People Are Wonderful

Harts At Sea


What Not To Say After a Hurricane

IMG_6189First of all…the St. Augustine community, the cruisers, the marina staff, everyone we have met during the past year, and especially our friends have been outstanding post-Hurricane Matthew. Please note that this is a time of stress for pretty much everyone in this community, whether boater and non-boater. It is heart-breaking to walk down any city street to see most of a home’s belongings piled in the yard. Cars and homes were smashed by trees; sewer water flooded stores, restaurants, and homes; and boats broke free to crash into docks, on shore gazebos, other boats, bridges, and mangroves. One marina was nearly destroyed and St. Augustine City Marina has major damage. They are not accepting reservations for at least a few weeks.

IMG_6201We are cheerful, optimistic, and helping each other. One of our favorite bars got up and running in two days, and is asking for Home Depot and Grocery Store Cards for their staff and clients who lost nearly everything. Another woman purchased cleaning and personal care products and made up 50 bags to give to those who need them. People are helping each other. Stew and I are certainly grateful every day for all the help we’ve received.

Still, some people don’t get it.

The first was a local boating lady who stood to one side and listened as I talked with David at the marina just after seeing our boat. David already knew La Luna’s location and was appropriately and sincerely concerned for us. I told him the boat was in great shape and we just had to figure out how to get her back in the water. As he walked away, the woman turned to me and said, with deep sympathy, “What kind of boat was she?” I was not in the mood. “She was and still is a Cheoy Lee designed by David Pedrick. And don’t talk about my boat in the past tense.”

Oops. Guess she struck a nerve.

The Facilities Manager of the Bayview Retirement Center where La Luna ran ashore kept making a joke about all his new boats and how he was going to put a rope around them. I was not pleased. After dropping our anchor to shore (a signal that she was being tended and not available for salvage) we learned that Florida actually has a law that prevents others from claiming your boat for salvage. (First Florida boating law I’ve liked.)

Gawkers have wandered down to the waterfront and usually joke a bit before they realize it is our home they find so droll. I pretty much handle that just fine. The St. Augustine Police Department has been amazing, first going out in a vessel the day after the storm to seek lost boats. They came to us during our first visit to La Luna, moved close enough to read her name and converse with us, and offered their condolences. They also made sure she was our boat and took our contact information. Other police officers have stopped by to check on us and the boats. Last I heard, the SA PD found 29 boats and posted their names and  coordinates on Facebook so the owners could find them.

EW and I love the Coast Guard. I have two wonderful, brilliant, and accomplished nephews who have made their careers with the Coast Guard, and we have met many other members of their force in our travels. My recent favorite was the CG plane who flew over us on our way up from Panama and who contacted us. Sure, he was probably trying to determine if we were drug runners, but we had a delightful conversation.

Unfortunately, communication skills were lacking in the CG crew who showed up in a truck when EW was aboard La Luna. Like the SAPD they came within speaking distance and said, “Are you leaking oil or gas?” That was it. No, “Good morning, Captain, is this your boat?” No, “I’m very sorry to see this.” No nothing. EW answered in kind. “No, we are not, but frankly that is not my first concern.” They left.

Now that the storm is over, some folks who weren’t affected want things to get back to normal pretty darn quick. There have been Facebook rants by area venues asking the public to give them a break. Evidently, some folks are ticked that the free concerts held on St. Augustine Beach have been suspended.

Really? That’s a problem for you? The person who posted the rant suggested that everyone worried about their fun take a measuring tape out to four feet and make a mark around every room on the ground floor of their home. Now imagine all of that stuff wet with sewer water. Get over yourself.

The lovely catamaran we are now guests aboard is on the north dock which has no power so EW and I are currently onshore charging all electronic devices while I write a couple of posts. This vantage point lets us listen to David Morehead respond to the calls from folks who are anxious to start their cruising adventure and want to include the beautiful city of St. Augustine. Some of them have been rather insistent that David provide them with a mooring or slip. At least one implied that there weren’t a lot of options nearby, and David suggested he check online to see the area damaged and why there were few options.

