Upon return from the Bahamas, the month at Boca Chica helped fulfill many requirements. First the truck needed to be returned to the Solomons. To do that we could use the other half of Bill's round trip air fare after dropping it off last October. Next, Jean needed another kid-fix with Amelia, Carson and the twins and it was time for grandpa to sight the two new boys. The Navy marina was happy to rent us a mooring for the month as the transient slips were filling rapidly with folks waiting for the perfect window to cross to Bimini. And lastly, alone "on the ball", Bill could get into some of the long overdue boat maintenance that usually gets disrupted with the ongoing social activity at the piers. This later work would take place in the ten days between Bill and Jean's returns to Key West.
All went according to plan. We shifted off to Stock Island to take on some really cheap diesel fuel and settled into the routine of daily dinghy rides and generator cycles to keep the batteries topped up. The abbreviated social schedule still included potlucks ashore and a few hosted happy hours aboard Chapter III. On one such occasion, with four other couples visiting, we were treated to a SEAL swimmer reconnaissance mission. Thirty or so underwater units, lighted with chem-lites, swam under/around the boat and into the marina while we were restricted aboard. It was a strange sight with no bubbles, but lots of bobbing green glowing sticks just beneath the surface.
The road trip north was more leisurely than past ones. We stopped in Mayport to visit with friends and take a walk to the jetties...and a trip down memory lane. Our beautiful quarters had been demolished with only trees left behind. It was shocking to find that Maryland was still in the throes of winter and we quickly remembered why we had become climatically mobile with the boat. The four grand children were magnificent with the older two taking on real personalities and the twins fully invested in the eat-sleep-poop cycle of newborns. At week's end Bill fled the established one adult per child ratio for a less complicated life afloat and Jean settled in to the routine of grandmom.
The last half of February was made much easier as Betty and John Renzi loaned Bill their car. He was able to restock from the commissary and partake in the weekend Sugarloaf Key farmers/flea market. Although the wind kept active. most of the boat projects were completed before Jean returned on March 5. After picking her up at the airport, it was time to embark bikes, pump out and make it to the Friday social at the Navigator. Our stay at this wonderful marina was coming to an end.