Docklines are starting to attach the boat permanently to the dock… uh oh!

We could not have asked for a better place to spend the holidays. Fort Lauderdale has been great in so many ways – the weather has been near perfect for 2 weeks, short of the LO that came through two days ago; as we write this, the north is getting dumped with snow, and the Arctic HI has now made its way down to South Florida. For us, this translated to rain and wind from the Northeast followed by a quick switch to sun and cold with winds from the West. Definitely nothing to complain about, compared to the rest of the East coast, but 40 degrees with 20 knots of wind is a little chilly for us!

One of the benefits of being a member of a recognized yacht club, like KYC, is club reciprocity… this has allowed us to make our home at the Lauderdale Yacht Club for the past few weeks. It is a great club with a pool, bar, restaurant, and is close to Publix, the laundromat, West Marine, and the beach. It’s also the lowest price dockage in the area – which helps with this ‘extended stay.’

Girls enjoying the pool at the club

A pre-Christmas visit from our dear friends the Poling’s, from Nashville, got us off the boat to spend time with them at their resort, and do a little down town city tour. A long weekend with them provided us with a much needed break from the boat life and a rest from the speed at which we had been traveling, in order to out-run the cold northeast weather, constantly nipping at our heels. We shared many laughs and we all were sad to see them leave.

Tali with Aunt Charchar in front of the Christmas tree

The kids relaxing in the pool

Christmas week also brought another visit from our good friend, Rich, from NJ. He and his parents drove down from their home town of Orlando for an overnight, which allowed us the chance to spend more time at a resort and catch up together.

Cockpit selfie with the Paulsen’s…..we are getting good at these!

So what is Christmas like when you live on a boat? It’s flexible… First step – church for Christmas Eve – we found a beautiful Church with an early mass and a priest that Chris even liked (for those that don’t know – just like the angel vs star on the Christmas tree, Catholic mass vs. Lutheran service always generates a lively discussion at home). We ‘splurged’ on a nice farm to table dinner and then came home.

The normal activities took place after we got back, the last Advent calendar door was opened and read, cookies and egg nog were set out for Santa, and the carrots were left for the reindeer. A special added touch that night….a 2AM wake up call from Savy saying she was going to throw-up… Yes, the stomach bug can even find you on a boat. But Santa persisted, none-the-less, and Christmas morning on our floating home was a special event.

Santa found us!

After the presents were opened, Becky cooked a a great breakfast, and we were happily joined by some cruising buddies we met on our way south (be sure to check out their blog at We sat on the dock together in the sun (to avoid the stomach bug that invaded our boat) , had bacon and eggs, toasted Merry Christmas with some Mimosa’s and then headed to the club pool. The Yacht Club was ‘closed’ for Christmas, so we had the entire facility to ourselves-the whole pool and deck to ourselves! So after swimming and relaxing, it was time to borrow some tables and chairs from the club and set up our Christmas dinner table on the dock right next to the boat. Some friends of our cruising buddies came, and some of their friends joined us too. Between the two boat galleys, a multi-course Christmas feast was prepared for 12 people, including salad, pasta, and Becky’s prime rib. If you can make a prime rib (cooked to perfection, of course) in a propane stove in a boat galley, you can do anything – the standards have definitely been raised! The night ended with part two of the stomach bug for Chris.

We packed the Christmas crackers from home and shared Becky’s family tradition with our friends, who had never heard of them before

The plan was to leave on the 26th for our friend’s dock in Key Largo, but Chris was in no shape for the coastal offshore passage. So we took a couple of recovery days, and then we drove to Key Largo to catch up with our good friends from home. At the same time, we had a weather window opening up to make the crossing to the Bahamas in the next couple days.

We had the best time with the Goldsmith’s at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, topped off with a fantastic offshore fishing trip (Thank you guys so very much!!!!). It was our first night away from Intermezzo in 2 months, and it was weird to sleep in a stable bed again!!!

Once we got back from our little night away, we were full-on prep to depart for the Bahamas – water, fuel, food, last repairs/maintenance items. Becky had 32 rolls of toilet paper hidden throughout the boat, and enough non perishable items to last 6 months, so we can leave right???? And then……the window closed. From Chris’ standpoint, it felt like de ja vu for his preparation for his Private Pilot checkride – you study, you prepare, you stress a little and don’t sleep too well; then you wake up and the weather isn’t good enough to fly. This happened to him 5 or 6 times before he actually had the checkride. We think, this is going to be the same experience. So, the toilet paper was added to, and more non perishables were brought on the boat…..

