boat a little further north to the free public dock in downtown West Palm Beach. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to have this place where we can dock for free while our generator saga progressed.  The details are hazy but all told, there were four visits by the serviceman.  That’s about $400 that would have been added to our repair bill if we had to pay for dock space.  

These docks also gave us access to the charms of Clematis street and made it easy for us to hang out with fellow Cruiser friends without the added inconvenience of dinghy rides.  We spent several days enjoying the company and the convenience of having a dock.

The town also has lots to do and see.  There were events and people watching galore.  We shopped at the (IMHO) best Farmer’s Market ever.  Prices were reasonable and the variety of goods offered was amazing.

Mmm... breakfast!

Beautiful and inexpensive produce.
We took a walk with Cruiser friends one evening and got a taste of the nightlife, but only a small taste.  It was all lit up and very pretty.

The train speeding through town is a blur!

Every Thursday night at this time of year, there is a free concert in the waterfront park.  We strolled down to take a look and enjoyed this "oldies" idea what they were called, but they were pretty good.  I got some "girl talk" time with Sandra from Stephanie Dawn.

Bus stops right behind the Publix store
The town runs a free Trolley service that made it super convenient for us to keep our provision stores topped off.  We could easily walk to the Publix market a few blocks away, then take the Trolley back to the boat with our backpacks loaded down.  We made several trips with all we could carry.

The amazing thing about all of this is the fact that we arrived in the Lake Worth area on January 2nd and didn't leave until February 4th.  A WHOLE MONTH!!!  My mind can't even comprehend this when I look back on the time.  Where does it GO???

But the time was pleasant with the exception of our aforementioned Generator Woes.  West Palm Beach and the Lake Worth Area, Riviera Beach was as good a place to wait this out as we could hope for.  But... we're on our way to the Bahamas!

Each day we anxiously listened to the weather forecast by Chris Parker.  We wanted to cross via the Northern Route from the Lake Worth Inlet to Memory Rock, then overnight at Great Sale Cay and onward to check in at Spanish Cay.  This was our "plan" ... but Plans are written in sand out here.  By the time our generator was fixed, we were so anxious to be on our way... It looked like there would be more crossing opportunities via the South Route from Miami to Bimini... so we made the decision to move down to Miami to wait...  So the sun set on our new plan...  and we're Miami Bound!

Pelican at Sailfish Marina, where we bought fuel

Boat on the left dragging anchor.  Near collision!

Wonder how much rode that big boy in the back has out...

Cruise ships came and went...

Jack Crevalle were cruising beneath the dock at Sailfish

The dinghy dock at Sailfish was a living reef!

Jezabelle enjoys stationary days...

Clematis street where all the action is, West Palm Beach


Hauling a battery in our rickety duffel from the yard sale...

Giant sailboats same in for repairs

Can you see the guy at mid mast?  BIG BOAT

1 comment:

  1. Reading this really makes one want to take a closer look at your life and assess what you are doing. Life should be an adventure and we all need to take a risk at some stage and just go for it. It is a big wide world out there that is just waiting to be discovered and there are far more hospitable people and places than you imagine.

    Lovella Cushman @ Perfection Plumbing