As soon as we picked up the mooring at Sunset Bay Marina we dinghied ashore with our kits and had a long hot shower, then bought a $1 cup of coffee at the little shop onsite and sat on the veranda like we used to. For like a minute. As we looked out over the marina I said, “Hey look, there’s a Manta!” And we promptly tossed our stuff in the dinghy and walked up B-Dock to see who it was. It was True Colors, a newer 42-ft version of Escape Velocity, and I remember that it was also for sale during the time we were boat shopping. That means these are new owners like us.
We met Lisa and Marty and felt an instant rapport with them and had an excited confab where it often seemed like we were all talking at once, trying to compress months of questions and learning-curve triumphs and failures into an hour. They were leaving the next day for a family holiday visit so we made plans to get together when they returned. It’s always fun to meet other Manta owners, and they fall into two camps — the experienced ones who have come across and solved most of the mechanical issues a boat this complex might have, and the newer owners like us, still trying to figure out how this thing works. We love being with both. And we especially love that we have a built-in resource of enthusiastic owners we can consult whenever we face a new conundrum.
Later that evening Marty called and offered the use of their car while they were away. We’re still not used to how generous and helpful the liveaboard cruising community is, and Jack managed to croak out an astonished and grateful thank you. We have a long list of errands to do and this will sure make it easier.
Christmas Eve was a lonely day for us. For many years I rose early in the morning and baked pans of cinnamon buns that Jack and Drew delivered hot out of the oven to friends and neighbors. Then I spent the day prepping for our big Christmas dinner until late afternoon when Drew and Ericka came over and all of us worked together to make the samosas for our Christmas Eve curry dinner with the Cassidy family. None of that, and particularly not the Cassidy dinner, happened this year, and we were sad for that. We love our new life so much, but we do have occasional pangs of longing for treasured moments that have become touchstones in our lives. We tried to compensate with FaceTime so at least we got to see the faces of our dear friends.
I didn’t make samosas this year, but I did make a curry because in our house, even if it’s a boat, you can’t have Christmas Eve without curry.
Christmas Day was gorgeous, warm and sunny. We threw open the hatches and portholes and worked on a few items on our to-do list. Mostly we just appreciated the long-awaited good weather. Christmas isn’t a religious holiday for us, and we’ve long been gift- and guilt-free, so what we missed was the family party time. We FaceTimed part of the family and Skyped others and that helped a lot. And I also got the cabinet under the kitchen sink cleaned and organized.
Ok, that may not look exciting to you, but let me tell you, I was glad to get it done. While the cabinet was empty we checked for leaks at the water pump, the water filter and the faucets. We decided to re-bed the sink because it was moving around a little and water was seeping under the rim.
I propped up the sink and cleaned under the rim, and it was at that point we discovered we didn’t have any plumbers putty, or a caulking gun for the silicone sealant we did have. Add it to the list.
Jack sawed off a short piece of anchor chain to send to the manufacturer of the windlass in our constant quest to find and fix the problem of why it’s so hard to get the anchor down and back up again.
Boxing Day was déjà vu all over again, a reminder of our time in the Hudson River where we experienced relentless wind and choppy waters for days on end. This was that, with wind at a constant 25-30 kts with higher gusts, with a short, uncomfortable chop. Our planned errand run could wait. We had no interest in a wet dinghy ride with shopping bags.
By Thursday things had calmed down and we headed out with several lists in our borrowed Jeep.
We went to the Post Office and shipped off the chain, then to Barnes and Noble, Home Depot, Walmart and Marshall’s before driving 18 miles north to Fort Pierce. We picked up Alan and went to the amazing Marine Connection Liquidators, one of the best new and used boat parts warehouses anywhere. The three of us worked our lists.
We didn’t get everything we need, but we did find a few things to check off the list. We rewarded ourselves with a trip to Archie’s, where we celebrated our purchase of Escape Velocity back in April.
We said goodbye again to Alan, who’s been a good friend and entertaining companion these past few months. He’s planning to check out of the US next week, and we don’t know if our paths will cross again. That’s the cruising life for you.
Friday we finished up our errands with another trip to the PO, then Home Depot again, Best Buy and Bed, Bath and Beyond. We ended up at a grocery store to restock a few items and get some produce. All of these stores are within 3 miles of the marina and would have been easy trips on our bikes, but the car meant we could do them all in one go and we were glad to get it all done.
We had plans for boatguests on Saturday but once again the wind and chop kicked up to uncomfortable levels and we postponed until next week, hoping for warmer, calmer weather. The day was an exact repeat of Boxing Day, with 25-30 kts sustained for hours.
Now it’s Sunday, and we’ve been here for a week and haven’t even made it into town. It’s cold and windy but we’re getting off this boat for sure today. Izzy, it seems, is back in hibernation mode.