I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets,
singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness. (Psalm 57:9-10 The Message)
Did you ever notice that the lows are sometimes more drastic than the highs in your life?
Since we arrived in Dunedin, the tidal range has been more noticeable. And in fact, more impactful, especially the low tides. Each morning, we wake to the view below the dock. Some mornings we have to climb out of the boat about three feet and then climb back down the same distance. It is quite interesting raising and lowering Kokomo from the boat for her morning walk.
At high tide, we just step off the boat onto the dock, and the dog hops out, too.
Yesterday, we had some highs and lows for our adventure. In the morning, we decided to ride our bikes to Tarpon Springs, about seven miles from Dunedin along the Pinellas bike trail. This area really caters to cyclists, runners, walkers and dogs. At one point on the trail, I noticed a bike pump “station” and a dog park. They even have a doggy wash at the car wash here, but it was “out of order.” So we’ll have to give Kokomo a bath another time.
The boating life may seem romantic; and it is, but it also takes work. You can’t just go out to the garage to ride your bikes. We have to walk over to the truck, pull out stuff that is packed around the bikes, unwedge the bikes from their spot, put the front wheels back on the bikes and then put air in the tires. We did all this and were almost ready to just go back to the boat and skip our adventure for the day. Instead, we chose to enjoy the day.
In the meantime, we had left Kokomo securely on the boat with the door locked and the windows ajar. Most of the windows have screens, except for the front window, which we purposely left open a little to make sure she had a cross breeze to keep her cool, while we were away.
We enjoyed the paved path and the live oaks hung with Spanish moss interspersed with palm trees, while pedaling our way to the Sponge Docks at Tarpon Springs. It was a sunny day and warm, with temps near 80 degrees by mid morning.
In the early 1900s, a sponge company hired Greeks to come harvest the sponges, so today the community is predominately Greek. We passed the docks, and went directly to find some authentic Greek food for lunch. We chose a smaller place, rather than the restauranteurs, who were on the sidewalk passing out their menus. Our choice was rewarded with homemade bread and plates full of greek potatoes (oven roasted in olive oil and lemon) and Chicken Sofia for me and Souvlaki (grilled pork in a pita wrap) for Les.
We walked the street, admiring all the various sponges. We found out that there are five varieties of sponges. Most come from the sea, but it was interesting to note that loofa comes from a plant in the cucumber family. A whole loofa is about 2-3 feet long. The ones you buy in the store are cut down to a smaller size. (Since we had our bikes, we didn’t purchase any sponges, but I definitely want to go back and get some.) We finished browsing, snapped some photos of the sponge boats, and hopped on our bikes to come back.
On our way back, we took a little side trip to see the Greek Orthodox church and a park, where they will hold their traditional Epiphany services and festivities on Tuesday. We were coasting down a little incline, when I heard a clatter behind me. Les’ front bike tire hit a ridge and he was sprawled in the middle of the street. I frantically put myself and my bike in the road, waving my arms and yelling at oncoming traffic to stop. Thankfully it was a quiet neighborhood street. The cars stopped, Les picked himself up, with some road rash on his knee and a sore shoulder. We limped back to the side of the road to make sure he was fine. He assured me he could ride his bike back to the boat. We were thanking God in the streets that he was okay.
We made it back to the truck, where we store the bikes to keep them from rusting in the salty, humid air on the boat. I was in a hurry to check on the dog. We had been gone about four hours, and I just kept thinking that might have been a mistake. I got back to the boat, and sure enough a very wet dog was lying on the back of the boat. She was supposed to be inside.
I was so glad to see her, and the gravity of her situation took awhile to sink in. I asked some other boaters if they had saved her, and they said no, but they felt our pain because their dog had escaped their boat one time, and other boaters rescued their dog, too.
Later after we were settled, and thanking God that Kokomo didn’t drown, a fellow boater came by and told us what happened. They saw her on the bow of the boat, sunning herself and thought, oh they must let their dog sit on the front of the boat. A few minutes later they noticed that she had moved. She was climbing along the narrow side of the boat. They thought, oh, what a smart dog, she can climb to the back. Well, that’s when the wind blew, she lost her footing and fell into the water. She tried to swim to the swim deck of another boat, which is mostly level with the water and couldn’t get aboard. Next she climbed onto the crossbeam below the dock. Her rescuer coaxed her to swim to him, and he grabbed her harness to pull her out. He deposited her on our boat, and she hadn’t moved, until I returned.
She apparently was able to squeeze out the front window. Today, the dockmaster told me it was a good thing that it was high tide or they might not have been able to reach her. Whew!
The highs and lows of life sure can be dramatic. But whether we are experiencing a high or low or some situation in between, God’s love and care never fails us. Even if things had been worse, I know that we would be thanking God for His goodness, no matter what.
But in the meantime, I am thankful that my two adventure companions are safe and sound here on the boat this morning at low tide, even if we do have to climb a seemingly treacherous distance to get ashore.
How are you handling the high and low tides of your life?
Here are some photos from Tarpon Springs: