The adventure starts again………….
We left Cleveland the Saturday after celebrating thanksgiving at my brothers. Thank you Dona for hosting a delicious thanksgiving meal! We enjoyed being with family and we have a new tradition of our daughters sleeping over thanksgiving night and then spending at least part of Friday together. We danced in the kitchen while making breakfast which was reminiscent of dancing in the kitchen with my mother. After a trip to Lush, the girls went home and we worked our asses off getting the house ready to leave and pass the keys over to our house sitter. I always question whether having someone in the house while we are gone is worth the work. The upside of boxing things up each year is that we get rid of stuff we don’t need or want – it is a very thorough spring type cleaning. We have been blessed that the last two renter/house sitters have really left the house in great shape. I am hoping this year will be the same.
The car is packed with little room to spare
The trip down to Florida was fairly uneventful. Although there is supposed to be lots of holiday traffic the weekend after Thanksgiving, the only time it was apparent is when there was an accident. Otherwise the thousands of cars seem to move along as if in a dance, with everyone knowing their part. Accidents on the other hand, back traffic up for miles either because of the cars and emergency vehicles on the road or the rubbernecking on the other side of the highway. We had two of these on the way down, one each on Saturday and Sunday. After our stop in Savannah, the second day was relatively short and we arrived at the boat at about 4:00 pm.
So I don’t want this to be like a face book post of only happy positive things. I want this to be more realistic, the good and the more difficult. Many people fantasize about sailing off seeing a very idealistic picture. Some of the time that is exactly what it is like; like when there is a beautiful sunset while on anchor. But often times it is very challenging. Matters from home come with you.
I ran into a lady at the hotel in Savannah who put things in perspective for me, and I hope this will stay with me for the long haul. We registered at the hotel after dinner at about 9:00 pm. I was riding up to our floor in the elevator with a very nice looking, but obviously fatigued African American woman. I looked at the lady and said “long day” and she looked back at me and said,” I am so grateful”. What a terrific attitude! I too am grateful.
When we got to Safe Cove to uncover the boat and start the process of putting Her Diamond back together, we noticed that our buddy boat from last year had a for sale sign on it. It got me thinking about all the wonderful people that have come into our lives during the past three seasons that are no longer in boating, or have their boats up for sale. It saddens me to think that going forward they may not stay a part of our lives. Staying in contact with people you don’t see on a day to day takes lots of effort.
I had forgotten how much work there is to do to get the boat ready for the sailing season. This year we have to paint the bottom with antifouling paint to try to keep the growth on the bottom to a minimum. There is no way to stop it all together but at $300 a gallon this paint better help. This is something that you have to do every three years and our time was up. We paid the yard to rough sand the bottom so that the paint will adhere better. We masked and rolled the paint on. We started out thinking that we only needed one coat, but after we examined the sanded bottom, realized that two coats were necessary. Like so many tasks, it took much more effort than we originally anticipated.
We spent the next 10 days doing what had to be done on the boat and coming back to David’s house exhausted and barely able to cook dinner before watching a few minutes of TV and falling asleep. This is why it has taken me so long to post the first blog of the season. In the last 10 days we have:
Before and after cleaning - the far side is yet to be cleaned.
Cleaned the dingy – we leave the dinghy covered with a tarp and upside down so that the summer rains don’t fill it up and the sun doesn’t degrade the vinyl material. Last year frogs used it as a home and when we uncovered it tens of frogs jumped out. This year we only had a few frogs but had more mold on the vinyl. I scrubbed the vinyl for hours – not yet 100%, but so much better. As an aside, boaters could spend hundreds of dollars on cleaning fluids trying to find exactly the right one for the material in question; vinyl, stainless steel, sailcloth, wood, fiberglass…
Reinstalled the solar panel - Keyan took the panel down for us during the summer when we thought a hurricane might pass through
Polish the propeller so it can be painted with antifouling paint. During the sailing season barnacles attach to anything below the water line.
Unpack the boxes and wipe down the wood interio
Wash the deck so that dirt doesn’t fall on the topsides when we wash and wax them
Wash and wax the topsides – this is the area on the outside of the boat above the water line and in our case it is navy blue – beautiful when clean and shinny
Reinstall the mainsail and install the Jenniker (this is a separate story to come later)
Waterproof the cockpit canvas to prevent dripping during rainstorms – like the one that is moving through as I type. No drips yet!!!
Polish the stainless steel – this I started for the first time. Our boat neighbor in the yard suggested a cleaner that cleans and polishes at the same time so that the task did not seem so overwhelming. I have about 2/3rds done at this point and will finish as we travel doing a little at a time.
Provisioning the galley for the next few months.
Bob putting on the new coat of paint.
Baby alligator watching the action at Safe Cove
There are hundreds of little things like hanging the lamp or reinstalling the GFI that I won’t bother to list. You get the point.
Our sailing buddies Bill and Michael (fondly referred to as “the Boys”) came down from the east coast on Friday and started working on their boat which was stored right next to ours. It was so nice to see them and we picked up right where we left off last April. They are also staying at David’s house. Cooking together in the evenings (even eating vegetarian) and playing cribbage has made the work much more enjoyable. We can’t thank David and Rhonda enough for sharing their home with us.
I am trying to keep the ever grateful attitude and for the most part I have been successful. The most stressful part for me has been provisioning the boat (food, beverage, household supplies). I always second guess myself as to what to buy and how much to buy. I will have another chance to provision when and if we cross to the Bahamas. So, I am trying not to stress about it too much.
Christmas lights at Burnt Store Marina as seen from the golf cart tour.
Friday December 13th we moved the boat to Burnt Store Marina (BSM), leaving the boys at Safe Cove to finish up their commissioning work. We motored through the canal, exited the lock and glided into Charlotte Harbor. We had a two our motor to BSM during which I took a nap for the first time in months.
Motoring into BSM felt like a home coming; the familiar was welcoming. We are docked on the T of F dock near the restaurant which is both good and bad. Depending how long we are here, we will be hearing all of the music from the entertainment at the restaurant and the off key singing from karaoke. We ran into people we know from our first year here. They too are thinking of selling their boat.
More to come………….