Monday, August 16, 2010

Our New Home - Merritt Island!

With the passing of our 24 year old boat kitty and best friend, Boots, I haven't really been in the sarcastic, funny mood I am usually in when writing a blog but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy or that we didn't love the three days of cruising to get from Aventura to Merrittt Island or that our "new life and new hood" aren't great!! They are - I just haven't been in the mood - it's been a really tough time for us and the boat has been a pretty sad place of late. But at Doug's urging and after a really fun weekend of hanging at the Cocoa Pier and over at Universal Studios and Island of Adventure acting like little kids, I finally have some of that fun spirit back (although I know we will miss Bootsie more than we can ever say for a very long time!) and am going to give the blog a shot. Bear with me and I'll get back to my old self with time....

It felt unbelievably great to throw off the dock lines in Aventura - not that we hadn't liked the marina, but Gypsies and its crew were going cruising again after a long time as dock bitches!!! and we were headed to someplace we believe to be really fun!!! We left the marina and headed up the ICW through a couple bridges (oh yeah - forgot that part of the ICW!!) to the Port Everglades inlet which on a Saturday was rockin'!- we wanted to head offshore to make some serious miles.
We had been fantasizing about catching mahi on the run north but that dream bubble was burst for Doug and I at the same time as we went to load our scooters on the transom - oops no room to fish and even if we could finagle it, we didn't want blood and guts on the bikes (because after all - of course we'd catch lots of fish!!) Oh well - it turned out rougher than had been forecast so to make the Bootser more comfortable, we decided to head back in at Lake Worth even though we were flying at 11-12 knots (I love the Gulf Stream). Bootser was such a trooper and dealt with the seas once she got her sea legs - aided by lots of love and treats!!
Boots Relaxes During Gypsies' Cruise
Fort Lauderdale from Offshore
Coming in through the Lake Worth inlet and passing around Peanut Island we saw part of what we love about FL - boaters hanging out on little sand bars having fun and partying!! (there aren't many sandbars in Maine where you can hang out in the water without freezing your whatevers off!)
After a great dinner at Carmines at Soverel Marina in Palm Beach Gardens we had an early night since we wanted to be on the water bright and early. I've really missed being up and on the water for sunrise - there is something so peaceful and beautiful about that time of day but somehow we never quite got to see sunrise when we were in KW - wonder why?
Sunrise Over the ICW
Saturdays on the ICW are always interesting - lots of boaters fishing and playing, PWCs flying all over the place, kayakers and divers (believe it or not!)
Kayakers That Went Diving
and the fairly new phenomenon of paddleboarding (my favorite was the guy with the huge cooler on the front of his board!! and at least it wasn't topless pbding as in Key West - I kid you not! ouch...)
As always the wildlife was awesome especially once we got north of Palm Beach,
the houses were spectacular (altho some of them simply make you cringe - proof enough that money doesn't guarantee taste)
and boats lined the waterway (very few of which aren't compensating phallic symbols!)
One of the Non-phallic Boats
We wound up at the municipal marina in Vero Beach and chose a quiet night on the boat to avoid getting caught in the huge thunderstorms!

The next morning was so gorgeous it's tough to even describe - up before dawn and pulling away from the dock as the sun tried to peak out between the clouds, we caught our breath at the beauty and serenity of floating along the calm waters with the dolphins all that broke into our peaceful little world.
Sunrise Outside of Vero Beach
How we've missed cruising and our dolphin friends!!! It's mornings like this that make us realize how lucky and privileged we have been to be able to live this cruising life we love so much. When at dock sometimes it's easy to forget how wonderful a life it is - we won't forget again and won't let so much time go by between cruises!!! Passing Johns and Barker Islands we saw the most amazing homes and unlike those in Palm Beach, these had acres and acres of land and waterfront rather than being so close you could reach out your bathroom window to your neighbors for some grey poupon!! Much more to our taste - the houses not the mustard!!
Home on Johns Island
Home on Johns Island