And for those of you who love music, don’t mind the smoke, and have a place in your heart for the Trade Winds—The Oldest City’s Oldest Bar—they will rise again. When we walked past two days ago, a crew of bar staff, patrons, and friends were removing everything from the bar and dismantling the stages. Already there are Black and Decker Workmate Benches on the sidewalk where soaked plywood had been stacked. We will soon listen once again to “Those Guys”, and Joe and Rusty, and Dewy Via, in St. Augustine’s iconic bar.

Give us some time, people. Some restaurants and stores have re-opened. Enjoy those and wait patiently for others.  More importantly, there are people who have lost everything or nearly everything. If you can, help them. We have lost nothing except water under the keel. Just like the Mary Ellen Carter, La Luna will sail again. In the meantime, treat those of us in St. Augustine, Flagler, and points north with a bit of sensitivity. We have maintained our sense of humor, but some things just cut a bit too close to the bone.

In closing, I will resurrect a comment the musician Fond Kiser made when we were discussing our first year in St. Augustine. He had just moved back here from Austin when Hermine joined us. I mentioned that we had arrived in time for the area’s coldest winter in years, hottest summer on record, and now a potential hit from a hurricane in an area known for being safe. “Hmm,” said Fond in his charming accent. “The city may want to take up a collection to pay to have you move out of town.”  After Hurricane Matthew, they may want to consider his suggestion.

NOTE: The link above for the Mary Ellen Carter was performed by Stan Rogers, who wrote it. We learned it from Maine’s Schooner Fare and I have to share that version out of loyalty. (And because I raised a stein many, many times as I belted out “Rise Again! Rise Again! Let her name not be lost to the knowledge of men.”


Honest the Next Post will be about People Helping People

So This Happened (Part One of La Luna Encounters Hurricane Matthew)


We are fine. We are truly fine.

The boat is mostly fine.

I asked the universe to move Matthew to the East and he moved, but not far enough.

I asked that our boat come thru relatively unscathed, and attached to the ball, and she did—but the mooring ball and tackle detached from the mooring and La Luna drifted/scooted to shore.

I must learn to be more specific.

IMG_6136We don’t know when, but we do know that we are one of three boats in the marina (all big) who broke their tackle. Over 29 boats broke free from various spots in St. Augustine, ours is one of the least damaged, and the only one in our new “neighborhood” who did not damage anything on shore except a few mangrove bushes. We were very fortunate.

IMG_6160IMG_6278We did this. It was a decision based on what we knew at the time, the options open to us, the very strange direction of Matthew, and an engine with a problem that happened just before evacuation day. Given what we know now, we would have arranged a tow up the San Sebastian to a dock there. Instead, we prepared La Luna more thoroughly than most boats in the mooring field. An incredible number had their headsails on (shredded). Many did not take advantage of the free, very tough, fire hose donated by the St. Augustine Fire Department. Many of them did not add extra mooring lines. We did all of that.

Like the rest of St. Augustine, we did not fully prepare for an event that has never before occurred: a tide and surge so high that it washed up over the sea wall into the Marina tunnel area between the onshore showers and the lounge. In fact, when talking with the crew before we evacuated, one of them said that in 20 years he had been there that area has never gotten swamped.

This was a 100-year storm. This is the storm that reminds us that we aren’t in control; the storm that reminds us that even the best plans for living in a hurricane zone can be wrecked by a storm that comes just 5 miles closer than we wanted to generate a surge never before experienced here. We don’t make excuses, but we aren’t beating ourselves either. One of EW’s phrases is “You make the decision, and you make the decision right.” We are together, the boat is fine, and once she’s back in the water and we check the engine, she will be 99% just as she was when we left her.

That makes us very, very fortunate.

Others lost their boats. I mean lost as is couldn’t find them; I’m not sure whether all have been found at this point. Others lost their boats as in being destroyed. Others will have huge repairs to make before boating again.

IMG_6142IMG_6146There are at least 10 boats within a few hundred yards of us. We have been meeting on Facebook or at the boats and are working together to find out how we can get our vessels back into the water. This is a puzzlement.

IMG_6182La Luna and the others floated in on an extremely large surge, over what is normally (and what are now) mud flats. Imagine a barge even getting in there, where they would be aground in 2 feet of water. Now imagine the crane lifting La Luna up and putting her…..where? Down on the other side in mud and water? Not likely. We are looking at using a trash pump and maybe air bags, to help slide her, tilted over (probably with water weights like those used to get vessels under bridges—although in our case it will be to keep the keel from plowing into the mud.



