Closer To Getting Nowhere

Thursday January 10, 2013

Just as we had rolled out of bed this morning, we got a text from Rode Trip saying that we better be up and ready because they were on their way over to visit.  We had mentioned to them that the keel was coming off today and we all wanted to watch it, and maybe open a bottle of wine to celebrate.  We weren’t given an exact time from the marina, they had only said sometime in the afternoon, so we assumed it would take place between one and four.  Since they had come in late morning and there isn’t much to do while hanging around in a boatyard we thought we’d make the trip up to Sailor’s Exchange (not the bathroom one) since it was on their list of things to check out while in town.  Walking down the dirt road the marina is on, that apparently has been under construction for over a year, we passed the boat yard where Frank and Yu are, and saw them climbing down the ladder from their boat.  We waived and continued on our way until their car pulled up behind us and they offered us a ride.  Piling four people into the backseat of a hatchback was a little crowded, plus it was a very bumpy ride, but we all got there in one piece and tumbled out the doors once they were opened.

Instead of flocking to my normal area of books and magazines once inside, Stephanie and I poked around the antique are for a little while and looked through all the country’s flags that were for sale.    They still haven’t picked up a Bahamian courtesy flag yet, but for the price of $13 they were asking here, they weren’t going home today with one either.  Doing a sweep of the aisles I tried to get interested in all the little blocks and water pumps and things that might be useful to the boat, but they could only hold my attention so long and soon I was in the book corner, flipping through magazines of places we still hope to travel one day.  Stephanie soon joined me and we talked about jumping off points to the Bahamas while looking at maps and where we’d like to check in.  They have a tentative plan to jump out from St. Augustine if the right weather window comes, otherwise, just like us, they’ll probably go over from Lake Worth to West End.  After we got that out of the way and wondered what our guys were up to, or how much money they were spending, we went in search and found them at the check-out counter.  Brian was leaving empty handed, but Matt had found a block with an attached cam cleat for us, and also a casting net for catching shrimp and small fish to be used as bait.  From what we hear they’re supposed to be great, and even Brian has brought in handfuls of shrimp with his already.

Making the long walk back to the boat yard we walked up just in time to see Serendipity hanging in the lift.  Punching the code into the gate and running in we found out that we were too late to catch the full show, the rudder and keel had already been removed.  We missed the big show, but we were still able to watch them set the boat on a new set of blocks just ahead of where the keel remained and then drive off with the lift.  From what we could gather from the workers, the rudder would be shipped off the next day for repairs as it was definitely now obvious that it was bent.  We’re not sure what method they’re going to choose to fix it, but Matt thinks it will involve them splitting it down the middle, making a cast with the good side, molding a new half, and then piecing it back together with foam and fiberglass.  We don’t know how long that will take, but it’s not looking like we’ll be put back together tomorrow as we’d hoped.  Since Serendip will have to be lifted regardless just to get the rudder back on, the keel will stay off as well until everything is ready.  The only good news is they assured us we’d still be stable enough for us to continue to live on the boat on the hard, even without the keel attached.  Music to our ears since we thought we’d be spending that time in a hotel or forced (willingly) to the other side of the state to stay with family.

While Matt went through the details with the yard workers and wallowed in pity that we wouldn’t be put back together right away, Brian and Stephanie and I decided to take up an empty part of the yard to try out the new casting net.  Since Brian already had some experience with his and I’m terrible at learning from books, I need to see it to learn it, we figured it was a great opportunity for me to become a casting pro.  Unraveling it from all the line it was bound in, he showed me the different parts and the steps to get it ready to throw.  Not that I knew anything about casting nets before this, except it was a great opportunity to provide us with some shrimp cocktails, I honestly thought it would be as easy as picking it up and throwing it in the water.  Oh no.  There are many more steps to it than that.  Letting Brain take a few practice runs himself so I could see how it was done he showed me how to loop the rope in my hand and then gather the top half of the net in it.  The next step was to separate half the net from itself by wrapping it across your leg, and then gathering that half to then wrap over your arm holding the rope.  Here’s where it starts to get tricky.  After that part have to look down where the bottom and weighted part is starting to run up and cause two different heights between the net still sitting by your legs (Still with me?  Confusing, I know) and then grab that part and put it between your teeth.  When that’s done you take the net that was draped over your arm and let it fall back down, causing a triangle shape that I can still never make out.  Now you’re ready to toss.  Standing with your back to the area you want it to end up you do some kind of discus toss, letting it release from your arms and mouth, and it should open up and drape over the water.  Theoretically pretending there was water there and not dirt, you’d let it sink for a few minutes and then yank all the line in which closes the bottom and secures your catch.  I did a few practice rounds myself which weren’t as terrible as I thought, but one thing I wasn’t expecting is how heavy the weights on the bottom were and the net did not go very far from where I tossed it.  Looks like if we’re going to be having shrimp cocktails soon, I need to work on my upper body strength.

Why don’t we have this on the boat?

50 Cent Wednesday

Wednesday January 9, 2012

Last week when Frank and Yu had introduced us to Scarlett O’Hara’s here in the historic part of town, we were so enamored with the Wednesday happy hour special that we had decided right there that we’d be back the next week.  Hoping a ride into town in their Subaru we even found a parking spot in the exact lot as last time, although it looked like there must have been an event going on in town because the area was packed.  Even when we walked up to the patio at Scarlett’s every table outside was full and the outside bar was full with plenty of college kids.  It looked like spring break had started, but about two months early.  Walking inside we could see it was just as packed and after doing a lap of the restaurant and going upstairs and down we thought we’d be out of luck finding a table, but just as we were about to leave I spotted a table that had just been vacated.  It was on the other side of a set of stairs that we needed to walk around to get there, but so paranoid that someone would scoop it up before we could get there I threw my purse on the table, almost hitting the waitress that had just walked up to buss it.  Throwing out a quick apology we all rushed around and sat down before anything could happen to our newly reserved spot.

Taking menus even though we already knew what we wanted, the question then became: wings, shrimp, or oysters, and how many of each?  Yu had verified that the oysters she had last week, although delicious, were not very filling, especially in quantities of five or ten.  Craving them since I had seen her sipping on them last week I had been smart enough to throw back a granola bar before we left, but I was still starving.  I knew I could do a combo of wings & oysters, but for some reason in my mind the numbers of the combination seemed very important and it wasn’t until our drinks arrived at the table I was finally able to come to a decision.  Probably because I had just finished updating our cost for the year, and even $0.50 appetizers were throwing me into a frenzy with the budget.  Even a combination of 15 total would only come to a bill of $7.50, but I couldn’t bring myself to go that high.  So I went with thirteen to save myself a dollar.  Yes, I am a little crazy.  Welcome to the world of non-retired cruisers.

