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Goodbye Her Diamond and Reentry to Life on Land


We had a very detailed list of things we had to do to get the boat ready for the hot, humid Florida summer - arranged by boat system. So as the rainy days continued, we tried to get as much done as possible prior to our trip to Safe Cove Boat Storage in Port Charlotte. Haul out was scheduled for May 23rd. Monday evening we played bingo at Cass Cay with Keyan, Amy, Jeff and Diane – Bob still has not had a winner. His record remains intact!

Beautiful sky one of our last nights at Burnt Store

Tuesday morning we finally said good bye to Burnt Store and headed for Safe Cove. The trip had to be a motor as we had already taken the main sail off and tied up all of the rigging. We crossed Charlotte Harbor and entered the stand alone lock that takes you from the salt water bay to the fresh water canal that leads to the boat yard.

Entering the lock with an ominous sky.

The sky looked threatening but the trip was uneventful. However, the minute we were tied to the dock, the sky opened up and torrential rains began. My first concern was to see how the kayak had faired tied up on top of my car, open side up, with the cover tied tightly around it. I had been concerned that the cover would not stay on and the kayak would fill with water from the 10 plus inches we had gotten over the last two weeks.

Caved in Kayak

My fears were justified. Not only did the cover come off and the kayak fill with water, but the weight of the water had caused the kayak to bend and mold to the shape of the roof of my car. We got the kayak off the car, dumped the water and placed heavy bricks inside to help reestablish its original shape. Fast forward a few days and the kayak did return to very close to its original shape and it is usable once again. It came back with us to Cleveland on top of my car and I look forward to using it this summer.

Out she comes. Is that man smiling? It was actually a sad feeling. She had taken good care of us for a year. We will miss her this summer.

We spent the next four days taking everything that could become moldy off the boat and moving it to an air-conditioned storage facility which happens to be right next to the boat yard. This included the mattress, cushions, towels, dodger and bimini (canvas cockpit shade covers) sails and lots of other things. Everything on the boat was divided into three groups: storage, home or remain on the boat. The last category was the smallest. We positioned two dehumidifiers, one in the head (bathroom) and one in the galley (kitchen).

Boat in chaos

Both drain into the sinks and should run continuously. We created a sun shade for the boat, which is supposed to bring down the inside temperature by 10-15 degrees. The sun shade is made out of a porous material that lets rain and wind through but creates a shadow on deck.

Bob in storage locker. Did I mention is was on the second floor?

The last day of “summarizing” was spent outside in the pouring rain with just enough wind to make it uncomfortable. After 10 hours we were wet and cold but couldn’t stop because we had to be on Florida’s east coast for a hotel reservation we had made for that night – we were down right miserable. Our mantra during the year had been: We can tell you when we’ll be somewhere or we can tell you where we’ll be, but we can’t tell you both. This was the only time we broke that rule – and we paid the price.

Because we have a dinghy-tow that tows the boat with the bow in the water - marine "stuff" started to grow and had to be removed. This took hours!

Almost clean:)

While getting the boat ready for land we stayed at two lovely Airbnb locations very close to the boat yard. This was the first time we used Airbnb and we were not disappointed. Both Thomas, and Kelly and Max were terrific hosts. We stayed in rooms within their homes and felt very comfortable. Kelly went out of her way to make us feel welcome, buying flowers for our anniversary and getting Bob sugar free chocolates! Max, her border collie/aussie mix kept us amused with going to the refrigerator to get his own ice cubes from the door dispenser.

Kelly our hostess

Max at the refrigerator.

We spent a few days with Shaina, who was on Florida’s east coast, and then after a quick trip back to the boat to finish the sun shade, this time without rain, we were Cleveland bound.

Shaina with us at the movies

Her Diamond with sunshade.

The drive home was a long one. We didn’t get on the road until 3:30 pm and then I drove the first six hours – WITHOUT STOPPING. This has to be a record for me. After a quick fast food dinner we drove on till we could go no further. We stopped in a rest area around 2:00 am at which point it did not make sense to get a hotel. We slept until 5:00 am and then went to McDonalds for some breakfast. Pulling into the McDonalds my low riding car (due to the weight from being so heavily packed) hit bottom and at the same time my oil light came on. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Thankfully there was an NTB right around the corner and once it opened at 7:00 am, we poured in 1 ½ quarts of oil and proceeded on. We still don’t know why it was low.

Car loaded to go home.

We stayed our first night back in Cleveland with our friends, Randi and Eric Packer. They were our neighbors when we lived in Lyndhurst and are now so much more.

It is now almost two weeks since arriving at our “land home”. We are settled in our apartment at the Hamptons in Beachwood, less than a mile from our house, which will become available to us July 31. Although we are in a “furnished” (bed and granite kitchen counter) efficiency, we got some things from the house to make it more livable like; a loveseat, laundry basket, clothes tree and some towels.

Bob and I have both started back at work part-time with the intension of replenishing our sailing funds. We are visiting with family and friends.

So what have we learned from the past year? What have we gained that we will keep with us? Here are some of the things that come to mind in no particular order.

  1. I could never have done this without my sister – who recently retired. Thank you Lynne for taking such good care of mom. I rarely worried knowing that you and Paul were here in Cleveland. Lynne also handled our mail with great care and detail.

  2. Even though in the beginning I doubted my bravery, I really am brave. What we accomplished, the things we saw and people we met are all truly extraordinary.

  3. Having a loving partner is priceless. We spent almost every day together for a year and still love and value each other. I appreciate Bob’s attention to detail and the way he (sometimes obsessively) took care of the boat so that I always felt safe.

  4. Living on a 38 foot boat has taught us how little in materials things we need on a day to day basis. I hope to keep this perspective when we move back into the house.

  5. It’s okay not to rush. Before the trip I felt like I was always rushing. I overscheduled and wanted to do everything for fear of missing out (FOMO). Now, I am trying to pace myself.

  6. It is important to give back. The year was all about our experiences. Now I am ready to find a project that I can throw myself into.

  7. The people in your life are what matters – don’t take them for granted. Take the opportunity to meet them where ever they are.

  8. Opportunities to do what we did do not just present themselves – you have to make time for them and seize the moment.

  9. The lessons learned about sailing, navigating, exploring new settings and most importantly, “living in the moment” will be life changing.

I hope that you enjoyed coming on this journey with us. Writing the blog kept me disciplined to document our trip, which I know, now that we are back, we will appreciate. I found I like writing and hope to continue to write in some capacity, even though I can’t spell without spell check. So, as we close the chapter on one adventure, we hope to open another in November after hurricane season. Stay tuned!

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