Now that we were standing down with no window opening in the near future, we started to explore Fort Lauderdale a bit, including the Everglades, logged some pool and swimming time; but mostly it was low key.

We saw 3 alligators on the air boat tour in the Everglades

For New Year’s, we spent the day at the pool and then went out, as touristy as you can get – a Mai Kai Polynesian Show and dinner with our cruising buddies… It was a great time and the girls and the adults were both entertained!

Girls’ special pineapple drink!

So here we are, riding out the gnarly weather, but a window to cross to the Bahamas seems to opening up for early next week. Our time at the yacht club is coming to an end on Sunday, so we’ll either head to Miami to anchor out weather permitting, or get a slip for one or two more nights.

We never expected to be tied up to a dock for this length of time, but the experiences we’ve had while we’ve been here have been great. We’re careful not to wish away what we wake up to each day, but at the same time, the Bahamas are calling us and we’re excited to get there.

We wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!

Stay warm and stay safe!!!


Southern Florida for the Holidays

After more than 1,000 miles and more than 40 days, we made it to Fort Lauderdale this morning, and with that – the end of the Intracoastal Waterway for us (there is a bridge we can’t fit under, so it is offshore for us to Miami and the Keys). Let’s catch up on the past couple weeks.

We left off in Charleston with the objective of moving through South Carolina to Savannah. We got to Savannah on the 28th with the tide and had a day to get provisions and laundry done. Then the next day, we went to downtown Savannah, took a tour of the city and then honed in on a couple of spots – Tali did a good job covering the day in her blog, so no need to repeat it here.

Can’t pass this story up… we’re taking a picture in front of the Harper house with their backs to a closed door, then the door opens. Any doubt about the difference in personalities : )

After Savannah, we worked through the waterway with anchorage after anchorage more beautiful and desolate. It’s good writing this sitting in Fort Lauderdale having been through Florida because those anchorages seemed to be a bit monotonous, but having not had an anchorage to ourselves since Georgia, they were very much appreciated.

A little background on the Georgia part of the Intracoastal, it’s shallow with significant current and tidal fluctuations. Unfortunately, Georgia has not devoted the resources to maintaining the waterway like the other states. So our progress was marked by timing the shallowest of spots at high tide and then, as the tide fell, anchoring for the night, and starting on a rising tide the next day. I’m sure it could have been worse, but the tide cycle gave us about 5-6 hours of daylight to work with, so progress was a bit slow.

In one of our secluded anchorages, it was time to get into the Christmas season, so tree decorating was in full swing, including sewing the angel. Not sure about everyone else, but there is an ongoing debate in our house about the tree topper – Angel or Star… The Angel has won out, but as a result – Chris needed to make it happen (since he likes the angel). We tried glue, but for anyone that is curious, Elmer’s glue and felt don’t work together; so out came the the sailing twine, the needle and an angel that could look a bit like a Voodoo doll with the stitching, but the tree is decorated. For those wondering, the tree moves from the salon table to the sink every morning to make sure it doesn’t topple over underway

Who knew waxed thread had so many uses!!!

The resiliency of the kids never ceases to impress me… This was the scene for decorating the tree – nothing like they have ever experienced before, but they were excited as ever!

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…

The good news about needing the tides, is that one of the shallowest parts is Jekyll Creek, on the west side of Jekyll Island. The way things lined up, we needed to be there at 9:30AM the latest, so a simple overnight for provisioning was stretched into 2 days and we got to do some exploring. Beach, history, and sea turtle museum – with golf cart transportation : )

Buzzing around in the golf cart was a highlight for the girls!!!

Wish there was a better picture of the beach, but it was filled with these trees… a kid’s tree-climbing dream!

After Jekyll Island, the next stop was St. Augustine, but there were still more shallows and currents to navigate, plus the added Florida ICW personality of drawbridges. Once again – you can want to get someplace at a certain time, but it just can’t happen sometimes. That said, you can do all you can to do the best with what nature (and bridge tenders give you), so a 7AM leave to catch the tide and then the bridge, and then the right current so we could pull into the marina, means a 7AM leave – fog or no fog.