Sipping our 2-4-1 margaritas I commented on how many young people were out that night.  “Lots of college kids”, I observed.  “Right”, Yu responded, “They’re all back from Christmas break now”.  Duh.  I had completely forgotten that we were in the heart of a college town.  I don’t know how it didn’t dawn on me since we were planning a tour of Flagler College over the weekend with Rode Trip, who just got down from St. Mary’s.  I didn’t have too much time to dwell on my slowness for long since the food came out and soon my fingers and mouth were stained orange in buffalo sauce.  Between bites of food we talked about what it was like to be a cruising couple, how you’re together all the time, and how the boat is now like a child between the two of you.  We got to hear about some of the stupid things they argue about now that would never have come up on land and I mentioned that when you’re together all day every day it gets hard to find chances to miss each other like what used to happen, even if we were just going off to work.  It definitely is a different lifestyle, but between the four of us, none of us would take our old lives back over what we have now.  And it’s becoming much more rare now that I hear this statement from Matt:  “But we could have had a condo in the heart of downtown overlooking the river!”.

Before we could get into it much further though, we got a text from Brian and Stephanie (on Rode Trip) who said they were on their way to meet us.  After a few minutes of staring outside at street signs and correctly give directions, they were walking in the door and we tried to throw a few chairs at the end of our booth to accommodate them.  They also joined in on the wing special even though the rest of us had finished, and once they had finished we were going to find another bar.  Just before they had gotten there though, and just before the 2-4-1 drink special ended, Matt, Yu, and I put in orders for one more round of margaritas.  Which in our minds meant that he would get one, I would get one, and that would be our 2-4-1.  The margaritas came out and we hadn’t even gotten five sips in when our server comes back with another round on top of that saying “Sorry, I couldn’t hold these behind the bar any longer”.  Apparently 2-4-1 in her eyes meant that we were each going to get two for the price of one.  Specifics.  Gotta remember those next time.  So even though all of us wanted to get out and explore new parts of the town, half of the group was trying to chug down two margaritas each just to get our money’s worth.  I think the good news was that we’d have our fill of alcohol for the rest of the night and could therefore spend less any place we went after.

Relying on Frank and Yu for local knowledge again, we let Yu pick the next bar based on cheap beer prices and the fact they had a pool table.  This next place happened to be the American Legion and had just a little bit different of a crowd than Scarlett’s.    Seating ourselves at a round table off to the side we could tell that for most people inside the bar it wasn’t a place to be lively and upbeat, but a place to drown sorrows.  Hopefully all of our happy chatter wasn’t going to be a buzzkill for their solitude and time spent reflecting.  That thought only lasted a half a second though, and then we went back to enjoying ourselves and enjoying the $1 jello shots they had to offer.  Only one though, I still had four margaritas in me to keep down.  For the next few hours we just spent time hanging out, enjoying old friends and introducing them to new friends.  Yu showed off her pool skills and I tried to find all the techno songs I could on the jukebox.  We didn’t end up closing the legion down, but it was a great night out and I hope we can drag ourselves out of bed in the morning to get in as much time as possible with Brian and Stephanie while they’re here.

The old gang is back together again!

Street acrobatics.

Picturesque St. Augustine

Monday January 7, 2012

We have gone back to sitting around the boat the past few days, but the good news is, we got word from our insurance company on Thursday that they are going to proceed with the claim and would be sending a check right out.  Over the weekend we did a few small jobs on the boat that we could, removing a few things that we had the ability to do ourselves and save on the labor.  Things such as remove the rudder, max prop, shaft and strut.  It was all done pretty quickly and easily, so there’s not much to report on it.  Real work should be starting later in the week though, and then I can start reporting on Serendipity’s recovery. So until then, here is a gallery of photos of the beautiful city we’ve been stuck in for the past five weeks.

You, Me and Manatee

Friday January 4, 2013

Ever since we shipwrecked our sorry little butts here in St. Augustine we have been in touch with one of the locals, Chris, who heard our distress call on the radio and through the magic of Google our website right away online and has been giving us helpful hints on the town and even dropped by a few weeks ago to introduce himself and drop of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies we’ve ever had. Through his helpful hints on the best places to visit in town and help us in any way we could need, he also hinted that he’d like to take us to a natural spring just outside of town to see manatees that would gather there in the winter, if we had the time and the want to do something like that.  Not only was it a very generous offer on his part, but perfectly timed since from the moment we arrived in St. Augustine we’ve had our eyes out for them in the water since they are supposed to frequent the area. So an offer to be taken to a place where we knew they’d be seen was enough to get me as excited as if we were going to Disney World.* After the holidays had passed and schedules were slowing down we set a date and planned to make the drive to Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, about a 90 minute drive from St. Augustine.

 Picking us up from the marine center in the late morning we spent the drive over catching up on how the holidays went and the new potential of progress on Serendipity. As we were getting close to the springs, Chris had another treat up his sleeve, he wanted to treat us to lunch at a local BBQ place that was supposed to be a great southern experience. He warned that it may be a little bit of a hole in the wall, but from our past experiences, those usually tend to be the best. Being the neurotic person that I sometimes am, I had already viewed the online menu before we ever set foot in the place, already sure of what I was going to order. Maybe it was because I had skipped breakfast in my rush to get out the companion way in the morning, but suddenly everything was looking good and I was back to square one. Luckily Chris was there to save me as he mentioned that between Matt and I, someone needed to get the steak and rib combo. Strangely having had a conversation on the ride down about how much I was craving a nice, juicy, medium-rare steak, I immediately volunteered myself for the meal while promising to give little pieces to Matt.

When the food came out I was faced with two choices of meat, a perfectly baked sweet potato, coleslaw and garlic bread. Usually enough food to last me for three meals but I didn’t hesitate one second to dig right in. True to his claims of it being an extraordinary barbeque experience, the food did not disappoint and most conversation halted while we all savored what was on our plates. Eating much more than I should have I eventually began forcing pieces of steak and ribs onto Matt’s plate before I could fall into a food coma and never leave the table. He was only too happy to pick up my slack before falling victim to overeating as well and swearing off any more food for the rest of the day. Not before getting a 32 oz Coke to-go for the road though. That boy and his pop. I fear if I ever get between him and his addiction.

