Social Distancing at its finest
After two days of messing around with inoperable batteries, we finally stood together to start the engines as we held our breaths collectively and they roared on at first shot! It was 5pm on Friday but we were actually due to leave on Wednesday. But, as always, I believe that everything happens for a reason, with perfect timing and just as it should be! Let’s go! we said to each other and within 30 minutes, we were on our way. We made the 3 and half hour trip to Anna Maria/Snell Point where we would anchor at 9pm for 2 nights. We quickly dropped the dinghy and took the doggies to potty on shore at the adjacent state park, opened the bottle of champagne that our friend gave us to celebrate just being out on the water and on our way again and went to bed right after. We would spend the next two days here waiting for perfect weather so we could run the outside down to Boca Grande. In the meantime, we had fabulous salads for lunch and cooked at night. We had one too many a cocktail (duh!) lay out and read out on the bow of the boat catching some sun and some Zzzz’s. I also do my yoga up front too which is just perfect with the lovely breeze. On Sunday we took the dinghy over to Bradenton dock to get some supplies at Winn Dixie, which is in walking distance from there. Desoto park has some fabulous boardwalks and we could let Cali swim there too. On Monday we left for Boca Grande. We woke at 6 and took the doggies for their walk on land before leaving on a perfectly calm morning to run the 8 hour trip on the outside, anchoring at Costa Cayo that afternoon. We love this usually quiet anchorage now busy with every boat owner doing what we are. We spent a couple of days here, loving the private little beach to swim and play on. We have everything we need on board and so there was not much need to go to land on Boca Grande. We played cards and games some nights, watched some TV when we had the generator on and slept well under moonlit skies. All was well until our water maker pump gave in! We ordered a new one from the manufacturer in Ft Lauderdale and they shipped it to us right away. We loved it here with our little beach so we decided we were in no hurry to leave at all. On Friday we went into town on Grand Boca where the pump was being shipped to the marina for us to pick up. We ordered a takeout from Cabbage Key one night and had our date night on board which was lovely. We made our way south on Sunday and anchored at York Island so that the puppies had a place to potty and the trip wouldn’t be as long to Marco Island on Monday morning. After a lovely 5 hour trip down, we anchored in the basin outside Rose Marina. We spent one night in the marina so that we could restock, refill our water tanks and pump out and give Happy Wife a bath. We left on Wednesday at lunchtime and took the inside channels to get to the Ten Thousand Islands going under bridges and past a few homes. It was lovely and protected all the way. Of course our obligatory dolphins escorted us at various times too. Shaun fished, I made a date night dinner for which I cooked a lovely chicken a la king and set the table in white. We dressed in white too. We spent a lot of time on our tiny private beach, throwing the ball and sticks for Cali, having picnics and relaxing Shaun fished a lot and I worked on my writing and art. We collected shells and driftwood from the beach and this time a I made a garland with them. Last year I collected a huge amount of shells which now stand in vases in the lounge and serve as a candle holders. Cali has discovered a love for shells and rocks too and has her own collection lol. We took Cali paddle boarding for the first time which was a great success and she loved it. After 10 days at our anchorage we were running low on supplies so we took Happy Wife back to Marco Island on Sunday and anchored out there for 2 nights to refuel and restock again. Amazingly, our friends from East London, Chris and Mandy happened to anchor in Marco Island on their boat too. We were so excited to see them and what a wonderful co-incidence to be in the same place at the same time. Who would have thought, all those years ago in East London, that we would end up together on the ocean on the other side of the world on the same day. Adventure is just magical and life is truly amazing! We tied up next to them for sundowners in our dinghy, keeping our safe social distancing space while we chatted away. They traveled back to the Ten Thousand Islands with us stayed alongside us for 5 nights before they moved on on their adventure. We left too and stayed overnight at White Horse anchorage making our way back home staying in Marco, Sarasota and Anna Maria. Exactly five weeks from when we left our shores, I captained the boat half way back and Shaun brought us in safely at home. It truly was bittersweet being away again like this, sharing this time together as we have. The world is changing around us and we must adapt, but staying away from loved ones is not easy. Its funny to me how we relish time away under normal circumstances but when we are told to stay away, its something we don’t want to do! We are so very blessed to have this lifestyle that enables us to pick up and move our home with us wherever we go. For sure, it is THE best way to have kept our distance!