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July 2016

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?”

“Nope.”

“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

Vilano

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.

 

Grenada

Panama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.