Friday morning was calm and clear, if a bit warm. The forecast called for a hot and humid day with east winds between 10 and 15 mph.
We left Cocoa Village a little before 7:30headed for Ft. Pierce, 59 nm south. We cruised along comfortably for about an hour and were surrounded by pelicans, dive bombing for food. Eventually a few dolphins appeared, but these were not very energetic. They soon left us to continue looking for breakfast, we think. It’s been our observation that in the early morning hours the dolphins are less interested in us and seem to be focused on food. Not too surprising.
At least that’s what we thought. About 15 minutes later we started to pick up some more dolphins on the port side. First three showed up, a mother and baby and another one. Then three more came. They started twisting and turning under the water and jumping over the waves. About 10 minutes later, more dolphins showed up on the starboard side. Before we knew it we had about 12 of them escorting us down the Indian River. Jim and I took turns watching them and trying to capture their antics in pictures. The ones on the starboard side really seemed to pick up steam. They were leaping out of the water and twisting in the air.
We then noticed the strangest thing. Our speed through the water was increasing, and not by a tenth of a knot or so. It went from our usual 10 kt speed to over 11 kts, but our speed over ground remained the same. Jim was trying to figure out the physics of this, but it seemed that somehow that many dolphins on both sides of the boat were pushing water under the boat and through the paddle wheel that shows our speed through the water..
Before long we were approaching the Eau Gallie Bridge and would have to slow down. When we’ve slowed down for bridges in the past, the dolphins have peeled off as soon as the rpms have dropped. But this time, the dolphins followed us through the bridge at low speed and continued their leaps and turns once we got up to our cruising speed.
We now had two very large dolphins in the pack on the port side. They seemed to be trying to outdo each other with the height of their jumps. The largest one at one point came right up to the side of the boat where I was standing and jumped up in front of me. Had I tried to, I could have touched it easily. I tried to capture this display in pictures, but it happened so fast and suddenly, the most I got was the back half of its body in the air.
The show lasted until we started closing in on the Melbourne Bridge. I guess they figured they couldn’t spend the whole day playing in our wake. They gradually left us and went about their business. All told, they stayed with us for about 40 minutes. It was spectacular.
The rest of the cruise was uneventful. How could it not be? This section of the Indian River is mercifully free of shoaling areas, and most of the bridges had fixed heights of 65 feet. So, we continued on to Ft. Pierce, thankful that we had had such memorable dolphin experience.
We arrived at the Ft. Pierce City Marina around 2:15 and pulled up to the fuel dock for fuel and a pump out. All went well with that, except it took a while because we had one of the slower pump. By this time, the mercury had risen to the mid-80s with high humidity, so it was a long and hot process. Our slip assignment was supposed to be one of the new floating docks that were located right alongside the fuel dock. We backed off the fuel dock and past the slip because there was a fair amount of current at that time. Jim moved us forward, turned the stern toward the slip and backed us in with perfectly. Within minutes we were tied up. Then the dock hand plugged in our shore power. Nothing. He disconnected and tried again. Nothing. He moved to another hook up on the same pedestal. Nothing. He moved to another pedestal. Still nothing. We all decided we should try another dock, so we moved to a face dock across from the fuel dock. It was fixed, but supposedly had reliable power. The floating docks, on the other hand, had had a series of problems with their power. But when we tied up on the fixed dock we still couldn’t get power. Frustrating. It was now about 3:45pm.
We decided to stay at the fixed dock and see if we could figure out what the problem was. I went to check us in and when I came back, Jim had gotten out our power cord for the bow and connected us that way. I rinsed the boat off while Jim consulted with Burr Yachts. It seemed likely that somehow the power on the floating dock had tripped one of the fuses in the stern power line. By the time Jim finished with that conversation and we had finished rinsing and chamoising the boat, it was almost 5:30. We decided to leave any further work on the power issue until the next day when we would beat Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach, our final destination.
We were hot, tired, dehydrated and hungry. We decided to order a pizza at a place within walking distance of the marina and bring it back to the boat for an easy dinner. It was too bad we were so wiped. Ft. Pierce was having a Friday Fest. There were bands playing, lots of street food and vendors selling everything from jewelry to car parts. We strolled through on our way to the pizza place and then walked around Ft. Pierce a bit while we waited for the pizza to be done. The pizza place was short staffed that night (of course) so it took longer than normal. But we got the pizza, returned to the boat and sat down and finally relaxed. The day had been a great day up until we got to the marina and then just hot and tiring to deal with the multiple dockings, the fueling, the boat chores, and of course the power issue. But this leg of our trip was almost over. We turned in early so we could get an early start on Saturday, our last day.