Anyway, this is what we think will work. We saw one post on Facebook that mentioned tying the line around the boat, not on the chocks. I like that idea, but not sure how it will work. Our hope is that La Luna can stay canted to port and swing around to be hauled bow out to deeper water where we will anchor. The marina will not allow any boats back in prior to checking all mooring balls and fixing the docks. Those who remained safe through the storm have stayed. The docks are badly damaged and if the north dock had failed, they could have lost all the boats in the marina.

This was a big one, folks, with a death toll nearing 600, of which over 30 were in the US.  How sad. How devastating. My heart goes out to those families. We are fine. We will get her back in the water and move home again.


Next Post: People Who Need People and the People who Help them





Friday Morning Coming Down

Good morning from Elkton, Florida. We are safe, worried about La Luna, but safe, well-fed and loved by the cats. The power has flickered and Comcast is off, but we have cell phones, data, and a TV on an antenna.
Yesterday morning we debated moving inland. EW and I made that more difficult as we would have had to use two cars for the four of us and two cat carriers. Deb packed a bag of precious things and I reduced our needs to one bag plus our precious things.
We decided to stay, noted the location of a nearby pet-friendly shelter, and prepared two locations inside the house in the event of a tornado. All of that creates stress, but we have been pleased with our far.
Now, it is 9:52, the storm has arrived, and it will get worse, but it has moved a bit East so we will not have a direct hit, either here or where La Luna is. The storm is approaching St. Augustine. The Bridge of Lions has closed as they have now reached winds sustained at 40 knots. I just saw the first row of boats tied at the marina. We keep hoping that the TV crew will move south and show the mooring field.
We are all safe. All we can do is hope that La Luna comes through unscathed. I must say that the TV stations we've watched are doing a great job. I thank them.
Here is Sophie.

Hurricane Matthew

Well, Dang him! I have promised two Matthews that we will not hold this storm against them, so this danging is only meant for 2016 Hurricane Matthew. He can go straight to H. E. double hockey sticks and the sooner the better.
Knowing that this blog has been AWOL lately and that those folks not on Facebook have had no proof of life, let me confirm that EW and I are alive and well and not stupid.
We will not stay on the boat during the storm.
This breaks our hearts. It makes my stomach hurt. And I'm angry that we are here for this rare storm. Our safe zone was supposed to be Brunswick Georgia. As of this morning, we may get the high tropical storm winds as Matthew passes through much too close to shore (now, maybe even hurricane force winds) but Brunswick may get hit with a category 2 hurricane.
This is not good for any of us, and our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. We are fearful for our friends and family in Georgia and the Carolinas, and particularly concerned about those who are aboard their boats in those areas. We wish the best possible outcome for everyone.
It is past time when we can hope for what has historically happened or the possibility of the storm swinging back to the east. It's time to put on our big girl and boy pants and do what is right. We will prepare the boat as best as anyone could do and we will head inland to stay with friends. And drink wine.
Maybe lots of wine.
We will have our phones and electronic apparatuses with us. (Why isn't that apparati?) Do check in on how you are faring, and feel free to contact us if you're worried. I will do my best to update the blog and Facebook at least daily.
October 2016 has been very interesting.
All who want the rest of October to be boring with a chance of fun, raise your hand.
Also, please "Think East". East is a good thing. Go East young, Matthew. Go East.

Rip Van Winkle Cruisers’ Syndrome Or Our Cruising Mindset

I love hearing (usually on NPR) the recitation of  the Beloit College Mindset List, designed to remind professors exactly how old they  are and how clueless they may  be about the popular culture as compared to each year’s crop of college freshmen. In preparation for this post, I perused the 40+ items on the 2016 list and present my favorite 10. (The word “favorite” is relative.)

The Mindset List for the Class of 2016  

  1. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
  2. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  3. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  4. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather. (That hurts.)
  5. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends. (I haven’t gotten used to this, and still make sure my own straps are tucked away. The safety pin is your friend. Raise your hand if you have sewed little snaps into a top and attached a ribbon with the corresponding snap to corral that bra strap.)
  6. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles. (Go us!)
  7. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
  8. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.’ (I miss the tan ones –and while we are on that subject, what happened to Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms? Such a loss.)
  9. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
  10. History has always had its own channel.

