We returned to Peace IV from our one week airplane visit to family in Great Britain quite exhausted but pleased that we had seen Neville's mother who is 94. We also saw some of the British friends who helped us build this boat including Mike who will eventually build a Tiki 30. He is 17 now and is apprenticed as a boat fitter working on canal barges and saving money for his boat build project.
Returning to Bill and Laura Tait's house in Palm Coast, Florida on the 24th, we found the Thanksgiving table set and all preparations for the next day ready to go. Bill was up cooking on Thanksgiving morning and everything went perfectly. Modern "Wharram man" can certainly give grandmas a run for their money in the kitchen these days! I will send separately his yam recipe that has an island lilt to it.
The view from the table was of his swimming pool through open patio doors and Peace IV tied to his dock just ten feet beyond. Some of you will remember that view because we had last year's Polynesian Catamaran Association Florida meet at Bill's house. Laura and several of her Russian friends extended the evening and the laughter drifted out into the warm evening.
In the morning they loaded us up with care packages and we headed south and arrived just at sunset in the Titusville anchorage. There we stuffed Peace's food lockers so we can avoid the high prices in the Bahamas.
There are many definitions of a good boat. Some want it to be fast to win races at the yacht club, others just want a quiet and comfy place to get out of the rat race for a little while. Everybody has a different dream so it is fortunate that there are so many designs and designers. My definition of a good boat is one that is safe, comfy, and ready on 20 minutes notice to cross the Atlantic. (I've already been called impulsive.) That is why the large galley lockers on Peace IV are so well stocked all the time and we carry nearly 100 gallons of water. We seem to become the central boat socially quite often and by buying where food is cheap, I never need to worry about the food budget or running out. With fresh fish from our trailing line, we will be just fine for the next two or three months now with minor additions of fresh food from Bahamas markets.
Passing through Fort Pierce, we see now the devastation from the several hurricanes they have suffered this year. Almost every house has major damage in some areas especially roofs and almost all the docks need major repair or total rebuilding. We passed a mound of about 100 boats that were smashed well beyond repair. I think it had been a marina... We hear that a million boats have been lost in Florida and now we believe it. Hurricanes come on a seasonal basis and we honor the suggested dates to be in more northerly latitudes.
Just as we were concerning ourselves with others, our port engine lost power. Nev lifted it and we saw the prop was still there, but it had not been driving, so we turned it off and continued with the starboard engine feeling smug that we had two engines. A safe anchorage was only a mile off, so once the anchor had set, Nev was over the side in the dinghy with an armload of tools and the spare prop. Before I even had lunch ready, he was back and the spare prop installed. "Needs a new central rubber bush", said Nev, and that was that. Lifting outboards are just wonderfully easy to repair and that means you can still go on under your own power to anchor safely without calling for assistance at great expense as you would with fixed engines. An hour later we were both sunning and Nev had the spare part numbers organized and plans to have the worn prop repaired and buy a new spare also when we get to Gene Perry's.
Gene is the host of the December PCA meet and came for us yesteardy at the boat ramp/dinghy dock. We got a tour of the meet area where everything is right near the anchorage including beach swimming in the Atlantic, good holding in the anchorage, fancy new boat ramp, camping, picnic, restaurants, etc. Gene has all the reservations organized and has lived here for decades, so he knows where everything boats need can be obtained including the local Yamaha dealer and propeller repair place. I think that the PCA future Florida meets can hardly do better than this! So we will meet here next year.
Last night we fell asleep listening to the surf breaking on the nearby beach but in this protected anchorage, we were calm and safe. Fish are jumping, osprey, pelicans, storks, and herons are numerous, and a four foot iguana lizard was spotted on the barrior island before he scurried away into the underbrush. We have several old cruising friends in the anchorage, so the party has already begun for us.
We have had 30 attenders at the PCA meet, three boats, and lots of interest developed, ideas shared, great potluck food, and just plain fun. Attenders flew in for the weekend from Vancouver, Denver,and Virginia, and drove in from other nearer locations. Lots of plans were laid for next year's meet including racing and a cruise in company from here to the Florida Keys to be made all in daylight hours using the ICW as required or going outside just offshore and entering harbor before nightfall. It is good to see the many people who have been to other meets here and in the Chesapeake and decided to come to this meet as well. We must have got the formula right. People, Wharram boats, pot luck, and no planned program seems to work. A request for racing was heard. And maybe in future years there will be several Wharram catamarans sailing north and south seasonally and attending a whole series of PCA meets along the way. Perhaps a Bahamas meet...
Now that the party is over, Peace IV will head down to Lake Worth to wait for weather to cross over the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. Some attenders plan to join us out there as our guests sharing expenses for a holiday week of sailing in either January or February.
So that is all the news for now.
A special favor... please refrain from including us in any mass mailings you may have while we are in the Bahamas during the rest of Dec, Jan, Feb, and early March because this little machine gets clogged up. We love longer letters and the usual round of jokes etc when we are not in the Bahamas.
Love, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2004