I’ve been reading some about the derelict boat problem. Boats are being abandoned. Some are left at the dock. Some are set free to sink. Some are sunk intentionally. Unsightly for sure, they pose environmental and navigational hazards. It’s a problem all across the country but it’s getting a lot of attention in Florida. They have an At-Risk Vessel Program there. Owners are being notified that they have “pre-derelict” boat and are being asked to address the issues. It sounds like it’s been pretty successful.
I sure hope so because it makes me sad to see an unloved boat. Steve and I like to walk docks and we see lots of boats that just sit in their slips waiting for someone to come aboard. Often, the canvas is torn, the interior is exposed to weather, the decks are covered in bird poop, and the hull is barnacle-encrusted. There may even be plants growing in the anchor well. Not knowing the circumstances, I try not to judge the owner. I just feel sorry for the boat.
At the other extreme, there are some boats that are well cared for, yet they, too, hardly ever leave their slip. Those boats and their owners are known as Dock Queens. It’s somewhat of a derogatory term and it may very well apply to us.
We move aboard FNR on March 27 planning to stay at Oriental’s Pecan Grove Marina until our lease ends in June. Yes, it’s cold a lot of that time and yes, we have quite a few boat projects to complete, but, in those 3 months, FNR leaves the slip twice and that is only because we have guests who want to go sailing.
Come June 29, we are excited to throw the bow lines off. Meandering up the ICW to Solomons, MD was quite enjoyable. But since arriving on July 8, FNR has only been out of her slip three times. Once to move from Beacon Marina to Solomons Harbor Marina. Once to turn her around in the slip and lastly to see if the Milwaukee 28 volt right angle drill that Young Son bought Steve for his birthday really would raise the mainsail. Ha! Who needs electric winches?
Our plan to putter around in the Chesapeake for a couple of months has not come to fruition, but we are good with that. We are retired. We are good with not waking up to an alarm clock and with not going to work. We are good with spending our days the way we want to spend them. Life is good and we are good with being Dock Queens…at least for the next few weeks.
Yesterday, we opened our Waterway Guides, logged into Active Captain, spread out the charts and starting planning our trip south. The more we planned, the more excited we got. There are tons of great anchorages out there that we really want to see. We may even jump offshore for a day because that’s what cruisers do. Most legs of our itinerary have an anchor out option and a marina option since September can still be pretty hot. We. Do. Not. Like. Being. Hot. Period.
Our plan has us in Little River, SC mid-to-late October. We’d like to be cruising into Florida the first week or so of December. We’re not sure how we’re going to get there – we haven’t charted that part of the trip yet. We have looked at the weather though, and in December, Florida’s daily highs range from 71°F to 75°F. Our Dock Queen days may very well be behind us. If not, we are good with that. Hopefully, FNR will be, too.