Swallowing the Anchor: The Final Blog Update
The Admiral has informed me that it is my duty to write the final blog update, and it deeply saddens me to put these final words and photos together. :-( After 5+ years, 22,000+ miles, 149 locks, and too many new friends to count we have officially become C.L.O.D.s (“cruisers living on dirt,” for those who don’t know)!
At the end of our last update we had made it to St Petersburg and were awaiting the arrival of the soon-to-be new owner, Mike Sharp, to deliver the boat to Ft. Myers. Mike arrived around 9:00 on Wednesday, November 9th, and I spent the first hour with him in the engine room showing him how to change the oil in the engines. We also spent time going through systems and maintenance schedules for most of the equipment on “Life’s2Short.”
We got away from Cathy’s dock around noon and headed over to Gulfport Marina to pump out the holding tanks. I figured we had moved pretty much all of our stuff off the boat and this was the last thing we needed to do to make sure all our “crap” was out of the boat! ;-)
A final picture with the Admiral on the bow of “Life’s2Short” before pulling away from Cathy’s dock.
Mike and I had a beautiful day on the water. Tampa Bay was smooth and the traffic was very light on the Intracoastal. Our destination for the evening was Robert’s Bay, an anchorage we had never stayed in during the many times we headed south from St. Pete to Ft. Myers Beach. We arrived 40 miles later at Robert’s Bay and, after moving slowly into the anchorage because of “skinny” water, we had the anchor dropped shortly before dusk. The Captain spent some time with Mike showing him how to deploy the dinghy off the sundeck and then grilled steak for dinner for our first night out on the water.
The next day our plan was to cruise the 70 miles to St. James City. NOAA Weather was predicting some strong winds out of the north starting that evening and we wanted to find a place up against a south-facing shore to anchor. It was another beautiful day on the water with many more cruisers out and about. We arrived St. James City around dusk and found the holding there to be outstanding. I was going to have no problem sleeping when the wind started blowing later that evening.
Mike wears long sleeves and slathers on the sunscreen to protect his skin from the sun’s damaging rays!
After eating a dinner of barbecued pork chops and consuming some beer and wine we were treated to a beautiful full moon. I was feeling very nostalgic on this, my final night aboard, so I spent a good hour sitting out on the bow, drinking wine and reminiscing about all the great times we’ve had over the past five-and-a-half years… and Lord knows we have had a bunch of those!!!
We were up early Friday morning and as predicted the wind was howling out of the north. Since most of our cruise that day was in protected waters the wind didn’t really affect our trip much. Our destination was Owl Creek Boat Works, 25 miles up the Caloosahatchee River. Owl Creek is where Mike had made arrangements to have “Life’s2Short” hauled out of the water for the insurance survey.
It was an uneventful trip as we cruised through downtown Ft. Myers and we were in the sling at Owl Creek by 12:30. Brenda, who had rented a car in St. Pete to drive down and pick me up, arrived just as we were pulling into the sling so her timing was perfect, as usual. After exchanging a cashier’s check for the documentation to the boat, we bid Mike and “Life’s2Short” goodbye for the last time. It was very emotional for both of us as we drove away and realized that this chapter of our life had come to an end.
Our final view of “Life’s2Short.”
We arrived back in St. Pete later that afternoon, and after filling the rental car with the last of our worldly possessions, we enjoyed a nice evening with Cathy hanging out and watching TV. A HUGE thanks goes out to Cathy and her “kids” for all she has done for us over the past five years. We started our journey at Cathy’s back in 2006 and ended it there five-and-a-half years later. Thanks for everything, sweetie, especially your friendship!
Our rental was packed to the gills with the remainder of our belongings.
Our plans for the next few days were to stop and visit friends as we headed north to Springfield, MO. Our first stop was at Lisa & Steve’s who live north of Tampa. We spent both Saturday and Sunday night there playing games, going out to the barn to feed the horses, eating great food and just enjoying their company. Thanks again for the hospitality, we’ll see you in Vegas in 2012!
Monday morning we continued the journey north. Our first stop was Crystal River to spend a little time with our good friends Bob & Phillis. Bob & Phillis, who we met in 2007, have been a tremendous support over the years and we are thankful that Mo turned us on to them! We also got to see Mo’s good friend Joe again while we were there.
After spending a few hours in Crystal River we were on our way again. We didn’t have a destination for the evening so we just continued in our rental car in a north and easterly direction. We ended up that evening in Mobile, AL with plans the next evening to be in Tunica, MS for a little slots and card action. We arrived Tunica late afternoon the following day and took a room at Harrah’s. That evening we wandered around a few casinos but didn’t do any good with our gambling endeavors.
The following morning we drove the final six hours back to Missouri. After stopping at Brenda’s niece's home for the night, we finally made it back to our new home in Springfield Thursday afternoon, November 17th.
Sitting in front of the fireplace on our beach chairs in our empty living room using a cardboard box for a table. Time to go furniture shopping!
The evening of November 18th, we got together with some friends and former co-workers at a local establishment in downtown Springfield called Boca Mocha for happy hour. The group meets the fourth Friday of each month but was meeting on the third Friday in November because of Thanksgiving.
The following week we went back to Brenda’s family’s for Thanksgiving and spent some more time with her niece, Jennifer.
We were invited to a holiday party on the campus of Missouri State University the evening of December 3rd. The Captain hasn’t been this dressed up in a very long time. Where are the flip flops and shorts?
It is now mid December, the butter has hardened, there is snow on the ground, and today is the first day we’ve seen the sun in the last five days. Needless to say we (at least one of us) are missing that warm Florida sunshine! The Admiral is happy to be in her new home and to be able to go to the store and run errands any time she wants. We have about half of the new home put together with furniture and accessories and hopefully we’ll be ready for guests after the first of the year.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Brenda has interviewed for a position with Missouri State University and we hope to hear back from them within the next week. The Captain has yet to put together a resumé but will get on that project by the end of the month. He has no idea what he’s going to do but feels confident that the right job will come along.
It’s still hard to believe that this chapter in our life is over. I find myself still thinking we are on a “vacation” from “Life’s2Short.” We’ve had a great run over the past five-and-a-half years and we feel very blessed to have been able to have this adventure so early in our lives. A BIG thanks goes out to all of our friends and blog followers. We’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you and hearing from others via comments on our blog.
And to those of you we’ve become very close to, we want each of you to know how much you have enriched our lives while on the water and how thankful we are for your close friendships. Please, please, please, keep in touch and let us know how your lives are going… both on and off the waterways. And if you happen to see “Calypso Poet” out on the water tell Mike you used to know her as “Life’s2Short.” Happy Holidays to ALL of you and may peace and good health follow you throughout your time on this earth!