Fort Pierce is Nice

Which is good. We could be here for a while.

Andante and I are still hanging out in Fort Pierce Inlet waiting for a weather window to head south and cross to the Bahamas. The latest forecasts suggest the next opportunity may be Sunday or Monday so I’m starting to get organized. Groceries, fuel, water, then Covid test, then go. Or not, depending on the actual weather that materializes. Good thing Fort Pierce is a nice (and relatively inexpensive) place to wait.

Like many of the boats around here waiting to cross I’m using the daily summaries and interpretations from Chris Parker for weather guidance in addition to my own analysis. I really like how his team understands that sailors are not looking for optimistic forecasts. I’d much rather plan around the worst likely scenario than hope for the best. Andante can handle some pretty nasty conditions without complaining. Not me.

Mmm fruits. The avocados are from Mexico and I’m not certain the limes are local. But the honeybells (a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit) are definitely Indian River local and only available in January. They are really yummy.

Earlier this week I had a chance to visit the long-running and well-organized Fort Pierce Farmers Market. Lots of vendors selling foods and art and jewelry and whatnot. The actual local farm goods were less evident than I had hoped but I did pick up some fruits and some local shrimp. The honeybells, in particular, were fantastic. Almost ridiculously sweet and juicy and only available in January. Lucky me.

The farmers market is conveniently held in a park right next to the city marina where I can safely tie up Dinghy. It was a cool and slightly misty morning but not as cold as it looks.
There were booths selling just about everything. Including some pretty weird stuff with curious marketing choices. Note the “Not made from iguanas” disclaimer. Yay?
Downtown Fort Pierce is kind of cute. Lots of little shops and restaurants.
Alcohol and axe throwing. What could go wrong?

I also purchased some local shrimps from the farmers market. This booth had one of the longer lines at the market and there were folks in front of me ordering hundreds of dollars in shrimp. I settled for a pound each of two varieties. I did a quick taste test that afternoon and then a few nights later made a really yummy risotto with a stock based on toasted shrimp heads.

The large brown shrimp (top) and rock shrimp (bottom) were sold green and frozen in one-pound ziplocks from a big cooler. Once defrosted the soft-shelled browns cleaned up very easily. The rock shrimp were well armored and it was hard work getting the shells off.
I sauteed a sampling of each very simply in olive oil and salt. Yum. The little rock shrimp were bright and lobstery while the big browns were the most shrimpy shrimp I’ve tasted. Very full and complex flavor. I enjoyed them both but would probably pass on the rock shrimp next time unless somebody else peeled them for me.

Since we’re on the subject of food I will mention that my bread baking, by necessity, is improving. I’m now making a loaf about every third day. I’ll share my recipe in a future post. Everyone is making no-knead bread. I’m trying to perfect no-mess bread since cleaning up splattered flour and sticky dough is a PIA (and water-waster) on the boat.

Mmm bread.
Breakfast: Boat toast (bread fried in butter until crispy) and avocados with lemon.

The waiting is tough since I’d much rather be sailing. But I’m using the time as best I can to catch up on engine maintenance (oil changes, etc.) and some ongoing deck and rigging projects. I’ve been shuttling fuel and water from a nearby marina so that all the tanks are in a near-constant state of fullness just in case there is an opportunity to leave. The required Covid test complicates matters somewhat but with a weather window of reasonable duration shouldn’t be a show-stopper.

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