Before returning home to the Chicago area, we had unfinished business to attend to in Florida.
There was someone we had to thank, in person, for the success of our trip. Gerry O’Donoghue is an ex-Irish Navy Captain and a guardian angel for many would-be cruisers. He was instrumental in so many ways as he helped our crew get to sea the previous summer. So, we took a drive to Miami to buy Gerry a thank you lunch that in no way could repaid our debt to him.
While in Florida, we stopped in New Smyrna Beach for a few weeks and practiced land life while the kids caught up on school. But it wasn’t all work for the kids. We drove to NASA’s Cape Canaveral facility to hear a lecture by a former astronaut, where he discussed his (much farther) journey to space.
One day while in Florida, we watched in amazement from our deck as a cruiser beached his yacht. He had become disoriented sailing south and missed the Ponce de Leon inlet by six miles. Considering the journey we had just completed, I felt great empathy for him as he walked away, leaving his boat stranded on the beach. The incident reinforced just how fortunate we had been to return home from the sea, unscathed. I’ve crossed both major world oceans and know well the relief of reaching land. Our family had shared that feeling many times on our trip.