The Bender Cruising Chronicles for May 2009

Punta Gorda – Pelican Bay – Marco – Boot Key – Key West - Rodriguez Key – Biscayne Bay – Miami - Ft. Lauderdale Summer is finally here and April showers that brought the May flowers has passed. May has found us far more relaxed with our new lifestyle. We’ve fallen into our own little routine; we both know what our specific “duties” are and perform them side by side as if choreographed and this has become very comfortable. Our experience has been a marriage-strengthener and has drawn us even closer as a couple because as a team, we’re very dependent on the other as captain and crew. Our Bahamas plans for this spring were pre-empted by a combination of a trawler rendezvous in Punta Gorda and our intention to get to Baltimore for the summer. Scrapping the islands was very disappointing but has also been a good thing. Even though we’ve had our boat for 3 years, using it for its intended purpose is far different than merely living on it at the dock in Charleston. Even though we’d done everything that needed doing to get her ready to cruise, this has been a major shake-down cruise for Kindred Spirit III. There’s just no way to tell what’ll need service till the engines, etc., are in use. If you need anything maintenance related, south Florida is the place to be. We would’ve hated to’ve been at the mercy of the Bahamians and “Island Time” waiting for parts and service. Our plans for the spring include the Bahamas and we'll go in the company of another couple who are seasoned cruisers and have been to the Bahamas many times.

We spent a month in Punta Gorda at Fisherman’s Village Yacht Basin. What a great place and the staff there bent over backwards to accommodate us. Bill was able to complete several projects that had been nagging at him so even though he worked hard for a few weeks, it relieved lots of self-imposed pressure and he felt really good about his productivity.

An old car aficionado there bought a defunct Wal-Mart and has his collection of 220 GM muscle cars including 64 Corvettes (one for every year of production plus several special models) on display for public viewing. Bill was like a kid in a candy store but, thank goodness, none were for sale! While in Punta Gorda we met a couple from MA, also aboard their trawler, so we were able to spend quite a bit of time with them and we also traveled together on our way south as far as Boot Key in Marathon. When we were in Boot Key we got together with a couple from St. Pete whom we met Easter morning at Boca Grande where they keep their trawler. It was fun to have dinner with them and we had lots of laughs!

Key West Light Memorial Day weekend we were in Key West. Words fail me---believe it or not!!! We departed Marathon on May 26th to begin our migration north. As I write this we are in Ft. Lauderdale and have gotten together with 2 other live-aboard cruising couples whom we met when we were in Charleston. For us, living aboard and cruising evokes a sense of personal freedom and a chance to develop creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. It encourages a sense of responsibility, and stimulates personal growth. The ever-changing scenery challenges and surprises us, fueling our passion for this unique way of living. Incidentally, the sunrise this morning over the Atlantic Ocean was breath-taking. We are free to pursue our travels at our own pace seeking the destinations of our choosing. Each day on the water we learn from our mistakes and develop confidence in our skills as captain, navigator and decision maker. We’re both awed and humbled by nature's power and thrilled by her gifts which are there for the taking. It is on the water where we find our fulfillment and feed our inner reserves with peace and quiet confidence. It is by choice, training and continuing need for renewal and challenges that we have chosen this lifestyle. That's it for May!
Bill, Laura, and the Boat Dawg

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