is now late March and we've been in the same spot since
the end of January. We're at Loggerhead Marina just off
the ICW in Palm Beach Gardens - about 50 miles south of
Fort Pierce; 20 miles north of Palm Beach; and about 50
miles north of Fort Lauderdale. It is beautiful. The weather
has been great. We're just a couple of miles from the ocean
and gorgeous beaches. I love the color and the warmth of
the ocean here. The town of Juno Beach is just east of us.
Juno beach is the country's largest nesting area for loggerhead
turtles. Loggerhead Park has a turtle nature center
with exhibits and a turtle hospital where you can visit
the patients. Farther up US 1 is Juno Beach Park,
another county beach park. Palm Beach County has built very
nice parks with picnic areas, lots of parking and beaches
with lifeguard stations. There are also a number of parks
in the county where you can hike along trails through areas
that retain the natural aspects of the land: dunes, scrub,
and wetlands which are quite a contrast to the lush landscapes
of the residential developments.
I'd expected this area to feel much like southern California,
but it doesn't. The vibe here is very different. I suppose
that part of it is that Florida seems to have attracted
folks as a retirement destination for people from the northeastern
states who bring their attitude with them, while southern
California has drawn a younger crowd probably from the heartland
more than from the east coast. California also has many
more "environmentalists" per square foot. Also since we're
so close to Palm Beach where mere millionaires are at the
bottom of the economic scale, it has that $$$ feel we didn't
have in San Diego.
politics is very entertaining - it's a real soap opera.
They've just had local elections so the daily newspaper
has been filled with the local issues and scandals. If you've
read some of Carl Hiaasen's books you may think that he's
exaggerating and poking fun at Florida politics but, in
my opinion, he's not even scratched the surface. Everyone
has their hands in everyone else's pockets with not much
apparent effort to be subtle about it and its just business
as usual. And they do it all with a straight face. What
on we made a trip across the state to Tarpon Springs, famous
for its sponge fleet. In the 19th century Greek sponge divers
brought their advanced techniques to the area and built
the industry. One delicious result is that the dockside
area is lined with wonderful Greek restaurants. It's also
a bit of a tourist trap, but the food made it worthwhile.
We ate very well.
original intent was to stay here for a month to get projects
done and then move on. But after spending so much time hurrying
to get to good weather, we decided to stop hurrying. We're
doing what retirees are supposed to do - whatever we feel
like doing at any given time. The projects are getting done
but we're also just enjoying ourselves at a leisurely pace.
major projects were accomplished while at Loggerhead Marina:
Installing and wiring the wind generator; and wiring the
solar panels. These were time consuming because the wiring
required a great deal of planning. Neal spent a lot of time
and effort making sure that it was done well. The result
is that we should have adequate power wherever we go.
power sources have charge controllers to ensure that the
battery bank is not overcharged. The wind generator can
be turned on and off with a switch inside the boat. Additionally,
the wind generator system has a resistor bank that takes
excess energy and converts it to heat. Placement of this
was crucial because of the potential fire hazard. Unfortunately
we were not able to use the altenative which could have
diverted excess to our water heater.
is early June and we're finally just about ready to head
back north. It will be good to get moving. The local no-see-ums
have feasted on Neal since we got here. He's really had
a struggle trying to keep them out of the boat - they love
him. To add to his discomfort, they rarely bother me. Additionally,
it's long past time to go. The projects have been done.
Solar panels and wind generator all wired and making electricity.
It was good to finally get everything out of the storage
locker and back on board. We eliminated a lot more stuff
- some going to Goodwill - some sent to my brother for storage
- some just getting tossed. Hasn't seemed to make much more
space available, though.
took a week's vacation in early May to spend time with Jennifer
& Jim Bagley on Scarlett as they brought her from Fort Myers
on the Florida's west coast around to the east coast. We
anchored off Key West for a few days. I like Key West much
better from the water than approaching and staying on land.
Our next stop was Marathon where we waited for weather for
a couple of days. They dropped us off in West Palm Beach
and continued on.
there was a week in the yard at Cracker Boy Boat Works for
new bottom paint. The old paint was in surprisingly good
condition with absolutely no growth on the hull. There was
some blistering on the keel fairing, however, that required
some grinding and re-fairing before the paint job. The prop
had quite a community of barnacles and we think they were
the cause of the vibration we'd felt at certain RPMs. So
Sea Fox got new bottom paint, a clean prop, new zincs and
a good wax job above the water line. She's pretty again
and ready to go.
wasn't until just before we'd planned to leave that Neal
took a look at the boom brake to see why it wasn't working.
Turns out the rigger had installed a medium sized brake
(charging us for the large one we'd ordered) but used lines
sized for a large size brake. So here we sit waiting for
the correct device to be delivered.
made a final round of visits to our favorite places. The
Square Grouper is a funky littie tiki bar on Jupiter
inlet hidden in a neighborhood and virtually unknown to
tourists. We sit at a table on the sand and watch the boats
and pelicans go by. El Colonial is a great local
Cuban restaurant. We've had wonderful food there including
the best black beans ever and very nicely done plantains.
And China Taste Inn has the best Chinese we've had
since we left southern California. The Thirsty Turtle
has the best ever fried shrimp - the batter is perfect.
Cheeseburgers & More has the best burgers in
good news is that we missed being at sea as Barry, the second
tropical storm of the season passed through. The weather
is looking good for our departure.
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