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Why We Stopped Cruising (And Why We Can’t Wait to Cruise Again)

Why We Stopped Cruising (And Why We Can’t Wait to Cruise Again)

I remember the moment I started feeling really weary. We had spent some time in the more isolated and beautiful Berry Islands, Bahamas and were pulling up anchor to travel just to the other side of the island. It was the shortest trip we’d had up until that point, only three hours motor sailing to reach the next anchorage, but it was the worse passage yet. The waves were choppy, and the wind was at an angle that made our trip less than comfortable. Two of our three girls actually got sick from the motion we were experiencing. It was an uncomfortable three hours.

When we finally arrived at Hawk’s Nest Cay, the spacious anchorage was nearly as choppy as our sail. Dropping anchor helped of course, but this particular anchorage had poor protection from the wind coming in from the east. We went to Hawk’s Nest Cay to station ourselves for our passage to Spanish Wells, Eluethera, a passage we were planning on making the next morning with a buddy boat, s/v Totem. But the waves and my girl’s sea sickness pulled me down for the count. “Clean up on Gromit!” was the running joke, but in reality it caused me a great deal of stress.

We had been through choppy passages before. Two of our four days across the Chesapeake were very rolly and no one got sick then. I was cold and thankful for the dock, but had plenty of spirit to keep going. Now in the Bahamas, I was begging for a break. What changed?

Making our way down the east coast in December. Cold, but ready for anything! A pre-crawling Haven lays down at my side

It could be that our once little bundle of baby joy had recently blossomed into a curious climbing toddler, and now a sea sick one at that. I could have been feeling weary because our fridge stopped working, and I wasn’t prepared to be sans fridge in a remote island of the Bahamas. Also, our oldest daughter was increasingly having a hard time being away from her friends and grandparents in Texas, and I was silently grieving that my mom and sisters were missing out on Haven’s first year. It could be that I had lost the vision that propelled us out on this grand adventure in the first place.

Our first time as a family on Gromit in Edgewater, MD

But I could have been feeling weary simply because I needed a break, and maybe every cruiser just does at some point.

Whatever the reason, I was ready to just stop moving. I was looking forward to spending an indefinite amount of time in Spanish Wells, but we decided to stay a couple more days in that agitated anchorage to gather rest before moving on. And I’m so glad we did. We met another amazing cruising family on s/v Gone Walkabout (are there any who aren’t amazing?) who played happily with our girls and carried our baby on hips across the beach. We exchanged stories and bread recipes and I felt refreshed.

The two weeks we spent in Spanish Wells were also the reprieve we needed, and continues to be one of our favorite cruising destinations, but I still didn’t feel ready to take on new shores. Even after our two weeks there, I was ready for a more substantial break. We decided to make our way to Texas for the Summer, but somewhere between Spanish Wells and Green Cove Springs, Florida, my husband accepted a job in Houston and our plans for a break morphed into moving back home.

Having a relaxing picnic near our dock in Spanish Wells, Eluethera

It was a whirlwind Summer. We fell in love with a house just two days after stepping foot on Texas soil and began a contract to buy it. Mike went back to work, and we had to acquire or purchase everything all over again just one year after selling it all. Forks, plates, glasses, beds, work clothes, shoes (can’t be barefoot here)- everything. And to top it all off, we put s/v Gromit up for sale, an inevitability, we assumed.

But what were we doing? Were we really going back to a house, a job and life in the suburbs?

We had a newfound appreciation for the many things we went without while cruising, like daily showers, freezers, and washing machines, but the truth was we were having a hard time adjusting to life on land. Did we just give up on cruising forever? Did we make the right choice for our family? Did we rush into these decisions? We were grieving the loss of cruising, and grieving hard. It’s true that I loved seeing my little ones run around the house, loved seeing Haven have spaces to safely play and do things she hadn’t before, but every day was bittersweet.

Mike and I started having a series of honest conversations about our decisions, our future, our desires and our boat. We talked about everything we would have done differently, the attitudes that carried our decisions, the way we function as a couple, and what we loved about cruising. We underwent the difficult process of recognizing the less than healthy ways we handled fatigue and stress. It wasn’t easy, but it was life giving and healing for us during our time of transition and reflection.

The conversations led us to recognize that we didn’t want to sell Gromit, and we didn’t want cruising to be a thing of the past. Yes, cruising with children is not easy, there are sacrifices to be made, but we were far from ready to make land life permanent. We took Gromit off the market and for the first time felt a wave of hopeful anticipation wash over us.

Haven at the helm

Part time cruising and full time cruising are no doubt unique in their challenges and rewards. We cruised full time for 8 months and reaped the benefits: we grew as people and as a family, we acquired new skills, visited wonderful places and met incredible people. Now we’re ready to continue the adventure as we cruise part time throughout the year. We’ll have a home base here in Texas, but will take trips out on Gromit, traveling the coast of Florida and even possibly making the passage to Texas one day.