Copyright© 2012 Beloit College
Mindset List
is a registered trademark

Our Mindset is more like that of Rip Van Winkle. We are missing a few years. Five to be exact. While we aren’t totally clueless, we have a decided lack of clue regarding at least three things. (This is in addition to the already much-discussed cell phone/Android/data we had issues with upon setting foot ashore.)

So, in no particular order, here are three things we’ve had trouble understanding:Product Image, click to zoom

1. Lacy shorts for daytime wear. What’s up with that? I don’t mind that they are short. (You should see my hot pants, rompers, and skirt lengths in high school. Think long legs, hot pants, and mini skirts. Actually, that was one of my best eras.) Digressing. But these are lace short shorts made of some light weight material with an overlay of crochet or lace. I first saw these in St. Thomas worn by cruise ship tourists, but since I don’t take anything the average cruise ship tourist wears as actual real world fashion,  I continued to be surprised when I wander the streets of St. Augustine and saw numerous women wearing short lacy shorts. I don’t get it. How do they get through a day without ripping, tearing, or catching the lace? Heck, I couldn’t walk from one end of the boat to the other without catching that lace on something. I’m all for comfort and movement, which is good because I have never mastered fashion—though I’m not sure that lace hot pants paired with cowboy boots can be called “fashion”. And speaking of fashion, these lace shorts are available at Nordstrom's for 158.98—down from $265.00. Are you freaking kidding me?

2. On-line Shopping. Yes, this existed long before we left, but not to the degree it does now. This week,  Walmart bought not an airline, apparently, but an on-line shopping company that does better than Walmart on-line. (But nowhere near as well as Amazon.)  Walmart has an on-line shopping experience? Who knew?  In case you think I’m overstating this, let me offer some info: First, here’s a chart to show you how much things have changed since we left in 2010:

NOTE: I found this chart at a post done by a high school economics class. Good going, kids.

You will note that on-line retailing tripled while we were gone. (I’m not saying that I didn’t help a bit, but that’s a whole bunch of packaging.)

Second, I offer Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and Bark Box. This is what got me going. I remember record clubs and book clubs but a CLUB FOR RAZORS !Seriously blows my mind. Do you really have to go online to order some $1.00 razors to be sent to you on a regular basis? Can you really  not remember to pick them up at the grocery store? Speaking of which, do we really need to have food shipped from wherever  it was grown to a warehouse/kitchen for portioning, and then sent from there to your door so you can make three  “fresh” meals without going to the store. After all that shipping, it can’t be all that fresh. As for Bark Box, that’s not about fresh, but about spoiling your pooch with a few of  the new, new things for dogs, delivered in a box . (OK, I’m a dog sap, this sounded kind of cool for a one time gift. The option of once a month for a year, though? That’s crazy.) For the record, I love shopping on-line, for some things. And it was a necessity  in the islands.  When you are in the USVI it can be the only way to find something you need, like your favorite Teva’s. When in Grenada, I had to ship sandals to a friend’s brother who was flying in for a visit. Bless him. I do not mean to shame you for purchasing on-line. I’m just surprised at the speed with which it’s taken over. Dollar Shave Club? Really? (OK, I may be shaming you for the Dollar Shave Club.) (And I am definitely overusing the word “really”.)

3. Apps. Again, something that was around before we left. But in 2010 EW  had a two-year-old iPhone and I had an oldish Blackberry, so our smartphones weren’t all that smart. (And we certainly weren’t.) (And I will swear on a stack of fixed portlights that smartphone was a two-word phrase in 2010.) My  co-worker just bought a new desktop computer and it  has Apps. So, let’s recap: smartphones got apps so that they could work more like computers, and savvy businesses made their on-line sites work better with smartphones and created apps and those Q boxes to help other businesses market to those with smart phones, and now desktop computers have apps to be more like smartphones. Dog chase tail much? (Send it a Bark Box!)

And yes, we have and use apps. We were middle-aged and ignorant, not ancient and Luddites. (Though I’m feeling that “middle-aged” is perhaps pushing it a bit as I might not live to 110.)

Oh lord. We aren’t lost cruisers. We’re just old. Say it ain’t so!

