This has been a big year for our family. The first six months of 2016 were busy….getting our boat back to Beaufort from Little River, SC, selling our home, cleaning out our 1800 sq ft of living space and prepping our boat for a June 15th departure. While doing all of this, we continued working our jobs and raising our two girls. Finally, that day in June was upon us and we said goodbye to family and friends and took off on our adventure. I am rather speechless when I begin to think about the last six months. It has been a time of challenges, excitement, fear, happiness, surprise, bonding, frustration, impatience, growth, tantrums, love, tears, beauty, laughter, kindness, and SO MANY MEMORIES.
I recently was looking through a cruising journal that we kept the first couple weeks after moving onto the boat and thought I would share our first five days….it seems to capture these weeks in just a few words….lots of issues, but also fun times with friends and family…..this pretty much sums up much off our cruising experience thus far.
June 15th-Coosaw River wind and current opposite, girls napped, storm when attempting to anchor
June 16th-Left abruptly in the AM, not a good way to wake up, head no longer works, first meal on boat rice and sausage, sink no longer draining-dishes piling up.
June 17th-cleaned and serviced head, no luck, order new toilet, storm in the afternoon-dingy breaks away from boat. Dive onto boat behind us to rescue dingy. Dingy tied tightly to our boat now.
June 18th-Day sail with Claire, Aaron, and Blake, pool, grilled out
June 19th-Jen visits, spent day at pool, ran around town trying to find parts to fix sink
The first two weeks only continued with fixing all the plumbing issues, but it all got fixed and we got on our way and then abruptly stopped only a week later with our grounding and bent rudder shaft in Shallotte, NC. This also was fixed but it took three weeks off the boat, so we took a road trip through 8 states ending up in Vermont.
The one word that comes to mind that characterizes the remainder of July and August is HOT…..holy cow it was hot. I am so glad we decided to get an AC unit a week before we left. I’m pretty confident our cruising would have come to an end if not for the AC unit. After cruising through the Dismal Swamp and into Norfolk we hit another little roadblock and had to get a new starter, but that too was fixed and we moved on into the Chesapeake. This was a first real experience with bigger water and we loved that we were finally able to do some sailing, but the weather was spotty and we learned a lot about patience while being stuck for Hermine.
Finally, we made it to Annapolis, the farthest north we planned to go before heading back down south. The upper Chesapeake was a lovely experience and we found a new appreciation for anchoring (something we now do all the time, with marina stops just being for reliable wifi connection to watch our beloved Clemson team). After making it back down the Chesapeake waiting out some more weather, we zoomed down North Carolina only to be stopped again, this time by Hurricane Matthew. Thankful that family was nearby, we were able to leave the boat in Southport and return to her untouched by the storm. We were excited to get on the move again, but nature had other plans for us and we got stuck by flood waters near the Socastee Bridge in South Carolina. Finally we made it back to Beaufort in time for me to do a little consulting job and to take care of so much needed boat projects. This was also a wonderful time to catch back up with friends and family.
We set sail from Beaufort the middle of November and completed our first overnight passage to St. Mary’s, GA and took part in the Cruisers Thanksgiving. Then, we made our way down the Florida coast stopping in St. Augustine, Daytona, Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Palm Beach. We spent Christmas in Palm Beach on Peanut Island with other cruising families before heading offshore to North Miami which is where we find ourselves now getting ready to watch our Tigers play.
What a year…a year I will never forget and cherish forever. We were also able to share some of our life on Tiny House Blog, Inside a Traveler’s Walls, and most recently in the December issue of BoatUS. All the unknowns, frustration, and challenges have been outweighed by the experiences and lessons we have learned and I am finally feeling settled into this new life and the pathless path we have chosen. I have learned to let go and flow with current of our life and be thankful for the small things in life. We are looking forward to where 2017 will take us.