There is nothing–absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
– Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
As the Admiral and I prepared to get Magnolia underway from Vero, the Admiral noted a failed bilge pump in her pre-departure checklist. Note: The Admiral ALWAYS tests the bilge pumps as part of our pre-departure checklist. Hmmm…where are we going to get a replacement? Where is there a West Marine that we can get too? A little googgling showed a West Marine in Melbourne, FL that was in walking distance of the anchorage. Excellent. So we motor Magnolia the 25 miles to Melbourne, get the dinghy in the water and walk to the West Marine, no problem, mission accomplished. We stop for a bite to eat at a Squid Lips, do squid actually have lips? The next morning we get right to work on the adding additional insulation to the freezer box. That takes the most part of the day and then tackle a couple of smaller projects, including installing that bilge pump, before shutting down for the day. As we discuss plans forward, it seems we have a disconnect on provisions. Suddenly realize we need to get a few fresh groceries before going off shore to St Mary’s GA. Back to Google finds us a Publix Grocery store right across the Banana River from where we are anchored. First thing yesterday morning we get Magnolia underway from our western anchorage about 1.5 miles east to a place called Dragon Point on the eastern shore. We get anchored, Annette goes to work on the sunshade she is updating and I drop the dinghy in the water and motor to shore, then walk to the Publix with my two provisioning bags. (Note: As we are anchoring I note an issue with the starboard rub rail that I need to tend too.) When I get to the dinghy landing beach I find the location is now fenced and posted. Hmm…head over to a marina a couple hundred yards away and after paying $10.00 to park the dinghy, I walk over to the Publix to get our 30lbs. of provisions, and walk back to the marina. Load the dinghy and head back out to Magnolia at anchor where Annette helps me unload provisions. While Annette stores provisions, I take the dinghy back to the marina for a bag of ice and return once again to Magnolia. As Annette continues sewing I monitor the weather since there are is a chance of thunderstorms and go to work removing some rub rail screws and mixing and injecting epoxy into the rotted wood I found. I notice an uptick in the winds and rain starts which are now coming up in the 25 knot range. I move to the cockpit and monitor the situation, ready to start the engine if the anchor were to drag. The winds are blowing at 38 knots (43 miles per hour). Magnolia is doing fine. The winds clock from the west to the north so I know the worst is over. As the winds subside we are given a beautiful sunset. This morning (Sunday) Annette got right to sewing, while I watched the Sunday morning talking heads on TV and sort through a pile of nuts and bolts. After a couple of hours of that, I fight the desire to jump over the side and drown myself! Instead I install a replacement fuel filter in the dinghy, drill and replace the screws in the repaired rub rail and make a modification to small starboard project I have been working on. Annette finished the enclosure sunscreen, made some sandwiches and make plans to move Magnolia to Cocoa Village to meet our friends Greg & Marie. So the take away is:
1) Everything you want to accomplish on a boat takes longer than anyplace else on earth! That includes doing laundry, groceries, sewing or going out for a bite to eat!
2) There is always something to be done on a boat so if you don’t embrace the opening paragraph, well buy an old car and stay on land.
3) There is no greater satisfaction than “making it all work.” Whether that is sailing from the Abacos across the Gulf Stream or fixing that nagging water leak when it rains.
The bottom line is this life is very fun, very rewarding, but it is not a free ride. There is a huge amount of work with it! In spite of that, we highly recommend it!