April 27, 2015

With a new hose for the head and the system cleaned, the boat no longer smells like a boat. After sitting on the dock for about a year, the dinghy motor started without a problem. West Marine replaced our $700 battery charger free of charge.

We broke the shear key for the dinghy propeller, but had an extra on board. I wanted more veggies in my life; Chris eats, cooks, and preserves lots and lots of veggies. Typically I’m the “free spirited” space cadet traveler; now I get to experience the other side since Chris has traveled more and more recently. Steve lost a drill in the water so we got two more, then the original came back to life. We bought two rolls of athletic tape the day before I broke my toe. The city and sirens were weighing on me ever since moving down town; living on the hook is overwhelmingly peaceful. The anchors Steve left in the middle of an anchorage a year ago were still here, and the guy using one bought it for $100.

I realized by getting back on the path (road), everything works out. Challenges seem to overcome themselves.

When you don’t predict the future, the feeling of letting yourself down vanishes.

April 28, 2015

No one left the boat today. Being away from the stores restores a feeling that one doesn’t need anything from stores. As a good U.S. citizen, it is natural to spend money at least once a day. I’ll spend money tomorrow and then I’ll feel the fictitious sense of reality like a lead fishing weight suspended by a line from my diaphragm.

April 29

It rained for 10 hours and instead of getting soaked all day, we became Cubans, playing poker and cooking all day with the wind-up radio blaring bad Spanish music from the 80’s. While pickled vegetables and rum-soaked pineapple were being passed around the change-covered, ply-wood table, We built inappropriate phrases using verb book given to me by Caleb and a bi-lingual diccionario. The feeling of wasting a day is haunting me and my face is tired from smiling.


Back On the Hook

(My blogging app is new and I’m having problems uploading pictures, so you’ll just have to use your pretender)

April 25, 2015

I was off by an hour and a half on the sunrise. This is what happens when you forfeit connection to lord google. I make coffee twice, grabbed land food and started loading the folding bikes.

A few minutes before the office personnel arrived to find we’d stayed longer than paid, we cruised out of the marina. We dropped the hook just past the nearest mooring field to get the other three hours of sleep.

For breakfast #2, I had some fresh baked goods from my friend Stephanie at Frenchie’s. After we jumped in the water with snorkel gear to scrape six months of tropical wildlife from the bottom of the boat. Steve and Chris took breaks to chase snapper with pole spears. No luck. A seaturtle visited a few times, taking breaths about 30 yards behind the boat. We had a resident nurse shark and some wierd three-finned fish that looked like a swimming skink. I could really use that GoPro about now.

After much debate, I began tearing apart the head plumbing to discover the problem. Calcium deposits in the 1.5” plumbing caked the walls so that it looked just like a corated artery with a hole the diameter of a pencil remaining. It’s a wonder the system worked at all. After 6 hours or so of fun with muriatic acid and scraping petrified waste, I had the entire system renewed. In case you are curious, it wasn’t that bad. The concrete-hard blockage broke apart like hard clay after contact with the acid and smelled like raw seashells.

It’s after midnight now and Steve and I are finally taking a break from boat projects. Where we are anchoring is the quietest place I’ve been to since Danielle and I paddled through the middle of the Everglades.

April 26, 2015

Leaving the first anchorage, the boat is beginning to look like a boat again. Chris is right, the more people on a boat, the safer. It reduces the strain of being constantly vigilant all the time.

Motoring past Carl’s boat to drop off a painting, the wind is in our face, coming out of the West. By Tuesday, it is supposed to clock around to the north and put us on a beam reach, generally the fastest point of sail, to the Dry Tortugas. From there, we plan to take a left and let it push us south through the Yucatan Straits. That’s the plan today.

At the other side of the island, we weave through narrow channels until the mistake is made and it gets really shallow. The boat turns and reveals a sunken boat, but it’s too late. Boom. The keel hits first, then the prop. Broken shear key leaving us minimal power and control.

A local who speaks no English tows us with a fiberglass dinghy. It’s going well and he gives us a generic all’s well hand motion. Looking back, it could have been an all’s bad signal because we immediately run aground again. Three more dinghies tow us out and we finally arrive at our new anchorage. Other than breaking my toe on the seat and jumping in the water constantly to help push the boat, it was a great day.

Getting Ready to Skedaddle

My 2nd cousin told me the only unconditional love occurs between a parent and their offspring. And only in that direction. The offspring still has a choice. How this applies to parents who abandon their children, I don’t know.

I had my heart broken before and I think it was because she realized that I am a selfish human. I’m not going to rationalize a defense. Some people are happy that I am out traveling, some are unhappy that I am leaving. It is what it is. The world is a big place and the soul an even bigger one. I’m going to keep running around until I find a place within that feels good.

