Because we can.
It was a busy morning, I had to run some errands and drop off Christmas cookies at a couple places, spreading the holiday cheer, and all that. Well, I went to Walgreens first, to pick up a prescription. Darn it! It turns out Walgreens is not accepting Tricare as insurance, so I had to pay the full dime. After all, I am a loser who is not on the saintly obamacare. So pony up the dough, frustrated millionaire!
If I had Obama's money, I would throw mine away.
This pretty much ruined my morning because I hate paying full price for anything, especially if it is through my own negligence.
I stopped by the boat and impulsively decided to take the Barco out and go boating somewhere, away from society and people in particular. Maybe it's the stress of having to be nice to everyone because it's the time of Kwanzaa, I don't know. Perhaps I need to get a Festivus pole, and air out the grievances.
I was underway on diesel power by 1110, heading slowly into the river with no idea where to go. For a moment, I could imagine myself running away from home and doing a Tom and Huck on the St Johns River. I have plenty of supplies, a couple cases of beer, a champagne (the good stuff, Piper!), couple bottles of chilled white wine and finally three or four jugs o' rum. In the food department, pasta, sauces, canned meat products, long life bacon, pancakes, eggs, frozen sausage and a cardboard tin of Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls.
At least five days of victuals, and I have fishing poles, too! We shan't starve.
So anyway, I'm heading out at max conservation speed which burns about three gallons of diesel per hour. How much fuel? We have about 180 gallons of diesel in the tanks, which would allow us to move for almost sixty hours, at 6 knots. Why, I could make it past Deland and well on the way to Orlando with this cargo!
I turn to a course of 180 degrees, which is South for all the rest of you reading. Set the Otto to drive and I went below to grab a couple of cold Henry Weinhart's Private Reserve to accompany me in the flybridge as I watched the shore go by in the warm Florida sunshine. It was so nice I had to shift to the boating uniform of the day (shorts and t-shirt!) while the Perkins diesels rumbled in monotone ease, pushing the Barco further up river to a unknown destination. Just like life itself.
There were a number of SH-60's flying about in the NAS Jax pattern, and they made sure to buzz me at every opportunity. I think they were envying my solitude on the river on such a beautiful day. What they did not know was that I happened to be a bit jealous that they could move about in total freedom at speeds up to 160 knots all at someone else's expense. They were probably looking for the topless chick (There was always the sea story about buzzing a boat full of hot topless chicks...) that was hiding from their peeping eyes, unfortunately I was alone. No eye candy for the Navy, today!
Forty five minutes afterwards, I was passing under the Buckman Bridge (I-295) reducing my speed and wake for the two fishing boats who were in the channel. Once clear I bumped the throttles up to 1400 rpm's and continued along at 7 knots. There was no destination planned and I was not going to be able to run off for a week as discussed a few paragraphs ago. My responsibility is to be back at the homestead when the Spousal Unit returns. It would be incredibly disloyal if I was to just go off without leaving a note. (I have done that once; That was when I ran away and re-joined the Navy in 1989... that poor past girlfriend of mine is still waiting for me to return to California...) Anyway, I have no real desire to be a jerk.
An idea occurred to me to find a nice anchorage. I could save a few gallons of fuel while still enjoying the peace and quiet of being away on the river. Doctor's Lake came to mind, but it was an hour away. A paper chart had many choices, and I took a turn to the South East, heading to Mandarin Point. Actually, a couple hundred yards to the North and East of the actual point, tucked into a naturally protected bend of the river.
Hit the minus symbol to back away on the map to get perspective on where I was anchored;
View Larger Map
Mandarin Point is a mile or so to the South from the Buckman, with hardly any boating traffic (None, really) and it looked just the place for a Barco to roost for a few hours. I had the hook down in moments and secured the diesels to enjoy the quiet. First up, the Festivus "Airing of Grievances" while all alone, no other boats in the zip code. I opened another barley pop and set up a chair on the foredeck with a Travis McGee novel and settled into the warm, noon time sun. My only visitors being the SH-60 flying directly overhead, at two hundred feet. There were about three of them, each coming by at 45 minute intervals. Still no bikini clad girls, sorry!
|I set anchor at the "H", and for good measure set an anchor alarm to warn me if we drag.|
|Time for a nice book.|
|This does not suck.|
|Buckman Bridge, just before I got back underway.|
The afternoon moved along at a slow pace, I read, relaxed and enjoyed a total of four beers from 1130 to 1530. Not enough to get loopy, but enough to make one feel in a vacation mode. Add to that a lack of river traffic, and a general feeling of being miles away takes a real effect. As time passed the sun was beating my face with ultraviolet rays and a bit of reddening was evident. Regretfully, I began putting away stuff in preparation for my inevitable return to the home base before the afternoon commute began. For my Festivus "Feat of Strength", I used the rope windlass to electrically pull up anchor line until I had the anchor free and cleaned of mud. Then I wrapped the chain around the king post and started the diesels for the trip North. A helicopter buzzed me as I did my final tasks and returned to the fly bridge to the boat controls. I like to think they were sorry to see me go.