February 17, 2019
We spent a few days at this anchorage in Fort Pierce just across the channel from the boat yard, soaking in the feeling of accomplishment, we were back in the water. Eric and I enjoyed exploring the mangroves on paddleboards.
There were lots of wakes as powerboats zoomed by with wake boarders. In our tiny nook of spoil islands, we saw: a manatee, dolphins, and turtles.
We “finished” some things from the boat yard, and got the cabin reasonably clean again.
February 18, 2019
This morning the Aquarium hosted a beach clean-up in honor of Valentine’s Day. I drove the dinghy over all by myself for the first time, and I joined the congregation around the aquarium of about 18 other volunteers. I found their method for promoting the event interesting – they had different categories for which participants could win prizes.
I won the micro-plastics award, because I could not stop focusing on the small pieces of plastic that had washed up on shore and left stranded with the ebbing tide, knowing that they would be washed back out again with the next rise.
The staff encouraged participants to go to other beaches during the allotted time to see who could find the biggest or most interesting trash. I wandered up and down that stretch of beach for a couple of hours, sifting plastic shards, utensils, bags, and cigarette butts out of the sargassum and other beach debris. While most folks hunted for larger pieces, I remained transfixed on the brittle plastics knowing that eventually these pieces would be too small for us to see, but long after I’m gone they’ll still be there.
I spoke with one woman who saw our group picking up trash so she decided to join us with her own trash bag.
Us beach combers enjoyed a bright moment when a pod of dolphins corralled fish close to shore and we watched them splash around hoping to catch their lunch.
Chatting with the staff afterwards I learned that the aquarium planned to host one beach clean-up a month, with the potential for moving around the area to different beaches to have the greatest impact.
I enjoyed participating, however I couldn’t help but reflect on the pieces of trash that I found, and the parable of the leaky faucet – we need to shut off the valve, stop the creation of so much waste, before we can truly stop it from polluting our oceans, and clean up our mess.
Even though we haven’t solved the problem yet, I think there’s value in the act of picking up trash, the act of restoration. It’s an act of hope. And I was inspired by this grandmother who spent 2018 picking up trash at beaches every weekend – she’s a hero!
February 19, 2019
“We’re up before the solar panels Nicki!” It’s far too early.
No-see-ums swarmed us while we pulled up anchor, giving us many bug bites as we left Fort Pierce to head back north on the ICW – to Vero Beach, also known as Velcro Beach. We wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and visit friends who had cruised with their family a couple of years ago.
After hitting the fuel dock for diesel and water, we asked about grabbing a mooring. The dock hand pointed out who we should raft with, as they already had fenders hanging off the side of their boat. I asked if the boat owner knew we’d be coming, and he said that they knew it would be a possibility. As we approached I shouted for their attention, however it wasn’t until we were fully tied to their boat that the elder gentlemen popped out from the depths. He welcomed us to Vero and disappeared again below deck, chased by the bugs.
We spent two nights at Vero Beach, catching up with our friends and their two sons, learning about their experience cruising as a family and exploring the area by foot and by water. As we paddled around the little islands shielding Vero from the ICW, we spooked a manatee. It feels so good to be back on the water, to be moving again, this time without the fear of cold or stress of the boat yard.
February 21, 2019
This morning we passed by another boat we had met in Titusville called Heart of the Sunrise, and we waved as we moved on. It’s such a small world, and we keep crossing paths with folks we’ve met along the way.
We cruised back to Fort Pierce, and this time we anchored behind the no wake zone sign, which was more sheltered and the power boats passed by peacefully.
Our friends on Parallax ordered pizza delivery to the boat ramp near our anchorage, and we enjoyed one more group dinner before continuing our separate ways.
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