I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about life being a Journey, not a Destination.
Hope you read it. Because it certainly is true.
I started a job here at the marina a few days ago. Had about 8-9 work days so far, part time. I clean the docks, check boats, power towers, take out trash, open the “store”, close the store and a few other things, like handy-man things. I’ve repaired the golf cart ramp a couple of times, moved oyster shells, rocks, bricks, old wood, dirt, cleaned bathrooms and collected cans for some local charity.
It’s actually… FUN!
The best part? Cleaning bird poop off the docks.
Yep, no kidding. I get to be outside, walk around, walk past all the boats, check lines, discover problems, fix things… but the bird poop is the BEST!
It rots wood, and looks like… ummm…. crap. LOL It’s a crappy job, but someone has to do it!
Seriously, it’s nice being outside, and not staying inside the boat all the time. I get to meet new people all the time as well.
We are going to stay here for a few months, head down to the Bahamas and then come back after a few months.
So, I’ll invite our cruiser friends to South Harbour Village Marina to stop in and say “Howdy” over this season. We’re looking forward to the transients like us, passing through, headed north. A few are still headed south at this point, but some are already passing through on the way north.
I’ll see you on the docks!!!!
Simply put, hurricanes and boats don’t mix well.
Matthew is proving to be a pain in the ass for a lot of folks right now. People in Haiti, soon Cuba and then the Bahamas. After that, according to the models (which I want so desperately to disbelieve) Florida, and most of the East coast of the United States will be in for a bit of roughhousing as well.
I’m far enough north that it should break up and just be a tropical storm by the time it gets to us, especially if it hangs over land for any length of time.
But for whatever reason (I can’t see the reasons) the models have pushed over to the west and it’s promising to be a beast. I see a front coming through, and pushing out, and now there’s a dry, low pressure system in the middle of the US which may reach the coast about the same time, and that might be pulling the hurricane in somewhat.
On the other hand, there’s a mess of rain and another front west of that high. It usually takes 3-4 days to cross the states with weather systems. Hmmm. MAYBE it will get to the coast in time to push some more. I don’t know. I’m not a forecaster, just a storm chaser that looks at the data and predicts local mesoscale conditions. Hurricanes are big, bad, Red-Spot-on-Jupiter things to me and are as distant as that planet is from Earth for me.
I’ve been in two. One hit DC a long time ago and water levels came up 8 feet up the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. The second was in Jamaica in the 2ooo, when it missed us by about 90 miles on the north coast of Jamaica. But… it RAINED like the ocean was pouring over us. I’ve never seen so much rain for so long in my life.
The plan today is pretty simple. Down comes the headsail and sheets. I’ll remove everything off the deck and bring it below today and tomorrow. And we will bring our tarps (we use as tents topside) below to cover things down here inside the boat. JoAnne will pack and we will be ready to bug out sometime on Saturday morning most likely, because the predictions are showing it coming up this way Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The last of the preps will involve moving the boat out, adding lines and hoping for the best. We’re not going to stay aboard the boat if the hurricane approaches us. We’ll head inland and stay out of the path as much as we can. I’m planning to take most of our clothes, our foulies, food, water, electronics, important papers, car and our mortal bodies away from here. We went through a Nor’easter in the Bay… and that was not good, with the shallow Bay, short chop, poor JoAnne getting sick. Staying in a Marina is not going to be much better. And there’s little here to keep us safe, and in fact, it might be pretty unsafe to remain here.
I maybe take one of the ham rigs too, just in case. We have terrible luck with the phones, so a ham radio might come in handy.
So, all my hoping and my “estimating” isn’t coming true. All I can say is that the hurricane tarried a bit too long in the Southern Caribbean Sea and the weather that would have push him off is long gone now….
This sort of thing is, by the way, why I have been a “prepper” most of my life and even wrote a book about it. I sure hope it all works right this time. 🙂
I guess that’s it for now.
