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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Land Ho! Vagabonds Touch Terra Firma

Mom, the armchair traveler posing in front of a
Japanese poster in DelRay Beach Florida.
“I want my Mommy.”  Honestly that was my priority for our first landfall back in the States.  We arrived just in time to fight a peak outflow at St. Lucie’s inlet, the entry to a lively little town an hour’s drive from Mom’s (click here for more on Stuart versus the more popular Vero Beach).

Once we sorted out connecting to the internet, reactivating our US phones and renting a car, supplying the captain with a day’s food, I set off with an empty stomach and bundle of laundry for Mom’s.  C’mon, every child, regardless of age, is obligated and privileged to break bread, do laundry, get a hug (or twenty) and get fussed over at their mom’s. Right? 

Seriously, it was the perfect short, sweet whirlwind visit.  Hug. Eat (lots). Talk (lots!). Take and share pictures.  Drive.  Shop.  Do laundry.  Enjoy an irresponsibly long shower with excellent water pressure and wipe my derriere with soft, 2-ply tissue and flush without worry.  Get a pedicure.  Even swim at the neighborhood pool, just like in the good ole days.  Left all too soon, well before my welcome wore out, with an honest, heartfelt promise to do it again soon.

When I got back to the boat, it was time to reprovision, refilling our empty larder for the next several days of passage. 

Wow! 

Return of the Roach Coach
(roadside food out of truck), Stuart Florida.
After our months in the Bahamas, we were agog once again at the incredible selection and how cheap everything was.  Comparatively, most United States grocerie items cost between ¼ to ½ the price of their Bahamian counterparts.   For example, Fritos, Wayne’s favorite starchy pleasure since diagnosed with celiac disease (click here for more on going gluten free), were 2/$5.00 at Winn Dixie, rather than $5-7 for one bag.  And peanuts, 2 for 1…. We bought LOTS of peanuts (and cheese and veggies and Mountain Dew and…).

Avowed movie fans, we hadn’t seen a movie in a theater since November.  So it was date night!!!! “XMen Future Past” was the perfect “big screen” movie after six months without (cruising, we did watch movies on our 13” laptop from time to time).  We munched on Mexican food from a roadside roach coach.

In between Mom’s and movies, our “cruising kitty” job hunt hit high stride with email, calls and internet.  Last year it took three weeks from landing to working.  We’re doing all we can to make that happen as fast or faster this year.  Wish us luck!  Still TBD where we’ll work, though at the moment, returning to Jacksonville’s looking most likely.

Tacos!  You don't get these in the Bahamas!
It would’ve been far more efficient if we’d left from Allans-Pensacola Cay and headed the straight to the Jacksonville inlet.  Instead we added ~40 miles by landing in Great Sail + ~105 miles from Great Sail to Manatee Pocket, motoring 14 of our 24 ¼ hour overnight passage.  After all that, instead of 200 or so miles to the Jacksonvile inlet, we’ll sail ~230 miles -- ~175 miles more (40+105+[230-30]) than if we skipped Great Sail and went straight to the Jacksonville inlet.  When we left Allans-Pensacola, there was much more wind, so we’d likely sail more and use little diesel fuel motoring.

Bottom line?  We added about 3 days of “sailing,” mostly in little to no wind.  At 5 miles / hour, ½ gallon of diesel per hour, purchased at ~$3.70, our route will cost us a worst case of $100 more in diesel fuel.  At least we’re not paying $5.50 / gallon Bahamas diesel prices to refill; otherwise it would cost $150 more to refill our diesel fuel.

Mom's gluten-free care package for Wayne.
Fortunately, my husband understands that like the Mastercard commercials, “The cost of visiting Mom after five months out of the country?  Priceless.”

Location Location

May 24, 2014 UNITED STATES.  We’re in Manatee Pocket, Stuart Florida (N26.59.098 W78.12.951) about to set sail for the next several days to Jacksonville, FL.  There will be no internet during our passage, but our US phones will be in range part or all of the passage and beyond.