... and yet one more colossal myth of the life of a liveaboard has been debunked.
But it seemed like such a logical idea. No rent, cable TV, utilities, car insurance., Just us, the dog, the boat, a few provisioning runs, and some diesel. Dear God, the savings were going to abound!
Actually, the savings were going to abound if we could get the hell off the dock and therefore keep me out of the stores. Because you see, when you realize you're really going to cast off those lines for good and head out into the wild blue yonder, you really get the urge to shop. At least I did, and normally I detest shopping. But each and every day that brought us closer to launch I'd run (literally as we no longer had a vehicle) to the Dollar Tree (poor Hans was initially puzzled as to why I felt the need to buy 10 solar lights and a child's sand bucket. BTW, he's now been brought into the light), the Winn-Dixie, CVS, or Wal-Mart. It's like you think you'll never see another store again.
My Dollar Tree solar lights at work on our stern
So, with our boat packed to the brim with provisions we finally left our marina and motored a whole half hour to Boca Ciega Bay where we spent the night at anchor. Mostly, we wanted to make sure our new propellors and raw water cooling pumps were in working order before we made the big break. The next day we headed on out into the gulf and enjoyed a beautiful sail and came into the Longboat Key inlet (supposedly tricky but it was well marked). After the bridge opening we carefully (and yes, this part is a bit tricky, just follow your chart and motor along parallel to the bridge) found our way into the achorage at Moore's Crab Shack and dropped the hook.
At anchor in Longboat Key
We were so close to the docks that a dinghy ride certainly seemed to be the order of the day. At least that's what an anxious Wilbur told us, so off we went. Until our dinghy motor died, and died, and died. It never did come back to life and we ended up rowing. Not such a big deal and after a minor skirmish with some mangroves and trying to keep Wilbur from jumping out, we finally unloaded at a dock and had lunch where Wilbur enjoyed some fish paste (mine) and salty sticks (Hans' french fries). Once we were back on the boat we knew there was no way we'd be rowing on back in for the Superbowl (at night with the wind and the tide) and we were able to get our digital TV antenna working right about half time, not that it really mattered.
The trouble maker being towed behind us
We stayed for one more day (crappy weather) and then continued our way south. Before leaving we made arrangements for the Dinghy Motor Doctor to meet us in Sarasota and three hours later we pulled into Marina Jack's where he took her (note, anything that causes trouble on the boat is automatically labeled 'she') off our hands. Marina Jack's has a huge mooring field (we've stayed there twice) but we ended up in the tiny anchorage just north of the marina. Wow! We were saving about thirty dollars a day and boy were we excited. Of course this doesn't count the money we spent on diesel, ice, fuel additives, lunch out, and a trip to Publix (a nice one mile walk).
At anchor beside Marina Jack's in Sarasota
Wilbur has been doing his best to adapt to our new lifestyle. He's been really good about getting his 'business' done on the potty patch regardless of the generator being right in his face. But he does burn a lot of nervous energy during the day and when we're on the move he will not go down below and instead, shivers and pants in the cockpit. Once we drop the anchor he'll gobble down his dinner and pass out in our bunk. It's very strange and almost lonely to spend the evening without a dog snoring in the salon. Our last day in Sarasota was extremely stressful for Wilbur when we left him alone (unforgivable sin in his pitty book) while we walked to Publix and then to add insult to injury we locked him down below when the Dinghy Motor Doctor showed up with our outboard. You see, a dinghy, to Wilbur, is just like a car to other dogs and if he thinks for one second we might try to go for a ride without him he goes nuts. Needless to say we didn't want him screaming like a tasmanian devil at the good doctor.
A nervous and cold pitty
With the motor and its rebuilt carburetor and new fuel line now returned I went down below to check on the little man only to find him puking on the floor of our berth. I totally felt his pain and would have gladly puked with him as we had just received the doctor's final bill.
To the tune of $551.00.
So at the end of the day, we've been gone one week, we've spent over $700.00, and we've moved a whopping twenty miles.
At this pace our retirement funds will be gone by the time we get to the Bahamas.
Let the savings begin!
A warm and happy pitty