We haven’t been able to find internet very often the past few weeks. Our internet time consists of: walk through a residential neighborhood with iPod scanning for open wireless signals, connect and download emails and send emails in the outbox, send my moves in “Words with friends” and download my opponents new moves, walk back to our boat. Thankfully we now have great internet because …
We’ve made a few modifications in our winter sailing plans. The plan was to sail Bahamas this winter then head up the East Coast next summer, but we’ve had to reevaluate our plan. We were having trouble keeping enough water on the boat to wash 2 kids worth of cloth diapers. The washer uses 20 gallons of water and I have to wash every day. I tell Jack, “diapers aren’t like jeans when you can always wear them one more time, a diaper is always a 10 on the dirty scale”. We carry 400 gallons of water on the boat but that doesn’t last very long when you’re washing every day. We began talking about the option of renting a dock somewhere in FL for the winter.
After leaving the Brunswick GA marina, we made a stop in Jacksonville FL. I’ve never eaten so much shrimp at one time! The shrimp boats would pass by where we were anchored every morning and evening and they were happy with their catches, 1500 pounds on a decent day. $3/pound for medium size shrimp and $4/pound for jumbo if you buy them from the seaside vendors, $2/pound for a mixture if you buy them from the boats. We first bought 4 pounds of shrimp and I boiled them all for shrimp cocktail as we were having friends over for dinner. Jack and I stood at the sink and ate 2 pounds of shrimp right out of the pot, warm! Didn’t even wait for them to chill. After shrimp cocktail for appetizers with our friends in the evening, there were 4 shrimp left. I had them with my coffee the next morning. I can’t seem to get enough! The morning before we left Jacksonville, Jack pulled our dinghy alongside one of the shrimp boats he had become friends with and bought 10 pounds of shrimp. I spent all afternoon de-heading and boiling them, some to eat and some to freeze.
Jacksonville to St Augustine FL was the next hop. We stopped there to see our sailing friends Brent, Tanya & little Brent that we first met in Honduras 4 years ago. They have a little 4y/o boy who Marietta just adores. Lots of fun play time for Marietta and chatting time for me with my friend Tanya. We were thankful to have good friends to spend Thanksgiving with.
The day after Thanksgiving we motored down the Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Melbourne FL where we are now. We had been casually looking for a dock but nothing really popped out at us. We arrived in Melbourne/Satellite Beach and Jack and I both decided we really liked it here, there is a huge library nearby, a heated lap pool, lots of biking and running trails and parks and a ton of triathlon training groups and moms groups. We inquired at both nearby marinas and the cost to stay there for the winter was in the thousands of dollars, not what we wanted to do. I was bummed, I had my hopes up that this would be the place we could stop for a bit and get involved in the community.
Guess I’ll give the long version of the story as I’m typing this in the wee hours of the morning while the kids and Jack are still in dreamland. Weird how the silence is almost louder than the daily chatter and laughter of the kids.
Last week I went on a long walk with the kids here in Satellite Beach where we were anchored, Jack stayed on the boat and worked on our alternator with his good friend Dave McCampbell of s/v Soggy Paws (Dave & Sherry flew home for Christmas, their boat is currently in Fiji). I walked along the road where I wanted to find a dock looking for someone in their yard that I could ask if anyone had a dock for rent. I didn’t see a single soul in a many mile walk. I returned to the meeting place and Jack came in the dinghy to drop off Dave and pick me up. As Dave got out of the dinghy he said “Happy Birthday Nicole, your birthday present is on your boat”. I smiled and didn’t really know what to say, loaded the kids, diaper bag, water bottle and the double Phil & Teds stroller in the dinghy and Jack and I headed back to our boat … but he went in the wrong direction. I said “Jacko, where are you going” and he just smiled. I looked ahead and our boat was at the very dock that I had wanted to be at! What a great birthday present! We are on a private dock behind a beautiful house. Joan, the owner of the house, sailed around the world with her husband for 20 years so she loves cruisers and understands the life. We both feel good about the decision to stay put this winter and have plans about what we want to do with our time; Jack wants to write, I want to get back in shape and train for a race and we both want to get involved in the community and find a church.
Since our change of plans, I changed my birthday request from spear gun to bicycle and trailer to ride around with the kids. I poured over Craigs List, went to 11 thrift stores and wasn’t having any luck finding a bike or trailer for a good price. Well, it all fell into place yesterday when Jack and I decided to divide and conquer. I went to look at a Peugeot bicycle and Jack went on his motorcycle to look at a Trek kids trailer. Both turned out to be exactly what we wanted for a great price, sweet. Yesterday I rode Marietta and Jack B to the beach and they loved it. I forsee many hours of weekend yard sale-ing on the bike in our future.