18 November 2015 | Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
Sailboats are built for motion, they make terrible floating trailers. I love boats, but I have never wanted to live on a boat. When a boat stops moving, it loses interest for me. Its beauty is in motion, sails full, sheets loaded, heeled slightly, lifting forward, slicing the sea before its bow. The smell of spray! At anchor, as we have been for the last six days, it is a gangly, top-heavy thing covered by an inconvenient, now-purposeless web of rigging, lines, wires and a dozen little things upon which to stub a toe.
And so it is with some difficulty that Tammy and I are adjusting to life in a 35-foot long "float-a-minium" roughly the shape of a human eye. The novelty is wearing off, and now it is a matter of power budgets, water budgets, hot water budgets, damp sheets, pump-outs, dinghying to shore, hiking to grocery stores... heck, we'd be odd if we did NOT ask ourselves: Is it all worth it?
We have enjoyed Marathon Key. Yesterday we explored mangrove-lined Sister Creek by dinghy and saw our first manatee. The creek meets the ocean at Sombrero Beach, so we pulled the dinghy up onto the sand and went for a walk. The frothy sea reminded us why we have dallied here. 20kt winds over the last four days have churned up 5-6' seas in the Hawk Channel. In hyper-protected Boot Key Harbor, we had nearly forgotten. And so we have mingled with the tourists, enjoying the sights, the Turtle Hospital (very cool) while taking care of boat chores, which I assure you do not go away once you leave the dock, as well as a dozen other little things too small to mention. Despite this busyness, we both feel a little lost at times. Yesterday I found myself spying on my fellow cruisers to try to figure out what they actually DID all day. I asked Tammy the same question aloud. It was not rhetorical. She shrugged.
They say that a boat spends 95% of its time at anchor. If that is true - and I don't doubt that it is - then we will have to find at least as much purpose and beauty ashore as at sea. And that's really not that different from our life before cruising.