On a (slightly) more serious note. Yes, this is yet another “transition” post, because IMHO there haven’t been enough of these done by cruisers. In other words, after feeding my dream, helping us to choose a boat and many of the extras, giving great advice while we were at sea, on the hard, or in a secluded anchorage, my cruising and blogging gurus did not do so well on the transition ashore. We will be taking off again for Round Two, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of this stuff for all of you still “at sea”.

Trust me. You’ll thank me someday.

This Grey-Haired Guitarist Went to Market


We are settling into our new life as (gasp) (choke) mere liveaboards here in St. Augustine. During the off-season, our friends and acquaintances are (choke) (gasp) all dirt dwellers. That’s OK, some of our best friends and all of our dearly loved relatives are dirt dwellers. We just forgot what it feels like to be liveaboards.

Yes, it took me over seven months to get over it. I have (mostly) ceased to compare this life with that of cruising and think more often about how living aboard in St. Augustine compares to living aboard in South Portland. Both areas have a strong sense of history. One area is much more modest in how they promote such history. St Augustine can evidently claim to be the oldest continually inhabited “city” in America. (Of course, no one here counts any actual native communities in that discussion. Evidently city life in America began in 1565.) “Oldest” is the town’s favorite superlative and it’s not always used wisely. Seriously, would you want to be a patient of the “Oldest City Dentist” Think about it. I keep imagining Tim Conway in one of his old man sketches, with a dentist drill.Here he is a butcher.

Digress much?

IMG_5890On shore, there are people who recognize us as new locals and we are now “regulars” at a number of events. Well, since the majority of our events involve music,  EW is the regular and I’m the “Band-Aid”. One of his favorite venues is the Saturday Market at the Amphitheater where he gets to stand in the hot sun and  play for over four hours with 5-20 excellent musicians. I like the market, and have made friends with some of the vendors but I opt to arrive two hours later than EW, who is generally one of the first musicians to arrive and one of the last to leave.

IMG_5910I check out all the booths, chat with vendors, and act like a professional Band-Aid by getting coffee, water, and snacks, and (once) holding music  for EW and four others learning a new song. Near the end of the morning, I purchase produce. The corn here is almost as good as that in Maine, but it’s impossible to purchase corn picked that day.

You know you are NOT from Maine if you think yesterday’s corn is fresh corn. On the other hand, you haven’t had a peach unless you’ve had yesterday’s peach from Georgia or South Carolina.

For your enjoyment and edification, here are shots of the market, and a video of EW leading the group in Teen Age Wedding. As you can tell, he tries to enjoy himself. Truly he is so tickled that these outstanding—many professional—musicians will play so joyfully with him. How can you not smile at this? One man, living his dream.

 You asked for a video, you get a video.


Postscript: Small World Moment. The woman guitarist in the pink top is Lynn Healey. Stew met her a couple of months ago, and then she left St. Augustine to perform with her band. He had told me about her and she is just as nice as he said. Here’s the small world part: Lynn knows Peter Bonta and has played with Bob Perilla and Bill Kirchen—friends of Peter and LeeAnn, formerly from Two Much Fun.

And so we are reminded that the cruising life is still with us.





Oh! What a Night!

Regular readers know that next to me, Favorite, our families, and La Luna EW loves music best. (Sometimes some of us may temporarily pale in comparison, but I’m not complaining)

Now that I have a job or two, and now that EW is the only music guy in the mooring field, I don’t always go to his events. He’s OK with that and has expressed chagrin that he may be a bit obsessive. In addition to Saturday morning, his favorite weekly schedule includes music jams on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday nights. (And the perfect Monday has two events.) Sometimes I go with him and sometimes my role as a “Band-Aid” consists of simply helping get the guitar into and out of the dinghy.

Such a night was last night.

EW left early enough to stop for a shower on the way to the venue. We tie the dinghy from the stern since the nearly constant IWW traffic of power vessels create waves that cause lots of bouncing and chafe along the side. EW doesn’t put the ladder down because he’s a macho kind of guy. Last night I was on deck, stationed along the starboard side with the guitar ready in the cockpit when I glanced back to see EW perched with one leg on the ladder while bringing the other over the lifelines. Unfortunately, the handle for his draw-string Stewart brand bag was looped over his foot. I started aft to help, but disaster struck before I could reach him and the bag fell in the water. EW moved to the lower step, hung on and reached for the bag….

