Florida: Leaving and Returning

Reminder: Florida Presentations

KEY WEST, FLORIDA: March 19, 7:30 p.m. Key West Yacht Club, 2315 North Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL, See www.keywestyachtclub.com for more information.

MARATHON, FLORIDA: March 20, noon luncheon meeting, Marathon Yacht Club, 825 33rd Street, Marathon, FL. See www.marathonyachtclub.com for more information.

Although I believe these events are for members only, both yacht clubs welcome new members.

Here’s an excerpt from Voice of a Voyage: Rediscovering the World During a Ten-year Circumnavigation about my last view of Florida in 2001.

             I recall the moment in time after leaving the Dry Tortugas, the southwestern-most group of islands off Florida, when I looked back and the United States was out of sight. That, for me, was the actual moment of leaving. We were finally offshore heading west, not returning the same way, but actually sailing all the way around the world. Before, we had always turned around, returned, when our time was up out there. Now, there was no turning back, except to look and reflect. It seemed like a time of innocence. I was sixty-years old, but in some ways, I was a naïve child. I couldn’t have even dreamed then what I would learn, what I would experience, how this might change me.


Bali Ha’i III and her “crew” of Captain Wayne and myself underway.

 And here are a few excerpts about returning ten years later.

             On July 16, 2010, we pulled up anchor for the last time. It wasn’t the wind and salt spray making me cry. I had gotten all our courtesy flags ready and spent the time crossing the Gulf Stream sitting at the pilot-house table stringing them on a line: forty-one countries, although we were missing a few flags.

 blog 34-2-FL returning etc.-dha flagsStarting with Mexico, our first landfall, I start to prepare the courtesy flags.

 It is a tradition for circumnavigators to fly all their courtesy flags of the countries they sailed to when they arrive at their last port. We did so as we entered Fort Lauderdale harbor. We slowly skimmed by a dock to pick up the broker who would be listing Bali Ha’i III for sale and had arranged dockage for us in one of the canals, and was directing us through the labyrinth to get there. We passed under several drawbridges, and a few other yachts recognized the meaning of our flags and saluted us smartly. It was over.


Our courtesy flags flying as we return to Ft. Lauderdale.

             This is what is left for me: I could believe there was no land, no mountains, no rocks, no trees, no soil, only this water, this landscape of moving, shimmering water: this water, gems of turquoise when the sun shines through the end of a towering wave; this water, the colors of night, the deepest blue-black in the spectrum and a color still; this water, the purple-tinged blue just before dark over two-, three-, four-thousand foot depths; there is only this water that hints at eternity. I wanted it to last forever, but there is always a landfall as the end.


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