Tuesday, January 17
Holy cow, I hadn't realized how long it has been since we last posted to our blog! Thanks go to all of you who wrote to us (primarily to ascertain whether or not we were still alive). Yes, all is currently well...but we had a rough go of it for awhile. During the really rough trip over to Fort Myers Beach from Pensacola coming across the Gulf, we took on a lot of water over the bow and, unbeknownst to us, we had a leak on the forward port deck at the chainplate, which allowed water to enter the boat...right into the bottom of the mattress. The black mold continued to expand until one day we realized how sick I (Sue) had become. Al had started showing symptoms first, with what he thought was a cold & sore throat. Sue, being leery of catching Al's cold, opted to sleep on the settee in the saloon area and was semi-ok there. However, once she decided that Al was probably no longer contagious, she hopped back into bed with him, only to find that she could barely swallow the next morning. Still thinking that it was a cold (or possibly breathing the air from the "red tide" that had recently inundated the Fort Myers area), she persevered, only to begin having huge coughing attacks and a bacterial infection that developed in her lymph glands in her throat. When we FINALLY got smart and lifted up the mattress, it was amazing to see the mold that had been growing underneath us while we slept. We got the mattress off the boat and we got Sue off the boat (along with a dose of antibiotics), driving her to the Florida Keys to a little motel where she stayed for three days, taking cortisone and breathing much better air. Today she is on the mend (the mattress is toast), Al has cleaned the interior of the boat of mold, and he is now in the process of re-caulking the teak decking to seal off any leaks (a really difficult and messy business that takes a lot of practice to do well...but he is fast becoming a pro at it and the newly caulked area looks wonderful!)
In any case, the above is only one of many reasons we have continued staying in the Fort Myers area. We have enjoyed being able to spend some time with Al's older brother, Jim, and his love, Phyllis. Also, Al's younger brother, Glenn, and his wife, LeeAnn, arrived yesterday from Erie to spend several months down here in their new home, getting away from dreary Erie's wintry days, so it will be great fun getting to spend some time with them as well. Jack & Tatiana on Pashka (who we "buddy boated" with from Pensacola) have today left us and are heading to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson (a day's sail west from Key West, FL). Our understanding is that it is gorgeous there and the snorkeling is phenomenal. We hope to get there one day. In the meantime, Al's feverishly working on caulking and sanding the deck (which he secretly loves doing). We want to get it done before we do any additional sailing where we might once again encounter less than optimal weather. The current plan (and we have found that any of our plans are only good for one day at a time) is to leave Fort Myers either at the end of this week or the beginning of next and to sail down to Marathon in the Florida Keys, staying briefly at Boot Key Harbor, which has a huge mooring field and is loaded with other cruising sailors such as ourselves. We then plan on sailing to The Bahamas where Sue's son, Mark, his wife, Citlali, and their one-year-old little one, Roman, will be joining us in late February. Due to Roman's recent spurt of activity (we understand he is crawling like a demon and is close to walking), Mark & Citlali have opted to find a place on land to stay (once we can tell them where to start looking!) and day sail with us rather than stay aboard full time. We therefore want to get to The Bahamas as soon as possible so that we can get the lay of the land, at least to the point of figuring out where we might best be able to hook up with them on a daily basis. Right now, having never been to The Bahamas, it doesn't appear to be an easy task. We don't even know what island to send them to! Ah, well. These things have a way of working themselves out and we think we'll all have a ball.
Once again, thanks to all of you who have inquired as to whether or not we were still alive and kicking; we really appreciate your following our progress (such as it's been lately). We'll try to be better at keeping you up to date in future postings. Until then,
Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea