Living at the dock in Indiantown Marina was a new experience for us. We settled into a routine in which Rick and Colin would have breakfast on their boat (or later, when it was torn apart, come to ours). I would do the dishes, make the bed, vacuum, shop for groceries, clean or do laundry and make lunch, usually sandwiches which I left in the fridge. Whenever the guys decided to have lunch they would get the food and drink out of the fridge and eat it under the trees in the patio area.
That left me free to play Scrabble with Janice from Valderee, Anita and, when she and Linton arrived to prepare their boat, Carol of Incognita II. They were all good Scrabble players, there were challenges and bingos and we all had fun and stretched our minds.
A painting group turned up to paint in the marina. I got out my paints too and the painting I did is now in the possession of someone whose boat had been on the dock that I painted.
At the beginning of April the temperature got up to 95◦F, but Richard, Rick and Colin soldiered on. Rick and Colin were stripping the paint on the hull and I don’t know how they kept going.
Women kept giving me their leftover groceries as they cleaned out their boats before going home. I made a lot of french toast with the leftover eggs – a popular breakfast until the guys got tired of them. Same with the egg salad sandwiches. Not much luck with green salads. If only I could have figured out a way to deep fry them! Rick took us all out for supper a few times – in desperation, I think. We often played hearts, a game Rick and Colin loved and were good at, after supper.
Finally, on April 7, Downstream 1 was moved to the storage yard and Rick and Colin drove back to Ontario. We stayed at the marina until April 17, because the month we had paid for ended then. Richard put his tools away and cleaned up the van for driving home and I cleaned out lockers.
Diny and Jerry Solmon of Endless Summer both wrote to say they had almost finished reading all three of my books and were enjoying them. A young man from Ragtime Gal, which was in the work yard, recognized me from the cover of Book II, which Andy Zwyck had loaned him in Cuba, and bought the other two books. I stopped by the bonfire one night and someone introduced me as “the author”. It was hard not to let it go to my head.
André and Katchka finally launched Cardinal and tied up next to us after they discovered that they had problems with their very old motor. Richard crawled into the engine compartment and analyzed the problem, but refused the offer of employment that was extended. Instead he walked through Andre through what needed to be done so he could do it himself. Andre was delighted and we were invited to Easter dinner at their house in Boca Raton. We meet such wonderful people along the way!
We walked around the work yard now and then and saw enthusiastic young people happily restoring boats that needed many months of work and thousands of dollars before they became .functional.
My favourite thing about the marina was the wildlife in the water – the painted turtles, the large snake the Alec said was a water moccasin, the big alligator that sunned behind our boat in the morning and the pod of manatees surrounding our boat one morning when we got up.
One evening a large fishing boat was towed in by TowboatUS. It had been gored by a large rock as it crossed Lake Okeechobee, made shallow by the lack of rain and the surrounding sugar plantations’ insatiable demands for water.
Many of the boats at docks, including Lucky, were aground. When we powered through the mud to leave the dock on April 17, we were surprised to see the wide beaches on each side of the canal. Both then and later when we came back we saw a couple of dozen alligators sunning on these beaches.
We anchored in Manatee Pocket again. We like it because the six-foot depth keeps bigger boats away, and the no-wake rule is strictly enforced. Most of the boats were occupied, although one family is a pair of ospreys who have built a large and unruly nest on the solar panel atop the cockpit, and sit on the spreaders in the evenings, watching for fish.
Bernie, on his trawler Countess Cosel, arrived the next day from the Bahamas and went to happy hour and supper with us on his way to the marina for haulout.
We moved on to Peck Lake on April 21, and Chris and Divya arrived on Maggie M in time for supper with us. Over the next three days we shared meals, I played a couple of games of Scrabble with Diva and I went with Chris and Divya to show them where the boat ramp was so they could get rid of their garbage. When the rain filled up the dinghies with fresh water on Sunday, we had cold fresh-water baths.
During this time Richard had not been feeling well. I called the marina to see if we could get our boat hauled a few days earlier than we had booked. When Antoinette called on April 25 to say there might Jesse could squeeze us in two days, we pulled up the anchor. Richard had just cooked his wonderful crêpes and we had all had our fill. That night we anchored for the last time this season in the Four Rivers Loop, four miles before the St. Lucie Lock – a quiet spot surrounded by trees, near the community dock.
Before we entered the marina a day later, we anchored and let out all the chain to rinse off the salt water, and Richard ran the dinghy around to get the salt water out of the motor. When we arrived at the dock, Jesse asked if we could be hauled in twenty minutes; there had been a cancellation. That night we had a good-bye supper at Quatamex with Richard and Renita and slept in the boat on the hard. The mosquitoes, flies and heat were an incentive to get out of there.
The next day was the hardest day of every sailing season. I climbed up and down the ladder, with food from the fridge, groceries and our clothes and packed them in the van. Richard did the technical jobs necessary to store the boat for the summer. Then we tied the tarp down and left Lucky out in that field with the hundreds of other boats up on stands for the long hot summer. We had supper in the picnic area and slept in the open screened van near the water, enjoying the breeze.
Four days later, after inching through a five-hour traffic jam south of Atlanta, sleeping in rest areas in the van three nights and driving through heavy rain most of Sunday, we pulled into my driveway in Bothwell, Ontario, turned up the heat and crawled into my queen-size bed.
Will we be back next year? Time will tell. We wish you all a good summer season.
Richard and Sharon on Lucky