Madge has been out of the water for two months, so we’re getting anxious to get going again. The engine has been put back together — we were relieved to learn that the problem was not as serious as we first imagined, but the repair and the yard costs still put a big dent in our cruising budget. The wind turbine has been remounted — hopefully, it’s fixed now, but we won’t know until we put it to the test on the water. We’ve added some fans to the salon and forward cabin in anticipation of hot weather this summer in the Chesapeake. The faucet in the head has been replaced, so we should be able to use the shower again. We’re just about finished with the new anchor roller on the bow, which turned out to be a bit trickier than we thought it would be, and we’ve washed practically everything in the berths and the galley. As for me, the umbilical hernia has been repaired (I have a belly button again), I’ve completed physical therapy for the partially-torn right biceps tendon, and the cortisone shots I’ve received have greatly relieved the trigger finger problems I’ve had in both hands. Suzy and I have both been to doctors, dentists and optometrists. We’ve visited our children and grandchildren. We’ve done work on the house, including putting in a new front sidewalk, and I’ve done some preliminary work for this year’s Cruisers Thanksgiving in St. Marys. We’re waiting on the last couple of purchases to be delivered, and then we’ll do some last-minute touchups on the bottom paint, drop the boat back in the water and be on our way — hopefully, by the end of the month.
It’s been a productive time, but I would much rather have been underway. Still, if we leave now, we’ll have about four months of cruising before we have to be back in St. Marys at the end of October.
The plan is to head north on the ICW, with some hops offshore if the opportunity arises, and make our way eventually to the Chesapeake Bay. On the way, I want to spend some time exploring the Inner Banks of North Carolina, especially the Albemarle Sound.
While I’m looking forward to the cruise, there’s going to have to be some soul-searching when we get back in October. It’s time to start considering my return to work at the end of this sabbatical next summer. We’ll stay in St. Marys for November, working on the Cruisers Thanksgiving. We’re pretty sure December will be taken up with family activities leading up to Christmas. We’ve already decided that we won’t cruise in January and February — those months were a disaster this year, and we’d have been better off staying at home instead of being uncomfortable and breaking things on the boat. That means we’d have March through June for cruising, before the sabbatical is scheduled to end. So, the questions will be: Will it be worth cruising those last four months? Where would we go? Will we have the funds left to cover it? Would it be better to go back to work a little early and start replenishing our depleted bank account? Of course, whether we cruise on to the very end, or I go back to work early, there remains the very big question about returning to the WBA. Will they have something for me when the time comes? What will I do if they don’t?
There will be plenty of time for worrying about that later, though. Right now, it’s time to focus on enjoying our next cruise.