We are in the parking lot of Thunderbolt Marina, in the small township of Thunderbolt, adjacent to Savannah, Georgia (map). Out our windows we have a view of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and, to the north, the 65'-tall bridge that carries US-80 over it.
Yesterday morning found us in Jacksonville, Florida, where we spent the night at a Walmart on the east side of town, ironically right next door to the Camping World (map). We had first tried a different Walmart closer to the bank, with several nice dining options in walking distance, but even though it was not listed that way in our directory, it was clearly posted No Overnight Parking. Our drive to Jacksonville from the Spirit of the Suwannee was otherwise uneventful, although this was our very first time on the stretch of I-10 between I-75 and its eastern terminus at Jacksonville.
We rolled over to the bank just as they opened and found it pleasantly empty when we walked in. We had absolutely no trouble arranging the wire transfer; the banker merely looked at Louise's South Dakota driver licence. They did not even ask us to enter the PIN for our ATM card. So all the sturm und drang about transaction security came down to a glance at an out-of-state license.
We were in Richmond Hill, just south of Savannah, by 12:30, and the sellers of the boat, John and Laura Lee, met us at the Love's truck stop there to lend us their spare car, a 90's-era Jeep with a stick shift and manual transfer case, so we could get around while we are in town. Very nice of them to take such good care of us, and we asked them to join us last night for our celebratory dinner.
All the funds were in the seller's account by mid-afternoon, and the boat is now ours. We arrived at the boatyard early in the afternoon, and they sent us to this lot to get the bus squared away. We are a good ways from the boat here, so we've been driving back and forth in the Jeep, which requires going through two locked gates each time (the marina and boat yard, while under the same ownership, have separate entrances, and the boat is still in the yard).
When we got aboard yesterday, a technician was in the engine room wrapping up the last project on the previous owners' watch, an air conditioning pump that had gone bad last week, John allowed that he hoped this was the angry god of the sea's last jab at him, and I know how he feels. Regular readers will know that our toilet broke last week, and just yesterday I spent two hours repairing the satellite system, which gave up the ghost right after we left Suwannee.
We loaded a very small handful of things aboard, including a set of new dishware that we bought just for the boat, a shop vac we also bought for the occasion, and some paper goods. We'll be living aboard Odyssey for at least a dozen more days, as we will be driving down to Fort Lauderdale next week for Trawler Fest. As much as we'd like to spend a night in our new digs right away, we think moving onto the boat is going to be stressful enough for the cats without forcing them to make the transition twice.
We have lots of work to do to get the boat ready for our occupancy. First among them is figuring out where the cats' litter box is going to live -- the last thing we want to do after they are aboard is to mess with their routine any more than is necessary. We also need to containerize and stow all the loose items that had been stored elsewhere and are now on the boat, such as the touch-up paint kit. And we want to give the whole boat a thorough cleaning before we start loading any more things aboard.
We have four more days here before we need to head for Fort Lauderdale, and we'll get as much done in that time as we can. I emailed two different sign companies this morning to get quotes on re-lettering the transom, which really needs to get done before our training cruise which starts February 8th. And we need to get the boat tied up in a regular slip here in town so we have a temporary base for all these activities.
We had a wonderful dinner last night with John and Laura Lee at Tubby's Tank House, just down the street from the marina. We discussed getting the boat moved and John, who holds a captain's license (our insurance will not let us move the boat without a licensed captain until we are "signed off"), is going to meet us here at 1pm so we can shuttle a car over to the other marina, go over a few things aboard, and get underway in time to make port at the new slip before dark. We want to arrive at something other than low water, and high tide this afternoon will be at 6pm.