I haven’t gone far since my last post – really just a few miles down the Intercoastal Waterway to Jacksonville, Florida, where Elli and I left my boat and flew to Maine to see my family for Christmas.

I returned to Athena in early January and since then have been heading south … slowly.

Today I am sitting in the shade of a gazebo in a quiet little town south of Cape Canaveral. Yesterday I took Elli to the beach to chase seagulls. We are both appreciating the weather.

In the middle of January my closest friends from Maine came to visit me on Athena. For three-and-a-half months my 29-footer seemed spacious enough for my almost-whole dog and myself. Now, with three additional guests, who all brought sufficient vacation gear, it’s a little cramped. It’s taken a little adjustment to get everyone on the same page about conserving power and water, the importance of sunscreen, wearing life jackets, etc., but the company they provide is wonderful! I missed them very much over the past few months, and though I have made many friendships along the way, I can’t express how much it comforts me to be with them.

We all have different jobs onboard Athena, and although they don’t have a lot of boating experience, they make the trip much easier. They are extra hands, cooks, cleaners and jokers. Upon arriving in this harbor we were nicknamed “The Bikini Boat,” and have upheld our reputation by filling our days with beaching, rowing, swimming and tanning.

Right now the boat is running well except for two problems: the outboard engine for my dinghy won’t start and the solar panel that keeps my batteries charged has stopped working. These problems would usually fall into the category of inconvenience but they are a little more serious since without the engine I have to row. And four people use up a lot more electricity than one.

In an attempt to solve the solar panel problem (which I have deemed more pressing) I have followed the wiring and can’t see any visible problems with it. The panel, although in the sun, isn’t producing any power. I took apart the connectors and sprayed them with a product that is used to fix corrosion on electronic equipment. I reconnected everything, but it still isn’t working. I’m trying the process over again today, with fingers crossed.

Someone suggested I find a professional to diagnose the problem, and it may come to that, but for the moment I haven’t given up on me.

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