Chapter Eight: Nonsuches Never Foul

CYBER MONDAY DEAL – Hard Copy Keys to the Kingdom$20.00 $15.00

Alright kids, the Keys manuscript is in the hands of my trusted graphic design gal so she can work her magic and make it all one-click uploadable to Amazon and Kindle (because I would totally botch that for sure).  I should have it back within the week and will have hard copies in-hand very soon.  Like I said, I’m looking at a Dec. 11th release date.  Clear your entire day!  Cyber Monday deal is $15 (marked down from $20) for a hard copy signed book.  I will handle shipping and mail to you anywhere in the U.S.  Email me your address and inscription request and consider it done.  In the meantime, let’s get back to Mitch’s Nonsuch saga shall we?  If you’re not caught up, start from the beginning (Chapter One), or get a little refresher of the last segment (Chapter Seven).  

Now, where was I?  Let’s see …

“So, is there like a lot of sailing in it?” Mitch asked.  I was pitching my new book to the boys while we were making our way out of Clearwater and back across the Gulf.  

“Yesss,” I said, an eye roll followed by a somewhat indignant huff.  “I told you.  It’s a lot like Salt of a Sailor, in that it covers a particular passage on the boat but has flashbacks to stories from my past, except this book will cover mine and Phillip’s trip to the Keys last year.  Keys to the Kingdom, get it?”

“Okay, but not too many old stories, right?” Mitch asked.  

Why do I always get that?

In all, they were pretty receptive.  Both Mitch and Phillip liked the idea of the two plot lines as long as the sailing plot was bigger!  It was pretty calm in the Gulf so I spent the morning hunkered over my laptop writing.  Nice view from the office, huh?  Yes, this is where most of the initial framework for my new book was created─on the Nonsuch trip with this brilliant, blue-water view.  You gotta love my new work environment.  

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Sadly we were still motoring because the wind wasn’t blowing hard enough to disturb a dandelion, which is not the ideal situation because we love to sail but it’s still acceptable when your engine is running like a champ and you’re chugging across crystal blue waters.  But, because the engine was doing all of the work, we definitely wanted to keep an eye on it.  Phillip had spotted a spot (no pun intended) of pink on the oil pad underneath the engine (the “engine diaper” I like to call it as it catches all of the engine’s crap) but we couldn’t recall if it was there when we first started out back in Ft. Myers or if this was in fact a new spot.  For that reason, Phillip had left the engine access open while we motored that day in order to keep an eye on it.  

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After a few hours of motoring, he decided the drop was new.  I almost couldn’t believe it.  The parallels were a little too uncanny.  Here we were, the three of us, traveling once again across the Gulf together in another 1985 boat, another Hinterhoeller, and we had another transmission leak?  It was starting to get creepy.  The thought ran through my head to check and make sure we had saved some extra Dasani water bottles in case I needed to whip up another duct tape fluid-catching contraption (patent pending).  Such measures didn’t seem necessary (yet) as we were only getting one drop of hot pink transmission fluid about once every two minutes.  Not a huge amount but certainly something we wanted to keep an eye on in case it increased.  It was coming out from under the shifter arm just like it had in our boat, probably because we were working the transmission much harder than she had been run in a while and that same ninety-seven cent gasket on the arm was giving out.  The good news was we could confidently tell Mitch we knew exactly what was happening and it was a super easy fix.  Ahhhh … the benefits of been-there-done-that syndrome.

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Later in the afternoon we decided to make the chicken tiki masala for dinner.  This would be the infamous dish that gave Mitch such fits during the provisioning phase of this saga:

“What’s naan?” he had asked, claiming he had inquired the same of three different clerks in Publix yet they responded they’d never heard of none such like it, which is why Phillip and I ended up providing the Naan for the passage and making it for Mitch on this night.  Turns out, Mitch loved it.

“This Naan is great,” he mumbled between bites.  “Where do you get this stuff?”  

“Publix,” we replied.  

