Monday, January 4, 2021

A new book for a new year

We are under way in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore of Boynton Beach, FL as I begin typing. We're just angling back in aggressively to get out of the gulf stream, having angled out to the three mile limit to take care of business.

After eight years, Vector gets a new log book. Old one, left, needed blue tape to reinforce the spine years ago.

We hope you all had a healthy and happy holiday season, as we did. The Palm Beaches turned out to be just the right place to be, and we spent a full 17 days anchored in the same spot. We mostly had great weather, and I think there was just a single day when we did not get off the boat at all. Otherwise we tendered ashore daily.

Happy New Year! At Batch, not long after sunset.

I sometimes ran errands during the day, either on foot or on the e-bike, and usually we tendered ashore together in the early evening for a stroll and dinner. By dining around 5:30ish each evening, we usually had no problem scoring a well-spaced outdoor table, and enjoyed happy hour pricing almost everywhere.

New Years day we ate at City Cellar in Rosemary Square, where we had a balcony table ovelooking the Wishing Tree, which put on a show for us over dinner.

We did have a couple of wild and woolly days at anchor, including Christmas afternoon, when the winds ramped up and the temperature dropped to the lowest point during our stay. We walked to our early Christmas dinner bundled up and ate our meal at Hullabaloo on a sidewalk table in the low 50s. The prime rib special was delicious and the whole street had a festive holiday atmosphere.

Boxing day was cold and windy all day and we had a quiet day on board. I did what I usually do on such days: started several projects around the boat. In two and a half weeks I chipped away at the backlog, and I also took the opportunity to list a bunch of stuff on eBay.

This sign was near the host stand at Hullabaloo, where we had our Christmas dinner.

In no particular order, while in Palm Beach I replaced the ceiling lights in the quilt studio and the galley with newer, brighter LED items, in favor of the boat's original fixtures that I had relamped early on with LED replacement lamps. I also added an LED step light in the saloon for safety, as the lighting project meant we could no longer use the heretofore anemic fixture in the wet bar for that purpose. I rebuild the galley faucet, and I added a much-needed power outlet in the master stateroom, letting us retire an extension cord that had been draped over the head of the bed since we moved aboard.

New Years Eve moonrise over Palm Beach.

As a side effect of this latter project, which took two days, I was able to add another receptacle in the engine room for a permanent cord-reel trouble light, and one in the workshop, where previously I had to run extension cords from another room when I needed power. The step light project afforded me the chance to put some automatic courtesy lights in two very dark corner cabinets as well. Speaking of cabinets, I replaced all the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls, which were pretty corroded after 17 years.

This impressive banyan tree, possibly the inspiration for the Wishing Tree, sits in front of the Norton Museum of Art. The non-native banyan thrives in the Palm Beach area, and there are a number of impressive examples around the civic center.

One of the big projects was the replacement tender seat. After noodling on it for a couple of days, I realized that I could get away with drilling and tapping only four holes if I was willing to offset the new seat a half inch to one side. I bought a set of metric taps at Home Depot and spent the better part of a day getting the seat installed. I took the old one apart, which revealed the source of the problem: adhesive used to assemble the multi-part foam had failed, disintegrated, and migrated through the vinyl.

Yesterday we went ashore for brunch at waterfront saloon E.R. Bradley's before decking the tender and motoring over to the south public dock to take on water. We timed our arrival for slack for easy docking without the thruster, and spent the afternoon filling the tank and getting laundry done. We ended up running the generator a full six hours yesterday just to run the dryer.

Also outside the Norton, in a reflecting pool, Oldenburg and van Bruggen's Typewriter Eraser Scale X, which long-time readers may remember I also encountered at the National Gallery in DC.

I zipped over to Publix on the e-bike for one last provisioning run, dropping an eBay sale in the mailbox en route -- all the eyeball lights I had removed from the galley. We made it off the dock just a hair before it became too shallow to maneuver, turning the harbor into chocolate milk before just catching the 2:15 opening at Flagler bridge.

Riding along the waterfront on the way back to the dock I passed this QuinceaƱera group.

We retraced our steps back to our usual spot across from the Sailfish Club (map) to stage for today's passage, and had a quiet dinner on board. We wanted to be close to the inlet, since the turn of the tide was at 6:20 this morning. I was up at 5:45, and we were underway by 6:10, just making it outside at slack water.

Sundays the 500 Block of Clematis is closed off and becomes a street dining experience. Hullabaloo in on the left.

With a full water tank and empty waste tanks, we're good for another three weeks at anchor. That's good, because we're going to be extra cautious about isolating as we pass through Broward and Dade counties, which are very dark right now on the covid map. Monroe County, which comprises the Keys, is actually a little better than Palm Beach County, and so we are figuratively holding our breath until we get there.

I have to say that the number of people here in Florida who are behaving as if there is no pandemic at all is frightening, and we are trying to give them all a very wide berth. That can be difficult: we came back to the dock after dinner a few nights ago to find a stranger in our tender, with his buddy on the dock taking photos. Neither was masked. I had to chase them away, and then we had to get in our own dinghy without knowing if any surfaces had been contaminated.