We joke with the girls about being passengers or crew – they stepped up this morning and gave a good lookout, both with eyes and ears. As bad as this looks, at least you can see the front of the boat – New England fog, where you can’t see the front of your own boat – now that makes things difficult!

We made the tide, the bridge, and the current and arrived in St. Augustine to sunny skies. The early arrival gave us another full day to explore. Tali thought she knew the beginning of the US with the Jamestown Settlement, but now we added the Spanish into the mix. The hope is that she can connect it all and have a better understanding of early US History than we did ; )

In addition to touring the city, we got to meet up with Chris’ friend who started at the same time with him at Prudential. It had been years since we saw her and her family. We joked, the last time we saw each other, we sailed up to Newport to their wedding, now we sailed down to St. Augustine – funny how that worked out.

The tour of the fort really put the whole story together. They had a great workbook for Tali to complete, which required asking all sorts of the questions. Mom and Dad learned a lot too!

From there, we worked through Northern Florida racing a cold front that those of you in the eastern half of the country are very familiar with. After St. Augustine, the Florida ICW was very much like Georgia, desolate and beautiful anchorages. The next stop for provisions and laundry (and heat) was Titusville. For those that don’t know, it is the town next to the Kennedy Space Center, a few miles north of Cocoa Beach, and due East from Orlando. We met some friends in Orlando, took a trip to Cocoa Beach, brought Tali to the Titanic museum (her fascination with that story is uncanny!), and of course saw Santa. We extended a day because the overnight temperature was down to 38 – so we plugged in to shore power and ran the heat.

I know the picture doesn’t do it justice, but that was the super-moon – an incredible sight from our anchorage on the Amelia River.

Boat schooling continues – Savy is working on her writing and Tali is working in her journal in the background

Have to include this Savy milestone – she lost her first tooth. For the record, she wanted to keep it, so the tooth fairy did not come. What a personality!!!

Obligatory Santa picture… a brief side story here. The Elf had not yet made an appearance on the boat. In the past, the girls’ elf, Boyce, used to start dropping by after the first Sunday of Advent, but no Boyce this year. The girls were getting nervous that he couldn’t find them because they were on the boat moving from place to place. When they saw Santa, he said he knew Boyce, and he was aware that Boyce was having difficulty finding them, Santa would let him know, once he was done with pictures, where the girls were. Those smiles are great – but the expression on their face when Santa knew their elf’s name – priceless

…once Boyce came, the girls made a bed for him so he didn’t leave for the North Pole – they didn’t want him to lose us again

Our anchorage last night – Palm trees and sunset out in the cockpit…

Stay warm for those in the colder climates!!!

Miss you all…


Milestone # 2

We made it – Charleston for Thanksgiving!

Big deal, you may think… but imagine planning a road trip which would take you at least 10 days to finish (which is tough since we can make LA from New York in 5-7 days if we had to). Now, imagine that sometimes the roads are closed (aka tides are too low to make it through, bridges don’t open, etc), or the weather prevents you from leaving. We’re spoiled with our highway systems and cars, but sailing is a little more old fashioned, there are many more days you just can’t leave. Add all that up, and then set a target of a place on a certain date, and we made it, by the skin of our teeth : )

Coming through Charleston Harbor was a bit of a ‘finish line’ of sorts. Those that talk about doing big things, say that it is important to set goals in the middle, or the objective can be overwhelming… that was Charleston for us.

On our way, we stopped in Myrtle Beach – kids got to swim in a hotel pool connected to the Marina. Not sure how deep those swim suits were in the pile of clothes, but we finally got to break them out. We also got to see a concert streamed that we would have loved to attend in person (“Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season” – a benefit concert for the islands… for the record, one of us may continue, for many years, to remind the other one of us that they had floor seats that they had to give up because we are taking this trip… good thing we could catch it streaming). We were lucky enough to catch up with Becky’s college roommate in Georgetown – another one of those waterfronts that you’d likely miss on your trip south on I-95. We were just a few hundred yards down from the local fishing pier. We couldn’t resist stopping by and picking up 2 lbs of jumbo (yes – for those that know, we’re talking about 16-20 size shrimp) for $8.00 a lb. Shrimp Scampi for dinner – yum!

It was great to be able to see this concert streamed… we were all set with Corona’s in hand.

Beautiful ride through the “Rock Pile.” Short story, simply put… when they were dredging the Intracoastal, they did not budget for hitting rock – which they hit plenty of… so they threw in the towel, put warning signs up, and you announce your presence (and hope not to hear about a tug or barge coming the other way).

