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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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Hitchcock and dragons
Cloudy, lower 70s
01/02/2009, Titusville to Dragon Pt, Merritt Island off the Banana River.

Friday, January 02, 2009

After a last shower and checking out, we left the marina and headed south once more. It was a nice stop - the time spent with our little boat laced in her berth was very busy and constructive. After pulling out I decided it was time to catch up on my journal while Wayne had the helm.

We anchored inside of Dragon Point after letting another boat push us out of the spot we were trying to anchor in. He could see we were heading there and trying to anchor and he raced to beat us there, then pulled forward - so we continued on, then he came around again and started backing into us and gave us that double armed "What! What are you doing" posture. We ignored him and backed up a bit then anchored further back - what the hell, it's not worth his attitude, he can have that spot. There's supposed to be a 100 ft, 20 ton dragon that guards the point, but it's fallen into disrepair - majorly. You can't tell that it was ever a dragon - the statue is just a conglomeration of green concrete pieces in the water and on the point. A shame really - it sounded like it was quite awesome so I'm sorry that I never got to see it. I guess it was traditional that on the 4th of July it would breath fire and its nostrils would actually emit smoke. It would have been terrific to see! They're trying to raise funds to have the dragon rebuilt - I hope that they do it. After all what sense is there in having a point called Dragon Point, with no dragon to guide the way in or protect it? It was a nice travel day but a little weird. There were sea gulls following us the entire way and I had to keep looking behind the boat and into the water. I felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. This had never happened to us before - we hadn't fed them or anything to precipitate this kind of attraction to them. I really had to keep looking behind the boat to see if we were dragging a manatee carcass or something (we weren't Thank God!). I still don't get it - we're not fishing boat or anything like one - yet. I did pick up that "Sport Fish of Florida" book that Diana had though! Awesome book with great pictures and techniques - Wayne is looking forward to fishing! I'm looking forward to learning how to cook all his catches. I'm not in a hurry yet though.

Nice anchorage on the Banana River, it feels good to be here...to be moving south again.

Happy New Year - More Manatees
01/01/2009, Titusville, FL

Thursday, January 1, 2009
Titusville Municipal Marina, FL

Today was spent doing last minute laundry (that was previously missed), vacuuming, and finishing up storing our food goods as well as filling our water tank. When we got up this morning, the wind was roaring and the waves were rolling in so we decided to stay put. Wayne tried to hook up our macerator pump but on further inspection - it will have to wait. He originally thought the hoses and wire were in the boat but they aren't - so it will hopefully be done when we get to Vero Beach. Rumor has it that if you can't get it there, and it's for a boat, it doesn't exist. So...one more thing to do before we depart for the Bahamas. We saw the manatees again today. Yay! They're such docile and large creatures that seem to call out to me "See - we're here, you're here, now - kick back, relax... After finally seeing them, and hearing the weather reports back home - it feels real. The next hurdle will be crossing the Gulf Stream to get to the Bahamas.

I decided that we'd start the New Year off on a positive note so made breakfast with eggs, sausage and toast and then a nice dinner with Steak, salad, rolls and a Bosca Spumanti. So we're now clean, provisioned, packed, well fed, and ready to head out again tomorrow. This is a nice little place that I wouldn't mind coming back to - they have a nice park for locals to come fish at and there's stores, etc. in walking distance. For all the time our boat has been here we've spent little time at the marina except the last couple days LOL. Seeing a launch would have made a wonderful cherry on top of the cake - maybe next time?

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!

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