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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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The end of a year and MANATEE!!!
12/31/2008, Titusville, FL

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well more packing the boat and most of the day was spent (for me) doing laundry too. Wayne tried putting the wind generator together but we have the wrong heater element so that will have to wait.

I finally saw some manatee!!!! Down between A and B dock there were 4-5 of them and 1 with a smaller one (the mom and calf?) I dang near broke an ankle running back to the boat with the laundry to grab my camera! They are huge!!! I started singing Barbara Manateeee - you are the one for meeee!!! LOL and I noticed that if people squirt water from their hose into the water it attracts them and they slowly migrate that way and drink the fresh water from the hoses! That was an unbelievable sight.

Later, while washing down the topside of the boat they started congregating near the boat and going under it to catch the water that drained off the boat. Another camera moment... It was kind of scary watching this because they are so big - half the length of the boat (18 ft). Some had algae and barnacles on their skin. I can see why they say don't feed or water them. They then hang out around the boat and if you start the boat - you could do damage. Some had cuts on their back from propellers. They do not need to become dependent on the handouts no matter how cute it might be. It can only harm them as they lose their fear of people and boats. I was glad to finally get to see not just one but at least 7 of them! Four kind of hanging out near our boat - it was so cool to see them at last :)

This is the end of the year. So many changes for Wayne and me this year... I left teaching, we left home and we've traveled over 2700 miles since leaving Saugatuck. It's been a long time since Wayne and I have been together 24/7. We've compacted our world into 36 feet and began chasing a life that we dreamed about many years ago. Granted that some of the past is trying to haunt us and may end our trip, but for now, what we have is enough. We have each other, we have our health, we have our little boat, we are chasing life and hopefully it will let us catch it while we can. It's been a learning year, and the next one even more so. I miss my friends, I miss my students and I miss my family and home. The trip has its ups and downs - some very scary (coming into port in the dark in a stormy sea), some thrilling (like the first time we saw dolphins - and a snow storm, or the first manatees). It's not all fun. There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of unknown. But there's much learning too - about each other, our capabilities, our limitations and the path in the world that we've chosen to explore.

I'm raising my glass to my family, friends and others that are sharing this path with us - vicariously or along the way - here's to following dreams, to chasing life. May we all be able to catch what it brings us. May the future hold true... Happy New Year to everyone and thanks for being a part of our life this year!

Storing our provisions
12/30/2008, Titusville, FL

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Unloaded the remaining items from the car and Wayne took it back while I started the task of "where to put all this stuff"!?!?! This is a major undertaking. We decided to re-inventory everything so we'd know what we have, what we use, and what we need which meant going through everything before starting to pack all the new stuff too. This will take more than a day...

Coming back from the showers Wayne saw a pair of manatee - a mom and her calf! I insisted that he was taunting me but he insisted that it was true so I ran and got my camera again! Not one in sight... Well it was a break from tearing up the place to take a count of canned goods and looking for places to put more canned goods. Even if I didn't see a manatee.

Customs and other stuff
Sunny, 79
12/29/2008, Titusville, Fl

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our First Stop today - Customs, in Port Canaveral, to get a "local boaters option card". This should allow us to get back into the country when we return from the Bahamas (similar to the Nexus or I-69 that's used for crossing into Canada back home). We also need the CBP (Customs and Boarder Patrol) Decal like last year, but were told that we need to order those online now. When we bought the one last year, nobody wanted to see it, but it's mandatory so I've ordered it online to be sent to Laura & Gregs. We don't want any problems coming back home like last time...

Second stop - QVS in Orlando for Wayne's stuff, then Sam's Club and Walmarts, CVS and back to the marina to unload everything. The boat has no room to move about in! Tomorrow we need to have the car back to Enterprise by noon, and then we need to start finding places to put all the food and stuff we've bought!

I was asking one lady in the showers if they have manatee here and she said oh yes! The mythical creatures are here - all over the place! I've seen puffer fish, skate, rays, dolphin and jellies, but not one manatee yet! She said they usually hang out down between D and E dock (We're on A dock) so I took my camera down there - no luck...

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