Vero Beach = (Friends + Fun) x (Maintenance + Chores)

Vero Beach is a milestone for cruisers and marks the end of the long slog south. Many, many cruisers meet here before staging for the Gulf Stream crossing, and for the delicious Cruisers Potluck Thanksgiving Dinner. We arrived 64 days after we left Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton and here we are rafted with our SYC buddies, after traveling almost 1300 nautical miles. Vero Beach is an intersection for cruisers as people, to gather together and renew old friendships or make new ones.

The Vero Beach City Marina's northern mooring field. Because it is just before Thanksgiving, the moorings are getting crowded. You either welcome new friends to raft or you arrange to raft together with old friends.

The Vero Beach City Marina’s northern mooring field. The moorings are getting crowded because it is just before Thanksgiving. You either welcome new friends to raft or you arrange to raft together with old friends.

Just like 2013, we had our own little Shennecossett YC reunion – Cutting Class, san cles, and us, Kindred Spirit. This time our SYC rendesvouz has a different profile with our trawler in the middle of the two sailboats. We may have the distinction of being the only “mixed” raft up. That’s what true friendship is.

Our aft view of our mooring raft

The aft view of our mooring raft up — A Kindred Spirit sandwich!

Our bow view

Our bow view – It’s easy to pick out our little raft-up.

The view from the hatch in our berth - We feel like sailors again! Looking out of our hatch and see a mast. Wait - TWO masts. Must be a ketch.

The view from the hatch in our berth – We feel like sailors again! Looking out of our hatch and see a mast. Wait – TWO masts. Must be a ketch. 😉

Hanging out in Vero Beach gives us a chance to catch our breath. We mix our social times with chores and maintenance tasks. Our first week here was mixed with sun, plenty of rain showers and humidity that was way too high.  Thank goodness there are things to do and people to play with.

The SYC crowd at Riverside Cafe enjoying the beers and food on the outside deck..........in the rain! Under an overhang.

The SYC crowd at Riverside Cafe enjoying the beers and food on the outside deck……….in the rain! Under an overhang. Sue and Dave, Marcia and Dan, and us.

Lots of fish hanging around and swimming about just off the restaurant's deck. Looking for treats?

Lots of fish hanging around and swimming about just off the restaurant’s deck. Looking for treats?

Our beach time has been limited. It is either raining or too rough in the water - RED flag warning on the lifeguard stand.

Our beach time has been limited. It is either raining or too rough in the water – This time there was still a RED flag warning on the lifeguard stand although the water had calmed down significantly.

Much to my surprise, Al decides to take a dip in the ocean! This man likes his water on the warm side, the Florida water called to him. And a nice cool shower right at the beach cleaned the sand and salt off.

Much to my surprise, Al decides to take a dip in the ocean! This man likes his water on the warm side, so the Florida water called to him. A nice cool shower right at the beach cleaned the sand and salt off.

We spied this American flag flying out in the water off the Vero beach. We pondered the possible significance of this flag that was attached to …..what??? Once again, my curiosity was quenched by Google and I found the story here.

"The Boiler Flag"

This American flag is known as “the boiler flag.” Here’s the story below, in short form:

The ritual of hoisting this flag was started in the 1990s by “Sailboat Dick.” Another guy, Mike, became familiar with the undertaking and would race Dick to be the first to put up the flag. Mike eventually “owned” the tradition using it to call attention to the delicate nature of ocean reefs. Five of Mike’s best friends carry on the ceremonious hoisting of the “boiler flag” on July 4th because they also love the sea.  Why the name “Boiler Flag”? The S.S. Breconshire was an iron hulled steamship from London that ran aground on April 29, 1894 and was never freed. After over 120 years, the ship’s boiler remains lodged in the reef. On very calm ocean days, the boiler would supposedly “surface” and could be seen. Nowadays, it stays hidden until the flag marks it. “The flag remains flying in all weather. The friends agree to leave it out there till nature takes it down. After all, nature is the focus.”

There seems to be a lot of fixing and maintaining going on around here on all of the boats. Guys just love to have other guys around to study the problem or situation, talk it over in their own language, and then dig in and tear things apart. I try to listen (or act like I am listening), but I am also very glad there are other guys around to share my burden. 😉

Dan and Al in the engine room solving an electrical problem. At least on a trawler they can both fit in the engine room.

On a trawler everyone can fit in the engine room — Dan and Al in the engine room solving an electrical problem. We noticed that our anchor light and steaming lights were acting strangely, as in not going on when the switch is flipped or going on when the wrong switch is flipped.

This problem is what we call "ball wrap." Over time, as boats swing about on a mooring the lines can get wrapped under the mooring ball. Al and Dan are untwisting it.

This problem is what we call “ball wrap.” Over time, as boats swing about on a mooring the lines can get wrapped under the mooring ball. Al and Dan are untwisting it.

And then the little boat decides it wants attention and gets cranky. This time Anthony lends a hand.

Then the little boat’s engine decided it wanted attention and became cranky. This time Anthony lends a hand. All in all, it took Al 5 hours to solve the problem. (It better be solved after all that time! Poor guy.)

Al helps Dan design a method for holding the bimini windows up - snaps to the rescue. Al loves using those snapping tools.

Al helped Dan design a method for holding the bimini windows up – snaps to the rescue. Al loves using his snapping tools.

Checking and cleaning the fuel filter on the engine. Yup - down in that engine room again.

Checking and cleaning the fuel filter on the engine. Yup – down in that engine room again.

