In the fall of 2021, Mike was approached to go back to work at St Mary’s AveraHospital in Pierre, South Dakota where he had worked for nearly 10 years prior to moving onto Voyager. He had filled in 3-4 shifts/month as they needed help. When they called him, we were in Maine, dropping anchor and he wasn’t sure if or where he would be working when we went back to SD in the coming months. He had worked at Fall River Healthcare in Hot Springs when we were home the preceding 2 years, but they had gone a different route with staffing.
As Mike had decided to go ahead and take some shifts in Pierre, we had to come up with a plan for him to not only get to and from the boat to work, but how Matthew and I would manage without him. That sounds a little melodramatic, but there are a lot of aspects to take into account.
Because Pierre, SD and Rock Sound, Eleuthera are both rather remote locations, the flights and accommodations are tricky. We booked the flight from Nassau to Pierre before we left St Marys. Because we didn’t know where we would be when it came time for him to go, we waited to book the flight to Nassau. Two weeks ago, we decided where he would fly from and got that sorted. While most of the Bahamian islands have airports, flights are rarely everyday, maybe a couple times a week. As a result, Mike flew from Rock Sound, stayed at an AirBnb, then caught his flight to Denver, got a room there, then onto Pierre in time to work. This was 3 days and 2 nights to get to work. Coming home, he was able to fly from Pierre to Nassau (stops in Denver in Miami), stay one night then arrived home this morning. It’s a bit of a hassle and mental gymnastics to get him there and back! The good news was we could dingy him to and from the airport rather than him taking a taxi or hitchhiking.
If you haven’t lived, or even spent much time on a boat, there are things you wouldn’t even think of. For instance, the refrigerator isn’t on all the time. It has to be turned on/off as the temperature demands. Same with hot water. Oh and the water….. we store 200 gallons, but we have to “make” the water, fill at marinas, or carry it from shore in jerry cans. “Making water” means desalination. We take the sea water and convert into drinking water. Our electricity is from solar and the generator. This has to be monitored. Luckily most days are sunny and the solar (don’t get Mike or Matthew started on our solar) is more than sufficient for our needs. However, a cloudy day means running the genset for power to the fridge and to keep the batteries topped off.
We also had the mundane chores; laundry, regular cleaning and upkeep, obtaining fuel in jerry cans to top off the tanks, provisions, making sure the dogs get enough exercise. You get the idea.
Besides boat chores, Matthew had school and we found a few fun things to do. We went to the Methodist Church on Sunday. There is the Ocean Hole and Caves, as well. We have met many new friends and reunited with a few we met previously. Journey, a crew we met in the Chesapeake last summer was standing outside the grocery store the other day when I was walking in. What a pleasant surprise! I also met a very sweet family that follows us on Instagram, as well as others. I love these moments!
Mike arrived home today and brought “treats” from home. The most exciting of these is Starlink! We have spoken with so many other cruisers, Venotlines included, that have been using Starlink. The wifi access available with Starlink is incomparable. We are looking forward to having access for weather and float plans as well as school, movie streaming and obviously keeping in touch with family and friends at home.