Update from Sharon and Richard on Lucky, May 28, 2016

On March 7, we were back in the Keys, off Isla Morada. Jim and Lynda, of Morningstar, were in Marathon, a favourite hangout of theirs but not one of ours. There were too many boats there for us.

We had Happy Hours at the Lorelei with friend Alan Robinson from Tavernier and Janet and Steve McDonald of Burlington, Ontario. When the wind got choppy, we moved over to Cotton Key for shelter. I made bread; we explored in the dinghy, and enjoyed this special time by ourselves.

When the wind direction changed to the east, we moved back in front of the Lorelei. Richard dropped me off at the little beach up the clear creek where fish swam beneath us, behind the library. I caught up on emails while he refilled the fuel and water jugs at the nearby marina.

The Lorelei was the spot in Key Largo where all the tourists and boaters met. It was in the Lorelei that we got to know Simone and Jerry, of the houseboat Special Treat. We had met and danced with them at the block party when we were docked in LaBelle. They too had been together, unmarried, for ten years. One night, after Richard and I landed a scarce table near the bar, I saw a young couple standing too far from the bar to get served, with no place to sit down. I asked if they would like to join us. They gratefully accepted, bought us a round of drinks and showed us pictures of the two babies they had left up north with Granny while they had a short getaway. They shared their hopes and dreams with us, and we gave them advice from our experience. I suspect they ignored the warnings about going into debt to buy a large catamaran.

After a week we moved to the next bay north along the Intracoastal, which we call Sponge Boat Bay, after the sponge boats stored there. We learned from one of the live-aboards, who works on a tourist pirate ship in the area, that the official name is Postcard Bay, after the hotel across the Overseas Highway. He said that is what had been written on the ticket he got for not having the registration numbers spaced properly on his little houseboat.

After a few days we sailed farther north to the bay between the channel into Tavernier and toilet seat pass. We went into Alan’s dock and loaded up with water. He drove me to the laundromat and to get groceries. Every Keys cruiser needs a shore friend like that!

The anchorage was isolated and we were able to swim without swimsuits around the boat in perfectly clear water. The only downside to that anchorage was returning in our dinghy from dinner at Steve and Janet’s condo in the dark through that long unlit channel. Powerboats flew through there with no regard for little dinghies that they could not see. One came bursting into the channel through our little cut-off just as we were about to enter it. It would have sunk us if Richard had not passed the cut-off to make sure it was clear before he entered it.

Frank Pappas, author of a Keys cruising guide was a guest at that dinner. I traded my book for an adventure novel set in the Keys that he had also written, and ended up reading it to Richard in the evenings. The sex was a bit over the top, and it could have used a good editor, but Richard loved it.

Our next anchorage was Tarpon Basin, off Key Largo, a favourite spot of ours. Jim and Lynda caught up to us there, and we resumed taking turns hosting each other for dinners. We had been watching episodes of Castle that my son Mike had downloaded for me in the evenings and continued to do that until we had seen them all.

One night we went to a presentation on sea turtles in the auditorium at the Munroe County building.. When explorers first arrived in Key West the turtles were so numerous that iy was difficult to anchor. Now, after a couple of hundred years of indiscriminate slaughter to supply turtle soup to Europe, they have all but disappeared. But many still come back to lay their eggs on both coasts of Florida, and concerned people are trying to make that safer for them.

In the dinghy, we toured the shady little mangrove creeks that flow through the otherwise impenetrable mangrove islands in Tarpon Basin. Then I spent three blissful days away from the powerboats, sitting in the dinghy which I had tied up to the mangroves, painting them in all of their tangled grace.

On March 31, we sailed north to Sand Key, Jim and Lynda following in Morning Star. Sand Key is just north of the long narrow strip of parkland called Elliott Key. Together they form most of the barrier between Biscayne Bay, which is thirty-five miles long and up to eight miles wide in spots, and the Atlantic Ocean. We got there about two-thirty p.m., crept in as close as we could to land and dropped our hooks. We were the only boats anchored there and the first order of business was a swim in the clear Bahamas-blue water. Our bathing suits stayed dry. Drinks were on our boat before both crews retreated behind their screens to avoid the mosquitoes.