Imprinted in what is now our log book is some good advice about entries that will hold up to legal scrutiny.

As if to drive home the point that this is no laughing matter, we learned some full-time RV friends of ours both contracted the virus before Christmas (they are on the road to recovery), and some of our closest friends just tested positive, with their entire household at risk. A close friend's sister-in-law succumbed to the virus a week ago. And our place on the vaccine list is in the final ten percent of the population; we'll be lucky to be vaccinated by mid-year.

Aluminum dinghy seat pan drilled and tapped to fit the old hinges. New holes are 20mm left of old holes.

We celebrated New Year's Eve this year on Greenwich Time, just as I did for Y2K, having a nice early dinner on the sidewalk at Batch downtown. Southern cuisine is never my first thought for NYE, but they had comfortable seating and a nice menu, and they did a fantastic lamb chop special that would not have been out of place in Manhattan. We both managed to stay up to midnight local time to celebrate on board, where we got a few glimpses of fireworks in the distance.

Disintegrating foam and adhesive in old seat. The aluminum pan is going to recycling.

Yesterday's short cruise by way of the city dock was our first movement of the year. Considering we ended 2020 on page 299 of our nominal 300-page log book (it actually goes to 304), I decided the new year was a good time to start our second book. The first covered nearly eight years, starting January 23, 2013. Back then, among the myriad details we were dealing with as we got squared away on board, we ticked off the log book item by buying a nice bound record book with numbered pages at Staples.

It wasn't until months later that we realized that, between us, we had three very nice, if a bit antique, bound, numbered blank books leftover from our Bell Labs days. I was an engineer (Member of Technical Staff, in Labs parlance) in Illinois, and Louise was an intern in New Jersey. We likely overlapped at the Labs but did not know each other at the time. In any event, we had saved these now-unobtanium lab books for "some day" and then we completely blew it when the perfect occasion came along.

New latch holes are just a bit further apart than the holes on the old latch.

The end of Volume I provided us a second chance, and thus it is that Volume II of the log of m/y Vector is now a 40-year-old Bell Labs numbered notebook with slightly yellowing pages and the smell of a well-kept library book. It has the requisite permanent binding and sequentially numbered pages, and even has an admonishment inside the cover to do proper record-keeping, from an organization that prided itself on holding a US Patent for every single day of its existence. Volume I will be going into the archives.

Replacement seat installed. Looks fine.

In a short while we'll be entering Port Everglades, and searching for a spot to drop the hook in anchor-unfriendly Fort Lauderdale. We'll be working our way down the inside until the next weather window, so it's possible my next post will be under way along the keys after we exit at Miami.

Update: We are anchored in a familiar spot in the keyhole "slot" of South Hollywood Lake (map) in Hollywood, Florida, at the end of an overly long day. I had all the text above done for this post-- slow going, as I had to steer around numerous dive and fishing boats -- and was starting to position the photos when I had to stop on the busy approach to Port Everglades. Once inside we made a right turn and headed north along the ICW to an anchorage near Las Olas Boulevard.

Passing Hillsboro Light less than a mile offshore.

Back when I lived in the SF Bay Area and spent lots of time in San Francisco proper, I haunted the Union Square area enough to know that the cable car gripmen (drivers) and conductors called the stop across from the St. Francis hotel "Fantasyland," a la Disney. It's literally the first stop after the end-of-line turntable, where tourists line up, sometimes for hours, to board a cable car to ride across town. No one ever gets off the car at the St. Francis; you could easily walk the few blocks before you could possible board a car. And yet tourists will be waiting at Union Square to board a car that will never, ever arrive with room, even for one more person on the footboards.

Dinner sunset from our table at GGs, after a stroll on the Hollywood Broadwalk.

Well, this anchorage is now Fantasyland. Since the state outlawed anchoring in the entirety of the Middle River (our former preferred anchorage) years ago, the remaining three usable spots in town are always full. Last time we anchored in this spot, the FLPD made us move, and we were lucky to stay the night. This time there was simply no room.

And so, after coming several miles north from the inlet, we reluctantly turned around, abandoning our plans to stop in Fort Lauderdale at all, and headed to Hollywood instead, an hour and a half in the other direction, through three closely-timed drawbridges. It made for a ten-hour day, and we were bushed when we finally dropped the hook here.

A fuzzy picture of the unmistakable (to us) Miami Mermaid anchoring in North Lake.

We tendered ashore to an old standby, GG's, for dinner, where we had a lovely sunset on the deck. Midway through dinner the Miami Mermaid came into the anchorage for the night -- way back in 2009 we took our first trawler training on this vessel, and we anchored in this same lake on the first night, just as these folks did tonight.


  1. The old Bell Labs notebooks are good for logs. I have a few around here that I use. I was at Murray Hill in the early to middle 80s.

  2. This was a fun & interesting blog. Oh, I do remember those typewriter erasers very well. If you were heavy handed you could put a hole in your paper in no time. (ask me how I know!) The Wishing Tree is beautiful. I've never seen anything like that before.
    Happy New Year to you two!


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!