Vero Beach FL, ICW
Posted by Bill
This is day 2 after our arrival at Vero Beach City Marina. It has been in the 80s every day and in the 60s at night. We had a few sprinkles last night in the early morning but other than that it has been sunny and bright. This is not at all what we are used to for Christmas so it has been difficult to wrap our heads around the fact the Christmas is in 3 days.
Vero Beach is a really great place from a cruising perspective. The marina is very well protected from the weather from almost all sides. There is very little current and the tidal range is around 1 foot. They have 50 mooring balls and a hand full of docks/slips, and decent bathrooms and showers. The mooring prices are really cheap and the dockage prices are very reasonable for Florida. The beach is a 20 minute walk at most, and there are many choices for eating or drinking in the beach area near the marina. A 20 minute walk across the ICW bridge takes you to more places to eat and a few shopping alternatives, but if you walk another 10 minutes from there you have Publix, Fresh Market, a huge liquor store, a huge dive shop, and a West Marine. Better yet, there is a free bus service that stops in front of the marina that will take you to this shopping area in 5-10 minutes, and will allow you to connect to other bus routes that can get you to a mall, Super Walmart and the airport, just to mention a few. The same bus will also take you to the beach if you don’t want to walk. To top it off, the weather is pretty close to what it is in Miami and the Keys. For the time we have been here, the highs are the same but the lows are only in the 60s here, and in the 70s in the lower Keys.
This town is known as “Velcro Beach” to the cruising community, because it is easy to get really comfortable here and not want to go anywhere else. We have met several couples who are here for “the season”. I can see why as I don’t really care when we leave at this point.
The day we arrived, we relaxed and just soaked in the idea that we were not moving for a few days, and enjoyed the warm sunshine. Yesterday we walked to the beach:
It was a really nice beach…one neither Tricia or I have been to before. There is a lot of residential area along this beach and the commercial areas are well kept and have a touch of class, definitely not a run down beach town. We stopped at a beach bar called Waldos. We enjoyed some rum runners while listening to a really good live band. They reminded me a lot of Grand Funk Railroad. We mostly walked around the beach area near us to explore and get our bearings.
Today went like this: Dinghy ashore to get showers, back to the boat to have breakfast and charge the batteries for a bit, dinghy ashore to catch the bus, go shopping, catch the bus back to the marina, take the stuff we bought back to the boat in the dinghy, put everything away, charge the batteries the rest of the way, wax the cockpit while charging, clean the transom while charging, charge the iPod while charging, add another pennant to the mooring in anticipation of higher winds this week, dinghy to Mr Manatees restaurant across the ICW, dinghy back, write a blog.
While shopping, we scoped out the liquor store, Fresh Market and Publix to see who had the best prices on what. Then we went to West Marine and bought a jerry can for gas, and browsed through the dive shop to price what we need for the Bahamas. We brought back some groceries and the jerry can and will go back tomorrow for more groceries. The bus service is great, but it was amazing that it pretty much takes a day to go get groceries and put them away. During this whole process, we got to meet several more couples doing what we are doing, and we have been learning a lot from them. It has been fun meeting and talking to them. Everyone is so willing to help. One of the couples heard us asking about Bahamas cruising guides and came over later in their dinghy with one that they didn’t need anymore. They bought a new one and found that the only difference from the old one was the ads. We asked what they wanted for it and they said “nothing”. That was really cool.
As I have stated before, the dinghy is a crucial piece of gear to have while cruising. It is your “car”, getting you to and from places and your boat. At most marinas there is a dinghy dock where you park the “car” while you go ashore. Here is the dinghy dock at our marina:
This may look crowded, but it gets a lot worse than this sometimes! Common courtesy is to tie the dinghy to the dock with enough line that people can pull your dinghy away from the dock and work their way in to tie theirs off. They can get stacked 3 deep.
We are getting pretty comfortable with this way of life at this point. It is very different, and it is both challenging and rewarding. It gives you a completely different perspective on the world, and life in general. Stay tuned….