The next day we sailed to No Name Harbor where, to our surprise, only a half-dozen sailboats and one power-boat were anchored. Later more would come, and the harbour was packed all weekend. I got my bathing suit wet for the first time all winter and swam around the boat.

Some large power boats ran their generators or motors 24/7 at anchor to keep the booze cold, the air conditioner running and the music playing. The result was often unhealthy fumes and noise for those nearby. One anchored right next to us and when we went to bed the noise was deafening. A man on a nearby boat with two little kids had his parents visiting and had complained about the fumes, to no avail. I got up, pointed my flashlight at the man on the bow and asked him if he was planning to run the motor all night.

He said he was. I said, “It’s too loud. I can’t sleep.”

He shouted back, “Move if you don’t like it.”

The he suggested where I could put my flashlight – in an orifice on my body where I knew it wouldn’t fit. I explained that there were many other people on boats around him who couldn’t sleep either and that he should go to a more isolated anchorage or tie up at a dock where he could plug into power. Then I retreated. He didn’t seem to be the kind of person who would listen to suggestions. However, the friends rafted to him left a few minutes later, and he followed. Blessed silence and sleep.

I did laundry the next day and we dined at the seafood restaurant ashore. The day after that we motored north to the little lake at Baker’s Haulover Inlet in North Miami, between Florida International University and Oleta River State Park. And there, as I prepared to drop the anchor, our trip made an abrupt and prolonged stop.

More to follow in Part II of this update

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Update from Sharon and Richard on Lucky, March 8, 2016

On Feb. 13, Jim and Lynda on Morning Star rafted to Lucky in the anchorage at South Bay, on the southern rim route of Lake Okeechobee.

While we reconnected over supper and drinks (the lads drank quite a bit of rum), we watched a fishing boat raft about twenty feet from where we were sitting in the cockpit. We had inadvertently anchored right in front of their fishing spot and they cheerfully chatted to each other and us as the three of them set out their eighteen (!) fishing rods in the holders on their boat. No limit, they told us, on the number of rods you can use in Florida. They were still happily pulling in fish when I woke up at midnight and saw their lights still blazing. The next day Jim and Richard, who really enjoyed reconnecting, were a little fragile and haven’t drunk that much rum since.

We stayed four days longer there. Lynda and I walked on the rim trail in the mornings. I did laundry in the nearby trailer park. Steve and Sarah, our new friends from the trailer park, picked me up, served me lunch, gave me laundry soap and dropped me off at the dinghy dock in the boat launch area. Sue and Mick on Jenny arrived on their way back to Indiantown and, with Cheryl and Matt from Curieuse, we all got together for Happy Hour on Jenny. Except for three noisy airboats that roared by, sometimes in the middle of the night, and the frequent drifting down of cane ash onto our boats, it was a very quiet anchorage, full of water birds and fish.

On Feb. 18, we motored west, then north, then west again to a small narrow anchorage called the Lollipop, next to a herd of grazing cattle. Very quiet. It was a long narrow channel with a big round deep bay at the end, hence the name.

We made good time along the waterway. Because excess water was being released from the Lake the current was very strong, giving us an extra three and a half knots of speed. When we got to the Gulf a few days later, we could see this brown water flowing out into it for miles from shore.

The next day we filled up with fuel and water at the little Port LaBelle Marina and then tied up at the free town dock in the town of LaBelle. Richard’s long-time sailing friends Dennis and Kika, no longer sailing and living in a house on the river, joined us at the block party on the dock that night. We even danced – three Canadian couples, doing the foxtrot and looking very weird to the many teenagers standing by, I imagine – to the wonderful music there. Dennis and Kika picked us up for a restocking trip to the Save-a-lot the next day and Kika picked us up at the dock for a bonfire and BBQ on their back lawn overlooking the river in the evening.

The next day, Sunday, we continued the trip west on the river. As we got closer to Fort Meyers, more large power boats flew by streaming large wakes. I never saw anyone on board looking back to see how badly they rocked us. Not my favourite part of the trip.

We had decided to take a channel a couple of miles north into Bimini Basin, in the city of Cape Coral. There were about twenty live-aboard boats there and almost no other boat traffic. The surrounding condos and vacation rentals provided shelter from the wind.  A park at the north end had a dinghy dock where visitors could park and we could meet them.

