Friday, October 16, 2020

C.L.O.D.s (Cruisers, Living on Dirt)


White picket fence dreams, anyone? (It wasn't our plan, but, covid changed that!)

Cruisers jokingly refer to other cruisers who have moved back to land as "CLODs." There's a little bit of good-natured ribbing there (we all think we're going to do this forever and never get old!) and also a tacit acknowledgement that living on a boat and traveling forever changes you. In that way even after you retire back to land you'll always be a cruiser.

After the horrible heat from 2 years ago where we stayed in Jacksonville for the summer while Dan healed from hip surgery, we promised ourselves that never again would we voluntarily stay on the boat in Florida over the summer. Well, the key word was "voluntarily" and covid threw us a curve ball. Our planned time on El Galeon evaporated when all the tall ship festivals we were scheduled to visit were canceled due to covid. Covid also thwarted our plans to sail Cinderella north to the Chesapeake Bay. Not all marinas were open, the situation changed daily. We didn't want to risk any exposure for Dan, which meant that even if we could travel, we wouldn't be able to explore any cities along the route. And staying where we had an established support network also seemed wise. So suddenly, we were facing another summer in Florida.

Well, since it was going to be summer and we were going to be in Florida, the only remaining part of our pledge that we could modify was "on the boat." So we asked our network and extended network of friends if anyone knew of a furnished place for rent for the season. The cruisers network is absolutely amazing, and within a couple of days our friend Nichole introduced us to her friends Jenia and Michael. They had a townhouse in the nearby town of Crescent Beach and would be delighted to have trusted renters while they spent the summer exploring the western US in their RV. A perfect win-win! We quickly arranged some details, and Cinderella went to spend the summer at the incomparable Oasis Boatyard getting new chainplates, (more on that later) while we became land-dwellers temporarily.

It's been a lovely change from the confines of being on the boat during covid lockdown, very safe and private and with a lot more room than we have aboard. Very different from our home slip in vibrant downtown, the townhouse is very quiet, offering us a chance to reconnect with each other and nature. Mornings start with chirping birds instead of the clangs and whistles of the opening Bridge of Lions drawbridge.The location, on a barrier island only 250 meters wide, means an easy 5-minute walk to watch both sunrises and sunsets over the water.  It's newly renovated and nicely furnished, with a kitchen big enough to play lots of cooking experiments in. 

But it's also been ... weird. The townhouse is packed full of many fascinating and deeply personal items, musical instruments and souvenirs of the homeowners' world travels and candles and cutesy knick-knacks. When we added our possessions as well, and contrasted it with the necessarily streamlined style we have on the boat, the net effect was to feel a bit jumbled (our styles are very different!) and cluttered. I long for the calm and focus of life on the boat, and realize that the townhouse is not in fact cluttered when judged by ordinary land-based standards, just by boat-standards. Indeed, even though we are temporarily "living on dirt" we still have the minds of cruisers! 

Peaceful sunrises over the Atlantic, and sunsets over the Matanzas, bookend our days

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