Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year !

Bayside, Maine ~ Back from Vermont for Christmas and trying to get caught up with friends ( I just didn't get those cards out this year ! ) ; do our taxes and keep Bayside Cottages Rentals moving forward. We had a white Christmas but couldn't leave the cookie tray long enough to go sliding or snowshoeing. Looks like a good storm coming Saturday so will get out and wear off some of this chocolate ! Mmmmm - it sure is hard after the first one not to just keep going .

It was wonderful to see family, to meet Desmond my new nephew and to see my other nieces and nephews who are growing up so fast . My parents are doing well and I had two quiet nights as an only child after the holiday to spend a little more time with them. So now on to my taxes and Bayside Cottage Rentals work.

2008 was an interesting year. It goes unsaid we will not be retiring in 2009 and we will watch with great interest how the Obama administration begins it's long and arduous chore of pulling our immediate and global worlds back together ~ if possible. When we came back from our boat trip last spring I thought my hard earned savings had taken a hit and was determined to work harder than ever to have a successful summer season and save more for retirement. hah! Well now the pressure is off and it's time for acceptance. I'm young - sort of - don't feel like it sometimes - just have to buckle down and count my blessings which are multiple compared to many. I have 10 siblings, 2 parents, 12 nieces and nephews and more - all alive and well except for a few knees and hips , sheltered and over fed. ( feeling the holiday cooking boom -Ariel - you know I can't resist that fudge you left in my freezer ! ) I have a home and a boat ( no I'm not selling the home to live on the boat ! )

It's been an odd thing living on the boat and only listening to occasional news. Now I'm home with the TV on and if I let myself I start to feel really afraid that the world as I know it is spinning completely out of control. That the comfort Don and I have worked for, been conscious to create can somehow come crashing down. I think a news fast is a healthy thing - be it a day, a week or a boating season. On the other hand had I been listening last spring would I have sold high? Probably not so onward ho I go - took 5 weeks of rentals the last 2 days - sold low and look forward to waking up tomorrow.

Christmas in a big family is fun. It does tend to go on forever but we have some silly moments.Take for example my 85 year old mother aiming and shooting with rapid fire Tyler's Nerf gun ! Lest anyone else think they are boss.

Desmond @ 9 months ~ future New England Patriot

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don's World

Saxtons River VT~Happy Christmas eve - seems our fans have missed us. Life has been busy ~ 'tis the season ~ This is Don's Christmas tree in the Anchorage. I have flown to NE for the holidays and left Don and Tiller to fend for themselves in the sunshine.

MY WORLD: My world is full of ice , snow 16"and single digit temperatures~decorated the Christmas tere at my parents this morning and now 5 girls chatting so can't concentrate - more later....

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Vero beach ~ Even here living on the boat Sundays have a different feel. The city bus doesn't run on Sundays, the anchorage is quieter, fewer dingys buzzing around, lots of folks taking walks and riding bikes.

Our neighborhoods near the marina are very pleasant. We just love these 2 little streets that are farther south of us - just south of what they call Oceanside - the oceanfront section of Vero beach with a few boutiques and a pricey ice cream shop ( just ask Don about his $4.00 ice cream cone ~ He misses his $2.00 large Maine creamies. ) Note the dirt road !

We thought we better prove we are near the ocean - in fact we can dingy to the ocean from here. We had a nice hour and 1/2 bike ride this afternoon- it felt good.

Tonight we have invited Harry for dinner. Harry is a solo sailor from Seattle Washington - He is nearly done with his first circumnavigation - he plays the flute and is going to give Don some pointers. It will be interesting to hear his stories - he was at sea alone for 33 days once - says he loves it and didn't know a thing about sailing wehn he bought his boat 4 years ago.

Don's been entertaining our neighbors with Christmas songs on the flute - nice - Last night there was a boat parade but they didn't come close enough to photograph - a few of the boats and an incredible amount of lights on them - festive - but at 70 degrees still doesn't feel like Christmas - We liked the sailboat the best because they had lights on every single stay and tons of lights on the hull itself. A lot of work and an awesome display. Well off to get organized for company !...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The advantages of those cold travel days

Vero beach ~ My fans have wondered about my daily posts - nice to know there are a few of you out there reading. While we sit still in Vero waiting to go further south after the first of the year I'll keep posting and let you in on more of our life aboard.

