Sunday, February 14, 2010

How Fortunate Am I - And Moving On

This post was originally published 2-14-10, and updated 2-15-10.

Ok, that was meant as a rhetorical question, but one I am going to ramble on about a bit on here. I suppose that this trip has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me - financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are times I have been at extreme highs, and there have been times I have been at desperate lows, with all manner if experiences spaced somewhere in between. I think overall I have been very blessed and extremely fortunate with how things have worked out on this voyage of mine. I have met folks that have helped me along the way, made new friends, had people go out of their way to make sure I was ok and doing alright as I made my way along.

I suppose in more ways than one I am doing so much better than so many folks out here on the water. There are of course the average and standard snowbirds that sail south every winter - the monied folks with their big yachts, the big trawlers that plow south through the ICW drinking incredible amounts of fuel. They hit every marina along the way, staying overnight plugged in and having every convenience aboard their boat that they have at home. Then there are what I now call the boat people. If it weren't for their boat they would probably be homeless, and they occupy anchorages all over from South Carolina all the way down through Florida. I have met alot of these folks along the way, every anchorage has a group of them, and they form a community of sorts. Today I met a guy , actually a few guys, here in Cocoa like this. One fellow has been living aboard for 11 years, and has been in Cocoa for most of them. I am sure they do not view themselves as less fortunate, this is just how life is for them.

Me, I am somewhere in the middle. I have my boat, which is my home, my dream, and my magic carpet. If it weren't for the cold, and my emotions, I'd probably be doing quite well. In fact, if I could get my emotions under control, I'd probably say I am doing great. It isn't warm here by any stretch of the imagination, this morning it was unseasonably cold again - I think that is now how it is for everyone all over - but everytime I start to complain about how cold I am in the mornings, I think that where I am now is much warmer than where I came from. I still have plenty of food, that is not a concern, and I don't think it will be a concern before I make my return trip. I have refueled and have a full tank in the boat, and 15 gallons on deck. Once I get back to the boat today, I will be as well stocked on kerosene as I ever have been, the tank for the stove is full to the point of overflowing, and I will have 2 gallons in the refill jug. So I am not doing bad. I am still going to push a bit further south,and then in 2 or 3 weeks I am going to turn around and head back.

I think on the return trip I am going to do more sailing and less motoring. I also think I will probably do a bit more of the trip on the outside than I did on the way down. I know that this will not make alot of folks overly happy, but I feel it is what I need to do to challenge myself and my skills as a sailor. It will also serve to make the return trip a bit shorter than the voyage down. The weather will be getting warmer (I hope) and if I play it smart I bet I can make it back to North Carolina in 10 days or so. As it stands I am 893 miles from where I want to be, and that translates to 223 hours under sail at an average of 4 knots. I think I can do it, and I think I am going to try and find out. If it gets to be too much, I will duck back inside and motor a ways, but if I pick the weather right, I am banking on the fact that I'll be able to pull it off. I may make a stop or two along the way and anchor off the beach, dinghy in and have a day on the beach with Spook. Something I have wanted to do but have not been in a position to do yet, it has been too cold to spend much time on the beach, and everytime I was offshore I have had to duck in before nightfall. Hopefully it will all work out the way I envision it, and I will have positive adventures, and not adventures brought about by bad weather or boat problems.

Now it is the 15th, I am in a coffee shop in Cocoa. (there is a great pun in there somewhere I am sure) and I am heading out sometime this morning. Kind of vague I know, but there are no marinas or anchorages marked on my chart until I get down near Vero Beach, which is more than a days sail from here. So it would not matter if I left at 5am or noon, I would not make a charted anchorage anyway. Besides, I kind of want to get a chance to talk to Kevin about his schooner again before I leave. I am going to play it by ear, and I will find a spot to anchor this evening, and hopefully I'll be able to get Spook ashore and walked. No telling if I will have internet or not, I have no idea how populated this next section of the ICW is. So until I can tune in and write, well publish, again - fair winds and following seas.

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