Yep the title of this post kind of goes both ways…
I really don’t like things thrown at me that make me think on my feet. I guess I don’t like my plans to get disrupted, but it’s part of life on the water. It’s part of owning a boat. It’s part of making plans and dreams for people and then have a part decide to give up and change everything… So it goes.
I had an amazing 7 day charter all planned out and some pretty wonderful people to share it with. It takes a lot of time to plan, long distance and make sure everything is in place. I spend hours at the computer communicating with people. Finding everything I can about them, what they want, what their expectations are, what their comfort levels are and food choices, destinations, activities, menus, transportation, timing… The list goes on.
Once that is all written up and approved, it’s time for me to ready Panacea for her guests. We clean, and check and double check hoses, clamps, wiring, fluids, strainers, connections, filters and other parts in general. We put together the tools we may need and parts extra parts as well as emergency tapes, compounds, plugs etc. that may be needed as we are basically our own little island.
We fuel up and carry extra oil for the transmission, engine and coolant for the cooling system. We have a dinghy, life jackets for offshore use, up to date flares and signaling systems and VHF as well as SSB radios and an E.P.I.R.B
We try to outguess and set up contingency plans “just in case.” So what could go wrong…
Well we left in the morning and traveled 11 hours out into the Gulf of Mexico and somewhere around 2300 Alex was below and heard a noise. He called me down and we peaked into the engine compartment. There it was the salt water pump pulley wobbling and spinning chewing up the pump shaft into small chunks of metal and shavings. Damn!
Killed the engine and assessed the situation. We had a part fail that just couldn’t be patched up with out a new part. We floated with the wind on our nose and a rag of a jib up as we directed our course toward Key West instead of Marathon. I sat in silence for a bit talked it through with Karl, he is the new friend we had on board from Canada and this was his trip, his dream.
Not much we could do… #1, we could have limped into Marathon or Key West and looked for a pump and pulley. The last time I looked for parts we got the name of a guy that lived in the keys and knew our engine, but only poked his head out on sunny days about 2 times a week and then ordered parts. I didn’t want to get stuck in the Keys for a week or two waiting for parts.
We connected with, what I called, an Angelic Wind that was coming out of the east at about 15 to 18 knots with seas from the south east… A real nice run up the coast. 16 hours later, we were back in our home waters being towed in with Tow Boat US. That’s a good service to have.
On our way back up we had a chance to talk over the options and the next morning they were on the Key West Express heading for the 3.5 hour run to Key West.
They snorkeled, did a dive trip, ate in great places and checked out the amazing destination of Key West. It’s a special place. After a couple of days there, they headed back and boarded the boat on Saturday night. Sunday morning we sailed to Naples. Spent the night at the Naples Boat Club and then back up the coast to Fort Myers Beach on Sunday.
Monday they were back in Canada telling stories that they didn’t know they were going to be telling, but as far as I can tell had a great time and Karl was as great, flexible sailor. Something new for him from what I understand. Not the sailor part, the flexible part.
For me, it was, well kind of hard to change all those plans. I was focused and had all my bases covered, well except for one.
All in all we made great friends and are in hopes of seeing them again and again. They taught me a lot and I could listen to Karl play that guitar all day long. He’s got some fingers.
So is the way of chartering. Most of the time, we hit the mark and then in a hand full of trips a year, we loose a destination or change course or get to purchase new parts along the way or loose a day due to weather.
I’ve always said, “You call as a client, board as a friend and leave as family.” We live by that motto and will continue to sail with our families, friends and new acquaintances. Oh don’t I know that sometimes families don’t get along, but it’s nothing to worry about. That’s what makes life worth living. It what makes life what it is. It’s a wonder-filled experience.
Remember, anytime you go out to sea, be flexible, leave those expectations behind and be ready for new and exciting adventures that will enhance your life journey. It’s a great process.
So this week, we have short quarter day, half day and sunset sails. We have new people to meet and introduce Panacea and the way of the sea to. We are proud of the product that we have to offer and we are looking forward to sailing with you, your family and friends.
We just got a couple of more house guests for the next few days, Andrew and Bev from Minneapolis came in yesterday and will be here until Monday night. Wow, what a short visit, but it’s GREAT to spend some time with good friends.
Tonight is a short 2.5 hour Sunset Sail with a couple of parties and we will be sailing well into next week. The weather is weirdly warm and summer like, kind of like the rest of the country.
Jeff & Erin are visiting from the Minneapolis area also and we are having a ball together. That Erin can gather some shells and Jeff is a really funny guy that keeps me laughing. They are the ones that gifted me a new “Conch” shell… Now there’s a story for the next post…
Lots of sea turtle sightings going on. Looks like those critters will be coming early to the beach this year to lay their eggs. Be careful if you come down and watch for turtle tracks. Then, just watch. Don’t do anything to help or anything. Just watch. You may want to contact http://www.TurtleTime.org if there is any turtle you see that may need help.
Sailing in Fort Myers Beach is a remarkable experience. Sailing on the Gulf of Mexico is an adventure. Our daily schedule is at the website at: http://www.FantaSeaSailing.com. Be sure and use the “Availability Calendar” it will have up to day availability and you can even click on the “Description” link on the calendar to get weather information if there is questionable weather and you are booked for that sail. I watch the weather closely and if there is a possible problem I put it up there for you to contact me.
Be sure and visit our new FaceBook page at: http://www.facebook.com/SailingFortMyersBeach. Click the “LIKE” button. You will be able to stay in touch, post and see videos and pictures of the area and sailing experiences. I’m still trying to figure out the “Social Media” part of it all… Whew!
Sorry this ramble was so long, but I just wanted to start blogging again and I let me fingers do the walking. I should edit things sometimes. Oh well, maybe someday.
“Sailing the Sun Coast of Florida“
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