We live on battery power – we do have a fresh water pump, we have an inverter that I can run the computer off and charge the cell phone BUT… now that we are sitting on the mooring the way to recharge the battery is to run the diesel engine for several hours every few days. Conservation is the key.
When we were travelling each day our batteries were fully charged by evening and we could run our lights and our computer. Now we live in the dark – actually we have a nice oil lamp and Don installed an LED overhead light that takes very little power. Our refrigerator uses the most power and the difference overnight of the battery drain from a 48 degree night ( last night ) and one that is 65 0r 75 is big. Conservation is the key. We open the fridge only when we need something , we try to keep things in the exact same spot so we don’t waste time with the top open while looking. We buy bags of ice to supplement.
Our head (bathroom) has a holding tank – only about 15 gallons. Now that we are tied to other boats it’s more difficult to get to the dock to get pumped out so we try not to use it. Conservation is the key. ! :) - Actually when we get up in the morning we try to get to shore to use the bathroom. Believe me – it’s really one of the most fun parts of the trip.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snug as a bug, a cat, 2 people & 150 boats in a rug

Vero Beach ~
So here we are snuggled in 3 abreast rafted to 2 other boats and gabbing away that here we are ~ just another day in paradise. " Heron" ~ "Angel" ~ "Veritgo" ~ Mark and Allison on Angel are terrific and have been living full time on their boat for about 10 years. They summer and work in Annapolis and winter in the Bahamas. Their boat "Angel" is in the middle so we don’t know our second neighbor as well except a nice conversation the first day he came – He’s a very friendly guy from Toronto – they have a sailing club I think on Lake Ontario – 11 boats travelling together. The weather is nice – one morning down to 42 but last night we had windows open all night and today the sun is shining and there is a nice breeze.

It’s a bit of an odd existence being so close to folks doing the same thing you are but you’ve never met before and we hear them and they hear us. Actually when we are inside the boat we can’t hear them so assume they can’t hear us. We are a little city of people riding their dingys , scurrying back and forth to land, trucking the laundry, the groceries, water, garbage. It seems completely normal to this group of cruiser’s but if you separate your mind and think about life on land it seems a little silly.

The trade off is that of course these independently minded folks get to be warm in the winter, have some great adventure, live within their means and are always mindful of utilities, water, waste ~ making the most of everything they have, learning new skills because everything on the boat sooner or later needs attention whether it’s mechanical or cosmetic.

For my piece of paradise this morning I did laundry – it took 2 hours – seems everyone else had the same idea – well not actually everyone else. Paradise has just 6 washers for 150 boats and the same number of dryers.
We kept it civilized all the while hovering to be sure we got our machine in the order we think we called dibs on them. An opportunity to meet a couple of people and share our stories of how cold we have all been for the last month. Unlike other avenues of our life, camaraderie here is instantaneous.

The night before last at 3AM, Tiller started jumping around the bed and we could tell he was after something. It was moving around the V berth because Tiller was first on one side, then sniffing the wall where my head goes. We got up fully, Don pulled back the mattress to see a large black bug. Yesterday we pulled everything apart . Allison is from St. Petersburg, FL and let us know it was a palmetto – that is a nice little palm tree I thought or an American cockroach. Nice ~ in bed with us ~ nice ! They are harmless and we brought it somehow on to the boat. We never had a problem last year. We are sure it came in a box that had been waiting for us at the marina when we arrived. Having cardboard on the boat is a known no no as the bugs like the glue. We had a lamp that leaked and the marine store in Maine had sent us a replacement. The package sat at the dock house for a week – we needed the box to ship the leaking lamp back so brought it aboard – big mistake.
Anyway – no sign of the bugger last night, I slept a little fitfully but will have faith Tiller will do the job should it dare to show itself again...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our contact Info

Vero Beach ~ for those who think we've been out in the bush:
we now get mail though the address needs to be specific:

Vero Beach Municipal Marina
Don Lacoste s/v Heron
3611 Rio Vista Blvd
Vero Beach, FL 32963

My cell : 207-322-5340 Don Cell : 207-338-0063 Maine landline & Bayside REntals: 207-338-5355 - We now have daily cell service - email is for Don lacostedm@gwi.net and me baysiderent@gwi.net

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Velcro Beach

Mile 952.7~ Vero Beach, FL - We made it ! Our first destination and it was 76 degrees when we arrived. How easily we forget the cold until we were doing laundry with other cruisers who were all saying the same thing - they came from Canada or the Chesapeake and have been freezing ! These dolphins swam with us in the Indian River on our way south today. They are awesome and we never tire of them. I was on the bowsprit trying to get their photo and Tiller was 2 front feet over and oohing and aweing himself. Theylove to swim in the bow wake.

Velcro Beach so called because cruisers get stuck here. After travelling without daily shower, easy access groceriesVero sort of has it all . We have a free bus to take us to Publix grocery, walmart – the fantastic and beautiful large library. The municipal marina is in a nice residential neighborhood with tree lined shady streets. ¾ mile walk east gets us to the ocean beach as well as a bit of a shopping area. We have a bath house and laundry facilities though at $3.50 per load – no bargain. But what we are in is a very safe, relatively small lagoon rafted to another boat – they sometimes raft us 3 abreast. A bit like a floating motorhome park? A commune? I don’t know – there are about 150 boats here so competition for tieing up at the dingy dock, getting a washer/dryer and shower is a bit stiff at times. Living with a next door neighbor literally inches away takes some getting used to but we know many a boater who have become long time friends after being rafted and getting to know each other. Myself – I will miss the quiet of our solo anchorages while I too enjoy the amenities. Going to put my bike on shore this afternoon and ride to the beach.(sunday) ...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dragon Point, Bananna River

Mile 914.2 ~ Dragon Point - We have turned off the Indian River where the ICW will continue down to Vero beach and anchored just up the Banana River - The tip of Merrit Island is to our left and the ocean to our right - very near Melbourne , FL. It's a very pleasant spot - just hanging out here wasting time now that we have such a short way to go. Vero is our first destination so to speak. Don will be in Vero for 4 - 5 weeks while i fly home to work and be in Vermont for Christmas. The trip was just 3 hours from Cocoa ( it's that five mile an hour thing ). Don's in shorts and it was 60 when we got up this morning- nice. yesterday AM was near record lows. Pretty soon I will be complaining about the heat- it's the funny thing this trip south to find warm weather. I don't particularly like warm weather and the sun doesn't like my lily white skin. Don loves to be in the 80's - even at home which is why we have a wood stove and a gas heater in the same small room !
We rowed to shore via the canals that are off the river to find a neat little park, a veggie stand and a great restaurant all right there. WE had a really good , inexpensive lunch at "Doubles" and decided to walk through the neighborhood towards the ocean ~ it was just over a mile we guestimate . The really funny thing is that there is a Leows right across from the ocean beach. Seems like an odd use of prime real estate but we went in and checked out the Christmas Trees - settling for a 4" poinsettia to make the boat a little cheerier for the holidays. Along the way in the canal the dolphins came by us - they are just so much fun to watch. Last night Don was alone in the row boat in the canal and when he heard them he stopped, put the oars down and just held his hand out. One of the dolphins came up and touched his hand. There is also a beautiful , large pair of herons on the dock near us and osprey perch in the tippy top of the tall , thin Norfolk pine trees. A perfect spot from which to spot their next catch. We are the only ones anchored here and it's so peaceful. There is one other boat that belongs to one of the waterfront homes. We'll enjoy the peace while we have it. Tomorrow on to Vero...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cocoa, FL & Farewell for now to Argonauta

Mile 898 ~ Cocoa - 41 degrees this morning - brrrr - but the sun is shining. We've come from Ttitusville, another short day with Argonauta on our heels. A fun trip in spite of the cold as we could actually sail with the engine off ! We actually had to turn it on an hour before we got to Cocoa because we needed to fully charge our batteries for the 2 nights we would be staying here.
We have been travelling on and off with Greg and Michelle and their boat Argonatua right since the start in Deltaville ~over 900 miles. Greg is a friend from our Vermont days. They left 2 days ahead of us and we hooked back up in the Dismal Swamp. We hunkered down for the gale with them near Bellhaven where Greg made and delivered bread to us. They went outside from Beaufort, NC to Wrightsville beach and then Charleston,SC to Fernandina, FL while we visited friends in Beaufort and took the inside route to Savanah where we then hopped outside for a memorable trip to Fernandina. We kept in touch by phone and kept moving to escape the cold. The day they left Cumberland Island and we left Fenandina beach - we met again in Pine Island. They were kind enough to launch their kayaks and come aboard to visit again always a good time. From there we pretty much cruised together sometimes sharing dinner, always sharing information and laughs.