5:48 AM, April 23, 2015. I’m sitting in my boat, at the dock in City Marina, Key West, FL. The last 45 minutes or so were spent scanning the walls and ceiling of the boat using the light from my smartphone screen. The tan colored cork wall shows a dark trail where raindrops form small streams. These streams form puddles to keep your technology company and smother them with affection. There is now a lot of technology on this boat: Flatscreen TV, BlueRay, this MacBook Air, phones, and a ‘modded’ XBOX with over 5,000 games ($120 on amazon; if you don’t have one, you’re waisting your life). On the ceiling, silver circles grow in depth and fall to the pillow where my face is exposed. It rained hard, but nothing compared to the wet season we are going to experience in Guatemala. Our boat is much more “dry” than it ever has been since we owned it through lots of epoxy and varnish. Today is an important day for my brother, Chris (experienced sailor catching a ride), and me because it is our last day living at the dock.

The dock is a wonderful place where you can almost be sure to get home dry with goods intact. Using a kayak or powered dinghy leaves the common possibility that you and your goods will be soaking wet by the time you return home. The dock is good for stumbling home from a night of partying. Paddling drunk is tricky, but not as difficult as fixing an outboard, which happens about once a week it seems. These are your chores when you live on the water. No cutting the grass or washing the cars, but fixing the motor because it’s time to buy corn tortillas, fruit, and stainless steel bolts to mount gear to the deck.

The dock is very under appreciated by those living there. In a little over 24 hours we will be motoring to the other side of Stock Island (Boca Chica Channel) to drop the hook and look for our old ground tackle, left under 10 feet of water and over 2 years ago. There is a good Danforth anchor, a heavy duty swivel, and chain. With preparation expenses constantly stacking up, it would be nice to save a couple hundred bucks.

April 24, 11:44PM

Chris is handing cans to me to store under a seat in the cabin. Buying and storing $315 worth of budget groceries is not a quick task. We planned to leave this morning, then this afternoon, and now we are going to make our swift departure soon after daylight before the dock master gets to work.

Sailboats are comical. It is becoming more and more obvious that sailors are just little kids playing make-believe. It’s 2015. Sailboats were outdated about a hundred years ago. Airplanes can bring me to Central America for under $200. After spending $280 this morning on power and slip fees, I went and bought provisions. We’ve been spending about $600 each month on the boat since August. Tomorrow I will look for more things I can spend money on.

The boat already made it to Mexico two weeks after we bought it and some used sails. Every new purchase makes it clear that other parts of the boat need to be replaced. Creature comforts are so abundant there is no room to lay down. There is enough clothes to keep a salvation army in business for the rest of the summer. If one of our towels gets dirty, have no fear, there are 13 more full sized beach towels that will keep the closet mold nice and healthy. If we make it through the Ramen noodles, well then we’ll just have to start on the 6lbs of spaghetti or hundred canned goods or the 20+ pounds of rice or the oatmeal or dried fruit or the 5lb box of crackers. Hopefully we can survive the 10 days on the water with our meager provisions. I’d say we have a good 60 to 80 extra meals. The hallway and cockpit will be fine to store them. Who needs to walk anyway. Maybe we can build monkey bars to climb around the cabin. I’ll sleep in the water to save space…

Blanket on a cage

Amazing watching the tendons fluctuate in the shadow of Tony Baltimore’s forearm.  Changing frets like a woodpecker beating on a tree.  Human skeletal muscles cultivated into the rhythmic precision of a mack truck’s diesel.  Not sure if this makes me believe more in god or androids.

This is such a strange country.  We live in the year 2015, half a millenium after Christopher Columbus sailed over to rape and pilage, and we are somehow an isolationist culture.  Yea, we buy plastic fuckdolls from china and cheese from Italy, but I still get the same reaction from native Americans (lower-case ‘n’, or perhaps without the ‘t’) when they discover that I speak German with my mother, the same reaction I got when I was in elementary school. 

n.A.: “Oooh, say something in German!”
me: “What do you want me to say?”
n.A.: “Anything.  Just say something.”
me: “Etwas.”

There is an entire species of humans, just EXACTLY like us out there on this gigantic, round habitat, and 90% of this 300,000,000+ person country knows absolutely nothing about. 

My co-worker from England says to me last night that it’s strange that such racism exists in this country.  If 85% of the country is white, then almost no one is living next door to a black family.  We only see Latinos working in the kitchen or doing construction or landscaping.  We don’t experience the other 6.7 billion people on Earth.  We are locked away like Japan was before WWII.  We are a tribe in the Amazon who happens upon a plastic bag.  We are sheltered children, 500 years old, sucking our thumbs as we peer curiously from behind the curtain of the second story window in our ignorant, white suburban neighborhood.