You are all waiting for him to fall in. You are nasty people.

Before I could arrive with the boat hook, EW snagged the bag and tossed it on deck. I told him to get the dinghy ready  while I got a new bag and dry clothes. Now, EW and I have two different methods for this shower-on-shore lifestyle. I always wear boat clothes or exercise clothes when going to the shower, leaving my clean clothes in the bag. EW dons his clean clothes on board and takes just his towel and shower stuff.

In the sopping wet bag, I found his towel, socks, and a shirt. I knew he was wearing clean shorts and they were still dry. I replaced his bag and grabbed a towel, socks, and a shirt. I am a good Band-Aid. He thanked me profusely, and off he went.

Let’s move on.

During the evening, EW messaged me that he was having a great evening. (One I would have liked to witness.) He said there may  be photos on Facebook. (The photo above was taken by  Frank Reed.) He said he did a great job on “Dixie Chicken” and that people really responded to him.

EW had a good night.

So, I’m on deck enjoying the breeze and reading on my Kindle, when EW comes back to the boat. I grab his guitar and we hear our neighbor hailing him. Zack and his family live in Pointe Vedra; he’s moored right behind us and plays the bass and the two have jammed a bit. Stew took the dinghy over to Zach’s for a short visit. I stayed on deck and read. A while later, after messing around with guitars, EW and Zach were back on deck and I could hear…something…a mild agitation..scrambling. Shortly after that, EW and Zach arrived alongside La Luna requesting strong flashlights—our dinghy had gone walkabout on a dark night.

For the next couple of hours, I remained on deck while EW and Zach tried to figure set and drift and to find Lunah Landah on a cloudy night. I called the marina to notify them, watched the lights of the search dinghy, noted when they had returned once to fuel Zach’s dinghy, and refused to worry. Shortly after midnight, they returned in victory, Lunah Landah having fetched up on a private pier over on Anastasia. In the meantime, the marina office had called me to see if the friend helping search for the dinghy was from mooring 47. “Yes.” “I’ll let his wife know, she called worried about him.” It was that kind of night.

So, EW returned victorious and relieved, and I offered him a “nudge” (known as a “nip” in some circles) and a chance to relive his various victories of the evening and to tell me about his new music friends. One he described thusly, “There was this one old guy. Well, I’m not sure how old. Hell, he’s probably my age.” When I stopped laughing he continued. It had been a great music night. He was elated. One of his new friends was a woman who plays the fiddle and she joined in when EW played “Another Cup of Coffee”. Later, a couple invited him to a rehearsal of their band on Wednesday. (Yet another music night.) EW was pumped.

And then he quieted down, paused and looked at me. “When you got clothes for me, did you notice that anything was missing?”


“I didn’t have any  boxers.”

“They weren’t in the wet pile. I assumed you were wearing the clean ones.”

“No,” with a look.

I smiled. “You were commando all night?”

He grimaced and I laughed.

“Well, you had quite the night, Old Man, quite the night!”

Tidbits from St. Augustine


1. A hot summer here in St. Augustine is hotter than a hot summer in Grenada and Panama. One might have thought (as I did) that being closer to the equator would be warmer than being up here in the southern part of North America.

One would be wrong. For the past two weeks, every day we’ve had a warning of a “Heat Index” of 101 – 107.











2. The sun doesn’t set in St. Augustine until very late. (Well, late by Caribbean standards.) The phrase “cruisers’ midnight” refers to 9:00 or 10:00 PM when cruisers usually call it a night. After all, when sunset is around 6:30 PM, that’s about 3 hours of darkness. Here, the sun doesn’t set until around 8:30, so midnight is midnight. We rarely stay up that late, but we’ve had “issues” with our pizza/movie night. I’m just not ready to watch a movie before dark, while EW is definitely ready for pizza around 7:00. We have compromised. The pizza is usually in the oven by 7, and we start the movie during daylight, It’s not the same, and we can no longer set it up on deck unless we are prepared to actually stay up until midnight.

