05/17/2009, Marathon Florida
I've been in Marathon for almost 2 weeks now. I have been fortunate to get some work here. There is a daily 'cruisers net' each am at 9:00. That is a time when everyone gathers around their VHF radios and meets on the air. They meet and greet, and trade info and needs. A couple from England needed some work on their boat bottom and I offered my services. It has worked out well. They needed the bottom of their boat stripped to the gelcoat, then coated with epoxy, and painted. If anyone has done this they know what a difficult, grueling, grimy, and nasty job this is. It took the two of us 8 days to get it from the water to painted ready for the new bottom paint. They have been treating me very well, and are kind, pleasant and appreciative. I have been doing almost nothing but working on the boat and coming home exhausted and doing it again.
Yesterday I took a break and went with some friends from the harbor to a beach. We hardly went near the water at all. We spent most of the day having a picnic and playing frisbee games. It was a very pleasant day I got to spend with a group of people who I really like.
Tomorrow it is back to the boat bottom, we still have a few days work, but it is the easy stuff now.
05/07/2009, Chicago, Illinois
We've been home about six weeks. By "we" I mean the kids and I. Bill is just back from sailing from Ponce to Florida aboard Wanderlust. He and his crew of three left Ponce, Puerto Rico on the 20th of April. They made a brief stop in Luperon, and have now returned to mainland USA. We have been settling in. It feels remarkably normal.
Today I went to work. I went back to the office that had been mine for the last 10 years. I have keys again for the first time in 18 months. I ran errands on the way home (bank, library, post office), and it all felt so familiar. It's really hard to believe that it's really me that sailed on that boat to Venezuela and most of the way back. It's surreal that the voyage is in my past, and no longer in my future. It almost feels like I never left, or was just on a rather long vacation.
But some things are really different. I can deal with uncertainty and change far better than I used to. There's a lot that's still really "up in the air" about our future, and the logistics of settling back in. My two mottos are "embrace uncertainty", and "one decision at a time". I was always the one with a plan (dinner with friends was sometimes scheduled six weeks in advance). Little frustrations just don't bother me anymore. I got used to really big ones while cruising (how long until the next weather window!!?!). I notice how quick shore-side folks are to complain about how hard it is to get things done, or the incompetence of those who are supposed to help. I just thing of checking into the Dominican Republic, or checking out of Trinidad, and the systems here seem like well-oiled machines. Besides, it's easy to go on the internet or pick up a phone and take care of . . .whatever it is.
Dishes and laundry are incredibly easy, so the kids never complain about their chores any more. I guess laundry and dishes, done at home with an easy-access washing machine, and a dishwasher, are nothing compared hand washing the dishes every night in a tiny sink with cold water, or lugging the laundry bags by dinghy to a mystery laundry that may or may not be open/be busy/be working/be clean. And they don't miss varnishing the bright work and painting the anchor chain. They're happy to be back with their friends. Benjamin is in school, Noah is finishing up the home schooling year, and Alice continues at her high school. They help me, and they help each other. They get along better than they ever did, and they complain less, too.
It's taken me until now to figure out what I've learned, and how this voyage changed me. So far, I like what I see.
There are a bunch of new photos in the gallery. They include photos of the 4 buddied on the boat. We go motorcycling in Luperon, see the oldest church in the New World, founded by Columbus in 1494, and catch a bunch of fish.