Nancy Chase, a Scrabble player I had met ten years ago in the Bahamas, drove down from Sarasota and we had lunch and played two great games on the boat before the weather turned threatening and she had to go home. Jim and Lynda were visited by friends and relatives who staying nearby, both on the boat and ashore. Lynda did laundry. I walked to the Wynn Dixie and took a cab back to the dingy dock, where Richard, watching from the boat, came in and picked up me with my many bags of groceries.

One day the Honda generator wouldn’t start.  Jim and Richard took it completely apart and put it back together, Lynda googling advice for them. The boat was chaos and they didn’t get it all together until the next day. All I could do was lay in the v-Berth and read. A good thing I had a wonderful book. We watched movies on board a couple of evenings. It was still in the forties F. at night, and much snuggling was necessary to keep warm.

Five days later, the visitors had gone, the wind had settled down and it was time to go to Fort Meyers Beach, a half-day journey out into the bay and back in behind Estero Island. There were two moorings left, and we took them. They were only $16 and gave us access to the laundry, fresh water on the dinghy dock and clean hot showers.

The next day, Saturday, Feb. 27, we motored out into the Gulf of Mexico and sailed downwind to Gordon Cut. Richard had the sails set wing on wing and the boat was going seven knots. Exhilarating! Our best sail so far. But I couldn’t steer because I can only steer downwind if I can see the little wind indicator arrow at the top of the mast; there is no window in the top of our bimini.

At Gordon Pass, we flew in between the rocky breakwaters as I struggled to get the main down. Then we found ourselves in the midst of small boats speeding back and forth between Naples and Marco Island and to the many little bays and fishing spots in between. They were all enjoying their speed much more than the scenery and had little regard for sailboats moving at five knots. We learned later that Jim and Lynda, who came in behind us, had their cockpit swamped with spray from a powerboat; they were both drenched and had to bail out the cockpit. It was a relief when we turned east, away from the channel and into the cut leading to Rookery Bay. Old friends Chris, Divya and Sue were anchored there on Maggie M, waiting for us. Lynda and Jim followed and we all gathered for tea with rum and Girl Scout cookies in our cockpit and later for spaghetti dinner on Maggie M. It was a joyful reunion.

The next day there were two good Scrabble games, more meals shared, a long walk on the nearby Gulf beach and a wonderful dinghy cruise through the mangroves, led by Chris, Divya and Sue. The morning after that, we woke up to the singing of the Maggie M crew as they slid by our boat and away to the north.
The day after, Lynda and I took another ocean walk and I painted two little pictures of the mangroves, trying to see into their depths.

This is our third trip making this loop west from Indiantown to Fort Meyers and south to the Florida Keys and back north through the Keys, travelling up the Intracoastal Waterway on the East Coast and turning  west in the St. Lucie Canal back to Indiantown. We’ve been to all of these spots before. But now they are fresher in our memories. And busier, I regret to say.

On Tuesday, March first, we motored south in the west coast Intracoastal. We had to time our departure so we would pass under the bridge at Marco Island and into the shallow water just beyond at slack tide. Then it was a nail-biting trip to Goodlands, picking our way through many skinny spots. Morning Star bumped three times and we hit bottom once, but got off easily.

After an expensive Happy Hour at Marker 8 Bar and a quiet night in the anchorage we sailed on the next day to Little Shark River. We anchored up the river, rafted together among ancient trees hanging over the shores. An old turtle with a big gnarly shell at least three feet in diameter and a head the size of a new-born baby rose out of the water just behind us to breath. And a white dolphin fished along the shore. The night was silent except for the gnawing of barnacles on the hull at intervals and the odd whine of mosquitoes against the screens.

Then there was a long day of sailing and watching out for the crab-pots that would foul our prop, until we finally arrived at the moorings at Lignum Vitae in the Florida Keys. Now we are anchored just north of the Lorelei Restaurant on Isla Morada, where we enjoyed Happy Hour with our old friends Alan, Steve and Janet, waiting for the twenty-to-thirty knot wind to let up. Jim and Lynda are in Marathon, waiting for better weather too, and may join us then.

So far, it has been a chilly, wet and windy winter here.

