After a restful night, the anchor is up at Fort Pierce at 10 AM. Our destination today is Vero Beach, 12 miles to the north. Our course takes us through the Fort Pierce turning basin, then north through the narrow dredged channel of the ICW en route to a mooring at Vero Beach City Marina. Steering a course between the ubiquitous red and green buoys on the narrow ICW after six weeks of cruising in the Bahamas seems somewhat mundane and monotonous. Upon reflection, however, it becomes clear that cruising the ICW on a beautiful sunny morning is undeniably a most enjoyable pastime.
The plan is to remain in Vero Beach through the weekend to wait out a complicated weather picture that includes a threat of severe thunderstorms each day between now and Sunday. In many respects, arriving in Vero is a homecoming of sorts. It is an opportunity to pause and reflect. In one sense, it feels good to return to the all of the comforts, conveniences and predictability of life as we know it in the United States. On the other hand, the entrapment of full-time cell phone access, Internet access and compulsion to consume goods and services add complexity and responsibility to the carefree lifestyle that we enjoyed so much in the Bahamas.
Friday’s visit from friends Marlene and Don is exactly what the doctor ordered. After hours of conversation and an introductory tour of Cutter Loose, we walk to the beach, then scurry back to Cutter Loose as the skies darken. Within minutes of clambering aboard, the skies open with torrential rain, hail and a 180 degree wind shift with gusts topping out at an incredible 51 knots. To their credit, our guests are not fazed in the least by the severe weather. After the mayhem, cruisers are busy plying the mooring field in their dinghies, searching for missing gas containers, life preservers and other casualties of the thunderstorm.
Saturday morning reunites us with Marlene, Don and boat buddies Radeen and Hayden for a filling breakfast at Mrs. Mac’s Fillin’ Station, followed by an automobile excursion to Fort Pierce to partake in the bounty of the farmer’s market. Our selection of yellow wax beans, brussel sprouts, fresh bread and Indian River grapefruit will keep the galley well-stocked for the week ahead.
Sunday morning begins with a brisk walk to First Pres for the 11 AM worship service. The music at this morning’s service is performed by the Eckerd College concert choir and bell choir. Later in the afternoon, Cutter Loose is visited by Dianne, my nephew Nathan, his wife Jennifer, their daughter Hannah (8) and son Hayden (7). The threat of thunderstorms has finally passed. We spend the evening preparing Cutter Loose for an early Monday morning departure.