January 1 – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
New Year’s Day, 2008. About 48 weeks ago we were on the rocks, literally and figuratively, due to a wreck which threatened our very way of life as we’d planned it. About 8 weeks ago, we were on the rocks figuratively, due to a personal challenge which threatened our very way of life, at least as I’d envisioned it.
In between, we recovered from the wreck, rebuilding our home and beginning our voyage. At the end, we rebuilt our lives, to very positive effect. Like my sig line says, every problem has a gift in its hands. While I can’t take credit for that, we’ve certainly proven the theory!
This past year has been one of chaos, joy, anger, frustration, despair, redemption, adventure and, above all, love.
Love has come from all sides and some of the most unexpected directions. We’ve made so many new friends, and found so many more that we didn’t even know knew we existed, let alone that they’d go out of their way to help us, either in need, or just "because" – usually as a product of having read about us in this and/or Lydia’s log postings – that it would be difficult to count them. Words fail me; it suffices, I hope, to say that we are eternally grateful to each and every one.
In addition, along the way, we’ve had the occasion to reciprocate (not directly, necessarily, but sometimes), having just the needed part or advice
or hands or all of them. Being the eldest in the birth order of 5, my natural inclination is to be the helper and fixer, and so I very much enjoy being able to help others out of jams they’re not yet comfortable solving, or having the experience, the right tool I’ll loan or give them, or spare part that I’ll give them, or in other ways assist their progress.
However, we’d have to say that we’ve been massively blessed, and are definitely in the deficit column, despite our lifelong habit of paying it forward. Cruisers and friends of cruisers, personal friends and friends of friends, and even support groups born out of those who have watched us over the internet
have come to our aid, again and again. You know who you are – I’ll not name names, not only out of protecting your charity, but because I’m certain I’d leave some out, because there’s so many! – and we thank you, again.
This year has seen us go around the extremes of Florida
, all the way to New York
City, and back down. Later today, we’ll go to the last large metropolitan area in the East Coast
by sailing overnight to Miami
on the coattails of a strong northerly wind
. That will conclude a journey of some thousands of miles in less than a year. That journey has included long stops in some places, usually to work
on the things that have needed shaking down in this, our shakedown cruise
. Fortunately and blessedly, our breakdowns have become so infrequent as to be of little note, especially since they’re usually, now, so small.
Yesterday I spent several hours under the boat
, connected to my hookah rig which allows me the same ability to remain under as would be the case with a SCUBA
rig, but no bottle, instead relying on an oil-less air pump
. In my time down there, I did major physical therapy for my right shoulder, the main reason for having bought the hookah. However, in the process, I also cleaned the entire starboard side of the very small accumulation of easy-to-brush-off growth, and also cleaned and freed up (so they’ll rotate, giving us the information as they move through the water) the impellers for our speed instruments
. They’d grown grass
and a few barnacles
from our time at the dock
in St. Simons Island. Once we’re in reliably warm water
, I hope to use the hookah every day for physical therapy. Once we’re in good fishing
waters, I hope to use it for dinner!
As our travels and travails are pretty well documented in prior log postings, I’ll not repeat them here, but just say that it’s been a great adventure, and we’ve had a blast, after all has been said and done. That there were terrifying times, angry times, frustrating times, chaotic times, and many other less-than-"perfect" times doesn’t change the fact that in the end, it was joyful, blissful, exhilarating, fun, and above all, a great adventure.
Our adventure will take a different turn for the first half of this year, however, as we’re going to Miami
in order to close out our medical insurance
afforded under COBRA from Lydia’s prior employment
. We’ll have some tests and followups as needed while still covered with insurance
While we’re there, we expect to have guests aboard fairly frequently, doing as much sailing in the great sailing area, particularly at that time of year, with usually brisk winds, as possible, and further shaking down our boat
. In particular, we want to get very familiar with our new sails
and sail track system.
We’ll also be doing minor boat chores, including lots of sewing, and installation
and replacement of various systems or instruments
, as able, while we’re on a friend’s mooring
off the Miami Yacht Club.
Then, in mid-March, we’ll get off the boat until mid-June to early July. We’ll be doing shoreside family
stuff, celebrating ancient birthdays, new births, and a graduation, among others. We’ll put the boat on the ground, at a place not yet selected, as we’re unwilling to leave it in the water
, where and however for that length of time, while we’re ashore. Likely we’ll be north of here ("here" being Lake Worth
, a very common staging ground for boats going to the Bahamas
, between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach), as marina and storage
prices here are orders of magnitude higher than elsewhere. Then, when we come back, we’ll resume our waterborne lives.
At this point, we have the luxury of no schedules (other than the need to be on the ground in mid-March), and no itineraries, so we have not yet decided where we’ll go when we return. One possibility will be to jump into the Gulf Stream
as far north as we are comfortable, likely Maine
, and work
our way south, chasing (or staying in) the warm weather
and water. If we do that, we’ll take advantage of the lack of schedule to tour some of the countless areas we jumped over on the way up and down last year.
Another possibility will be to go south (from wherever we put the boat) again, and make the jump over to the Bahamas
and begin our Eastern Caribbean
lives by easing our way down the Bahamas chain, thence eventually to get to Venezuela
. If that’s the way we go, likely we’ll not be back in these waters again unless it’s to sell the boat…
So, in the darkness of the first morning in the year, I’m looking ahead. Nearly certainly, this coming year will have many adventures for us aboard Flying Pig – but our journeying will be delayed until about the second half of the year.
I’ll post again after we reach Miami. The weather
forecasts (well, you know how we feel about the accuracy of those available to us, but they’ve been saying essentially the same thing for more than a week, so it seems reasonable to expect some congruence between the forecast
and the reality) have it as a marvelous, rollicking run from here to Miami. We’ll leave before dark, to get outside the entrance in daylight, and pull into the Port of Miami, likely, while it’s still dark. From there we’ll go to our mooring
and commence local sailing!
Stay tuned for the reality of the trip…
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)