Rolling ourselves back into the van we made the short drive the rest of the way to Blue Springs, getting more excited with each mile that passed. The day was cool and overcast, and even as we stepped out into the parking lot there was a light mist that settled on our faces, but nothing could bring down our excitement as we walked toward the boardwalk  with views of the water. Stopping just before the overlook on the spring run we began to read the plaque on the area being a habitat for the manatees in the winter months. Still being close enough to the water to see it from where we were standing, Chris nonchalantly goes, “Oh, I see one right there”. Granted he has been here before so the occurrence wasn’t as new for him, but it was enough to stop both our eyes from scrolling the rest of the way down the plaque and dart to the water’s edge.

Since Chris had sent a link to our Facebook page of the area that I scanned before coming, I knew they tried to keep a daily count of the manatees in the spring, which was hovering just over 100, but Matt had come expecting to really seek them out so he was dumbfounded when we got to the wooden deck perched over the water and there were herds of them in the sprawled out below us. Knowing they’d be easy to spot I was just as thrilled to see them and we turned into those six year olds on a field trip to the zoo, feet bouncing on the ground as I looked below. The sight really was breathtaking though, and not what either of us had been expecting to see. The water was emerald green in color and crystal clear. Looking down there were easily twenty manatees below us, some just hovering in one spot, and others slowly made their way through the water. We stood over one as it moved about directly below us, very interested in the pole that housed the camera for live internet feed.

Although I had seen a few years ago (half a life ago, now that I come to think of it), for anyone who has not seen a manatee or does not know much about them, here is a brief history. What we were standing over watching were West Indie Manatees, or the Florida Manatee to be more specific. These are mammals with front flippers and no hind limbs. Adults are approximately 9-11 feet long and weigh from 450-1,300 lbs. They are sometimes called sea cows, and the name fits pretty aptly. They are large grazers of the sea that move at a slow pace without much agenda. One thing none of us knew was their large geographic range, with the West Indies species ranging all through the Caribbean and even over to the east coast of Central America. Should we finally spot them in the wild we may be seeing them for quite awhile on our journeys.

In addition to the many manatees in front of us were huge schools of fish swimming through the water. My initial thought was, ‘I wish we had brought the fishing poles, these things look like a sure catch‘, but of course it was a no fishing zone so we settled for watching them pass by as we tried to guess the species. Using any basic knowledge we had, and eavesdropping on other’s conversations, we gathered a few names of what we thought was treading below us. Turning my back to the water for the first time I was smack dab in front of a very large and colorful sign that listed photos of the most common fish in these waters and what they were. Quickly we were able to go back to pointing them out in the water and calling them out by name. An added bonus is other people who hadn’t yet seen the sign but eavesdropping on our conversation actually thought we were much more knowledgeable than we actually were. Score one for appearances.

 Making our way up the run we continuously got closer to the spring, but also lost sight of the manatees the closer we got. Once upon the spring there was no vegetation and only a few gar fish. The spring itself looked like a gash in the water just a few shades darker than the water around it. There was a large branch resting across the top of it and you couldn’t see very far down, but from images on posters in the area the spring was a popular diving area that went down close to 150 ft and ran at an angle ending 130 ft to the side of the entrance. Not that I’ve ever even been diving before, but it looked a little narrow in some areas and probably would have made me a little claustrophobic, but I have a few friends that probably would have enjoyed it. The area is open to swimming in general in the summer months which looks fun, take a quick dive down and come right back to the surface. Another fun fact about the spring is that it pushes out over a million gallons of water a day. That’s incredible!

Going back to where we had originally started and where 98% of the manatees were gathered. We watched them float around for a little longer before heading to other viewing areas closer to the river, and supposedly where alligators could be seen at times. Yet another thing on the list of animals we have not managed to see yet on this trip. Keeping our eyes peeled in the much darker waters of the river there were no beady eyes hovering at the surface. Just as we looked the other direction there was a thrashing in the water that was quite violent and more than a splash. It was most likely a manatee having a little fun in the river, but none of us saw, and we can’t quite be sure. So to satisfy my imagination and happiness I’ll pretend that it was an alligator wrestling something, other than a manatee, in hopes for a late afternoon snack. What we were able to get visual confirmation on though was a bald eagle resting in a tree top, the second one we’ve seen in Florida now thanks to Chris’ help (who knew there was one that hangs around near the boat yard?) With chances of an actual alligator sighting growing slimmer we headed back to the park grounds.

Just before leaving we took a quick tour of the Thursby house, a plantation built in the mid 1850’s from the first people to settle at the springs. Only the first of three floors was open for viewing and while most rooms were empty of furnishings but housed photos and information of the homes history. Based on other homes of the era that we had toured on our travels south this one seemed to have much larger room, hallways, and even higher doors than what we had been used to seeing. Something comperable to if it were just built in the past 20 years. I think I smell some remodeling? After having covered every inch this park had to offer us we climbed back in the van for the drive home, tired but completely fulfilled. It was such a special and thoughtful trip, and we’re so lucky to have met Chris take us under his wing and share experiences we’d never be able to have on our own. It sounds like it’s going to be the first of many though, so stay tuned as we may actually have other adventures coming up while we’re stuck on the hard.

*He also gave us tickets to Disney World since he gets them for volunteering there.  How nice is this guy?!



Pleased To Meet Yu

Thursday December 27, 2012

Just before the holidays we had a comment on our website that said something along the lines of ‘Just found your website through your surveyor, we happen to be in the boat yard right next to yours, we’d love to meet up sometime‘.  We love meeting new people, we’ve done it plenty of times through the website, and didn’t think anything of it when we set up the date.  The couple that contacted us are Frank and Yu, and are outfitting their Hans Christian 41, Moitessier, living on the hard in St. Augustine until they are ready to leave.  Yu has been working at one of the hotels in town to save up the kitty and Frank works on the boat with hopes they’ll be tossing off bow lines in late 2013.   Setting a date to meet up for just after Christmas they let us know they have a car at their disposal they said they’d swing over and get us where we’d then run into town to grab a drink.

Giving directions for the 1/4 mile drive next door (no, really, we are that close to each other) they picked us up after dinner where we then told them since they were the locals we were at the mercy of wherever they wanted to take us.  Jumping into the car we did introductions and they almost apologized for sending an invite to meet us over the internet.  ‘We didn’t know if you guys would be weirded out, some people you’ve never met send you and e-mail and want to get together.‘.  We also then found out that they’ve spent all of their time getting their boat ready so they haven’t been out cruising yet to find out that’s how you meet half your friends.  People you’ve never seen in your life that stumble upon you and since you have this huge common link you don’t think twice about a chance to get together and share experiences and revel in the fact that there are other people out there who are just as crazy as you are.  So were we weirded out?  Not at all.  It’s how I met one of my current best friends that I now talk to every day.

