“Where is Many Moons, and when are you going back?” People want to know!
There’s something about the boating adventure called The Great Loop that grabs people, even non-boaters. The “Many Moons-The-Boat” blog has been mostly silent since I left the boat at Thanksgiving. About once a week, somebody asks me, “What’s going on??”
So, an update….
Mainship Many Moons and Captain Jeff remain pierside at Hontoon Island State Park on the St. John’s River in north-central Florida, where Jeff is volunteering in exchange for a free slip. He’s been there for weeks, and the park is the luckier party in the arrangement. The most common word that people use to describe Jeff is “handy”…a humble word for a wide set of skills. He’s been fixing foot bridges and roofs and otherwise refurbishing the park’s infrastructure. And is it busy there! It’s “high season” in Florida, and visitors are coming — not just park visitors, but personal ones also. My brother is visiting right now, and Jeff’s brother will soon arrive. (Unsurprisingly, both came down from snowbound Michigan.) Yesterday, a familiar Looping boat arrived. It was War Eagle, another Mainship that we traveled with for days on the river system. A surprising reunion, as the park is many miles inland from The Loop route – plus, War Eagle crossed her wake (completed The Loop) months ago in southern Fla. We didn’t expect to see them again. They obviously decided to keep going…and, without plan, found Many Moons.
And that’s how it goes on The Loop. Connection and reconnection. The Loop has its own society and its own rhythm. I’ve been outside of it for months, but never forgetting it. While Jeff made his way down Florida’s west coast, and then across to and up the east, I was on my own journey — including the death of someone very dear to me and a major family milestone. Now, as I prepare to go back in a week or two, I feel a mix of excitement and trepidation. Wintertime on land, mostly alone, has been a useful time of reflection and even hibernation. (It is the season for such things.) Can I adjust, again, to close quarters with someone for weeks on end? To daily decisions and planning — and possibly arguing? 😉
While I sat in the dentist’s chair today, the assistant made her usual small talk. (I’m one who prefers to get on with business, but recognize that these social skills matter to others.) “So are you travelling these days?” she asked. “I suppose you could call it that,” I said. “I’ll be living on a moving boat again soon.” She gave the usual response. “How exciting! How fun!”
Well, yes. And work. And, sometimes, stress. I’m remembering a 360-degree turnaround inside a windy lock. Dropping anchor minutes before a storm hit. The rock-and-roll of Lake Michigan. Dodging the prop-wash of a barge. Getting squeezed against a concrete wall by a huge yacht.
But also the dolphin playing at our bow. Glorious sunsets (and sunrises) at anchor. Dockside storytelling and mutual support. The anticipation of another new port.
I’m ready for more. I think. That’s the thing about big adventures. Or any adventure. Do you ever feel truly “ready?” You decide, and you go. Most of life is like that. Just decide. Then go.