If y’all believe in prayers… better get busy. The entire coast of the US, Bahamas, Haiti and other poor people in between are all in danger’s path.
First, I want to apologize to every one who has asked about blog entries. We have NOT been on the boat for almost a month.
We left last month on the 12th to travel across county. I’m sure some of you get the “security” idea. JoAnne and I have always been “security conscious” but more so now that we live on a boat. Having both worked in the government, and me in particular in the military, and with security for the Missile Defense Agency for many years, we tend to look over our shoulders a lot. So, we try hard not to advertise EXACTLY where we are, where we’re headed, where we’re anchored, but we still do it to some extent.
Half the fun of doing this is changing locations and seeing new things and sharing that information with others. Both the good and bad of it….whether it’s a bad or good experience in a marina, getting our boat damaged by someone else or rain (constant rain sometimes), we’ll share. We won’t share the dates and times we’re leaving exactly, or exactly where we are located except with family members so they know to look for us if we “vanish”.
With that said, again, sorry for no entries lately. I’ll make up for that though now.
We left for Colorado on the 12th headed back for doctors’ checkups. I had a physical. JoAnne had a “two years after chemo” checkup.
We arrived and stayed with my daughter, Kristy…. but on the way we stopped to rescue a grandson who had been abandoned by his mother, our ex-daughter-in-law and return him back to the family in Colorado. He is safe with his Uncle Nick and his Dad is working to get a job and support the young man now. Gage was doing well when we left him. Hopefully someone remembers to feed and water him occasionally (he’s 16, I think he can help himself a lot now :))
On the 20th I went in and had a blood draw, and a physical. Apparently, I’m not going to die any time soon. My heart is doing fine, though I now have an anomaly due to the heart surgery called a Left Bundle Branch… what ever that is. It looks weird on the ekg.
JoAnne went in for a blood draw as well, the CA-125, which is an indicator of tumor growth. Her numbers have been low since the surgery, in the 10-16 range. We never got a pre-surgery baseline, so no idea what it might have been before the tumor was removed. The numbers peaked at 18. The PA said we could do another test in a month to see if it were a glitch or a CT scan. We instantly asked for the CT scan. Her examination was fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was just that darned blood test that scared us.
A couple of days later she had the CT scan, and then we had to go back on Thursday to see the doctor. We ended up sitting for over 2 HOURS waiting for him, because he was running behind. They placed us in the conference room for an hour and a half and we were nervous by the time he walked in. He was flanked by a nurse and the “social worker” or psychologist or whatever she was. We BOTH almost lost it right there. We KNEW it was going to be bad news.
But he asked JoAnne how she was. She said she was fine. He said “Your exam was fine, and the CT scan came back clear. There is no sign of cancer”. I wanted to throttle him for making us wait for 2.5 hours for that. He could have kicked us out of the office in 2 minutes and simply said “You’re fine, no sign of cancer, go sailing”…. ack.
We had already packed so we headed home, collected our bags and packed the car. We’d mostly said good bye to everyone but got a few more in and got on the road.
Stopped in Hays, Ks. Then we traveled on Friday to Mike and Cindy’s home in Richmond, MO and visited over the weekend. On Monday we went to Branson.
In Branson we saw the “Legends” show on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we went on the Branson Belle Showboat and saw a cool show on the river cruise. The ship was HUGE…. and probably could have held Adventure inside the auditorium! They probably had almost 1000 people in attendance and not all the seats were filled. Both shows were very good.
We made it back here on Saturday afternoon. Adventure was fine, our new solar charging system is working wonderfully and there was nothing out of place. Unfortunately, JoAnne’s lavender plant didn’t do too well in the care of the marina office. I’m trying to nurse it back to health now. Not sure I can do it though.
So in the middle of retirement, we took a month vacation.
I did laundry yesterday, today we go grocery shopping so we can actually use our refrigeration unit haha, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff to put away.
