The kindness of Strangers and New Friends

Greg takes the helm of Blue Wing. Only problem is we aren’t going anywhere, only trying to steer her away from an unattended anchored boat who had mistaken the anchorage for a mosh pit. No slam dancing in the anchorage, please!!!

Greg takes the helm of Blue Wing. Only problem is we aren’t going anywhere, only trying to steer her away from an unattended anchored boat who had mistaken the anchorage for a mosh pit. No slam dancing in the anchorage, please!!!

Dec 22 – Jan 19.

I punched “grocery store” in Google maps and we started down Caroline St. on our hunt. We were searching for provisions, fresh fruits and veggies. Moving slowly west, we stopped in one little shop after another only to find beer, candy bars, cans of spaghetti Os – foods that would be there long after civilization succumbs to a radioactive holocaust. Back on the street we passed bars, restaurants, gift shops. We were heading to the thick of it. At the corner we turned onto Duval Street.  This is where it was happening. Tourists abounded. Restaurants were packed. Live music blared out of every door.

The Famous Hog’s Breath bar and restaurant. (this image is click to enlarge)

The Famous Hog’s Breath bar and restaurant. (this image is click to enlarge)

Another view of the Hog’s Breath. (this image is click to enlarge)

Another view of the Hog’s Breath. (this image is click to enlarge)

Outside a beauty shop a couple stood on the sidewalk asking women to come in to try a free sample of something. The second time we passed by and the second time I said no, the man asked me “where are you from?” “From the boat anchored in the harbor,” I replied, thinking, “Do you have a pineapple in there?”

All we wanted was some fruit, limes, bananas, spinach, something to make a green smoothie. But it was all too much. There was no fruit, so we succumbed, and found a couple of bar stools and a couple of cold beers.

The laundry room (closet) at the marina. For $2.50 and a refundable $25 key deposits we were able to spend one of our days ashore doing a month’s worth of laundry at the marina in town. Very, very small, with nowhere to fold your cloths, but the machines are new.

The laundry room (closet) at the marina. For $2.50 and a refundable $25 key deposits we were able to spend one of our days ashore doing a month’s worth of laundry at the marina in town. Very, very small, with nowhere to fold your cloths, but the machines are new.

After two and a half weeks in Key West this was our first leisurely trip ashore. Our stay here so far has for the most part been a tough one. Our first week was spent confined to the boat out in no-ones-land while Greg’s injured foot recovered enough to walk. Then our computer broke. Next we moved to an anchorage closer to shore, but that anchorage ended up being really weird. We had to move the boat in the middle of the night, then move her again the next morning where we got into a little tangle with another boat. Then the weather got bad. And then we got completely drenched by waves on the way back from a laundry trip ashore (luckily we had wrapped the clean, dry laundry in plastic bags). After all that things got much, much worse. 

Blue Wing started doing her dancing by herself routine during the day, moving from side to side, spinning in circles, basically ignoring the rules of order that make living on the hook a slightly less tenuous experience. This would have been fine since the last time she did this we ended up moving  to a spot part way into the prominade channel away from everyone else, except another boat, named Fire Fly flying a Norwegian flag, came and anchored close by. Then Fire Fly’s owners left for the day and our new neighbor boat started dancing by herself also. So here we were with Fire Fly and Blue Wing like stoned flower children dancing to the music only each of them could hear in their own sailboat heads. This was when Greg decided it was time that someone took the lead and spent a whole afternoon steering Blue Wing away from a possible collision with Fire Fly. The day was pretty exhausting, but not nearly as exhausting as a couple of nights later when the wind turned south.

We woke with Blue Wing rocking from side to side. The wind was howling as it opposed the current. I looked out a window and saw our Norwegian neighbor standing on Fire Fly’s deck in the dark, steering her as she danced around the anchorage. Blue Wing twisted and turned back and forth. I went back to bed.

Not that I wasn’t concerned. I was just spent. Que sera, sera and all that.

Blue Wing rocked from side to side the entire night. Starting with a slow roll, building to more of a vigorous rock, leading up to a jarring lurch back and forth, back and forth, followed by a brief pause, a short respite, a nanosecond of hope…before it started again. Toiletries left out in the bathroom flew from the counter and crashed to the floor. I got up, stuffed everything in a cabinet and went about securing other potential flyers all over the boat. But then a cabinet door that wasn’t locked flung open and crackers and taco shells sprung from their confinement for a brief aerial trip to the other side of the cabin.

