What might be a night heron, perched on the bow line of the Schooner Jolly Rover

Free and Easy

We are at loose ends for the first time since the beginning of November, when James’ mom died and we started planning how to get him to her celebration of life. The trip to this moment has been a combination of harrowing and boring, quiet enjoyment of birds and fish and sadness over wildlife wounded by people. We couldn’t make it to Isla Mujeres on the Yucatan Peninsula in Quintana Roo, Mexico, to meet my dad, which was disappointing, but that gave us a lot of leisure along the way to Key West, where Larry Allen and Lea Anne were meeting us. When we last left you, dear reader, we had sailed off the anchor at Old Rhodes Key and sailed incredibly slowly to Rodriguez Key. Once there, in completely dead air, we couldn’t bring ourselves to force a motoring day when we still had more than two weeks before we needed to be in Key West. Instead, we swam (crystal clear water and maybe a blue-striped grunt [we’re still refining our fish ID skills]), cleaned the boat hull by hand (which attracted a smallish grouper that adopted us for shade!), took acid for the first time in ages (brilliant!), and enjoyed time for writing and editing. We do have something like “my side and his side” due to my preference for writing on my lap and James’ for having his computer on the table. On the fourth day, after several other boats had come and gone, we sailed off the anchor again. It’s a real joy to keep a day peaceful like that. We did nearly constant fiddling with the sails because the wind rose and fell so often. When you only have about 8 knots of wind to begin with, a lull or gust doesn’t have to be[…]

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