Palm Beach, Florida Part 2

December 13th – January 5, 2021

It’s been 3 weeks since my last post.  It’s hard to write when the location at the top of the page doesn’t change and we have been super busy.  Claire, Jim, Denise, and Kate arrived as planned on the 16th, and we immediately started having fun.  We ate out a lot, at all sorts of great restaurants on Palm Beach, and we attended the excellent, large farmer’s market in West Palm each Saturday morning. 

One day Jeff, Claire, Kate and I went to the Sea Turtle rescue in Jupiter.  It is being renovated, and seems like it will be awesome when it is done, but in the meantime, it was too crowed.  At the time, we were all saying super spreader event, but it’s been more than a week now, and we seem to have come away unscathed.  We did get to go under a couple tents where they have each turtle in it’s own large tank.  They all have names, and some have deep gashes in their shells from boat propellers.  Some of them had little lead weights glued to their shells, because their injuries gave them “buoyancy issues”.  I didn’t know that could even happen to turtles.  It was all a bit sad to see the injuries, but on the other hand, I’m glad I had a chance to commune with my spirit animal (yes, I took an online quiz).  There were two tanks full of babies that were great, and one little one was almost albino.  We also learned that the sea turtle and dolphin rescue societies beg people to do electronic Christmas cards.  Each year, the US could file a football stadium 10 stories tall in the unrecycled debris holiday cards generate, not to mention the strain on the USPS.   So now, when you don’t get a card from me, I am no longer lazy, I’m eco-friendly.

Claire, Jeff and I took the dinghy up to Peanut Island for some snorkeling one sunny day at high tide when the water was nice and clear.  We walked in a big circle around the island, enjoying the manicured path through all the palm trees, and made use of the terrific picnic facilities before jumping in the water.  We saw big schools of sergeant majors, lots of parrot fish, damsel fish, trumpet fish, barjacks, barracuda, etc. 

Christmas was lovely.  We decided to do a lunch at the restaurant Trevini, so Jeff and I didn’t have to bike home in the dark.  It worked out well, so we did the same thing for New Years Eve.  We have really been enjoying the weather.  It’s sunny and in the 70s every day, what’s not to like?  Denise takes care of us as always, with champagne and chocolate to carry us through til sunset, talking and playing games.  

As I’m typing, it’s January 5th, and our planned departure date, the 8th, is at risk, as expected.  We just got the the genoa furler repaired today, because it rudely spit ball bearings all over the deck on our last sail.  The last thing that is holding us up is our alternator, that needed a rebuild (it’s 20 years old, I forgive it).  We mailed it to the repair shop in Ft Lauderdale back before Thanksgiving, and they are having trouble getting the parts they need.  We can’t even get a guess out of them when we might be able to pick it up.  We have a spare alternator which we’ve been using since, but it makes a funny noise after about an hour of motoring.  It was in the lockers on board, used, when we got the boat, so we are afraid there was something wrong with it, and we just haven’t found out what it is.  Anyway, we need a reliable alternator to leave the country, we’ve concluded (ed. repaired alternator picked up on Jan 8th) .  That means we just don’t know when we are leaving.  I have to say I am ready to go and annoyed.  This has really been the only part of cruising I can’t or won’t adapt to.  (I won’t tell you how long I’m willing to go between showers to conserve water now!  That’s an example of the stuff I thought would be an impossible personal sacrifice, lol.  Perhaps it’s those nearest me that make the sacrifice?).  I am used to being in charge of my schedule.  I am used to assigning people projects with due dates and having them met or exceeded.  I am a planner, a control freak, and I can’t stand being dependent on the whims of service people that are as reliable as the weather.  Oh, and of course, COVID.  We have to get a PCR test with in 5 days of ARRIVING in the Bahamas, get our results back and upload to the Bahamas Health Visa website, wait for the Bahamas Health Visa to be approved before we leave, get a good weather window to cross the gulf stream, and clear customs before our 5 day clock expires.  Sigh.

Ok, I saved the best for last.  On Sunday, we decided to go day sailing out on the ocean, because Kate wanted to catch a fish.  We always say, ok, we’re going “fishing,” not “catching,” to keep expectations in order.  Well Kate brought the action, because within 30 min of getting the lines out, it was FISH ON!!!

It was a team effort.  Claire strapped Jeff into the harness, while he started reeling in.  Kate and I got the net and the bad gin to bring him on board and kill him.  As Jeff struggled reeling, Claire climbed down the transom steps to net the fish.  But!  The the fish was too big for the net!  So I took the rod from Jeff, while he pulled down the gaff to stab and land what turned out to be a delicious 38” Wahoo.  Wahoo!  Yum!  We were so pleased we could deliver total fishing satisfaction for Kate.  She now says, she has caught a fish every single time she has gone fishing.  Oh, and it was great sailing.  Steady 20 knots of wind, a good time was had be all.

I will write again soon-ish, hopefully to report our arrival in the Bahamas!