Florida……..What’s Next?

I have been procrastinating about this blog post because I just haven’t been sure what to write about or what to say. There are no more photos of beautiful Bahama beaches, clear warm water, and sunsets and sunrises. This is a different phase of the adventure.

When we left Fort Pierce we traveled south down the ICW to a little place called Manatee Pocket in Port Salerno which is next to Stuart, Florida. Manatee Pocket is a small (surface area of 0.5 square miles), shallow bay-like area located where the St. Lucie River meets the Indian River Lagoon.  The junction of the Okeechobee Waterway and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway as well as the St. Lucie Inlet are located in these waters, a real “water intersection.”  This convenient waterway access makes Manatee Pocket a good location for marine-related industries, commercial and recreational fishing; as well as a jumping off or return point for the Bahamas or crossing the state by way of Lake Okeechobee.

Overview of Manatee Pocket

Overview of Manatee Pocket. At the top of the photo you can see the St. Lucie Inlet.

We have spent a few weeks in Manatee Pocket at the Stuart Yacht Sales dock, and we will be leaving Kindred Spirit here in Florida when we both return home to Connecticut. She is now for sale. That is very hard for me to write. We have owned this Morgan 43 foot center cockpit sailboat for 12 years and  she has been our home for  6 months. For over a year we have discussed making the transition from sailing to a trawler, mostly because of my health (ovarian cancer and lymphedema in my leg) and our age as we look ahead. I’m so glad we made this trip to the Bahamas on Kindred Spirit, She was fully equipped and ready for the voyage. She handled everything that came our way, safely and comfortably. We could not have asked for more.

Stuart Yacht Sales

Stuart Yacht Sales

for sale

A truly pleasurable bonus to this is spending time with Al’s brother, Bill and his wife, Barbara.

~The Watson brothers  ~ Bill and Barbara

~The Watson brothers – just can’t take them away from boats and salt water!
~ Bill and Barbara

Life at a dock isn’t the same as swinging on a mooring or at anchor in the Bahamas, but it is a good place for all of the cleaning, emptying and boxing that we have to do now. Our  dock home is a funky little spot with a bar (karaoke night on Thursdays) and a collection of shops and art galleries.

Our pelican friend greeted us as we pulled ingot he dock.

Our pelican friend greeted us as we pulled into the dock.

Two very different mermaids!  The one of the left adorns a wall among the galleries. The one on the right sits atop the bar.

Two very different mermaids!
~The one on the left adorns a wall among the galleries.
~The one on the right sits atop the bar. Maybe I will get one for our breakfast counter at home???? 😉

Fish House Art Center and Gallery - some really cool things are here.

Fish House Art Center and Gallery. Some really cool things are here – eclectic “art gumbo”

We were able to watch tv again on a more regular basis. I’m not sure that we missed much —-

People are still trying to find love on "The Bachelor", the taking heads still believe the things they report are "news" and the weather is the weather.

~ The taking heads still believe the things they report are “news” and the real news is  more of the same.
~ The weather is still the weather
~ People are still trying to find love on “The Bachelor” and not succeeding (surprise, surprise)
It just made us miss the Abaco Cruisers VHF Net even more!!

Trains and traffic!

Trains and traffic! The noise from the trains and the speed of the traffic has been a bit unnerving. It will take some time to adjust to the pace in the U.S. again.

One morning we awoke to a new noise that sounded very near to us. I took a peak out of the ports, and saw —

A dredger!! Yes, it was that close to us!!

A barge and dredger!! Yes, it was that close to us!!

There is a good side to being back home in the U.S. – convenience. Any store you want or need – Publix the grocery store, Home Depot, Lowe’s, West Marine, and more.

We both a box of Dove mini ice creams, our favorite indulgence, and a 6-pack of Bahama beer, Kalik. The best of both worlds!

We bought a box of Dove mini ice creams, our favorite indulgence; and a 6-pack of Kalik, the Bahama beer. Ahhhh, the best of both worlds!

Our first Dairy Queen Blizzards in over 6 months!!

Our first Dairy Queen Blizzards in over 6 months!!

