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D dock predaybreak

       I was in my recuperation stage, which only means that I was still living way up in North Naples out in the country back in on two dirt roads…. Where the house I lived in was off a dirt road that was off the dirt road called Rock Road…Most people around here know of the Rock Road.  For some reason it seems like everyone has been there somewhere, or has taken it to somewhere.  All I did was find a beautiful house to live in out there….All new with tile floors, two bedrooms and nothing else around except the main house, and the animals that one could hear in the middle of the night that sounded like you were living in the jungle.  There were wild animals neighbor people had brought in from all over the world, not to mention the wild bore, and the chickens in the barn where I was along with the horses there.  The house had been built for their daughter who did not move into it, so special care was taken in the building of it.

    I loved being out there and I had started a garden with some organic tomato plants before I had finished radiation.  I never got to eat any fruit from those plants because as I finished with my treatments and made it to the Neurologist stage I was too exhausted and heavily medicated to do anything but sleep in my chair, watch the animals eat my tomatoes, and get out of my recliner once a day to get some food for myself somehow, unless someone would bring some to me by chance.

   As I progressed into trying to get out of the chair and exercise one whole minute at a time, this would eventually roll in to two minutes and on up until I could last 20 minutes or more.  I had to start playing again but I could not remember my music so I would practice my songs over and over.  I would play them as far as I could remember them until I could get them played all the way through.  Once I remembered them I wrote them down in a book.  Sometimes I would write only the words because the music was complicated and I had remembered it and gotten it into my head again.  Then for some of the songs I wrote down all the chords and the words so I would not have to try to remember them again.

     Finally I got it together to go back to Goodland and play one day a week.  Before I was ill I had played at Chuckles Pub and Grub ( which was actually called Chuckles Chickee Bar) every Sunday afternoon, and other musicians would come and sit in with me.  It became a very nice jam session.  I was now capable of conducting a jam session again.  I could not carry my equipment but my ex would come and carry my stuff for me for a couple months until I could carry it myself.
     Most of the time my other friends would help me with my equipment at the gig when it was over and I had made some new friends who would also help.
Home in a Fog
        My new sailor friend would say to me, “Do you want to get some food now?” and we would all end up over at the Marco Lodge having drinks and food.
     Sometimes after he took me out to eat, when it was raining my new sailor friend would say to me, “You should not try and drive up across that awful road…. that Immokalee Road to Rock Rd is a death trap.  You can come and stay on the boat.”  And I would take him up on his offer and he would get up and go to work in the morning and let me sleep in.  I was still weaning myself off of some of the very heavy medications which made me so very tired and unable to drink any alcohol at all of course (after surviving all this I did not want my lungs to stop moving or my heart to stop beating due to stupidity).
     It took me six months to get myself off of all that medication they had me taking, but I made it and I was fine….mostly….or at least I had come so far that it seemed like, at this point, I was fine, compared to where I had come from..
      When there is a Tropical Depression that has been named because it has gotten up the strength of 75 MPH, the younger people that live in houses on Marco Island (especially those who work in restaurants and bars), think it is a great time to have a hurricane party.  You see they have to work anyway.  Some people that work in day jobs get to go home and prepare for hurricanes but the crews at bars and restaurants have to be there when the hurricane parties start..
More of the stationary dock
         I always thought of hurricane parties as unnecessary and I would never go because I did not drink.  But this time a hurricane was coming and I had been on a sailboat and was learning how to sail.  And when I was invited to go to a hurricane party at a fellow musicians house with his family and their friends, I went.  Some of the family was at a bar partying and I was at the house with the rest of them.  Then I got a call from my new friend, the sailor.
     He asked me how I was and where was I going to weather the storm.  I was feeding the cat for a friend of mine who was away and she said if there was a storm that I was welcome to go stay in her house.  Well I told my sailor this and then I said but I would rather come and stay on the boat with you.  Now this was certainly shocking news to him because it was very different thinking to believe that anyone would feel safer on a boat than in a house.
     This is the way it looked to me.  I could go to the house all alone for my first hurricane on the island, or I could go to a sailboat with a seasoned sailor who knew what to do….hmmmmm…. Was this really that hard of a decision?…I think not.  I knew that I felt safer with him than by myself….If I had never met him I would have gone to the house of my friend and weathered this new trauma all alone, but I was blessed and did not have to.
         So here we are on the boat and it is raining and pouring and blowing.  As it got later, we talked and discussed the storm, what to do, and played cards.  When it got late enough we laid down in the bed and I went to sleep.  However, he sat up all night, watched the weather and waited so that we would be safe…All he asked, is that if the need be, when he said we have to go that I was packed and ready to go.  To comply, I packed my stuff before I laid down on the bed.
Only part of the dock
         Finally the time came and he said to me, “Kaite, we have to go now.”  Apparently this is all I needed to hear.  He said he had never before, or since, seen me move so fast.  I was up in 2 seconds with my bag in hand and was right behind him, on our way up the companionway through the hatch.
     As we were dismounting the boat, he said to me just come down here to the dock, I’ve got you.  He made this statement because, by now the wind was blowing at 55 mph, the boat was leaning so far to the port side that the floating dock was farther than I could reach with my legs.  We normally dismounted the boat like you would dismount a horse, over the life line to the dock.
         The floating docks (finger piers) we were tied to, led up to the main dock via a ramp securely mounted to each other, but the main dock was NOT A FLOATING DOCK….It was a stationary dock and by this time the tide was so high that the main dock and our feet were under water.  Thank God there was a railing so we could see where to put our feet, and in the middle of the night it was quite dark.
     This was around 4 AM so we drove out of Goodland to Marco Island, and ate breakfast.  By the time we returned to Goodland the water was over the road into Goodland.  We had to drive very slowly through it, as it was deep.  We were in a Ford Explorer so we could attempt this, but behind us was a van which of course did not make it through the deep water and drowned out.
The ramp
        We were the last people to make it back into Goodland before Goodland lost power.  Thank goodness we had eaten by this time. It was time to start our own little hurricane party.  We went right over to Jackie’s Pink House Motel and sat outside with her and the other Goodlanders under cover that joined us in buying up the beer there and drinking it before it got too warm, since we were without electric…This seemed like the only thing to do at this point.
    Most of us were going around to help other people do things like find their belongings when the water started to go down, or put TV’s and such electrical items on the beds and tables so they did not get wet with the water coming into the houses.  Also joining them in helping the people whose houses were on the water sweep the water out of their houses back into the ocean.
     We had at least been smart enough to eat while we could.  Others were scavenging to find food without electricity for the day.  I believe the electric came back on before dark, but when the water went down enough we went back to the boat and cooked because we had an alcohol stove and twelve volt electricity.  All we had to do when the batteries ran down was start the boat and charge them up again.
     I do so love living on the boat.  It has been 6 years already and I have been through almost too many hurricanes to count now, at least 8 that I remember very clearly and I know there were a few blurs.  We and the boat have survived them all.  That says a lot for us.  I think.