Taking the car to the center of town and actually being able to grab a parking spot because of Yu’s access due to work, we headed out on St. George St, a cobblestone road shut down to traffic and is filled with bars and restaurants.  They did have a certain place in mind to take us, but after getting lost in conversation and having passed it without realizing we just kept moving on to the White Lion, the place I had mentioned a few posts ago for having $1 tall boys on Monday nights.  A few days late, or early, for that special but after finding a table in the corner as well as some relatively cheap beers on the menu.  It’s always nice going out with another couple that understand your budget because they’re on it too, and you can share in the experience of looking for the best deal.

Before drinks could even come out we were deep in conversation about boats, mostly into all the work that has been put into Moitessier.  Having spied on them through their blog (as everyone with a blog will do) we had already seen many of the projects that had been undertaken, and the beautiful woodwork Frank had a hand in.  I still couldn’t get over a propane tank he had made from scratch and tried to think of an excuse of why Serendipity might need something similar just so we could have something that stunning on our boat.  Trading all kinds of stories we found out about their wedding in Barcelona, their time spent living in New York City, and Yu’s previous career as a fashion designer.  Upon hearing that I couldn’t pay attention to anything else boat and my mind wandered to cute outfits that could be made if I could wrangle up some fabric.

We must have been having great conversation though because before I knew it we had gone through two drinks at the bar and were making plans to go back to Moitessier for a look-see and a night cap.  Feeling bad about finishing the alcohol of people we just met there was a quick stop at the gas station where Matt and I grabbed a six pack and some mini frosted doughnuts before we all went back to the boat yard.  Climbing up the ladder to the deck it just felt like normal as opposed to stepping off a dock or taking a dinghy over.  We got the quick tour of the boat, which felt twice the size of Serendipity.  For the first round of drinks we all gathered in conversation about how we came into sailing and first boats we owned.  Sitting at their settee (which is probably the size of our whole salon) we were able to look around and see the hard work they’ve put into their boat and how stunning it looked.  Although they got a great deal on it and are putting in the work to make up for it, they are going to (and already do) have an amazing boat when they’re finished.

While the boys talked more boat, Yu and and I got lost in our bottle of wine and conversations of Theology.  In my head I was sounding witty and astute, but going onto the second bottle of wine I wouldn’t be surprised if I was W. Bushing my way through the conversation, making up words and ideas that only made sense in my head.  The conversation between us must have been very fatiguing since we were both ravenous and Yu needed to heat up some pasta for us to snack on while we went back to our conversation.  By the time the last sip of wine was taken from the second bottle we opened my eyes were drooping and all of us were ready for bed.  Giving hugs and saying good-bye Matt and I climbed down the ladder and Frank drove us back to our yard.  Looking at the clock as we passed through the gate we realized it was four in the morning.  Hopefully all that wine wasn’t making me miss signs to get the eff off their boat because it was getting to late, but I think all of us were having such a good time that none of us realized how late it had gotten.  But if we can find new friends that we get so lost in time with our first night out, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other and it’s going to make our time here much more tolerable.

I Won’t Be Home For Christmas, You Can Count On It

Tuesday December 25, 2012

So here it is on Christmas, and we’re sitting in a boat yard in Florida, on the hard for three weeks now. Not exactly where we thought we’d be at this time, and not where we wanted to be either, but you take the cards you’re dealt and do with them what you can. We’ve had multiple offers to spend the holidays with friends and their families, but we decided that if we’re not going to be with our own family we’d rather spend the holiday just between the two of us. Although thank you very much to everyone who offered to take us in. And we did try to make it home to see all our family and friends that we left behind, but we just couldn’t find anything cheap enough to justify the trip. Plane tickets, car rentals…dropping hints to family to send one of the two our way. None of it worked and  I was even completely ready to hijack Rode Trip’s rental car, steal it from them while they were sleeping after having gotten us to Pennsylvania. It’s really not that far from Michigan. You think I’m joking, but I was really at that point. Either Matt’s more sensible or a better person than I am, and he talked me into staying in the boatyard. (Although I think my plan would have worked)

 The days leading up to the holiday have been very uneventful. We forced ourselves off the boat on Saturday to do just a little provisioning and stocking up on things. This has started becoming a common occurrence with us, going to the store every few days, not even because we really need anything, but just to get ourselves off the boat. And as much as I hate to admit it, the landlubber life has already started effecting me. During that grocery trip all I could think was ‘We better really stock up, because what if Monday or Tuesday comes around and we don’t have something that we need. The stores will be closed and what will we do then?’. It took me a moment to remember that we only used to have the opportunity to go to the grocery store every few weeks, or having to going on foot, that was as often as we wanted to go. Ran out of milk? Don’t eat cereal. No fresh meat? Heat up a can of soup for dinner. I’ve already become spoiled by the convenience of getting whatever I want whenever I want it that I don’t remember we used to go even more so without, and we’ll (hopefully) be back to that soon.  Right now it’s still a few miles round trip on bike, and everything we buy has to fit in our backpacks or strap on to the bike rack, but for us that really is convenience.

Since then we have done nothing. I partly blame it on insomnia and some very odd sleep schedules we’ve been having lately. With no early morning departures or places to be, we’ve fallen into a habit of watching t.v. until just after midnight (or 2 am for Matt) and allowing ourselves to sleep in the next morning. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll set an alarm for 9:00 to force myself out of bed and get a little writing done or do something even mildly productive. Somehow both of us had a terrible bout of insomnia the night before (or morning of) Christmas Eve. We tried to go to bed at 1 am and after an hour of laying there we weren’t any closer to sleeping and got back up, just surfing the web and trying to make ourselves tired. At 3 we tried to go back to sleep and again had an hour where sleep was completely eluding us. Back up and on the computers. Soon it became a joke to see if we could stay up until the sun rose since it may as well have been three o’clock in the afternoon to us. Finally at 6:30 am my eyes were starting to droop enough to the point I thought I could try bed again and Matt was thirty minutes behind me. Needless to say, we were completely useless after we woke up for the day at two in the afternoon.

Even though we weren’t good for much of anything else, we were still able to participate in a little holiday tradition we’ve had going since 2004, which is watching ‘Love Actually‘ within a week of Christmas. It it such a great movie, and my second favorite movie of all time, only coming in after ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’. And after having watched it nine years in a row now, I’m pretty sure I have all the lines memorized. Which is fun for me, but not so fun for Matt when he has to suffer thrugh the next week of me quoting lines from the movie in the most random ways, and always in a British accent. Like when I hand Matt something he isn’t expecting and he asks “Is this for me?” and I reply with “It’s all for you….sir.”. Or even more randomly when they don’t fit into the conversation at all and I just blurt out lines like ‘Which doll for Daisy’s friend Emily? The one that looks like a transvestite, or the one that looks like a dominatrix?‘. (Referring to Barbie dolls dressed in feather boas and leather skirts) I’m so lucky that he puts up with me.