I spent quite a bit of time in this laundromat. It cost me $10 here to wash and dry what would have cost $50 back in the Bahamas.

I spent quite a bit of time in this laundromat. It cost me $10 here to wash and dry what would have cost $50 back in the Bahamas.

We rented a car and a storage unit – 5x5x10 feet. I was not convinced that everything would fit inside that. Fortunately, Bill had  additional space in his office for storage. It is amazing how much stuff was on that boat. Box after box after box……

Al shows me the storage unit - see, it all fit. Hmmm.

Al shows me the storage unit – see, it all fit. Hmmm.

I never really used all of the canned and nonperishable foods, but I have an excuse since we the trip ended earlier and we never went tot he more remote Exumas. We took a couple boxes to the local food bank, House of Hope.

I never really used all of the canned and nonperishable foods, but I have an excuse!  We ended the trip  earlier and we never went to the more remote Exumas. We donated a couple of  boxes to the local food bank, House of Hope.

We took a break from the unloading and packing and drove to Vero Beach to visit our CT SYC friends, Dean and Mary Jo. They are escaping the cold New England winter and spending March and April in a lovely condo there. We really enjoyed our time with them.

Mary Jo, Dena, Al and me in Vero Beach

Mary Jo, Dean, Al and me in Vero Beach

We had a sunset picnic in Vero. Al is about to bite into his shrimp.

We had a sunset picnic in Vero. Al is about to bite into his shrimp.

Sunset fishing

Sunset fishing

It really helped to take breaks from the depressing and tiring routine of unloading things. We  spent a night on the west coast of Florida (to see a potential trawler) at a cute little bed & breakfast inn. So much more fun than a sterile chain motel (and cheaper, too.)

The Ibis

The Ibis in Safety Harbor, Florida

A nice quiet dinner at the Green Springs Restaurant in Safety Harbor

A nice quiet dinner at the Green Springs Restaurant in Safety Harbor

After two weeks, the end was in sight. I took a flight home so that I can get the house ready and attend the baby shower for our next grandchild. Al will finish up and drive himself and our belongings back to Connecticut in a one-way rental truck. After six months of togetherness 24/7, it seems strange to be apart.

So, the big question is……. what’s next? I don’t know, and that’s ok. We will figure it out as we go. This has been an incredible experience that leaves us with memories that we will treasure forever.

The end of this post has to be a tribute to our very special and unique Kindred Spirit. We will always be sailors at heart, and this Morgan will carry a piece of us with her wherever she goes.  I just hope there is someone out there who will love this boat as much as we have.

HTSC Race 2

HTSC 7

May there always be a rainbow wherever she sails

May there always be a rainbow wherever she sails

 

3 thoughts on “Florida……..What’s Next?

  1. Hi, Michelle! We are home in Maine, and feeling some of the pangs you expressed so beautifully in your blog. Transitions are always hard for us, but our annual migration is nothing compared to the BIG changes you and Al are experiencing. Our sense of life’s uncertainties seems to get magnified at these major intersections, but because you’ve already proven that you can overcome the toughest challenges, we’re so sure that you’ll find contentment in the next phase…. wherever! We’ll look forward to reading more here, and to seeing you in New England…. SOON!

  2. Al and Michelle,
    We arrived in Vero Beach today and thought we may see you and read your blog. We have thought of you many times and glad you had such an awesome winter. We did as well in Key West.
    Our plans are to head to the Bahamas mid-January.
    Who knows? You could be a trawler owner soon too!
    Hopefully, our paths will cross again. Have fun with that new grandchild.

  3. Al & Michelle,
    We enjoyed following your voyage although I hadn’t checked your blog over the past several weeks and just saw your latest post. I have some catching up to do! I’m so very happy that you were able to pursue your dream on Kindred Spirit and that the trip was so beautiful however, I’m sad to hear that Kindred Spirit is for sale. I have many happy memories of visiting with you on the boat.
    Wishing you the very best on your next adventure searching out the perfect trawler for your next trip. I”m sure you will find a great boat or one that Al can make great!
    Hoping you are both well and I hope we run into each other this summer.

    Best wishes,
    Sharon and Brian

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