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It was over this dinner, though, that Mitch really regaled us.  Friends, I hope I can only begin to capture this for you─the wondrous world of Nonsuch videos that are out there on YouTube.  (YouTube, what is this Tube of You of which you speak?  Don’t knowHERE is a good place to start.)  As we were about to set into our second night passage, Mitch got to talking about this whole Gulf crossing we were doing and some of the fears that had gripped him our first night out in open waters.  And, as funny as it sounded, he told us one thing that made him feel better about the boat were some of the clips that had come to mind from the many Nonsuch videos he had watched while shopping for his boat.  Now, while I mentioned the boat porn and the many hours friends who are shopping for a boat spend scrolling through boat listings, boat write-ups, boat reviews, etc., the one thing I did not think of (I guess just because Phillip and I didn’t do it when we were shopping for our boat), were YouTube videos about boats.  Frankly, before Mitch and the Nonsuch (and that was a measly five months ago – times they are a-changin), I didn’t know they had YouTube videos on boats.  Apparently Mitch’s variety of internet scouring involved videos because while on the hunt for any and all Nonsuch information, he had stumbled across a treasure trove of Nonsuch video classics, and he started re-enacting them for Phillip and I as we motored into the evening:

“Nonsuches never foul,” he said, waving his finger at us in this haughty regatta announcer voice.  “They might make slight indiscretions,” he said with an exaggerated shoulder shrug, but they never foul.”  

“Come on.  Really Mitch?  They really say that?” I wasn’t quite buying it.  Mitch claimed, however, this was pretty close to the actual video transcript (and it turned out he was right).

“Nonsuches love to sail.  They’re so easy to handle and light to the touch,” he continued now in a bit of a enamored infomercial viewer.  “It’s like they’re always anxious to get underway.”

I tell you folks, the things I do for you.  When we returned, I found these sacred videos for you and─while Mitch was right about the “Nonsuches love to this and that” quotes─the one thing he failed to mention about these videos is that while they were, yes, a version of boat porn, they practically qualify, however, as actual, soft-core seventies porn themselves.  I kid you not.  It’s like Joey Tribbiani and “grandma’s chicken salad.”  

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Virtually everything the narrator said seemed to have a sexual undertone.  “There’s always room for jello.”  Perhaps we were just acting like fifth graders when Phillip and I finally found these videos on our own and found ourselves snickering and doubled over just about every two seconds.  But, see what you think.  Here are some I-kid-you-not actual excerpts:

  • Looks like a cat boat, moves like a leopard.
  • She makes you feel at home just thinking about her.
  • Everything is easy.  It’s like she was anxious to get underway.
  • When Nonsuch meets Nonsuch a kind of happy magic happens.
  • “So,” he says.  “Are you going to the regatta?”  “You bet,” she says.  “Want to go together?” she asks.  “Sure.  My Nonsuch or yours?”  “Mine, but I’ll race you home for privilege.”  (What does that even mean??  Who’s privilege?)
  • Like a dolphin ballet.
  • Just as much fun to do as to see.  (Translation — you can just watch, that’s okay.)
  • There’s a kind of silent bugle blowing when Nonsuches come together.
  • It’s the call of the wind and the sea, and just a hint of champagne.
  • Come on in Nonsuch, there’s always room for one more.
  • When Nonsuches race, they race in a civilized manner.  It is very unsuch to protest.
  • While Nonsuches might occasionally commit slight indiscretions, they never (ever!) foul.

And please, do not underappreciate s/v Rainbow Rita’s rocking poof ‘do or Nonsuch Ned’s seventies porn stache as well.   

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For your viewing pleasure, straight from HaveWindWillTravel vault, I give you — The Nonsuch Navy, Parts One and Two.  Enjoy:

Good stuff, right?  The three of us spent the last minutes of daylight, watching the sun drop out of a feathered pastel sky, repeating the Nonsuch mantras back and forth as we continued our way across the Gulf.  

Our favorite quote: “We also call her Nonsuch because there isn’t anything like her or the people who sail her.”  (That about sums up Mitch and his boat. One of a kind.)

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OFFICIAL TRAILER: Keys to the Kingdom

Ever dream about quitting the corporate life?  Lose the lock by finding the key.  Learn how I escaped in my new book — Keys to the Kingdom — coming December 2015.  Sign up to follow for pre-release updates and giveaways.

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#26: Where Have You Been?