Christmas morning we woke up with the excitement of any other day. ‘Oh, what, it’s Christmas? I didn’t even remember’. It wasn’t even until a few hours after we woke up that we looked over at the presents and cards we had received from family but refrained from opening, hoping it would get us a little into the holiday spirit. There were humorous cards, a little Christmas money, and Matt even got a few new shirts. On any other day I would have been ecstatic to open the gifts we received and feel thankful for everything we’d gotten from our family and friends, but even gifts (and money!) couldn’t take me out of my funk and I spent the day in a depressed mood. Who knows if it was because we were in a pile of dirt and rocks all by ourselves, that we weren’t with friends and family, or we knew that even all of our cruising buddies were with theirs, it was just a shit day and I wanted it to go by as quickly as possible. And with being the only one on board that felt like that, there was no company for my misery.

Originally thinking that I’d use this day as an opportunity to try and re-fit the fitted sheets for our v-berth I had planned on dragging the cushions over to one of the ship sheds which would be completely abandoned on this day and have all the space in the world to spread things out. I’ve found that sewing projects are much tougher when you’re trying to measure a piece of fabric and you can’t draw a straight line because the 2×4 table that’s your only flat surface won’t allow you to mark the length you need in one shot. But while having my little self pity party I couldn’t assemble the motivation to get any projects done and sat around on the computer all afternoon, not doing anything of real importance, except writing a few Thank You cards that I wanted to get out the next day.

For our big Christmas dinner I tried my hand at making orange chicken and while it didn’t turn out a total disaster, it looked nothing like what we’d be served at Panda Express. So if anyone could give me hints on how to bread chicken in a 10” skillet I think it would make my life a lot easier as we now seem to try and make Chinese food at least twice a week.and I have become no closer to mastering it. Dinner was enjoyed in front of a glowing tv screen while watching Rambo which is something we’ve both made it 30 years without watching up to this point. Then throwing on a Christmas themed movie I relaxed with a glass of red wine in my hand and cat cuddling in my lap. Surprisingly that was all I needed to turn my day around and I could go back to feeling content again. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that keep you going, and I guess for me it’s movies and wine.


If I’m Lying, I’m Mayan

Friday December 21, 2012

Although the yard has now shut down until after the new year (not a big deal for us since the insurance company still hasn’t approved our claim yet), they decided to shut down with a celebration. A little cook-out with grilling and drinks that we had just found out about the day before the party, to be held for employees and anyone like us that’s stuck in the yard for the holidays. The party started and noon and went until ‘question mark’, usually once the beer runs out, so we used the morning to run errands since once we get settled in the afternoon it’s hard to force ourselves to do anything. We got back just as the tables were getting set up and waiting on the boat for a few minutes until we could be a few minutes fashionably late we made our way over to the masses. The grill was fired up but the first round of burgers and dogs had already been passed around so we found the beer cooler in the back and made some conversation with a few of the employees that have been helping us along since we’ve been here.

 When the next round of food was ready we filled our plates and placed ourselves along the long picnic table between other cruisers in the yard. One of the women sitting next to us we had just met a few minutes earlier as we had scouted out the beer cooler together and then for a bottle opener as both her and I seem to have taste for beers without twist off caps. Sitting at the table we also had the chance to meet her husband who I’m pretty sure is actually Jeff Bridges since he looked and sounded exactly like him, but was just going as another alias to try and lead a life out of the spotlight. (I’m onto you ‘Marshall’, aka ‘The Dude’) As we told them the sob story of how and why we were stuck in the boat yard in the first place they countered it with an even worse story of how their catamaran ended up on some nasty rocks where it stayed for a few days until multiple towing attempts were able to get it off. Their boat survived and after a year of extensive repairs to the hull they were back on their way again. I can’t remember if that was before or after they were de-masted off the coast of North Carolina, but it seems they have worse luck than we do and each time they just pick up the pieces and keep moving on.

One other thing we learned from them was how easy it is to become stuck in a boat yard for long periods of time. Any boater knows that you can expect most projects to take at least three times as long as you originally expect them to. Things never go as smoothly as you wish them to in your mind, they’re more labor intensive than you think, you don’t have the parts you need, and usually one project breeds at least two new ones. We’re hoping that because professionals will be doing the work on Serendipity that we won’t run into some of those issues, but on the flip side, The Dude warned us that when someone else is working on your boat you’re on their schedule. And you may not always be at the top of their list. No one here at the marine center has made us feel yet that this would be the case with us, but let’s just hope that once work starts we get a speedy recovery.

The party was a big hit and while there we gorged ourselves on more hamburgers, hot dogs, oyster, pie and beer than we’d normally eat in a few days. True to my prediction, people started disbanding as soon as the cooler began to empty, and true to our holiday traditions, just like thanksgiving, we closed the place down and continued to sit around with drinks in our hands as the mess around us was cleaned up. This time we did help some things get into the trash though, so I don’t feel quite as bad as last time. Then standing in the hot Florida sun (nicest day we’ve had here so far) we continued our conversation with our new friends until our beers were empty and we parted ways. Getting anything else productive done for the rest of the afternoon was not going to happen so I got online to tell my friends Merry Christmas and I love them (‘Cause if you can’t say it at Christmas, when can you, eh?’) before passing out for a spectacular afternoon nap.

Waking up the next morning I found that the world did not end, but I’m pretty sure hell had frozen over. It had gone from sunny and mid 70’s the day before to overcast and 50. One of the things we had made sure to pick up the day before while out and about was getting a small space heater for the boat. We currently had a camping heater that runs off those little green cans of propane, but a can only lasted a few hours and it could become very expensive keeping ourselves warm over the winter while constantly having to refill them. So instead our new heater plugs in to any AC outlet and has been doing a fantastic job of heating up the boat.

And what does one do on the day the world is supposed to end? Well, if you didn’t know, there’s supposed to be a time that goes along with the date, 11:11 am, so when that came and went I tried to think in terms of time zones, but it wasn’t looking likely that I was going to perish in two hours either. So I sat at my ‘desk’ with cat on lap and tried to get some work done. Coffee was made to stave off the cold, but it was obvious that we weren’t going to be going into the cold that day, just another day hanging around Serendipity in the boat yard. ‘Summer vacation’ continues and each day we keep wishing we’ll get to the point when school will start again. Or that summer vacation will be bathing suit and beach weather and it would be easier to force ourselves outside. Maybe warm weather would also force us to be more productive on the boat as it always seems easier to pick up a project when the sun is shinning and a nice breeze is blowing through the hatch. It looks like we’ll have plenty of time though, to find out what will force us out of our lazy lifestyle and give Serendip all the care and work that she needs. Or we can continue to sit around and wait for the zombie apocalypse to bring us down since the Mayans apparently got it wrong.