We continued our ‘educational curriculum’ with the implications of the plantations on the south, the Civil War, and slavery by visiting the Middleton Plantation in Charleston. (A little minor historical significance – we both went to this plantation as part of our ‘Babymoon’ when Becky was pregnant with Tali. Can you even imagine thinking then, about coming back 8 years later on a boat, Bahamas bound? Life – what a great journey!)

The girls in front of the “North Flanker” of the, now destroyed, Middleton home. An interesting note… Henry Middleton spent his entire fortune backing the Confederacy, then came home to find his house burned and destroyed… the fact we can still visit and see a place like this is amazing.

Dad and his girls…

A picture from the ‘front’ of the estate… visitors would have arrived by boat from Charleston via the Ashley River, not the road, which was a swampy path used by the Native Americans.

After we got the educational part of the trip covered, it was time to enjoy the other great things about Charleston – like the food and beach. Thanksgiving dinner was with friends from home who have relocated to North Carolina – it was great to see them! A trip to Folly Beach gave us a our beach fix, and then we needed to start some shopping at the central market and the Charleston Christmas Bazaar.

Tali with her Mermaid’s purse and Savy with her shells…

Great to connect with the Key’s – perfect timing!

We’re currently moving quickly through the rest of South Carolina to Savannah. We’re getting into a groove and continuing our trip south. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a month since we’ve moved aboard… looking at the map, we can see the miles we’ve covered, but to actually adjust to life aboard, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.

The view as we’re writing this… these sunsets never get old!

Miss you all!


Goodbye North Carolina…

What a great state to visit… We’ve seen isolated anchorages, beautiful waterfront homes, and two great towns. We’ll definitely look forward to exploring a bit more on the trip back north, but the theme continues – it’s cold and we want to get south!

Our crossings of the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers were uneventful, but yet the weather pattern continued. Strong wind, in the right direction, bringing with it, however very cold temps. We anchored in the South River and with the extra time we had with the wind at our back, we had time to prepare a boat feast – pan seared then oven roasted pork loin, with apples, onions and stuffing, paired with a delicious bottle of cab! That dinner plus a beautiful anchorage, and spending time with the kids is what this trip is all about.

Our anchorage in the South River.

Sunrise leaving the next morning… While getting up at 5:50 each morning is tough, the sunrises have been spectacular!

Over the radio, “RE Mayo, RE Mayo, we’re a sailboat heading southbound on the ICW and wanted to know if you have any fresh shrimp.” “Southbound Sailboat, RE Mayo, we do have fresh shrimp caught today.” “RE Mayo, Southbound Sailboat, we’ll be there in about 5 minutes to tie up and get some shrimp… standing by channel 16”. I’ve never heard that exchange over the radio… We’ll have to try it on the way North!

Now that’s the way to cross the Neuse River in mid-November!

While anyone can read this… those that do are friends, so we have to share this addendum to the perfect night and perfect anchorage. For those that don’t know, technology has helped cruising sailors in immeasurable ways, one of those ways, is the iPad and the anchor alarm. Simply explained, drop your anchor, determine how much rode you let out, and then draw a circle around your boat on the app, which is a boundary. If your boat goes beyond that boundary, an alarm goes off – meaning you are dragging the anchor! Early in the evening, the captain decided that a worse case scenario anchor review should be conducted, the second mate obliged, but begrudgingly, having full faith in the anchor set. A short 8 hours later, a little after midnight, the alarm went off… this alarm sounds like a combination of a fire alarm and fire truck – you have never heard a sound this loud come out of an iPad! Being woken this way is a shock and adrenaline was running, the captain hit his head upon awakening and we stumbled over each other, got everything set to get the engine started, lift the anchor and regroup – but something wasn’t right – the boat was still in the circle… why did the alarm go off then? A simple answer: the captain tripped over the cord going to bed and unplugged the ipad, so the alarm was letting us know that the battery was dying. The second mate was sure that it was a drill, planned by the captain! Although he assures her that was not his intent, still she’s left wondering…… the captain’s resolution: It’s on the list to send a recommendation for the developer to invent a different alarm for things not involving the boat ending up on the rocks : )

Our next leg really started testing our Navigation – not sure if everyone does it this way, but Becky has assumed the role of navigator, and Chris is at the helm. Each night, we brief our trip for the next day, go to the different websites to see if there are any updated surveys and we add notes toour navigation software with the most recent info. Because of the shoaling that happens at some inlets, the day the chart is published, it is already out of date.