Before we tell you where we’re going, I thought it might help to know where we’ve been.  In fact, I wrote it all down for you in my first sailing book — SALT OF A SAILOR (FREE TODAY on Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Salt-Sailor-origins-durable-not-so-dainty-ebook/dp/B00T7YGKJU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8.  Happy Thanksgiving followers!

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FREE PREVIEW – Keys to the Kingdom

 Preview My New Book!

Hello followers.  This is the first time I’m sending a mass email (via the blog and MailChimp) and I’m kind of nervous, excited, anxious, but I just had to do it!  I can’t keep this bottled up anymore.  I’ve finished my new book and I want (nay, need!) to share.  My gift to you for following and your continued support: a free preview (the first four chapters) of Keys to the Kingdom.

Free Preview — Keys to the Kingdom

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Drop everything right now and read it!  Or, wait until you’ve at least pulled over, shut your office door, or whatever you have to do, but then read it!  I can’t wait to hear what you think!  Enjoy!

Be sure to check out these other freebies too:

1. Sign up at HaveWindWillTravel.com to get a free preview of the prequel to Keys to the Kingdom, my #1 Amazon bestseller in sailing books: Salt of a Sailor.

2.  So you can be caught up on the salty chronicle by the time the new book releases, jump on Amazon November 25, 2015 and get a FREE Kindle copy of Salt of a Sailor. That’s a whole day of free-ness. Get on it people!  Happy Thanksgiving!

3.  “Signed copies make great Christmas gifts!” says the author. Put in your pre-release hard copy orders of Keys to the Kingdom–only $20 and I will cover the shipping (anywhere in the U.S.). Email me the mailing address and any inscription you would like: anniedike@gmail.com.

 

Next week, I’ll pick back up with the Nonsuch saga.  In blog time, Mitch, Phillip and I have brought the boat all the way up from Ft. Myers to Clearwater and we’re about to make the BIG jump across the Gulf to Apalachicola.  Click HERE if you would like to read the Nonsuch saga from the beginning.

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Thanks to my Patrons who help me share the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board.

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#25: What is Your Story, Annie?

Time to get real people.  I’ve had a great time making entertaining videos but it seems folks want to know the REAL STORY.  Well, this is it.  The story of me (warts and wayward decisions and all)!  Want to experience the transition from litigator to live-aboard?  Come aboard!

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Go On, Judge This Book By Its …

COVER!!  Check it out!

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Judging by its cover, is this is a book you would like to read?

While I had a fantastic time writing the entertaining tale of our first Gulf adventure in Salt of a Sailor, I had many friends and followers tell me they wanted to know more of the story─more about me.  How does a young lawyer come to quit her job, leave her home, her husband, her former life to what?  Jump on a sailboat and travel the world?  Well, it’s not quick.  It’s not easy.  But, turns out, it was my biggest adventure of all.

We are just a few weeks out from the release date now and I cannot WAIT for you all to get a glimpse of her.  What do you think of the cover art?

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I had a great time writing it, a horrible time editing it (I hate editing!) and I’m ready to share a part of the book now with you.  I will be sending out a FREE PREVIEW of Keys to the Kingdom (the first four chapters) to all of my followers via the blog next week.  If you can’t wait that long (I mean, really, who can?) jump on Patreon to get your Patrons-first copy this Friday.  You don’t want to miss this!  Sign up today!

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Thanks to my Patrons who help me share the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board.

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Exciting News!

“We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a very important message.”  Hello followers!  I’m taking a short break from the Nonsuch saga to share some exciting and incredible news.  Shout it from the rooftops:  

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Yes, that’s me, rocking a Rosie the Riveter ensemble.

Keys to the Kingdom is in the trusted hands of my editor and we are just a few weeks out from release (with all sorts of giveaways, sneak peeks and other goodies I’ll be sharing with you in the interim).  Here’s the first!  I wrote a guest blog for MissMinimalist.com, recently, which I cobbled together from some chapters of my new book that deal with down-sizing and how frightening and enlightening that can be.  Sign up at MissMinimalist to get daily, inspirational “Real Life Miss Minimalist” stories and awesome tips to help you live a better, more beautiful life with less stuff.  I hope you enjoy the article.  There’s much more in store.  Get ready for some serious (Have)Wind.  These next few weeks are going to blow your socks off!!