By morning things had settled down. Outside we saw the Norwegians weighing anchor. They motored by to tell us that we had both dragged about a hundred feet in the night. We decided it was time to move again.

We pulled the anchor and motored up the prominade to the other side of the channel, but first I called Terry. Terry? Oh yeah, I haven’t told you about Terry yet, have I?

Let’s back the story up a little to when Greg’s foot was still in bad shape, but doing well enough for us to move closer to shore. I was busy downloading bus routes that could take us to a big grocery store when my phone dinged telling us we had a comment on the blog from Terry:

“Hey guys…Im staying here in Key West … in my RV.  I have a Honda fit toad, and if you need a lift to get supplies or want to go somewhere…..just let me know, be happy to help.  Love your blog and life style…hoping to do the sailboat thing someday as well…cheers…”

“Wow, cool!” we thought, “Who’s Terry?”

I wrote Terry back, Terry called us, and a couple of days later we were going to the grocery store with Terry in his Fit.

Terry is a nomad like us, except on land. He travels in comfy little camper, towing his Honda Fit. He is also a sailor wannabe and has taken all the classes, read all the blogs, and watched all the videos. (He probably knows more about sailing than us.) He is just waiting for his moment and the right partner to make the jump into the water. Meanwhile, he travels and helps out friends and strangers (new friends) like us.

Terry! In between all the foul weather we had Terry over for an afternoon of snacks, rum (Terry brought a bottle of Captain Morgans, Thanks Terry!), and boat watching.

Terry! In between all the foul weather we had Terry over for an afternoon of snacks, rum (Terry brought a bottle of Captain Morgans, Thanks Terry!), and boat watching.

The Jolly Roger.

The Jolly Roger.

Terry discovered our story and our blog through the video interview we did with Where’s My Office Now. 9 (If you haven’t seen the video, here is a link.) He is our first blog follower we have met that we didn’t know already. Meeting him has not only been fortuitous, but inspiring to think that someone we didn’t know already would be interested in us. And his generosity, that’s inspiring too.

I am actually a little overwhelmed with inspiring generosity as I put on the finishing touches of this new blog post with my new computer. When hearing of our computer woes, my friend Cyndi started a Go Fund Me Account and raised over $900 for us to buy a new one. People we haven’t seen for years, people I’ve only met few times, one person who may only know me from the multiple emails he was CCed on this past summer, another person who I had a pretty unpleasant run in with in the past, as well as good friends, and close friends all chipped in to get us back computing. We are totally undeserving.

We have finally found a good anchorage, although it is quite a dink ride from town and the weather has only gotten colder. Never-the-less, this little purgatory we have been living in has been brightened by the big heartedness of others. It has made it all worth it. We really like doing things ourselves, but when we can’t find our own fruits and vegetables, it is nice to know there are people out their who want to give us a hand.

Trying to pay it forward. After an especially windy night I got up first thing and peered out the slats in our companionway door to check on the links, Fever and Jethrine. Feeling relieved, i saw their stern ends bobbing in the water behind Blue Wing. But as I peered out over the anchorage, I spotted an escapee. Someone’s dink had gotten loose. We turned on the VHF and heard some chatter about it, but no one offering to go get it. The wind was still pretty strong. It was slowly heading out beyond the anchorage. So hard to watch, so Greg jumped in Jethrine and went after it. By the time he got back to the boat I was in contact with the owners and we were able to return it to them.

Trying to pay it forward. After an especially windy night I got up first thing and peered out the slats in our companionway door to check on the links, Fever and Jethrine. Feeling relieved, i saw their stern ends bobbing in the water behind Blue Wing. But as I peered out over the anchorage, I spotted an escapee. Someone’s dink had gotten loose. We turned on the VHF and heard some chatter about it, but no one offering to go get it. The wind was still pretty strong. It was slowly heading out beyond the anchorage. So hard to watch, so Greg jumped in Jethrine and went after it. By the time he got back to the boat I was in contact with the owners and we were able to return it to them.

