We pulled over for the night at a random little town on the Intracoastal waterway in Florida for the night. Checked ‘Accuweather’ which is a clever little play on the word accurate. Hah. They reckoned we had between 1 and 7 percent chance of rain for the eve, overnight and morning. Pretty good odds for a dry peaceful night!
The eleven p.m. deluge was ok, didn’t last long and cleaned the boat. Right? Ok, so they got that one wrong.
At 6 am as I stood looking out at the dark grey angry mix of clouds and ocean, not able to see land, cringing at the incessant lightning bolts attacking the water surface, thunder assaulting my ears, rain rivaling the days of Noah… I was happy we were relatively safe in our little ‘ark’. I realised we must be that one percent!
And then, just like that, nature swung it all around and sucked it all away, and the morning sun poured in. Pours in now. In fact, I have to try to find a tiny corner in the boat where I can stop squinting and see my screen. It’s a life of extremes. In weather, in experiences, in emotions.
On the upside, we discovered a cute little town called Melbourne Beach that we had never stopped at before. Walked to the beach, found a family run grocery store that had wine tasting – hello! We liked that store a lot.
Yesterday we were in a town further south. Tonight we will be in a town further north. Precisely 18 miles further north. We are not moving quickly. That’s not what ICW (Intracoastal waterway) travel is all about. The moving, the trawling (because it’s definitely NOT sailing!) is actually quite boring. Navigate a very narrow channel through a wide expanse of shallows, lined with mansions, shacks, trailer parks. The water is brown. But it’s full of dolphins and fish and crabs and shrimps and pelicans duck and dive around us. They provide the entertainment for the trip.
What the Intracoastal waterway provides, is the chance to peek into all the little towns that line the shores.
It’s an open ended adventure. We accept the challenge. It’s been a while. Haven’t been on these waters in three years! Last year Shiloh waited patiently for us in the Bahamas, the year before that we also kept her in Georgetown in the hurricane season and missed this part of the yearly migration.
We should be up in St Augustine in a couple weeks. Shiloh needs a good bottom cleaning and some systems checked. So we will haul her out and leave her on stilts for a few months, fingers crossed there will be no major hurricanes. In the meantime, we seem to be the only cruisers left out on the water. All the boats are tucked up into marinas, clinging to that false security of ‘protection’ from the storms. We all know there is really no such thing. When a hurricane comes barreling at you, there is no prep that is going to save you. It’s a sobering thought. When Irma hit the BVI’s in 2017, the massive fleet of Moorings boats had been tied up and stored with meticulous attention to detail and safety. In the aftermath of Irma, the photos showed chaos, carnage. Boats strung across the island, crushed, shattered, sunk, upside down on hills…they lost 95% of their fleet.
Right, so this is fun! No really, it is. Boat life in this part of the world does carry with it some serious risks, but nothing good in life ever comes without risk.
Boat life has been so much more than the storms and risky endeavours. It has opened up a world of opportunity to meet and embrace the most amazing people. Literally. We have made so many friends who are family. Friends from everywhere who we meet anywhere and pick up where we left off.
We've traded the remoteness and turquoise waters of the Bahamas for Walmarts and FM radio stations and cheap gas. But this trip up the ICW is full of reunions and meet ups and catch ups and it is the gel that pulls together everything we do, and why we do it. Boating has brought us a richer life with a tapestry of people that have forever changed and enriched us.
Maybe in terms of luck, we really are ARE the one percent!