Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Day For a Date

  No-show mechanics, inflated slip fees, public transportation, work, groceries, medical bills . . . I could go on . . . These are just a few of the things we have been juggling lately . . . The irony in all this?  We moved on to the boat to travel and have new experiences; this is not the "experience" we had in mind.   However, we are in Florida.  It's not far flung but, there is certainly plenty to do here.  We have been so caught up in this vortex of issues the engine started that we hadn't even made it to the beach.  Surprising, I know.

  So, yesterday, Bill and I actually had a day off together (we don't often have the same days off) and we decided to take advantage of it.  We slept in a bit, enjoyed a breakfast of bacon and eggs, and headed for the bus.  Using our monthly bus passes, we made it to . . . the boardwalk!  It was so nice to smell the salt air and feel the sand between our toes again.  Chatty sea gulls, crashing waves, cooling winds . . . ahhh . . .


    After walking a bit, and scouting out our food and drink options we decided to do a little bar hopping and hit several places. Rock Bar was our first stop.  Reclining in cushy outdoor love seats, we ordered margaritas (mine was mango, yum!) and calamari (our go-to appetizer) with spicy marinara.  Both were delicious.  We were able to relax, talk, and enjoy each other's company . . . I never get tired of our conversations . . .


    Next up was a place a few blocks from the beach known as Coconuts.  When we walked up to the hostess stand and asked for a table, we were pleasantly surprised when we were told that there was one table left.  There was a pleasant water-front view and the breeze made the spot quite comfortable.  Their bottles of wine happened to be half off, so we ordered an interesting Muscadet along with their signature appetizer, Scoobies (Yes, they were named for Scooby Doo's favorite snack).  Scoobies are crab claws served in a drawn butter sauce with red pepper flake, garlic, and scallions.  We followed that up with a lobster roll for me and a Mahi sandwich for Bill.  Everything was exceptional . . . especially the time together.


    We paid the tab and then walked down to the sand.  As we approached, we were greeted with an interesting site; a giant beach chair!  Now, a chair on the beach is rather common place but, one that is big enough to make a grown man look like a small child is unique.  I decided to climb, and I mean literally, up to the seat and have Bill take my picture.  As he did, another couple saw us and decided the chair was a good opportunity for a photo, too.  They offered to take a picture with both of us in the chair and we returned the favor for them.  As we talked to them, we learned that they were tourists on vacation from Germany.  Since Bill speaks German and spent some time there in the military, he was able to jump start the conversation. By the time we parted ways, we had a couple of new friends and, I think, a couple of new blog readers.



  After a walk down by the waves and watching the wind surfers attempt to harness the breezes to their benefit, we stopped for one more drink and headed back to the bus stop for the trip home.

   An enjoyable day with each other.  A day to kick back and forget our problems . . . if only for a few hours . . . It made me realize that we might be dealing with a rough patch right now but, even though the dream is to sail, the foundation of that dream is spending quality time with each other.  We can do that anywhere, weather we're stuck in a marina, touring a new city, or sailing into the sunset.



   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Short Legs + High Tide = Problems


   The recent super moon was an awesome sight.  Bill and I made sure that we caught a glimpse of it during the eclipse. If you don't live on the east coast, you may not have noticed a side effect of the moon being pulled a little closer to our planet: high tides.  Tides are mainly controlled by the moon. Since the moon orbits around the Earth in a fashion that is a little uneven (elliptical), sometimes the moon gets a little too far away or too close. The closer the moon gets, the more extreme the tides (both high and low); If the moon gets too far away, the tide levels hardly change at all.   Either way, this can cause problems, although the bigger issues come when the moon is too close (Ok, I'm finished with my science lesson for the day).  

   That moon might look cool but, tidal extremes are not. It either means issues like we had when we were in Port St. Joe (our keel was sitting on the bottom of the marina and we were tipped over about 20 degrees . . . yeah . . crazy) because the tide was REALLY low ooooor it means flooding due to unusually high tides . . . guess which one I'm writing about?

   Yep, you guessed it.  Now, don't get me wrong.  This is not a post to complain, just to inform and entertain.  I realize that things could be MUCH worse here (like in South Carolina) . . . Thank God they're not . . . but, the tides have certainly made things interesting here.

   It all started a few days before the eclipse, I was getting ready for work and was, of course, running a little behind.  Bill always walks with me to the bus stop (even if he's not working that day . . . such a gentleman).  He came out of the main hatch and saw the problem first . . . "Wow!", I heard him say as I made my way up the ladder.  "What?", I asked.  "Look!", he responded, pointing at the pier. It was underwater.  The tide had risen so much during the night, that there were about 6 inches of water above the pier.  Hmmm . . . I already had my shoes on (of course); Bill was only wearing flip flops (much easier to take off).  So, Bill, with flip flops in hand, pulled the boat as close to the pier as he could get it and jumped off.  He sloshed through the water, grabbed the bow line, and pulled.  This was supposed to enable me to get off the boat as well . . . yeah . . . not so much . . .

   On a normal day with normal tide changes, it can sometimes be a challenge for my 5' 3'' self to get on and off the boat but, this was difficult to say the least.  I tried to stand on the rub rails (the teak on the edge of the boat) and get close enough to stretch my leg over to the pier. . . that would have worked if I was about 6 inches taller.  I then tried resting my knees on the rub rails and stretching my leg backwards toward the pier . . . again, I came up short.  I didn't need this, I was going to have to rush as it was . . . Finally, still positioned on my knees and holding on to the life lines, I stretched as close as I could to the pier.  Bill made sure that he had pulled the line over as far as he could, let the line go and quickly came over to catch me as I let go of the life lines and got both feet on the pier.

  We both walked through the water over to the parking lot that wasn't flooded, put our shoes on, and walked toward the gate. . . just as I was about to make a run for the bus, I realized that after all of that, I'd left my cell phone on the boat. . . great . . . Bill, as quickly as he could, climbed back on the boat, grabbed my phone, and brought it back to me (In case you're wondering, my cell phone is more of a necessity for safety here than anything else, I did need it).  Miraculously, the bus was just late enough; We got there just in time (I actually sprinted the last half block to the bus because I could see it pulling up).  I boarded the bus (Bill had caught up to me by then), kissed Bill goodbye, and made it to work on time . . . whew!

Our Little Fish Friend
   During the days that followed, we made sure to leave a little earlier to allow for the extra kink in our commute.  We even had to resort to attaching a swim ladder to one of the stanchions so that I could actually climb down to the pier.  We have had fish swimming ON the the pier (which is weird to see) and Bill even rescued a fish one day.  The tide had apparently gone out just as the little guy was swimming on the pier.  Bill simply scooted the fish back into the water (he was too little to eat anyway).  We even had to prop up our shore power cord with a spare piece of wood to make sure that the water didn't reach the connection and cause a short . . . or worse.

My Daily "Swim"
   Today, I was doing several loads of laundry (since I had the day off), and had to have Bill start and retrieve the last two loads because I simply could not reach the pier . . . Normally I don't mind my lack of height.  It's part of what makes me, me but, lately I find myself wishing I wasn't quite so vertically challenged.  Hopefully the tides will even out soon.  I guess if it ever gets to the point that I really cannot get off the boat, I'll at least have a good excuse for being late.  I'll just have to call in and say I can't come in until the tide goes out . . .


   In case you're wondering, the engine is STILL not running.  The results of the most recent compression test were not promising  . . . The head is still off, some of the engine parts are still at my feet as I sit here typing . . . uhhhgg . . .    


   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)