So this is what the Army Corp of Engineers publishes when there is shoaling – without the details, you’ll see that the channel as marked goes from right to left along marker 72, 72A, 72B, and 74, but you’ll also see the big red spot along that channel which is a shallow area we can’t get through, so you have to ignore the channel markers and follow the yellow dots. We look at three to four of these for each day.

Schoolwork continues… but couldn’t turn down working outside on a sunny day!

We finished our day in a North Carolina Camelot – Swansboro. Already decorated for Christmas, we walked “Main Street,” had dinner at the local Pub, Ice Cream and Fudge at the local Candy shop, and then Coffee at the local coffee shop. It was just one of those places you’d never visit, except on a trip like this.

With weather continually shifting the schedule, we have two targets; and one was approaching… Tali’s 8th Birthday. We wanted to be in a Marina and make the day special – and special it was. Tali woke up to help us get off the dock in Swansboro, and was serenaded by 4 gentlemen, from 4 different boats, with “Happy Birthday.” When we arrived in Wrightsville Beach, she had her pick of the Marina Swag (went with a hooded shirt 3 sizes too big, of course). She then picked a restaurant that piqued her fancy-it was sloppy Mexican and we loved every bite of it!! Living on the Jersey Coast, we’re a bit partial to beach communities, but Wrightsville Beach had just the right combination of cheesy and substance – great people, great town! Next day we stayed put – provisioning and laundry day!!! We were also lucky enough to meet up with Becky’s aunt and cousins, who live in the area. We enjoyed a great afternoon with them, sharing a lot of laughs and stories!

Today, we continued further south and stopped in a planned community right off the ICW (St James Plantation). While the marinas are hurting the budget a bit, we’re literally planning the max distance we can cover, with associated tides, currents, and bridges, and finding the closest place – in this part of the ICW, there are very few anchorages. BUT this is our first look at palm trees, we surely are getting closer!

Headed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina tomorrow!


Miles Under the Keel…

We made it out of Deltaville as we hoped – the wind was still blowing 20+, but from the right direction.  It was our first shakedown sail in some seas and wind for Intermezzo and she performed very well (I’m not sure the younger crew had their sea legs yet, and the evidence of that could be seen in the gunwale!)

Our destination was Hampton, VA.  There was another cold front coming through – the same one that was felt all over the East Coast, and brought with it gale force winds, so we got a slip at the town dock and spent the next day at the Mariner’s Museum.

For the record, if you do find yourself in Hampton, VA, the Mariner’s Museum is one of the best museums we’ve been to.  Of course the subject matter was interesting, but the layout of the space and presentation of the content was second to none.  The new exhibit featured at the museum focused on the USS Monitor (Civil War History buffs – the Union Ironclad), there was also great info on the CSS Virginia (or Merrimack) and the 4 hour battle that ended in a stalemate, but changed Navel Warfare forever.IMG_0897

A bit interesting for someone who is living on a boat, but Tali is fascinated with the Titanic.  The highlight for her was seeing the model.

We survived our first night on the boat with the external thermometer reading 32 degrees…  the heat worked fine, but the trip the next day was COLD!  We hit a major milestone that day however…. Mile 0 of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway! (and that only leaves 1200 more miles to get to Key West, totally not intimidating at all!!). We also experienced our first lock – there is a two foot difference between the Chesapeake Bay and the  Albermarle Sound, thus requiring a trip through the Great Bridge Lock. We finished our day “pulling over” on the ICW and anchoring off the channel, happy to have arrived in North Carolina with minimal fanfare. An early start on Sunday and we continued south to the Alligator River with a marina stop for electricity and heat overnight, and finally, today we transitted the Alligator River/Pungo River Canal – basically a thin patch of water that goes on for 30 miles in the middle of nowhere NC, where we are anchored in Pungo Creek…further bringing us into the middle of nowhere, with no other boats in sight.

The cold is really no joke… We should have had ski jackets on, not foul weather gear!!!


Tali and Savy were the line handlers for the 2 foot trip up in the lock.

