End of a season

07/04/20 – 08/25/20 – On July 4th, we returned to the boat at Fort Meyers because there was a couple interested in seeing Life’s TraVails, which you might recall had been for sale for eight months with very little interest…but we were in the middle of COVID-19. Before leaving Marathon, Tom had started stripping the side doors for a fresh coat of paint and we wanted to complete that before the showing. So in between rainstorms (which made it interesting at times), Tom finished sanding, filling, priming, painting, and caulking both side doors. On the 9th, both doors were reinstalled. A number of other projects around the boat kept Tom busy outside, while Paula occupied herself with boat and knitting projects inside.

There were several things we wanted to complete before showing the boat, including getting the generator running again. Over the next couple of weeks, the deck chairs got a fresh coat of paint, as did the anchor pulpit. The generator problem Tom thought was the water pump was not, but a clogged fuel filter. It took a “real mechanic” 2 hours to get it running. (Tom told him he was going to deduct his fee from our taxes as an educational expense.) We got most everything on our “Do before showing” list done and the boat was looking really good. The buyers came to look at the boat on Saturday afternoon and spent the night onboard with us. The husband was very boat savvy, while his wife didn’t know the bow from the stern.

When they left the next day, we really didn’t think they would bite. (It was the first boat they had looked at.) We had decided if they didn’t buy, we would take it off the market, go back to the Keys next winter followed by the Bahamas, then put it on the market again. But they called the next day, and after a bit of negotiation, we agreed on a price. Remember, we had gotten to this point last November too. But we had a much better feeling about our “new” buyers and started working through the process. From there on, everything moved very fast and the boat will soon be in Houston with a new owner and renamed Free Bird.

We took a lot of our clothes off the boat, flying a couple of trips with 4 checked 50-pound bags plus carry-ons. But we still had a good amount of our stuff onboard. The new owner kindly offered to let us leave it on the boat until he got it to Houston. We’ll pick the rest up after he gets the boat there and it will be a much shorter drive to Phoenix than from FL.

Before negotiations were ever completed, we were talking about delaying the plan to buy an RV to tour our National Parks and instead look for another boat in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Paula said she didn’t think her “boating fun bucket” was full. We had often talked about wanting to cruise the PNW; in fact, we even looked into shipping Life’s TraVails there at one time but it was cost-prohibitive.

When we sent out an email to boating friends telling them Life’s TraVails was sold and the bittersweetness of it, one friend wrote back, “I go hot and cold about the boat – it is a lot of work, but at the same time I feel so fortunate to have the life where every day is a great nature shot, I’m not focused on everything “retail” and am forced to slow down.”  So well-said, Marilou. “After all, bad days are the tax cruisers pay for dolphins, stunning sunsets, and beautiful anchorages.” And while we’re throwing out wonderful musings, do you know the definition of “cruising?”  Cruising is fixing your boat in exotic locations.

The day after the sale of LT was complete, we looked at a trailer-able Ranger Tug 31. So cute!  Such possibilities with a trailer-able boat.  Our imaginations went wild. We could cruise the PNW, go to the Bahamas, even go back to Canada which we loved so much, all without having to do some in-between sections that were not our favorites. But alas, once on the boat we found the storage space was very sparse. We are definitely spoiled by our ownership of a DeFever 44!!!  The Ranger was 4.5 feet narrower (huge difference) and 13 feet shorter. We were really deflated, like our balloon had been popped. Back to square one and considering other options…but the rest of that story will have to wait until next time.

As we close this season of our boating life, we reflect back on our ownership of Life’s TraVails and so many amazing experiences, along with just a few not-so-amazing ones like engine failures and such. But the good far outweighs the not-so-good. The friends who joined us and those we made along the way were a highlight which we had not considered when we set out. The comradery among the boating community is a beautiful thing to experience.  

Then there was the beauty of being surrounded by God’s creation. If you followed our blog, you know we have shared more than just a few incredible sunrises and sunsets; okay, more sunsets than sunrises. The wildlife displays of dolphins, eagles, osprey, otters, flying fish, herons, turtles, egrets, alligators, a family of mink, and many more brought smiles to our faces every time.

The landscape varied from the endless grasslands of the Georgia coast to the spectacular mountains of Canada. The skyline of NYC on a glassy-calm Sunday morning with the Statue of Liberty rising above the boat was a sight to behold. There were rainbows, fog, and huge thunderstorms – more memories than we can begin to share.

We have been blessed beyond belief with the God-given ability to make this trip of a lifetime and we truly thank Him for allowing us to do so. We feel incredibly privileged!

Hope you enjoy a few pages from this season of our lives. (Click on the first image of each of the three pages to start a slide show.)

(Click on the 2 & 3 for more images.)


  1. Congratulations on the sale of your boat, and we’ll look forward to reading about your future adventures!

  2. Karen And Scott DeVoll

    They say the happiest 2 days of your life are the days you buy your boat and the day you sell your boat. We disagree. It’s like losing a family member no matter how much you want to sell her. We always enjoyed your company. Hope to cross paths again one day. We are based out of Ft Myers. If you ever get in the area please look us up. We would love to see you.

  3. Thanks so much for writing. If only we had known. Life’s TraVails was in Sweetwater Landing in Fort Meyers since the end of May and we made numerous trips there. We would have loved to have gotten together and are so sorry we didn’t know.

  4. You’re such a lovely couple, and have made wonderful memories welcoming many dear friends aboard your boating journeys… we’re blessed to be counted among them. Whatever journeys are in your future, we’re happy to go along for the ride, whether in person or via your beautifully written blogs. Thank you again for sharing your experiences and photos with us in such a nice ‘float down memory lane’.

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