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Feb 14 Update, 2016 from Sharon and Richard on Lucky

Being in the water was wonderful, but there was still lots to do. We had to fill up with water, gas and diesel, and buy more groceries – a lot more.

The first night, when we got back with supplies, there was an odd smell in the boat, from the saurkraut and sausage we cooked the night before, Richard thought. But I could detect a subtle hint of gas, so Richard shut off the propane tank, and went to bed, with the rain pouring down, as it had been doing all day. The next day when we turned on the propane, there was a loud hissing noise.

It rained all day. And all day, Richard climbed in and out of the locker where the propane regulator and hook-ups to the stove were – in the rain, as the tarp didn’t cover the whole cockpit and our bimini was away, a pattern for the new one being sewn by a seamstress in Tequesta. I spent the day driving back and forth from the marina to the hardware store and the Gas Company in that pouring rain. We replaced the copper line – had to lift the stove out to get it out. The hissing continued when we turned the propane on. Then the LPG line. Still hissing. I was getting frazzled from all the driving in the heavy rain. Late in the day at the gas company, I backed into a short metal post that I couldn’t see and now the van needs a new bumper.

Finally I went back for a new regulator, and when Rich installed it the hissing stopped. It kept raining. Richard climbed creakily out on the locker, a hero in my eyes.

And that was supposed to have been our day of rest after our three weeks of slaving in the yard!
But things got better. I did laundry quickly the next day in town, where there are many machines and I was early enough that I didn’t have to wait.

In the afternoon we went to Tequesta and waited an hour for Beth to finish the new bimini. She had forgotten to make the changes we requested and her grommet machine didn’t work. $335 U.S. Richard said he should have done it himself, but he already had so much to do.

We had a good visit with Richard’s old friend Ben, who thinks Trump will solve all of the problems in the U.S. if he gets elected.

I played a few wonderful Scrabble games with some very good players – Joy from Sandals, Joan from Tranquility, Debbie from Our Way and two or three others. They needed a little brushing up on the rules, as most played on the computer, but took that well.

On Monday we moved up the canal a little ways to the dock of Richard and Renita Brooks, Richard’s good and log-time friends. Most of the power boats that passed slowed down and left small wakes. Richard spent an afternoon helping Richard B. install a pump in his pool. We relaxed a bit.

Richard got out his 50-year-old Pfaff sewing machine out and started making cockpit cushions. (He had brought the foam and beautiful waterproof material from Canada.) He worked on them many days in our two different anchorages until now.

It kept raining off and on. One morning we woke up surrounded by a floating island of foliage that had floated down the canal. With the boathook and broom, we were able to get it off of our lines in pieces and sent it on towards Stuart. We have seen these large floating islands all along the way. Yesterday one was blocking the boat ramps near our current anchorage, and another stretched almost across the canal.

We took another trip to West Palm Beach to look for a replacement for the broken spring in the tensor unit of the sewing machine. After being sent from one place to another, Brad kindly agreed to fix it while we did more grocery shopping. We all agreed that it was a miracle that he had the part in stock. After that the sewing proceeded at a better pace, although Richard still had to keep taking those tiny pieces apart and putting them back together, with his reduced eyesight. I held the flashlight and threaded the needle.

On Feb. 1st, there was still a light drizzle, but we decided nothing was so crucial that it couldn’t be done farther down the water. Richard had put the car to bed the day before while I played two last games of Scrabble with those wonderful players.

We detached the electrical line and two dock lines, pulled up the four anchors and I motored slowly west down the canal while Richard tied everything down.

At the railroad bridge with the 49-foot clearance, Richard approached slowly into the oncoming current and went underneath the bridge. It cleared the light on top of the mast by about 6 inches and the aerial went “ping” as it bent to go under each girder. Phew! Once under, we anchored before the lock. We had decided to take the southern rim route and weren’t sure we could get to the next possible anchorage before dark. We watched “Sex Tape”, one of the movies downloaded for us by Bill and Eileen on Moshulu. Richard picked it for the reasons you would expect, but it turned out to be a good comedy.

In the morning we went through the Port Mayaca Lock and motored into the southern Rim Route. Late in the day we anchored in a little side-pocket just east of the swing bridge at Torrie Island. There we rode out a strong cold front and stayed three more days. We spent much of the time working on the cockpit cushions, Richard nursing his crotchety old Pfaff machine along.

