We can’t say we weren’t warned.
Locals told us. Cruisers hardly ever leave Key Largo. Not for lack of wanting to. If I had a dime for every time I’d heard, “I got here XX years ago and still haven’t left” – fill in the blank with any number from 5-45!
And here we are, almost a year to the day that we stopped for gas. I understand why we never went any further. It is paradise here. It was the first hot day we had experienced since we left Connecticut December 1, 2009! And so we took off the foulies, enjoyed some fresh warm air, avocado straight from the tree, fresh mango, mahi-mahi, palm trees, geckos, manatee and the Keysey attitude.
Then there was the series of unfortunate events that happened when we went home to Connecticut. And when we finally got back to our boat (In October!) we had this great plan laid out for work on the boat, Michael’s work at Post University, wrapping up some PMTN business, and our schedule to leave for the Bahamas.
And then Key Largo happened. It is just slower here. Not just receiving parts by mail, and getting around on a bicycle, grocery shopping a little bit each day rather than one big trip each week. But actually living on the boat is slow. For instance, when we wake up in the morning, I have to boil water for Michael’s green tea and my Melitta coffee pot. So you wait for the water to boil, pour through the pot a few times then enjoy your first cup of coffee. This process alone from beginning to end is about forty-five minutes…for our first cup! Then double that.
Then we make breakfast, and because James is not on the oatmeal bandwagon, we make two; grits and oatmeal. Then we share our meal together and then have to wash the dishes, dry and put everything away. It is usually time to start thinking about lunch at this point. I am not exaggerating.
We then try to accomplish one small project between checking emails and responding to business items. And sometimes you even get to do projects with your cruising neighbors. For instance I needed to remove, clean and repair my teak cockpit floorboards, which are thirty years old – need I say more? – And again a very long slow process – but you get help, from dear friends like Ann and Darrell next door on Alibi www.alibi35.blogspot.com and things do not seem so overwhelming. They are even downright manageable. But it involved slowing down enough to think about the process, the tools and the supplies needed to do it right. Which, by the way, is a whole lot slower than doing it wrong!
By this time it is mid afternoon and I have to begin thinking of our dinner, decide if we need to ride to the grocery to get any fresh items for our meal. Or do some laundry. There are about three other live-aboards in this marina that we share the laundry facilities with, and as if keeping four peoples clothes clean and folded and stowed was not hard enough, try juggling it with four other peoples clothes washing and drying.
So I see how it happens. Nothing is fast, you don’t even WANT to be fast. When I am riding my bike and pass some bougainvillea I stop and literally smell the flowers. Every once in a while I will get a little “New York” on people and they just look at me and smile. There is no place for it here. I have to slow down, I want to slow down.
So the reason for this post: We had great intentions for having an itinerary that involved the gulf stream, The Bahamas, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. We still do but have, for several reasons, decided to re-arrange our priorities. Our updated, slower, more reasonable itinerary is as follows; Leaving Key Largo next week(ish) when westerly winds prevail and moving up to Fort Lauderdale for about a month to enjoy the Fort Lauderdale cruising life. We will still be working the Miami boat show for our employers, www.Defender.comtelling our story, their story, and pushing their great warehouse pricing, then once the boat show is over – late February, we wait again for those westerly prevailing winds and move across the gulf stream to the Bahamas to catch up with our dear friends the Tittels www.pfiffikus.weebly.com
Then once we play in the Bahamas for a while we will start heading up the East Coast again with Spring and enjoy the wonderful New England summers on the water.
So friends, if you can, pretend for a day, or a half a day, that you are here, with me, sitting in the cockpit enjoying a cup of coffee, planning the home-schooling field trip for the day or sorting the two loads of laundry you’ll do if neighbors permit, or…just drink your cup of coffee. I have become a master at uni-tasking.