Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We were up at 5 am and on the move at 6:15 am. It was a clear morning and the winds were now out of the north at about 6 to 10 knots. Since it didn’t get light before 7 am, we had to be very careful watching for channel markers and crab pots until then. We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise and a wonderful cruise to St Petersburg. The warranty and parts guy, Bernie, from St. Petersburg Yacht Power Products, had graciously offered to let us tie up to his dock for a night (or more, if we wanted) and have the service guy come down to the dock to look at our fuel pump. At 10 am, we called Bernie for directions to his place.

Bernie told us to look for the “big tree” with the rock yard and his house would be right next to it with a white cage over the swimming pool.
We were soon secured to a very nice dock with water and electricity in front of Bernie’s lovely home along the canal going into Maximo Marina. We were welcomed by Bernie’s brother-in-law, Mark, who had been living here with Bernie and his wife for a few months. Mark had been in the construction business and found himself without work when the economy fell apart. Mark brought us a bag full of key limes from the tree in the front yard and said they made terrific key lime pie. He also told us to help ourselves to as many oranges from the tree in the back yard as we cared to take.

Maureen and Lucy took off walking towards the shopping areas in search of the UPS Store, the Publix grocery and an internet café. Temperatures were already in the 80’s by noon so they made sure they brought plenty of water for both of them. The girls found everything they were looking for except the internet café and were back on the boat before 2 pm.

The mechanic had arrived about the same time Maureen and Lucy left on their mission. He confirmed Gale’s diagnosis that the fuel pump’s solenoid was faulty so he replaced that along with a switch on the instrument panel related to the same issue. While Gale was working with the mechanic, Bernie came home to introduce himself. He and his wife were hoping to do “The Loop” themselves in the very near future so he and Gale had a lot to talk about.

At 3 pm, Gale and Maureen grabbed both computers and walked up to McDonalds to use the internet. We finished our business about 4:30 pm and because it was getting late, decided to postpone the additional walk to the grocery store until tomorrow. We’d been told it wasn’t a good idea to be out walking around certain areas of the neighborhood after dark.

Back on Blue Heron, we dug out the lawn chairs and relaxed out on the foredeck as the sun was beginning to set. We had a nice conversation with the next door neighbors on the other side of Bernie (not the ones with the tree) who were also outside enjoying their backyard and the pleasant weather. Soon after the beautiful sunset, we were surprised by the sudden burst of Christmas lights going on along the canal. It was truly a wondrous sight!

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