Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log # 109 A Welcome Change of Scene

It was supposed to happen on Tuesday, but the previous tenants didn’t leave. We were hoping for Thursday, but the previous tenants didn’t leave. We planned on Friday, but it rained and the previous tenants didn’t leave. So—FINALLY—today we moved the boat to Pasadena Marina, after the previous tenants left this morning.

It was probably just as well that we had to wait this long, because we got an almost windless day for the move. I guess being grateful for no wind when we’re on a sailboat may sound strange, but when the plans were to just move the boat out of one slip and into another, wind would have been a hindrance. As it was, we had no difficulty at all, thanks in large part to Paul’s extra hands. And we were actually out of the slip and on the bay for a full 30-45 minutes! We think we’re going to like it here.

New digs
New digs

Happy Mother’s Day! Mike—the firstborn who made me a mother—came for dinner and pool time.

Hmmmm. This pool time can make us lazy. There really are other work projects waiting. Maybe tomorrow.

In my opinion, one of the most inspired of God’s feathered creations is the mockingbird. It’s true that God gave the brightest rainbow of colors to the painted bunting and the macaw; eagles and condors display the most grandeur in flight; and the prize for endurance goes to the migrating warblers. But the gift of song was most abundantly bestowed on the mockingbird. No other bird can produce the seemingly limitless variety of musical compositions that make up the mockingbird’s repertoire.

Here at Pasadena Marina it’s a joy to wake up to the creative and cheerful music of the mockingbird—something I’ve missed in recent years. At our house in Indianapolis we had mockingbirds in the yard each year, but they don’t frequent our apartment environs there. At Gulfport Marina the only bird “songs” we heard were the squeals of the ospreys, the squawks of the herons, and the screeches of the gulls—not to mention the hideous cawing of a gazillion crows. So the songs of the mockingbirds are one more indication that moving here was a really good thing for us.

Along with listening to the mockingbird in today’s predawn hour, I sent a prayer of gratitude to God for this day. That’s something I try to do most days, but this day it was especially important. Today is the first anniversary of my lung surgery, and I have now been infection-free for one whole year. Each deep breath is a gift that I try not to take for granted.

I know, I know. Almost a whole month has passed since I last wrote anything here. I’ve been putting off jotting down interesting (possibly?) tidbits in the hopes of expounding on the spiritual nourishment of leaving the slip for a short cruise. However, I consider myself a story-teller, not a fiction writer. Yes, we’re still in the slip, notwithstanding the admonition of friends Gail and Paul to get out and go sailing while there’s still the possibility of wind.

Jim has spent hours and days chasing down leaks and rattles in our fresh water system. He’s definitely made progress, and it’s presently looking as though the end of the quest may be near. We still have no hot water, as the water heater was one source of the elusive leaks. But at this point the chore of replacing the water heater may wait for our next visit. There are still some minor jobs that need attention before we leave the boat for hurricane season, and time is beginning to run short.

That’s not to say it’s been all work all the time. We’ve had some enjoyable visits with friends, a day at the beach (sadly, only one), and almost daily dips in the pool. We try to give ourselves at least one Sabbath each week, but it may not be on Sunday. Getaways are usually more pleasant on weekdays. So we worked over the holiday weekend.

We’ve talked several times about going over to the beach (it’s only about a mile) to watch the sunset, and tonight we finally made it. Not spectacular, but lovely, nonetheless.

Beach sunset
St. Pete Beach sunset

I was actually surprised at how many people were still on the beach at and after sunset. As appealing as it is, the beach is something of a magnet for old and young alike.

Even though it was Sunday, we decided to take the day off and drive down to Northport (about 70 miles south) to visit the Warm Mineral Springs there. Bonnie teaches a hooping class each Sunday there, and we thought it would be an opportunity to spend some time with her and Mike, as well as to visit some place new.

Warm Mineral Springs
Warm Mineral Springs

The Warm Mineral Springs has a history of perhaps being the Fountain of Youth for which Juan Ponce de Leon searched for many years. The depth in the middle of the pond drops to 250 feet, and ancient caverns dominate the area, extending well under the land around the pond. Archeologists have discovered relics from prehistoric times, suggesting that the area was inhabited eons before the Spanish “exploiter” ever set foot in Florida. The minerals are supposed to have medicinal and curative properties, and the springs seem to be quite popular, even with Europeans. Today being out of season, attendance was down but still robust.

