Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Questions? We Got Answers.
We drove up to check on Swing Set last Sunday, something we try to do regularly during the winter months. We keep some space heaters on low to keep the chill off, so we turned them up a little to make it more comfortable. A mild winter has kept the ice eater from running too much, but a couple of space heaters running even on low has run up the electric bill some. We spent time hanging some photos and stowing some supplies before we relaxed and discussed our "plans".
Rosie and I have taken our puppy Holly up to the boat several times this winter. She's getting used to her new digs on the boat. Stairs were foreign to her when we first took her on the boat, but she is getting better at negotiating the steps with each visit. Going up them is definitely an easier task than going down. She seems to be right at home with her new "potty place" in the shower stall of the day head; it's outfitted with a smaller version of a potty pad holder that she has at home. Next month she goes in for her surgery to make her an equal in the "spay and neuter" department with the rest of her crew members. (We can all set together and stare into space for hours at a time.) She should be healed up and accustomed to life aboard her new home by the time we cast off.
We have a friend in Florida who has just been introduced to our blog and who had a whole list of questions for us in a recent email. Some of the answers to her questions will be found in the contents of the blog as she reads them, but because I found one or two of them fairly interesting myself, I thought I'd address them here, even though I'm not real fond of a lot of questions.
One thing I have always found interesting is the questions people have when they are confronted with a scenario or situation that they are not familiar with. With all of our friends and family living in the suburbs at the time, when Rosie and I moved into the "big city"; everyone always had the same question, which was "where are you going to get your groceries?"
Now, I can understand anyone having that concern when they look at Rosie, but I don't know how anyone can think I have ever been lacking in the grocery getting business. The truth is, we have more grocery stores in close proximity here in downtown St. Louis than we ever had in the hills of Jefferson County, and we never got the question back when we lived in High Ridge. It's only because the people we knew haven't dealt with living in the city, so a basic need for finding food in an unfamiliar place naturally was foreign to them.
Our friend Debi down in Florida has the same concerns, even though the question was a little different. She wonders how we will get fresh fruit and vegetables, and how were we going to store meat. Debi apparently hadn't gotten to the section in the blog about all the storage space I built aboard Swing Set to house tons of canned goods. In a pinch, Rosie and I have no problem with eating anything canned, and we will have stores on board to last us for weeks on end. The fact is, we have a fairly good sized refrigerator on Swing Set. While it's not house sized, it's a Norcold AC/DC unit that will run just fine by virtue of the wind generators alone. We won't have the capability of freezing meat in large amounts in the small freezer, or keeping an abundance of fresh vegetables on hand, but considering that the majority of our anchorages should be close to some type of population center, a weekly trip in the dinghy to obtain groceries will be a common occurrence.
When you think about it, an expedition to pick up a box of rice or dog food will become the focus of any particular day. I can hear it now; "What do you want to do today?"
"Let's go get some ---------, we're running a bit low".
Most likely a trip to get a basic provision will include a search on the Internet for the closest grocery or quick mart. One thing that will make for an appealing anchorage will be the proximity of necessities, something I'll do way before dropping the hook anyway if possible. Next will be the dinghy ride; it could be three, four, or more miles away, but that's why we chose a dinghy that scoots along fairly well at a good speed. Being resourceful at finding a spot to dock the dinghy will be a talent that will come in handy, and I have little concern about my ability in mastering that skill. Sometimes, marinas and harbors charge to dock a dinghy for a trip to town, but a flair for conversation and making friends will be helpful in finding a free spot. Maybe I'll let Rosie do the talking in those cases.
I think getting to a store, talking to people on the way about local history or neat places to go, and just gathering information about the lay of the land, will be a fun part of getting supplies, whether it be groceries or mechanical provisions.
One thing that is different today than it was when I was growing up, is that the majority of the fuel stops today have mini grocery stores in them. When I was growing up, the local filling station was lucky to have a soda machine with Nehi in it and a bag of So Good potato chips on hand. Today, you can go to MotoMart and get a frozen rib eye steak and a box of Huggies along with your gasoline.
Another question our friend had was if one of us were going to be able to sleep while the other one "steered" the boat. I wonder if she was kidding me with this question. If she wasn't being funny, I wonder where she thinks we are going? On a sailboat crossing large bodies of water, it's common, if not required, to have someone at the helm for all night crossings while others in the crew get their sleep. Our plan, (and you know I abhor a plan) is to travel during daylight hours and sleep on the hook at night, and not only for one night, but for many nights in a row. If the price of fuel goes up much more, we might be reduced to traveling once per month, for 40 miles at a time. Now I'm kidding, but one thing that hasn't changed much over the course of time is that towns everywhere have been in the same place for years, and were spaced apart in direct relation to how far a party could walk or drive a wagon in the course of a day or two. Places to get "stuff" will never be far away on any coastline, I think.
One question harder to answer was the one about what we're going to be eating? Well, that depends on my ability to learn how to fish, something I am set on doing. If we are anchored out somewhere near an island with no towns close, we'll eat fish, or lacking that, we'll dig into those canned goods until we absolutely have to pull anchor and head to a town. I'll be reporting on our daily meals as we go because gathering supplies and preparing meals will be most of the fun, if you view it as an adventure rather than a chore, so the exact menu could hardly be determined at this point.
I like questions like the ones Debi had for us. I just don't like questions about particular plans for where we are going to be at a certain time. Those answers demand a schedule, something we're are resistant to our core to follow if we can help it. So if you have questions about how we think we are going to go about a particular chore, I'll be happy to attempt an answer; then as we progress, we can see how it actually turns out. Those questions may prompt me to do some much needed research on a topic that we haven't yet considered.