After a very bouncy Friday night anchored off Serenity (yeah right!) Island, south of Melbourne, we cruised 26 miles downwind to arrive here mid-day Saturday. We stopped at the fuel dock to pump-out the waste holding tank (yum!) and were assigned mooring no. 57 of 57, way to the north end of the mooring field. Aside from the long dinghy ride to the dinghy dock, its a great location as we are in the lee of a big clump of mangrove (or whatever) and so its quite protected from the cold north winds we've been having.
Did I say cold? You've probably heard the news talking about this huge mass of arctic air causing record low temps across 2/3 of the country, with freezing temps extending way into FLA. It was 36 degrees this morning and will be even colder tomorrow morning. But its not so bad: This morning we ran the propane heater for 45 minutes which took the chill off until the sun could do its thing. It was wall-to-wall sun today and warmed to 58 or so, and Spray has large windows so gets a nice greenhouse thing going. I will say that I wouldn't trade my sleeping bag (nor the little 4-legged heater that goes in it) for a thousand bucks.
Vero Beach is warm in another way: the people. After we were settled in on Saturday I gave a call to Gene & Kathy Spinazola, longtime Castiners, fellow cruisers, and now snowbirds who own a nice winter home a few miles west of here. After Riggs and I did an exploratory walk to the beach and back, they drove over and picked us up, took us to Walmart/Sams Club to buy motor oil for Spray, then to their house for drinks, then back here for dinner at the Riverside Cafe, which is very nice and right next to the marina. It was great to see them and swap cruising stories. Many thanks Gene and Kathy.
But Vero's hospitality continued. Sunday was kind of overcast and we walked to a nearby dog park where Riggs had a great time socializing as only dogs can. We were back aboard Spray contemplating supper when the phone rings. Its a new voice to me. Some guy saying 'I can see your boat from my house'. It turns out to be Wayne Thomas. He and his wife Carol have a house right here on the ICW, facing the mooring field. They have a dock and a 48 foot yacht (m/v Fluke) and are friends of the Siegels, who had let them know Riggs & I are here. So anyway, Wayne invites us over to their boat for supper, and we dinghy on over. Riggs meets their cute dog Ursa (she's a schipperke - very sweet) and I meet Wayne and Carol and their cruising buddy Eddie Grandal and we have a great evening on their beautiful HEATED yacht.
I'm learning why Vero Beach is known among cruisers as Velcro Beach, you tend to want to stick around. What with the cold nights, and high winds predicted for tomorrow, we're going to extend our stay until at least Wednesday. So stay tuned.