This week has been one big lesson in revising our plans. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Monday morning and hit the ground running – moving boxes and bins from our storage locker onto the boat, making runs to Target and Home Goods and Publix to start provisioning, and coordinating boat work with various contractors. Wonderful Randy left our boat in excellent condition, but we had some additional solar panels installed after closing and there were some unforeseen adjustments needed. We also needed to have the old name and graphics removed so our new name could be installed. I must say, I LOVE how it turned out. This boat really feels like ours, now.
After two very full days of this kind of work, our skipper arrived. Captain Richard is the very definition of an “old salt.” Very warm and friendly, and incredibly knowledgeable about cats in general but also Gratitude in particular – he has sailed this boat from Panama to San Francisco, and again from Panama to Key West, so he knows it inside out. So when he arrived, he started testing every system. This resulted in many trips to West Marine (the Home Depot for boats). If you have ever moved into a new home and had to make a gazillion runs back and forth for tools and supplies and spare parts, you’ll have some idea of how these days have been.
But we are now underway! We left our slip at the marina on Friday, instead of Wednesday, but it felt great to get going. We stopped for diesel, and I confess I was nervous as a new mom watching Captain Richard steer the boat toward the fuel dock. (Imagine me covering my eyes with one hand, peeking out from between my fingers, mentally screaming “Don’t hit it!” But, y’know, looking cool at the same time.) He, of course, could not have been more competent. So we filled both tanks, and motored along for about an hour or so, till we reached Lake Sylvia and dropped our anchor.
The weather has been crazy for this time of year. It is in the 60s in south Florida, and the wind forecast for the next few days indicates that we won’t even THINK about heading offshore until Tuesday. “It’s blowing stink” is how Captain Richard puts it. The current plan is to motor along the Florida coast for a few days, and pull into a marina for Sunday night when it’s supposed to storm. We’ll keep checking the forecast. (We’re learning to read wind maps!) If conditions continue as predicted, we’ll get up very early on Tuesday morning and point the boat east.
I’ll try to update Facebook to let y’all know for sure when we are headed out for the open seas! Say a prayer for us. We’ll use good sense and take all precautions – but this will be our first big passage. Elvis is very happy to have Captain Richard here with us to show us how it’s done.