*Cover photo: Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas*
*This blog post is much delayed as I have been busy living life…and procrastinating*
We left Boston at the end of October 2018 with extra crew. My brother and his two oldest sons joined us for two weeks. We made several stops along the East Coast to sightsee or make repairs.
Our drone decided to fly away forever and had to be replaced, and our starboard sail drive seized-up causing our December plans to be put on hold. Instead, we spent three plus weeks in the boat yard in Key Largo getting repairs and new bottom paint. While there, John and I made the outdoor cushions.
We splashed just before Christmas, had visits from old friends, met new boat kid friends (Elska), and rang in the New Year in Key West, FL.
January – After the New Year, we sailed to the Dry Tortugas where we did some sightseeing, snorkeling, and dinghy surfing. The sail was choppy to the point that we almost turned around, but we are so glad that we continued on. On the way back to Key West, our boom broke off our mast…evidently this had happened before while our boat was in charter. We spent a few days in Key West upon return to make repairs before heading to Miami for John to start his new job.
February – We took a mooring ball at Dinner Key in Miami where we would stay for the next few months while John worked. We, luckily, met another kid boat (Graceful) almost right from the start that we ended up spending a great deal of time with. By February, we had a weekly routine down of YMCA P.E. days followed by trips to Costco or IKEA for lunch and to keep the kids busy. Our marina had a nice park that we frequented. The kids got to experience sailing on each others boats and lifestyles as well.
March – March brought more kid boats to the mooring field (Wonderstruck, Auwe Auwe, and Rollick). We had limited time together but made the most of it with trips to the park. We also decided to replace our trampoline since the old one had become severely weathered and cracked. The dogs had a hard time getting used to it since it is hard to see against the water. It almost looks as though there is nothing to step on.
April – By April, our friends had started their journey back north. The days were getting warmer, so we spent our free time anchored at Marine Stadium where the water is nicer and the anchorage is more protected. Glen had purchased a wakeboard to practice his dinghy surfing skills, and we swam frequently to escape the heat. I had some spare time to finally work on the indoor cushions. My sewing skills are limited, but photos hide a lot of flaws.
May – May was a very busy month. We took a drive to the FL Everglades to see the Gators. Glen perfected his dinghy surfing skills, and we started our adventure north for the summer.
On the way, we hit some rough weather and tucked into North Carolina briefly. We continued to Mount Vernon and Washington D.C. where we spent a few days with our kid boat friends at their home before putting it on the market. We did a week of sightseeing in D.C., and stopped in at the sinking island of Tangier before continuing on.
June – Before our exit into the Atlantic, we made a quick stop in Virginia to visit Busch Gardens and ride roller coasters from sunup to sundown. It was a fun, exhausting day.
The rest of June had us doing a ton of sailing and making stops in New Haven, CT, Martha’s Vineyard, many many anchorages and beaches in Maine, and Newport, RI.
July – John accepted a job in Huntington, NY for the summer. By July 4th we had arrived to our new location. We had to get used to the heat again. Maine had been so cold. We bought some box fans and kept our hatches open to catch a breeze. The nights were very comfortable.
Before his work started, John kept busy making Sunbrella covers for hot spots, hatch covers, and areas that receive friction. He also installed a new countertop in the galley.
We met another kid boat while in NY (Malooca). We spent a couple of days getting to know them, swimming, and visiting a local town.
August – The month of August was spent driving to Texas to see our families. The boys and dogs and I took three days to get to my brother’s home in Arkansas where we had to get a major oil leak repaired. Our trip up to that point had been stopping every two hours to check oil levels and refill. It was definitely a learning experience. Our dogs got to have a little vacation in Arkansas for the month. We continued on to Texas where we attended my mom’s surprise birthday party, and visited John’s family in Abilene and my father and step-mother Belton.
September – We were now settled back on the boat after our road trip. John was working right down the street at Huntington Hospital. The boys and I filled our days with school and trying to keep cool.
With one of our free days together, we drove out to the Hamptons and Montauk. The water was pretty chilly, but the boys still splashed around. We ate lunch on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine and cool breezes.
October – John had been wanting a new sail for a good length of time and finally ordered one while we were stationary in NY. It took awhile to make as each sail is custom to the boat. We were so excited to put it up and try it out. We also ordered a new sail bag as ours had ripped in several places and been repaired many many times.
On a nice weekend, we took the boat our for a sail and anchored overnight. It was such a nice feeling being out of the mooring field. The boys put up the swing which they hadn’t played on in a couple of months.
Halloween poured and poured rain. John was working, so the boys got creative and dressed up with on-board supplies, and we turned the boat into a Halloween party just for us. We made treats, had a candy scavenger hunt, played games and had a great time.
November – It was 25 degrees the morning we left NY. That means it’s time to go!! It was exactly one year before that we were taking the boat south through NYC. We decided to keep heading south this time instead of anchoring at the statue.
We hit some bad weather about 10nm off the coast of Delaware where we saw high winds, huge waves that crashed into the cockpit, and snow. There was, unfortunately, quite a bit of damage to the boat. Our outdoor freezer blew out when it received a direct hit from a wave, our boom broke off the mast, and one of our batten receptacles cracked causing the batten to fly out. And, it made us so sad, but our mainsail got a tiny little tear.
We tucked into Hampton, VA for repairs and ended up staying a week. The boys were happy as our kid boat friends were there for the season. In fact, we almost just stayed as well.
We ran into some seriously bad luck when our sail continued south. We were heading to Charleston but never made it as during a night sail our spinnaker halyard broke causing our spinnaker to go under the bow of the boat and catch in our starboard prop. This created so much drag that John was unable to steer with the port motor as we were trying to round the Outer Banks of NC. After a tow and a diver to free the spinnaker from the prop, we continued south until Myrtle Beach where we decided to stop for the next few months. Ironically, John had been offered a job in the area just as we arrived. We felt defeated and worn out at this point and needed a break. The crew was exhausted.
Noni and Popi joined us in Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving and helped us get settled at our new marina.
December – Varekai got a few upgrades for Christmas. We replaced the front windows with new custom tinted windows and the cockpit received a new floor. We also splurged and bought a new cockpit table that folds making more space to maneuver…plus it just looks pretty.
John started his new job at a local hospital. His schedule has him gone for five days out of the week instead of his usual four. The boys and I spend our days doing school, walking the boardwalk around the marinas, or doing crafts like building a gingerbread town.
We rang in the New Year at home on the boat. We don’t know what exactly is in store for us in 2020, but we’re hoping to leave the East Coast of the USA and expand our adventures.