I bet you thought Captain Letskeepgoing got his way and we sailed off into the great blue yonder. Or perhaps you thought a giant kraken finally sunk his teeth into us and we were nothing but kraken caca. No, no. We are safely in Marco woefully dismantling Echoes for her season of rest on the dock.
Our return trip was another cosmic ride in the transitions elevator only this time from sea level to land. We began the return with a glorious nine hour sail to anchor completely alone on the Mackie Shoal with nothing but sea around us for over thirty miles in any direction. We were alone because others wisely waited as the seas were a bit unsettled. We bounced around uncomfortably at anchor until it settled down in the wee hours.
From there we had another lonnnng day until we reached Cat Cay and anchored for a couple of nights to wait for the appropriate weather to cross the gulf stream. We enjoyed a couple of quiet days swimming,
watching a remora sleep,
and gathering our wits to return to the states.
We watched a beautiful sunrise behind us as we left Cat Cay to cross the gulf stream. After nearly four months on the water the seas turned to an eerie, glassy reflection for the first time. I reflected in its reflection.
I reflected on the beautiful, friendly Bahamian people we have come to love along with their relaxed way of life. No one is a stranger to them. If you are there, you are theirs. For instance, a little boy ran out of his house and stood in the road when he saw us coming up the street. NONE shall pass!! he yelled, Until SIMON says! And so we laughed and played and earned our right to continue on our way. Everyone who drives by you waves or asks if you want a ride. A grocery store clerk told us at length how she wrecked her eyesight by working in an office cubicle but now that she can see the sea her eyesight is getting better. She told us this long story as there were a line of five people waiting and no one seemed to be bothered by the delay. It is rude not to make small talk with everyone you meet. I reflected on the joy of receiving basic human acceptance. Bahamians don’t look through you or try to hurry you along out of their way. It is heartwarming to be seen by a whole entire community.
It was if all my kraken fearing stress had finally worn the darn sea out. Even when we reached the gulf stream the waves were nothing but a little role. We did get a bit concerned when we smelled smoke. I took my professional sniffer (I do smell research when I’m home in Minnesota) into the cabin to make sure it wasn’t coming from there. It wasn’t. We noticed a haze in the sky and realized it was smog from Miami as we approached. What a difference a mere fifty plus miles across the sea makes. It was a bit of a culture shock. We went from buying local fish from a couple of teenagers to standing in Fresh Market in Coconut Grove awestruck. I swear we were in the grocery store for two hours spinning on the possibilities. An hour of that was in the wine section. And then we went out to glorious restaurants… Indian, Italian. The first night, we were a mile off of our mooring ball and a block from the marina when Captain We’renotintheBahamasanymore realized he was barefoot. We had to stop and buy slides for him. Mostly, Captain Itsthebestwaytoshop laments that he can’t drink beer while grocery shopping. I realized quite suddenly as I was surrounded by Miami TV type beauty that I look like a ship hippy; no make up, my hair hasn’t been cut or colored since December, my clothes are functional, are sorta cleanish and who wears a bra on a boat? Miami was enjoyable but shocking.
We worked our way down the keys as far as Fiesta Cay. We had a special private party with a rack of lamb, shiraz, a full moon rise followed by heat lightning and dolphin swimming around our private anchorage. It was a memorable night. A few days later we chose a new route that uses the intracoastal to reach the Everglades sooner. It was fun to try new navigation but it was stressfully shallow and we hit a submerged piling of some sort even though we were going very slow. BAYAYAYAYNG! It was scary. Captain Igottoseethis dove our keel and said there is a nice, large semicircle dent in the iron keel. We won’t take that short cut again.
We love the Everglades. There are miles and miles to get lost fishing in. The birds are back in their splendor and plenty because of the fresh water. It is beautiful and abandoned. We enjoyed gunkholing and our last days at sea. Our boys and daughter in love were coming to Marco in a week to visit. We had much to look forward to.
We have limited cellular access in the Everglades but I received notice that my dad was in the hospital. We got to Marco as fast as we could and went from the dock to the hospital. He had a kidney infection, blood infection and double pneumonia. The night before I arrived my mom was in the hospital with a kidney infection although she refused to be admitted. They like to do things together. Remember my post on my dad, my hero? It is fitting I started this years blog adventure with him and end it talking about him as well. He is an inspiration and he just happens to be my biggest blog fan. I was going through his paperwork and bills and found mounds of printed blog posts. My, I am prolific! My dad is stable now, he is in his retirement center in the Chicago area and we have hope he will be back to his golfing, dancing, joking ways soon. But it was touch and go and a difficult two weeks. I do not believe in coincidences. Once I got to Miami I downloaded the book Echoes’ previous owner wrote, Selah in the Storm, by Ana Donovitch, that I mentioned in a previous post. I read about her trouble with Florida healthcare after her Captain was tragically hit by a car. Ana’s book helped to prepare me to earn the hospital staff’s nickname for me, the General. I am thankful for Echoes, Selah, Ana’s book and the universe’s timing.
Tomorrow we will be driving in a meandering way back to Stillwater, Minnesota via St Augustine, Nashville, Kansas City, Chicago and home. As we tuck Echoes in I am melancholy leaving her behind but am so incredibly grateful for our adventures this year and super excited to explore more of the Bahamas next year. Maybe we will stay a little longer. At the same time, I am reminded of truly the greatest adventure of all. The adventures of the heart. Like sailing, love is a privilege, a pleasure and often a pain in the ass. Like all great adventures there are storms, bugs, kraken, smooth and rough seas, and wondrous surprises. Never take the people and the love you have for granted. Never stop stirring up new love adventures in this great big beautiful world full of crazy people that are hungry to love you back.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent, celebrate, refelct and poke fun at Captain Nowhedoesn’tgettotellmewhattodoalldaylong! Captain Myspecialloverwhotakesmeongreatadventures and I look forward to blogging and sharing with you next year.