Missing The Boat (Day 117)

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 feel adrift. Unmoored, as it were!

So, I write. Because it anchors me. πŸ˜‰

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.

The boat tracking app called Nebo – which nearly all Loopers use – shows Many Moons in the middle of her gulf crossing. I’m not comforted that a boat called Fuzzy Logic appears to be chasing her down! πŸ˜‰
Tom has relieved me temporarily as First Mate. He’s an experienced boater who knows these waters, which makes me feel better about going ashore.
The Carrabelle docks kept filling up this week with Looper boats. More than 25 were here last night.
Slip #84 of The Moorings at Carrabelle was a wobbly, narrow finger pier. It was fun getting the bikes ashore and back!
While Jeff and Tom prepared the boat, I visited the nearby WWII museum. I have a few of these old posters at home, to remind me of the Navy women who preceded me. (And in a modern twist on this one, I like to think maybe I released a man to stay home if he wanted. πŸ˜‰ )
Looks like Normandy on D-Day, doesn’t it? Nope. Carrabelle Beach. It was used to train WWII GIs for the Normandy landing.
Unexploded ammunition was a threat in this area for quite awhile because of the WWII training that occurred here. This sign reminded me of similar signs that I saw during my daily jogs when stationed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba…except that, in Cuba, they were live minefields that enclosed the U.S. base.
The flag of Nazi Germany was designed by Hitler, and his swastika represents victory of the Aryan people over the Jews. The swastika itself is an ancient symbol, used long before Hitler. Today, it’s used by extremist and white-supremacist groups. Its display is legal in America but not in Germany.
The exhibit on War Dogs was fascinating. The best breeds for military duty were Belgian sheep dogs, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, collies, Malamutes and Eskimo dogs — and Siberian Huskies. Made me think of Roscoe back in the U.P. I hope to go ski-jouring with him again soon.
A little outing before bedtime. Hamming it up at Fathoms in Carrabelle with Bryan and Marcy from Eleanor Grace, and Bob and Dianne from Soul Mate. Their boats are homeported in Grand Haven, MI and Duluth MN. We met them in Chicago.
This big red parrot belongs to a local. His owner lets him jump on willing shoulders at Fathoms in Carrabelle.
With Marcy from Eleanor Grace and Diane from Soul Mate. I hope to see these cool ladies again.
Many Moons in slip #84 at 6 a.m. When I came by to say ‘bye, Jeff and Tom had already eaten breakfast and were rarin’ to get going. I had an urge to check their navigation charts and weather apps. I didn’t. πŸ˜‰
Many Moons leaves port at 6:30 a.m., well before sunrise.
These Loopers shared a Thanksgiving pot-luck today. Since I am boat-less and alone right now, I was glad to join them. Some of them will leave port this afternoon for the 180-mile overnight crossing. (Why am I kneeling? It has to do with a “short” joke, by the very tall guy who’s taking the picture.)

One thought on “Missing The Boat (Day 117)

  1. Your trip sounds amazing and your writing and thought are really appreciated. I’m hoping Boo is tired of traveling and won’t go to Montana!


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