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January 1 - It was the best of times, it was the worst o f times.

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  • Skip Gundlach
    January 1 - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. New Year s Day, 2008. About 48 weeks ago we were on the rocks, literally and figuratively, due
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2008
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      January 1 - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

      New Year's Day, 2008. About 48 weeks ago we were on the rocks,
      literally and figuratively, due to a wreck which threatened our
      very way of life as we'd planned it. About 8 weeks ago, we were
      on the rocks figuratively, due to a personal challenge which
      threatened our very way of life, at least as I'd envisioned it.

      In between, we recovered from the wreck, rebuilding our home and
      beginning our voyage. At the end, we rebuilt our lives, to very
      positive effect. Like my sig line says, every problem has a gift
      in its hands. While I can't take credit for that, we've certainly
      proven the theory!

      This past year has been one of chaos, joy, anger, frustration,
      despair, redemption, adventure and, above all, love.

      Love has come from all sides and some of the most unexpected
      directions. We've made so many new friends, and found so many
      more that we didn't even know knew we existed, let alone that
      they'd go out of their way to help us, either in need, or just
      "because" - usually as a product of having read about us in this
      and/or Lydia's log postings - that it would be difficult to count
      them. Words fail me; it suffices, I hope, to say that we are
      eternally grateful to each and every one.

      In addition, along the way, we've had the occasion to reciprocate
      (not directly, necessarily, but sometimes), having just the
      needed part or advice or hands or all of them. Being the eldest
      in the birth order of 5, my natural inclination is to be the
      helper and fixer, and so I very much enjoy being able to help
      others out of jams they're not yet comfortable solving, or having
      the experience, the right tool I'll loan or give them, or spare
      part that I'll give them, or in other ways assist their progress.

      However, we'd have to say that we've been massively blessed, and
      are definitely in the deficit column, despite our lifelong habit
      of paying it forward. Cruisers and friends of cruisers, personal
      friends and friends of friends, and even support groups born out
      of those who have watched us over the internet have come to our
      aid, again and again. You know who you are - I'll not name names,
      not only out of protecting your charity, but because I'm certain
      I'd leave some out, because there's so many! - and we thank you,
      again.

      This year has seen us go around the extremes of Florida, all the
      way to New York City, and back down. Later today, we'll go to the
      last large metropolitan area in the East Coast of Florida by
      sailing overnight to Miami on the coattails of a strong northerly
      wind. That will conclude a journey of some thousands of miles in
      less than a year. That journey has included long stops in some
      places, usually to work on the things that have needed shaking
      down in this, our shakedown cruise. Fortunately and blessedly,
      our breakdowns have become so infrequent as to be of little note,
      especially since they're usually, now, so small.

      Yesterday I spent several hours under the boat, connected to my
      hookah rig which allows me the same ability to remain under as
      would be the case with a SCUBA rig, but no bottle, instead
      relying on an oil-less air pump. In my time down there, I did
      major physical therapy for my right shoulder, the main reason for
      having bought the hookah. However, in the process, I also cleaned
      the entire starboard side of the very small accumulation of
      easy-to-brush-off growth, and also cleaned and freed up (so they'll
      rotate, giving us the information as they move through the water)
      the impellers for our speed instruments. They'd grown grass and a
      few barnacles from our time at the dock in St. Simons Island.
      Once we're in reliably warm water, I hope to use the hookah every
      day for physical therapy. Once we're in good fishing waters, I
      hope to use it for dinner!

      As our travels and travails are pretty well documented in prior
      log postings, I'll not repeat them here, but just say that it's
      been a great adventure, and we've had a blast, after all has been
      said and done. That there were terrifying times, angry times,
      frustrating times, chaotic times, and many other
      less-than-"perfect" times doesn't change the fact that in the
      end, it was joyful, blissful, exhilarating, fun, and above all, a
      great adventure.

      Our adventure will take a different turn for the first half of
      this year, however, as we're going to Miami in order to close out
      our medical insurance afforded under COBRA from Lydia's prior
      employment. We'll have some tests and followups as needed while
      still covered with insurance.

      While we're there, we expect to have guests aboard fairly
      frequently, doing as much sailing in the great sailing area,
      particularly at that time of year, with usually brisk winds, as
      possible, and further shaking down our boat. In particular, we
      want to get very familiar with our new sails and sail track
      system.

      We'll also be doing minor boat chores, including lots of sewing,
      and installation, repair and replacement of various systems or
      instruments, as able, while we're on a friend's mooring off the
      Miami Yacht Club.

      Then, in mid-March, we'll get off the boat until mid-June to
      early July. We'll be doing shoreside family stuff, celebrating
      ancient birthdays, new births, and a graduation, among others. We'll
      put the boat on the ground, at a place not yet selected, as we're
      unwilling to leave it in the water, where and however for that
      length of time, while we're ashore. Likely we'll be north of here
      ("here" being Lake Worth, a very common staging ground for boats
      going to the Bahamas, between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach), as
      marina and storage prices here are orders of magnitude higher
      than elsewhere. Then, when we come back, we'll resume our
      waterborne lives.

      At this point, we have the luxury of no schedules (other than the
      need to be on the ground in mid-March), and no itineraries, so we
      have not yet decided where we'll go when we return. One
      possibility will be to jump into the Gulf Stream and head as far
      north as we are comfortable, likely Maine, and work our way
      south, chasing (or staying in) the warm weather and water. If we
      do that, we'll take advantage of the lack of schedule to tour
      some of the countless areas we jumped over on the way up and down
      last year.

      Another possibility will be to go south (from wherever we put the
      boat) again, and make the jump over to the Bahamas and begin our
      Eastern Caribbean lives by easing our way down the Bahamas chain,
      thence eventually to get to Venezuela. If that's the way we go,
      likely we'll not be back in these waters again unless it's to
      sell the boat.

      So, in the darkness of the first morning in the year, I'm looking
      ahead. Nearly certainly, this coming year will have many
      adventures for us aboard Flying Pig - but our journeying will be
      delayed until about the second half of the year.

      I'll post again after we reach Miami. The weather forecasts
      (well, you know how we feel about the accuracy of those available
      to us, but they've been saying essentially the same thing for
      more than a week, so it seems reasonable to expect some
      congruence between the forecast and the reality) have it as a
      marvelous, rollicking run from here to Miami. We'll leave before
      dark, to get outside the entrance in daylight, and pull into the
      Port of Miami, likely, while it's still dark. From there we'll go
      to our mooring and commence local sailing!

      Stay tuned for the reality of the trip.

      L8R

      Skip

      Morgan 461 #2
      SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
      See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !
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      "You are never given a wish without also being given the power
      to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
      (and)
      "There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
      its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
      (Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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