Fa la la la la

Wednesday December 19, 2012

Sitting inside the cabin in the early afternoon, just like we’ve been spending most of our days lately, there was a knock on the side of the hull and I sprung up to the cockpit. Peeking over the side a loud yell of “Friends!!” escaped by mouth, because standing on the ground were Brian, Stephanie, Scott, and Kim. This was not unexpected as we had been planning on their visit for some time now, but it didn’t make seeing them any less exciting. Not even bothering to put on shoes I bound down the ladder landing on the rocks in my bare feet and attacking my friends with bear hugs, one by one. After nearly four weeks we were reunited with our boat buddies, although just for the day since they were visiting in a rental car before Brian and Stephanie drove it up to Pennsylvania for the holidays. By the time I was done squeezing the air out of everyone Matt had made his way down the ladder as well and began showing off the damage while Stephanie and I, both worn out on boat issues, sat back and caught up on every day life and how we were dealing with sitting in one place. While everyone was checking out the hull they must have thought everything was being held on by a piece of thread because seeing it in person they kept commenting “Oh, that doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would be”.

 Inviting them on the boat we showed some of the damage to the woodwork and where the tabbing had cracked. Then it was time to hear what was holding them back as well, and each couple told the horror stories they were having with their engines and all the work that was going into getting them fixed. All the trials, errors, and lessons learned from taking on the projects themselves. Sitting in the salon with a drink in our hands and enjoying some incredible mint and chocolate chip cookies Kim had made we went through every detail of what we had been up to for the past few weeks until it was like we had never left each other’s sides. Everyone was also able to fawn over Georgie (or Peaches as Brain likes to call her), and Kim, who was very jealous of Tasha’s photo op with Georgie sprawled on her lap, was able to get her own. While the night was still young though and our stomachs were starting to growl we packed all six of us into the compact car in search of a good yet reasonably priced meal. Since Kim and Scott had been here before they recommended a Bohemian type cafe offering things from pizza to gyros to tacos. I tried my hardest to talk the guy behind the counter into giving me the Thursday night happy hour special of a taco plate and a beer but was unfortunately turned down, although very politely, since it was neither Thursday nor happy hour.

When we finished eating we decided to leave the car in the parking lot and walk into town since there is rarely a place to park unless you’re visiting a certain establishment, and only while you’re there. It was weird being swept back to a life where you even had to think of such things as parking since now we tend to forget that things like that are even necessary. Having been just outside of the ‘Nights of Lights’ I waited for Stephanie’s face to light up as soon as she saw them coming up to the Lightner Museum, and boy did they. The way the lights are set up here really is like something out of a fairy tale. There’s not too many to make it gaudy or overdone, but just placed perfectly on every arch or wrapped around each palm tree. It’s easy to see why they’ve made National Geographic’s Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights, in the world!

Wanting to share the beauty of the courtyard inside the Lightner Museum I began to lead the pack up the pathway where we became blocked by one of the trolley tours that had stopped right in front of us, blocking our path forward. Everyone on the trolley was in good spirits, yelling out ‘Merry Christmas!’ to anyone passing by, and they were also wearing what looked to be 3-D glasses. Stephanie, being a pro on anything fun, explained they enhance things like Christmas lights, changing the bulbs into shapes of things like stars and snowflakes. Overhearing us, a guy on the trolley pulled of his pair to hand around to the group of us as we each held them up to our eyes and went ‘ooh and aah’ as all the lights turned to snowflakes. Why weren’t we going on this tour?! It looked amazing, plus everyone riding was in such good spirits that it didn’t take us long to start yelling ‘Merry Christmas!’ back to anyone that smiled at us. Once the trolley left and we had given the glasses back I was really excited to go show the courtyard now, only to find the gates locked. Peering behind the cast iron bars, Kim and I did our best to describe the beauty to Stephanie, the coy pond in the center with the stone bridge that crossed. Luckily this will not be their only visit down though and the next time they come we might find the gates open, or at least a way to scale them.

Continuing down the street we were shown a statue down an alley way by Kim that has an interesting back story from the last time they were here, and pressed our faces up against the shop windows on cobblestone roads. Carrying on we did more window shopping, looking at stain glassed masterpieces and popped into an art gallery with some beautiful pieces of work that could regrettably not be photographed. (And regrettably they got that message to me too late) Next door at A1A Aleworks I pointed out the microbrews to Brian and we agreed that we’d have to stop in for a round the next time around. Across the street, Stephanie and I lost everyone else as we wandered around a soap shop, picking up scented candles and soaps while admiring all the displays.  Back on the street we ambled down historic St. George Street while moving about aimlessly through other shops including a chocolate shop and a magic store where we were treated to a ten minute magic show demonstrating all the tricks available for purchase.  There were a few that we were almost tempted to buy, the flaming wallet at the top of the list.  I mean, who wouldn’t love to be standing at the Starbucks counter and when you open your wallet to pay the bill it bursts into flames?  With a candid camera type show the wallet would pay for itself…and keep itself stuffed.

Progressing on we stopped for a quick disco party under some strobing green and red lights on an open patio.  We found French Fry Heaven and perused happy hours and daily specials at restaurants.  Showing them the $4.99 beer and hand rolled cigar combo that was popular at a few shops we were unable to convince them of it at this point, but maybe ‘next time’.  At one point Stephanie exclaimed, “This town is amazing!! I’m having the best time ever, and I haven’t even been drinking!!”. So we’re pretty sure it won’t be hard to lure them back for maybe even a full week once Rode Trip is up and running again.

By the time we were ready to head back to Serendipity we were so high on the presence of each other, the beauty of the town, and the cheer of everyone around us that we could not contain our own excitement or Christmas spirit. There were not as many trolleys running now, but each time one did we would yell out at the top of our lungs, a chorus of mismatched “Merry Christmas’” between the six of us. By the time we got back to the side street that housed the rental car I think a few of the drivers began to recognize us and probably thought we were drunk or just harassing customers. As one trolly pulled on to King Street we belted our normal chorus, but no one on board responded or even looked at us. It’s like their conductor got on the speaker just as he spotted us and told everyone to ignore the group of crazies off to their left. Treating us like a group of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s he must have advised, “If you don’t move…they won’t see you”. We weren’t going to let the tourists dropping energy levels ruin the rest of our night though as we hung out in the parking lot testing out Brian’s new pole spear before climbing back up Serendipity for a night cap.