MISS MINIMALIST ARTICLE

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Thanks to my Patrons who help me share the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board.

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Chapter Seven: “Slow Down Buddy. Slower Than That.”

Magic Eraser rocks.  It does!  The last few hours we were underway toward Clearwater I busted one of those magical white blocks out and went to town on the cabin of Mitch’s Nonsuch.  The interior really was in such great shape.  Was it moldy, dirty and grimy?  Yes!  But did the Magic Eraser fix all of that?  Of course!  

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And maybe I’m a little partial to Mr. Clean because of the resemblance … 

A little elbow grease and some magic, though, and the Nonsuch looked like a completely different boat down below.  We had spent most of our time during this initial passage inspecting and learning the systems, hoisting the sail for the first time, trying the reefing lines, checking the fluids of the engine, etc., but once we felt all of the primary systems were running fine, it felt nice to finally get in there and do some cosmetic work.  While you always want your boat to run and perform well, making her look good is always high on the list as well.  I wiped just about every surface with Clorox wipes and came back with the Magic Eraser for the stuck-on stains.  

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I was making good progress until I made it to the head.  The floor there was thoroughly stained ….

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but it was no match for the eraser!

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I was also excited to find the holding tank was backing up into the bowl.  Yippee!  It appeared the joker valve on the head was failing and allowing about three inches of holding tank goodness to eek back into the bowl and slosh around for the ride.  I dumped a little bleach in and that seemed to help but the crew was greeted with a little pond of bleached sewage every time they lifted the lid.  Overall, though, the boat was cleaning up extraordinarily well.  Mitch had found a real gem.  With still unfavorable wind (light and right on our nose) we were still motoring, though, which made the clean-up job a bit of a sweaty endeavor in the stuffy cabin.  I was definitely looking forward to a nice, refreshing shower in Clearwater.  

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After all of the motoring we had been doing, we definitely needed some fuel so we pointed Mitch in toward the fuel dock at Clearwater.  Only his second time docking and, I have to say, he did a pretty good job.  The man loves that throttle though.  I don’t think he realizes how fast he’s really going because he tends to barrel in.  It was clear the team was going to have to work on this.  And we tried!  When Mitch was making his way from the fuel dock into the transient slip for the night, Phillip kept trying to ease him back: “Slower, buddy.  Slower than that.”  Mitch was flying into the slip with Phillip and I trying to catch pilings to slow us down.  “Mitch!” Phillip shouted back to the cockpit and Mitch hollered back: “I’m not giving her any gas!”  [Insert frown here.]  

Thankfully, we had a few dock hands come up to help us and they held the bow off the dock but I’ll have to give Mitch a B- on that one.  When we got her tied off and secure, Phillip walked back to the cockpit, looked at Mitch, pointed to the shifter and said: “Neutral.  Reverse.”  It’s easy to forget, though, if you don’t drive a sailboat often.  It’s not like a car where you can just step on the brakes, but you do have options.  If you’re going too fast, even in idle, you can throw it in neutral to slow her down or reverse and throttle her a little if you need to really need to put the brakes on.  After a docking lesson or two and a few gentle reminders from Phillip, Mitch started to do this on his own.  It just takes a little time to train your brain.  Once we got the boat buttoned up and gave the boat a good rinse down, the crew immediately set their sights on a shower.  I was coated in salt, sweat and Magic Eraser filth.  It was still a steam bath outside and we were all sweltering walking toward the shower, dreaming of that first icy drench.  However, the swelter outside could in no way compare to the sauna inside.  

The AC was out in the women’s bathroom and it felt like a muggy 100 degrees in there.  I had to kick and flail out of each sticky scrap of clothing I had on.  While the water was cool, the minute I stepped out of the stream, I started sweating again.  I mean the very minute.  The thought of dressing in there seemed absurd.  Whatever I did in there─I’m not sure you could call it a shower.  Maybe a sauna rinse?  A steam spray?─I was nowhere near clean when I came out, my clothes wet and sticking to every part of my body, my face completely beaded up and dripping.  Only because I didn’t think a nude streak to the boat would have been appropriate did I dress in there.  Mid-June, in the middle of Florida, and it was cooler outside than it was in that blasted shower room.  I was at least soothed by the discovery that the men’s bathroom suffered from the same AC dilemma.  We all had a good time regaling our individual streak contemplations and sweaty dressing struggles.  Funny, each of us decided to brush our teeth and hair (well, those that had hair) and do all of that post-shower potions-and-lotions stuff back on the boat.  I swear, the minute you stepped out of the stream, you could not get out of there fast enough.  We all bolted back to the boat.

