We are docked at the Soverel Harbour Marina, on the ICW just north of the PGA Boulevard Bridge, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (map). We arrived last Wednesday afternoon after a very pleasant and unhurried cruise from Stuart down the ICW. It was a bit tricky maneuvering into our slip, at the very end of a circuitous fairway, but we were docked in plenty of time to get our Enterprise rental car before their office closed.
Having a car meant we could drive over to North Palm Beach Marina to meet up with Blossom for dinner, the first of several during our week-long stay here. We drove down to Lake Park, and, ironically, ended up dining at the very same place to which we all had walked when we were docked there for Trawler Fest a year ago.
The main impetus behind the rental car was to head down to the Miami Boat Show on Thursday. For a while it looked like I'd be going solo -- Martin and Steph were both too wrapped up with Blossom projects to take the day away, and Louise had no interest in the show itself. But at the last minute she decided she'd come along for the ride, and maybe get some provisioning done with the car while I was at the show.
Other than an hour mid-day, when Louise and I met up with our good friend Steve and his daughter/assistant Katie for a pleasant lunch off-site, I spent the whole day at the Miami Beach Convention Center covering as much of the show as I could. I had a small list of items I was trying to find there, but came away only partly successful.
A tiny fraction of the organized chaos that is the Miami Boat Show.
Chief on the list was new boat insurance, to cover a possible excursion to Cuba later this year (more on that in a separate post). As it turns out, though, yacht insurance is not well represented at the Miami show, and I struck out on this front. Also on my list was getting some technical questions on the engines and transmission answered, and here I was much more successful, at least in regard to the engines. Our transmission manufacturer, ZF, was notably absent from the show, but Steve put me in touch with them afterwards.
I got some good information about charts in the Bahamas and Cuba, and nailed down the correct type of emergency "man overboard" beacons we'd like to have before getting too far offshore. I also picked up some more LED strip lights to replace some that are failing prematurely from exposure to the elements. In all it was a decent show, but not nearly as beneficial as it was for us last year. Still, it was worth the effort and expense to go.
A full-day excursion to the show meant renting the car for two days, or else having to miss a few hours of the show. So we had the car for most of the day Friday, too, and we started the day with a visit to a nearby vet to get Angel's International Health Certificate. We spent most of the afternoon with Martin and Steph on a Costco run; we had let our Costco membership lapse when we lived on the bus because we simply had no room to store the size packages that Costco sells. Gearing up for the Bahamas, though, it's just the ticket, and we came home loaded up with fresh meat, wine, dry goods, and other provisions.
One of the "house" cats at the vet's office, looking a lot like a throw rug. This cat was huge, as were the two others we saw; all were super friendly. Angel was not amused.
We had unloaded one scooter when we first arrived, and after we returned the rental car, we took turns running errands and making provisioning trips on the scooter. Most of the week has been spent provisioning and getting the boat ready for three months out of country. Here are just a few of the things we've loaded aboard:
- Gasoline. I ordered a pair of six-gallon cans from Amazon, and I've filled both of those as well as the two-gallon can we already had. I also used the two-gallon can to top up the tank on the tender, which took four gallons, so there were three trips to the gas station just with the smaller can. We now have 14 gallons of extra fuel on top of the eight or so in the tender itself, which ought to last us several weeks. We'll probably still have to find gas somewhere in the islands, too.
- Beer. Rum is everywhere in the Bahamas, but beer is scarce and expensive. We loaded some 200+ cans/bottles aboard. I ended up making racks in the bilge to store it, to get it out of the way and keep the weight down low.
- Wine. Again, expensive in the Bahamas. We bought perhaps a dozen bottles between red and white, and I loaded another nine liters of the boxed variety.
- Canned goods. Lots and lots of cans -- we expect our fresh produce to last a couple of weeks, and then we'll be into frozen and canned veggies.
- Pickled items (pickles, peppers, beans, etc.), for the same reason.
- Frozen vegetables.
- Meat. I bought an entire tenderloin at Costco and sliced it into individual portions for freezing. We also bought a tray of lamb chops, a couple of pork loins, and a metric ton of chicken and stew meat for the crock pot.
- Ultra-pasteurized milk. The fresh stuff will be gone in a week or two, and we take milk in our morning coffee.
- Motor oil. Eleven gallons are now stowed in the bilge, enough to change the main and generator oil once each, with some for make-up.
Eleven gallons of 15w-40 squirreled away in the bilge, starboard of the engine stringer.
We have yet to stock up on fresh produce; that will happen just a day or two before we head offshore. No sense in having the clock ticking on that stuff too soon.
Today was our last full day in the marina, and I had Dockside Petroleum send a fuel truck; we took on 520 gallons of diesel at a very competitive price. We now have a full 1,200 gallons aboard, which is more than plenty for three months in the Bahamas, and will preclude our having to fuel there at island prices.
Yesterday and today were a mad scramble to gather up items from far and wide. I needed Bahamas charts and some repair items from West Marine, Louise needed fabric for quilting projects, and there were the inevitable lists for Home Depot and Walmart. I also made a run on Trader Joes and spent an hour in the T-Mobile store straightening out a SIM card issue with our iPad, which we use as a backup for navigation.
In and among all this, I spent a good deal of time setting up the new Iridium satellite phone, one of the many things we had delivered here to the marina in anticipation of our stay. Squaring away all of the minutia of our lives for an extended absence has occupied what remained of our time; we'll be out of the country and mostly away from the Internet when our taxes are due, for example.
Lest I sound like I am complaining, I should also point out that we've mostly enjoyed dining out in the Palm Beach area each evening, and tonight, while the northeast shivers, we dined al fresco, in short sleeves. It's been a mostly pleasant stay.
That said, we're ready to leave. For one thing, our slip backs up to a cigar bar, which, besides the cigar smoke, has been loud almost every evening, with live music into the wee hours on the weekend. For another, the sense of entitlement in this general area is palpable, and it's not a vibe that agrees with us (yeah, I know: says the guy typing from his yacht, in the marina).
We booked a week here, on a weekly rate that was much more attractive than the daily transient rate. Our week will be up tomorrow. Blossom is not quite ready to depart, and weather does not look good for a crossing anyway until after the weekend. So rather than extend our stay here at a higher daily rate, we'll shove off in the morning and go anchor someplace.
The dock served it's purpose: we needed an address to have some things shipped (gas cans, satellite phone, our accumulated mail, etc.), and a place to do some of the "heavy lifting" of provisioning for an extended cruise. What's left to do can be done at anchor, and we have a couple of options for tendering ashore for the final provisioning of fresh produce.
Cigar bar notwithstanding, this marina has certainly been convenient. There are three restaurants right on the property, along with a gourmet market, and most shopping is a moderate walk, an easy bike ride, or a slam-dunk on the scooter from here. It's really a hidden gem. It's a "dockominium" -- each slip is privately owned, with owners putting their unoccupied slips into a transient pool -- and not well publicized to the transient ICW crowd. The loud surroundings, particularly on the weekend, is really the only downside. Staff have been very attentive and there is full-time security on site.
We'll linger here till mid-day sometime and then head over to Old Port Cove. They have a pumpout there, which we sorely need. We'll probably end up dropping the hook not far from there, in the northern bight of Lake Worth, an easy tender ride to Blossom or to the Publix grocery store.