Being the amazing friends that they are, Kim brought rum for us to drink, and Brain and Stephanie had made their own ginger beer. With Dark & Stormies in hand we spent the next few hours relishing in each other’s company for as long as it could last. For a short period we weren’t three boats that weren’t stalled from traveling, we were our old gang, laughing and socializing, and looking up more crazy videos on Youtube. (Really Scott and Kim, you hadn’t heard about Double Rainbow?) When it was time for everyone to leave I had the instinct to stow away in the trunk, following them along and letting the good times continue. But all good things must come to and end and the high we’d all been feeling through the day suddenly plummeted as we realized the fun was over. But in the morning that low will be replaced by the excitement and anticipation that we’ll get to do it all over again someday soon.




The Eight Year Itch

Sunday December 16, 2012

(circa 12/04)

We were hoping to have been celebrating this in the Bahamas, I had visions of us watching the sunset from the cockpit while sipping a certain bottle of cherry wine that I’ve saving for a few years now, but our wedding anniversary is instead being celebrated in St. Augustine. While I thought we might be able to go into town and spring for a beer or a dessert, Matt surprised me by telling me we could actually go out for a meal. At a real restaurant. It’s surprising because he doesn’t put much stock into any kind of holiday or dates that are usually cause for celebration, even his birthday, but this seems to be the only one he really seems to care about, which if I had to pick only one I guess I’m glad he chose this one. The plan had been to get out on the bikes early in the day and finally check out the beach for once. In the two weeks since we’ve been here it’s actually something we haven’t done yet but keep telling ourselves we’re going to. But summer vacation schedule got in the way and after waking up just shy of noon, eating, showering, and getting ready we only had three hours of sunlight left in the day. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but we’ve heard there’s a charge to get onto the beach and we figured it would be better spent enjoying a full day there. For those lovebirds who are in their wood anniversary, check out all the details about the fifth anniversary wedding anniversary that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

 Still enjoying the rest of the sunny and warm afternoon we hung out with Georgie on deck to let her do some exploring and bat at all the lines running from fore to aft. She seemed to enjoy the chance to do something new and after some time searching and slinking she picked a spot on the coachroof to roll on her back, throwing her legs up to the sun and soaking in the warmth. Then for a little while I was able to revert back to my previous life of getting ready to go out for a night on the town. Straightening the hair, putting on eyeliner, and rifling through my clothes to find that perfect outfit and matching it with just the right accessories. Something that probably would have been much simpler were it ten to fifteen degrees warmer, since almost everything dressy I have is in the form of a dress and not suitable for the cooler nights we’ve been having. And even though I wasn’t sure if I’d even need it when we left, my one cardigan had been sitting in the dirty laundry bag for over a week without much chance of quickly being pulled out at thrown on. I knew I should have brought that second one! Finally deciding that jeans and a nice tank top with my jacket over it would suffice (keep in mind, I can be a girly girl, these things sometimes matter to me) we pulled the bikes out for the ride into town.

Since we’re so used to to taking a left on the first main street and then following it to the highway where all the main stores are we were surprised at how quickly we made it down to the Bridge of Lions in historic St. Augustine where we locked up the bikes for a walk around. Having our hearts initially set on a certain restaurant we found out they didn’t have the meal that had been on special the last time we had passed by, the whole reason we were going there. Still being early in the evening we decided to stroll the streets until something caught our eye, taking in the ‘Nights of Lights’ while we walked. Strolling past Matanzas Bay we watched the horse carriages wait to pick up customers and throngs of people enjoying drinks and food on outdoor patios. Passing a Mexican restaurant at the end of the road we saw they had a special on premium margaritas and live music playing that night. Glancing at the menu posted outside we kept it in mind but but weren’t sold yet. One other thing we also found was a restaurant next door that apparently has a great happy hour going on Monday nights, only $1 for tall boys of PBR, Steel Reserve, and Miller High Life. Not too sure about the first two (in fact, I don’t think I’d touch the second one), but the champagne of beers really isn’t too bad. We vowed that if and when Rode Trip made it down we’d have to hit the place up with them, eventually stumbling back to their boat for the night which would just be a half mile up the road.

Taking a tour of St. George St. with all of the tourist shops and other restaurants nothing jumped out at us there either and since I absolutely love Mexican food we went back to that restaurant to see if there was anything on the menu that Matt would like as well. He eventually found a few things he could live with and we walked inside, asking for a seat on the patio upstairs. Of course in the basically empty restaurant they seemed to be the only tables that were taken, but we were still seated next to the live music, a guy playing the guitar. Straight away we ordered our margaritas and browsed the menu until I found the tostadas that I had been craving and Matt surprisingly went with something other than a burrito. His all time favorite food is Chinese, but I keep trying to convert him over to Mexican. We compromise and eat both a lot of the time.

Listening to a wide variety of music on the guitar we heard classic rock, alternative, and top 40, but thankfully no Christmas music, which he promised us he would not play. Singing the first few lines to Jingle Bells to see if anyone was still paying attention though he was quickly heckled, by us, and went back to playing much more ear pleasing tunes. When the food came out the portions were so large that I had no idea how I’d be able to eat it all and in the end only cleared half of my plate. The rest was taken to go and shoved into the basket of my bicycle, in a vertical position and sure to start leaking at any moment. It wasn’t enough to send us right back to the boat though and I still wanted to cross the Bridge of Lions to see what was on the other side since we had never gotten around to it earlier that morning. The bridge itself is very pretty and looking down at the water below it felt very different to be crossing over it instead of passing through it.

Neither of us knew what was on the other side on Anastasia Island except that it eventually led to the beach. We had both assumed because that it was ocean front property that it would be filled with mansions and really fancy shops, and we were very surprised to what we found. All we could see were budget hotels and hole in the wall bars and pubs. The strangest part of it all was even though it was just past seven pm the area was completely deserted. There were few cars driving down the road and no one out on the sidewalks. Very different from where we had just come from where I would not have been able to twirl in a circle without smacking someone in the face. The whole feel of this place was just very…eerie. Maybe that was partially due to the couple of hearses we saw parked near the road? (For the haunted tours) I’m sure during the spring and fall months when the sun is blazing and it’s perfect to spend all day by the beach this is a happening seaside town, but in the middle of December it looks like it was abandoned. Getting as far as the Alligator Park we turned around to head back to the boat yard.

