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Happy New Year 2002!

Happy New Year!
... now that I've finally recovered enough to write

We spent New Year on the boat and had a lovely time, though the temperature has dropped rapidly since then. It was 0c here on Thursday night and the people of Florida have been walking around looking a bit shocked by the icy conditions - though some of them are still wearing shorts. We passed a guy walking down the main street with a chainsaw and a crazed look on his face the other day, so I guess the cold weather affects people in different ways.

We're still anchored in Titusville as we're due to fly back to Europe in another week or two, but things have been fairly interesting in the anchorage this week. Everything was quite calm on Wednesday afternoon when we were suddenly hit by a squall with winds up to 50 knots (100km/h) and torrential rain pounding down. We were confident that our anchor was dug in well enough so that we wouldn't move, but the danger is always that you'll get hit by another boat as it drags across the anchorage. Several boats appeared to be on the move, but one in particular caught our attention. There was a red sailing boat with apparently no-one on board that looked like it was coming straight for us. Nina and I grabbed our waterproofs and got out onto deck, ready to fend it off, but it slid by with some space to spare. The wind had dropped to about 35 knots now, but the red boat continued dragging and was on course to run into Titusville swing bridge, which is about 500m away from us. I called the bridge operator on the radio to warn them that there was a boat adrift heading towards them, then Nina and I grabbed lifejackets and climbed into the dinghy to go over and try to board it. As the rain was falling so heavily, it was flattening the worst of the waves down, but the dinghy was still full of water and the rain was just running down our faces and into our mouths. We made it over to the red boat as it was half-way over to the bridge, Nina stayed alongside in the dinghy with the engine running in case we had to get away fast, and I got on board. There was a wind generator hoisted above the foredeck which was going crazy in the storm, and I had to duck down low so that I wouldn't get hit by the spinning blades. There was definitely no-one on board, so I let out all of the anchor chain to slow the boat down, then put out another anchor. Slowly, her bows swung around into the wind as the anchors began to dig in, and she stopped drifting. When we were sure that she was safe, I crawled back under the wind generator, got back into the dinghy, and we returned to Zamindar, very, very wet. In the evening, however, we noticed a puzzled couple returning to their relocated boat after looking all over the anchorage for it!

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