Feb 12 – And The Beat Goes On…

Well, it’s good to know that the cruising world is getting along fine without us this year. I’m jealous. The weather is so much better this winter than last, and I wish we had been able to leave with the rest of the fleet after Thanksgiving. But, we have other matters that have to be looked after, so it’s a mixed bag. I miss cruising, but I’m excited about the work possibilities I’ve heard about. If only the phone would ring. Anyway, I digress.

S/V Alibi II heading off to parts south…

A little over a week ago, Bess of S/V Alibi II called me to say that she and her husband Bill would be coming to the Saint Marys boat yard in a couple of days. They needed to haul their boat to repaint the bottom before heading to the Bahamas. Suzy and I had met the Alibis in Beaufort while we were riding out Hurricane Hermine. They were in the same marina that we took shelter in. They had wanted to come south and be in Saint Marys for Thanksgiving — they had been once before — but got delayed in South Carolina. (Hurricane Matthew damaged their boat.) Bess remembered my offer of free transportation for cruisers passing through, and also needed a place to have a package delivered. We were happy to oblige on both accounts. They arrived last Friday and began sanding and prepping the bottom of the boat. We picked them up later, delivered their package, and then took them for beer and burgers at the local pub. After we had been trading lies cruising stories for a bit too long, they finally wore out from the day’s exertions. We took them back to their boat around “Marathon Midnight” (9 pm), which is fairly late for active cruisers.

As an aside, let me say that I’ve been talking up our boat yard all up and down the East Coast. It’s a Do It Yourself yard, but you can stay on your boat while you work on it, which is great for cruisers because you don’t have anywhere to stay, and hotels kill your cruising budget. The yard has hook-ups for water and power, plus toilet, bath and laundry facilities. The yard is also well-equipped and very competitively priced. There are contractors of all types available to take care of any job you don’t want to tackle yourself. Everybody is friendly and helpful. I’ve been gratified to have guided a number of cruisers to this yard, and so far, each one of them has been just as impressed as I have been, including Bess and Bill now. All this is to say that Bess informed me of a couple more boats from Beaufort that will be heading this way in the next couple of weeks to make a brief stop at the boat yard. I’m happy to say that one of them is S/V Living Well,  crewed by Steve and Gloria. Steve was the dockmaster at Ladys Island Marina in Beaufort when we were looking for refuge from Hurricane Hermine. Had he not made room for us, we would’ve had a very hard time of it. Because we got into the marina, we hardly noticed the storm. And that’s how we met Bess and Bill. We will be looking forward to the Living Wells dropping by soon.

Back in the water…

Well, we had some rain blow through early in the week, and that delayed Bess and Bill in painting Alibi’s bottom. They missed their Wednesday target, but managed to get everything done in time to splash on Friday. I stopped by the yard on Thursday to offer a going away gift. We sat aboard and drank about half of the gift while the last coat of bottom paint dried. It felt good to be back aboard a boat that is fully stocked and provisioned for an extensive cruise. Every nook and cranny is filled. It may look crowded and cluttered to a non-cruiser, but it looks like the start of a wonderful adventure to another cruiser (especially a CLOD* like me). After a while, I began to feel guilty about distracting them from their work for too long, especially since they were heading out the next day, so I reluctantly said farewell.

Leaving Alibi, I was walking down the row of boats neatly stacked in their cradles when I came upon S/V In Ainneoin (pronounced “in an-YAHN”). I had met Lynn and David at the Thanksgiving event in 2015, and they had come back again this past year. (Actually, they’ve attended five of the last six years.) I saw an open hatch on the boat and knocked on the side. They were aboard, and so began another long discussion about boat work, cruising, people and places. I managed to spend the rest of the afternoon nibbling around the edges of the world of cruising. I guess if we can’t be out cruising ourselves, the next best thing is to be hanging out with our cruising friends, and living vicariously off their experiences. Some day, we’ll get back out there.

So, the cruising world seems to be getting along nicely without us. But if we can’t be out there with the rest of the boats, at least we’re in a good spot for our cruising friends to drop by and visit.

*Cruiser Living On Dirt