Friday, April 29, 2016

Back on The Loop and "None Worse for the Wear"!!

As in the past 2 times that we have had our boat at Stuart Yacht, we seem to experience things breaking just because we have handy men all around to help fix them.  So it seems we get sucked into this hole where it is hard to leave the boat yard!  So when we thought we we would get moving by Monday, 4/25, it was Wednesday 4/26 before we left and even then it was not until mid morning but alas, we finally pulled away from the dock and began the loop once more.  (The washing machine is not usable but we just didn't want to stay longer to get a service guy out for that!  We can safely travel with dirty towels and stinky clothes!!)
Al was happy to be back with hands on the wheel but his new captain chair is still on order because it is fancier than mine so it is a special order.  So he must suffer through sitting on his pile of cushions. Note the serious look on his face as this was taken during the first few minutes after leaving the dock.  He has since relaxed back into his old self but the first half hour was a time of more concentration.
I, on the other hand, am well relaxed in my new navigator chair with my charts and iPad at the ready to plan our adventures.  First stop, an anchorage in the area of Ft. Pierce, a 40 mile jaunt.
This is the end of the South branch of the St. Lucie River where Stuart Yacht is situated and we are looking at a little park they recently created that has been part of our daily walk.  So goodbye to days and days of walking and chores in Stuart and hello to moving north out of Florida! 
This is our anchorage for our first night out since 6 weeks ago.   It was a calm night with nice open water and an end to an easy cruising day. 
This part of the Florida ICW is more scenic, with less housing, more wildlife areas and far less boat traffic.  We encountered our old friends the Dolphins but the new screens make it difficult to take pictures over the side of the boat so I missed the photo op and need to work on a picture taking strategy!  I also missed taking pictures of osprey nests with new babies. 
Yesterday we traveled 70 miles, a long day for us, to get to an anchorage at Cocoa, Fl. There was nothing special to see on the way so we pushed on to get further north and Cocoa is a cute little town with a very nice Riverview Rd to walk on.  
We anchored out there where the sailboats are and then this morning tied up at the free dock that is only for day use.  We took a lovely walk and found a great breakfast place that makes fresh croissants! We also had to find the highly recommended hardware store in town that is the biggest and best we have ever seen, catering to marine grade fasteners and other stuff.  A paradise for a captain!  Plus I could gather supplies so from this point on, I can take care of the teak rails.  I learned the tricks of the trade from a guy at Stuart so no more spending a fortune paying others to do it. (Maybe, I may rethink that idea as I continue to add skills to my repertoire which only adds more chores to my to do list.) 
Doesn't she look beautiful in her new red "hat"?  We are loving the new canvas.
When we headed out late this morning the ICW was smooth as glass and not a boat in sight. We had an easy cruise north to Titusville. Since we came here by car last month, we simply are dropping anchor and planning a bigger day tomorrow to get to Daytona Beach. 

Here we sit looking in the far distance at the tall NASSA headquarters building. We are tucked behind a spit of land protecting us from the light wind.  Another peaceful night. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

And Now Presenting Our Beautiful Upgraded InSpeyered 2

The canvas has all been replaced and new screen "curtains" provide bug control on the flybridge!

Note the dingy is also changed.  The baby Whaler is for sale through a dealer and we now have a Rigid run about on board that will be much more comfortable and zippy. Quite the shock when Al decided to give up owning a Whaler.  His old one is now owned by Erik so we officially will not be Whaler owners as soon as the baby is sold.  Note the great Rigid canvas cover!
She's ready to be launched as soon as we get on anchor and want to explore a new area!

And this is my new navigating chair!! I had been sitting on a cushion on the back of the seat and had regular back fatigue and discomfort. Now I will be totally supported and comfy to check charts and give Al orders from my side of the boat.
This is Al's seat in front of the helm!  He was being much more picky than me and special ordered a captain chair that reclines and will not be made until later in June.  So he gets to wait on this pile of cushions just like the "princess and the pea" while I enjoy my much cheaper and readily available chair when we leave tomorrow to begin our journey again.  I almost caved and gave Al my chair temporarily but when I figured it was his bad for screwing up the order, I decided to enjoy my choice that saves us a bit of money while he suffers the consequence of his (in my opinion) need for the perfect chair!  And speaking of chairs...
We have finally put our Christmas gift to ourselves into the boat.  We have mama bear and papa bear Stressless chairs to replace the old recliners that were not as comfortable as these. So life is becoming more comfortable and cushy for us.   So onward to our adventure and cheers to us getting out of Florida once and for all!  Looking forward to checking out some other states.  Here's to good health and calm seas for all!  And maybe some better luck for us.  

