June 9-23, 2018: Vero Beach, FL

Once the chain plate and rigging replacement job in Stuart was done, we needed some serious R&R, so we headed to the Vero Beach Municipal Marina to hang out for a while.  We’ve been here a few times before and always love it.  There’s hardly anyone here because it’s the end of the snowbird season, so there are plenty of open mooring balls and slips.

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The good old Vero Beach mooring field.  You can see that many of the people that are staying the summer have large awnings to keep the sun off of the boat.

It took us some time to repack the boat in some semblance of its prior state.  The storage compartments on Island Packets are under and behind things and therefore tend to be other-than-square shapes.  We have an large amount of supplies, tools, and spare parts all socked away, and it’s kind of like a Jenga puzzle to get it all back in its proper place.  We got it all tucked back in with only minor revisions to the storage “map” that I keep, much to my relief.

We went to the Saturday farmer’s market downtown, and that was a nice opportunity to get some fresh vegetables and some wonderful Italian egg (for me) and egg and sausage (for the Captain) subs for breakfast.  The farmer’s market had fewer vendors than last time we were here, but evidently there are fewer in the summer.  It still had a wide array of vegetables, plants and herbs, personal care items, breads, and cheeses.

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The neighborhood surrounding the marina is just lovely.  Some of the trees are absolutely ancient.  This one had several orchids growing on it.

One of the best things about Vero Beach from a cruiser’s perspective is the free bus.  It picks us up right at the marina at ten minutes after the hour and takes us all over town.  I was able to go to Publix, Walgreens, a Walmart “neighborhood” sized store, and a Fresh Market all with minimal walking.  It’s like a dream come true! We got to visit our favorite coin store, West Bay Trading Company, and also have some terrific meals at TooJay’s Deli and Nino’s Café.

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This ibis was very careful to cross the road in the crosswalk.  Safety first!

In between errands and chores we worked on some projects.  I set up Big Blue, my Sailrite LSZ-1 sewing machine, in the cockpit and finished replacing all of the zippers on our cockpit enclosure.

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Not quite a sail loft, but it gets the job done.  My “table” is two buckets turned upside down.

The UV exposure does a number on the plastic teeth, and many of them were just snapping off.  When I removed the old zippers, I discovered that whoever installed them originally used polyester thread instead of UV-resistant thread like Tenara or Profilen.  Polyester thread is great but just can’t stand up to constant UV exposure, so it starts to rot and fuzz.  Needless to say, I used Profilen thread when sewing in the new zippers.

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This is what sun-rotted polyester thread looks like.  It will pull right out of the fabric.

We have two battery banks in Kestrel, one main house bank and one auxiliary bank used as a start bank for the engine.  We replaced our auxiliary bank with two Lifeline GPL-27s that we ordered online and had delivered to the marina.  Since they weigh 65 pounds each, it as a lot easier to do that then get an Uber to a local battery seller (assuming they had Lifelines) and carry them back.  We’ll replace our house bank when we get to Oriental.

It’s time to head north.  We’ve got water, fuel, and food, the laundry is done, and our electronics and charts have been updated.  Florida has been great, but we’re rested up and ready to go.  Our plan is to head up the ICW from Vero Beach to Melbourne (anchorage), then to Titusville (mooring or anchorage), then to Daytona Beach (anchorage), and then to St. Augustine (mooring).  At that point we’ll wait for a weather window to hop offshore to Brunswick or parts further north.

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I think “crabhole” should be added to the common lexicon.  It perfectly describes when you wake up grumpy from a nap.  Usage:  “Hey, stop being such a crabhole.”

About Sail Kestrel

We are two full time cruisers aboard our Island Packet 35 sailboat, Kestrel.
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