We added one item to the inventory, a manual water maker, which is a reverse osmosis filtration system. It is a hand pumped device. I have yet to read all the instructions, but it will go with our ditch bag. Hopefully we will never have a need to use it.
On the 12th I go in to see an eye surgeon. My left eye is getting bad with cataracts. I’m going to have to have surgery soon. I hope it very soon so we can plan our trip to the Bahamas next.
All my best to everyone.
Winter can’t go away quickly enough for us.
We’re ready to go back to the boat, but it’s still chilly here and back in Norfolk. Apparently they haven’t suffered from much cold as it’s rarely gotten below freezing according the marina where the boat is waiting for us to return.
Talked to someone on Facebook yesterday and they told me they got about an inch of snow which rapidly turned to rain and all of the snow is gone. So, that’s a good thing.
I’m going to tell you all a story here. Over the course of the past 7-8 years JoAnne and I have gone through a lot in getting ready to move aboard a boat. In the past few weeks people ask us about it and we tell them some of the things that have happened. Most are aghast or in awe of what we’ve accomplished.
I don’t think either JoAnne or I consider anything we’ve done or gone through too “heroic”. Except JoAnne. Cancer is nothing to sneeze about. She went through a lot in the last two years and I want to point out to folks who have normal, every day problems like ants in the kitchen, painting needed in a room, grass cutting, snow blowing or shoveling, that there are times – and people – that try the patience of saints.
In January of 2014 JoAnne wasn’t feeling well. We were I believe staying with my daughter at the time because our house had been up for sale. The whole market thing wasn’t working for us, or the house. She called off of work one day and went home four times early over the course of about a two week period. This was not only unusual for JoAnne, it was unheard of. My wife rarely gets sick, she almost never took a day off work, and she’s a pretty strong lady all in all.
On the fourth time I walked into the house after work and made an off handed comment, “So, what time is your doctor’s appointment tomorrow?”
To my surprise and astonishment (because she hates going to doctors) she gave me a time. I don’t remember now if it was the very next day or a day or so later, but she’d set one up.
Our family doctor, Kendra Robison, gave JoAnne an xray and told her that there was a “mass” down low. She ordered up a C-T scan for a couple of days later. On the 29th of January a bunch of us family members met at Rock Bottom (our normal hang out) to have a beer and celebrate my youngest son’s birthday. That’s when Doctor Robison called JoAnne. We both went outside to take the call.
I could tell by JoAnne’s face that things weren’t good, After the call she had our kids who were with us at the time come out, left spouses and grandkids inside and she told us all what was up.
She had a very large tumor, about graprefruit size, maybe larger. They believed without a doubt it was cancerous. A few days later she underwent surgery. A few weeks after that she started chemo. Lost her hair. Went through some shots to help her immune system but put her in severe pain. We had moved back into the house so she had a place to recover – because neither of us ever doubted she’d recover. There was crying, praying, more crying, plenty of support from our children (all adults).
In late August 2015 we learned that she was “cancer free” at that point. Her chemo had ended and she went home and started looking at boats – because our “five year plan” never went away. It was suspended and we both continued to work as we could. She went to work all the way through chemo. She worked fewer hours, and I tried to make sure she got plenty of rest. We still visited Rock Bottom from time to time and had a beer, but there were times when she couldn’t go to work right away because of the immunity issues.
I took off as many days from my job as I could to help her, take her to doctors appointments and be with her.
In November 2014 JoAnne found three boats that not only met our specifications, but our budget (we’d actually increased our budget by then). The house was nearly paid off anyway and we figured we could do this.
In December 2014 I flew to New York to look at a boat called “Duna”, a Transworld Formosa 41. Exactly the boat we both had dreams (and occasional nightmares) about. Beautiful lines, full keeled ketch, with most things working. The boat really needed a lot more than a few repairs, but all-in-all the boat was intact and with a little bit of work could be put in the water and sail right away.
