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January, 2011:

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

1-11-11
Now that my leg has healed enough to allow bike riding, Gary loaded the bikes into the dinghy and we went ashore to ride them to the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, which is approximately two miles from the dinghy landing on the north end of Lake Worth. The weather was warm and the sky was overcast, which made a perfect day for our excursion. We took a picnic lunch to enjoy on the ocean’s warm sandy beach. After we got to the park, we found we had to ride another mile on a beautiful boardwalk to get to the ocean. The boardwalk took us across a large expanse of estuary. There were informative signs posted along the wooden trail, which we stopped to read on our return trip.

Gary at the beach at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

The ocean presented itself with the most magnificent colors of aquamarine near shore and indigo-blue further out in the deeper waters of the horizon. The limpid waves coming to shore welcomed our yearning feet with warmth and the foot massage from the shifting sand was invigorating. The ocean was calm and many boats, both power and sail, were enjoying it’s respite.

Jean at the beach at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

When looking past the southern end of the park, high-rises readily dot the shoreline.  However, a 180 degree turn offers a totally different site.  The soft sandy beach and sand dunes to the north are pristine, with shore birds, sand crabs and other tiny creatures of the sea, their only inhabitants, since the land is under the protection of the park. Each year, MacArthur Beach becomes a nesting site for sea turtles during the months of May through August.  There are 325 acres encompassing the biological treasure of this park. The estuary is home for many young families of the water, land and sky. Without the invaluable protected areas in our nation, such as the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in Florida, nature as we know it, would soon be annihilated.

We enjoyed our picnic, walking, shelling, and lounging on the beach before riding our bikes to the Nature Center, where we learned more about this marvelous park by talking to Cindy, a worker at the center, and by watching a video about the park. Accompanying the informative video, the nature center offers education in the forms of aquariums and exhibits. Presently, the park is building a new wing to the Nature Center for the expressed purpose of educating children about the importance of estuaries and wetlands, as well as oceanography.

We were totally impressed with the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and would like to revisit it, as we did not have time to enjoy the walking trails. Cindy, at the Nature Center, told us about them, and we think it would be worth another trip there to experience them.

Previously today, at the dinghy landing, we had invited our anchorage neighbors, Dave and Jill, to join us on White Swan for happy hour at 5:00. We had just enough time to shower and ready ourselves and the boat for their company. It was fun to get to know another couple living aboard their boat. Commonalities quickly unit fellow sailors, and there are always many stories to be shared, often better told than lived.  Happy hour quickly turned into two hours, before we bid each other goodnight.

Sailor’s Dream…A Poem

1/10/11  10:30 PM

Sailor’s Dream

by B. Jean Glenn

 

Awakened

wakes

slapping against the hull.

Wind

whitecaps

tossing to and fro.

Anchor

secure

rocking port to starboard.

Lullaby

rhythmic

music of the sea.

Stars

moonlight

quiets the sailor’s mind.

Sleep

un-emcumbered

rest for the soul in dreams.

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

1/09/2011
 

Pat and Tom Dennis

Our friends from Telemar Bay Marina, Pat and Tom Dennis, came to visit us today. They said the two hour drive from Indian Beach Harbor to Palm Beach Gardens was an easy drive down I95.

We spent last night at the North Palm Beach Marina, and since the marina’s dock master told us there was no particular time that we needed to leave the boat slip today, we stayed until after the Dennis’s visit. It’s much easier to entertain guests from a boat slip than from an anchorage (no dinghy rides to and fro). Tom and Pat were also in awe of the mega-yachts in the marina, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. After lunch at Duffy’s Sports Bar and Grill (where we go to watch football games), Tom drove us around the area. We showed them where the dinghies dock at the north end of Lake Worth and driving further, we found the state park we heard about, less than two miles from our anchorage (an easy bike ride). At the park, we can go to the beach on the ocean if we want to.

