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February, 2011:

Discovery’s Final Launch and Cocoa Village’s Mardi Gras

I’m feeling well enough to take a four hour boat trip to Cape Canaveral, so we left this morning and motor-sailed just north of NASA Causeway bridge and anchored a few miles off Cape Canaveral.

Discovery's Final Launch at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral 2-24-11

We arrived one hour and twenty minutes before Discovery’s historic final launch. It was a beautiful day for the lift-off and we had a great view from the water. We listened to what was going on at the NASA headquarters via radio while the count-down continued. There were problems with one of their computers that wasn’t resolved until the very last minute; making a tense situation for all concerned, even for those of us listening, watching, and waiting to see if the lift-off was going to happen.

The successful lift-off was applauded by all, and many boaters blew their air horns in celebration. We watched the fire ball of the launch in awe as we heard the rumble from the engines reach us minutes later. We watched the vapor trail as it disappeared into the clouds, taking the astronauts safely into orbit. WOW, what an experience!

The next day, we motored south, the short distance back to Cocoa Village. We took the dinghy to shore and tied up at Coco Village’s lovely boardwalk, so we could walk into town to buy our tickets for tomorrow’s Mardi Gras celebration. By the time we got back to White Swan, Ed, Cheryl and Molly had arrived aboard Lady Bug. The original plan of going to watch the launch and then the Mardi Gras was Ed’s; and when their plans changed due to unexpected circumstances, we decided to go ahead to watch the launch and we are thrilled we did. Glad they made the journey to join us for Mardi Gras, we joined them on Lady Bug to make our plans for the following day.

Mardi Gras at Cocoa Village

The Mardi Gras parade didn’t start the next evening until 9:00 PM, so we delayed going into Cocoa Village until 6:00 PM. Cheryl and I chose to eat aboard our own boats, since we both have intestinal issues, but Gary and Ed were excited to partake of the Cajun cuisine offered at the food vendor’s booths. Gary enjoyed the spicy gumbo until the hot sausage burned all the way to his gut. The Cajun seafood wrap of “etouffee” set better with him. (I’m sure I would have met my demise if I’d had a bite of either.) A lady shared her “beignets” with us, and according to Ed and Cheryl, they were not anything like the delicious puffy pastries of New Orleans.

Men on stilts entertaining the Mardi Gras crowd

Gary nor I have experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but according to our limited knowledge from what we’ve read and/or seen via the media, Cocoa Village’s attempt to present a Mardi Gras atmosphere was nicely done but on a much smaller scale. Masked and costumed visitors to the affair enjoyed three different venues of music and dancing, various food vendors, games for the children, and of course the Mardi Gras parade with an endless array of beads being thrown to the uplifted hands of the viewers lining the parade route.

The celebration continued until midnight without the four of us, because after the parade, we chose to go back to our boats. It was a fun night for all of us.

The next morning, we motored back to our marina, and tied White Swan securely into her boat slip until I’m well enough to try once again to go to the Bahamas. The gastroenterologist gave us strict orders that we are not to leave until I am well. “People have died of this (c. diff.).”, he said. I checked that out on the internet and found out his statement was a scare tactic, as approximately 300 people a year are known to die of c. diff., not a large percentage; so I think my odds are pretty good of staying on the “right side of the dirt”. However, we’ll be cautious with any plan to leave home for an extended period of time.

Our Journey Home & Postscript

We arose early on the first of February, 2011 and were motoring out the Florida Channel by 7:15 AM. Gary hoisted the main sail while still in the channel and as we neared the ocean, three to six foot swells met us on the nose.

Gemini "Alley Cat" going out the Florida Channel, Key Biscayne

As we bounced out the channel we passed another Gemini catamaran, Alley Cat. We met the nice couple who is cruising aboard Alley Cat during our days spent at No Name Harbor. They were on their way to Titusville to meet up with other cruising friends.

As we turned north after the last Florida Channel marker, we sailed with full sails taking us at a speed of 6 to 7 knots with swells hitting us on the side. The semi-rough ride was not ideal, but we made it to the Ft. Lauderdale inlet, traveling 27 miles in six hours. That sounds like a long time to go 27 miles, but it was good time for sailing, with nothing but the wind as power. Sweet!

There was a lot of boat traffic leaving the port as we came in, but we easily navigated to our anchorage for the night at Lake Sylvia. Alley Cat arrived a short time later. The nice couple chose not to go with us to explore the area via dinghy. We found many mega yachts at the nearby Ft. Lauderdale marinas (the norm for southern Florida).

Tow Boat U.S. pulling another Tow Boat U.S. at Ft. Lauderdale. These are the guys we depend on when White Swan breaks down...HELLO!!!


