Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let Us Now Praise Hot Water

Cap'n gives the thumbs up to this "Blue Angel" jet.
Goes a trifle faster than our boat.
The last post left Dragonfly scurrying through the cold and the winds to Pensacola, Florida . . .  where we found a grateful haven at Palafox Pier, a downtown marina.

About two weeks ago, back on the Tenn-Tom, we'd shared an anchorage--and drinks and laughs--with sailboaters Jeannie and Ron . . . who keep their boat at Palafox and live near the marina. Like rescuing angels, they plucked us off of our cold boat and fed us dinner--Jeannie's homemade shrimp and grits.  (Watch out, Emeril, and beware, Paul Prudhomme, you gentlemen have serious competition.)

Next day Ron loaned us his truck for a visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum, which has sufficient awesomely cool planes to make the average 8-year-old boy pass out with pleasure.

As we approached the museum, we noticed the large parking lot was full . . . on a Tuesday morning in early December.  Huh?

And the flags were flying at half mast.  Who died?

Then, as we watched a film about Pearl Harbor, it all clicked.  Today was the 69th anniversary of the assault on Pearl Harbor during World War II.  The museum was hosting a ceremony to honor survivors and their families. 

It was moving to see the gray-haired men in uniform walking slowly through the hangar-like display hall, past planes that had seen duty on Pacific aircraft carriers . . . and one Japanese "Zero."  (You can find more photos on SlowBoat's Facebook page.)

Little did we know that, while we were at the museum, the local TV station was phoning us. Throughout this trip we've had problems with our communications technologies, and today was no exception.  The crew's brand-new Droid was dead, frizzled by corrupted software.  

But, since this was TV news, no worries--they don't need no stinkin' interview!  The station sent a crew to the marina to photograph the boat without us, pulled a few words from our press release, and there you have it: insta-news. 

Wednesday dawned gray and even colder.  Even the marina pelicans were huddled together for warmth. They looked astonished as we pulled away from the dock.

"You're going OUT in this stuff?"
By taking turn and turn about at the helm for 20 minute intervals, we made it through the day--though I can't tell you much about what we saw. I think the cold froze my brain. 

In situations like this, I can't help but think about all the explorers we've read about in all the museums we visited along the way.  After a day like this, Joliet and Marquette pulled onto the bank, flipped their canoe over for a shelter and huddled under it.

We, on the other hand, gave ourselves a treat. We checked into a Day's Inn.  And immediately poured ourselves a deep, hot tub.

After life on the boat, it felt a little wicked to be so profligate with heat and water.

On the other hand, I personally am convinced that copious hot water at the turn of a knob is one of civilization's most marvelous accomplishments.  

Forget penicillin, never mind space flight or the internet . . . let us sing a little song of praise to live in the age of hot water on demand.

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