Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back in Florida and the ICW: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

It's been a week and a half since the last blog.  We've been anchoring out constantly, so internet is hit-or-miss.  But we also just don't have much to report. Reader beware: rants will follow, peppered with sailor-quality vocabulary.  Just so the Wilsons are warned.  :)

The Good: Communication!  Now that we're back stateside, we can talk to people again.  I've talked to my parents almost every day since we've been back.  Trevor can finally call his BFF and start catching up on what he's missed.  And even though we don't have it every day, we do have access to internet.  So we can check our email every once in a while.  Though I'm a slacker friend and keep not calling people (I'm sorry; I promise I'll try to call sometime!), I do like knowing that I can call when I finally get the inkling. 

The Bad: Traffic!  Florida is full of boaters.  Fast boaters.  Inconsiderate boaters.  There are a few nice ones, but they are the exception (and usually are cruisers and therefore not Floridians).  I don't know what the deal is.  The bigger the boat, the bigger the douchebag driving it.  Compensating for something?  I think so.  Compensate with a shiny car, and get out of my way, you jerk!  And the weekends are the worst!  The douchebaggiest boaters come out on the weekends, in hoards.  They rush by in their big (why so big???), fast boats, sending huge wakes to knock us sideways and spill our coffee.  We've taken to finishing coffee before we get underway.  And now I have a sippy cup to prevent spills (it's a "straw bottle", but sippy cup is more fun to say), and the sippy cup makes one-handed drinking easier when at the tiller (unscrewing a bottle cap is hard with one hand!).  Right, we were talking about inconsiderate morons, not sippy cups.  They're inconsiderate morons!  (Now we're back on track.)  Do they ever look behind to see the effects of their wake?  Do they?  Of course not.  They're too busy spying out the next boat to dodge, or ogling a bikini-clad chicky.  Yesterday, we were passed by a speed boat driven by a guy with bigger boobs than me (I'm no Baywatch girl, or anything, but still).  This guy works way too hard to look good driving his boat around.  Spend less time at the gym and more time learning to drive your boat without being an ass!

The Ugly: Muddy Water!   Remember those pictures of the Bahamas, with their gorgeous, crystal-clear water?  Remember that?  It was a long freakin' time ago.  We're back in the ICW, and that means murky water.  Muddy grossness all the time.  Back in Tennessee, we swam in muddy water all the time.  Though dirty, it was fresh water.  Now we have muddy and salty.  No fair!  It's hard to wrap our heads around jumping in that water to take a bath.  How can we be cleaner after going in there?  Thank goodness for the solar shower!

The Good: US Prices!  Food, fuel, and water were crazy expensive over in the Bahamas.  Okay, water wasn't expensive, but we did have to pay for it.  I'm sure those of you who haven't left the States are thinking fuel is expensive here.  I saw $3.47 for gas today.  We were paying $6 over there.  I'm sure I'll grumble over the prices when I start driving a car again, but for now I'm happy to be back!  We fueled up about a week ago, and it cost us $25 for 5 gallons of diesel, a block of ice, and a bag of ice.  And water was free!  We were super happy about it.  We went to the grocery store and spent $25.  We got so much food!  Produce, meats, bread!  And that was a Publix.  Imagine how much food we would get at Aldi.  (Oh, we can't wait to shop at Aldi when we get to Chattanooga.)  We're afraid of packing on the pounds since we can afford food again.  But we're able to buy more produce (Bahamians are not really into the whole vegetable thing), so maybe we'll eat healthier.  Maybe.  Oh, and we have ice!  All the time!  Because it's only $2-3 for a bag (or block - they have blocks here, too!).  Oh the joys of having a cooler that's actually cold and not just "kinda cool-ish".  And Trevor gets cold beer now.  Happy Trevor!

The Bad: Jerkwad boaters going fast and rocking us with their wakes.  Oh wait, I already covered that one.  But they're really obnoxious. 
The Bad: Weather.  It's hot here!  And humid!  I guess that's normal for June, but I gotta whine about something, right?  It seemed like the wind blew all the time over in the Bahamas.  So while it was warm, it was usually not too hot.  And we could always go for a swim in that gorgeous water.  (Oh, how I miss it!)  But when the wind doesn't blow here, it's miserable!  The first week we were traveling, the wind was dead until the afternoon.  Once the breeze picked up it wasn't so bad, and sleeping was very comfortable with a nice wind.  The last few days have been a little better.  It's been breezy right from the get-go.  Ah, not so sweltering.  It also lets us fly a sail (usually), so we pick up a little bit of speed.  Until the current turns against us.  Blast you, unfavorable current!  We hate those currents when they're against us, but love them when they work for us.  But I guess with breezy mornings, we get crazy afternoons.  Thunderstorms.  We've been fortunate so far and haven't been smacked down like we were outside of Palm Beach.  Yesterday, we drove for about 2 hours in the rain.  Then anchored in the rain.  But the boat was cleaner!  Until we pulled up anchor this morning.  But that's back to the muddy water rant, and we've already covered that one.  (Did I mention it's salty and muddy? Ick!)

