Update from Sharon and Richard on Lucky, July 16, 2012
It’s a long time since the last update, on May 14. We are home in Ontario now, caught up in the usual business of land life, and this will be the last update until we get sailing again.
On Monday, May 14, we left Bakers Haulover at 6:30 a.m., followed by Vonny and Ray on Wishbone. We got to Lantana at 5:30 p.m. We had passed through nineteen bridges! Most were restricted, and I called them all on the VHF and figured out our timing and did the countdowns to the openings. I am really tired of doing that.
The day afterwards, we got to Peanut Island before noon, after five or six bridges, and Richard dropped Vonny, Ray and me on the beach to go to Customs, as we had been instructed to do in Key West. The young woman there stamped the paper from Key West, wrote Indiantown on it, and we were done, in less than a minute. A far cry from both Cuba and Key West. If you have to check in or get a cruising permit, West Palm is the place to go. Richard saw Mark’s little boat, on a dock at a large marina in Riviera Beach. I was sorry to see it there, still on this side of the Gulf Stream.
We rafted in Peck the next afternoon, after another five or six bridges. It was hot and muggy, and Vonny and I paddled around the sterns of our boats for a long time. It would be so nice to get back to the cool north, I thought.
We woke up at 3:30 a.m. There had continued to be thunderstorms every night, and the one that woke us was another doozy. Richard went out in the driving rain to fend off a sailboat that was dragging down on us. It seemed to be caught on our anchor. The skipper would motor away, and then be pulled back down alongside Wishbone, which was rafted to us. He hadn’t had time to put any clothes on, and the driving rain was very cold. At one point, while he and Vonny were trying to keep the two boats apart, his lifeline broke, and he fell overboard between the two boats. Vonny saw the upper half of his body go underwater. Then somehow, he swung up out of the water and hoisted himself back on board. Eventually he got his boat untangled, the storm blew over, and we all went back to sleep.
The next night, Vonny and Ray tied up to the dock in Indiantown, and we anchored outside, in the St. Lucy Canal. Wishbone was hauled the next day and put in the work yard, to be assessed for damage and have repairs done. As of the date of this update, the yard has done an estimate, and a local surveyor went over the estimate and pared it down. Vonny and Ray are still waiting for Commandeur, the broker in Holland who sold them the insurance, to agree to cover the work that needs doing. Meanwhile, the boat is incurring work yard costs of $25 per day, instead of the much lower storage area costs. You really only know how good an insurance company is when you have a claim.
Then followed a week of hot days of work, thunderstorms most evenings and delicious communal meals made from our leftover stores.
I gave the bags of things I had collected for Cubans to Andy, the tall skinny Polish Canadian who sails to Varadero every winter. In doing this, I was also giving up the dream of ever going there on our boat. I knew that, after hearing Vonny and Ray’s account of their travels in Cuba, Richard had made up his mind that he would never ever sail there. Maybe someday we will fly there, as tourists, but it isn’t really as rich an experience.
We borrowed a car from Richard Brooks and delivered Richard’s Mercedes to the paint shop. Three or four days later it was done, and now looks like a brand-new 1983 car.
On Friday, May 25, our boat was put in storage, and we loaded up the Mercedes. We had to put some stuff back on the boat, as there just wasn’t enough room for the four of us and all of the stuff that we wanted to take home in the car.
We all took turns driving, and stopped at night to sleep. It was a companionable, stress-free trip home. We dropped Vonny and Ray off at their condo in Toronto, and got home in time to see Richard’s family before they went to bed. Hugs all around. I can never break up with Richard, no matter how annoying he gets. I would miss his family too much. He says the kids feel the same way about me.
I drove home to my place the next day. I got the house opened and got back into all of the usual summer stuff. The six weeks from then until now have flown by. Mom is much diminished since I saw her in January. She survived two bouts with pneumonia over the winter, and is weaker.
After visiting her for a few days, I got pneumonia and was not very functional for two weeks. Sandy and Connie brought me food and kept an eye on me.
My new computer is working now, but it’s so complicated! And seems to be cheap, but when you have to buy all new programmes, and the stuff you use doesn’t work with them, and the router has to be changed, and more gigabytes are needed from Bell and the old printer doesn’t work with the new laptop….well, you get the drift. The process sucks up a lot of time.
Replacing the old car and disposing of it wasn’t as complicated, but it was still a more complex procedure than I was expecting. Now I’m happily driving Bill and Connie’s 2006 Freestyle, and even used the full seven-seat capacity when Richard and I went to nephew Tom’s art show in Toronto. He is painting constantly now, and has some wonderful paintings to show for it. He has a website, and I believe you can find it if you google his name, Tim or Thomas Brioux.
The draft of Book II is being read and marked for editing by the book club and Vonny and Bill. I am re-editing Book I for a reprint, since there are only thirty copies left from the first printing of 200. I am going to check out a different binding process, and get the pre-publication cataloguing from the National Library this time.
The process of getting a book printed and marketed is a wonderful learning experience, and it’s good to avoid vanity presses, which are a huge rip off. I have only used the internet to tell people I already know about the books, and for taking orders. The full text of the book is not available online. That is too much to get my head around.
It has been very helpful to have my brother Bill and Nicole and Travis, in his office, giving me technical assistance. Having a real publisher would seem to be the best option, of course, but I don’t think my writing is of general enough interest or literary merit to make that a possibility.
An unexpected bonus of selling the book directly is the feedback I get. Almost all of it has been extremely positive, and that which has been critical has made me be a better writer. It’s a journey.
Virginia has coaxed me into taking four-day visit to Hamilton next week to visit old friends. Of course I will bring copies of Idiot Afloat with me. Let me know if you would like one.
So, until the trip begins again, good-bye from Sharon and Richard, not on Lucky for a while.