Things I’ve learned this last week:
-I’m going to have bad hair everyday! Guess I’ll live in a hat.
-That everyone you meet on a dock is friendly and has a story. We certainly do!!
-There are tons of boaters here in the east coast ICW. Very different then the empty harbors of Oxnard. Although the last few years that has changed as we saw more boaters and more recreational paddle boarding and kayaking. They don’t know to get out of the way either. We love using the horn and scaring the Jesus out of them.
-I have learned to expect the unexpected.
Here is a summary of what has happened this last week. It’s been a lot of unexpected events. But we are rolling with it. And we have had some fun. My niece is in Miami and made us a wonderful Christmas dinner. It was supper appreciated after all the work. And we managed to find a great Mexican restaurant! I was in heaven!
We patiently waited for the call that the ship was in port and ready to offload. We got the call that our scheduled time was 10PM. We had never driven at night, by choice. There was no “sorry that doesn’t work for us.” Suck it up buttercup. First time for everything. As much as I wanted to opt out, I knew that was not an option. So we did it. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t ideal but we got the job done and felt totally accomplished after. And frankly proud as hell of ourselves. We slept so good tucked into our bed that first night. I love my cozy cabin. We looked at each other with pride and respect for each other. They threw us to the wolves right out of the gate. No backing out now baby. The whole boat shipping process was stressful for me. Can you say “control freak!” We got little communication from the shipping company about when, how, where, what to expect, or even the whole procedure!!! It was beyond BEYOND frustrating. What we realized during this whole thing was, most boats who get shipped by freighters are using captains. They have unlimited budgets, the boats are huge, expensive and they handle none of the logistics. But we handled this start to finish. I just wish our sales person was cool. Once she got our deposit she turned into a bitch who would not call us back or answer any of our question. It made it really hard to prepare. Ok so it’s all behind us now. Our boat is here. We survived. Aquaman survived even if a bit bruised. We are here now ready for settle in before our adventure begins.
The last week has been work and more work. I’m trying to unpack and settle in with what I brought. Turns out that it’s way too much. So I am thinning it out more and we will fill the jeep up and store the car until we return next year. So it’s all good. The morning we woke up from our night cruise we started to wash it down. We saw the boat was filthy but we had no idea until the morning how bad it really was. It took several scrubbings with soap, more water and brushing to remove the black soot. It was overwhelming and felt like were getting nowhere. What we discovered under the black soot was orangish/red spots ALL OVER THE ENTIRE BOAT!! Our boat was covered in them. We got out every chemical we had and nothing touched them. Dehydrated, sweaty and hot and in tears, me and Andy thought “what did we do?” Before long people started milling around and we started asking questions. A captain and dock master told us about some chemicals that would remove the spots. But honestly, the thought of removing all of them off a boat 50 ft long with several decks made me want to cry. The end of the story is that we chased around to find these chemicals and Andy went at it, while I dove into unpacking the too many clothes I brought. The chemicals worked and we had a whole new energy. Albeit exhausted!! He went to the task of spot removal while I focused on the inside. I did find a space for everything and I plan on giving more away as we travel. The boat started coming back to life. We loved on it with great care and gratitude for it!
Today we hired a training Captain. Not for boat handling because ANDY has that but for local knowledge, ICW information, bridge openings and how to call the bridges, navigation of the Bahamas, how to read the many different channel markers and what they mean. It was great to have our hand held a bit as we headed out. We did our first bridge, anchored for a bit, and fueled up. We picked his brain and it was great. Today was a windy day here. We would not have choosen not to go out. But we went and came to realize that on this trip we will be going in all weather. We can’t “wait cuz it’s windy.” We gotta go!! It’s a whole new world. It’s a whole new reality. It’s exciting and scary. I guess that’s what made me do it. I’m honestly going to say, this is going to push me outside my comfort zone. I can already tell we are in for it! Right now I have a glass of wine in hand, sun is setting. I’m in shorts. The wind feels amazing. My hair is a mess and I don’t care. Life is good. I’m grateful with an edge of scared. I guess that’s what I signed up for.
We got a lot done this first week. Many trips to West Marine. The biggest store in the USA. We got the dents removed from my car by a Mobil dent remover. I managed to dent the car pulling into the garage on our last day packing up the house to leave. More grocery shopping and stocking up the essentials. More chemicals. We went to Verizon and got an internet hot spot. Everyday has a list. We found a boat polisher and hired them. Today we have 4 guys compounding and waxing the outside. They are tackling the rest of the spots and bringing AQUAMAN Back to life. It feels like everything we needed to do just fell into place. We called and people answered the phones, showed up and started right away. It feels all meant to be. The stars are aligned. Things are falling into place. I’m starting to feel at home. Starting to realize this IS my new life, my new space, everything is different. Everything is foreign.
We have had some fun. Andy called the Harbor host here in Fort Lauderdale for the AGLCA. Dennis and his wife came to meet us and brought a bottle of champagne and cookies. They were awesome and we appreciated the friendship. We took the dingy down and cruised it up the New River for miles. So many beautiful homes and mega yachts. We found some fun restaurants and sat on the beach watching all the craziness and half dressed women! Andys Christmas present arrived, an inflatable paddle board. And I am typing this on my new IPad. Much easier for me to work with than the computer for syncing photos from my phone.
Andy is plotting our course to the Bahamas. We cannot wait to get going. But we won’t leave until we are ready!