A Rogue Wave Slows Us Down!

So you have heard about a "bump in the road" as a mishap that causes things to change usually in a bad way. Well Al has called our mishap a rogue wave for obvious reasons!  While we were on our Disney/Universal adventure, Al realized that the vision in his left eye was diminished.  He really noticed it when we went from bright sunlight into darker rides.  So when we got home, he called and got in to see an ophthalmologist first thing Monday morning.  He was very quickly diagnosed with a detached retina in the left eye and referred to a surgeon at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institue in Miami for Tuesday (4/12).  He had emergency surgery late in the day that lasted 3 hours and was very successful!  We were back at the boat on Wednesday for him to start the week long recuperation with his head face down 24/7!
The night after surgery was not a happy time! It was a long day for both of us. It was nice to have those Marriott points to use for a free nights stay at a Springhill Suites near the hospital.

Driving in to Miami, we spot our destination. Note the building with the big blue eye.
We rented this chair with other pieces that fit under the mattress so Al could be relatively comfortable with his nose pointed to the floor for eight days and nights.  A bubble of oil was inserted in his eye to put pressure against the retina to hold it against the back of the eye.  Keeping his head down allowed gravity to help with the healing process.  We returned to Miami last Wednesday, 4/20 and he received nothing but good news from the surgeon who released him from the face down positioning with cautions to resume light activity.  When we asked what that means, she suggested he could start with cooking and laundry. (What planet is she from?) So we have stayed another week in Stuart waiting for the work to be completed on InSpeyered 2 and allowing Al some more time to rest and heal.  
Today he sits upright in his new Stressless Chair, reading about where we will head to tomorrow as we begin our trek northbound to work our way out of the state of Florida!  He is a much happier and better looking guy right now! We are both relieved and grateful that this "rogue wave" hit us near a place like Miami with top notch medical care rather than in the Bahamas where we had planned to go.  It does mean we have to put travel to the Bahamas back on our wish list for another time and it messed up Erik's vacation plans with his girlfriend Mandy to go island hopping with us.  They flew down anyway and enjoyed some time at a Marriot on an island near to us so we had several times to visit and get help from them to do things that Al cannot do.  The next blog will be the happy report of the wonderful changes that have been made to InSpeyered 2 that will surely make the rest of this trip even more pleasurable!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Disney on the Loop!!

So when your boat looks like this the only thing to do is rent a car and take a road trip!! InSpeyered 2 is  "on the hard" to have her bottom cleaned and painted and to have her hull waxed and buffed.  She also got a 3rd transducer installed to read water depth at the bow to help us avoid running aground (again)!!  Most boats don't use 3 different depth sounders but most boats don't have Captain Al at the helm!  My cautious captain keeps adding more stuff to make the boat even safer and nicer.  She also got some new paint around the windows and doors and had her teak rails shined up.  Notice the change in color of the Bimini on top.  That is part of the new canvas.  More pictures when all the work is finished.  Now on to the road trip!  
Al's many years of travel are helping us now with Marriott points so we spent 2 nights at a hotel near Disney and spent one day hopping between Animal Kingdom and Epcot, enjoying a total change of pace and just plain having fun!

A beautiful day for a fun safari ride early in the day so we saw lots of interesting animals.
Epcot was particularly beautiful with its floral and topiary displays all over the park.  We went on some fun rides and saw some great shows as only Disney can produce but we had to rush back to the hotel for the most fun show of all...

Yup, the Woman's Final Basketball game with my UConn girls pitted against Al's Syracuse girls, and the winner is.....UConn of course!  What a great way to end a Disney day watching from the comforts of a Marriott with infinite water for showers and no rocking on our boat! Then we had a day between park visits to enjoy poolside relaxation with a few phone calls about boat repairs and move to a second hotel, this time on the Universal property to access express pass privileges.

We were in Universal Studios at the crack of 8am to zip into Gringotts to ride with Harry Potter to evade the Dementors and enjoy the amazing technology of a 3D indoor roller coaster.  The whole day was one ride after another with a few great shows leaving me slightly queasy from vestibular challenges stimulating my motion sickness gene.  But Al could do any ride and wanted to repeat some as well.  What a unique addition to doing the Great Loop!! Now we head back to see what really was accomplished on the boat and what messes await us for clean up!  The next blog will include pictures of the newly improved InSpeyered 2.