We reached Brunswick Landing Marina this afternoon. This is where we will leave our boat for the summer. We are nearing the end of our first journey and we're not quite sure how to feel.
We are definitely looking forward to returning to Indiana and seeing our family and friends. But at the same time we have experienced a new way of life that we don't want to give up.
This trip began in January near Savannah, Georgia. With almost no boating experience but lots of enthusiasm, we sailed from Savannah south along the Atlantic Coast, down through the Florida Keys, up the west coast of Florida to Naples, back through the Keys and back up the Atlantic Coast to Georgia.
Along the way, we have learned to:
--find good, safe places to anchor
-- set the anchor on the boat so it doesn't drag (almost never)
--read a marine chart and understand markers and what they mean
--communicate with bridge tenders, the Coast Guard, and other boaters via the VHF radio
--maintain and repair most of the systems on the boat when they fail
--sail (although you never really stop learning how to sail)
--predict the weather (you automatically double NOAA's estimate of wind speed and wave height and learn that whatever direction you will be traveling, the wind will usually be coming towards you)
--live happily without television, a car, a washer and dryer, hair dryer, make-up, and a hot shower every day.
--catch fish, clean them and cook them
--live nearly "off the grid." In other words, we can produce almost enough electricity through solar panels and a wind generator to cover our power needs. Eventually, we hope to live totally "off the grid."
In addition to getting the best tans we've ever had and lots of exercise and fresh air, we have also met too many new friends to count. Cruisers are the most interesting, caring, adventurous folks you can imagine.
Getting to know other cruisers is almost effortless. Everyone wants to socialize and parties and pot lucks happen at the drop of a hat. We all have so much in common and so much to talk about.
Some of the people we've met have sailed around the world. Many spend their winters in the Bahamas or the Keys, some have traveled all of the Great Lakes, explored the Chesapeake, traversed the Panama Canal. Others have sailed to South America, Asia, the Phillipines, Fiji Islands, Australia, and New Zealand.
Many have raised their children aboard their boats. The children of cruisers we have met are amazingly social, interesting and very knowledgeable about the world.
Our cruising friends have also helped us "learn the ropes." They have shared their knowledge and encouraged us from the beginning when this project was just a dream.
I don't think we could have accomplished this journey without the help of our cruising friends....Rich on Feral Cat, Bonnie and Roger on Kokomo, Sam and Gina on Lady of the Lake, Harold and Val on La Buena Vida, Pam and Richard on Tisha Baby, Lloyd and Caroline on Amelia Rose, Brian and Lynn on Midori, Rana and Mike on Raven, Rick and Mary on Tranquillity, Don and Diane on Fitzcat, Chris and Bruce on Sojourn, and Russ on Bay Breeze.
We have learned so much from all of them and many others. Cruisers are a breed apart.
So here we are. We'll fly home next week and resume our previous life for the summer. Sunshine will stay here in Brunswick.
We'll give you a report on our adjustment to life on land as well as our future plans.
Thanks for listening.
Phil and Margaret