Oil Filter change – counter clockwise from upper left (dirty filter & clean filter, dropper, dirty black oil and clean pink oil)

It’s also time to change the oil filter (counter clockwise from the right):  1- dirty filter & clean filter, 2 – using a dropper to really clean out the filter container , 3 – dirty black oil and clean pink oil

So what chores do I do????  I do stuff, but I can’t take pictures of myself, right? Honestly, do you really want to see selfies of me cleaning the floors, the head, the galley, shaking out rugs……. Not nearly as exciting as Al’s stuff……………..But those things are just as important to the lifestyle. I’m also amazed at how much time this silly little blog absorbs! I just know that someday I will be sitting in my rocking chair reading the blog and reliving all of this. 😉

Vero Beach has a free bus that comes right by the marina. Perfect for a trip to Public to grocery shop, or to TJ Maxx, the Dollar Store, West Marine, and more.

Vero Beach has a free bus that comes right by the marina. Perfect for a trip to Public to grocery shop, or to TJ Maxx, the Dollar Store, West Marine, and more. That’s one of my chores – the grocery shopping.

The Saturday morning Farmers Market was quite nice and just an easy bike ride away. More shopping, of course.

The Saturday morning Farmers Market was quite nice and just an easy bike ride away. More shopping, of course.

What can I say? Laundry has to be done. Sharing washers and dryers with other desperate cruisers is a real challenge! But is is also a good place to meet other folks.

What can I say? Laundry has to be done. Sharing washers and dryers with other desperate cruisers is a real challenge! But it is also a good place to meet other folks.

Cooking is my most significant contribution on this adventure. I don't let anyone else in my galley (Seriously, that's because there is only room for one person!) Here I am pouring the morning coffee and making apple-raspberry pancakes. Every surfaces covered with some part of the production. Some day I should do a step-by-step on how I cook in the little galley.

Cooking is my most significant contribution on this adventure. I don’t let anyone else in my galley (Seriously, that’s because there is only room for one person!) Here I am pouring the morning coffee and making apple-raspberry pancakes. Every surface is covered with some part of the production. Some day I should do a step-by-step on how I cook in the little galley.

Sunset over the mooring field.

Sunset over the mooring field.

The mooring field before dawn. One of my favorite times of the day.

The mooring field before dawn. One of my favorite times of the day.

The next photo is a 1+ second video of a dolphin who slapped his tail as he swam past our boats. Click on the arrow —–

Vero Beach is a perfect place to use our bikes, especially since we will be here for a couple of weeks. There’s plenty of places to go to and plenty to see.

It is still an event to get the bikes into the dinghy and to the shore.

It is still an event to get the bikes into the dinghy and to the shore.

The bikes go into the dink.

The bikes go into the dink.

Vero is an easy place for biking - nice and flat. We bike to the park, to the beach, to CVS, to the Farmers Market.

Vero is an easy place for biking – nice and flat. We biked to the park, to the beach, the ice cream shop, to CVS, to the Farmers Market.

Vero Beach - one of several lovely park settings with benches and palm trees.

One of several lovely park settings with benches and palm trees, with a view of the beach and ocean.

Florida is covered in beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers. When riding the bikes we deliberately take the roads through neighborhoods.

Florida is covered in beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers. When riding the bikes we deliberately take the roads through neighborhoods.

The rainy times have provided an opportunity for Al to test his potential water collection method. Water is precious, especially once we get to the Bahamas. Al’s idea began with the sunshade he made for the bow of the boat —–

The sunshade over the bow of the boat. Water collected on it so it was necessary to add a hole for the water to drain before ether weight ripped the cover.

The sunshade over the bow of the boat — Water collected on it making it necessary to add a hole for the water to drain before the added weight ripped the cover. You might be able to see the hole  if you look closely.

The next thought is naturally, if water collects, it can be saved, right? Vero Beach gave Al the perfect opportunity to invent his collection system. WE fondly refer to it as "milking the water."

Naturally, the next thought is that if water collects, it can be saved, right?  Al began his design and invention process. At this stage, we fondly referred to it as “milking the water.”

The water goes into the bucket and in the morning after the night rains, we have 5 extra gallons of water that gets pored in to the tanks. Next step - a longer hose so that it goes directly into the tanks. This is going to be awesome in the Bahamas. If it rains.

The water goes into the bucket and in the morning after the night time rain showers (or downpours), we have 10 extra gallons of water that gets pored into the tanks. Next step – a longer hose so that it goes directly into the tanks. This is going to be awesome in the Bahamas. If it rains.

The social times in Vero Beach are the best part of staying here for a while —-

Very Thursday is Cruisers Happy Hour on the marina grounds. Everyone gathers and shares food, drinks, and lots of stories. A great way to meet new people. When the crew of Salty Paws is here, they arrange for the talented people to play music. What a special treat!

Every Thursday is Cruisers Happy Hour on the marina grounds. Everyone gathers and shares food, drinks, and lots of stories. A great way to meet new people and re-meet people from previous trips.

When the crew of Salty Paws is here, they arrange for the talented people to play music. What a special treat!

When the crew of Salty Paws is here, they arrange for the talented people to play music. Delightful!

A Happy Hour on Cutting Class - Dan, Annette, me, Al, Martine & Christian, and Marcia (Anthony took the photos) We call this Al's "Risky Business" look (I like it!)

Happy Hour on Cutting Class – Dan, Annette, me, Al, Martine & Christian, and Marcia (Anthony took the photos)
With his shades, we called this Al’s “Risky Business” look (I like it!)

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