Many Moons is crossing the Gulf of Mexico today without me. My choice. But it still feels odd.
How strange to watch her pull away from the dock in the pre-dawn! I worry. I feel adrift. Unmoored, as it were!
So, I write. Because it anchors me. 😉
I did need to leave the boat for awhile, and intended to leave it much sooner. The new First Mate, Tom, seems an ideal choice. As my bags came off and his went on, I told myself “This is good!” And it is good. But it’s also weird. Not everything that is good feels good. Not entirely, anyway. Or not right away.
Now I’m the one watching the progress of Many Moons from shore, keeping an eye on her electronic signature as she moves into the Gulf of Mexico and toward Steinhatchee on the north end of Florida’s west coast. Jeff and Tom left at 0630 for the 80-mile crossing, intending to meet with a companion boat and cross together. (Most boats do this leg in small groups.) They knew it would likely be rough at first, and it is. The wind is from the right direction, though. The boat is headed into the waves, so that’s a good thing — much easier on the stomach. The weather forecast indicates that the seas will calm as the day goes on, and that will bring them relief during the 10-hour crossing.
Boo the cat left the boat with me, and we are now settled in the marina hotel, waiting for my car to arrive. Friends from Michigan are driving it down. Their window to do this closes soon, so that helped to drive the boat schedule and the change of “First Mates.” I need to get to Montana next month, and to my home in Virginia before that. But I don’t want to drive on one of the nation’s busiest interstates during Thanksgiving weekend, so will take a few days to explore this wonderful part of Florida. I may drive south to see Many Moons at her next port. After all, it’s only a few hours away by car!
As I adjust to shore life, boating life continues to swirl around me. More than 25 Looping boats were here in Carrabelle last night, all setting up for the gulf crossing. Most of them are still in port, waiting for more favorable winds. I worry about Many Moons out there in the big sea alone, but then remember that most of the others intend to do the longer (180-mile) crossing so need a longer weather window.
With all this transition, I forgot today is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for the adventure of the past four months, especially what I am learning about my continuing capacity for change and endurance. Also for a fun evening yesterday with some of my favorite Loopers. And for all my families, both biological and created — adding “the Looping family” to that list!
Being thankful helps me adjust to the sounds of street traffic outside (strange to hear that again!) and to my hotel neighbors swearing loudly at each other. Life is never perfect, is it–whether on the water or on land! And yet we go on, retaining the positive or useful stuff and letting go of the rest.
Stay tuned for posts from an upcoming port or two, as I follow Many Moons for a little while by land. More photos and captions from Carrabelle below.