Ecstacy or Agony? We’re HOME! Back Aboard!

Sitting in the cockpit our first night aboard sipping my first glass of wine aboard for this season, I marvel at the moonlight, the reflections in the water and the manatees playing around the docks as the ospreys soar gracefully overhead.

But it wasn’t this calm, relaxed and wonderful just a few hours earlier … oh no!  Every year returning to the boat is a bit overwhelming.  This year was no different, with literally scores of seagulls greeting us ON our dock … between us and Winterlude … white crap everywhere and the smell was less than wonderful in the 87 degree sunshine.  Tiptoeing through the BS, literally, we boarded the boat, which was still floating, always a good sign!

The boat looks pretty good... from a distance!  :)

The boat looks pretty good… from a distance! 🙂

Apparently the birds were worse than normal this year and despite our caretaker hosing the boat off regularly, there are bird droppings and berries covering the deck … everywhere that’s not covered with dirt.  Ugh!   Some”one” sat on our windicator at the top of the mast causing one of the directional arrows to fall to the deck … I mean I love watching ospreys soaring, but could they PLEEZ stay off the top of MY mast???   David just grins & says, “oh look, you already have an excuse to climb the mast” — well OK, I do love going up the mast & this job doesn’t look too terribly technical.

Hmmm... the windicator indicator shouldn't be lying about on deck getting a suntan!

Hmmm… the windicator indicator shouldn’t be lying about on deck getting a suntan!

Next we open the boat & NO SMELL!!   WooHoo for minor victories!  We step down the companionway and the bottom step gives, like almost collapses with my weight.   OK, our second boat project.  Apparently the screw that holds the bottom step in place is stripped.  David makes a “macgyver” temporary fix so I don’t fall on my can carrying all our stuff aboard.

The errant bottom step of our companionway after David

The errant bottom step of our companionway after David “macgyvered” it back in place. It will require a more permanent fix … but that’s for later!

Next he discovers the check valve is stuck again, which means the bilge isn’t pumping, just running & running.  Luckily our caretaker was aware of the problem child check valve so the bilge pump hasn’t burnt out, I’m sure Roy just fixed it a week ago.  We’ll have to take it out & clean it out better so it doesn’t stick.

Dang check valve ... it's always been an achilles heel and we thought we had it permanently fixed when we replaced it in Panama, but alas....

Dang check valve … it’s always been an achilles heel and we thought we had it permanently fixed when we replaced it in Panama, but alas….

Next we turn on the fridge to make sure it’s cooling before bringing our full cooler to the boat.  Usually we only bring enough food for a night or so before buying more, but I got carried away with the great prices at Aldi earlier in the day. Check, fridge is cooling!  Another victory.  Head works … and there’s absolutely NO smell!  A MAJOR victory!!!

LOVE it when the fridge just starts cooling the minute we turn it on!

LOVE it when the fridge just starts cooling the minute we turn it on!

Now comes moving aboard & getting stuff semi-liveable for our first night aboard.  The dodger & bimini go back in place,  to get enough stuff off the pullman berth that we can sleep there tonight.  David takes the dehumidifier off the sink & sits it temporarily under the table so I can store food & stuff in the galley.

We always plan to replace all the bungee cords after a summer, here's why!

We always plan to replace all the bungee cords after a summer, here’s why!

Out comes the bleach & a quick wipedown of the “dinner” area of our cockpit so it’s not too dirty to sit.

Which yields where I’m relaxing now, listening to the music waft over the water from the bar … Zac Brown’s “Knee Deep”, my new favorite song …

“Wrote a note said be back in a minute
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don’t think anybody gonna miss me anyway

Mind on a permanent vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishing my condition ain’t ever gonna go away

Cause now im knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there’s a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise”

WooHoo!!!   We’re BACK!  New adventures await!   🙂

P.S.  The moral to the story is DO NOT be discouraged when you first return to your boat after six months or however long you’ve been gone.   It will be dirty, it will be filled with STUFF (like the jib rolled the length of my salon floor impeding the walkway) and NOT exactly welcoming… unless you forget the minor details and focus on the FUN!

Oh, yes, did I mention that our steering seems to be frozen?  The wheel won’t turn.  I knew there was a challenge when I heard David say “Well, THAT’s a FIRST”…. hmmm… that doesnt’ sound good.  There was a time when such a new challenge would have seemed overwhelming and I wouldn’t have slept all night worrying about what could possibly be wrong with the steering … is it the quadrant?  Is the lock just frozen and the unlock mechanism just broke off when David turned it?   Is the hydraulic steering somehow holding it hostage?   These days I have confidence we’ll solve whatever is keeping the wheel from turning … tomorrow…. or the next day…. and I’ll relax and enjoy a perfectly beautiful evening back aboard our wonderful floating home!   🙂



  1. I know the feeling – “Happy Ours” left home last November and will finally make it back here next week. I really missed the daily afternoon dolphin watching cruises or just sitting there with friends and a good bottle of instant relaxation. Andy

  2. Nancy Orloski says:

    A tear came to my eyes reading the lyrics as we anticipate our very first long cruise down the ICW on Thursday next week. We are leaving behind family and friends to join the cruising community “with the blue sky breeze blowing through my hair”!!

    • Hi Nancy! Leaving behind family and friends is a way of life for us. Soon you’ll find that you’ll be saying goodbye to new cruising friends too when your paths part ways. I’m not sure which is harder for me. But overall, it is SO worth it. Family & friends will visit, or live vicariously through your tales the next time you’re together. The first year we left the US for the Western Caribbean, we deliberately scheduled a flight back for Christmas (left in October) so we had it to look forward to. The second year cruising, we didn’t go back for the entire six months, but the “kids” came to visit on the boat in Belize. I’m envious, I wish we were just starting, all the excitement, anticipation and all is best new. After almost 15 years aboard six months a year, we’re looking forward to experiencing that excitement with our grandkids in a year or so when they’re just a bit older!

      • Nancy Orloski says:

        Jan, I think I mis-implied my tear. It was not for leaving family and friends, it was one of excitement for having the wind through my hair and the whole cruising experience. I will miss my two tiny granddaughters but I miss them when I am only 1 hour away.(And we do have a flight home booked for Christmas, haha).

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