Another Season Concludes
15 March 2012
I've got a lot to report since my last post which related our return to Stuart. Well, in the week we spent at Loggerhead Marina in Stuart we were very, very busy but still had time to relax and enjoy the company and pleasures of this marina and beautiful town. Basically, we went through the boat from one end to the other, cleaning, servicing and packing in preparation for summer storage.
It's amazing how much "stuff" we lug on board every year, only to repack and lug back home. I won't bore you with the tedium of this process but suffice it to say that we had a lot on our plate. It was great doing this work at the marina as we were on a dock and were able to cart our stuff back to our jeep and load it directly. We are very conscientious about how we prepare our boat for storage. And this diligence has paid off in the last three years as the boat has been dry and clean upon our return. We've heard horror stories about owners who have returned to their boats after storage for the summer only to find it full of mold and mildew. In our case, we remove our clothing but store all the remainder of the linens, canvas and sails in very large zip lock type bags. We thoroughly clean the boat inside and out and I change the oil, service the outboard and generator and do any number of other chores.
In this busy week, we were fortunate to have made contact with great old running friends from Fredericton, Lloyd and Murielle. We had them over for dinner and it was good fun. Also, there were the usual pot lucks, happy hours and dinners out. And, of course, Judy (Nemo) swam daily at the marina pool.
The weather is dodgy this past weekend but we're now anxious to get home. On Monday the weather starts to improve (although it is still very blustery) and we decide to head from Stuart to Fort Pierce where our summer storage Marina, Riverside, is located. We very much enjoyed our two stays at Loggerhead Stuart and highly comment it to our cruising friends.
We leave at dead low tide at Stuart because we want to arrive at Riverside at high tide as the channel into the marina is quite skinny. The consequence is that we run aground just leaving Stuart but with generous application of throttle, we plow our way through the soft bottom and shortly make our way out the St. Lucie River to the ICW.
After an unremarkable day, we arrive at Riverside around 2:30 and as prearranged drive right into the slipway. I flush the engine and then we are immediately hauled out, pressure washed and moved into the yard and blocked. By 4:30, Sea Sharp is stored although there still is a lot to do. I work a bit more on her while Judy goes to the motel to check in. We were only able to get one night at this place so we'll have to figure out what to do tomorrow (Tuesday).
Up early on Tuesday, we get right to work on Sea Sharp. I'm almost overwhelmed by the many, many details I have to look after but Judy helps out immeasurably, and in fact does all of the loading of the Jeep. Judy then has to check out and find another motel. This latter turns out to be difficult as many places don't want pets, even if poor old Chopin does not create much havoc. She calls to report that she has found one but I tell her that I've made huge progress on our preparations and may be done by early afternoon. So we decide to finish our work and get on the road. By 2 o'clock, I'm done and we check out at the Marina and we head to the Fort Pierce airport where the Customs and Border office is located. We surrender our documents and hit the road. It's sad to leave the boat but we're particularly pleased by how well the decommissioning went. We drive to Georgia tonight (Tuesday) and remark at what great progress we've made.
We head out on Wednesday morning and drive through eight states and arrive at Judy's parents' home in New Jersey twelve hours later around 8:00 p.m. We get the usual warm welcome at Judy's home and reflect that three days ago, we were on Sea Sharp in Stuart and now we're more than 1,000 miles away, the boat stored and heading home. Two weeks ago, when I sliced my hand we were worried our plans were out the window but my temporary handicap really did not cause much of a problem even though I had to be careful. It's particularly timely as we learn that our niece may have her baby as early as Saturday and we want to be home for this momentous event!
I promise to post at least once more with my usual reflections on year four of cruising. Stay tuned!