January 2nd, 2019
Last day on the ICW for a while. We traveled from mile marker 2 to mile 964. It has been a long trip, cold and beautiful, stressful and serene. During the short hops we’ve made over the past few days for the last 100 mile stretch (without the pressing need for warmth now that we’re in the Florida sun), I’m sad to leave the water. It’s been a taste of what cruising should be – sunny, with time to explore and paddle and enjoy sundowners. Just enough to entice me back into the water once we’re finished working on the boat.
As we made our way to our destination, I watched a big motor boat misjudge the channel markers and run aground. They maneuvered themselves back on course after churning mud and puffing a fair amount of smoke. We thought it fitting their boat’s named “C’este La Vie” which in French is an expression used to play down some minor disappointment, meaning “that’s life”.
We passed many little spits of land labelled spoil islands, which are man-made islands created when these boat channels are dredged.
We putted along the last twenty miles, trying to time our arrival with slack tide since we’d been warned it would be a bit dicey entering the boat yard channel. We were greeted with a foreboding scene as we squared up with the channel, a half sunken ship seems to jut across the entrance, giving us very little room to squeeze by. I told myself they did that purposefully to provide a protective shield for the boats inside the marina.
Even with a weaker current it was a harrowing experience, but Eric maneuvered the boat like a pro through the tight marina. Boats lined every inch of dock around us. All his experience navigating the narrow channels of the ICW came to bear as he drove Wild into the slip where the travel lift picked up our boat. And then we were out of the water.
The travel lift moved slowly down the lane as Wild joined the forest of masts where hundreds of boats are stored in this boat yard.
I was ecstatic to meet one of our new neighbors.
Once the boat settled on blocks, we got to work.
One of our first projects was to service our starboard sail drive. The reason seawater mixed into the oil could have been due to this fishing line we found wrapped around our propeller.
It took some time to settle into the yard, scavenging for a free ladder to get into the boat now that it was lifted a good 10+ feet in the air. I took one shower and realized I would never use the facilities at this boat yard again when the sulfur smell of their well water made me gag. The power situation was… unacceptable. Extension cords daisy-chained together littered the walkways leading to the main building. Good thing Eric fixed our electrical system on our way south, so we can rely on our solar power and not engage with that electrical fire waiting to happen. Whelp, there is no need to get comfortable – it’s not vacation, we’re here to work. More motivation to get the boat fixed and back into the water, I suppose.
And now every day I face my fear of falling. Welcome to the boat yard.