Dora returns \ Coronavirus Update

We were blessed this weekend with the return of our cat Dora. She jumped ship ~2 months ago in Apollo Beach while we were docked at a residential dock. After days of searching for her we’d given up hope that we’d see her again and then we got the call on Saturday morning as we were making plans to return (by car) to our home in Bradenton that she had been found and was transported to the local animal hospital. She was very dehydrated and had lost half of her original weight, but we’re working to get her back to good health now at her dirt home in Bradenton. Given all that is going on now with the Corona Pandemic we’ve adjusted our plans to leave the boat in Titusville for the month of April. We’ll be making trips to check on the boat (~3 hours away by car) while maintaining our ‘social distancing’ and nursing Dora back. The Great Loop travels will be delayed for at least another month. Be safe and keep praying that we’ll all get through this quickly.

St Patricks Day \ Coronavirus Pandemic \ SpaceX \ Bonus Video

A slow week here in the Titusville \ Cocoa Beach area with all NASA museums and all the Orlando theme parks closed due to virus spreading fears. Pretty much non-essential thing is cancelled and closed. For us that included a cruise, a Disney trip, and a country music concert. No worries, we’ve adjusted and are making the best of the situation. Today we take the adjacent boat neighbors (Peter and Joice a couple from Australia who have been cruising the Bahamas on-board SV Doriana) to the Orlando airport (before Australia closes it’s border).

Fortunately, some businesses remain open and there are no shortages of anything. The coolest event this week was watching the SpaceX rocket launch from our back deck.

We got our green on at our favorite local bar. The bars that did not serve food were closed by the state due to the virus.
No hugs or kisses, but tips were encouraged.
Porpoise swimming along side.
SpaceX launch

Titusville \ Manatees \ Dolphins \ SpaceX \ Corona Virus \ Friends from TN

What a crazy busy time it’s been for the last 6 days. Immediately upon our return to Titusville Marine from Vegas, we moved the boat to a less nearby windy slip. That morning the dolphins were playing early in the marina harbor. Later in the day we saw our first manatee, then several more that same day. Now it’s routine to see manatees everyday. We had originally planned to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Western Caribbean with a group of friends from TN and FL, but due to fears of the Corona Virus, we all bailed on that trip. Additionally, we had also planned a family gathering at Disney to celebrate our grandson’s first birthday, but soon found out that Disney closed the park and more travel restrictions were being put in place. We did however have the good fortune to have a 2 couples from TN visit us. Dave and Brenda Hrivnak were traveling in FL and made a quick overnight stop on Living the Dream before heading to Animal Kingdom, just a day before the park closed. Then Gary and Shelley Kerr flew down and stayed a couple of nights before they headed to Key West. We met some new boating friends David & Hannah de Regt looping aboard “Highwind”. They kindly offered to take us out near the Kennedy Space Center launch site to watch the SpaceX launch on Sunday morning. A beautiful day for a morning cruise with lots of dolphins playing in the wake, but unfortunately the launch was aborted at the last second. Maybe well get another opportunity to see a launch before we leave in a couple of weeks. Here’s some of our favorite photos from the week…

Sunrise from the back deck; look close and you’ll see the dolphin
This chubby guy is getting a sip of water from a leaky hose dripping under the dock behind our boat.
These guys are fun to watch and have no fear of humans.
Very sloth like!
Mary at Pier 222 for live music and libations.
Fun in the sun with the band at Pier 220
Mary is really good at lots of things, but chilling on the desk is a favorite.
Beautiful sunset at Pier 220
The Kerr’s having fun at Dixie Crossroads…. this place has amazing “rock shrimp”
Photo from the anchorage near the Kennedy Space Center Launch Site. The boaters we rafted up with were Ferrell & Tamara Shaffer on-board “Empty Nest” from Austin Texas. They were headed south on their way back to Texas.

Dolphins and manatees

What an awesome day in the Marina. We woke just before day break to see a family of dolphins (maybe more correctly porpoise) playing near the boat. Just after coffee and before repositioning the boat to a different slip we were visited by a large manatee. Just after tying up at a new slip we had another manatee just hanging out at the back of the boat sipping hose water. Ended the day with a fine meal at Dixie Crossroads (you gotta try the rock shrimp).

We named him “Sloth“
Watch close for passing dolphins.

Space Coast \ Vegas

After the fun time in Cocoa Beach we took a short voyage north to Titusville. The day started with a “bang” when Larry was going through the pre-cruise checklist which included load testing the ‘bow thruster’. The 24 VDC system that powers the bow thruster has 2 large marine batteries connected in series. One of these large batteries decided it was time to explode so there was a loud bang followed by the spread of plastic and battery fluids all over the engine compartment. After about an hour of clean-up, we decide that we needed to get underway (without a bow thruster) in order to make an appointment in Titusville.

