It's been at least two weeks since we returned from our annual holiday visit up north. We had a great time with our two daughters and their families. We also visited with Sandra's sister and brother. We got more than our fill of cold weather, getting a snow storm and temps down to -8 degrees.
Since returning I've kept busy with minor boat projects (there's always something to fix or replace, it seems) while Sandra has begun helping others with basket making and is also doing some oil painting – some really nice work. We've gotten back in a pretty active way to Tai Chi classes both here and up in Key Largo.
The family got together to give me a Christmas present of a sailing kit for our dinghy. I've had great fun becoming more familiar once again with sailing small boats. It is really quite different from the big boat experience. I must be much more in tune with minor changes in wind strength and constantly make adjustments to the sail. Although easily affected by wind changes, it is still quite stable.
Maddie has enjoyed her time here as well She has gone for walks in the park and bike rides with us around town. But her greatest joy seems to come from her visits to the marina. She is such a social animal. She just lives to meet people. And she recognizes people she knows as they approach...even in their dinghy!
Speaking of enjoying the company of people, we have also benefited being here to get together with our “winter” friends again. Having come down here for several years, we have made lots of friends among the boating community as well as those who live here all year. We meet for lunch once a week with a few of them. The men go one way, and the women go another.
The weather has been a bit cool, so haven't done much swimming yet. We look forward to a moderation in the weather soon, so we can also feel motivated to get out of the harbor for a bit of sailing in the Keys.
One important change for us has been going through the process of becoming Florida residents. When people move out of a house or apartment in one state and into one in another, the process is rather straight forward. However when you live on a boat and have no particular street address to call home, the whole process becomes more challenging. Fortunately, our mail service in Green Cove Springs is tuned in to this problem, since many boaters face it at some point. They offer information on their website to aid cruisers like us to negotiate the tangled web. At this point we are officially Florida residents with voter cards and a properly registered boat. We have also acquired new drivers licenses and auto insurance and changed our health insurance. We have yet to register the car and our dinghy, but we hope to have those last items behind us before long. On the plus side, we now have only one official address instead of three. (I say official, since we use our Marathon City Marina address when ordering things or hearing from friends and family.)
This long process has served as a reminder to us that our lifestyle is outside the norm, since, like so many processes we've observed over time, this one is not set up for cruisers (nomads) like us and the many others we've met who have adopted this unusual way of living.
|One of Sandra's latest creations|