We had planned to head through the Okeechobee Waterway with Celebration and tip the boat to get under the one bridge that is 49′ off the water instead of 55′ like the rest. After two weeks of phone tag with Tippy Billy – the guy who tips boats under the bridge on the weekends – we found out our boat is too big to tip. So we booked a hotel and drove to Stuart to chill with Wayne and Gaye instead.
The last we had seen of Celebration was at Conception Island as they turned north towards Cat Island while we headed west back toward Georgetown. It was a really hard decision to part ways with them after cruising in company for almost two months. They had become like family and we had had crazy awesome adventures together. In the end, we did make the right decision as we would have had to skip Cuba and motor in their wake falling behind three miles every hour for a 1000 miles back to the states. We did miss out on the Abacos which would have been pretty cool too.
One of my favorite things that happens with close friends is that you pick up right where you left off no matter the length of time that has passed since you were last together. It is special when this happens with one person to another, but with Celebration, everyone in the group all dropped right into routine after about 30 seconds despite being apart for 4 packed months.
Initial greetings over, it was time to eat! We walked to a restaurant and had burgers, fish tacos and fries. While sitting at the table I saw the railroad bridge across the ICW close, which meant a train was coming by. The Viatorians never miss a chance to get close to the tracks when a train goes by so we all bolted. Our haste wasn’t really required because it took about 5 minutes for the train to come. But it was fun to see it.
After dunch (lupper? linner? sunch? 😉 we headed back to Celebration. The boys settled into playing lego, calling each other on the bridge phones and with the dogs. The adults spent some time catching up and relaxing on the back of the boat. Later we put on Wizard of Oz for the boys which is a classic favorite of mine and Gaye’s, but Leah has never seen in entirety. Wayne and I sat outside trying to drink wine although Wayne could not keep it in his glass. Two spills later it was time to head back to the hotel. The big boys were going to sleep over and Ethan came back to the hotel with us crying most of the way. However once we checked in and made a bed on the floor for him, he curled up and crashed. Leah and I watched Happy Gilmour until bedtime.
In the morning we had breakfast on Celebration (second breakfast for me). After breakfast, Leah and Gaye headed out to the shops which in Stuart are quite high end but really quaint – all the males stayed back at the boat. The boys played, we walked the docks and then headed out to lunch. A visit with Wayne and Gaye would not be complete without a dinghy ride so the boys all headed out for a cruise which met all expectations. Fast, wet and fun!
All good things have to come to an end and so we parted ways with Celebration with plans for a reconnect toward the end of the year.