We have checked off and completed most of the items on our ‘to-do’ list, and are starting to plan our first few days of travel once we leave our slip here in Titusville. Excitement is building to be on the move again. But we’ve been in such a great place and become such good friends with our neighbors here on E-dock, I will be a little melancholy to say goodbye. Our plan is to head north no later than March 8th.
Today we had our safety inspection, and will get an US Coast Guard sticker which we’ll put on the port side of our boat. This signifies to the Coast Guard that we have met all the safety requirements, and will be less likely to be boarded by them. Yesterday we were able to get the name ‘A-RIVER-DERCI II’ on the stern, after Jim spent hours removing the name ‘Matter of Time’ using oven cleaner, elbow grease, and 2500 grit wet sandpaper. We put our MN registration stickers on the port and starboard sides of the bow, after removing the Florida ones.
The new bow hatch was installed – it’s really nice, but should be for the price we paid! Sun/rain shades were installed over the port lights which help to keep out rain. Jim installed a new accordion door for privacy in the front berth, and new speakers in the salon. We purchased a couple more stack-able chairs and a plastic folding table for the back deck, and are working on getting our portable intercoms to work so we can communicate between the fly bridge and the salon. The swim deck was reinforced and stained, and the swim ladder repositioned for easier access to the boat when the dinghy is attached and up.
Just a couple more items remain on our list. Anne is making a canvas snap cover for the opening where the ladder goes up to the fly bridge. Also, we purchased a bilge alarm which needs to be wired and installed – Gary will help us out with that.
We had a fun day with Vickey & Harold Henson, and John & Sherla Moore who spent an afternoon with us aboard. We took a windy ride through the ICW to the Haulover Canal and Mosquito Lagoon. The 3 girls rode on the bow until the wind sent water crashing over the side rails and soaking us. We saw many dolphins, grilled burgers aboard after returning to the marina, and had many a good laugh! That evening we viewed another rocket launch from our fly bridge.
We got a great surprise on Valentine’s Day when Anne delivered our new custom bedding (and made the bed). It is fantastic! Although the V-berth is very difficult to make, it is now very comfy and beautiful to boot!
Our son Calvin and wife Kristin flew down from MN and spent 2 days on the boat with us. We enjoyed a trip to the unspoiled National Seashore and the nearby wildlife refuge. They brought a couple of bottles of Calvin’s excellent homemade wines which we shared. The weather was ever-changing while they were here, but we managed to enjoy a good combo of inside and outside activities, their company and conversation. The manatees were entertaining, and we played several rounds of ’31’. One day we took a drive to Cocoa Beach and had lunch at crowded Coconuts overlooking the Atlantic.
They used the Avalanche for the rest of their vacation, and on Valentine’s we decided to take a city bus to Mama Rosa’s, a little Italian joint with delicious red sauce, reminiscent of Jim’s Mom’s. But the bus schedule was wrong, and no more buses were running for the evening. Live jazz music was being performed in the historic district as we walked through town. Finally we ended up calling a cab, and thoroughly enjoyed our evening and our manicotti.
Early one Tuesday morning we drove to the National Seashore and met up with Gary, Patty, and Mike. They invited us to go fishing with them. It was a fun and beautiful day listening to the seabirds and surf amid the jokes and conversation. Mike caught most of the fish (blues), although Gary landed the biggest, a lemon shark. That evening we all enjoyed happy hour on the dock with fried fish, and I had my first ever taste of shark.
Sometimes at happy hour the musical instruments come out; guitars, mandolin, banjo, harmonicas, and a wonderful sing-along ensues. I find these most enjoyable, especially when we’re all trying to retrieve the words to old songs from the cobwebs in our minds.
Our oldest son Michael and girlfriend Tammy arrived last Friday, and spent 3 days and nights with us. Again, we made a visit to the National Seashore where we did some shelling. On the way back through the wildlife refuge we spotted a few flamingos and an alligator on the surface of one of the many ponds. Sunday we took the boat out to the Mosquito Lagoon for some sun and fishing. Michael caught pin fish in the marina using salami on a bare hook. They were our bait fish for the fishing excursion. We had little luck, catching only one bluefish that was too small to keep, several catfish, and the big surprise, a BLOWFISH. We couldn’t identify it at first until Michael tried to pick it up and it inflated itself! Yikes, that was bizarre. After a little research we found out that they are the 2nd most poisonous invertebrate on the planet! So glad he didn’t get spiked! Before leaving with the Avalanche they drove us around town so that we could stock up. No more truck – we already miss them and that convenience.
A Carver just pulled into the slip across from us on the E-dock. They hail from Kansas, and are also doing the loop, but their schedule got goofed up because of weather, so they are heading south for the Spring to more warmth. Like us, they also recently upgraded to a larger vessel. Seeing them on the move makes we want to start out again. And once again, it’s raining.
Until next time, Ariverderci!