With most of the starboard engine sitting in pieces on a tarp upstairs, we've settled down into something resembling a routine (as much as that is possible given our hectic lives).

We returned to Highwind from Big Sky a day before the New Year, and picked up the fixed-mount heaters that David had ordered from Big Sky while we were watching the temparatures on the boat drop to well below freezing and worrying about what damage was being wreaked on our systems. Amazingly after some inspection and a very careful process of turning back on the water pump and testing out the water maker, we were thankfully able to declare that no damage was done! David installed all the heaters in the engine bays, which will turn themselves on automatically when needed, hopefully giving us some piece of mind about everything below the floor while we wait out the winter here.

For New Years Eve, I managed to find a local bar offering dinner and a burlesque show, an outing that was fun. True to form, we took no pictures the entire evening, despite both of us getting fancied up for the occasion :).

Okay, so I only took this one photo before putting on my fancy clothes, but there - proof that we were dolled up.

After 2 cancellations due to unfortunately-timed covid and travel-related sicknesses, we finally had re-scheduled David's surgery for just after New Years. The week needed to be carefully orchestrated as I needed to travel to New York for a work trip only 2 days after the surgery, so I spent the holiday weekend doing lots of meal prep to ensure that David would be able to easily feed himself while not being fully mobile. We also had his aunt Jan on standby in case he urgently needed help. (And of course I would have cancelled my work trip if he had needed me to stay!).

Am I a cruel wife for taking this picture?

The surgery went really well and his recovery seemed to be going smoothly, so on Thursday morning of the first week in January, I woke up at 4:30am to take a train from Baltimore to New York for a couple of days of fiscal planning. It's amazing how well the train system works in the North East!! I returned back to Highwind on Friday night and we settled in for a couple of weeks of lying low and taking it easy while David was healing.

During that time, we did make it out to a local Baltimore park where Jan was playing a hockey game. It was fun to watch her play and then we had dinner with some of her team mates later in the evening.

IT IS COLD IN BALTIMORE! It also doesn't help that one of our heaters in the boat decided to break down, so while we might have bought the xmas onesies as a joke, more often than not, this is what I look like in the evenings!

That Onesie Life

What I am especially appreciating while we are not moving is the ability to go to a local pole studio, where I have been making friends with the instructors and students! I've also been taking some yoga classes at a studio near the marina (OMG, 95 degree hot yoga is AMAZING when your house is so cold all.the.time).

When we realized that we would not be making our reservation in Key West, where we had planned to be for 4 weeks, we unfortunately had to tell everyone who had plans to visit us that they would need to cancel. This was very sad. My parents decided that they were going to keep their flights for the week that they had planned and instead booked an AirBnB. Matthew, David, and I decided to join them for the last weekend of that week, which was when we'd purchased ferry tickets for the Dry Tortugas (anticipating that again we'd not have the weather window to take Highwind there ourselves).

We flew in on Thursday morning, landing in the afternoon. Both David and I had work meetings, so our trip didn't really start until Friday (for me), and unfortunately David couldn't even take Friday off. It was so lovely, if a little bittersweet, to be somewhere warm!

We spent Friday mainly wondering around town, and then for dinner we returned to the sushi boat restaurant for a delicious feast. On Saturday morning, we awoke early and made our way to the ferry terminal for the voyage to the Dry Tortugas. Incredibly ironically, it was actually a beautifully calm day and would have been no problem at all for us to have taken Highwind there ourselves!

The naturalist/guide gave us a tour of the fort and described how it came to be that one of the biggest forts of this type was built on an island some 50+ miles offshore in the middle of nowhere (hint - it has to do with protecting trade routes, and safe anchorages). We spent the day wondering around the fort, doing some snorkeling off one of the beaches, and walking around on the beach.

On Sunday, we had signed up for an escape room on a boat adventure. David and I had heard about this as a new venture that the owner of the escape room in town had been putting together last year. Essentially, he takes you to a remote island (public park) and sets up an escape room there, after which you can choose to do a more standard "boat charter" activity, like dolphin watching, or snorkeling. Being a very boat-oriented family, we had been looking at the weather and noticed that there was some wind predicted for the afternoon, but it didn't look too bad. We met up with our captain and the marina and set out. As soon as we got around the lee of the island that was protected from the wind, we started to hit some waves. He knew that we were experienced boaters, and asked us if we were fine to continue. It wasn't so rough that we getting sick, although David happed to be sitting on the wrong side of the boat and was soaked from waves splashing. We continued forward, but within moments, the waves were getting to be 5-7 feet high (bigger than I've ever been in), and our bow was getting repeatedly swamped. Mum finally looked at the captain and said "You're the Captain!" at which point he decided to turn around.

Once we got back into calmer waters, he explained that we could actually solve the puzzles on the boat, so he set everything out for us on the bow and we got to solving puzzles. This took place while we were standing in an inch of water, since apparently his bilge pumps weren't actually functioning!!!

Well, that was an adventure :).

We returned back to Baltimore, where I had one day turnaround before heading on the train back to New York for another three days of planning sessions. This time, David joined me in on Friday evening, and we spent the weekend hanging out in New York, where I forgot to take any photos of our trip. We went to an off-off-off-off Broadway variety show on Friday night, which I thought was going to have an aerialist performer, but it turned out their aerial act was on pause for the month. We also visited the New York Boat Show with my colleagues, and then had an absolutely fabulous dinner at the Modern where I told them I was celebrating my birthday, which was technically a few weeks earlier, when David had been recovering from surgery.

All in all, we are keeping pretty busy while we're stuck here in Baltimore!