The Ugly:  Scenery.  Up until a couple of days ago, the scenery was craptastic.  Nothing but big buildings, lots of development, and HUGE houses.  Why does anyone need a house that big?  Don't you have something better to spend your money on?  Like, I don't know, a boat to go on that half-mile long dock you have?  And do these people have solar panels on these giant McMansions?  Nope.  As we've moved north, we've seen a few more solar panels.  And they make me happy.  A couple of houses have had entire roofs covered with solar panels.  Way to go, rich people!  That's how you lead the way to greener living!  If the rich people don't do it, how do they expect the rest of us to do it?  Solar panels are pricey!  (Trevor and I are determined to have at least a few on our house, when we get a house, one of these days, in the future.)  Right, I was talking about scenery (or lack thereof), not ranting about rich people.  They're probably very nice.  Even though they don't like us anchoring near their houses.  Scenery.  Yes.  It was bad.  Hotels, businesses, giant houses (not even pretty, they all looked the same, and boring).  Then we hit Mosquito Lagoon.  It's not exactly scenic, but at least there were no buildings.  But when we got north of the lagoon, oh yes, here are some people with their priorities straight.  I don't know what the town/neighborhood/whatever was called, but it was awesome.  Quite a few double-wide trailers (and a few singles), some small houses, all of them immaculately kept and with a nice dock.  The houses weren't big, but these people obviously took pride in them and loved them.  They were in good repair, nice paint, a little landscaping to make it look homey.  A beautiful area.  And people used their docks!  Even on a weekday, we saw many people on their docks.  Fishing, snuggling, or just enjoying the day.  It was a nice change to see.  And the scenery has been better ever since.  There have been a few cities (Daytona isn't so scenic from the ICW side), but there's been much more wildlife.  Yay for wildlife!  Except mosquitoes - I hate those blood-sucking bastards!  Oh, yesterday, we saw huge jellyfish.  They were probably 12 inches in diameter, just drifting along with the current.  It's weird to see jellyfish in muddy water.

The Good: Dolphins!  Maybe two or three times in the Bahamas, we saw dolphins.  Here, we see them all the time!  Sometimes just one or two swimming off in the distance.  But occasionally, we'll see a whole pod!  As we were coming into New Smyrna Beach, we saw a bunch of them.  When they swam over a shoal, it was too shallow for them to get underwater, so we saw their dorsal fins wiggling as they scooted across the shallows. So cute!  Even after a big (or not) doofus speeds past us and knocks us around, a dolphin always cheers me up.  They're just so happy.  This morning, we had a double rainbow, and dolphins swimming under it.  So happy it was ridiculous!  Like and '80s cartoon or something.

We miss the beauty of the Bahamas, no doubt about that.  But we are happy to be back in the States.  We've missed family and friends.  We've even seen people!  We got to see my cousins Dee, Jim, and Jon while we were in Palm Beach.  It was awesome!  And two days ago, I saw Tammy (wife of my old dock buddy JD) while she was on vacation with her family.  We played miniature golf (excuse me, Adventure Golf!) and had a great time.  If our luck holds, we might get to see David and Alice from Alice Mae while we're in St. Augustine.  They've got other things to worry about right now, but if we don't get to see them this time, we'll see them when we come back down.  And St. Augustine is gorgeous!  Lots of tourists, but the city itself is pretty.  And we had pizza for lunch!  Our first pizza since we got back, and it was delicious!

We're making our way north at a pretty decent pace.  We expect to be in Brunswick, GA by next weekend.  It'll probably take us a day or two to get the boat ready to sit for a month.  A solar panel to install to keep the batteries topped up, removing all perishable food, general cleaning.  But then we'll rent a car and head back to Tennessee!  We're excited about seeing family and friends.  We can tell our stories to a new, appreciative audience.  We'll sleep in beds.  We'll do laundry until absolutely everything is clean.  We're even getting a 7-months-later Thanksgiving dinner with my family, since we all missed Thanksgiving last year.  (Traditional Thanksgiving anyway - my dad still raves about the arepas London's husband made us last Thanksgiving in Mobile.)

Being back in Florida is a huge change.  But we'll take it.  The good outweighs the bad and ugly.


  1. Yay! Another double rainbow! You guys are the luckiest EVER! :)

    Can't wait to see you!!!

  2. Told you the ICW was ugly ! Especially for you two coming in from paradise ! Can't wait to see you and Trev and look at pics and all. Love -- Dad

  3. Wow, seems a bit surreal that you guys are on the end of your first sailing journey. Congratulations to the both of you, and wish you both many more. :)

  4. Wow, what an adventure you two have had.

  5. We agree exactly with your "the good, the bad, and the ugly".

    Bill & Adair
    Irish Eyes