Spent one day on a mooring in Vero Beach, rafted with strangers in the middle and Fandango on the other side of them. "Strange" would be a good description of the "host" boat since we never saw or met the wife and the guy was a pain. The Vero Beach Munciipal Marina was crowded with boats -- rafting 3 to a mooring ball. Wind was blowing hard out of the north but no one drifted. Hiked from the marina into downtown Vero Beach, about a one mile walk. Very nice small town with quite a few high-end stores -- 180 degrees different from Titusville. Decided -- along with Fandango and Quaich -- that one day there was enough so left for Stuart on Nov. 29. Strong ENE winds made for a bump ride but we were all glad to make the turn off of the ICW for the 7 mile trip into the Okeechobee (sp?) Waterway and our marina. The water became a beautiful aqua green but then shifted back to Ches Bay looking dark brown. We had to wait an extra 30-40 minutes for a train to pass so the bridge could open. Captain John was there to greet Quaich; Captain Pam came to greet us, along with a deck hand and the owner of the boat behind us. We had to squeeze into a small-looking space but it all worked out without incident.
A few impressions: much of the Indian River trip is done mindful of huges signs which read "Manatee Zone". They need to be amended to say "Manatee Free Zone." We still haven't seen one! Bill K thinks he saw a nose and tail. John Y claims to have seen an entire manatee. The rest of us? Nada. We have all seen hundreds, probably thousands, of dolphins. In fact, there were some this morning right off of our boat at the dock.
The marina is beautiful; the nicest we have seen the entire trip. There are many, many large boats -- one over 100 feet called, honestly, "Grumpy." There are cruisers galore waiting for the perfect weather "window" so they can depart for the "islands." We will be departing for an island of our own next week, Turkey Point Island with its balmy 20+ degree temps! We met a woman yesterday who said they were going across the Okeechobee bound for the Gulf of Mexico. When we asked about their final desination, she said "Ecuador." We feel like incredibly timid cruisers compared to all of these other people.
Sleeping here will take some getting used to. The marina is located right next to 1. a high rise, expressway type bridge; 2. the "old" bridge which still has a lot of traffic, day and night; and 3. the railroad bridge which we have discovered also has a lot of traffic day and night. And while the sound of a train whistle may seem romantic and harken up visions of your youth, you don't want to hear it -- blowing 20 times! -- at 2 in the morning!!
Today, wash the salt off of the boat and hike into town, figuring out our new "home."