IMG_20160702_1807564. St. Augustine is a Destination Wedding town, about which many people say, “We’ve chosen our venue in St. Augustine”. Weddings have venues as if they were conferences or concerts. Though that began when we still lived in Maine, it has a whole new meaning here in St. Augustine. The marina office is across the street from one of the more popular venues, so we frequently see wedding parties, guests, limos, flower bedecked horse-drawn carriages, and tasteful wedding signs. This one amused us. Greatly. You’d think the person who had written it might have offered an edit of some sort. Ah well. I assume it is a happy union. (I could not resist.)

5. This is a music town. There are a whole bunch of singer/songwriters per capita, and we enjoy many of them. EW plays weekly at the open jam at the market. This week I performed as “Band-Aid” when I was asked to hold up some music for EW and four others who were learning new tunes after the event ended.

6. Working. Yeah. That job thing. It’s been a dry year in St. Augustine, but I am now moving forward with two jobs because this is a gig economy. Let me just state that St. Augustine is a tourist town not at all like Portland in that tourism is pretty much  the only industry. When you add the economy, interesting Florida labor practices, and my evidently advanced, unemployable—age the sum includes few job opportunities. I currently have two jobs, one in the store of the Black Raven Pirate Ship, and one as an HR consultant and sales for a Jacksonville company that represents the Predictive Index.

A. Black Raven Ship Store. First of all, they take pirates and colonial history very seriously in St. Augustine. At any point in time one can walk down the street and see a fully garbed pirate, or colonial muster. (And it is “garb”. Call them costumes at your peril. They carry real swords. I am not kidding.) I am not a garbed pirate. I sell tickets to the ship’s adventures, prepare the little treasure chests for the kids, and man the counter in the store three mornings a week. These are not Black Raven Pirates. This is a few from a Pirate Krew who dressed in garb to go out on the town. This kind of thing happens in St. Augustine.

B. Through the miracle of Maine networking, blogging, and Facebook, I was reconnected with Steve Waterhouse, who had been a consultant in Maine many years ago. That lovely man remembered me with favor and offered me a consulting gig with his organization, Predictive Results, which consults and sells the Predictive Index. I can work from the boat, and make calls on potential clients in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, and nearly the entire country. I will most likely focus in North Florida and perhaps a bit in Maine. In the meantime, I’m learning more about this very interesting tool for employee assessment and strategic management. I am also learning a whole new business vocabulary, having nothing to do with belaying lines, hoisting sails, or navigating though coral heads. It is no secret that I’m a short-timer with the Pirate Store and will resign with plenty of notice once income from PI is a constant.

7. Technology. It’s been a recurring theme. Those five years created all sorts of gaps in our knowledge. We each have a cheap AT&T Android phone and I am beginning to grasp how smartphones have taken over. I actually said to someone this week that the best way to reach me for social things is to text. I used to hate texting. Texting was the way you could reach your refrigeration tech, and not good for much else. For some reason all marine refrigeration techs do not answer their phone, they text. Even the one in Guadeloupe who spoke very broken English. I digress. Frequently. The point is that I didn’t “get” texting until now… long after it had become a way of life. This five-year gap has caused me to be late to the party on most things technical. So I am delighted, delighted I tell you to actually witness a new technological fad in the making. Pokemon Go! I’m not playing (our cheap phones don’t have a lot of memory, and I really don’t need a new way to waste time) but I love hearing about something new as it is happening. Makes me feel all current.

8. Politics. Whoa! I’m actually happy to be here during this election year. If not, I would never have believed it. Plus now I can answer the questions on Wait Wait Don’t Tell me.

9. NPR. I am in NPR heaven. Kind of. Maine Public Radio will always be the NPR affiliate of my heart, but Florida does have many of our favorite national programs. I assure you that it’s not our fault that both Garrison Keillor and Michael Feldman both retired shortly after we returned to the US. I also had to break it to EW that Thomas Louis Magliozzi died while we were at sea and that the Car Talk shows we have been enjoying are all repeats.

10. Time marches on. Frankly, it’s dragged a bit here in St. Augustine. We are just now getting used to being back in the states. Transitions are tough. We are determined to make it work here, get the boat and cruising kitty fixed and go on another adventure.  In the meantime, we’ll make music and evidently party with pirates.

Have You Seen My Funny Keyboard? I Seemed to Have Lost it Somewhere.

I think funny.

I often talk funny and tell funny stories in a funny way, including things that have happened recently.

I dream funny dreams.

