27/11/2011/8:24 pm, Vero Beach, Florida
We're on easy street now. Leak found and fixed. Pension cheques started landing in bank account. Batteries maintaining charge. Hooeee!
Jim and I went through the boat from bow to stern, inspecting all thruhulls and shining a flashlight on every little bit of water we found. That is how we spotted a little trickle of constantly moving water coming from under the bath tub (yes, the Bayfield 36 does indeed have a mini bath tub) and dripping past the thruhull under the sink in the head down into the bilge by the mast. (That is how we also found a small leak at one of the chain plates, and another small leak under our berth when the deck wash pump is turned on - not the problems we were looking for but next on the fixit list.)
Two lines ran up that way - one to bring water into the toilet to flush it, and one to the deck wash. Jim figured the most likely source was the deck wash, and while Karin and I went for a walk, he and Ed (Passages) pulled out the line to have a look. Sure enough, there was a crack about 12 inches long that had been allowing water to seep out for who knows how long? Months anyway. There is a new Ace Hardware store on the road to the beach so when we got the call from Jim, Karin and I bought enough ¾ inch tubing to replace the old one and hustled home. With Ed on one end and Jim on the other, they wrestled the new tubing from the deck wash connection under our bed, under the bathtub, through the locker behind the toilet and attached it to the T under the sink. By the time they were done, the wine was poured (well - poured and half finished, if you want the truth!) and we celebrated a job well done. Next morning we turned on that bilge pump and not a drop came out. Yippee!
American Thanksgiving dinner was a fabulous success - enough turkey to go around and dozens of tasty contributions from boaters. I took a rutabaga/apple dish and fell in love with a roasted brussels sprouts/pomegranate seed one. We learned that even though dinner was at 2 according to the poster, one needs to snag seats much earlier than that. Thanks to Tom and Chris (Polar Pacer) we had seats with them, Ed and Karin (Passages), and Russ and Lori (Ortolan) - making a happy table. We chatted with Vic and Marilyn (Whisper) and Jeannie and Randy (Mutual Fun) during the evening and met up with Eric (Further) as well. Eric lives here now and has a successful business making vases, decorative tiles and sinks - just gorgeous pieces. See his work at commongroundpottery.com . There were over 100 people there and it was a wonderful grand time of thanksgiving and feasting.
Many eyes were on the sky Saturday morning as we watched the Mars rocket soar upward from Cape Canaveral. No matter how many times we watch the tiny specks of light shoot up into the sky, leaving behind trails of wispy white fluff, it is always thrilling to see these rockets headed for outer space.
We walked to the Farmer's Market at Humiston Park along the beach where I restocked my produce baskets with cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, spicy lettuce mixes and multi coloured peppers. Like many markets, several of the stands had produce from the wholesalers, but I shopped at the small one that sold local, close to organic, produce. In the evening, we dined on tender pork chops, creamy pasta and fresh salad with Karin and Ed chez Passages.
Today, Sunday, I went for a fine walk on the beach while Jim rested. He has a bit of an intestinal bug and is trying to shake that before we go off on more adventures. It was a beautiful beach day and many children splashed and played in the breakers while older ones chased waves on their boogie boards. I crept up on a few little sandpipers as they skittered across the sand, and had a cursory look for interesting shells, but it just felt so good to get out there and walk as fast as I could - stretching out some tightened muscles and getting oxygen into every corner of my lungs, that I came back with empty pockets and unused camera - and a wonderfully fatigued sense of well being. We enjoyed having Cathy and Paul (Lucia) join us for Sundowners. We laughed at one more of those small world experiences. They are from Moncton, NB and we grew up in Amherst, NS - about 40 minutes away. When the usual "Did you go to Mount A?" question arose, Paul said his brother did, and it turned out Peter was not only a classmate of Jim's at Mount A but also at UNB Law School. Definitely a small world!
Tomorrow is laundry day here at the marina and a grocery store run on the little local FREE bus. We'll stay here another few days and then head on down to Stuart - just a short trip - to stay another while. We are into leisurely travelling until after Christmas.
This picture is of the birds that fish from the little mangrove islet just behind our mooring. I can pass away many hours watching the birdlife!
24/11/2011/8:41 am, Vero Beach, Florida
Our table and filled plates at Thanksgiving Dinner.
Karin, Ed, John, Tom, Chris, Lori, Russ, Jim
23/11/2011/9:15 pm, Vero Beach, Florida
As I think back over the years, it is always people for whom I am most thankful. The people who show up when I am most in need; the people who love me no matter what I do; the people who teach me lessons; the people who encourage me and lift me up; the people who nudge and prod me forward. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Wednesday, the day before American Thanksgiving was a bit of a rough day. I didn't sleep well the night before - thinking of all the things I had done wrong in my life and all the wrongs that had been done to me. I got up and read for a couple of hours in the night, managed to distract myself in the morning by going shopping with my good friend, Nancy, (a million thank you's, Nancy), ignoring the new problem of water in the bilge, and then sanding the handrails on our cabin roof. (There is really nothing quite like sanding to settle the mind - unless it is brushing on that first coat of cetol and seeing the grain of the wood spring to life - but that will come in a day or two ...)
About 4 o'clock, Jim and I closed up the boat because the clouds looked ominous, put our concerns aside, climbed into the dinghy and went exploring through the mooring field. We spotted a boat from Moncton, NB and stopped to say hello to Paul and Cathy (Lucia - I think - I'll have to go look again) who had just arrived in. And then Connie and Ken (Oz) called to say they had driven up from Ft. Pierce and were at the dinghy dock. We picked them up and brought them out to Madcap and settled in for Happy Hour. We first met these two (from Toronto) a couple of years ago in Norfolk, Virginia as we started down the ICW and always treasure our reunions. Amid the "How are you? ... what are you doing?... where are you going?... oh you must go here or there...do you know?... have you met ... ?...how is ... ? ... Have you seen ... ?" it hit me. Thank goodness for friends.
It is people - friends - who make this life we have chosen to lead so very, very special. Sure, we have wonderful, treasured friends at home, but these friends who understand that we survive and prosper only through the helpfulness, understanding and support of others are a breed apart. I know it is overly simplistic to compare ourselves to early settlers like those I've read about, but there is surely some degree of comparison. We absolutely could not lead this life were it not for the knowledge and encouragement of people we meet along the way. We need a mechanic? Someone knows of a good one. We need a haul out? Someone knows of a nearby yard. We need a leak fixed? Some one knows what to check first, or second or third. We need a ride? "I'll pick you up" or "Here are the keys." No matter how many glitches we may encounter, there will be friends to help us surmount them and to encourage us along the way.
We had a magnificent couple of hours with Ken and Connie - talking of our various plans for the coming season and remembering the friends we have in common. Chris and Peaches - I want you to know we thought of you fondly as we devoured a full bag of pistachio nuts!! We'll try to emulate your hospitality as we stock these goodies this year.
We know that whatever our needs, there will be a friend to help. We know that wherever we go, someone will have been there before. We also know we can pass on the wisdom we have gained. We can offer our own help and support.
This day ended so very much better than it started. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Thanks for helping. Thanks for being present.