In the evenings we watch movies that son Mike and Richard’s son Colin downloaded for us. We have become addicted to the Castle detective series (so nice with no commercials) and watched “12 Years a Slave”. Thank you Mike and Colin!

On Feb. 6, we moved here, to the enclosed anchorage just north os the South Bay Trailer Park and boat launch. All of the nights have been cold and we woke up to temperatures from 35 to 55◦ F. every night.
A few days ago I hand-sewed the last corner on the last cockpit cushion, and they are beautiful. Very subtle beige colour, but they give the boat a bit of class that was missing last year with the smelly damp old foam and the loose pieces of cheap plastic laid on top.

We met Steve from Maine, a winter resident in the motor-home park, on the dinghy-dock, and he has come over to raft alongside Lucky in Opa’s Island, his Bayside cruiser, with his wife and guests. They have offered help whenever we need it. We meet the very nicest people while cruising.

Jim and Lynda came in yesterday in Morning Star and rafted alongside and we shared the fish Steve had given to us for supper. Sue and Mick on Jennie may stop by on their way home tomorrow or the next day and Dennis and Kika, old friends of Richard will drive over tomorrow.

Today is lovely and warm but another front is coming through tonight. Jim and Richard got out their fishing gear. Now, at 3:30 p.m., they are both napping. They say the fish bite better at night.
At 4:30 the birds will begin roosting in the trees near us and I will watch for the beautiful roseate spoonbills I saw two nights ago to flutter  onto a roost. Perhaps we will stay here all winter!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sharon and Richard, taking it easy on Lucky

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January 21, 2016 Update from Lucky

From Spring until Christmas, June 15 to December 28, 2015:

The summer of 2015 flew by.

My elderly parents had both died a couple of years ago, and I felt I had more time. Kamo had his passport and Rebecca took him back to the airport in Toronto, where he flew to Grenada, so I could resume my regular life.

There were still those twenty-five grand-nieces and grand-nephews and their parents (my seventeen nieces and nephews and their spouses) and the grandparents (my sisters and brothers and their spouses). We all enjoy each other’s company so the summer was filled with visiting and eating together.

My son Mike was now living alone in a little house in Vienna, south of Tillsonburg, Ontario. I tried to visit him as much as possible to see how his renovations and clearing out of the brush in the little forest around his house was progressing.

Sister Virginia had been looking forward to her time with me. We took the Canadian train with the dome cars through the Rockies to celebrate her sixtieth birthday, visited niece Dana and her husband Dave in Vancouver and flew home. My advice – take the plane out and the train back. That way you will pass through the most spectacular mountains in daylight. The dining car with starched tablecloths and napkins, wonderful food and attentive wait staff was the highlight. Virginia took a shine to both of the good-looking young men who kept the sleeper car beautiful and directed the entertainment aboard.

Oh, yes, did I mention that Richard and I got together once in a while? He changed his 1985 VW Vanagen for a “new” 1993 Westphalia VW van and we took two camping trips in Ontario. One of these was to visit Sister Vonny and her husband Ray, who were hosting another five couples with whom they had cruised. We knew some and would meet others again along the way, a special treat. In fact, Terry and Sandy had their boat Gambit in the work yard when we got to Indiantown Marina.

The big project that I worked on for most of the summer and fall was writing Book III of the Idiot Afloat Series. This book is called Still Floating. After six years of single-handing, I figured I could drop the “idiot” designation. It was the hardest one of the series to write, even though I wasn’t really making it up, just recounting what happened. It covers another three years of the adventure, including 2006, when I met Richard, a great mechanic and a good companion. Okay, we’re still working on the partnership part, but we continue to stick it out and we have had many wonderful times together. By the time I got to the year 2009 in the book, I felt the story had been told. Yet, many good times and adventures followed, but they were the same things that all of us aging cruising couple do out here, and lots has already been written on the subject. I included an Afterword, where I wrapped up or updated unfinished stories of the people along the way. I also described a couple of notable things that happened between then and now. To tell you the truth, I was having trouble remembering what I had already written. In the proofing, I and the other proof-readers discovered I had repeated myself quite a bit, a sure sign I should let it go.

