Reflections on Cruise 2011/12
16 March 2012
Yes, it's hard to believe that we've just concluded our fourth year of long-term (if not long-distance) cruising. To rehash our first three years:
Year 1 - Fresh into retirement, Judy, Chopin and I leave home on September1, 2008 to head down the eastern coast of US then to the Bahamas for the winter. Our idyllic adventure is harshly interrupted by my brother's death and while we pick up the pieces, it's been very hard on us.
Year 2 - Still reeling from our terrible family tragedy, we decide to stay in the US this year and cruise the Florida Keys. It's what the doctor ordered and was a pleasant year.
Year 3 - Back to the Bahamas in the company of our wonderful friends Roger and Jacquie, we have a great year exploring the beautiful Exumas. We are learning to cruise at leisure and don't feel we always have to be on the move.
This year we head down at our usual time (early November). We're still somewhat dazed by the death of my Mom and the many arrangements and affairs associated with her passing. Also, we're a bit distracted by the impending birth of three great nieces/nephews as well as the prospects of the sale of Judy's parents' homestead in New Jersey. As a result we decide that it's probably more feasible to remain in Florida and explore the west coast than head to Bahamas. Not long after I'm back on Sea Sharp, we receive an offer on my late Mother's house and I commit to return home. Fortuitously, Sea Sharp is still on the hard and Judy is still at her parents'. So while it's inconvenient and disruptive, I head home and attend to the sale of the house. It's a huge relief having this off our minds and Judy reunites with me on Sea Sharp and we launch and head off.
We spend five relaxing weeks at Loggerhead Marina in Stuart before heading down to Miami, then to the Keys. We start to run out of time and family matters are again pressing so we decide to head back north early. And here we are, reflecting on the conclusion of another year.
Some observations/conclusions after four years....
* We only put on 500 miles and to places we've pretty well already cruised but it was very relaxing and enjoyable
* We did miss the beauty of the Bahamas but Judy was able to make up for the swimming part she loves so much with the several pools at the marinas we stayed at as well as swimming off the back of Sea Sharp at every opportunity.
* We miss cruising with Roger and Jacquie and missed Georgina's visit
* Sea Sharp worked very well and provided us, once again with a comfortable and convenient home
* Poor Chopin is getting old and has a harder and harder time going up and down the companionway. Having said this he's still game and loves the long walks Judy takes him.
* We seem to finally have conquered our energy management issues which is a big relief.
* Our stay at the Loggerhead Marinas was very pleasant and we highly recommend this family of marinas.
* I have become less and less concerned with specific goals (destinations, miles, etc) and content to roam around on whim.
* We continue to be amazed at the closeness and inter-woveness of the cruising community. We run into folks we have met over the years and meet many new people.
* We had a few great sails, almost exclusively in Biscayne Bay
* We had great visits, mostly short but very pleasant; notably Jim and Jackie, Peter and Sandi, Lloyd and Murielle and certainly Judy's brother Jerry.
* Maintaining a boat under live-aboard conditions and in a subtropical environment is a constant battle. But, it's possible to keep a boat in Bristol condition if you work at it.
* Boats shrink and grow. When you first arrive back on the boat it seems so large; then as the season progresses, it gets very small. At the end of the season when you face the many projects to ready it for storage, it grows again.
* Emergency health care in Florida is responsive and professional (evidence my slicing of my hand near Miami).
And so, it is with mixed emotions that we abandon Sea Sharp to her summer internment, "on the hard" at Riverside Marina. On the other hand we have important family matters to attend to, notably the arrival of three grand nieces/nephews and helping Judy's parents with their transition to a new domicile. And, of course, we look forward to resuming our summer lives in New Brunswick and renewing our many friendships!
P.S. There may be more posts coming so don't think this is the end until next fall. And we love to hear from readers - we never know who and how many are following and whether the effort is worth it or not. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org