While I can’t say I experienced anything extraordinary—and my hair is still gray—swimming in the 87-degree water was quite pleasant. Once I got used to the mild sulphuric smell and the small strands of algae floating in the water, that is. Aside from the algae, the water was remarkably clear. The mineral content increases buoyancy, so I could float as if I was in the ocean. Soothing music and a tranquil setting added to the overall relaxing experience.

Bonnie is not only a beautiful and exceptional hooper, but a communicative, supportive, patient teacher as well. Wannabe hoopers of all ages participated at various times in her class. Today, her most rewarding “student” was a 80-ish woman who had never in her life tried hooping, but with Bonnie’s coaching she was able to keep the hoop going for several seconds. The woman cried with delight, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” Encouraged by this woman’s courage and success, Jim and I both gave it a try. I’m here to tell you, it was MUCH easier when I was a kid, and it takes more coordination than I am naturally gifted with.

Hooping at Warm Mineral Springs
Bonnie and Mike hooping

As a result of Bonnie’s tutelage—and practice—Mike has become quite adept as a hooper, as well.

Hooping 2
And the older woman is there on the right!

The laundry room is on the other side of the marina, so doing the laundry requires a walk that provides me with some exercise. On my way back to the boat today I spied something floating in the vacant slip at the end of the fairway—the area reputed to host manatees. Sure enough, as I looked closer, I recognized the body shape of what appeared to be a rather small manatee. As is my custom with critters, I spoke to him/her and watched for some movement. Shortly, she/he shuddered slightly and eventually raised his/her snout for air. I suspected the youngster was napping, and she/he did his/her best to ignore me. In another few moments I was rewarded with a breath of air from a MUCH bigger relative, perhaps the youngster’s mother, who had been lying—perhaps also napping—on the bottom. I also guessed that the possible parent was doing her/his due diligence in checking out a stranger that may have been expressing unwanted interest in his/her child. Soon, after the parent surfaced once more, both parent and child sank into the depths to avoid my continuing gaze.

I was glad I did the laundry today.

The temperatures and humidity have slowly but steadily risen, and the Florida summer seems to be here for the duration. Daily forecasts predict 92-94 degrees (although proximity to the coast reduces that number by a few degrees), and no lower than the high 70s overnight. It’s time to head for cooler climes. We’re planning to see Mike and Bonnie one more time on Father’s Day, bottom-cleaning and minor refrigeration repair are scheduled for next week, and we have numerous tasks to complete to hurricane-prep the boat. Next Thursday, 6/23, is our target date to drive away from Pasadena Marina.

I have mixed emotions about leaving. While I yearn for air-conditioning to cope with the heat and humidity, I’m apprehensive about when we’ll return. I can’t help feeling cheated out of one more cruising season, and I’m reluctant to plan on what the next one will hold. Optimistically, we’ll be back in late October to stay through the winter. But I have yet to learn what will transpire with my immunologist, I’m scheduled for another visit with my pulmonologist, and Jim has some serious concerns about some ongoing shoulder pain. Life seems to have a way of interfering with our “plans”.

But we’ll go with optimism—along with some fervent prayers—and envision ourselves back on board Caloosa Spirit in a few months. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the summer at our apartment in Indianapolis.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

Posted Monday June 13, 2011

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  1. Jim and Alice,

    We are glad to hear that you have been spending some time aboard CALOOSA SPIRIT. We are staying in Brunswick,Georgia for the summer, but I am beginning to question that decision (though it was the best one for many reasons) because of the awful heat and humidity. Yes, life does have a way of “majorly” interfering with one’s plans. For instance, MORADA is up for sale, as of about a week ago. There are lots of reasons, one being that we have some other things we want to do with our lives, and we just keep doing the same thing over and over again. It is a difficult decision, but one we feel we must carry through with. So, wish us luck, and we will keep in touch.

    Your friends,
    Sherri and Clyde
    Aboard MORADA
    formerly aboard TEJAS
    — Sherri and Clyde Leatherwood    06/13/2011 10:27 PM    #
  2. Alice and Jim – so good to hear you have had a good time down south. By now you should have arrived in Indy and settled in for a cooler summer. Please do look us up in Agawam if you decide to head East. Love you and miss you! Stay well.
    — Donna Tapply    06/22/2011 08:56 PM    #
  3. Was moving some books and your card fell out. It has been a while since you were across the dock. Don and Edie swapped the Catalina for an S2 7.9 inboard an exact sister ship to Ariel. I was really glad to read you still on the water. It gives Linda and me hope. . . We are still on B dock at LMSA, same slip.
    Jim and Linda
    — JIm Redding    08/11/2011 03:26 PM    #
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