Getting the Boat Ready to Go

Last summer when we made a decision to move onto the boat, we knew our summer cruise to the Pacific Northwest would give us a good idea of what the boat needed. We ended the trip, sharpened our pencils and made a list. Then we shipped the boat to Mobile, Alabama to prepare for the next trip.

First up was repairing the leak in the fresh water tank and fixing a defective anchor light. Next were additions: a roof railing creating an upper deck, a new microwave, radio, barbecue, window screens and a beautiful custom bookcase built by my husband’s talented brother, Keith Gibson.

Last week, after three months out of the water, the boat was splashed—that that means put back in the water—and taken to a marina.

It was a blustery day on Mobile Bay, with wind building. The four-hour trip across the bay to the entrance to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was rough. Once in protected waters it was a pleasant ride. Sea Bear passed revelers at Lulu’s, a famous restaurant owned by singer Jimmy Buffett’s sister Lucy, and a marina where a piece of submerged artwork called Lady in the Lake shows the head and knees of a giant woman just above the water line.

Sea Bear arrived at its new temporary home in Orange Beach Marina around sunset, having negotiated some very shallow channels to get there. But this is not the west coast of Vancouver Island where charts are in fathoms. This is the shallow Gulf where you have a narrow span of tidal difference and lots of shoaling, so you ride with one eye always on the fathometer.

The boat got there safely and the best part?

I was not on board.

Mark’s brother Keith went with him on the wild ride while I finished rewriting the last two chapters of my second Love in Wine Country novel.

Remember when I said I was a fair weather sailor? The day of the move would have been a delay day because Mark and I have a deal…if there’s a small craft advisory, we don’t go.

The boat is sturdy and performs just fine. I do not.

Final preparations are under way. The trip is less than two weeks away.

Next Week: Provisioning for the First Leg.

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