Fighting Nemo in Isolation

March 26, 2020

After a sparsely attended flight, an hour long train ride, and a brisk 20-minute walk to the water, I caught sight of Eric approaching the nearby dinghy dock. I always forget how tiny our little yellow dinghy looks from shore. And our electric motor is so quiet, I love it. I also enjoy the fact that we get all of our electricity from solar power.

It was a bit awkward with so many people walking by for me to duck under the closed sign that blocked the dock while carrying my travel bag, but that feeling was quickly overwhelmed with joy as I greeted Eric with a big hug. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to get back to him with the pandemic craziness shutting everything down.

From one of the many luxury yachts that lined the channel, a crew member stopped cleaning and waved as we passed by on our way back to the sailboat. Our little yellow dinghy always seems to catch attention.

We made it back to SV Wild and I promptly fell asleep after my red eye flight and early morning trip across North Palm Beach. Motor boats zoomed by often, their wakes leaving me feeling queasy all day. At least I made it back to the boat.

 

March 27, 2020

Eric has spent the past few days cleaning the bottom of our boat. After three months of sitting in Florida’s “nutrient rich” water, our hulls are encrusted with barnacles the size of nickels, along with a thick layer slime and algae. This anchorage is near an ocean inlet, so when the tide flows in from the sea the water is clear enough we can see the sandy bottom, which reminds me of the Bahamas. The clear water only lasts a couple of hours before Florida’s murky water starts to flow out to sea again. At that time the residents under our boat switch from tropical ocean fish to catfish.

Today, Eric had to fight Nemo.

While he was scraping barnacles off our hull, Eric noticed a little white and black striped fish, probably only 3 or 4 inches long, swimming around him. At first he only waved it away, but eventually the little bugger got bold enough to start biting him.

From the bedroom I could hear his shouts of distress as he attempted to get the tiny foe away from his face. I rushed to the swim ladder and helped Eric get out of the water, and tried my best not to laugh as he explained the situation to me.  I’d been worried about much bigger fish. As Eric tried to get back into the water, we noticed the feisty fish we called Nemo circling the swim ladder. Swatting the foe away did little to deter this aggressive little fish, and soon enough Eric was back on the boat. After donning armor of a full body wet suit, head sock, and gloves, Eric went back to fight the tiny fish. Eventually, I suppose after tiring itself out from charging at Eric’s mask, torso and fins, little Nemo swam away. Good bye little bugger.

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How big was he Eric? He was this big.

At least we had a pretty sunset at North Palm Beach.

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Sunset anchored at North Palm Beach

March 28, 2020

Despite it being Day 3 of feeling motion sick, I grabbed my fins and helped Eric finish scraping and cleaning the bottom of our boat during our clean water window. Now, we can sail with confidence and speed.

The boat continues to be tossed about by wakes in our anchorage, I feel queasy, all I want to do is sleep.

We decided to abandon our plans for the Bahamas due to the closed border. With the Florida Keys also facing serious restrictions, we will turn north instead of continuing onward. No snorkeling adventures this year, but I will try to finish compiling all the video footage and photos I took from our trip last year.

It’s so frustrating to have come all this way, but now we will sail back north, to better position ourselves for hurricane season.

 

March 29, 2020

This morning I enjoyed the sunrise at one of my favorite anchorages along the ICW in Florida.

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Sunrise at Peck Lake, Florida

Today we took a trip to the beach and said hi to the Atlantic Ocean.

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I’m really bummed that after all the effort to fix the sailboat and get ourselves south, we never made it across an international border. The Bahamas are closed for the foreseeable future, and just about everyone we knew who sailed over there has turned back for the States due to the pandemic and lock downs. One sailboat couple we knew left for the Bahamas two days before we were planning to cross, and they were turned away as officials had closed the border for good. Others we knew experienced 24-hour lock downs, closed marinas, and empty streets as the islands were closed for business, and they weren’t even allowed to sail between islands. The locals were delivering fuel and groceries, in an effort to shoo away the cruisers because they feared the virus, as the Bahamas don’t have the infrastructure necessary should the pandemic hit their small, isolated islands.

These storied seemed so surreal compared to the “business as usual” approach of Florida residents, zooming by us with boats full of people and we were stunned to sail by beaches where people continued to gather and party and enjoy the sunshine without seeming to care at all about slowing down the pandemic’s spread. I was glad that folks in Colorado at least seemed to take this more seriously, because I’m worried how this all will impact Florida, especially all the folks that live here in their retirement.

When I think about the big picture I remind myself that it’s not so bad, but I really miss the cerulean blue waters of the Bahamas. Their country has been hit extremely hard in the past year with Dorian and now this pandemic. And there’s not much I can do to help, for now.

 

March 31, 2020

Despite the strong winds we enjoyed tonight’s sunset, and are trying to make the most of these circumstances.

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Enjoying the sunset as the wind whips my hair

 

April 1, 2020

Eric made me a “proper English breakfast”. It was delicious, complete with beans, hash, a cheddar cheese biscuit, sliced tomato and a fried egg.

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Proper English breakfast? Anyway, it was tasty.

April 5, 2020

I’m pretty depressed at this point, feeling the full force of isolation on the boat, and the stress of not knowing what we’ll experience at each anchorage. Will there be shore access? Will there be empty shelves at the grocery store when we try to restock?

I want to just stretch my legs and walk, but there’s a cop car patrolling the beach where we anchored today which made it obvious boaters were not welcome here. The situation keeps getting worse and more confusing as we try to figure out what’s open, what accessible, what’s allowed and what is recommended. Each city, each park is different and there’s no consistency and they keep making new decisions each day. I wonder how bad this will really get, and when will we resolve this situation?

 

April 7, 2020

Still not allowed to go to shore, I’m going a little stir crazy.

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Sunrise on Fort Matanzas

 

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