Last Update of the Season from Lucky May 7, 2017

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

Update from Lucky, March 19, 2017 The Second of the Season

As you may have noticed, perhaps gratefully, these updates are getting fewer and farther between. Richard and I are getting older, lazier and less inclined to travel long distances and embrace adventure. It makes the updates less gripping.

In Marathon, Jim and Lynda left their boat to the new owner and drove north to British Columbia and their grandchildren on February 21. We stayed for another four days, connecting with our old friends Chris and Divya of Maggie M. I’ve known them since 2002, when I invited everyone in the mooring field at the Los Olas Bridge in Fort Lauderdale (twelve people and a large dog) to a BBQ on my Nonsuch 30. I told them to bring their own meat to barbeque and Chris, who was sitting next to the barbeque, had the good luck to be the cook, as no one could change position. He decided to replicate this event on Maggie M this year and more than succeeded, with fifteen guests.

A day later, I did the laundry at the marina and finished the first update and sent it. That evening Chris and Divya had a rental car so we all went to Sparky’s in Key Colony Beach, With our drinks in Hand, we shared chicken wings, shrimp and oysters. Then we skipped the dinner and shared the three classic Florida desserts, including key lime pie, my favourite.

The next morning we motored north in Hawk’s Channel and went in under the high bridge at Channel 5. At 2 p.m. we picked up the only remaining mooring off of Shell Key. It was so isolated that we took showers without suits and sprawled on the deck to dry, the only time this season.

The two days after that we relaxed at anchor off Isla Morada near the Lorelei, watching movies, listening to music and enjoying the setting of the sun, the new moon and Venus.

On February 28, we moved on to Tarpon Basin and anchored off the Monroe County building, where there are dinghy docks in the park. While reading my emails at the picnic table outside the back entrance, I saw Sylvia the county commissioner and praised her for the action she had taken several years ago to make the shore accessible to cruisers. But she is now planning to close the docks because many live-aboards have come to the area and caused problems in the park. Some would otherwise be homeless and a small number have mental illness. A few had been arrested or asked to leave. I asked why they hadn’t received psychiatric care and she ruefully admitted that the psychiatric hospitals had all been closed. Her solution – the liveaboards should move north.

I read My Father’s Country aloud to Richard It is set in a village in Germany, close to the one he lived in as a child during World War II and focuses on a failed assassination attempt on Hitler.

I painted in the mangrove creeks while we were there; the dinghy, parked in a creek, was my studio. I loved the peace. No power boats came by and there was only the sound of the odd twig cracking, the sighing of the breeze in the branches, and the gentle splashing of fish and singing of birds.

After a week there we sailed north again and dropped our hook in the clear barely deep-enough water north of Sand Key, where only one other boat was anchored a good distance from us. We saw two large loggerhead turtles and several dolphins and swam around the boat there.

On March 9 we sailed over to No Name Harbor and spent a week there. As soon as we got there I did laundry in the aging, privately-owned washer and dryer and hung things all over the boat to complete the drying. But that night we slept on fresh clean sheets.

We were anchored near the entrance and the first night we woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a towboat towing a sailboat into the harbour.

It was Diny on Adventure Quest, a single-handed sailor who had attempted to sail to the Bahamas overnight and had engine problems in the middle of the Gulf Stream. We got to know her well. Richard and later Rick spent time on her boat, helping her solve problems with the motor. She reminded me of myself, when I was sailing alone, but I have to admit she was more resourceful and knowledgeable than I had been. I silently thanked my lucky stars that I was now sailing with a very good mechanic, on his boat.

Alejandro (sp?) came over from his beautiful little classic boat Willow to ask us about the Sand Key anchorage. His a charming young man – an airline pilot for half of the year and a cruiser in the winter.

Richard’s family – Rick, Rebecca and the three boys – arrived by car in the late afternoon on Saturday, March 11. Everyone swam around the boat and supper was a joint effort. Everyone found a place to sleep on Lucky for two nights. There were bodies everywhere!

On Sunday Rick, Rebecca and I went shopping at Wynn-Dixie in their wonderful big car.Own and Dylan drove around in the dinghy and Divy’s little paddle-kayak. Diny joined us for happy hour and Rick BBQed hamburgers for supper. After supper we played Hearts, a new game for me but one I have come to enjoy.

On Monday, after Richard took the bags and Rick and then everybody else to shore in the dinghy, the boat seemed very spacious, but too quiet. It was a lot of fun having them on board.

The next day Richard worked on Divy’s motor again and painted a picture of the mangroves on the bank behind us. Diny brought us pizza and wine. (She wanted to take us out for supper but we didn’t have the wherewithal to go.)

On March 14 we pulled up the anchor and motored to Lake Oleta, at the Baker’s Haulover Cut-off. Very windy. Alejandro sailed in (it had been too windy to sail on the ocean side of the Keys). We had another great visit and cocktails became supper.

The next day we continued north through six or eight bridges that had time-restricted openings and anchored in Boca Raton Lake, a nice quiet place.

Thursday we moved on, bundled up because it was still windy and cold. There were many more bridges and pesky powerboats with big wakes. (Sherry Baby zoomed by us to get to George Bush Bridge but had to wait for us before the bridge would open. Nice.) We got to North Lake Worth at five and at eight p.m. I was in bed reading and Richard was watching TV, chuckling, with his headphones on.

The next day, Friday, March 17, we motored past Peck Lake to Indiantown Marina, on the St. Lucie Canal, arriving at 7 p.m.. There in the entrance, watching for us, was Owen. We happily rafted to Downstream 1 and climbed up on to it to reconnect with Rick, Rebecca and the boys.

On Saturday, Richard and the family went to the flea market in Stuart. I hadn’t had a shower in eleven days so opted out of that jaunt. After my shower, I caught up on emails. I had had no internet for three weeks. (How many people go that long?)

On Sunday Rick took Rebecca, Owen and Dylan to West Palm Beach to catch their flight back to Canada. Work and school were calling.