Paul - "End of the Line" or "Time for Land"

We are back home.  Not Home, home.  But we are back in the good ole USA.  


We had a very pleasant motor-sail (where the sails are up, but one of the motors is being used too) back home from the Bahamas.  We left at around 7:45pm. We were planning on leaving at 9pm, but we ended up in the anchorage at South Bimini and it was by far the rolliest anchorage we have had the entire trip.  It was terrible.  We found it was just starting to make us a little grumpy so we just pulled up the anchor and headed out.  No sense being unpleasant.  


Our planned night departure was intended to beat some potentially bad weather in the Gulf Stream, that did not end up materializing.  But it was a great night.  Warm, just a slight breeze, only one engine, 5 knots of speed.  Awesome (except for the engine noise none of us care for).  


We all took turns with one hour shifts, then 4 hours of sleep. We arrived at Ft Lauderdale at first light, perfect timing! So that is it. No more foreign countries. No more clearing customs. No more living at anchor. No more morning swims. No more barracuda hanging out under the boat. No more gently rocking bunk.  But that also means…no more missing family! No more missing friends! No more worries about weather!  But the trip is over.  We are spending a week here in Ft Lauderdale cleaning the boat and getting it all tucked in.


We actually have two offers on the boat.  Both offers are good, and there may even be some interest from a third party too! It could not be better for us right now. So we are cleaning, getting all of our stuff off the boat so the surveyor (like a home inspector for boats) can easily get at everything and check out the boat.  Around June 12 we will start driving home.  We have new twin nephews in North Carolina, and an Army buddy that I haven't seen since I got out way back in '94. Then off to the lake to offload the rental van (and do a quick survey of all the flood damage at the lake. We had a very bad flood this spring.) Then go to South Bend to pick up our cars from storage and see more family. Then back to the lake, to spend the last few days decompressing (it will feel stressful after the last 9 months).  It will be a busy few weeks.  Not quite the leisurely pace we have been used to.  Time to get used to schedules again.  Everything won't just depend on the weather and our whim, which were the deciding factors up till now.


Already the thing that is getting to everyone is the noise. We left an island in the Bahamas that had between 1-4 boats (it had 4 only because it is a good spot to wait out a storm, and there was a bit of weather).  So this anchorage which is about the size of a couple city blocks had 4 boats with a total of 11 people on them.  We were almost half of the population.  Needless to say it was very quiet.  We really enjoyed the people on the other boats.  We would go conching together. A side note: the conching was incredible…it was a matter of deciding which conch to take. They were so plentiful. In one breath you could go down and come back with 3 or 4 huge ones, bypassing several smaller ones.  It took us longer to dinghy over to the spot than it did to collect 24 conch (only 6 are allowed on a boat at a time.) Then we would all gather on the beach to clean them.  We had a ball.  And it was so QUIET.  Ft Lauderdale is not!  Cars, horns, lots of people, music etc.  Also, we are right under the Las Olas Bridge which is under repair.  That means from 0800-1800hrs there is sandblasting, concrete cutting, and jackhammering.  It is crazy how loud it is.  It makes the sad job of taking all of our stuff off the boat a little less pleasant.


I keep thinking about how this is the end of the line for our sailing, and even more…it is the end of the line of my getting to spend all my time with my family.  I knew this day would happen, and there is a lot about it that I like, but I am not ready for family time to end just yet.  Oh well, nothing that can be done about it. 


We are doing some last minute things to the boat.  I can't believe how short our "to do" list is right now.  For so many months I always felt like I was playing catch-up, or sometimes like I was chasing my tail.  But in the last couple of months we have really gotten on top of things. We have not had an engine stoppage since the San Blas.  Radios, electronics, mechanical, plumbing…it is awesome.  I can't believe how stress free and fun the Bahamas were, partly because they are so incredible, but also largely due to the fact that the the boat works great.  So mostly what we are doing now is just cleaning up and sorting out what we need to load into the van.


Luckily we all remember that we had good happy lives before we came out here; and that is what we are going back to!  We all know that we will be happy again, we will just have a few more memories that will make us smile.