Bender Blog Installment #4 January 2009
29 January 2009
Dear Family and Friends, This won’t be as verbose and lengthy this month---we’ve been playing so hard and haven’t had time to write. Since our last entry from Daytona, FL, we haven’t progressed much farther south. We spent two nights south of Titusville, a week in Cocoa, a week on Merritt Island….now we’re in Vero Beach. We thought that finally we were out-running the cold weather but it seems to be in hot pursuit after us. While on Merritt Island and Vero Beach, temps dipped to very low 30’s. Feels like we’re in the Tundra and are freezing our watoosie’s off!!! For some of you, that may seem like a heat wave but suppose we’ll continue south until we reach the equator if that’s what it takes to find warm weather. Just gotta say---had we spent much more time in Daytona, we’d be riding Harley’s!!! Even went to the dealership to have a look. Everybody has one!!!! This business of cruising is all about the people you meet along the way. In Cocoa, we attended a church on Sunday morning and before we left we had offers to tie-up at one of the member's dock, offer of a ride to the Space Center, an invitation to dinner at the church, and assistance with finding a mechanic to rebuild the genset starter motor and transportation to and fro. We were absolutely overwhelmed with the friendliness and the spirit of outreach shown by that community. We belong to a trawlering/cruising organization that has "port captains" in most cities along the waterways. Laura called the one in the Melbourne area for a recommendation of someone to help with a lap top problem. Long story short, this couple knows the previous owners of our boat; they have a boat similar to ours; and they live on a little sliver of land with navigable water at their front door and also at their back. They recommended a computer tech and knew someone who could rebuild the starter motor. Their boat was on the hard so they invited us to come to tie up at their dock while these things were taken care of. We spent a week there and knew them for only a week, however, when we left, it felt like we were leaving long-time friends. While there we spent an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center and what a fascinating time that was!!! Besides the above mentioned offerings, they chauffeured us around acquainting us with the area, made a vehicle available for us, took us to their yacht club for dinner; made an appointment at her salon for Laura; and we used their diver. They are very experienced and seasoned cruisers so we barraged them with many boating questions. We spent 7 evenings with them thoroughly enjoying their company. We are still in shock when we consider all they did for total strangers and there’s absolutely no way we could ever repay them. But we can pay it forward. One night there was a party and two of the folks there had been involved in our haul-out and sea trial in May 2003, when we went to that area to buy our boat. Don’t we live in such a tiny world!!!! What serendipity! Our hosts and new friends were absolutely a barrel of fun. We have often been told that the best part about this cruising is the people you meet. I guess we are getting a taste of what we have heard. After leaving Merritt Island, we stopped in Vero Beach. In the slip next to us is a boat identical to ours. When we met the couple, there was an immediate bonding. They invited us on board their boat and we chatted for hours as if we’d know each other for years!!! She is an absolute hoot and he and Bill have an antique car collector common interest. We told them that we are scouting for a place to live when we return to terra firma. Their advice---“This is it. Look no further!” In walking distance from the marina is the local theatre, art museum, huge park where everything takes place. We can throw a rock and hit the beach. What a great place to walk/run/cycle—but I think I’ve said that about every place we’ve been. Since we left Charleston 8 weeks ago, we’ve put over 500 miles on our bicycles and we’re not Lance wanna-be’s---that’s just sight-seeing, errand running, etc. It’s so much fun to “travel” on 2 wheels.
We absolutely love Vero Beach…and this may be our address someday when we lose our agility and love of the Sea Urchin life.
For instance…we rode our bikes to church---then to the beach for brunch---then to the park for an Art by the Sea exhibit. Since we’ve been here we’ve gone to a bluegrass concert; a Cruisers Breakfast that’s held weekly at a local restaurant; back to the park for a theatrical performance; we enjoyed/laughed our heads off at “Elvis” singing with his band. He was really good but his gyrations were hysterical! And the list goes on. I love it when someone asks, “Where are you from?” and I tell them that for right how we’re from…right here! We are having the times of our lives. The days absolutely fly~~faster than ever before. We are just in awe at the speed of the days and weeks. In the beginning, I kept a very detailed personal journal…then jotted a few sentences for memory joggers so I could go back in and fill in…then a few words…now days go by and I don’t have time to even think about a journal. Our days are so full with fresh experiences, new friends, and so many outdoorsy things to do that it feels our lives are on fast-forward. Does it seem like we’ve “dropped out”? Our children and friends know where we are and how to reach us, but are giving us wide berth till we “get this out of our system”. Perhaps we’re just 21st century pirates pilfering the sweet aroma of fresh sea breezes and the joys of living free; capturing the camaraderie of meeting new friends in old coastal restaurants and inhaling deeply the fragrance of fresh shrimp from a nearby fish boat; the stimulating bouquet of salt on the breeze…. We very often see dolphins—alone or in pods—and their graceful undulations through the water have not become common-place. We haven’t seen nearly so many manatees, but what a sight when we do see one of those huge, clumsy mammals, as big as a SUV, wallowing in the rivers! We don’t take the sunsets for granted and we savor every one. It may be that we are representing everyone as we float on the breezes, exhilarated by our pilgrimage and high on being together on this journey. I do know that we’re both on a very steep learning curve right now in how to do what we’re doing but we have lots of mentors. One thing we have learned about this retirement and cruising life is that when you get up in the morning, you have absolutely nothing to do and by the time the sun is sinking in the west, we’ve not even gotten half of that done!! On days that we choose to be productive, we’ve also learned that we have to limit ourselves to doing only one thing a day---we can grocery shop, do laundry, piddle with a boat maintenance project, etc., but we just pick one for that day and do it. A friend in our marina in Charleston has lived on a boat for quite a while and as I was finishing my provisioning at the end of November, before our departure, I was lugging the last dock cart of stuff from Wal-Mart. I heaved a sigh and said, “Thank goodness I’m finally finished with Wal-Mart.” She said, “Honey! You’ll never be finished with Wal-Mart!!” She must be a prophet because she was so right. And may I tell you how I loathe that store…?
Isn't he cute???!!!
We are so thankful every day for our health and our ability to walk/run/cycle…and we never take that for granted. When we loose our gift of excellent health, then we’ll have to hang up this living-aboard because it’s far from a Royal Caribbean Cruise!!! Life is enormous and tranquil and we have not a thing that we’re out to substantiate. Regardless of our daily agenda, there is always something in which we revel~~~most often merely an unadorned delectation and some days that’s our sole accomplishment.
We'll be in touch again in a month. No telling where we'll be--just depends when and where the wind blows us. We're pondering going around the Keys before going to the Bahamas and then maybe up the west coast...but who knows! Everyday's a new adventure!
Bill & Laura
ol' Bailey Dawg, too
M/V Kindred Spirit III
moored in Vero Beach, FL