But, you know where we were guaranteed to have AC?  On Tanglefoot!  Mitch was blessed with such amenities.  Although he about froze me out our first night on the boat before we left Ft. Myers, now I wanted to freeze.  I welcomed it.  I would have savored every shiver.  We all huddled up in the cool boat, changed out of the clean-but-now-sweaty clothes we had just put on, got into some fresh dry clothes and cranked the AC up.  Mitch even sat in front of the vent by the nav station with a fan directing the blow at each of us intermittently like an oscillating fan.  It was only around 5:00 p.m., though, and the crew was absolutely beat.  

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Two-hour nights shifts always seems exhausting the first night but your body just has to adjust.  After the second night of two hours on, two hours off, I usually feel like I’ve acclimated a bit and I’m not near as tired on the third day.  But that second day is always a killer.  We were trying to stay awake because we knew a “nap” would turn into a near-coma.  We wanted to at least stay up long enough to get some dinner and then really get a good night’s rest that evening so we could sail out of Clearwater fresh at first light and make it to either Apalachicola or─if things were going really well─all the way back to Pensacola in one passage.  We knew this was the “real jaunt.”  The passage from Ft. Myers to Clearwater had been a pretty much parallel to shore.  And, once we got to the Apalachicola area, the rest of the trip would also be, pretty much, a hug of the shore.  This passage, however─from Clearwater to Apalachicola─would be the true Gulf crossing.  This is where we would find ourselves on our longest leg of the trip and the furthest from shore.  Let’s just say if Mother Nature sensed any opportune time to jack us around, this would be it.  And, this is the exact time, last time─when Phillip, Mitch and I were bringing our boat back from Punta Gorda, FL to Pensacola─that she decided to really see what we were made of.  The last time the three of us made this passage we found ourselves in the middle of the night, in the middle of the Gulf, sawing our dinghy off the davits in 4-6 foot seas that had sheared every bolt we had left to hold her.  If there was any part of this trip to really be concerned about, this was it.

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We checked the weather, for the forty-fourth time that day.  The winds promised to be variable and light.  Kind of annoying.  It might mean more boring motoring.  If that prediction held.  And the sea-state looked to be calm.  It definitely appeared to be a good window.  We deemed it safe to go and decided we would leave the next morning as soon as we woke.  But, we needed a good night’s rest.  Our eyes were drooping we decided to venture out for an “adventure dinner” to wake ourselves up.  It was fun seeing the old “big boobs diner” we had eaten at the first time Phillip, Mitch and I stopped in Clearwater when we were bringing our Niagara home back in 2013.  

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We decided this time to saunter over to Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe for dinner and even opted for the early bird special, without shame.  

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I could tell I was tired when the only thing I felt after two stout rum drinks was sleepy.  Exhaustion is a total buzzkill.  We ambled back to the boat and cuddled up in our frozen palace to get a solid night’s rest before shoving back out into the Gulf the next day.  

“Mitch,” I said shaking his shoulder a bit.  Phillip and I had snoozed through the alarm twice before finally rolling out of bed and Mitch hadn’t yet moved.  After his first night holding solo shifts on an offshore passage, I’m sure that was the most tired he can remember feeling.  And, we’ll be nice and say that’s a testament to his state of exhaustion not his memory.  “Mitch!” I shouted giving him a solid shove.  He finally flinched to with a snort and looked at me in total shock, as if he didn’t know where he was, who I was and why the hell I was shoving him awake.  I stood there with a raised eyebrow for a minute and he finally decided to check back into reality and started rustling out of bed.  He said he couldn’t even remember laying down the night before.  We had all just about felt that way.  But after a good ten hours of sleep we were all feeling pretty rested and ready to get underway.  We readied the Nonsuch and started talking about a plan to de-dock.  Again, we made Mitch make all the decisions and simply tell us what lines to release when.  Now, I’ll give him a solid A on the plan but a B on the execution.  As soon as he put the boat in reverse and started to throttle her up, instantly the stern started kicking over to port.  Sharp too.  I was on the port side and pushing with all of my might near the beam but her stern continued to pivot around.  

