Winning an important match? Watching your child graduate with their degree? Buying the house of your dreams? What defines a jump for joy moment…. well, when you have sat for over 3 weeks in limbo, with a broken boat, hounded by hot children, scuppered by slow contractors and insurance companies, when all of a sudden things go right, that’s my jump for joy moment.
Dalliance is fixed (even the aircon). We have some shiny new navigation equipment that works and we have departed Miami! We had only intended on being there for 5-7 days. In reality we have been here 23 days, and boy are we ready to get moving again!
There has definitely been a breaking point for me in the last few weeks. When the aircon packed up on day 6 in the marina, I ended up sleeping on deck as it was an inferno in the cabins. Sounds idyllic, sleeping under the stars on a dusky moonlight night. Nope, not idyllic. The marina is floodlit, and we had a couple of neighbours enjoying their Hispanic inspired beats until 3 am. On rousing from my less than restful sleep I realised that part of my buttock may have been exposed for the marina staff to see on their unsuspecting journey to work. As if this wasn’t enough, a close neighbour was doing an early morning boat wash down. Mortifying. I shamefully shuffled my semi-clad self and my bedding down the hatch into the boat before any other poor souls could witness the scene!
After that crazy hot night, and with no quick fix in sight for the aircon we decided to cut our loses and make the best of things. We knew that Cape Canaveral were planning a rocket launch so we decided to embark on a road trip. Please don’t judge, I know there will be some of you who think this may have been irresponsible in the current climate, but we were as careful as possible, always mindful of cleanliness, distancing and keeping ourselves and others safe. Disclaimer done. We drove up to Cape Canaveral and ogled at the spaceship taking off. It’s brightness and thundering engines were incredible. We then drove across state to Tampa area to a marine hospital/rehabilitation centre. The girls wanted to see the real life tail-less dolphin that starred in film called ‘the dolphins tale’. They were not disappointed and we spent a good amount of time looking at the turtles and otters that were also in the hospital. We paddled in the bath like waters of the Gulf Coast, and visited an old town on the water that had some of the best ice cream ever! We dined at an amazing lunch stop that served soft shelled crab and crawdad ‘po boy’ sandwiches. Delicious! We also visited with an amazing family who took pity on our plight and invited us to their home. The girls enjoyed swimming in their pool and we enjoyed the delicious bbq steaks and a couple of beers. Thank you Mandy, Dan and family!
We finished our road trip in the 2nd Naples we have visited this year, Naples Florida, a world apart from Naples Italy, although there were a lot of pizza joints! We then skirted the narrow highway between the Everglades, known menacingly as alligator alley to return to our still unfixed houseboat! In fact we couldn’t quite face returning to the boat so went straight to a hotel where we spent the next 6 days, only to move to a slightly cheaper Airbnb for the last 4 days (nowhere is cheap in Miami Beach).
Home school has been intermittent at best. It has been tough trying to keep a semblance of routine. We enjoyed learning about the first European settlers in America and about why people started to explore. I was appalled to discover that the kids did not know the British national anthem, cue a rousing and very tuneful rendition from Ryan and I which had the girls cowering in embarrassment. We spent some time learning about weather and lightning – always good to keep it relevant! All that said, the girls have spent more time on the their tablets and watching rubbish on the TV these past couple of weeks than they have in the last year! I have been a bit preoccupied with the more stressful elements of life. Y’know, tropical storms, pandemics and civil unrest, but we keep plodding on, the world keeps turning and we are constantly amazed to find ourselves in these historical times.
So today we pushed off the dock and waved goodbye to our old friends Billy and Kristen, to whom we owe several pints and a hot curry when they finally visit us in the UK! It is beautifully sunny and the breeze is in the right direction, we are cracking along the edge of the Gulf Stream, currently about 4 miles off Fort Lauderdale, heading up to St Augustine. St Augustine is supposedly the oldest city in America, discovered by the Spanish in 1565. I guess there’s a history lesson in that somewhere! Hasta la vista Miami, I will miss the neon swimsuits and tanned rollerbladers but we are jumping onto new pastures, with joy!