So the weather has been horrible. And is still terrible (and COLD!) One terrible weather day of rain and lightening and high wind we go out on deck to see this. It surrounded us. Luckily it looked way more threatening than it was. (this image is click to enlarge)

So the weather has been horrible. And is still terrible (and COLD!) One terrible weather day of rain and lightening and high wind we go out on deck to see this. It surrounded us. Luckily it looked way more threatening than it was. (this image is click to enlarge)

End of the same day day as the black clouds day. (this image is click to enlarge)

End of the same day day as the black clouds day. (this image is click to enlarge)

I have been working on sewing projects while we have been stranded. One of my projects required real electricity to iron some isinglass for a cover I was making. Our inverter couldn’t handle the iron wattage. So Terry brought us to the camp ground he had been staying in so we could use the electricity there.

I have been working on sewing projects while we have been stranded. One of my projects required real electricity to iron some isinglass for a cover I was making. Our inverter couldn’t handle the iron wattage. So Terry brought us to the camp ground he had been staying in so we could use the electricity there.

We met a live-aboard local who thinks Key West is turning into Disney Land. He might be right, unfortunately. Two or three large cruise ships dock here every day. Tourist abound.

We met a live-aboard local who thinks Key West is turning into Disney Land. He might be right, unfortunately. Two or three large cruise ships dock here every day. Tourists abound.

The sun was shining on one our few leisurely days ashore.

The sun was shining on one our few leisurely days ashore.

Chickens roam freely in Key West. I used to know why, but have forgotten. Taking picture of them is hard. They move around a lot.

Chickens roam freely in Key West. I used to know why, but have forgotten. Taking picture of them is hard. They move around a lot.

The roosters and very colorful.

The roosters and very colorful.

Mama and her chicks.

Mama and her chicks.

Out to lunch with Terry!

Out to lunch with Terry!

Terry took us to see the beach on the other side of the island. Seaweed is washed up on the beach from the storm the day before. (this image is click to enlarge)

Terry took us to see the beach on the other side of the island. Seaweed is washed up on the beach from the storm the day before. (this image is click to enlarge)

Love a sailing dinghy.

Love a sailing dinghy.

The anchorages here are a mixture of full-time live-aboards, transients (like us), and derelict boats. The birds love those derelict boats.

The anchorages here are a mixture of full-time live-aboards, transients (like us), and derelict boats. The birds love those derelict boats.

Reunited with Porthos! We now have a new computer, thanks to so many good friends and generous people and are able to watch our TV series again in the evening. Unfortunately the Apple store couldn’t transfer all my software, so I had to download some new imagining software from the internet. I am on a new learning curve for the computer and the software, but I am slowly figuring it out. And now that we have our new computer and Greg’s foot is much better, we can start looking for a weather window to Mexico.

Reunited with Porthos! We now have a new computer, thanks to so many good friends and generous people and are able to watch our TV series again in the evening. Unfortunately the Apple store couldn’t transfer all my software, so I had to download some new imagining software from the internet. I am on a new learning curve for the computer and the software, but I am slowly figuring it out. And now that we have our new computer and Greg’s foot is much better, we can start looking for a weather window to Mexico.

7 thoughts on “The kindness of Strangers and New Friends

  1. Katherine Dirga said:

    What an update! So glad to hear you guys are now free to move about and re-wired into the webs. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip!

  2. Terry Landis said:

    Great article ….thanks for the honorable mention. I bet the weather will change as soon as you guys leave for Mexico…I’m getting itchy to find a warmer place….cheers…

  3. H. Keith Oney said:

    That’s my very good buddy, Terry. Always reliable, generous and ingenious – a true gem of a friend!!
    Thanks for a well-written and interesting post. Much better weather and Safe Travels!!

    • Duwan said:

      Thanks Keith! So glad we met Terry!

  4. Capt. robert said:

    Love those Key West chickens..and the updates. Aren’t boat people great? Hope you get that Mexico weather window soon, and that our wakes will cross again. Cheers

  5. Helen greenfield said:

    I am glad to hear things are looking up and love to read your blog – enjoy!!!

  6. Terry sounds like such a sweet guy! Glad to see Greg’s foot is on the mend and that Porthos is back in your life 🙂

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