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     Frances was my first Hurricane…since I moved onto the sailboat. We moved to Ft Pierce so we could get to the Bahamas more quickly from the U.S.  You can do it in a day on the right day weatherwise…in a sailboat.

      Then when we heard about Frances coming, we put the boat up on the hard in the right marina, which was Crackerboy Marina in Ft Pierce.  They are quite capable, which is hard to find.  Then we came on home to Marco Island to a friends house.  We heard that after Frances went through the boats were all in smithereens.  We had a friend try to get up to Crackerboy to find out, in his dinghy boat, but to no avail.  Everything was locked down and in a quarantine for the entire area.

     There was so much destruction that people were looting very badly.  Some looters even took a washing machine from someones back porch while it was running …with clothes in it.  That was ridiculous!!!  Needless to say when we got back, all the boats at Crackerboy were in fine condition as expected but at the marina across the street, they were mostly destroyed.

     There was a huge boat graveyard in Ft Pierce.  It was heartbreaking!!! There was also a moratorium on any boats in the water because no one really knew what the bottom was like now because so many boats went down.  There were sailboats and power boats, masts and all somewhere down below in the water all around the area.  You could see some of the masts sticking up out of the water.  For instance, most sailboats have at least a four foot draft, so you did not know what you might come across underneath the surface.  They had to dredge the whole area to make certain they had removed all the boats that went down from the bottom before they could open up the channels again.

     You could just see all the boats smashed at the graveyard where they were amassed over by the Ft Pierce City Marina ( or where it had been ).  One of their floating docks floated up and off the pilings and as it washed by the other docks it took them all with it…boats and all.

     Where I had been was a wreck of some boats still floating and some down under the docks or what was left of the dock above the water where they had been tied to it.  It took the guys and a come-along three days to get the post that was across our slip up out of the way so we could tie to it again.  The people from Oklahoma were pretty grand at Lassos to get the lines across to the pilings.  There was even one boat up on the cement.  It was right up in the marina, on the cement yard where we used to cook dinners with friends.

     Many people had gone to Fema to try and recuperate some of what they lost in the storm..  We heard that a woman was there from Jamaica who had just lost all of her family in one Hurricane.  When her husband went down to see about the relatives and if they survived he was picked up in the next Hurricane and gone forever too.  There were people who had it worse than some others, but just about everyone involved, had problems with wind, water, or looters or electric.

     The State of North Carolina Electricians came down to help us get our electric back up from Frances (as Florida had gone up to help them in previous years).  It was just up and barely working, but needed so much more work to truly become stable, when the next Hurricane that year of 2004 was already on its way.

 

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     Ah yes….just when you are not looking for it…there it is….We were just driving around Bokeelia….getting the hang of Pine Island….going up and down almost every road we found (and some of those roads!!)…..Anyway….then we happened across a Marina at the ‘End’ of the road.


     It is called “The Coast Connection”…and perfect it was for us at that particular point in time….It was pouring the rain to just drizzling…and there were boats coming in and out and there was this one man ‘rowing’ his boat out…You gotta give that man some credit now!!….The sign said The “Fiddler and I” music 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday and 6 to 8:30 on Monday (I think)…anyway I believe her name is Becky and his name is Pat and they are “The fiddler and I”. He played a guitar and a mandolin and a fiddle (of course one at a time) and sang while she played the guitar and sang… and I loved their songs.