Before I knew it, the book was published. I did four book talks in libraries – a less than spectacularly successful way to sell books, unless you are already famous. Book III was selling well, mostly to people who already had the first two of the series. And Christine was working on converting them to ebooks.

Then it was Christmas and time to go south.

Richard spent Christmas with his three grand-sons and their parents, and I stayed home for my big family’s events around Bothwell, where the best part was immersing myself in a sea of little kids – a sea from which I could escape and go home for a nap when it got overwhelming.

The “new” Westphalia camper appeared before noon on Boxing Day, loaded down with new things that Richard had bought for the boat, as well as my old 15 HP Johnson outboard that he had rebuilt during the summer. I was ready to jump on board. Three days later, after driving south through steady rain and sleeping aboard the camper in Flying J’s at night, we pulled into Indiantown Marina at 8 p.m. Sue and Mick on Jenny welcomed us with drinks and a visit and we crawled back into the van to sleep there one last night.

The next day we uncovered and opened Lucky, dirty on the outside from the sugar cane ash, but pristine on the inside, thanks to mothballs and our little solar ventilating fan in the head. Jess and Alex moved her to the work yard in the Afternoon and we got to work.

Slaving in the Workyard, December 28, 2015 to January 21, 2016:
We knew we had a lot to do after going to the Bahamas and keeping the boat in George Town for three years. The 45% import duty on everything there made the costs of repairs and replacements very high, so we postponed our work until we got back to the States, where we could at least bring replacement parts from Canada.

We slept and cooked on the boat. Richard got the propane stove and water pump working the first day and we got used to climbing up and down the ladder to use the nearby toilet.

The first full day of work, I scrubbed most of the dirty deck and cockpit and Richard installed the new head (toilet to you landlubbers) and the new water pump for the head. His job had him in a tightly cramped position all day. He was still at it when the light started to fail, so I held the flashlight so he could see the small parts with which he was working, and the hair dryer so he could get the hoses fitted together. We finished at 7:30, exhausted.

And so the days went. I cleaned the stern. Richard ground down the bubbled-up paint on the boot line and scrubbed the hull. He sanded the topsides and painted it. Later he put two coats of paint on the hull. I sanded the prop. I cooked, did dishes, vacuumed often, and did weekly laundry. I redid the lettering on the stern and bow of the boat after Richard painted. I took me three days, but everyone who walked by said it was a good job. It looked perfect, from a modest distance. I sanded and painted inside the hard dodger, and it gleams.

There were shared meals and cocktails on the patio some evenings with old and new friends. Some came for dinner on our boat – Bill and Eileen on Moshulu, from near Algonquin Park, whom Richard had known for decades, but I had just met for the first time. And Jon off Captain Cook, an old friend of Richard’s whom I met before I knew Richard. Jim and Lynda of Morning Star, hailing from Vermillion Bay, Ontario, arrived and we reconnected. Murray and Laurel Thompson from Hamilton, Ontario, even stopped by for a BBQ on their way to their mobile home in Bonita Springs and brought filet minyon (sp?) to die for.

We squeezed the painting in between the many rainy days and found jobs we could inside on those days. Many days were much colder than it should be in Florida. Of course one of those jobs was going shopping to stock the boat for the winter, which we did on at least five rainy days. Some nights we watched DVDs on board and I had the luxury of easily accessible internet so I could do email. A bonus – I was able to play a few games of Scrabble with some excellent and keen players.

Finally, on January 21, we were placed gently (splashed, they call it) into the water. More to come, but that’s enough for now. Sharon and Richard on Lucky

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June 25, 2015 Update from Sharon and Richard on Lucky

Update from Sharon and Richard, of the Sailboat Lucky, now back in Ontario

On April fourth, we sailed to Samson Cay, followed by and sometimes following Jim and Lynda on their little 30 foot eastward Ho!, Morningstar. Richard knew this place as a beautiful anchorage just off of a nice marina with a good restaurant, but the marina was gone, now private and closed to boaters. We cooked our own dinner, in the empty anchorage.

