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February 2023

I have now been in Florida for four days and have acclimated to life on the boat. The trip down was uneventful but I did have one nice surprise. Also traveling to Ft Myers were Steve and Amy Hoffman and Ann Garson, all from my Federation workdays. Ann and I were even seated in the same row – what a happy coincidence!

The warm air hit me with a bang when I got off the plane as it has been unseasonably warm here for about a week. It was still a bit shocking to see the impact of Hurricane Ian. Many of the homes still have blue tarps partially covering the roofs or base layer material on the entire roof waiting for tiles. Many of the palms still look like toothpicks although there are some signs of healthy new growth. The south basin of Burnt Store also shows signs of recovery as some of the dock sections that had crumbled during the storm are being replaced.

This is the north basin - the two small bumps to the right of the pilings are manatees that don't seem to mind the mess in the water.

The north basin, which seems to have been harder hit, still looks like it did days after the storm. The sunken and damaged boats have been removed but the sea wall is crumbling and many of the docks are sinking into the basin. It is unclear to me where all the boats are that were docked in the north basin since not all of them were totaled; some were totaled, some were moved to the south basin. We are docked on F dock which is normally the transient dock but is now full of refugees from collapsed docks all over the marina. It is interesting that some boats were in a location that got them through the storm without a scratch and others were very badly damaged.

Lots of broken docks still to be replaced

Collapsed seawall

Bob did a great job of cleaning up the inside of the boat, which we normally do together. I had a very clean boat to sleep in that first night. Day one we did some cleaning of the outside of the boat which Bob had not had time to start on. The cockpit is now sparkling and an inviting place to eat our lunch or dinner.

I came back to a very clean galley.

Bob replaced the broken anemometer and light on the mast and we have now turned the boat stern-in so that we can remove the bent support for the davits and bent solar panel. A number of new stanchions have been ordered and should arrive on Saturday so that we can replace the bent ones prior to the boat coming out of the water on Wednesday for keel repair, fiberglass repair and paint job. The deep cycle house batteries and engine/generator start batteries were also damaged because there was no electricity at the dock to charge them for several weeks after the storm. We will be replacing them before we bring the boat back from the boat yard.

We will be homeless for a few weeks while theses repairs are being done. Thankfully we have great friends who have offered to open their homes or rentals to us so that we have people to visit and places to stay while we

are boatless. This should be a vacation of sorts as we will not be able to work on the boat and will have to suffer being at the pool or beach, playing pickleball or bike riding. I also hope to have some reading time.

We did join the health club here at Burnt Store and began to play pickleball on a regular basis again. I am also going to yoga classes which I love.

All in all, we are very grateful for how things

have worked out despite the failed refrigerator thermostat, broken shower pump (not hurricane related) and bicycle flat tire. A boat is a constant project and thankfully Bob has been able to fix most of the things that need attention. I am so impressed with his ability to Captain the boat. I’ll keep you posted on the repairs as they happen – hoping that once the boat is out of the water there won’t be any big surprises and once the boat is back in the water, we can do some traveling late winter and early spring.

More to come…………………..



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