Parking the boat in Titusville was a bit of an adventure not so much due to the lack of a bow thruster and a moderate wind, but largely due to the ‘very tight’ fit of a wide beam boat (14’7″) into a skinny slip. We managed to squeeze in but it required fenders and patience. After docking we literally ran to the Titusville Playhouse to see a wonderful play (Something Rotten), which started at 2PM. After the Play, we did a pub crawl on the way back to the boat and saw some sights of Titusville — Space view park and Old Bank Tavern. We settled in for the evening and had two nights to prepare before we headed out to Las Vegas for Larry’s quarterly Board of Directors meeting with the Desert Club Resort. The Raiders stadium looks like it is almost complete!(see picture below) We’ve got a lot of ‘boat related tasks’ planned for March while we travel in and out of the state. Repairs to a dingy, 1000 hour diesel engine servicing, more canopy work, etc…… We will be seeing TN friends and relatives this month as we take a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Western Caribbean for 7-days and then celebrate our grandson’s (James Allen Bailey) first birthday in Disney. Larry also managed to get a couple of tickets to see Eric Church in late March in Kissimmee.

Cocoa Village

Just got to Cocoa Village and walked around town just off the boat. There was some cute shops and a pirate museum, British Pub and magic shop that Larry liked. Then we found the best value in Beer at the Timeout Sports bar where $3-$5 pitchers were less expensive than an $8 big pretzel

Here are a few good shots of Larry in Shackles at the Pirate Museum:

  1. Wha…. 2. So glad to be here 3. Meh! ready to get out now

Ash Wednesday in Melbourne

We went to a great church on Wednesday — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church — that also had a school. We went to 8AM mass and so did all the students from the school. The students did all the readings — it was so great to see them all in church — the school looked like it went from elementary to high school. On the way to church we walked by this Manatee park and the Tin Can Tourist site.

Vero Beach – Historic Driftwood Inn and Waldos Restaurant

This building uses driftwood building materials in the architecture. Not sure what all the bells are, but there were several of those in the art too with cast iron decor.

The Inn is also a resort that has one room type hotels as well as 1-2 bedroom vacation resorts. There is a central pool area in the backyard area with bar outside the restaurant with a driftwood whale carving on the wall.

Last Lock \ Stuart \ Vero Beach \ Melbourne Beach

It’s been 6 days since our last blog post and those days have been ‘crazy busy fun’. Lots of photos to share (too many actually). For every pic below there are 3-5 more that didn’t make the cut. We’ll try to do better as we advance our blogging skills. The past 6 days journal would read… left St Lucie Lock on Feb. 21st en-route to Stuart FL where we stayed at the Harborage Marina (a very nice resort marina). The winds picked up (40 mph gusts) so the crew took a few days off. One of the best adventures in Stuart is the Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge (see several photos below). At the marina we met a very nice couple Tom & Diane Russell who had a Silverton Yacht “Good Time II” in the adjacent slip. Tom is a Yacht broker and they live in Jacksonville FL. The Russell’s had a car with them so we took advantage of their offer to attended church on Saturday night as well as ride to the Farmers Market on Sunday morning before we departed to our next port Vero Beach.

The Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge above was an interesting place. The Federal Government paid people (keepers) to live there and help anyone who was a shipwreck survivor with food and shelter. These houses had only 4 rooms and a basement. The keepers didn’t go searching for ship wreck victims, so you had to not only survive the shipwreck and the swim to shore (avoiding sharks, jellyfish etc.), but you also may have to walk ~10 miles or more to get to one of only nine houses like this built along the Florida coastline. The stories about Pirate Don Pedro Gilbert is interesting (see below) which is how this place was named, and some other things about life in the Houses of Refuge here as well. Read the “House of Shipwrecked Men” article (above)for an account in the early 1900’s of a story on how the house was used from a keepers perspective. the map shows all the shipwrecks of Florida.

Once we arrived at Vero Beach Marina we found excellent local seafood, an awesome beach and free public transportation (including a trip to the library).

Yesterday, Tuesday February 25th, we arrived at Melbourne Municipal Marina which is very nice but also going thru some upgrades. Our slip was just a few yards away from the restaurant and dock masters office (this has happened 3-4 times now, which is awesome). We’ll be here 2 nights before heading to Coco Beach for 3 nights, then Titusville Marina where the boat will stay for the month of March while we travel to Las Vegas for a week, then on a Western Caribbean cruise for a week then Orlando for a week.