Deep blue sea

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Stone crab, yellowtail snapper, lobster, shrimp, salmon, mahi mahi, scallop, conch, tuna, grouper, hogfish, barracuda, dolphin, marlin, sailfish, whale, manatee… The beauty of the coral reefs, the mysteries of the mangroves, the alternate rising and falling of the sea, usually twice in each lunar day at a particular place, due to the attraction of the moon and sun. Every time I get on or off the boat I have to watch and estimate my step. The tide is always there to remind me that we are hooked up to the greater powers of the universe, even on a 22-foot sailboat at a small marina in Key Largo, Florida. Spending time in the Keys is constantly being exposed to the richness of the 2/3 of our planet “Earth” that is water. It gives me a deep feeling of gratitude to the waterways around us (and within us where also 2/3 is water). Thin stripes of land where two oceans meet have such powerful energy. I have experienced this by Skagen and Grenen, the northern tip of Denmark, where the North Sea and the Skagerak literally clash together. Here in the Keys the Atlantic Ocean is to the left and the Gulf of Mexico is to the right when you go south – or vice versa when you go north. There is always water just around the corner. I do believe it helps keeping people young. The amount of older people here that are really outgoing and active seems to be quite high. For instance Ross and I met two sisters, both in their 80’es. They enjoyed going out to new restaurants, they loved watching the manatees at sunset, and one of the sisters truly resented that her son who wouldn’t let her keep a boat so she could go out fishing on her own! My Danish high school friend Gudrun tells me she is going to Vancouver to celebrate her uncle who is turning 90. He takes a bath in the Pacific every morning year round, and on his 90-year-old birthday she is going to dive down in the Pacific with him – in January mind you, brrrrr!

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Serendipity

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“We got to talk”, I said to Ross. I could feel the bad energy from the run down marina where we were staying and our problems with the motor were getting to me. I am not a passionate sailor like Ross, I just like to hang out around water. I come from a water country where the next body of water is always close. Sleeping on the water enhances my dreams. I love water energy. But I do not get a kick out of swing keels versus fixed keels, winches, cleats, knots, motor size or water pumps – especially not a broken water pump. Also, I am not a person that deals easily with practical problems or issues. In fact, Ross and I have a lot of laughs because of my ‘bad mechanics’. It is part of my dance with life to read, write and play music every day. It is my way of maintaining my inner point of balance. When I am in a situation or energy where I can’t do that it does affect my balance in a negative way. To this you can add fighting the bugs – mosquitoes in the evening and night, ants getting into out food around the clock! So….I felt it was time to share some of this with Ross and figure out what to do. We were just next to our marina full of boats going back to sea. “Pull in here so we can talk”, I said. We sat there in the jeep and talked for a while. Ross certainly didn’t like the marina dump more than I did. He loves boats so much and seeing so many of them in a bad shape just breaks his heart. Also he could not get his painting going there. We had been looking around for a different situation but not found anything corresponding our needs. As we talked, I noticed Ross started looking around. “Hey,” he said, “we haven’t even checked out this marina just next door!” He was absolutely right. And guess what – in this serendipitous way we found the nicest marina ever. Here we are, with a nice slip, space, palm trees, clean bathrooms and a huge former restaurant kitchen at our disposal so we don’t have to eat out all the time even though we do love DJ’s Diner and Mrs. Mac’s. The Milemarker 112 Marina was even so close that Ross could easily motor Paradox over with the electric motor we brought for the dinghy – very convenient since the Mercury motor is still in repair. We will get it back in a couple of days.

Path of people (thanks Debby)

Sonja and Michael from Germany are biking from Miami down to the Keys

http://schwirten.wordpress.com/

Actor Gene Hackman was run down on his bike by a car on the Overseas Highway so we hope our German friends will be OK

Ross said he used to look like Michael when he was young 🙂

Ross doing a little bycycling
DJ’s Diner is one of our favorite hangouts in Key Largo
My landlocked captain Ross. The Catalina outboard motor needs a new water pump. The part is ordered but it takes a week before it arrives
My first damn good coffee on the journey! Syleena at DJ’s Diner even put a smiling sun in it. I was so starving for a good cup of coffee that the picture didn’t come out sharp but I am posting it anyway 🙂
Syleena, my coffee saviour, serves coffee imported from Cuba
the Key Largo waffle!
Sirup bottle so big that Ross thought it was motor oil

The tooth fairy Dr. Cuhna fixed Ross’ gold crown while telling him stories. A couple of years back she rode her pedal bike from US coast to coast. She loved riding through New Mexico.

Some misfortunes on the road

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We have had a couple of misfortunes on our journey these past days. On top of a very bad dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Madison, Florida, one of Ross’ gold crownes came unglued. Thanks to wonderful waitress Paula at Mrs. Mac’s restaurant here in Key Largo we got a reference to a good dentist who takes walk in patients. An appointment is now set up and hopefully the crown will be reunited with the tooth at a reasonable price. Then the jeep engine started acting strange periodically. Ross decided it was time to let a mechanic check it out. After some research we found a car place that did a computer test on the jeep engine. Nothing was wrong – fortunately! – but we did get the advice to take off the overdrive when pulling the boat. We have done that and the jeep is now working stable. Next thing was the boat motor not wanting to start as we got the boat launched in our first marina. Not good! It is presently being repaired by some good friends in Key Largo. The fuel lines turn out to be eroded by the ethanol and gas. New lines are being put on as I write. These misfortunes have been exhausting, but they have also been a big lesson in people’s readiness to help. We have met so many friendly “strangers” who wanted to share their time, care, experience and expertise to solve our problems. A warm thank you to each and everyone of you! We couldn’t have done it without you.

Hello ye all

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When even the picnic tables have little oil towers above them you know that you are in Texas. When a lot of places have French names you know that you are in Louisiana. When you cross America’s biggest river you remember how you learned to spell the word Mississippi in school. When you are in Alabama – one of the least wealthy states in the US – you find the best, cleanest and nicest motel on our trip so far. I can recommend motel Super8 in Mobile, Alabama, complete with palm trees and all. In Alabama I met a man who said: “I have never met a woman like you before”. I held the door for another man and he said: “Thanks honey”. We spent the night in Madison, Florida. The woman in the motel was from Poland. She said she had to make her own Polish sausages to get the taste of her home country. She had taught her children Polish “because I would be embarrassed if they were not able to speak Polish”. I see glimpses of people’s lives and hearts to treasure and remember. And when there is alligator tail on the restaurant menu you know for sure that you are in Florida. I truly enjoy traveling to see this world before the next.

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