We had an easy daylight crossing from West End to Lake Worth on Sunday and then offshore from Lake Worth to Vero Beach on Monday.  After 2 long days of traveling, it felt good to stop here!

The last night at Old Bahama Bay we used the grills for an impromptu cookout.  We had brought along a bag of charcoal that we didn’t use all season.  Skip fired up both grills and we were joined by Pete, Camilla and daughter Lisa from Nele Von Kiel, Sue and Tony from Gemini II, Nick from Shickster and Danny and Diane from Windemere–a real New England lobster boat.
Cook out at Old Bahama Bay
Cookout at Old Bahama Bay

Tony & Peter
Tony and Pete solving the problems of the world

Just like any other gathering of cruisers, we really enjoyed meeting new folks and hearing all about their adventures.  We were all heading back to Florida except Nele who just arrived after the terrible storm came through.  Pete entertained us while climbing up the head stay to cut off the remains of his shredded head sail.

Boats started leaving as dawn approached on Sunday morning.  The lobster boat quickly disappeared on the horizon while Gemini II sped further north towards Ft. Pierce.  We had our main sail out with the preventer on as the wind was behind us and the small swells came abeam.  We motor-sailed across the gulf stream keeping in contact with another boat called SaYes II and Nick on Shisckster who was busy catching fish.

We didn’t see any dolphins on the crossing, just a large turtle, flying fish and sea birds.

I was so happy to see the buildings on the Florida coast (which meant that my Blackberry would start working!)  West Palm inlet was rather calm except for all of the crazed fishing boats out on a Sunday afternoon.  We anchored just south of Peanut Island where Skip called Customs to check in.  At least that process couldn’t be easier.

We left early on Monday morning for the trip up to Ft. Pierce inlet and about 12 miles further to Vero Beach.  The seas were calmer than the previous day so it made good sense to avoid the 8 bridges on the waterway.  The trip up the coast was about the same distance as the trip across the gulf stream but a whole lot easier!

After a nice, long shower at Vero Beach marina we met Debbi and Dave for dinner at the Riverside Cafe.  We’re so lucky to have friends in Florida that don’t think twice about meeting us for dinner when we arrive!

We opted to use the convenient and free bus service in Vero rather than renting a car.  Our adventures today started with finding an ATM (we used up all of our Bahamian money and only had a few US dollars left) and next, haircuts!  I don’t know if you could tell from the photos but Skip’s hair was just about ponytail length.   I’m glad that he finally decided to get it cut because I’m not too crazy about the aging hippie look (although he does have really nice hair!)

We had lunch at TooJays deli–finally that corned beef sandwich I’ve been dreaming about!  After that, a short visit to Publix where I just walked wide-eyed through the aisles looking at all of the food.  After being away for 3 1/2 months I can really appreciate the variety of food choices.  Do we really need 50 different kinds of cereal???

Back at the marina I took Bailey for a run at the dog park, did some laundry and went through our mail.  We used a mail service for the first time this year.  St. Brendan’s Isle provided excellent service.  They scan all of the envelopes and we decide whether to hold, shred or have the contents scanned for viewing.  We only had about 40 pieces of ‘held’ mail shipped to Vero Beach–not bad for over 6 months!

Now we’ll start the long trek up the coast, hoping to arrive in Annapolis by April 15th.
Beach at Old Bahama Bay
The beach at Old Bahama Bay

Pool at Old Bahama Bay
Pool at Old Bahama Bay — not a bad place to get stuck!