I Facebook funny. In fact, I crack me up on Facebook almost every day.

Writing lately, not so funny.

This live-aboard boater has misplaced her writing mojo and she wants it back. She wants it back RIGHT NOW!

I take notes for future blog posts. The notes are funny.

The posts, not so much.

I practice by telling a story to a friend during a long phone conversation. She roars.

I write it. Meh.

Or worse, I sit down to write one of those informative yet humorous posts and something else appears on the screen apparently typed by my own fingers. Something a tad melancholy.

From whence did that come?

I am not often without speech. (OK, I am NEVER without speech.) (Rim shot, but low hanging fruit)

I am definitely not a doom and gloom person.

I am, however, a cruiser who is not cruising and that has been a problem for me.

We are liveaboards. We are not currently cruisers. We may even (Gasp!) take our sails down and store them for a few months. Why let the big old sun shine down on them if we aren’t going to use them?

We are cruisers who are living aboard. I haven’t been thrilled with all things St. Augustine or many things Florida. (I saw TWO snakes here, which is two more than I’ve seen in the past five years. What kind of a state is this?)

Yes, we are cruisers living aboard and we like living aboard. We have no desire for a house. Life isn’t bad.

In fact, it’s good. Since we left Maine in 2010 things have gone very well. Let me count the ways:IMG_0966

1-100.   All the places we visited from October 2010 until December 2015. (That’s a rough estimate and includes multiple visits to various islands. OK. Really, it’s a guess. It’s a literary license kind of thing. Going back to counting now.) Sure we liked some places more than others. And sure, there may be one or two we will bypass the next time, but overall, this was a blast and I wouldn’t have missed any part of it. (Except for EW’s bout with shingles. That can go to Hades.)

101-972  (Also a guess) All the people we we met along the way. It doesn’t matter that I pull up IMG_4665some boat cards and have no idea who those people are. Neither does it matter that we can tell a wonderful story about world cruisers we met in Nassau in 2010. We can provide you with very detailed accounts of a number of their experiences, the washing machine they called, “The Guest”, what she was wearing when we were invited aboard for cocktails, and what they served for snacks. Yet we have no idea what their names are. It doesn’t matter. Everyone enriched us. Also every local person—from the angry guy on the dock in Atlantic Island New Jersey, to Dingis Gennel, and Carmel in Grenada, to the interesting, helpful, non-English speaking alternator repair guy in Colon Panama—left an impression on us. If not a great impression, one that salted our stories with reality. Every cruiser— from the Canadian in New Jersey who gave us the keys to his car so we could get to West Marine to the newbies and the circumnavigators we’ve met in St. Augustine—have all enriched our lives and encouraged our dreams. Many of them have shared their wonderful stories and more than a few have helped us create wonderful stories together.

973-1,963 (A low estimate) Stands for all the big and little things that went wrong, broke, wereIMG_9977 lost overboard, or purchased in error. We fixed most of them, went without others, and are creating joy by tossing others (figuratively) from the boat. It wasn’t always pretty, but when La Luna’s parts had issues, we took care of her, and she brought us safely back to the States.

1,964-2,252 Are all (approximately) the family, friends, and acquaintances who waved good-bye, accepted that we were going to be gone a long time, and helped us in both tangible and intangible ways. A surprising number of them have been faithful readers of this blog.

2,253. EW. He’s not first on this list, but he’s first in my heart. He infected me with his dream and I IMG_9937have no regrets. None. Even the endurance crossing. (Though I do regret not getting the propane tank filled in the Canaries. My bad.) What a ride we’re having.

2,254 & 2,255. The two years we will be here, enjoying all St. Augustine has to offer, working, and providing La Luna with required TLC.

2,256. The next cruise, encompassing the Yucatan, Cuba, Eastern Caribbean, the Azores, and (fingers crossed) mainland Portugal, with side trips in Europe.

2,257. The United States of America. Even during a nasty, crazy election, I am delighted to be here and proud of my homeland, my heritage, and my country. (Some of the people, not so much…but that also goes for cruisers and local folks we met every where. People is people.)

Things weren’t perfect on the first cruise, they won’t be perfect on the second, and they aren’t perfect here in the US, or here in St. Augustine. But I am happy, incredibly fortunate often funny, and usually grammatically correct.

Now if I can just find that mojo.