A passage can also be short. As in just a few hours. And more important, because it gets you off the dock and swinging at anchor for the first time in too long.
But first, there was work to do.
We arrived with a worklist. Replacing the anchor chain, sorely abused and rusted, it was at the end of its life. The washdown pump (used to hose mud off the anchor chain as it comes aboard and before the chain goes into the anchor locker under our bed, where, if you don't get rid of the mud, it tends to smell) needed a new hose and nozzle. The pressure water was leaking, dripping precious fresh water into the bilge. The shower wasn't working. The head pump, also at the end of its life, needed to be replaced. (Gotta love working on the head.) The refrigerator needed to be insulated and restored to service.
Fortunately, all of the above projects went as well or better than expected (WOW! REALLY?).
So, after a few days work, waking up systems that have lain dormant for far too long, I declared us ready to depart. We decided to go north, into unexplored territory, up the ICW to the Bay River, where the charts showed an anchorage that looked perfect, off the beaten path and good holding. Lets go hang out for a couple of days!
The trip north was, as Savik (Star Trek, The Movie) would say "free from incident". We anchored in a beautiful spot and watched a nice sunset for the first time in far too long.
Except for the bugs.
We have encountered them before. Some sort of stupid, slow moving mosquito clones. Maybe zombie apocalypse mosquitoes. They're not fast, don't bite, but they overwhelm you with sheer numbers. Its the reason we have screens that enclose the entire cockpit, turning it into a screened in porch. The wind was blowing, however, and as we sat in the cockpit the first evening, we said "Never mind. They won't be out in this wind."
The next morning, as is my wont, I was up early, brewing coffee. While Carol slept, I started up to the cockpit, to find it black with a carpet of bugs.
When she awoke, Carol was less than pleased.
After waiting for the sun to chase most of them away, I bucket dipped water from the river to clean the cockpit of carcasses and blood, and we lowered the screens. The next morning was much more pleasant.
Departing from anchor, with Carol at the helm and me at the windlass pulling the chain in and washing off the mud with the aforementioned washdown pump, felt like old times. She even remembered how to follow our GPS track back out of the anchorage as I hosed the last of the mud off of the anchor. The way back was smooth as well.
And, just to show me I am still, after all, an amateur at this, we had probably the worst docking maneuver we have had coming back to dock. The wind was blowing the wrong way and I got pinned against the pilings and had to drive it off for another go round, which turned out much better. Carol was... worried.
And I did it in front of our new dockmaster, who was throwing lines. He's a retired Coast Guard guy, so I can only assume he has seen worse.
After securing Sea Bird, Carol had one final project for me. Apparently, the entire time we have owned this boat, the paper towel holder has been in the wrong place. Having just realized this, it had to be moved immediately!
It took some doing, as access was not ideal.
Afterwards, we spent some time with my dad.
He is on a different sort of voyage. Having lost his wife of 40 years, at 87 years old, he is foundering. As the oldest son, I am trying to navigate for him. As someone who is used to being captain, its tough for him to relinquish control, or even ask questions. As a current "captain" it's far too easy for me to assume command.
We are butting heads. But then, we always have.
His house is now sold, and gone are all the maintenance worries that were attached. His new place comes with no maintenance that he has to do, a gym, and a pool that he no longer has to maintain. We will see how he adjusts to his new anchorage.
Because there will always be bugs.