With the end of our second residency in NSB on the horizon, we had things to do and people to see. Amazingly, after spending 11 weeks over two separate visits, we still had not exhausted everything there is to do in this town. Although we checked a few new restaurants off our list with our most recent visit, there are still many others remaining. There are musicians we haven’t heard, live theatre we haven’t attended, retail thresholds we haven’t crossed, and street names we haven’t memorized.
Frankly, we are not the least bit bored with this town. And we can envision spending another winter here. Perhaps next winter here. That snowbird idea requires a bit more exploration, especially since we need to get back to working again. But we have no dirt dwelling home tying us down to a set location, so why not explore, imagine, hypothesize, and dream a little? Uh-oh… that’s the kind of thinking that got us here in the first place. So we are considering options, and local friends are helping us search for a multi-month rental near Canal Street, rather than the more popular beach side. We’ll see what turns up. On Day 158, we planned to leave town saying à bientôt (pronounced ah bee en toe) which means “see you soon” in French rather than au revoir (pronounced o reh vwah) which means “goodbye.”
But first, there are many things to do and people to see! It’s easy to get too comfortable in a familiar town and a comfy marina. Once we start moving again, we lose consistency and predictability. Mail and package delivery become quite the challenge, because we are never quite sure where we will be, and when. Laundry is more of a burden, especially if we plan to anchor out or use mooring balls. Although we have a washer/dryer on board, it’s more energy efficient and water-smart to use marina machines when we can. And while our tanks are amply sized for holding water and waste for a 10-day to two-week period, it’s comforting to know that a water hose and pump-out station is dockside, rather than some unknown distance or weather window ahead.
And then there’s food and beverage. Provisioning both is certainly more challenging when transportation is limited. In NSB, we knew what we could buy at the weekly farmer’s market, and what required 12-minute bike runs to the local grocery store. After we leave NSB, we already know that the next ten days will put us in places where major provisioning is not convenient or inexpensive. Thus, one big task on our “to do” list was to head out on our bikes with four panniers (saddlebags) to stock up on items that we couldn’t buy at the walkable farmer’s market.
Other tasks included topping off our water; laundering sheets, towels, and clothes; emptying all trash and recyclables; mailing absentee ballots, letters, cards, and checks; sending all 2015 tax info to our accountants; downloading anything that needed strong wifi; and fixing and tweaking any boat systems.
With the mundane “to do” items under control, we were able to savor time with local friends and schedule a few farewell get-togethers. Some happened spontaneously. Bob offered to drive us to the beach to see the full moon rising.
Karie invited us out to lunch at Outriggers, with Donna’s urging, and John, Blaine, and Susan joined in.
We hosted cocktails on Belle Bateau with Pam and Ian, from the marina. I visited Servants Quarters Fellowship on Palm Sunday, thanks to a ride from 80-year old Mary who kindly picked me up so I didn’t have to ride my bike in the rain and wind. We saw Sarah at Bakka’s, and dined with Christina and Bob from Dreamtime.
At Donna’s, Blaine and Susan treated me to coffee and breakfast, not just once but a few times during my last week. And Donna got all misty-eyed with me as we shared farewell hugs. Karie too.
On our last evening in paradise, Karie and John stopped by the boat with a small gift. Karie said she wanted to be sure we remembered our roots, until we get back. And it couldn’t have been more perfect. A sign to hang on Belle Bateua: Life’s a Beach, NSB. Indeed!
As we left the dock early on Day 158, to catch the 7:20 am opening of the George Musson Bridge, the full moon was high in the sky over the marina on the west. And the sun was just about to rise over the water to the east, coloring the sky with vivid hues.
I couldn’t help but think that both the moon and the sun were conspiring to sear a lasting impression of NSB in our memory banks. À bientôt NSB. We’ll see you soon, NSB. This is not goodbye.