The cold witch of winter cast her spell upon us. We tried to escape her by leaving Minnesota behind but her frosty breath and her bone chilling cry in the wind followed us to Florida. We sailed out of Marco on a chilly day. Seven hours later we anchored in the Ten Thousand Islands off of Indian Key for a cold night.
I had pre negotiated a deal with CaptainletsleaverightafterChristmas. We could leave Minnesota earlier than I would have liked but I needed a day holed up in the middle of nowhere with a book and peanut m&ms to get my head right. I am a person of transitions. I ache from saying goodbye to friends, my boys and my daughters in loves, my beloved pet parrot, my in-laws, my parents, my large seated, warm toilet, my fluffy toilet paper, my big, beautiful, bright fridge and the most pleasurable varieties of my wine rack. The cruising life leaves me isolated and we often do not have cell or email coverage. It also leaves you generally uncomfortable and in constant continuous contact with your husband who finds great satisfaction in farting loudly. I need some space to talk myself into all of this. The best way I know how to get my head right is to get out of my head and then ease back in it as a new person. Reading is my vehicle. So I gobbled up an entire 400 page novel from one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, within twenty four hours. Can I tell you a brief quip from “Anansi Boys” to show you why I love Neil so much? A dragon flew up to a man and said, Mmmmm, you look delicious. I am going to eat you. The man tried to scare him off but the dragon laughed at him. I am afraid of nothing, he laughed. Nothing? asked the man. That’s right! said the dragon. Well, said the man, I have two pockets with nothing in them. The dragon looked very uncomfortable and flew away grumbling. I surfaced from this book a better human being and was more prepared for boat life. But it was damn cold.
The day after book gorging day was a howling frigid day of haunted banshees. We had no cell service but could pick up a lone radio station. There was a frost advisory with temperatures of 32 and a wind chill of 25. It was interesting how the DJ was helping Floridians understand the dangers of the cold. I did learn from freezing on the boat last year and brought my new down jacket (God Bless you, Caryl), hat (God Bless you my knitting smelly work friend, Cheryl), mittens, warm blankets and wool clogs. We lived in layers upon layers for 5 days. There was a small craft advisory as well as freeze advisory so we stayed put two more days. I read the Bahamas chart guide cover to cover while listening to the radio. I am surprised to discover that I quite like elevator music. I felt like I was caught between two realities on a cosmic elevator ride back to the sea. Who knew a B singer singing Barry Manilow covers and fluffy instrumental Beatles music was so magical?
We spent three nights at Indian key and then sailed a frigid seven hours to the Shark River. We came upon a pod of about fifty dolphin. They came to play in the bow of our boat and to restore my faith in sailing and transitions. Shark River was cold but pretty and no need to worry about bugs when it’s damn cold. Plus, I shivered that extra five Christmas pounds right off!
The following day we motored most of the ten hours to Marathon in the middle keys. We kissed the bottom, or hit a log, on the way out of the anchorage but it caused no more damage than heartburn. It was during these ten hours that I realized how much John reminds me of my boys when they were toddlers. You would crack up if you saw a fast motion video of us on the boat. I would be continually perched in one of my queen seats looking forward, standing at the helm, or huddled out of the wind in the sun. John would be up and down the companionway stairs fifty times, at the bow twenty times, working on sails or other projects or just spinning around like a whirling dervish. In between his three meals he would be snacking pretty much always. When he doesn’t know what to do with himself he turns in circles. Then I say, why don’t you go play with your legos? (fix something) Or, why don’t you play a video game? (look at your navigation charts) Or, I think someone needs a nap, in which this day he agreed and went and crashed for an hour. The only time he is quiet and peaceful is when he is sleeping or when he has his bottle. My Captainnotlazy.
Six foot long Ricardo Tortardo Turtle, with a pencil thin mustache, welcomed us to Marathon. Again, Ricardo helped me realize that maybe I really do like sailing. We are currently anchored just off of Boot Key. It has warmed up considerably but I am still complaining. The anchorage is very roly poly meaning that the boat is popping around like a cork in the ocean. It makes me a bit queasy as I have not yet found my sea legs. This is our seventh day on the boat and we still have about a third of our water. I short changed us on a previous post. We did not get off the boat at all for six days straight. Tomorrow, we plan to water, diesel and then to sail up to Fiesta Key and then to Key Largo the day after that. There we will sit and wait for calm weather to cross the gulf stream over to the Bahamas.