Our travels together we not planned but as we continued south and Thanksgiving loomed in front of us we changed our Daytona plans and later they changed their plans for moving faster. It was great fun to say what do you guys have ?- "we have pork medallions" - we told them we had a can of cranberry and could make mashed potatoes. They had boxed stuffing - we all had Thanksgiving ! It came up that all of us wanted to visit the Kennedy Space center - so again a small adjustment in plans ( plans aren't really something you make when traveling by boat ) We had just the best day on land and a wonderful evening together and have created some great memories for all of us.

Our first night in Cocoa we invited them over for a good bye cocktail and reminisced. I know Don and Greg had terrible separation anxiety and they have talked on the phone each day since - We just wanted to put this piece in our blog to tell you guys how much fun we had~someone to look for bakeries with ~ thank you for the photos ~ the peanut butter cookies ~ the bread ~ the sharing of cruising info and most of all of course your friendship ~ Heck Greg- you make going aground almost fun !! We miss you guys !!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

...And The Rockets Red Glare

Mile 878 ~ Titusville ~ We stayed in Titusville for 3 nights to give us the opportunity to rent a car and go to the Kennedy space center. It was short day from Rockhouse Creek ~ we arrived needing fuel and our head pumped our (bathroom ) only to find out there is no fuel or pump out available. Life on the boat changes with 3 nights at anchor. We live off our batteries so can’t run the computer or lights at will. This experience is a good lesson in consumption or lack there of as it may. On Sunday we never left the boat. Michelle got this shot of Heron – our boat – just before the squalls started to hit. We had woken in the morning to rough water. Tiller was out of sorts from the get go as the boat gently bounced up and down, up and down. In the afternoon just as Don was about to take a nap the winds really picked up. We hadn’t listened to the radio since morning. I turned it on to find out we were in the middle of a tornado watch. The winds had consistently been in the 30’s. Don got up, put some of his rain gear on just in case. We watched carefully and tuned into other boaters on the radio watching as the gusts went into the 40’s and a high was reported of 45 mph. The concern is the anchor dragging. There were about 30 boats in the anchorage and as unsettling as it is to be in that kind of storm at anchor it is somewhat comforting to know there are lots of neighbors "in the same boat" and eyeing everyone to make note the moment someone drags. One boat did drag and we felt very bad for them as they had to be out in their open cockpit , move and reanchor the boat. Late afternoon the storm had blown by and we were happy to have a calm night.

Monday we went to the Kennedy Space Center which I can’t believe I ever would have thought was a fun thing to do. It was a blast !! Yuck, yuck ! Can you believe I forgot to take my camera – thanks to Michelle and Greg we have some photos of the day – though Michelle we notice you are a little camera shy ! We had a great time – 2 3-d movies ~ don’t we just look fabulous ~ , a bus ride that took us to three locations on Cape Canaveral to get a close up of the launch pad, to tour the Apollo Saturn V ( click on the photo to enlarge then push back key ) The thing is huge – It’s the largest rocket ever made – 363 feet long - hard to believe ~ and also to the International Space Station Center where behind glass we could observe the clean room, workers from different countries working on their piece of the space station. The room is entirely sterile. A Japanese crew was working while we were there – all very interesting. Each stop had short films and other displays as well.
Then back to the main attraction center for a Shuttle Launch Experience. A little over hyped – you get strapped into seats and supposedly have the sights, sounds and feelings of a vertical launch at 17,500 miles an hour. It was noisy and we got shook around – sort of fun - but as we said over hyped and we were very happy to be there on a Monday after the holiday weekend and didn’t have to stand in line for it. It was a full day, far more interesting and fun than I thought it would be. Seeing the ground from the bus tour was interesting as well. We got a glimpse of the enormous crawler machine that moves the space shuttle from the assembly building to the launch. We were there from around 9:45 to 4:00 PM and didn’t get to tour the astronaut hall of fame and see a few other exhibits. If anyone is ever in the area we recommend the whole experience. The ticket actually covers 2 days if you have the time.

Cape Canaveral is pretty interesting as it’s a wild life refuge. 140,000 acres of preserved land as well as NASA and all it’s buildings and thousands of employees. We saw a huge bald eagle nest, an alligator sunning himself, an armadillo on the side of the road and thankfully nothing else.
Topped our day off by dinner at a Mexican restaurant with an indoor chapel should we have needed one for anything. . Onto to Cocoa ….

SaturnV Rocket

Assembly Building
The storm is coming