Greetings from Lakewood, CO!
January was one of the rockier months of the Odyssey so far! I mean that both figuratively and literally – we bobbed around in some powerful and erratic waves when a tornado ripped past just a mile or two away near Cape Coral, FL on the night of January 9th. Luckily the anchor held just fine and we and the Wildcat emerged unscathed. Just five days later we received another tornado warning and were able to seek shelter in a library onshore instead of on the boat. No funnel cloud touched down that time, but we watched several inches of rain pour down each hour. This came at the height of the dry season in Florida, and we shook our heads while watching first hand the incredibly anomalous weather Florida has experienced during this record El Niño year.
We caught our breaths and headed back into the Okeechobee Waterway in hopes of reaching Fernandina Beach, FL by the end of January. Unfortunately we didn’t make it very far before our 17 year old engine finally gave out for good, leaving us stranded in tiny Moore Haven, FL, hundreds of miles from either coast. We spent the next three weeks there awaiting our new engine and accompanying parts. Our unfortunate circumstances and the limited food offerings in town inspired a few grumbley blog posts on my part.
Our stay in Moore Haven was both frustrating and enlightening. We befriended lots of curious locals who were eager to chat about our unique and immobile home while Zion stood in the cockpit tinkering with the engine. We’re so grateful to Geoff, Susan, Miriam, Carl, Bonnie, Robert, Zazel, and Janet for giving us rides, meals, advice, and encouragement. On our very last day in town Zion got the new engine fully installed and functional! The final step required him to swim beneath the boat to pass some cabling up through the deck, and not two minutes after the cables were in place a large alligator popped up about 50 yards away! “Time to get out!” I yelped, and Zion quickly flopped up on the dock wide eyed and laughing at the timing. Our new friend didn’t seem too interested in us in the end, but Zion’s swim with a gator was the cherry on top of a weird and wild month!
We got a few pieces of good news during our unexpected stay. First, we were profiled for Grist.org’s list of 50 people working to “shape a greener 2016”. It was an honor to be listed alongside some very innovative projects! Also, I was thrilled to learn that I had made it on the short list for the MFA program at UC Santa Barbara! Everyone on this list is usually accepted to the program, so we went ahead and celebrated victory! I’ll be travelling out there next week to visit the campus and check out where we will likely move come September.
For the next month I’ll be in Lakewood, CO working on the Climate Odyssey artists’ books (and reveling in my proximity to Whole Foods, yoga classes, art supply stores, and friends and family) while Zion teaches at Quest University in BC. I’ve compiled some pictures from our last month, including the shots from the process of making Japanese woodcut prints on board. Enjoy, and thanks again for following along.
Wishing you smoother sailing than we had in January!
Lucy & Zion
Greetings from Lakewood, CO!