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Feb 22, 2018

SunsetWere we nervous when we returned to Adamant 1 in November? The answer would be a hearty yes. The marina staff had told us there wasn't any damage to the boat from Hurricane Irma, but they had not gone aboard. We had no way to know if rain had gotten inside somehow and created a moldy mess. When we climbed into the cockpit, we could see the ceiling of the rigid dodger was black with mold, not a good sign. But, when we opened the hatch and peered inside...no mold visible, no nasty smells, no unwanted pests! We did a happy dance!

After checking all the lockers and cupboards the next move was to get the boat up and running. The batteries were all dead so we needed to get the electricity connected so we could charge. An hour later we were still trying to get power into the boat. Tried a different cord...nothing. Cleaned the terminals...nothing. Tried the hair dryer at the electrical outlet on the post...yup it works. So where was the problem? After another hour we discovered that as a last minute item before we left the boat in May, Pat had disconnected the power right in the panel box, which he had forgotten. Connect it all up and we have power. Yippee! But the inverter/charger wouldn't come on. Another hour spent before we realized that a piece of tape, the same color as the unit, was across the on/off switch.

EagleWe spent the rest of the day cleaning, airing things out and doing a quick run to the grocery store and West Marine. The next morning, we began to make breakfast only to discover the stove would not light. Now what? We took the stove apart, checked all the connections, put it back together again and it worked. Huh? Okay, so I guess we can cook now. Did the fridge work right away? Yes it did!!

Before we left the boat in May, I had taken everything from tea towels to pillows, blankets and clothing, and sealed everything in plastic bags. This saved having to do a lot of laundry now and was another way to prevent mold and mildew. While we were home and thinking about the effects of Irma, I was wishing I had done the same thing to my journals and log books to prevent mildew in them but we fared okay in that area. All things considered, we got away lucky.

Our biggest task when we got to the boat was to repaint the hull and the non-skid on the decks. Adamant is 16 years old and has taken some abuse at docks, locks and on mooring balls over the years. The paint was peeling off in patches. We ordered the paint at West Marine and were told it would be in on Wednesday. So we had four days to wait. It took that long to build some scaffolding [who says a Mazda 3 won't hold all the material to build said scaffolding!], and sand the hull.

Pat Painting Pat as Ghostbuster

Tiger Point Marina has a rule that if you plan to sand, make sure your sander is connected to a vacuum system. We had no intention of buying a shop vac, so we used duct tape to attach our little boat vacuum to the sander, then rigged a harness with belts so Pat could wear it on his back. Between that get-up and his facemask, he looked like he was auditioning for a role on the next Ghost Busters movie. We gave the hull two coats of paint, but it needed a third. We ordered the paint through the marina, to be delivered by UPS on Monday. And UPS lost the paint! We reordered on Tuesday and it arrived on Wednesday afternoon, right on time for three days of heavy rain. So we spent the time provisioning, rearranging gear and touring the Fernandina Beach area.

Amelia Island is a beautiful island and Fernandina Beach is a gem. The downtown section is eight blocks long and is all century old buildings. There are magnificent churches, antique shops, bookstores and art galleries. We drove down the side streets and marvelled at the architecture of the old homes and shops. And because it was close to Christmas, those eight blocks were totally decorated with thousands of lights. The drive after dark was spectacular. We also drove into Georgia to visit a "cheaper" marina, but didn't stay there long. It was a little too cheap! There were boats crammed together with no space between them and the whole place was run down. It was also miles from any shopping. By Sunday we were able to get the third coat of paint on, the non-skid painted and the sails on. Monday was spent painting the stripes and Tuesday we were able to launch. In all it took three weeks but Adamant looked fantastic

Fully Painted Adamant – beautiful once more.

We left the marina at 7:45 am on Thursday and headed south. We had coats and mitts on because it was so cold. We saw very few boats and there was very little activity at the homes along the canals. Florida was closed due to the cold I guess. Our first night was spent five miles north of St. Augustine, across the river from the airport. It was absolutely quiet and again, no boats. Our second night was Daytona Beach and the next night was Titusville. Unfortunately we missed a rocket launch by one day.

After three days of pushing, we decided to go for broke and went straight through to Vero Beach without stopping. We arrived just as the sun was setting and were assigned to mooring ball 26, next to Escapade, a Catalina 47. We checked in for two days and ended up staying for 3 weeks. We have friends who live in Vero Beach for the winter and they picked us up and took us to Sam's club so we could do our final provisioning. Then it was back to their magnificent penthouse for dinner. Thank you Bob and Renate!

Anchorage at Vero Beach the anchorage at Vero Beach

Vero Beach is nicknamed "Velcro Beach" because once you get there you don't want to leave. The area is beautiful, the ocean is a mile walk away, and there is plenty to do and see. They have great facilities for a boater, a lovely lounge with WIFI, the free city transit comes right to the door of the lounge, and pumpouts are weekly right at the mooring ball. Jon and Marilyn, the owners of Escapade, arrived a few days after we tied up to them and they are locals who were provisioning to head to the Bahamas too. [I am writing this in February and we are still with them.] We decided to stay on until after Christmas to put in some downtime and visit the area. And just as well as the weather turned sour and the wind cranked up. I think I thanked the stars every day that we were safely on a mooring ball. A couple of mornings it was just above freezing when we woke up. We rode the transit bus around the city a few days mostly because they had heat in the buses! By January 8th, the weather perked up and we left for Lake Worth to stage to cross to the Bahamas. But more on that later. Until next time.......