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I looked over at Phillip on starboard but he’d already let off the bow line per Mitch’s instruction and didn’t have any way to control the nose of the boat.  The further she kept turning, I watched with clenched teeth as the finger dock we had been using to get on and off the boat on the port side began to jut in through the lifelines.  I scrambled toward it, braced my back against the cabin top and tried to push it out with my feet.  

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It was inching out  but not fast enough.  As the boat continued to move backward, the finger pier made contact with the stanchion post and I was afraid she was going to snap it over like a weed, ripping a hole in the deck in the process.  I hate docking.  Have I said that before?  Well …  And de-docking too.  It’s always so stressful to watch your precious boat inch closer and closer to sure peril.  But!  Mitch saved us!  With some instruction from Phillip but still─he did the right thing at the right time.  Mitch threw her in forward, gassed her up and steered her right back into the slip.  I was so glad to see the finger pier ease out from the lifelines and back away from the boat.  Lesson to be learned here: check the rudder before you begin backing out.  Mitch forgot to make sure it was lined up straight before backing out.  Again, an easy mistake to make that could have cost him hundreds in damage.  I don’t man the helm often and I can’t say I would remember to do that every time.  Sailing.  No one said it was easy.  

Once we got the boat secure again, Phillip headed back in the cockpit to help Mitch re-group.  I was still up on deck tying a line when Phillip so Mitch probably didn’t think I could hear.  “Do you think I can handle this boat, Phillip?” Mitch asked and my ears perked up.  I did feel for him.  After a scary experience like that, you start to doubt yourself.  “Of course,” Phillip immediately responded, which you may think sounds like he was placating Mitch but he wouldn’t.  It was the truth.  He could.  Like any new boat owner, Mitch just needed to make the important mistakes while help was around.  With the simple fix of lining up the rudder before backing out, Mitch handled the second attempt flawlessly.  Seriously, Phillip and I let off the lines and he slipped out without any assistance.  Even after that heart-pumping first attempt.  I would have congratulated him but he didn’t even relish in the moment.  He was all business.  The minute he eased her out, Mitch clocked her around, put her in forward and started heading toward the channel.  Phillip and I watched him silently for a minute like proud parents.  He was doing it all by himself.  

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But as soon as we were all smiles and cheer for him he had us cracking up again with one of his Mitch’isms.  He was watching the GPS trying to steer his way out of the channel and I’m sure he was a little shook up from our docking debacle and the whole adventure in general but he kept weaving back and forth in the narrow channel.  We let it slide a time or two but after a few back-and-forths we had to ask.  “What’s going on buddy?” I hollered from the deck.  Mitch was quiet at first.  Then he started muttering a little and finally said, “Oh, now I get it.  I’m the long line.”  Phillip and I exchanged a raised-eyebrow look.  “You’re what?” I asked.  “The long line,” Mitch repeated.  “I couldn’t tell on the GPS which line was the heading or me.  But, I get it now.  I’m the long line.”  

Mitch.  He’s like a gray blonde sometimes, and so cute about it.  We still joke about the long line.

But, as tired as we had been the night before, it was (and is always) so invigorating to get back out in blue water.  Nothing but a blue horizon in every direction.  Water meets sky and that’s it.  

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It’s stunning, mesmerizing.  Some may find it frightening to not see shore, to not─without the assistance of charts, a compass or (nowadays) a GPS─know which way will lead you back home.  Some fear this detachment.  We love it.  Phillip and I sat on the deck all morning just staring at the blue infinity stretched out before us.  It felt so good to be back out in the Gulf.  It was strange to think it was the same body of water that had rocked and tossed us last time, submerged and swallowed our dinghy because it now looked so calm.  Big thunderheads began to build on our stern again in the afternoon but we motored on, ready for whatever adventure she had in store.  

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Thanks to my Patrons who help me share the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board.

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