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It was late December, 2010 when Kim and I began this journey. After having sold all of our stuff and quit our jobs, we came to Florida to live on a boat. A LOT has happened since then, and we have no regrets. We’ve been blessed with an incredible life, and for that we are eternally grateful.
I have many reasons to give thanks. In no particular order, here are a few of the reasons I’m a happy man this Thanksgiving:
After almost six years, we are still deeply in love with Leap of Faith. She’s been a great vessel, sturdy and reliable. She’s forgiven our mistakes, and carried us through the storms. We couldn’t have asked for a more rock solid platform to fulfill our dreams on.
I’ve got to give it to her. Kim has been a fantastic mate. Through it all, good days and bad days, she’s been steadfast. I’ve put her through too many trials to mention here, but she’s stuck with the lifestyle, (and me). Together we’ve explored most of Florida, all of the Keys, and a big chunk of the Bahamas. She’s huddled below as lightning struck all around us. She’s been through waves bigger than we should have ever been in. She’s gone without so many things that other women take for granted, like hot showers and even a working head. She’s supported me and encouraged me in my writing career. God bless her. Love you, Kim.
When I wrote Leap of Faith, I had no idea what would come of it. To my amazement, people bought it. They continue to buy it today. I was encouraged to continue writing. To date, I’ve published nine books. My readers have been a loyal bunch. Their support drives me. My success as an author still astounds me. It’s our only source of income, and we’re doing just fine, thank you. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do. I’ve got no timeclock to punch, no boss to answer to, and no particular place to be. I’ll continue to write as long as the readers continue to buy my stuff. I can’t thank those people enough.
Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. This year we are spending it at Palm Island Marina, in Cape Haze, Florida. It will be filled with gratitude on my part. I couldn’t ask for a better boat, a better wife, or a better career. I’m a lucky man.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF YOU.
RIP Captain Jack
Today the cruising world lost a beloved member. Captain Jack passed away at the age of 93, on his boat in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon.
We met him on our first trip to Marathon over five years ago. He’s greeted cruisers from all over the world upon their arrival in Boot Key.
He had a special affinity for pretty ladies. His favorite thing to do was hand them wild flowers that he picked of the hibiscus tree near the marina.
He also liked to ask for hugs, then try to cop a feel! No lady was safe from his charm.
He also painted sea scapes on shells, and would gift his creations to his special friends. Kim still has hers:
One morning a few years back, he came onto the morning radio net and announced that he had “lost his equilibrium.” It didn’t stop him though. He got hooked up with a Home Depot shopping cart and used it as a walker. He’s been a mainstay of the cruising community in Marathon for longer than most of us have been alive. He had thousands of stories to tell from his long life on the water.
He’ll be greatly missed by many.
Farewell, Captain. We are all wishing you fair winds and calm seas on your journey. Thanks for touching so many lives.
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In the digital age, there are many resources available for one to learn about the cruising/liveaboard lifestyle. Personal blogs, sailing and cruising websites, and a host of cruising and liveaboard Facebook pages. In my mind, there is one that stands out for it’s constant stream of pure, helpful information.
And more, including product reviews, helpful hints, what works, and what doesn’t work.
We’ve had the pleasure of being neighbors with Dave and Carolyn Shearlock the past two winters in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon. We’ve watched them go through the trials of outfitting a new boat. We’ve followed them through their Bahamas trip via Facebook.
If you haven’t already discovered their website or Facebook page, Follow the links for more information than you can absorb on the liveaboard life, and how to make it easier. You won’t be disappointed.
We love our life in Florida. We’ve traveled south Florida and the Keys extensively aboard our boat, enjoying the beauty of her beaches and waters. We live on the water, every single day. That’s why it’s so sad to report on the horrible water problems we now face. We’ve watched our waterways undergo a constant barrage of pollution, fresh water influx, toxic algae, red tide, and even radiation.
The water in south Florida is not safe.
It starts with Lake Okeechobee and the manmade disaster that directs the lakes waters east and west to the coast, instead of south through the Everglades as nature intended. I wrote about it here:
But that’s not the end of our problems. Recently, heavy rains caused massive amounts of sewage to flow into Tampa Bay and surrounding waters.
The latest total estimate of St. Petersburg’s spilled sewage now stands at 128 million gallons — and that’s not counting the unknown amount of waste that gushed from more than 40 manholes onto city streets.
Most of that waste has been dumped into Tampa Bay. But the latest reported spill took place in west St. Petersburg, and much of it emptied out of stormwater drains into Boca Ciega Bay.
St. Petersburg’s latest spill brings the total estimate of waste local utilities released across the bay area to 230 million gallons — an amount that has continued to climb since Hermine’s drenching rains. And the city’s estimates could continue to rise.
At the same time, the west coast of Florida is seeing the annual arrival of red tide on its beaches. It’s not believed that sewage creates red tide, but it does fuel it, causing a bloom to expand exponentially. The resulting fish kills are an economic and ecological disaster.
All the beaches from Anna Maria Island down to Don Pedro look like this. Venice, Englewood, Siesta Key, Manasota Key . . . who wants to go to the beach?
More heavy rains have increased the discharges from Lake O once again, pouring black water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. These massive influxes of fresh water pour out onto each coast, carrying phosphates, fertilizers, and sediment to fragile estuaries.
If that wasn’t enough, Florida has suffered two separate incidents which allowed radiation to enter not just a waterway, but also into an major aquifer that supplies drinking water to a large portion of the state.
A radioactive isotope linked to water from power plant cooling canals has been found in high levels in Biscayne Bay, confirming suspicions that Turkey Point’s aging canals are leaking into the nearby national park.
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