There are a lot of uncertainties after that. Numbers for home sales and unemployment rates are not encouraging, but selling the condo is a must do or all cruising bets are off. Even if the condo goes the the grim specter of having to find a paycheck for a while to fill the hole in our budget looms. How I envy those who made a clean get-a-way; who can stop at a marina without counting pennies, drink a $3 beer at the local watering hole without thinking the ones on the boat cost half as much, or contemplate boat projects without cringing. After nearly 19 months in the water and 4000 miles under her keel, and while somewhat neglected during the summer of the Bear, Kintala is deserving of a little tender loving care. Some kind of auto pilot is a must. Bottom paint, fiberglass work where 50 knot winds left their mark, the non-skid on deck is getting ugly, we would like to add another solar panel and more batteries to the bank; all things that need attention. And I am sure at least one pretty big job lurks somewhere that has yet to raise its head. In fact one of my major concerns is getting caught too far north again, too late in the season, and facing another winter run down the ICW. That would be a big “Ugh” indeed.
On the other hand … Daughters and Grand Kids await, including the newest due within weeks. There are friends we hope to see, and other friends we hope to meet and join on the trek south with come late summer. Some still in the Islands are thinking of heading to the Chesapeake for the summer. Others are already north of us, and we will be meeting them as soon as we get to Oak Harbor. That will be a fair and happy reunion, one of the true joys of this life. The idea of hooking up for a few weeks of traveling together is enough to take the gloom off of a day like this one. Come fall we may not get far, but we will get somewhere. Jobs, if they be necessary, will have to be found where where the snow doesn't fly nor the water freeze. Home will still mean Kintala. While her sailing capabilities can only be admired, her cold weather livability leaves much to be desired.
A summer of labor followed by a winter of cruising seems a pretty common theme. If we settle into being members of that part of the cruising tribe, we will be keeping good company. But first, one more day of cold, then two more days of travel.