But just when we were reveling in the cruising life, the clouds started to roll in along with a very noticeable shift in the wind - ruh, roh....... You guessed it, just as I was approaching one of the bridges spanning the Indian River the skies opened up, the wind kicked up to over 40 knots, the waves kicked up to shoot water sailing over our bow and the visibility dropped to zero - I couldn't even see the fenders on the bridge - UGH!!! Why am I always driving when the weather gods decide to screw with us?? Doug of course took over just in time for the winds to drop, the rains to stop and the sun to shine - luckily just as we were heading into the Canaveral Barge Canal on approach to our new marina (ok he got a little rain but nothing like that amazing 20 min span I had!) The wildlife along the canal is spectacular - can't wait to drop the dink and go for a photo shoot!!
Heron in the Canaveral Barge Canal

So Gypsies is safely and securely tied up at her new docks which aren't the gorgeous new concrete docks of Aventura, but we're pretty comfortable with the trade-offs. We have a protected spot with older wooden docks and a much smaller and older pool, in return for a great restaurant/bar on premises with happy hour everyday and all day on Sunday (and a bartender who tries out new shots on us when we went in for dinner Sunday evening), wicked friendly people and a location surrounded by cool stuff to do and see!!! Compared to our sterile (but protected) spot in Aventura, I'd say we're pretty psyched!!

While we spent our first week here in Merritt Island largely tied to the boat to share Bootser's last days, we finally went out to play this past weekend. We have joined an amazing health club (which I know doesn't sound like much fun, but believe me it is - great lap pool, lots of machines and free weights, walking track, racquetball courts and lots of classes - it's very cool!!) Finally time to get back into shape after 5 mos in Key Weird!! And of course all work and no play is no fun, so Saturday we spent the afternoon over on the beach at the Cocoa Beach Pier!!
Yippee - we finally found some great joints!!! Oh Shucks
Beers at Oh Shucks
and the Boardwalk Cafe both drew us in with their cheap beer, live music, views of the beach and cool pub food!!
The View of the Beach from Oh Shucks
We searched in vain all over Aventura for this type of place - the cost of a beer in Aventura at one of the stuffy mall restaurants bought us a whole pitcher in CB!!! Very Kewl!!! We even sat by some die hard Patriots fans there on a cruise - a friendly argument arose with some Dolphin fans but as another couple ambled by and became part of the convo (they were from south of Boston) the good guys won the day!! I love this kind of friendly banter over cool beers!!
Our Pats Fans are to Doug's Left
This weekend are the offshore speed boat races with live bands - sounds like fun!!

Sunday we spent over at Universal Studios and Island of Adventure theme parks - we're only about 50 minutes away!!
What a fun day - of course we had to revisit the Harry Potter exhibit
Horwarts Castle
but then we spent time at Universal on the Jaws ride which sports a Maine Lobster Co-op
The Maine Co-op
and Norm's boat repair (Norm!!!),
Norm's Boat Repair
the 4-D Shrek movie, the Krustyland Simpsons virtual roller coaster
and Doug's favorite (of course after Harry), the Men In Black Alien Attack!
The Control Room at the Men in Black Ride
Lunch and some frosty beverages at the Margaritaville Cafe
The Margaritaville Cafe and the Hemishere Dancer
and an afternoon walking through the lost continent
The Lost Continent
and on the water rides at Islands of Adventure (and a second ride on the Forbidden Journey) was just what the doctor ordered!! Finally a late afternoon Landshark at the Lone Palm Airport where our clothes had a chance to dry out after the Popeye and Bluto Bilge Rat ride (at least a little!) sent us on our way happy but exhausted!!

We were a little bummed we couldn't be up in Solomon Island with our Chesapeake friends for the Scott Kirby concert which we have been at the past couple years (hope you guys had a ball Kathy, Tim and Lisa, JR, Rick, and Dave, Diane and Tom!) but hopefully we will see you guys soon - maybe in KW for MOTM in Nov!! Another option is TropStock in the Village on October 1-3 which is right in Cocoa, FL all of 2 minutes from us - God is good!! Not only is Scott playing but Peter and Jim Mayer, Nadira, and lots of other troprock musicians!! How kewl is that - in our own backyard!!! I think we've finally found our "place" in FL - come visit us and we'll share our southern paradise!

We miss you Bootsie - Gypsies is not the same without you!!! RIP and hope you're having fun with Puss and Momma!

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