It would be great if there were photographic evidence of this, but there is not, so you’ll have to take our word for it.  During our trip through the canal today, 3 deer (bucks actually), decided to go for a swim and crossed the canal right in front of us.  Two made it across, causing only a minor directional change for us; but the third was a little late getting started and was on a collision course for the boat. He eventually made the wise decision of turning around, before Becky had to resort to beating him off with the boat pole! You drive long enough, eventually, you have a run in with a deer, but who would think that it would be with a boat???

Heading further south tomorrow with a good weather window to cross the Pamlico Sound and head south on the Nuese River.

American History 101… or waiting out bad weather

We’ve made some progress south, but Mother Nature put the brakes on us for a few days.  We have spent the last three days in Deltaville, VA with howling wind and cold temperatures (getting colder according to the forecast).  So what do you do, when you can’t sail south, you rent a car and head to Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement.

Clearly Savy on the left was not happy about being locked up…

This picture was taken on the Susan Constant, the ship that brought the original Jamestown Colonists from England.  We did not go crazy with pictures, but this ship was small – less than 120 ft, and she carried 71 people on a 6 month trip across the Atlantic. The helmsmen steered the ship from below without a window, and instructions were shouted down to him.  Standing on the dock, next to that ship, it was hard to imagine looking at her in England, and voluntarily getting on her to cross the Atlantic.  

The adjustment to life aboard continues.  It is amazing how much you take for granted about routine, but then again, this whole trip is about challenging those routines, and the status quo.  We’ve had great meals on the boat, ranging from turkey meatloaf and sweet potatoes to a sausage tortellini soup.  We re-provisioned, and we’ve sampled some local fare, including our favorite, Pimento Cheese Dip (for the record, it did not compare to the Nashville version).  I’m not sure that ‘schooling’ has hit a routine yet, but the content and progress is definitely happening.  Be sure to check out Tali’s blog which she just started.  Seeing this experience through a child’s eyes can help you see things you may have missed…  Click here for a direct link.

On the boat side of things, we had our first issue, which we addressed today.  The challenge with the timeline is that the boat has not really had a ‘shakedown’ cruise.  These first two legs 8 hours to Solomon’s Island and 10 hours to Deltaville were the most the boat’s engine has been used in over two years.  Diesel engines are great, when they are used… when they are not, things start to get rotten – so the seal on our raw water pump started leaking oil.  Not a lot, but that particular leak is an indication of a problem, better preventative maintenance, then getting stuck, causing damage, and getting towed in.  Also, as you start repairing things, you see how the boat was maintained (it always looks great when you put it up for sale) – in this case, there may be a few lurking gremlins.

The weather is still a little iffy tomorrow, but definitely improving.  We have a bit of ‘slip fever’ and need to get out, so hopefully we’ll be able to continue south tomorrow with a favorable breeze and calmer seas. 


Settling In

We talk about settling in when it is in regards to a new house, well we’re settling in to our new home – there are more similarities than differences…

November 1st – Moving Day…  you know that pile of stuff that  you don’t put on the moving truck – it’s not that much, just some stuff to put in the trunk and bring with you…..We all know that small pile of stuff requires multiple trips or a van – for us, it meant a three and half hour ride from NJ to MD with things piled high on everyone’s lap.  You can only plan so much ; )

November 2nd – Provisioning…  well we didn’t start that until afternoon, when we had finished stowing those “few things” we brought down.  In addition, there was one remaining maintenance item, held over beyond the target date. We enjoyed a delicious dinner in our new home, with one extra uninvited guest!!  Imagine sitting around your dinner table, and out of the corner of your eye, seeing a furry animal walk by your feet – yes, the local boatyard cat liked what she smelled and hopped aboard to say, “Hi!”  You might think that this is not a big deal, but remember, we’re on a boat – furry things on boats that you don’t bring on just don’t belong!!!!

November 3rd – Last Minute Stuff… the maintenance item wasn’t done until noon and our first leg is a a good 7 or 8 hours – so we decided to stay in the marina for one more night as the cold front passes, and we’re off first thing tomorrow morning for Solomon’s Island.

In all honesty, moving aboard was as crazy as you’d expect, we’re trying to add pieces of normalcy where we can, and settling in just fine!

More to come!


