(This post was written on December 9th. It is now the evening of December 10th and we are moored in Venice…the Florida one!)
I am excited to report that we have finally set sail from Tarpon Springs and are on our way to Miami. It was a lovely sunny first day on the water, complete with dolphins coming to our boat and swimming just in front of the bow for a minute. There is something special about wild creatures taking an interest in us humans. It feels like a hug or wink from God! Since then we have discovered that seeing dolphins is a regular occurrence in the Gulf, but so far not one that has lost its adrenaline inducing appeal.
Right now we are moored at the north end of Longboat Key, with high winds whistling around the boat. We may stay put for the day, or may decide to motor down the protected Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) instead of heading out into the open sea. We are using the time to get some school work done (blogging for me) and Travis is installing some speakers. We expect to take at least a week to work our way around to Miami. Then we will wait for the right weather to sail across the Gulf Stream to Bimini (in the Bahamas). We did not expect it to take nearly this long to get our boat ready to sail, so we will not be taking our time to explore the Florida coastline. We have to be in Nassau, Bahamas by New Year’s Eve because we are meeting family there on January 1st!
The kids and I moved onto the boat about two weeks ago to help get “Schemma” into ship-shape condition. Every night we would say “maybe we will be ready the day after tomorrow” and then the next day would introduce (or prolong) challenges for Travis to meet in preparing the boat. Technology has not been our friend and we are starting to experience the truth the joke: “What is a boat? A hole in the water into which you pour money!” I have spent quite a bit of time in stores collecting provisions. It is time consuming to shop in another country. Many of the items I want to buy are not on the shelves and there are many other items and brands that I have never heard of! It is surprising how different things are between Canada and the USA. Even when I find the same product it sometimes has a completely different taste! But I have managed to fill every nook and cranny available for stowage on the boat with provisions – so it is probably very good that I couldn’t find everything I was looking for.
One “good” problem we encountered was discovering a crack in our head (toilet) holding tank. Although, gross and messy to deal with, it has finally rid our boat of the unpleasant odour it has had since we purchased it. Travis had replaced hoses and tried all kinds of odour absorbing products with no results…and now we know why! So far, his patching is “holding” and for the first time ever we are odour free!
This is my second attempt at writing this post. Shad, Rachel and I had all written posts on the day we left our marina, only to have our computer freeze up and lose our work. Frustrating? Yes – and basically symbolic of how things have gone for us in setting up our technological communication and navigation systems! So, I will simply list a few other highlights I don’t feel like re-writing about :
– Two days of rollercoaster riding with our adventurous kids!
– Shadrach chipping off his front tooth – again. (we may get it fixed in Miami if there’s time. It is not causing him any pain, PTL)
– Taking my aunts and uncles sailing and shell collecting after they helped us park Sesame (our van) for the winter
– Finally playing the board game “Munchkin” with Shad (he had been requesting this daily)
– Taking the dinghy to walk the beach and pier in Clearwater our first night on the water.
So, in case you were starting to wonder, we are alive and well and feel like we have finally started the adventure we left home to experience.