Posing for a photo with Ellen and Sue, the great folks at Food For Thought Organic Cafe in Marathon in the Florida Keys. Glad to see they were still there working just as hard creating yummy things in the kitchen for our hungry crew to enjoy!

It’s hard to believe that we have come a full circle since starting our Great Loop adventure, officially crossing our wake in Marathon the other day. We stopped in our favorite organic cafe, Food for Thought (5800 Overseas Hwy, Marathon) and were greeted once again with the familiar faces of Sue and Ellen. We pretty much had made this place home base last January before we left for the Bahamas, stocking up on organic provisions and learning some of the great vegetarian and vegan recipes they had on the menu. Well, it’s eleven months later and it almost feels like I could tie on an apron, step in their kitchen and help whip up some of those delicious menu items they have listed. They inspired me to try a new way of cooking using many vegan and raw recipes and now even the kids eat all their greens! Thanks again and we hope to get back down for more delicious meals in our boating future.

We’ve had quite a year and I’m sure Michael will delve into more post-Loop details in another web-post later this coming week. Suffice to say, the kids were excited to be getting back to their home port and catching up with all their friends and relatives, some of which traveled to Miami for the holidays. Michael and I, well…it’s not so easy to explain. I am definitely going to miss being aboard! Floating along on this long slow journey has given us the opportunity to really spend great times together as a family. We got to observe some new and unique qualities in both of our children as we watched them grow and mature along the way. Every day was a new experience, spent exploring different places and meeting interesting folks.

We lost track of time, often only aware of the general month, but totally oblivious to the actual day. Wearing a watch just wasn’t necessary because if you missed something today, there was always tomorrow. The pace was slow and that enabled us to take advantage of the many things we forgo in our otherwise busy land life. Things like stopping by a neighboring boat; stepping out to give someone a help with their lines; inviting others aboard for a cup of coffee and cookies; chatting with new folks on the dock; sharing our story with people we encountered in each town; stopping in each and every place we found interesting; enjoying a leisurely stroll through a farmers market looking for fresh produce and then chopping, dicing and enjoying the pleasure of a home-cooked meal; sitting down and eating all of our meals together as a family; and finally (but the list could go on…) enjoying the early morning sunrises and late afternoon sunsets and knowing that we get to see it all over again the next day. I hope to bring on land some of these daily pleasures from the boat.

One of the neatest things about this past years adventure is that we can just about recall almost each and every week, based on our memories and experiences, journeying along the waterways. How often can you really think back on a complete year with that much clarity and description?? No wonder our land-life seems to slip by in a “blink of the eye”. We were lucky to have had this past year together on the boat. We took advantage of a “mid-life sabbatical” and made it happen through hard work, a little luck and ten years of planning. Those ten years went by fast! I’m glad I had this past long year to reflect and rejoice upon the fruits of our labor. Life, love, laughter and family made this year longer than most get in a lifetime. I’m sure we’ll be back aboard one day soon and enjoying all those same pleasures again. Bring it on! Land hooooo….!