We threw up the sails and had a beautiful broad reach most of the forty two miles to Marco. Clipping along at seven plus knots in the calm gulf is giggle worthy. I texted one of our speed loving buddies who has sailed with us often and Jay replied, To quote Sammy Hagar, I can’t drive….5. Laugh all you want at our slow progress. You can’t take the wind out my sails. Sailing in these conditions feels like flying.
In Marco, at my parents beautiful condominium, I slept like a starfish on a king size bed in an air temperature controlled environment. Magnificently, I was neither cold nor hot. I would pad to the loo upon soft carpeting when the nocturnal nature calling fairies awoke me in the night. There I sat upon a large, porcelain throne like the princess that I am. Most of my expansive derriere fit on it and it was quite comfortable. I used heaping amounts of soft, cloud like toilet paper on my delicates. Then, rather than pumping furiously, I lightly pressed down on a silver lever. Everything went magically away never having to be dealt with again. I followed this up with letting the water run wastefully until it was a perfect warmth. I washed my hands which were finally healing from multiple line (rope) burns, a bee sting (apparently they don’t like to be grabbed while napping on a line) a splinter gone bad, and gouges from errant screwdrivers or other odd tools. Then, I changed the water over to a nice, chilly cold and guzzled as much of it as I could in hopes that the fairies would wake me up again so I could do it all over. You landlubbers are spoiled.
Unpleasantly, I also drove around in a metal vehicle at alarming speeds of up to sixty miles per hour. Others were coming from the opposite direction at the same speed very close by. In Florida, they have rules of navigation that I don’t understand. Like, they leave their blinkers on continuously and turn them off when they turn. Driving is frightening. I don’t know how you brave souls ride in these demons on a daily basis.
On our living room wall in Stillwater hangs a picture my mom painted for us of the view of the seas and mid ship to bow of a sailboat. We took the picture on our first chartering adventure 15 years ago . It is my favorite painting. John asked my mom to paint the view from our Minnesota living room to hang in our boat. She completed this beauty by the time we returned. It is perfect!
The original plan was to relax in Marco, maybe even lay down on a beach for the first time, or drink a foo foo drink with an umbrella in it by a pool. But there were projects to do. When you do one project it reproduces like a rabbit and turns into nine more. John was in his glory. I stomped my feet like a petulant toddler mumbling about pina coladas and naps as I retrieved tools and lubricants. On the bright side, our refrigerator has been redesigned, a screw has been removed from duck valve inside a pump motor and our stuffing box has been restuffed. No, not that one. The one in the teeny tiny space in the engine compartment under the companionway stairs. I believe this project was completed just so John could buy these enormous wrenches that weigh a ton. He has a bruise on his elbow about eight inches in diameter from this project.
Most importantly our anchor light has not been working this whole trip. This is not safe and does not help one’s (my) night’s sleep. We hired Ocean Su to climb our mast of 58 feet and try a new bulb in hopes that would fix it. Ocean Su is a character of monumental proportions. We met the one hundred pounds soaking wet gal at 8:00 am and told her at 2:00 pm that we needed to get back to our projects. She charged us for an hour of her time in cash and a beer. She is an avid sailor with a captain’s licence, sailing teaching credentials, a rigger, a varnisher, a sailing racer and a talker. We enjoyed her company very much and she taught us things about our boat that were mind boggling which added thirty six more projects to our list. However, a master electrician she was not. Unfortunately, she broke the non removable light bulb in the anchor light fixture at the top of the mast that we don’t have a replacement for and we still don’t know if that is even the problem. But, bless her heart, she showed us how to climb the mast ourselves in case we ever needed to in the future. This excited John to hyperbolic proportions. So after she left he decided that I would hoist him up with two halyard lines, a winch and a twenty year old Bosun’s chair to the first spreader (approximately twenty feet) so he could check out another broken light. Same old story; he was excited and I was sick to my stomach. The wind was blowing and the neighbor was gawking and, I shit you not, told us how he fell trying to attempt the same thing and did we want any help. No,no. We’ve got this, John says. I grumble and John asks if I would rather learn to do this now or when there is a problem at sea, at night and in the rain? Up he went. The neighbor asked, again, I shit you not, if he had life insurance. John said, No, I canceled it recently. And that is a good thing because Candis would probably cut the line right now if I had not. Down he came without cutting the line and rather smoothly I might add. All was well after a glass of wine. I was too busy freaking out to take a picture of John up there.
After the fairies woke me up last night I lay in bed thinking about leaving soon on our next adventure to the Keys and Dry Tortuga’s . I decided it felt very much like giving birth. The first time you think, I’ve got this. Look how many before me have reproduced successfully and I am not a complete idiot. But then a freight train rips through your body and you can’t sit down or sleep for eighteen plus years. How you made the choice with your nativity the first time is understandable. What is inconceivable is that you willingly have a second child knowing full well what is likely to come. It turns out I really am a complete idiot. But both the adventures of the heart and of the sails are worth every challenge, misstep and frustration. In fact, nothing brings me greater joy than my two boys and sailing is not far behind.
Tomorrow we hope to leave for a sixty three mile sail to the Shark River in the Everglades. We were there when we moved the boat from Miami and we did indeed see a shark lurking around. It is said that they greet the cruisers in hopes a small tasty dog will fall overboard. We also encountered mosquitoes in biblical proportions. We plan to move on from there to some natural anchorages off of the keys. I have plenty of sausage provisioned. We will be without cell and internet for at least a couple of days. I wonder what stories I will have to tell when we can catch up with you again.