Big Milestones…

We’re getting back to the nitty gritty of moving from a house onto a boat and sailing south. We’ve had three key milestones since the last update.
#1 – Intermezzo is now in the water, where a boat should be. It was a long 5 weeks of climbing ladders, installing a stainless steel frame to support a solar panel, lifting hundreds of pounds of chain and a new anchor, dropping the sails to have some repairs done, and let’s not forget about the dinghy and engine… That phase is done – with only one trip to the urgent care facility ; )

#2 – We spent our first night together as a family on the boat at anchor. We traveled a whole 5 miles from where the boat is being kept, but that 5 miles, including dropping the anchor, running the 12-volt system, and inviting friends who joined us on their boat for dinner was basically a dry run for our liveaboard life, and things went well. Of course there are small things that came up, but no show stoppers, so 11/1 as a departure date still seems doable.

Folks have asked about what is after 11/1. Our journey is divided into a few rough sections…

route1) Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) to Charleston for Thanksgiving, 2) ICW from Charleston to Sourthern FL/Keyes for Christmas/New Years, 3) Crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas in mid-January, 4) a bit of a figure 8 through the Bahamas down Eleuthera and the Exumas to Long Island and up to the Abacos, 5) Crossing the Gulf Stream back to the US the end of April/Beginning of May, and 6) Keyport Harbor (Home) the end of June/Beginning of July. That said, taking a twist on a well known quote – “Captains plan and Neptune laughes.” This is clearly about the journey and the experience – not any particular destination.

I did save the biggest milestone for last – Savy’s 5th birthday celebration. When we asked her where she wanted to spend her birthday, she said, “On Intermezzo.” Before you say how great that is, she quickly followed up with… “and I’d also like a party at home the next weekend.” Tali’s 8th birthday will be celebrated somewhere between Annapolis and Charleston. These are the milestones and memories that will last a lifetime.

Experiences have disproportionate impacts…

We’ve been a bit delinquent with updates, but progress continues.

The plan was to add a map of our route and a little more detail – we don’t have it all figured out yet, but more clarity comes each day. That said, the wrath of Mother Nature over the past few weeks has really caused us to stop and think about how certain places and experiences have had disproportionate impacts on our lives.

Specifically, the devastation of the British Virgin Islands and St John from Hurricane Irma, has been affecting us. As many of you know, we spend 2 weeks each year visiting these islands and the people that live there — Cow Wreck Beach on Anegada, BVI is the location of our family picture on this website.

When you think about the actual impact of the storm, in numbers of people affected or insurance losses, it is very small; but somehow, because of the intensely positive experiences we have during short periods of time each year, this has had a disproportionate impact on us.

While these islands are not very close to where we are sailing this year, if the opportunity presents itself, we will look to take a break to head down and help where we can.

If a 2 week experience each year can create such an impression, we can only wonder what impression the next 9 months will leave.

Back to the updates next week…


No Turning Back…

The timing is almost uncanny…  Chris’ official last day at his job was on Friday, August 25th, and we closed on the boat on Monday, August 28th.  Talk about closing one chapter and opening another.

For those that don’t know, closing on a boat is much like closing on a house.  There are titles to be checked, mortgages to be paid/disbursed, inspections (or surveys) to be completed, insurance to be in place, and a whole lot of signatures.  The reason I share, is signing all those documents, puts into perspective the commitment to this journey.

The survey was generally clean, meaning we have a solid boat.  It doesn’t mean that we’re ready to sail away, but it’s good to know she’s ship-shape in all the critical areas.  Over the past week, Chris headed down to Annapolis with his Dad to measure every nook and cranny on the boat, so we can start planning how to store all the critical items and downsize from a house to a boat.

We also brought the girls down to see her for the first time, they were ecstatic, to say the least.  Of course they were most excited about seeing their ‘room’ and making sure the TV worked. I’m not exactly sure what signal they plan on getting, once we get out there; but it’s exciting nonetheless.

Becky notified her boss about her intentions which went very well… There will likely be a spot for her when we return.

Last major conversation – school…  We met with Tali’s and Savy’s teachers to get a reality check on what boat-schooling was going to look like.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that the experience itself, with careful explanations and involvement, will be the foundation of their education for the next year.  Of course there are some workbooks that Tali will need to work through for Math and Reading to make sure she stays current, and there will plenty of time to read (whether Tali reading herself, or us reading to Savy), but in general, just let the experience drive the education.  The other recommendation was for Tali to start a blog, so she can share with her classmates her journey, and at the end of the trip… a powerpoint presentation!  I’m not sure Chris expected to have to look at another powerpoint presentation for awhile : ) — so look for Tali’s blog to start in the upcoming weeks.