Kim and I found ourselves at Laishley Park Marina in Punta Gorda, Florida, way back in late August of last year. I had finished the manuscript for Leap of Faith and needed good internet and cell phone connections to get it published. We each took part-time jobs to raise a little cash. Reentering the civilized world was a culture shock for us. Work? I hadn’t worked in over three years. Kim hadn’t been employed for five years.
Noise? Oh my god you don’t realize the constant noise pollution all around you, every minute of every day. Out on the west coast of Florida we hear the breath of dolphins. The osprey chirp from Cayo Costa Island. Water laps at the hull of our boat. In the marina we hear garbage trucks at five a.m. BEEP BEEP BEEP! We hear lawn mowers and blowers. We hear the traffic on the route 41 bridges.
For the past several weeks there has been a chain saw artist carving a wooden dolphin in the courtyard. There is no more annoying sound than a chainsaw. The other night I was awakened to the sound of a chainsaw at 4 a.m. I thought that the chainsaw guy must be drunk or something. I walked up the docks with murder on my mind, but it wasn’t him. It seems a drunk driver had taken out a palm tree at the entrance to the marina. A city worker was out there sawing away at it like it was 3 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. That was the last straw!
We have been planning and discussing our departure from the marina for a month or so. We were thinking the end of this summer. Now we want to leave today. As I type there is a worker pressure washing the marina building. It’s a gas powered pressure washer. It’s very noisy. I’m about to go out of my mind with the noise.
There are other reasons we’ve grown tired of the marina life, but mostly we long for the solitude of living on the hook. Just Kim and I and the dolphins, is what we miss. So we’ve upped our timeline and now plan to toss off the lines in mid-July. That’s right. Six weeks and we’re outta here. We’ll ride out the summer, and hurricane season in Pelican Bay. Hopefully we leave for the Bahamas in the late Fall early Winter. If things go well for us, we’d like to continue south to the Turks and Caicos and eventually to the Dominican Republic. We’ve had several friends tell us how wonderful (and cheap) it is in Luperon, DR.
On the way we want to explore the Exumas and the out islands south of Georgetown. Who knows? It depends on several factors. On is weather and our comfort with navigating foreign waters. The other is money. During our first Leap of Faith we lived off savings. This time we have much less, but we do have income from our books. I plan to continue writing and publishing to further supplement the cruising kitty. (Buy my books! Keep a cruiser afloat.) We will go as far as we feel safe, ever cautious.
Let the six-week countdown begin. Cayo Costa here we come. In the meantime we have lots to do. I just ordered an autopilot to assist us on longer and overnight passages. We really need that to make our trip work. I’ve been replacing bilge pumps and performing maintenance to prepare the boat for time away from land. We need mucho provisions. We need new water jugs and fuel jugs. We probably should replace our battery bank before leaving the States. Kim needs a new passport. It’s a long list. Our timeline is ambitious. Oh and one more thing. We will need new bottom paint before trying to cross to the Bahamas. This is a major undertaking for liveaboards. Your whole life is upended because your house is sitting on jackstands on land. Not looking forward to it, and we think we might do the work ourselves to save money.
So we are going to be busy over the next six weeks. The downtime we’ll get once we depart will be well deserved and much appreciated. Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh, just Kim and me and Leap of Faith. I can’t wait.
Think we can find a spot to anchor?
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If you have already read one or more of my books, thanks so much. Kim and I sincerely appreciate the support we have received fro all of you.