• Mile Marker 712, Lang’s Marina in St. Mary’s, Georgia
Weather: 70’s – finally getting some cooler and rainier weather
**Lady Go Diver
**Knot for Sail
**Sea Vous Play
We’re on our way home, after a warm, relaxing winter in Florida.
We never left the States – it was a good decision for us. We needed to be near reliable internet and phone connections, for work and family reasons. And we did spend plenty of time involved in work (both of us) and family activities, including visits from children and trips away to attend to family matters
The furthest we got to in the boat was Marathon on Boot Key in the Florida Keys. From there we took a day trip by local bus to Key West and got to see the southernmost point in the United States.
In spite of doing less exploring on the water, we are certainly more experienced at the workings of the boat, the navigating, understanding the weather, taking advantage of the cruisers’ nets in places where lots of boaters congregate and even sailing (very occasionally). Frankly, I’m not sure how we managed at all last time we made long cruising trips – probably just sheer luck. One example is that we’re able to manage the electricity/batteries, with the help of our new Honda generator and battery monitor, so that we never have to use our headlamps to read at night. We use the bullet (blender) to make shakes and our own homemade hummus. We have use of our computers and internet most of the time. And we have lights!
Even with our growing expertise, we sure can make some big mistakes, especially running aground. All cruisers run aground in the ICW and Bahamas. But when we do it, we do it in style. Take the evening we went into Lake Sylvia in Ft. Lauderdale to anchor. We had been there previously, and we thought we had to stay to the far left (port) side as we entered the small basin (‘lake’). We slowly, carefully moved in following our anchoring guide and the charts. In spite of that, we hit the shoaled area and ran aground – hard. And unlike most times when we hit bottom, we couldn’t budge the boat. It sounded as if we had hit concrete. The worst part was that it was about 6pm and the tide was not yet at its lowest. We called Boat US to get some help, and they came quickly, but weren’t willing to pull us off: “too risky”. So we had to wait till the tide went fully out and came up again, and lifted the boat up. And wait we did, as the boat tilted way over to one side; making dinner was very difficult that night. Eventually, around 10:30pm, the tide rose enough to lift us and we floated off. We sheepishly made our way into the relatively deep lake and anchored far away from the low spot.
While we get better at handling the boat, the boat itself is getting tired and giving us more problems. Warwick just replaced a shaft in the sea water pump in the engine, which had been leaking for a couple of weeks. It required constant vigilance to make sure the bilge didn’t fill up. And now we are seeing steam from the exhaust; Warwick suspects a blockage in the sea water cooling system pipes. He’s got the engine taken apart as I write this, with parts all over the floor! But he reminds me that the engine has given us very little trouble for many years, so it’s to be expected.
On reflection, the boat provides us with a means of transportation and a home that is relatively inexpensive. It gives us an opportunity to meet other like- minded people, live more outside than in and sustains a healthy lifestyle (like needing to walk everywhere when we’re on land). And just like home, it takes effort to go out and do or see things, meet up with your friends, get the chores done.
Life on a boat is just life… on a boat.