98 Living On A Mooring At Vero Beach, FL

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Gentle sounds of dewdrops greet us as we awaken. For a few brief hours humidity wins the battle with Florida drought conditions and Odyssey is covered with morning dew so heavy it softly drips from our cockpit roof. We take advantage and clean boat decks. A few minutes mopping removes dew and any accumulated dust. The rising sun soon burns off the remainder, but the humidity stays high in spite of the drought.

Sail and powerboats ghost out of the mooring field as we linger over morning juice and coffee. We wave good by to old and new friends as they pass by heading north for the summer. The distinctive ‘poof’ of a dolphin catches our ears, and we begin visually tracking them as they move through the mooring field. Our dolphin-watching provides a pleasant diversion from checking out boat movements.

A night bird mystery was solved when Mokita with MJ and Alan aboard arrived. The distinctive call didn’t quite sound like a Whip-poor-will. Alan helped us sort out that it’s a Chuck-will’s-widow that calls for hours at a time in the late evening after sunset and early morning before dawn.

When we are traveling we sample a variety of anchorages. We’ve been doing the same thing in the Vero Beach mooring field, and in a very small sense, we’ve slowly been moving north albeit a very short distance. We started at the very south end of the field. Nice to watch ICW traffic and a short dinghy ride to Riverside restaurant. Next we moved a bit further north to a mooring shielded from a ball field by a thin line of mangroves from . The tink of aluminum bats, crowd cheers and lights from the diamond kept us company at night. Moorings across from the fuel dock were great for watching activity, but close to the island and no-see-ums when the wind died. Finally we tried the north field in front of some condos and found less no-see-ums and a shorter ride to the dinghy dock.

It takes seconds to lower the dinghy back into the water from the stern davits. Whenever we are aboard we haul the dinghy out to prevent growth on its unpainted bottom. Not moving is taking a toll on Odyssey’s painted bottom. Monthly bottom cleaning removes the weed growth. Rudders and props have lost bottom paint and take more work. I dive and spend an hour knocking off the accumulation of barnacles stuck tight to the unprotected surfaces. A dozen Sheepshead gather to snack on falling barnacle bits. The more aggressive ones, I have to shoo away from my working area. It’s unnerving at first as a few unexpectedly brush against my legs and abdomen as they feed. It will take a few more dives to become comfortable with the unexpected contact from my snacking buddies.

Arriving at the dinghy dock we keep an eye out for the little green heron that hangs out there. By staying about 10′ away we can watch our heron friend walk the dock edge while intently watching the water for a passing meal. Once we’ve walked up the dock life takes on land dweller feeling and we head off for to handle shore routines. Our extended stay in Vero has allowed for catching up on routine things like physicals, and other medical items. Our purpose for staying however is to help Marion, Ruth’s mom, during the final stages of pancreatic cancer. Hospice does a wonderful job tending to physical issues and providing pain medication. We are providing assistance to help keep her spirits up. Short trips to the store, out for breakfast or lunch or just to get an ice cream does wonders. Marion is amazing, tending her flower garden each morning. One aspect about ‘knowing’ has been wonderful. Family, friends and relatives hearing about the short time left have gone out of their way to visit; not so much to say good bye, but rather to share fond memories with a loved friend.

Back aboard, we haul the dinghy up behind us. The feeling I suspect is much like living in a castle with a surrounding moat and raising the drawbridge. We can see all around but are secure and complete in our floating castle. Solar panels silently recharge batteries and stay even with electrical usage. Our quiet existence is only broken when we start the generator for a few minutes to heat water for showers or for the time needed to do a load of laundry. Once a week we take Odyssey in for a pumpout and to take on fresh water.

Our weeks on a mooring alternate with some dock time as family and friends come to visit. Being at the dock makes it easy to handle all the on-and-off activity. Once our guests are gone, we head back out and sample a new mooring.

A small airplane passed over Fritz Island at tree top level, climbed, banked sharply and made another low pass over the island. On the final pass ‘Mosquito Control’ painted on the wings was easy to see. We couldn’t make out any spray but figured from the low passes they were grinding them to pieces with the prop. Mosquitos never bother us, but we do get no-see-ums when the wind dies.

During the day the thermometer climbs to the mid 80’s and dips to the high 60’s at night making live aboard quite comfortable. The continuous breeze keeps us comfortable even at night.

Our good weather lasted until mid-May. Then serious Florida summer kicked in. The wind has died out. Temperatures now reach the high 80’s and low 90’s during the day. That’s okay–shade in the cockpit makes things tolerable. Evenings, however, became a real challenge. Evening temps remained in the high 70’s and the humidity climbed. The breeze stopped and the no-see-ums showed up. The combination of heat, humidity and biting bugs got to us, and we’ve headed for a dock where we can plug in and run the air conditioning. Sleeping is comfortable again.

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