I haven’t written in awhile. I will attribute this to the old adage “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”.
While this is mostly true, our life here hasn’t been bad. We have met some extremely nice people. We have made some friends. Boat schooling is going pretty well. We aren’t in the frozen tundra of South Dakota. Being here for the last 6 weeks isn’t where we planned on being, and this has led me to being a little resentful of being away from family and friends to just “sit here”. One of the first people we met said, “when you’re sailing, you learn to let go of plans”. Touche.
One of the friends we have made, Chris (S/V Water Frog) has spent the last solid year making repairs that weren’t in her survey, which, interestingly, was also done by the same surveyor we had. She wasn’t able to sail for a couple years, so didn’t begin getting her boat ready immediately, thereby wasn’t aware of the true condition of her boat. The resident boatbuilder, Ron, who has somewhere around 35 years experience has been overseeing Mike’s work and making recommendations on how to proceed with Voyager. John, the rigger had a similar situation with his boat and was able to tell us right away when we hauled out, what the problem was with our deck. Rocky and his family have been amazing. This is his yard and he lives on site. His son, Clayton, 5, has entertained us with his driving prowess (he sits behind the wheel of side by sides, a dirt bike, the heavy forklift, basically anything with wheels) and has kept Matthew busy on his trampoline and playing.
Ron has said he would happily put his name on any work Mike has done. The gentleman in the Tayana next to us has tried relentlessly to get Mike to work on his boat. When he realized Mike is actually a physician by trade, he couldn’t believe it. John has offered Mike a job doing the wood work on his boat. I guess if we wanted to stay here indefinitely, he could have a job!
I, meanwhile, teach Matthew and we go on field trips. I keep the dogs out of the way and try to keep them safely exercised. I help Mike when I can. I’ve mixed epoxy, held the backs of nuts and bolts, removed stanchions and plates, pulled a portlight to replace, painted and painted and painted, sanded the new fiberglass on the deck (I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN) and I clean the galley before I prepare every meal, due to the constant dust from the construction.
Some of the sites we have taken in are the submarine museum, the Cumberland Island Museum, the Amelia Island Museum, the Tabby Sugar Mill and various restaurants. A block from the yard, I found an old, very small cemetery. There’s a stone there for a Revolutionary War soldier! We have met some friendly dog owners at the dog park and boat schooled at the parks nearby. We have learned about local mushrooms due to Katniss deciding it was a good idea to taste several varieties we found in a local park. This was a scary occurrence and we are still keeping an eye on her to make sure she is ok. This dog is constantly pushing the limits on safe activity. She eats everything and gets herself into some perilous situations routinely! She has worn me out cleaning up after her! Because of this, she is well known in the yard, not something I’m especially proud of.
All in all, this is part of the adventure. We are learning as we go and making friends. No experience is wasted and we are hopefully blessing those around us as they are blessing us.
We have been advised to write a letter to the certifying agency of the surveyor we used due to the number of issues that weren’t listed on the survey. While we haven’t done this yet, we are certainly considering it. We just aren’t sure how much more energy and time we want to give this, other than getting the boat repaired and back in the water. On one of my walks, I found a house down the road. It resembles a mansion and is considered a “handyman special”. There’s a dilapidated tennis court, fountain, pool, etc. The asking price is less than we sold our house for. I jokingly said if we were going to be here awhile, we might as well take on another house rebuild, too. At least the dogs would have a yard while we worked…..