Friday, January 30, 2009

The Countdown Has Begun!!

As unbelievable as this seems to me, in less than one month (yes four very short weeks), the adventurers of Gypsies in the Palace will be leaving their homes in Kennebunkport and Manchester for parts unknown down in the little latitudes. What started as a “grand bar scheme” (thank you Scott Kirby) while we were on vacation down in St. John over a year and a half ago is actually fast becoming a reality. Excitement and panic are starting to merge as we all realize how much more we need to accomplish before we actually head out of the Kennebunk River for the start of the grand adventure. When we left work at the end of March (or February in John’s case or June in Colleen’s case – she was a late bloomer), we thought there would be plenty of time – wrong!! We all have our lists – to do, to buy, to bring, to sell, give or throw away, to call, etc. – you get the picture and yes, they all have to get done before we leave the dock!! I’ve come to believe that my lists are wizard lists (as in Harry Potter) because no matter how many things I cross off, my lists continue to grow each day instead of becoming shorter. But we’ve sold many of our possessions - house, cars, furniture – you name it so there’s no turning back from here. Ready or not, we’ll be throwing off those dock lines in Kennebunkport on Friday, August 29th – of course, mother nature permitting. To go cruising and have fun, you need to give up any notion that you are in control – mother nature controls all and you only venture forth with her permission and good wishes – get used to it!

Right now I am writing this from the bridge of Gypsies while watching the sun set over the Royal River in Casco Bay and while enjoying a sundowner (cruising speak for a frosty cold beer) – life is good! Doug and I steamed Gypsies here from Kennebunkport today for some final work and maintenance. What a fun trip - relatively flat seas and only on and off rain which for us just means moving from the flybridge up top to the enclosed helm station below. We managed to avoid the gale force winds and heavy downpours we saw on the radar – thank you mother nature – today she was benevolent. Lets hope that continues! Colleen just got here and John we hear is on the way – good thing because as our chief morale officer, John is in charge of drinks!

“Have I told you how much I love this boat?” is often heard on Gypsies – but it’s true. We couldn’t have picked a better boat for this life we are soon embarking on but even she needs a little TLC before we put thousands (yes thousands) of miles on her. So we don’t spend every waking moment of our adventure scrubbing the abundant barnacles and sea life that we hear accumulate on a boat’s bottom at an alarming rate in the warm latitudes, she is getting fresh anti-fouling bottom paint. Since Colleen and John need to sleep at night in the forward berth, Gypsies is also getting a seawater wash down so we can wash the anchor each time we haul it thereby getting rid of all that wonderful growth mentioned above. If you’ve ever smelled dried seaweed, you understand and I’ll say no more. While Gypsies is here at the boat yard, she will be getting some other last minute tune-ups and maintenance so hopefully once we set sail (ok - fire up the big John Deere diesels but setting sail sounds more romantic and adventurous), she’ll be kicking up her heels and ready to go!

Tomorrow while they pull Gypsies out of the water to do the paint, the four of us are off to an all day first aid/CPR course. As we’ve already found out, personal knowledge of first aid can be very important when at sea and nowhere near a real doctor. Yes – we’re all fine, just a little lost blood! Seriously though, its just one more thing we need to learn to be self sufficient out on the water – one more thing we never really thought was too important when we lived in Boston among the best hospitals in the world. When we are in Grenada and I get stung by a jelly fish or step on a sea urchin (because you know it will be me!), I want someone to know how to stop the pain with more than a bottle of rum (although that will be part of the cure too I’m sure) or to pee on it.

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