Ghost Towns

Go figure. We move our boat 500 miles South expecting warm weather and the entire country is engulfed by unseasonal cold weather. Freezing weather – even in Florida. We are bundled up and move slowly Eastward down the ICW, stopping at The Wharf in Orange Beach; then Pensacola for a lovely 2 days giving us time to enjoy the restaurants, art museums, and Palafox Marina; then Baytowne Marina in Miramar Beach, Fl. In each case we encountered ghost towns. The tourists are gone, the freezing temps have forced the locals indoors. It’s eerie in a way and nice in a way. Entire resorts to ourselves. White sand beaches empty. Turquoise waters shining in the Sun; empty. We motor onward, enjoying the comfort of our heated pilothouse and reflecting on the “old days” when we sat outside in the cockpit of our sailboats in foul weather gear come rain or shine or freezing temps. What a difference it is on board Tivoli! We are very comfortable. The wind whistles outside, the temps hover at freezing, yet we are comfortable in our quiet cocoon….isolated from the elements. Many would find this unsettling; we find it simply comfortable. We watch the miles pass, dolphins play at the bow, pelicans dive for fish, time passes, miles pass, and before we know it we have arrived at our next destination.

It isn’t all fun and games. There is work to be done. We have to “water up”; i.e. fill the water tanks whenever we get an opportunity. We have to find a post office, we have to fuel up when prices are good, we have to tend to all the boat systems. We have to wash the windows frequently as salt spray tends to wreak havoc on them on a regular basis. We are constantly on guard for shoaling, other boats, ships, barges, etc. It can be somewhat stressful even though we still can enjoy the journey.

Next stop: Panama City. We plan to meet our friends Gerald and Cheri on Takes Two, a beautiful DeFever 49, and when weather is appropriate cross the Gulf to Tampa, a 220 mile overnight offshore overnight journey. Everything now depends on the weather.

Today we realized we departed AYH only 13 days ago…not even two weeks, and yet we have done so much, met so many new people, and seen so many things.

And it’s just begun.

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