Living in the Boat Yard
23 October 2011 | Tiger Point Marine, Fernandina Beach FL
Beth - low 70's today
We are back into boat mode and it feels very good.
Our first SSCA Gam (Seven Seas Cruising Association Gathering) was highly enjoyable, and will be the first of many, I hope. The best part of it all was seeing Marilyn and Bruce (Reflection) again, but a close second was the opportunity to meet several folks who have cruised to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Marilyn introduced us to Major, Pam and Don, Nancy and Steve, Sue and Rob - all of whom had stories to share, tips and encouragement. Thanks most especially to Pam and Don, who gave us specific advice and contacts as we huddled together over lunch and then sent follow up emails - and who fed our fire for visiting this area.
We left early to race back to Ocala to attend the wedding of our old friend Bill Crowell and his new bride, Suzanne. Bill's first wife, Frances, (who passed on a couple of years ago) was a lifelong friend of Jim's mother and it was quite a treat to attend this event, with memories of old loves mingling with the celebration of new loves; with eyes focused on the present and hearts big enough to embrace everyone. We wish them and their families (including our "big-boat-cruising buddies" Christine and Art) the very best for the future.
From that celebration, we drove to Vero Beach to visit Nancy and Jim (Solitaire). Those two sure know how to make Nova Scotians feel welcome - invite all the Nova Scotians in the neighbourhood over for Happy Hour! Believe it or not - there was a crowd! Good thing we could gather around their pool instead of in Solitaire's cockpit - we wouldn't have fit. And oh that pool was a lovely place to end the evening before retiring to our private little cabana - such luxury!
Then it was back to Fernandina Beach and the good company and hospitality of Tina and Dick Devoe. We met these folks on our first trip south and look forward to our yearly visits. Dick's company, True Course Captain's School, (www.truecourses.com) offers USCG approved courses including training and test for the USCG Captain's license. Tina is a Healing Touch Practitioner and Instructor so healing and wholeness and boating expertise (along with lots of laughs and Klondike Bars) are the common ground for good times and conversation when the four of us get together. We based ourselves at their house while we got Madcap into livable condition and have now Moved Aboard!
As I crouched under Madcap's hull watching the rain the other day, and as I climbed up the ladder under the stars last night, it occurred to me (not for the first time) that boat yards are really quite wonderful places to be. They are places where people are working to prepare their vessels and themselves for adventure; many of us are practicing new skills and are on steep learning curves while others are using old skills on new boats, and still others are following familiar routines on boats they've had for years. We're all working with our hands as we cast our minds into the future. For Jim and me - our days are filled with hands on things like sanding and varnishing woodwork, checking (and this year replacing) anchor chain, replacing shower drain pump, installing new wifi system, washing and waxing and polishing the fiberglass exterior, checking furling lines and halyards and sheets and lifelines, installing new soundproofing tiles around the engine. When we've finished that list, we'll move on to the next one. In between the work, though, are the conversations with the boaters around us. Both this year and last, Ed and Karin (Passages) have been the first friends we've met when we got to the yard - great way to start off the year! As Jim looked around, he spotted a bus bearing an Ontario plate and two cars with NS plates, and Mireille and Christian's PQ car is parked across the road. The Canadians are arriving! We've enjoyed conversations with our neighbours, Doug and Pat (Sanctuary), John and Debbie (the Rossborough up the way), Steve and Patty (Indigo Falcon), Roger and Bonnie (Kokomo) and Baird (Romulus). This morning, Mike Meadows, a local resident, came bicycling by and stopped to chat - offering help with anything we might need while we're here. There are wonderful people here in Fernandina Beach! Other treasured activities in our boatyard days are visits to the Farmers' Market for bags of fresh veggies, luscious chicken pies and multigrain bread, the wine sale at Harris Teeter, and sinking up to our chins in the hot tub with Tina and Dick. We're feeling contentment, and excitement, and yes - fatigue and dizzying "listitis" and wallets that shrink with every visit to the store ... and we're grateful for every bit of it.
Here's wishing all of you opportunities to work hard, play happily, rest easy.