Home for the holidays and Pandora on her own

On December 11th, three months to the day and 1,500 NM south since our departure from Essex CT in September, we left Pandora near Vero Beach Florida to return home for the holidays.  When we tied up Pandora to the dock I was complaining about the near 100% humidity, still hot air and no-seeums buzzing all around.  now, it’s Saturday and feeling plenty cold here in Essex, a far cry from the semi-steamy sub-tropical Florida that we left earlier this week.

Funny how quickly I have become “soft” as we have followed the warmer weather south.  Me, I am happy to stay away from cold weather for ever.  Alas, this snow-bird, will have to settle for some snow, now and then so I’ll just have to make the best of it here in New England. I guess that I can tough it out as I have for the last 56 winters.  It will be great fun as the next few weeks will be a whirlwind of visits and parties with family and friends.  That should keep the blood from clotting completely.

For those who visit this site with some frequency, you may notice that I am repeating some of the information that you might have seen recently.  That’s because the server that supports this site crashed earlier in the week resulting in the loss of some content, my last post, that I  had added since the last backup.

The server is maintained by our son Christopher in his office in the department of physics at Columbia in Manhattan.  Oh well, so much for fail-safe redundant backup servers scattered around the globe.  Having said that, the up-time on Chris’s server “Cheeto” (not sure where that name came from), has served him well.  It seems that the hard drive crapped out in a cloud of acrid smoke and that was that.

Oh well, down but not out as Christopher had what I guess is now “son of Cheeto” up and running on a new, probably filched, computer later the same day.

Well, enough excuses.  Here’s some more information from the last post I made since leaving Pandora earlier this week in Florida.

As we headed south from Vero Beach, it was very clear that we were passing through some decidedly higher income zip-codes.  It seemed that each home was larger than the last, with some looking more like resorts than single family homes.   These mansions (forget micro mansions here) clearly have the best views.  No views of trailer parks and split levels to bother your view.  No way, no how.   Their views?  Beautiful marshes to enjoy from their infinity pools.  “Buffy, can you fetch me another mohito?  No, I can’t get it myself as it would be just dreadful if I missed the green flash?”.A nice side benefit of being facing west is the great sunsets, a real plus of being on the water.  This view is worth paying for.

It would seem that being energy efficient and resource stingy isn’t in high on the list of priorities for these owners.   Imagine how much water it takes to keep these lawns looking “golf course green”.  Well, I would expect that it’s about the same amount as you’d need for a golf course.  How about picking up some carbon offsets?  Better yet, how about a baker’s dozen Prius to make them feel better?  Not happening.  Probably not a lot of sweating the point as they tool around in their hulking SUVs.  Better yet, make that a hybrid SUV.  That’s the ticket.  Much, much better to get 14 mpg.  Yes, that’s perfect.

Funny, after years of feeling like the massive stucco homes in Bergen County, where we lived for some 20 years, looked just so nasty.  The whole stucco thing seems to work in Florida.  Perhaps it’s the warm weather lulling me into a stupor   If so, it’s a trance that I can get used to.   Stucco?  Bring it on.  Christmas lights on palms.  Yes! Yes!  A New England Christmas?  Ok, but after the new year I want to high tail it back to where the water isn’t hard unless you drop into off of a bridge at terminal velocity.

Interestingly, the ICW is so close to the ocean and gulf sream here that you can see the cloud banks that run up center of the stream.  It seems that when strong winds blow over the warm water of the gulf stream that the moisture that is evaporated causes massive thunderheads to grow.  You can clearly see them from along this part of the ICW.  Pretty impressive.  Pandora’s home for the next few weeks isn’t grand at all as I am a cheap Yank at heart.   The yard, clearly a working facility, is fine place to park a boat but not a place that you’d want to visit for fun.  No pool and tennis courts here.Lots of boats, however, of all descriptions.   Loads of sailboats waiting for their owners to relaunch them and head off for adventure.I found myself wondering if these boats were about to be launched for a winter of sailing south or if they had been hauled out at the end of the season.  I expect that it’s more like the prior given the nasty hurricanes that rip through this area off and on through the summer.  I did see plenty of boats held tight to the ground with long woven straps over their decks anchored to huge concrete blocks off of the bow and stern, a sure sign of insurance company influence.

One more thing.  Remember when Brenda and I were in Charleston earlier this fall and spied the Volvo racer Maserati at the docks checking in with customs?  They had just arrived there from a trans Atlantic run in preparation for an attempt to break the record for the fastest run from New York to San Francisco. They are now in NYC waiting for the weather window to begin their potentially record run.  Not a bad neighborhood.Not a lot in common between Pandora and Maserati I guess.  Oh well, I can at least take comfort in knowing that a SAGA 43 is more like a Volvo ocean racer than an Island Packet.  This is an Island Packet.  Well, to me it looks different.  “Sure Bob, if it makes you happy.  Go ahead and cling to that”.   It does have a plumb bow…  Come on, you HAVE to see the similarity.    

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