Where is Many Moons now? People want to know! When we last checked in with Skipper Jeff, he was saying good-bye to Tom, who spent more than a week on board. Since then, Jeff has been alone at a small marina/campground on the Caloosahatchee River, Florida.
Well, not quite alone! Jeff has a way of meeting people easily. You know the type…those who interact effortlessly with passers-by. (That’s not me, by the way.) In the style of our rural upbringing, this is called “visiting.” It’s a thing. A goal, even. When I was young, we “went visiting” in homes — but in the boating society, it usually happens on docks. Jeff’s visitors at this marina are other boaters, and nearby campers. They drive him to stores and join him on walks around the campground. When I call for a check-in, he’s usually talking to someone.
So don’t worry about Skipper Jeff being left alone. Besides, he’s the man who built an off-the-grid cabin in the woods. He can handle being alone, if it comes to that.
Quick recap: I left the boat on Thanksgiving Day. On that same day, Tom and Jeff made a 90-mile crossing of the Gulf of Mexico – and we are thankful that went well, though they first endured about five hours of rough seas. They then sprinted (practically) hundreds of miles south, down the west coast of Florida to Fort Myers, then east about 15 miles to a small inland campground at the W.P. Franklin Lock. That’s where Jeff remains, now entering his 2nd week alone in port. When not “visiting,” he’s immersing himself in boat maintenance. Checking the impellers. Staining the woodwork again. Cleaning the engine water strainers. Etc.
It’s not all work and visiting. He’s taken out the dinghy for fun, too. It was his first time on this trip doing so with the oars, not the motor, which pleased me since that was “my thing” during four months on board. (There’s something about rowing a little dinghy. It’s “old-school.” Satisfying. And for some reason, it makes people laugh.) He explored the shoreline and saw a few alligators, though not the nine-footer that others reported.
Now he awaits the arrival of his son Josh, scheduled to fly into Fort Myers on Dec. 21. A father-son reunion, just in time for Christmas! How fun that will be for them. This makes me feel better about not being there for the holidays, as I make my own plans for my Mom’s 100th Christmas-Birthday in Montana. Meanwhile, at my townhouse near Washington D.C., I’ve just said good-bye to a Looper couple who spent almost a month here. I met them at a marina in Illinois and learned that they were soon to finish The Loop and sell their boat, with no immediate plans except a desire to spend time in the Nation’s Capitol. I offered my vacant home and they accepted. After leaving the boat, I joined them in my home for a week or so before they headed west toward their next adventure. This is what happens on The Great Loop. You really do make lifelong friends, as I had heard — though it happened faster than I expected.
Josh will spend a month or so on the boat. It will be great father-son time, as they knit together their own under-way team. Each team is different, because relationships and styles are different … but I assume Dad will always be “the boss” in this case! 😉
Reminder: This post is under “The Boat” on the blog menu. For other categories, see “Menu.” Photos and captions below.