Like I said, I had been saving a certain bottle of wine for this occasion, and I had hoped that while drinking it from our cockpit we’d be bobbing around in a tropical cove watching the sun go down and the stars come out. I thought about saving it until we actually did find that spot but right now you could make me just as happy in a turquoise water cove with just a glass of water so the bottle of wine was still opened. If you ever get up to Cherry Country (Traverse City, MI) make sure you go wine tasting and make sure that tour ends with at least one bottle of cherry wine. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so good. With glasses in hand we strolled the yard to look at other boats at the docks and Matt listed all their features while I just nodded my head up and down. I don’t know how he can hold such a massive knowledge for everything boats, but I just let him go off on his tangents and pretend I know a little about what he is talking about. We eventually ended back up on the deck of Serendipity, trying to pick out the stars through passing clouds. It definitely wasn’t a bad anniversary for ‘having to settle in a boat yard’, but please, please, let me be in a tropical location next time around!

Best. Wine. Ever.

The Wheels On The Bike Go ‘Round and Rest, Round and Rest’

Thursday December 13, 2012

There has been a small miracle on Serendipity today.  Nine days after getting hauled out of the water and contacting our insurance company, they have finally sent someone over to look at the boat.  Nine days that we have been sitting here twiddling our thumbs because no work can be started, even the things we’d like to do ourselves, until insurance surveys the damage and approves the claim.  Hallelujah, the process of repair may finally be able to start.  We weren’t sure if someone from the actual insurance company would be coming out or if they’d hire someone in the area instead.  In the end they sent out a local surveyor to check out the damage and write up a report. The surveyor our insurance company decided to send out happens to be a guy that we almost went with in the first place when we hauled out.  And since insurance is paying for the person they send out themselves (right?) there would have already been a report done by this guy I’m thinking we would have been reimbursed and could have saved ourselves the money for our survey had we gone with him, but hindsight is….you know what?  I think I’ve had enough hindsight lately.  Moving on.

So bright and early this morning we had another person on the boat checking out the damage with basically a repeat track of what we heard last week.  “You really took a pounding, should have been a lot worse, you have a boat that’s built incredibly well.”  There was nothing new discovered that the first guy didn’t catch, but because of the extent of interior damage in small and hard to reach places, our surveyor today wanted to come back later with his son who would double check everything and get some more photos.  Having spent the past two and a half days on the boat without getting off, we figured we’d quickly jump on the bikes and get some errands done before they came back in the afternoon. If you’re into cycling as a form of exercise and hobby, it would be such a spectacle to experience those famous biking spots, such as those Idaho mountain biking trails, for instance.

The big thing on the list was to get a battery charger since we have also not seen the sun in two and a half days, and even when we had, the batteries were less than 60%.  It’s not good to let them get under 50%, but last night they were at a measly 8%!  And that’s still with only running the lights and chill box off them.  Something needed to be done to get that number back up, and quickly.  Checking the forecast and seeing at least three more days full of clouds and rain we knew we had to fix this little problem.  Remembering my panting and sweat filled bike ride a few days earlier I had no intent of biking all the way up to Walmart again, but Matt promised me there was an auto shop as soon as we hit the main drag and they should carry what we need.  Getting pushed over just a little bit by the high winds on our way there we arrived and while I stood outside watching the bikes, Matt was back out in less than 90 seconds, empty handed.  Apparently they had what we were looking for, but at the cost of $50.

Hopping back on the bikes we continued up the street to an Auto Zone where again I stood outside and Matt was in and out in two minutes, empty handed again.

“$50 here too?”


“What was it the last time you bought one?”

“I’m pretty sure I got my last one for $15”

“And how long ago was that?”

“About 15 years”

If I could get anything for the price I did fifteen years ago, I’d be ecstatic, but he seems to think we can still find something near that price range so we kept trekking up the road.  Getting to Target we found the same exact thing.  Determined that we wouldn’t pay this huge mark-up that has happened in the past fifteen years, Matt was quick on his phone searching Amazon and any other stores within pedaling distance that might have it in stock.  Standing in the aisle while he scrolled I’d shout out names like “Sears” and “Walmart” while he jumped on their site and compared prices.  Thinking he may have actually found a cheaper one at Walmart my legs became weak at the thought of making our way all the way out there with the winds gusting like they were outside.  Anything to save a few dollars though.

Jumping back on the bikes, we crossed the street and worked our way up the hills (mountains) to Walmart.  Both of us had thought we’d seen a Sears on our last trip out but couldn’t be sure due to heat stroke so when I spied it out of the corner of my eye I shouted ahead and we pulled off to the side to have a look-see inside.  Nada.  Back on the bikes, we went but at least I was able to grab that moment to catch my breath.  Before I knew it we had Walmart in our sights and overall it didn’t seem like as bad of a ride as it had before.  Probably because of the five stops we made along the way.  Purchasing the 6 amp charger for a steal at $29 (it really wasn’t a steal, the $50 ones we had been looking at were 10 amp) we were back outside and ready to make the non stop journey home.

Only, in the fifteen minutes we were inside the winds had shifted so they were directly on our nose, blowing at us in 25 mph gusts.  I could barely move forward even on flat ground and my only saving grace were the few small hills we went down.  Sometimes we’d get the shelter of a close building or some very tall trees where I felt like I was actually going somewhere and then out of nowhere a full gust would blast me in the face and stop all progress.  Matt was close to a block ahead of me and without him in earshot I started slinging curses into the wind which didn’t help me go any faster but helped a lot with the frustration.  Getting stuck at a stop light I could barely see Matt in front of me anymore but did look behind to find out I had a tail of a fellow cycler that apparently had been right behind me for quite some time.  Poor guy probably thought I had tourettes, or I was just run of the mill insane and hijacked the bike from some poor unsuspecting girl.  He crossed the street right after.

A good ten minutes later, after he stopped to wait for me, I finally caught up to Matt although I could have walked the bike faster than I was peddling.  I wanted to give up, to walk it the rest of the way back, but he wouldn’t let me.  Pushing on at my snail’s pace he stayed behind me until we made the turn and got out of the full force of the wind.  I’m just glad he didn’t go all personal trainer on me and try to push me to go harder, he would have gotten smacked upside the head.  Good thing after almost thirteen years he knows me well enough not to try that.  In fact, the only time we ever worked out together he pushed me so hard that I cried (which I never do), and we both vowed never to work out together again.  It’s those alien genes of his, they never quit.  But neither did I and after three hours (round trip) we made it back to the boat and still before the surveyor came back.

Another sweep was done of Serendipity and we should be expecting a report tomorrow that will also go out to the insurance company.  Finally!  I would love to get the ball rolling on this because I don’t want to be forced North because we’re still here when hurricane season is coming.

There’s been just a little bit of rain lately.

‘I must find the best price!’

Can’t we just stuff the cracks on Serendipity full of this and call it good?