I've been putting off writing this post for a while now. Partly because I wasn't sure what to say, how much to say, or what parts of the story were ours to tell. Partly because, looking back, we've probably been a little depressed. Let me start with some facts and end with where we're heading now. Or in which direction we're pivoting, rather.
So, on January 22nd (I believe), we were preparing to hunker down in a protected little anchorage just east of Fort Pierce, knowing that a nasty cold front was about to blow through between 30-45 knots for a few days. We were excited and anxious about testing out our new 55 lb Mantus anchor (the anchor we were purchased after losing our Danforth in the great 'Georgetown escapades'). We were in as protected a cove as we could have been - no current, no wake, excellent tree coverage from all directions, and good depth - if we HAD sank we would still be standing dry on deck there. We had movies lined up to go and we'd done a quick grocery run in town. We were ready to wait it out.
Then we got a phone call.
Josh's mom would be receiving an organ transplant that night - one that she had been waiting for for well over 22 years. I won't get into the nitty gritty of it here as it is a private family issue, and those who are closest to us know the details. But, as anyone can imagine, we were equally excited and terrified for her. Moreover, as the surgery was happening that night there was nothing we could do but call and be supportive over the phone as it was extremely unsafe to be moving the boat at that point. We sat tight, made some phone calls, frantically googled different paths to get home and how quickly we might be able to do that, and contacted a few local boating groups we are members of for advice/help. And we waited.
It turns out the surgery happened the very next day instead. And we had a plan for how to get home. Sort of. Most of a plan. The surgery went as well as we could have hoped for and now it was time to sit back, wait to hear on the recovery, and get ourselves home to be there for family.
As soon as the wind had abated enough, we pulled anchor and made way. We got just as far as Manatee Pocket that evening where we dropped anchor until next sunlight. We celebrated Keri's birthday in Manatee Pocket that night where the only wish was for good health. Next day we were off to Sunset Bay Marina and Anchorage, a beautiful little marina in the small town of Stuart, Fl. In Sunset we were to moor the boat for about a week while a kind and amazing woman from the Women Who Sail Facebook group took care of Frenchy for us. We would make our way to Fort Lauderdale airport and fly home the next day.
We arrived at Sunset's fuel dock, met with the harbour master and explained our situation. Everything was planned and we were good to go. That's when the 'great arm crushing incident of 2017' happened. For those of you who missed it, you can click the link here to read the story of how Keri managed to mangle her arm in a docking accident. So plans changed again.
We spent one extra day in Stuart giving Keri a bit of time to rest and recover and headed out the next day, taking a dinghy to land, an uber to the train station, a train to the airport and a shuttle bus to our terminal. Finally, a plane to Niagara Falls, NY, and a car ride home from Keri's awesome brother, Chris. Once home, we were able to spend two weeks in and out of the hospital in Toronto, doing what we could to help with the situation. As we approached the two week mark with no clear sign of improvement we had to make an important decision. We decided to head back to Stuart, if only for a day or two, collect Frenchy, and prepare the boat for long term storage.
We arrived in Stuart for only two days - one full day dedicated to travel and one to prep the boat for an indefinite amount of time on a mooring. We cleaned, emptied, sealed and locked what we could. We emptied the fridge and freezer, 'winterized' the engine, cleared the cockpit and secured all lines on the mooring. Then, with heavy hearts, full arms and a cat in a backpack we headed back home once more.
We spent a total of 3 months at home assisting Josh's mom with complications from a surgery that ultimately didn't work. We worked when and where we could (travel to and from Florida 4x over eats through a lot of the budget really quickly), battled winter storms that we were not really prepared for since our winter stuff was in storage, fought through our own illnesses, and tried to keep spirits up. Once we had the phone call that she was well enough and ready to come home from the hospital we started to make our own plans to get back to the boat.
Ultimately we decided, given his mom's current health, our low funds, the approach of hurricane season, and the beginning of Florida's summer weather that it would be best to spend our summer back home. This way we can 'put the boat to bed' for the summer, get some maintenance done on her while she's on land, work to refill the travel kitty, and be there as much as possible as his mom works towards full recovery. With this plan in mind we packed up our car and drove back to Stuart, Fl anxious to see what we would find.
It turns out, not much really. We came home to our amazing lil Windseeker, bobbing away peacefully on her mooring. Other than a bit of growth on the bottom and one of us forgetting to turn the fridge temperature up, thereby losing all our condiments (oops!), she was in good shape. Thank the gods!
Next post: what's next???