     While I am not the only one because there were several other people there as well (making the small but marina-like room seem full as there were not many other chairs left in which to sit) and they were singing along and clapping their hands and drinking beverages and all just seemed to be having fun. Even though I am quite sure that not any one knew the t’other…and it was quite an enjoyable bunch of people having fun together….I like that….You could clog to their music and the Fiddler played some Irish songs (of course I assumed the Irish ones were all for me as they made me dance around) and others began to dance and even more people came in and simply stood….or danced….but all enjoyed.


     While we were being festive, we took these pictures and spoke to them , exchanged cards so we could keep in touch and tipped them ……of course. The wall said…”Please Take Care Of Our Musicians. We’ll Feed ‘Em…..You Tip ‘Em” 

     You can go see these people and have fun with them as well…and do not forget to tip them for their work well done.


     Becky said they drove in from St James City, which is of course the other end of Pine Island, and that they were building a boat. A 42 Foot Catamaran of the same kind that they already had a 32 foot of……I guess they were in need of more room on a boat…I do not know their plans or their intended travel course but I will post their information at the end of this post so that you too can find out their whereabouts…..

     They are just real people doing real things…..like building a boat and playing music….real tropical things…perfectly normal stuff in my world…..however my world can seem sooooooo abstract to some people…Life is what you make it….I remember working in the lab all day and going out and driving to a place like “Moriarty’s Pub” and playing music for 4 hours (after loading my equipment in to set it up and putting it back in the truck when I was done)….then getting up and going to the lab to work again the next morning…..

     I am very blessed to have lived in both worlds, the world of a musician and the world of not being a musician, especially when I was working as a scientist in a molecular epidemiology lab in infectious diseases….I would not mind doing some of that here but research is done up north where it snows and as you know if you are living down here in the tropics…..that is a four-letter word down here (snow)……it is something that is just not done anymore amongst us “Tropicans” …….see how much fun it is being a “wordsmith”.


     Oh Yeah….Just had to show you the man rowing his boat out to his other boat….Too cool….That man is workin’ hard in this rain….

Well for now I am off….I have a piano to get to…it calls me sometimes and says “I miss you…where are you that you do not have time to sit with me and exchange feelings….?”

     ….As it happens I have to now find where I put their card so that I can post their info….but I will get it on here as soon as I find it….Thank you for having patience with my forgetfullness….


     Yet now I found the info…..

Coast Connection Family Boating Center…Live Bait, Ice & Drinks, Boat Ramp, Kayak Rentals, Sailing, Fun Games & Entertainment.

Welcome to Coast Conection LLC,

Pine Island Florida

located at Knight’s Landing

16499 Porto Bello

Bokeelia, FL

26 42’03.40″N 82 08’55.45W

239-677-6931
Freshest Seafood around, Native Recipes, Smoked Mullet from Gulf Seafood.

Owner (Scott Player )

Aah Ha…Hence the sign “Players Place


     ….And they have Falling Tide Charters w/Capt. Cory McGuire…and also Saltyboy Charters w/Capt. Scotty Darna as well as others you can find there.


     Now for “The Fiddler and I” info I promised you:

polkow4132@aol.com

239.443.7532

239.283.2580

PO Box 129

St James City, FL 33956

Old Time Irish, Bluegrass, Cajun, Blues, etc.

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    This is a sight that can be either good or bad, depending on what follows…luckily in April this is only just a thunderstorm.  I do love rain, at least I always did in West Virginia.  These days in Florida, rain can be very demanding, especially between June and the end of November..Been through many of those and enough is enough. However I really do believe this year will be a pass.  We will have an easy Hurricane season..uhoh there was that “H” word…

    We do not have a choice on going through it. Our only choices are where to spend it. Or should I say our choice is where the boat will spend it.  hmmmmmm…Wouldn’t it be nice to find a place to put the boat where we do not have to worry about such things…A kind of fairy tale island of safeness for boats in the tropics that has a cover of safety around it, protecting it from all that jazz…..well yes it would…..but we have not found it yet.  I am now looking for such a place. So if you know of one. I would appreciate some info from you…

    Rainy days are always appreciated by me….(even still)…..I guess that comes from being reared in West Virginia where one is safe from all the jazzed up stuff that comes with them in flat lands, like Florida and Michigan and Ghana (and other places in Africa)…I now feel like it is a hurricane day when it rains really hard and I go outside.  But I will never…. not like to listen to the rain.  It is my favorite sound……..next to a happy baby.

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     Okay then do not forget that I am there every month at the Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island, FL….and April will be on the 29th…a Thursday…everything will be sooo nice then.

     We will be warm but not hot yet……A lovely month shooing in May and the rain and blooms that come with it…so bring your camera (always) to once again try and get a pic of that green flash during dinner on the water.

     Or you can come by boat you know. Go out for a day of fishing and come home to the Tarpon Lodge for the night and celebrate your day. Then from 6:30pm til 9:30pm Sister Kaite’s show is for you. We will laugh and be serious and simply have fun. Join us for a drink and toast or two.

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