We were getting down to the final days of our time at the house. Trips to the donation stations and the dump were no longer daily occurrences. The storage unit was almost full and the house was almost empty. Just as we were getting ready to leave, I get a call from a client with a project and we decide that its time to slow it down for a few days and work. Believe it or not, it was nice to sit and work for a day and not be so physically worn out. Jeff is busy finishing up the last minute details on the boat - change the oil, regular maintenance and the outboard needed some additional service because we had filled the gas tank with ethanol gas and not marine grade gasoline. Yes, we learned a big lesson.
Our wonderful friends had come to help us with a trailer and clear up the final Items at the house - like our bed....in storage. (Thanks Jason and Michele!) At last, we were sleeping on the boat. Issue was there was stuff everywhere and lots of it and we still needed to provision. Where does all this "stuff" go? So once the work was done and the house was empty and cleaned up - I started working on putting stuff away. No way I was going to be able to start the trip with the boat in this state. Turns out - we had additional items to get off the boat as well.
We had to go through our clothes again...duplicates were removed - It took me about 3 hours to get it done. Clothing turned out to be one of the hardest things for me. Feeling overwhelmed one day - I decided to just leave it alone and deal with it the next morning. After a good nights rest, I could not only tackle the hanging lockers but I was very decisive and pragmatic about my decisions. The rest went back into storage. Jeff is much better at this. We kept some hoodies and sweaters and a couple pairs of jeans - and as I write this I think “Thank GOD” because it’s been quite cold and rainy and without these layers we would not have been comfortable. I have some space saving bags that currently contain our “summer” gear which will be swapped with our winter gear once we get to where "the butter melts"….freezing toes and in 5 layers today that seems like its still far away.
Provisioning. Deltaville has a nice market and I found everything I needed there, plus I had some things from our own kitchen to bring such as paper products, cleaning supplies, spices, canned goods, water and some refrigerator things too. Sriracha is a staple at my house - so that of course was going to make it onboard. I have a provisioning spreadsheet I use so I don't forget the staples and comfort items. (I was happy to have Oatmeal on board the first few days - it made for a warm breakfast and provided the energy we needed to perform under stress in the morning.) We had books we wanted to bring along - some were too much so we donated them to the marina’s captain lounge.
As the week continued, we decided to leave on a Friday (which is a No-No to sailor superstition) and sure enough, we had not even left the dock and Jeff says “somethings not right.” WHAT! What do you mean. We get out of our slip and head out the marina to Fishing Bay. He says "take the wheel" - pulls open the lazaret and sure enough, the autopilot is off the housing and he felt it pop as he turned the wheel to get out of the slip….so, he doesn’t call his mother, he doesn’t call Tow Boat, nope he calls Randy who had been at the dock to hand us our line as we were about to head out on our adventure.
We pull back into the slip and Jeff goes to work immediately. I’m down below still working on setting things in their proper place on the boat and basically trying to stay out of the way- All of a sudden I hear someone in the lazaret calling my name - It’s Randy! He’s in the lazaret trying to figure out if we can fix it or need a technician/mechanic to repair. Turns out we did need some help and we did get it fixed and calibrated later that day. One more “last meal” of Cheeseburgers in Deltaville with our friends and we were out by 8:25 AM ET on November 4th, 2017. Finally making our way out of Deltaville on Saturday, the day we were supposed to leave. All things happen for a reason I guess.
As we start to make our way out to the channel, I look back at Fishing Bay and wonder when will I see her again? I do get a little nostalgic for it - more because I miss our friends and making plans to see them and enjoy their company. I am confident though that we will share meals and have more stories to tell sooner than later. For now, we are starting this next phase with excitement and our eyes on the Intracoastal.