Life Changes…(June-October 2019)

We made the decision to wait out hurricane season in Brunswick, GA at the Brunswick Landing Marina. The marina is near a former submarine base in a backwater with lots of swampy land around. We felt it was a good choice to absorb the effects of a potental hurricane. I don’t think I’d want to live-aboard with the swamp bugs and humidity but it was a safe hurricane hole.

With the boat secured, we drive back to FL. We still have vehicles and airplanes to move. Our current “plan” (which tends to change frequently-sometimes hourly) is to come back to the boat in about 6-8 weeks and venture north towards the Annapolis Boat show in October, then either make the jump to the Med or head east then south to return to the Bahamas for a season.

We load two hangars of tools, parts and stuff that didn’t move onto the boat into my car and an enclosed trailer. Steve is driving our truck/camper combo and is towing an airplane. We made quite the sight as we caravanned towards AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.

Truck/camper with Zenith on straight floats
Subaru w/3000 lb tow
My view for 3000 miles…

We have an uneventful trip to WI and rebuild the airplane. We also have a short window where Steve was able to fly commercial back to FL and bring our AirCam to AirVenture.

First time Zenith is on floats!
Steve flies volunteers from the Seaplane Base

During AirVenture, we decide we have to bring our life back on the west coast. A friend kindly offers a hangar for the AirCam near Chicago and we gratefully accept. Our little caravan continues west to CA and gets parked at home. We have enough time to put things away and into storage as appropriate, then we have planned travel to visit our daughter in Alaska where she is employed at her first “real” job after college.

Alaska was wonderful. Sarah is a CFI (certified flight instructor) training pilots to be seaplane pilots. She was able to take a few days to train me in preparation for taking my check ride to become a flight instructor also.

Sarah is an excellent instructor
Sarah also instructed her dad in flying the Pacer on floats

During our time in AK, Hurricane Dorian spun about 40 miles off the coast of GA before turning north. Fortunately, there was only 30-40 mph winds and no damage. The marina posted drone footage showing every dock and boat on their website. That was a relief.

Magenta circle is Brunswick, GA and ALWAYS

We also managed two additional trips during the fall. They had been planned around going back to the boat and the east coast but…life changes. The first trip was to Nashville, the second to NY, DC and Annapolis which ended in NC.

Sightseeing in Nashville
Trisha Yearwood-back on tour!
New York City
The wand chooses the wizard…at The Cauldron
You’re a witch!!!
30 year reunion, Annapolis, MD

We drifted down to NC. Sarah was meeting her cousin for a cross country drive and we would be headed back to CA because our boat shipping date had been delayed….again. All our plans have become very flexible. Our summer was very busy but also exciting as we adjusted back to the west coast.

Uncharted Territory

Steve and I are no longer employees.

In our 29 year history, he’s always had a job and I’ve sometimes had a job in addition to “mom”. We just finished our last two week commitment to Seaborne Airlines and soon he will join me on Always to begin the next chapter of our adventures.

Seaborne Twin Otter, Christainsted Harbor

It will be a unique experience. We have friends dropping aboard; after that, we have no time constraints other than those imposed by tide and weather. The boat is self-sufficient for water and power. Other than a diesel, LP and grocery top off, we can avoid marinas and crowds for quite awhile.

I’m looking forward to sleeping until I’m not tired, swimming in the clear ocean when I’m hot, hopefully fresh fish on occasion, time to read and write, and listening to Steve play guitar. And I’m excited to see what Steve does when he doesn’t have to do anything!

I’d be lying if I said “I’ll miss Seaborne”. I WILL miss the pilots and flying the Twin Otter, a great platform and perfect for the task. I met some very special people on both islands and look forward to coming back on Always for the promised sails. I will not miss the lack of management and support that allows the seaplane bases to deteriorate. I hope the promised improvements come soon for all that remain.

Going away party at Castaways-eventually I’ll miss the Pickle Backs!

Castaways’ #5 wings-can’t miss something I never had but don’t think these guys will either!

I’m glad we postponed our other plans for a year to experience St Croix and fly the Twin Otter. I appreciate being so welcomed and hope our paths cross again many times!

Safe travels,

J