SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.
A while back I did a post on Indiantown Marina on the Okeechobee Waterway in south central Florida. At the time we had had a lovely time, most of the staff was friendly and accommodating, and we wanted to let others know about our favorable experience. Today's post comes from a slightly different angle. This one is a bit more personal.
Several months ago, sitting in North Palm waiting for a weather window to go offshore to Miami to wait to cross to the Bahamas, Dave discovered something odd. A quick trip to the VA hospital confirmed his suspicions, and he was scheduled for surgery with the instructions that after his operation he could not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for eight LONG weeks. We had two weeks to arrange our lives to make this possible.
If you've ever been in the North Palm anchorage, you know how difficult the prospect of getting a post-surgery husband from the "dinghy dock" (such as it is) in a rowing dinghy out to a boat anchored nearly at R10 in a slop and possibly a south wind truly is. Add to the list of impossible tasks rowing out to the ICW then up to the marina by the bridge to get water every two weeks. And then trying to get a 45-pound water jug onboard alone. Plenty of people do these things, but I was not comfortable trying to handle all of this by myself, so we decided to move the boat to a friendlier location, preferably a marina. Our first choice was Indiantown Marina, but they were full. Debbie in the office suggested we "try back in a few days." We did. Repeatedly. Until finally we were 4 days from his surgery, two days from Indiantown, and running out of options. The next time I called I was nearly in tears as I explained this. Her deep sigh told me that she really was trying to help. "I tell you what, come on up. We'll make it work." That was step one of what turned into two and a half months of the most pleasant experience we could have expected, considering the situation.
So my first round of thank yous go to Debbie and Antoinette, for "making it work" and finding us an easy spot to get into. Later, after Dave recovered, they scheduled a haul out for us on short notice, rescheduled our launch date day after day while we waited on parts, and again found us a comfy spot to spend a few days and get our heads on straight. All without ever letting their frustration show.
Then there is the yard crew: Alex and Jesse. Every time we asked, "Hey guys, is there any way..." they always made it happen, with a smile. Even when the wind was piping up and Dave had to move the boat he had just completely disassembled and reassembled the entire drivetrain on off the bulkhead without running into the boat in front of him, Jesse made it look easy. I think he maneuvered the boat from the bulkhead one handed, then walked to the far side of the marina to catch our lines when we came into the slip. He and Alex always make us look like we know what we're doing. Thanks, guys.
Those who know us know we are not pot-luckers. It's not that we don't like pot lucks, it's just that we're not very sociable. We'll smile and say hello when we pass you on the dock, but usually that's about it. But the boaters at Indiantown Marina are of a different breed than most "cruisers" we've run into over the years. The number of actual REAL conversations on topics other than favorite anchors and places everyone's been that we had at this marina shocked us. We had boaters checking on Dave's progress, "You're getting around a lot better! Look at you go," offer me rides home from the grocery store when I was hoofing it alone while he recovered, and invite us over for evening chats and snacks in the cockpit. For all the friendly smiles, encouragement, rides, and even the car that were lent to us to get propane, thank you.
The list seems to go on the more I reflect on our time there. Thanks for the cupcakes. And the borrowed tools. And catching our lines as we did sea trial after sea trial, sometimes two in one day. To the guy who gave Dave a ride to the hardware store and then insisted on buying one of my books when he found out I was a writer, thank you.
To the cat lovers who stopped by to scratch the cats' ears, the guy who asked about my Buddhist prayer flags and then chatted about Buddhism with me, the artist who caught the sailing bug while we were there, the neighbor who listened to us defend Bernie and then still talked to us the next day, the boat aficionados who stood and stared, whispering, "Beautiful boat" when Eurisko came out of the water, to the friends we made, and the strangers who smiled and waved and said, "Good morning" as we passed, thank you.
It isn't always easy being different. It certainly isn't always easy living NEAR different. So to everyone at Indiantown Marina who made it okay for us to stick around a few months, completely heal, and continue to be our different selves, thank you. I'm not sure we could have done it without you, and we certainly wouldn't have wanted to.
It's not sailing, but it is about living simply. MONDAY I'll share an excerpt from my latest writing venture.PREVIOUS
Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?
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