March 6, 2015

A Rude Interruption

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding…"    
Khalil Gibran 

Few things are more painful than a mean old tooth ache.  And to be experiencing severe tooth pain while on a boat far away from home was just not real fun. …thus I refer to this post as the Rude Interruption. 

I was foolish to ignore warnings by my dentist 2 months ago where he diagnosed  me with an abscessed tooth… he said it was like a time bomb waiting to explode… However, nothing was hurting at the time of my departure so why bother to drop a grand for a root canal when there's great cruising to be done! My cruiser logic soon turned out to be a rather stupid 
decision on my part… 

Anyway, the time bomb finally ran out of time, and I soon found myself in the Florida Keys in a world of hurt… there I was in paradise, lying in my bunk with tears running down my face hoping and praying it would just go away.  I tried every home remedy I could find on the web… salt water rinse, cloves, black pepper to name a few… Soon a prescription of antibiotics and pain meds from my dentist would help a little bit, until I could find permanent relief.

The tooth issue seemed to put a damper on my whole Keys experience as I slogged around in a pain that came and went.  I shopped around for a local dentist but timing and logistics just didn't align like I had hoped.  So I decided to fly to Georgia, take a little break, get a root canal, and spend some quality time with my family and friends. Thankfully, going back to Georgia is a good thing as I have a home there and a loving family.

Many of my friends at home thought it was cute to suggest I employ the Tom Hanks method of tooth removal as seen in the movie, Castaway.  How sweet of them.  Thankfully, there are no ice skates to be found in the Keys.

But getting my arse back to Georgia wasn't cheap by any means…. sometimes you just gotta do what makes the most sense… air fare, rental car, boat storage, etc. added up in no time. 

….thank you Dr. Davis for giving me relief, even at the cost of $1045 for a root canal ….so hear I sit, relieved, atop a real bed in my Marietta home waiting for my return to the Keys in a couple weeks… 

That's all I will whine about the tooth fiasco so here's a few pics of scenes and happenings I enjoyed just before flying back to Georgia for a time out. 

Mangrove snapper are common in the Keys and this little feller went for a live shrimpie I dangled overboard…. He wasn't big enough for my pan, so he got released.
Barracudas of all sizes are quite plentiful too.
An easy bike ride from the Coral Bay Marina led me to a great little thinking spot facing the Atlantic… 

I was mesmerized by the calm of such a huge sea as this gal paddled quietly by me…. 

Although I was in the Keys, for some reason they were experiencing cooler temps than normal… the locals were sort of freaking out, having to wear long pants which rarely saw action.  A couple of cold fronts blew through forcing me to remain in the marina instead of a quiet anchorage... it was more than I prefer to spend on lodging but i enjoyed every bit of my stay there. 

Most everything is within walking distance in Islamorada, and the public bus system to Marathon and Key West is pretty good too.  One day, In my period of tooth pain, I took the bus for the 28 mile trip to Marathon Key where I would seek out a dentist.  I was also going there to place my name of the waiting list for a mooring ball at the infamous Marathon Boot Key Mooring Field as seen below.

This is a view of Boot Key on Key Marathon.  Thanks to my friend Zach for sharing this pic while hoisted on top the mast of their new sailboat, Champagne. 
Talk about a dinghy dock….This dinghy dock at Marathon is like a parking lot… there's second one too just as big as this one… with over 250 sailboats in the mooring field, the dinghy dock is a great gathering place.

Talk about gathering…. On this Monday afternoon, I stumbled upon this informal meeting of sailors gathered for a little town meeting discussion of the topic of "Sailing the Bahamas."  I was tickled that I was quite familiar with most of the topics they were discussing due to my previous cruising trip to the Bahamas last year… still I just lurked and enjoyed the moment.
 The Marina at Boot Key Harbor also has this cool community room where folks share wifi, books, and stories from their travels aboard a sailboat… nice facilities here.  I plan to return in April for a while.

I finally made my way to the Marathon Dental Center only to discover that they were closed for President's Day… the pain continues…. grrrrrrrrr.

But on a happy note, I met this young fellow, Mike, making music just outside of the dentist office… we instantly struck up a conversation and swapped the guitar back and forth for an hour or so playing various tunes and having a few welcomed laughs…  There seem to be a lot of folks like Mike in the Keys… Folks who seem to have "dropped out" of the rigamarole of what others might consider a normal lifestyle aka the rat race. The Keys will do that to you, I had been warned by others…. 

Looking like deer in headlights is how I feel about going to the dentist… I found a local dentist to consult with… he took an x-ray but couldn't work me into his schedule… On with Plan B which would involve a trip back to GA.
Ice cream and milkshakes were a major part of my diet that week… only one problem… on the bus ride back from Marathon, I realized I did not have a spoon… but this set of tongs I had scored at he Goodwill Store seemed to work, tho a bit sloppy…mmmmmm

Before I could return to Georgia, Glory Days would need to be tucked in to bed here at Coral Bay marina… lines secured, freezer emptied, Dazy resting on the deck, and all ports tightly secured…. Rest easy girl… I'll see you in 30 days.

I splurged and rented a car for my trip to the Key West airport.  It was a lovely drive that morning but I only had a short time to drive through town for a quick look before catching my flight home.  It had been over 20 years since I was here last, but the old town charm was still there. I plan to return here in April and stay in their mooring field as I check it out.

Key West Beach Walk
I guess this is conch-mobile on a street in Key West.

In no time at all, I was soaring above the clouds for a brief visit home in Georgia …. so long fishes, islands, and a host of unknowns to follow. 

YIPPEE!!! It won't be long before I'll be clicking my heels again aboard Glory Days…. 

Stay tuned for the next round of shenanigans … My plans are to return
back to the Keys on March 16 where I will spend a few more weeks gunk holing around the area, seeking out hidden mysteries, and creating opportunities of serving others along the way…. 


  1. floss everyday and rinse with Listerine! religiously!! been there ..done that!!

  2. Ouch, lesson learned. Next time you won't be ignoring your dentist advice. My shiplet is back in the water, I expect to start heading south this Sunday.

  3. Aloha Joe: Hawai'i is similar to the Keys as far as being a home for refugees from the "Rat Race". Lots of interesting and very happy people here. The Cruisers are from all over the US/Canada and share amazing stories of their adventures. The most common sailing destinations from O'ahu are Mexico, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Samoa. Fiji is the closest at an 8 day sail. Back in JoJa next week for a few months, then back in the Sandwich Isles as Roman graduates from U of Hawai'i in May. Look forward to "talking story" (as they say here) with you if you get up to the lake.