I was sad to leave Beatitude. Who will watch over her while we are gone for 11 days? We’ll be staying in a hotel while in Lakeland, during which time I’ll do my stretch of 10 shifts in the emergency department over 9 days. I’ll then have an “off” day to study for the emergency medicine boards on Monday, September 8 prior to taking the eight hour test on Tuesday in Port Charlotte. After the test, we’ll return to Marco Island to be reunited with our home.
Our first month of cruising has come to a close. Cindy commented last evening how that everything has gone almost perfectly. We’ve had excellent weather for the entire three weeks since leaving Regatta Pointe. We’ve had no major issues with the boat. We’ve been able to adhere to our “planned” route without exception. It has definitely been a wonderful experience that we’ve both enjoyed.
The negatives? First of all, it was hot! We obviously expected this, leaving at the peak of summer. Although we would run the AC periodically (this requires running the generator), most of the time we depended on the breeze for cooling. If we do extended cruising in the tropics, we’ll have to get used to this. We have fans in our bedroom which help, but if there is no breeze and it is 80+° at night, it is uncomfortable.
The second negative was the biting insects at Pelican Bay. This was not totally unexpected given that it was in the middle of summer and we were immersed in nature. We weren’t exactly prepared with adequate anti-bug measures, either. Once we moved on to Ft. Myers, Naples, and Marco Island, all more urban environments, bugs were no problem. Next time, we’ll be more prepared, but to some degree, if you want to get back to nature, you’ll have to put up with some pests.
Not having dependable wifi was an inconvenience in most places. We’ve become quite dependent on having access to information when and where we want. It’s annoying trying to work on blog posts and upload pictures with slow or intermittent web access. We are thankful that we did have excellent cell phone reception everywhere we went on this leg of our journey. It was also different not having access to TV, which is mostly a good thing. Other negatives have to do with life aboard a boat in general, the likes of which we had to deal with for the last two years while at the marina, such as leaky hatches, head smells, etc. These will likely never go away completely and come with the lifestyle.
The positives? Beautiful sunrises and gorgeous sunsets. Dolphins, herons, and flying fish. Pelicans and laughing gulls. Sunshine, rain showers, and spectacular lightning displays. Lovely, sandy white beaches. Cool, refreshing swims in the warm gulf waters. Hiking and kayaking. Visiting and learning about new places. Good food and beverages. Meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Spending time with and growing with your spouse. Freedom to do what you want, when you want, and go where you want.
The verdict at this point of our cruising adventures is overwhelmingly positive. We’re looking forward to the next leg of our journey. More on that later.