Driving further down A1A, Tom found the jetties at the Lake Worth Inlet, and Peanut Island just around the bend from the inlet, where Pat said they had anchored before. We saw the anchorage where we stayed at Singer Island in April of this year. It’s always interesting for boaters to view areas from land where they have been by sea. Pat quoted (from an unremembered source), “ When you go somewhere by land, you go through the back door. When you go there by sea, you go through the front door.” I love that quote because experientially, that is really how it feels.

Before going back to White Swan, we stopped by the French Café and Bakery to get dessert to enjoy at the boat before our guests left. While at the café, I had opportunity to practice my French (limited as I am). Gary and I are going to France this September with friends from Indianapolis and it’s always a treat to speak French when opportunities arise. Interestingly, our friends who are going with us to France are as excited about going as we are (our first time to go across the Big Pond), because we are going to travel southern France on a cruising boat (with Gary as the captain); and even though both couples have been to France many times, they have never viewed it by water. From reading our blogs, they realize it will be a totally different perspective and experience for them, thus their exuberance.

 

Back at the marina, the four of us walked over to the marina office and viewed the ICW and Parker Bridge. Again, interesting to all of us because it’s viewed from a different perspective on land. Earlier, while awaiting Tom and Pat’s arrival, I sat on a bench at the marina office and watched the water traffic go by… very peaceful.

Before Tom and Pat left their marina this morning, they bid bon voyage to another fellow sailor, John, who left port to head south. We are hoping he will stop here at Lake Worth on his journey south, so we can see him. He has spent a lot of time cruising the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami waterways and we would like to learn from him what he knows about the areas. Obtaining firsthand knowledge is invaluable, as there is only so much you can learn from charts and cruising guides.

Our time together with the Dennis’s passed swiftly and we said our goodbyes after enjoying dessert aboard White Swan. We were left with good memories of a delightful visit, as well as two and a half weeks of mail that Pat had gathered for us. She also brought us a fresh supply of lemons picked from our Melbourne neighbor’s tree. Florida’s fresh fruits are so fabulous, and we particularly enjoy our neighbor’s juicy lemons in water as a refreshing drink or used on baked local fresh fish. YUMMY……

MRSA 101

01/02-01/06/2011
We are still anchored in Lake Worth at North Palm Beach, waiting for my leg to completely heal before moving on south.  Three days ago I developed a rash on my abdomen which was an allergic reaction to the Bactrim (sulfa drug).  Upon calling our family physician, I was instructed to stop the Bactrim (I’d already taken the last pill the evening before), and switch to Clindamycin.  The doctor wants me to stay on an antibiotic until my leg is completely healed.  “MRSA is a difficult infection to heal.”, was her comment.  It’s been 16 days since it reared it’s ugly head, and we agree with her statement.  Friends and family have asked how I got it and for everyone’s safety, I’m writing the following:

Mine started a few days before we left Melbourne, with what looked like a pimple on my inner thigh.  It looked like it was a white head and when I tried to squeeze it, nothing came out.  I wasn’t concerned about it until the day before we were to leave, I woke up and there was a red circle around the pimple. It looked like a spider bite.  The day we were to leave port, it felt hot and had doubled in size.  That’s when we went to the doctor.  She suspected MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), took a culture to test it, and started me on the antibiotic, Keflex.  Not knowing at the time if the infection was staph or not, her instructions were, “If it doesn’t start to improve within 48 hours, switch to Bactrim”, the sulfa drug, because sulfa will kill MRSA, where most antibiotics, such as Keflex, won’t.

The next morning I awakened to find it had grown twice the size again, and the cellulitis around the boil-type infection continued to grow daily until it was bigger than a grapefruit. It was a good thing I switched to the Bactrim.  The rest of the story has been written in previous blogs.

