When a boat sits lonely in the elements upon the water for six months it tends to complain when its beloved owners return to her. Our VHF (emergency and means of communication with other boaters) radio quit working within the first hour after pulling out of Marco. We have a back up, hand held radio but we will need to replace the old VHF. Echoes has had many other small and large complaints as the days have worn on. But mostly, she is thrilled to have us back with her and to be free upon the sea.
We had a cold but pleasant motor to our first anchorage in the Indian River in the Everglades.
Captain Theprincessisgettingsmarter set B.P., our anchor. (Read the blog post Back to Long Boat Key if you would like to know what B.P. stands for and you are not easily offended by sailorly language.) We bought a new, fancy snubber that secures B.P.’s chain and relieves some of her pressure. We were excited to give it a try. We knew heavy weather was coming so we tucked ourselves three miles up the river. We grilled pork tenderloin, opened a fresh bottle of wine and watched a full moon rise off the horizon to eventually light up the starry sky with its mystical light. Echoes glowed almost purple in the moonlight. The river was calm and the dolphins were hunting fish in the mangrove. You could hear them breathing through their blowholes and their bodies slapping the water in the hunt. We went to bed happy and content.
Two hours later the winds, rain, thunder and lightning came. The temperatures dropped. It got down to forty degrees which is laughable to my northern friends but not to me with no heat. Echoes spun on B.P.’s chain around and around. The chain would yank her with a great force when it reached the end of its leash. The spinning was wild and unnerving because of the current, waves and the wind. The chain would scrape against the keel with a loud, low, painful groan. The banshees whipped through the rigging making a haunting howl. I would peer out my port window to see if we were floating down river or just around again on the chain. And I then I saw him. The kraken’s tentacled arm pushed Echoes’ stern into another spin. He howled in laughter with the banshees. Captain Notsleepingeither ventured out in the storm many times that night to check B.P. Our new snubber kept letting loose so he finally switched back to the old one. The kraken tormented us all night.
We woke up with just a few inches of water under us. Unbeknownst to us, the chain let itself slowly out when the new snubber let loose so that we eventually drifted into the shallows. We needed to sit another day to let the weather pass so we waited until high tide to reset. Captain Befuddled raised B.P. to find she had her panties in a bunch. Apparently the chain wrapped itself around the anchor a number of times during the spins. It took quite a lot of strength and time to undo the mess. And then the depth sounder and the wind instrument took a shit as we went to re-anchor. And because the details are long and tedious I will sum it up by saying, the kraken and the lighting blew some gizmos. But Captain Remarkablytalentedmechanicallyaswellashandsome messed with connections and fuses and dealywacks until we had a depth gauge again. But more replacement parts will be needed.
And that was our first twenty four hours.
It has been four days since then and we are currently anchored off of Islamorada in the blowing, northerly wind researching, tracking down needed parts, fixing things and writing. Guess who is doing what? And because I have spent many daydreaming hours at sea to get here, my head is full of stories. I will leave you with one.
Sir Earl Turtle swam up to the Sea Princess and asked her,
Why do you drip salty tears into the already abundant salty sea?
I have recently returned to the sea, Sir Earl. I have left my kingdom in the far north and I will miss my safe, stable palace, my grand throne with the simple handle that flushes and I will miss my many bottles of purple and amber elixir among other comforts. My throne on the sea is rudimentary at best and my elixir comes in boxes. But much more than this, I will miss my family, friends and pet parrot in my faraway kingdom.
Does your faraway palace move upon the earth for you to explore as you and your Captain so love to do?
No, it does not. It is frozen solid in frigid temperatures onto the earth upon which it was raised.
Does the elixir lose its magic from the bottle to the box?
Well, no, not exactly.
And the people of your kingdom, do they not celebrate that you are the Sea Princess as well as the Princess of the Flushing Throne on Frozen Land?
I suppose they do understand this about me.
And does it not make their hearts happy to know that your heart is happy at sea?
Maybe it does, Sir Earl.
Have not the seagulls followed you today in your sea vessel? And didn’t the pelicans perform their acrobatics for you? And when the sun sets, do not the cormorants whisper their goodnights to you with their wings flapping in the wind? Sea Princess, are there not others to love your parrot?
Yes, Sir Earl, I think so.
Did not the dolphins leap in joy at your bow to greet you back to the sea? Do you not have friends here who have missed you?
Yes, of course, Sir.
And, isn’t your Captain happy at sea?
Yes, very, Sir Earl, and this makes me happy.
Then why do you focus your thoughts on the barnacled underbelly of things? Why not choose to place your thoughts on the brilliance of sea life in front of you? I have a terrible itch that I cannot reach. I do not dwell on it all day. Instead, I rejoice in the delicacies of sea grass and jelly fish, and the endless sea to explore. When I do think of my itch, I think about the day I will welcome my fish friends who will eat the parasite that is causing my itch. Princess, think about what has made you happy today.
You, Sir Earl Turtle, I was thrilled to see you in your slow splendor pop out of the sea and I am grateful for your visit.
Sir Earl Turtle simply nodded once at the Sea Princess and dove back to the depths and his tasty sea grass.
And the Princess transformed fully back into the Sea Princess.
Not the end.
But she does live happily ever after.