The issues on the boat though, we considered minor compared to our goal, and JoAnne’s recent battles.
In January 2015, one year and one day from JoAnne’s diagnoses of cancer, we closed on the boat. In March of 2015 we put the house back on the market. The first day we had five showings. Over the week, we had about 25 showings. On Sunday, seven days from the day we went on the market, we closed on our house. We sold it to a young man in his 30s, single dad with two children.
We moved back in with our daughter again and began our final transition from working, to moving to our boat and becoming cruisers.
In May we were ready to leave. We both put in our resignations. Mine went in on Monday the 11th of May. JoAnne’s last day of work was supposed to be that week on Friday.
On Wednesday I was driving home and felt ill. Long story short, I’d had a heart attack but didn’t know it. We went to the doctor that evening, they sent us to the hospital, the hospital admitted me to the cardiac care ward and refused to let me move around or walk without someone being with me.
My aortic valve was damaged, and was malformed. A “bicuspid” instead of a normal three leaf tricuspid valve. I had to have a new hear valve put in. On Monday morning the following week, I was wheeled into surgery and given anaesthesia, and surgery was performed. I honestly thought that our whole life together was over.
JoAnne’s strength and fortitude was the only thing making me strong. I was terrified of someone “touching my heart” – and not in good ways. Being cut open, having your heart literally stopped and being placed on a heart-lung machine and having electrical equipment doing that work for you is very scary. I’ve always considered myself a strong, nearly fearless person.
Not that day. As I was to sign the release forms, I nearly chickened out. But I knew JoAnne was counting on me and I knew I’d counted on her being there. It was the least I could do. I signed. They operated and I’m writing this today.
Now – there’s plenty more to this story, but I’m not going to write it all. That’s for a book someday.
Jump forward to October 18, 2015. We’re in our boat. We’ve travelled from the Hudson River all the way down to Pocquoson River on the East Coast and we’re anchored out up a creek there. The phone rings. It’s a marina we’ve left messages for, as they were recommended to do some work. Our backstays aren’t as they should be and it’s causing some issues with the sails. They call me at 10Am and say “If you can get here this evening, we can look at your boat tomorrow.”
Against our better judgement and without knowing exactly what the weather was going to be, we left. And we were caught in 19knot winds without being able to raise sails, in short chop caused by constant winds, with no place to run but south under engine power. The rest of that story has already been written on the blog. Read it here: (Norfolk, the Hard Way)
We didn’t “get seen” the next day. In fact, Friday that week we were hit by a power boat. Almost $12,000.
On the day the mast was going back up in December 2015, JoAnne fell from a fixed dock onto a boat she was trying to board after we were invited over for a drink. She fractured two vertebrae. We’re in Colorado as most of you know, while she heals.
She’s supposed to be out of her back brace in a few days. One more appointment before we head back to the boat at the end of March to have her chemo port removed (we hope) and then back to Adventure.
Summer is coming. We want to be back on the boat this spring to find a place to land for a few months of summer while we do needed repairs and refit, and then next fall, we’re off for the Bahamas – finally.
So you see folks, adversity happens. But one must pick up their marbles, collect them all, along with their thoughts and persevere if one is to make it anywhere. Whether you’re time to make it down the Island Chain of the Caribbean, the East Coast of the US, or you’re just trying to get through day-to-day at work until your time to go sailing comes up, you can never, EVER give up.
You can’t let life, naysayers or negativity get you down. You have to keep plugging along.
This is the way we live life. NOTHING is handed to you on a silver platter and if it is you’re the one who is missing out on life. If you don’t step up, grab that brass ring on the Merry Go Round you will never, ever accomplish anything more than letting life run past you.
Life is not something you get through. Life is something you must live to the fullest no matter what stands in your way, no matter the adversity, no matter the bumps and bruises you suffer along the way.
Grab life and give it a whirl!