So…how did I get it?  I asked the emergency room doctor that very question and her answer confirmed what Gary’s doctor told us a couple of years ago when he got MRSA.  CA-MRSA (Community Associated MRSA) is everywhere…on grocery cart handles, door knobs, everywhere.  It used to be people only got it in healthcare facilities; this type is now referred to as HA-MRSA (Healthcare Associated MRSA).  Pretty scary.  In Gary’s case, it started with an ingrown hair in his nose that he picked at.  In my case, when I tried to squeeze the pimple, the doctor said instead of the infection coming out, it probably just spread under the tissue.  Bottom line…Don’t pick at anything on your body.  And, if something doesn’t heal within a couple of days, see a doctor.  MRSA WILL NOT HEAL WITHOUT THE PROPER ANTIBIOTIC AND/OR MEDICAL CARE; AND, IT CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING IF LEFT UNTREATED.  I am fortunate that mine is healing properly and when I was at the ER the first time, they checked my blood to make sure it was not in my bloodstream.  Prevention: wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.  Use soap and water when available and wash for 15 seconds.  Antibacterial gels should only be used when soap and water is unavailable.

This is what I have learned about MRSA  and it has been stated to the best of my understanding of the disease. *** IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, CONSULT A MEDICAL DOCTOR.

North Palm Beach

12/28/2010-1/1/2011
 
After two more trips to the Emergency Room at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, and two more packings for Big Red, we are still hanging out in Lake Worth while my leg continues to heal.  Tomorrow I am to remove the packing from Big Red myself and assess whether or not another trip to the hospital is necessary.  Hopefully, the wound has healed enough from the inside out that no more packing will be needed.  We will remain here in Lake Worth until it looks good enough to leave convenient medical care. 
 
You would think we’ve been bored but we really have not.  Each day continues to pass quickly as we take care of the daily necessities of life aboard a boat.  Gary makes trips ashore to local stores for whatever we need for the day (I haven‘t been going with him because of my leg), and cares for the outside of the boat.  I take care of the inside and do the galley slave stuff.  He does the grilling, when needed, on a propane grill attached to a stern stanchion.  As far as tasks are concerned, the division of labor is pretty much the same as it is at our land home.
 
We decided to treat ourselves to a boat slip rental for New Year’s Eve, thinking we might go to a nearby restaurant for the evening.  However, when we went to the restaurant to make reservations and found smoking was allowed, we decided to prepare dinner on the boat and spend the evening aboard instead.  We had a wonderful meal, played Parcheesi, read for a while, and took a short nap while we waited for the previously set alarm to announce the dawning of the new year. Surprisingly, there was not a lot of partying going on around us and we were able to peacefully fall to sleep around 12:05.
 
The boat slip rental provided opportunity to use the marina’s open-air laundry (only in the tropics), electricity to use a hair blow drier to defrost the refrigerator’s freezer, and lots of water for Gary to wash the decks of the boat.
 
A few comments on trying to get to the hospital:  We have yet to conquer the city transit system.  One day we tried to take the bus to and from the hospital, failed miserably on our attempts to figure it out, and both times we got on the wrong bus so we had to walk approximately one mile each time we messed up.  (On two good legs that would not have been a problem.)  Our hats off to the people who ride these buses routinely and effortlessly get to where they need to go.  I think I’ll do research on America’s city transit systems and write a book entitled “Using City Transit Systems—For Dummies”.  The third time we had to go to the hospital, we took a taxi, both ways.
 
Our friends on the west side of Florida said, “All the rich people are on the east side of Florida.”  We disagreed and stated just the opposite is true.  Our time spent in North Palm Beach, on the east coast, confirmed our friends must be correct.  Gary has noticed on his frequent excursions ashore, the amount of expensive foreign cars there are in this area. While we were at the hospital one day, a Bizillion dollar Rolls Royce pulled up in the drive. Cars of this status are commonplace in North Palm Bay.  Also the marina, where we rented the boat slip for New Year’s Eve, is home port for a plethora of mega-yachts.  We took a dinghy ride around the marina while staring at the size of the yachts with our mouths hanging open in amazement.  My comment to Gary was, “The yachts in this marina are worth more than the homes in our whole subdivision.”  Size is relative.  White Swan sounds pretty big to a boater on the small lakes in Indiana, but among the mega-yachts in this neck of the woods, our boat looses prestige.  However, that’s okay with her captain and first mate.  We love our White Swan.