We made our way up the Exumas, enjoying exhilarating sailing, and stopping for a couple of days in Ship Channel anchorage, by Roberts Cay, and Bimini. We were surprised at the number of very large motor yachts we saw, up to 150 feet in length, with two or three stories, and tenders the size of our boat! Fortunately, they were too big to get into our favourite anchorages.

After two nights of luxury on the dock at Bimini Bluewater Marina, and sipping cocktails in the pool there, we set out across the Gulf Stream to Florida.

Right at the axis of the Gulf Stream, the prop stopped with a big clunk, and we were drifting in the light wind. Richard leaned over and looked under the dive platform. We had picked up a chunk of heavy commercial fishing net the size of three people. He could not go under the boat with just a snorkel in the strong current and choppy waves to free it. Since no one was in immediate danger, the Coast Guard was not interested in our plight. Jim and Lynda tried to tow us with Morningstar, but it was too dangerous.

After several hours of sailing at two or three knots and being pushed north, we realized we would get to shore after dark and past the harbour entrance. We radioed TowBoatUS (whom we suspect were expecting our call) and an hour or so later, a young man came out in a towboat. When he had towed us into Lake Sylvia, we anchored. He got out his hookah, remover the big clump of netting from the prop and took it away with him. It cost $1037, but by that time we felt it was well worth it. And divided by the thirty years that Richard has not carried insurance, it was a bargain. There was a problem with Customs too, but I’ll save it for the book. (I may never get there. I’m paging through the current calendar faster than I’m telling the story in my journals.)

After that we made the usual passage through the dozen and more bridges in the Intracoastal Waterway with very little waiting.

Back in Indiantown, Richard anchored us in a perfect four-point position off the dock of Richard’s old friends, Richard and Renita. Then we dove into the cleaning, organizing, getting rid of stuff and packing that must happen before heading north. There were also issues getting my car operational. And all those friends to visit. We had the Brookses and Chris and Divya for crêpes when we got tied to the dock.

Nine days later we were in the car and driving north. More than halfway to my house in Ontario, Richard remembered that he had forgotten to loosen off the seal on the stuffing box. As a result, it will have to be replaced ($400?) when we get back. I’m going to start the list of things to do before leaving as soon as we get back to the boat next year!

When we got to my place after ten p.m. , ready to fall into bed, we discovered that my sister-in-law Connie had put breakfast in the fridge for us. She is an angel. There were many reunions with family and friends, most involving food. Richard went home and I felt that a big piece of my life was missing.

I tackled Paypal, Smashwords and the editing of my art on my webpage, www.mydetour.com. I’m still working on all that stuff, but go to the website to see what’s there so far..

Christine had prepared Idiot Afloat, Books I and II for ebook publication in Smashwords, and now both books are available to Canadian libraries, and are available on Overdrive, Kobo, and many other ebook sites. (Book I still available on Kindle, but not to Canadian libraries, which is why I went to Smashwords.) Of course, both books are still available from me and the info about them is on the website.

The latest news: Kamo emailed me from to say his passport had expired and he was about to be deported from Grenada(which has no Canadian Consulate) and might lose his boat. After much investigation, old friends Rebecca and Laurel and I concluded that the best way to resolve the issue was for him to fly to Canada (the only place that will accept him with an expired passport – he’s Canadian). Actually getting on any plane with an expired passport in another whole issue and it took several phone calls to airlines and various government departments to work that out. I sent begging emails to those of you that knew Kamo personally or through Idiot Afloat Book II. Enough people responded that there is money for his flight back and a ten-year passport. Any extra money will go to Kamo for incidentals (photo I.D., emergency passport, repairing his boat, etc.) Thank you for your generosity. If you would like to donate and I didn’t send you a letter, email me and I can give you the donor info.

I didn’t use crowd funder or whatever they call it because they take a big cut, I understand, and the amount of money Kamo needed is relatively modest. Rebecca picked Kamo up at the airport and did research on documents needed, etc.. He stayed with Laurel and Murray a week and was able to work a few days at the yacht club in Hamilton. He is staying with me a month, waiting for his photo i.d. and passport. Then he will fly back to Grenada, where Immigration promises to welcome him back with his valid passport. All donors will receive a summary of money raised and how it is spent.

It’s nice to be back home, surrounded by my family and the many shades of a green Southwestern Ontario summer.

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