Vero Beach, Florida – ICW 953 (18-20 Jan)
Only a short hop from Fort Pierce we had high expectations of this place, mainly because the pilot book had emphasised it was really popular with the sailing community and had good facilities. Yet again expectation lead to disappointment. The marina charged $17 a day to use the dinghy dock, it did include use of their showers and trash cans but that was it. Money for old rope if you ask me especially when there was a dock and dustbins a bit further down the river. Other than the marina and a dog park there wasn’t much else apart from lots of other boats, I couldn’t see the attraction myself. Perhaps its because we are now a family with a small child, so we judge places on convenience. Short walking distance to the main town, a supermarket and playground/park with a decent free dinghy dock are top of our list. This anchorage felt like a trailer park for cruisers who just sit collecting barnacles moored to a buoy.
However just under a mile away was the beachfront full of seaside shops and a nice park (South Beach Park) where we met our Story Time friend Anna. She brought along a bunch of friends so while the kids all ran around in the playground, Scrumpy chased his ball and the adults chatted. After sunset they kindly invited us back to one of their houses for dinner. It was lovely spending some time ashore in a house with the company of others. I don’t really know what I was expecting to find from the USA but while in the Caribbean most people had negative experiences saying it was inhospitable to full time cruisers like us. So far I have been truly taken aback by the friendliness of the people we have met. These folk didn’t know us but they welcomed us into their home and treated us like life long friends. It memories like this that will stay with me forever. I read a quote recently that perfectly sums this up it said ‘happiness is only real when shared’.
Other things we enjoyed at Vero Beach were a very yummy frozen ‘Florida’ orange juice & ice-cream shake, seeing the amazing Spanish Moss for the first time hanging from the live oak trees and collecting lots of free canine gifts from the stalls at Bark in the Park. A dog themed festival put on by all the local businesses, one Doggy Day Care business even offered an executive overnight package for your furry friend, which included a bedtime story!