JoAnne and I have travelled several times across country in the last 38 years. But this time we’re doing it to get to our last, new home. The ship.
As of today, starting in Colorado Springs and ending in a place called Reynoldsburg OH, we’ve travelled 1611.3 miles. That includes some side trips to Hermann, MO, a trip to Liberty, MO and some side trips around Cincinnati, OH.
We picked up some salmon over in Liberty at the Sprouts, and brought it to the Sause family for dinner one night, a side trip to a winery in Hermann to add some bottles to our collection for the boat and we had to travel back and forth in Cincy to meet up with Ryan, go to dinner, find out hotel (a couple of different times) and so forth. So the mileage isn’t all straight travel.
Tomorrow we meet up with Bob, our friend from WAYYYYY back in the White House days and his wife for dinner.
On Monday evening we hope to be in Woodbridge, VA to meet with another friend of the family, Phil at his place.
We are hoping to leave Wednesday and likely be in Stony Point NY around Thursday or Friday (taking our time, pulling a trailer, and then finding a hotel in the area… the latter being mostly likely the most difficult thing we have to accomplish, other than paying for the boat storage, painting and maintenance).
I did create a new photo storage area… if I can remember where it is, so we’ll post some images.
We have NOT taken any photos with friends. Most of them we aren’t going to post images of. Some, like me are rather reluctant to place images up, and for the protection of my friends I won’t do that 🙂 — There’s a good reason for this, which I will not explain on this blog, but suffice it to say the lot of us have had government jobs, held positions we would rather not go into details about or don’t want to have our faces all over the Internet.
Fortunately for those of you reading the blog, I’m one of those free spirits who simply doesn’t care all that much and my “enemies” know how to find me anyway 🙂
Ok, back to the regularly scheduled blogging.
Tomorrow we get to see Bob for dinner. We have not, to the best of my recollection seen him in 25 years, and JoAnne seems to think it was when we travelled from DC in 1989 moving to Colorado. That means that every time we move to a new home, we get to see Bob I think. Perhaps he and his wife will come see us on the boat next time? We shall see 🙂
The good old Ford F150 is hanging in there with 206467 miles as of tonight. The trailer is handling the trip well. I’m not so sure about my guitar which keeps getting shoved into the truck bed under the shell. It’s pretty hot so, I’m hoping it’s doing ok. I tuned it a couple of days ago and it was off a bit, but was holding it’s notes pretty decently.
Ryan – my friend Ryan whom I had never met until a couple of days ago, is an awesome young man. (I say that because I’m turning 58 in a few days and he’s significantly younger than me), He is, like we are, beer aficionados. While JoAnne and I like to make beer, Ryan likes to buy various types of beers, taste test them, and even post some reviews of various beers.
Before we left, he basically loaded us up with several bottles of various types of beers that he recommended to us. I’m currently enjoying a Bell’s Oberon, from Comstock Michigan. It’s a wheat ale, rather fruity, a little hoppy and a little spicy. Very good stuff!
JoAnne happened to run into a six pack of Root Beer…. ok, well, not really Root Beer. It’s “Not your father’s root beer” – a hard root beer, 5.9% alcohol by volume. I am NOT a fan of Root Beer, however, I tasted it and it was… very wonderful. I can see me making a hard root beet float with it, lol.
The weather, with the exception of a few night time thunderstorms through the travelling has been pretty hot. We’ve had a couple of 100 degree F days. We did have quite a storm come through in Kansas on the way to Missouri, but nothing too bad.
Let me see, what else. Wifi has been a bit of a pain in the behind a few times. We couldn’t get it on our phones more than once and even had to reset our phones a couple of times due to lack of data connections. T-Mobile said they weren’t sure what was happening, but helped me fix things. The idea of our phones is to be able to use them as a hot spot when nothing else is available.
We can’t stay in hotels forever – and we’re hoping to be to the boat by this coming weekend if not sooner.
I’ll write more in a few days.