2-2-11 Another early start puts us motoring back out Port Everglades Inlet around 7:30 AM. The wind was lighter today at five mph and the swells were only 3 feet. The channel was clear of boat traffic as we left Ft. Lauderdale.

We motor-sailed all day and arrived at Palm Beach Inlet by 2:45 in the afternoon, logging 38 miles, taking 7 ½ hours. We anchored for the night near Singer Island.

Our new acquaintances aboard Alley Cat stopped by to chat for awhile and wanted to know if we wanted to go ashore with them, but we had to decline because of my current necessity to stay near the “head“. This nice couple from Kentucky, cruises every winter in Florida and sometimes the Bahamas. We hope to meet up with them again.

Container ship going by us at Lake Worth Inlet

2-3-11 For our last hop “outside”, we left Palm Beach Inlet (aka Lake Worth Inlet) at 7:30 in the morning with the lack of wind power to aid us. The wind didn’t even measure on our wind meter and the seas were calm.

We motored at a good speed, 5.5 mph, under an overcast sky and light winds from the northeast, until the wind shifted directly from the north at which time the seas brought three to four foot swells right on our nose. This slight change in wind direction slowed our speed down to 4 to 5 mph.

This trip offshore was the longest day of the three days we traveled “outside”, taking nine hours and traveling 49 miles. We arrived at Ft. Pierce Inlet around 4:30 PM and proceeded north another three miles up the ICW to a new anchorage for us. (Boaters, we turned east at the R174 marker to follow the local channel past the spoil island on the right, and then turned in to anchor behind the spoil island in four feet of water. White Swan’s draft is only two feet.) It was a calm anchorage, as the spoil island gave protection from the ICW boat wakes.

2-4-11 After a 39 ½ mile journey, motoring 7 ½ hours up the ICW, we arrived at Telemar Bay Marina, our home port. The trip was uneventful other than having to motor through dense fog for the first four hours. We went slowly and used the chart plotter and radar to help us navigate through the markers until the fog lifted. Under normal circumstances we would have waited for the fog to subside before traveling, but we wanted to arrive at our home port in time to get my specimen culture to the lab before it closed for the weekend.

As soon as White Swan was securely tied in our boat slip, Tom Dennis gave me the specimen bottles needed for lab cultures our family physician ordered, and Gary immediately drove them to the lab. We had made all these arrangements while in transit: After a phone call consultation regarding my illness with our family doctor, Dr. Caroliese Schmidt, our friend, Grace Belcher, who is also a patient of Dr. Schmidt‘s, went to pick up the written order and specimen bottles. She gave them to Pat and Tom Dennis, our friends who live-aboard at Telemar Bay Marina. And then Tom presented them to me upon arrival, giving Gary enough time to get them to the lab before it closed. (As I’ve said before, it takes a village to raise the Glenns.) Our long distance arrangements worked like clockwork. Now we have to wait for three days for the results.

We stayed overnight on White Swan, before going back to our home in Melbourne the next day, unaware of the long recuperation that lay ahead.


Long story made short: Numerous tests and numerous trips to Dr. Schmidt and a gastroenterologist indicated, without a positive test result, my illness was clostridium difficile (aka c. diff.), caused from all the antibiotics taken to cure the MRSA. Treatment: another antibiotic, Flagyl, plus probiotic pills and a strict diet. The only good thing that came from all this is I’ve lost some weight, but this diet is not recommended!

While I recuperated at home, Gary stayed busy working on White Swan. He took out both gas tanks and thoroughly cleaned them and added a second fuel filter on the fuel line, so when too much condensation occurs in the line causing the engine to stall, he can simply switch it over to the backup filter (brilliant). He changed the oil and the filters; varnished the salon’s dining table and experimented with various types of varnish on the back side of our berth’s closet doors, as eventually his goal is to varnish all the wood inside the boat with the hope of eliminating most of our mold problem; and he accomplished a lot of other little fix-ups necessary before we start another cruise. His time was well spent and, as always, productive. He has White Swan ready for her next adventure.

I did manage to pull off a surprise celebration for Gary’s birthday on February 6th. E-mail made it easy to contact everyone to show up on the afternoon of his birthday to surprise him. Grace insisted upon getting the cake and ice cream for me and it was a blessing that she did, as my morning would not have allowed me to leave the house. Gary and his guests enjoyed the wonderful chocolate cake with a cheesecake center. Grace got the cake from Toojays, a gourmet deli at the Melbourne mall. The guests stayed an hour or so for a proper celebration of our special guy’s special day.

Gary's birthday celebration 2-6-11

 Hail, hail, the gang is all here for Gary’s birthday celebration.  From Left to Right:

Doug, Pat, John, Anna, Tom, Matt, Gary, Grace, Lady Bug (Cheryl’s mother), Cheryl & Ed