We’re SO excited to say that we’re not done with cruising just yet! Our feet are on solid ground for now, but we’re dreaming of our next adventure out on those salty seas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Days in the Bahamas! Exploring Alice Town, Bimini

First Days in the Bahamas! Exploring Alice Town, Bimini

We made it! We motored into the crowded anchorage as the sun was getting low. We were relieved, excited, tired. All the work, planning, and preparation to be ready to leave the US, and now here we were ready to explore this chain of islands called the Bahamas. But the Bahamas would have to wait. As the forecast predicted, the next day brought strong winds with gusts in the 30 knot range. Not the worst we’ve experienced, but poor weather for island exploring. We decided at least to explore a jetty of nearby rocks and survey the anchorage by dinghy.

While we waited for the winds to stop howling, we passed the time getting together with the crew from s/v Banana and s/v Totem, whom we sailed with from Ft. Lauderdale.

Haven with Behan from s/v Totem

Finally, the winds quieted, the waves calmed and we decided to explore the island of Bimini. A small island, the north end where we anchored, is home to a large resort and casino, so it didn’t feel like we had traveled to an exotic little getaway. But it still had its treasures: the water being one of them. An array of blue, green, clear and turquoise jewel tones, the water absolutely beckons to all who have the privilege of seeing it.

The day before we planned to leave Bimini for The Berry Islands, we decided to take a day to walk around Alice Town and swim in the sparkling turquoise water. Our walk proved to be very interesting. The stark contrast between the resort section of the island where we happened to be anchored, and Alice Town was surprising and a little uncomfortable. On one side stood a towering resort; popular music flowed out of the casino, a beautiful fountain gushed in the middle of a pool. As we walked to the other side of the island, we walked through an arced entrance separating the resort section from the rest of the community.

Alice Town is beautiful in its own way. It has the flavor of a town straddling two worlds: it’s an easy jump from the United States, but it’s also it’s own country, with a distinct island culture.

We walked through the narrow streets, stopping for cars or golf carts driving by. The buildings were small, but colorful. The people were very friendly, smiling and waving to each passerby was very common. We stopped by a house with a bakery sign posted in the window. We opened the door and walked in to see a lady at her kitchen table, food simmering in the background. She greeted us and we bought a loaf of bread stored in a plastic tote under her window. As we left, she gave the girls a warm chocolate chip cookie, fresh from her oven. A very different experience for us- but wonderful and tasty too!

We heard their was a library nearby, something I was eager to see, but this was not the kind of library the girls and I were used to!

I was really glad we took the time to see more of the island before we continued on our journey. The Berry Islands was a long hop from Bimini, over 80 miles, but we were looking forward to an island more isolated from such a busy port.

Bimini was only the beginning of our sojourn, but I am really glad we got to experience this little island!

Boat Friends, An Octopus Fiasco and Alligators in the Oldest City in America

Boat Friends, An Octopus Fiasco and Alligators in the Oldest City in America

This spot on the water marks the place we’ve been the longest anywhere since we started our journey south. It’s a funny feeling. I was getting into the groove of daily travel. Waking in the early morning, pulling up anchor and setting out to a new place, the accomplished feeling of once again dropping that anchor in a place your eyes have never wandered, wondering what each new day will hold. Here, where our boat has bobbed and swayed for two weeks, we’re getting to know the waters, the times of the tides. We know when the current will be rushing past and when it will rest beside us. There is a comfort in this familiarity, in knowing where you’ll be that night when your head hits your pillow.

And oh, those sunsets.

sunset in St. Augustine

We decided to break from traveling with our friends on Totem when they turned to dock in Jacksonville, as we had our sights set on St. Augustine. I met a family who lived in St. Augustine, through Instagram, who also lived on a boat and had two boys, the same ages as our girls! They were kind and generous, the kind of people we’ve encountered over and over again so far, the kind of generosity you feel you could never repay. They invited us to hang out with them and allowed us to send our packages (items we ordered for our boat) to their marina. Since meeting them, we’ve been able to share several days together, letting our kids romp and run, and even sightseeing the city of St. Augustine together.

welcome!

Our new friends, Erica and Scott, raved about their home city, so we couldn’t wait to discover what this historic town had to offer. I had no idea that St. Augustine is America’s oldest city, established in 1565!

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a gorgeous view on our walk

On one occasion, Mike and the girls joined our new friends on a visit to an Alligator Farm! The kids raced down the walkways, taking in the unusual animals and watching the huge alligators feed.

a playground! And look who’s caught in the web!
slightly terrifying!

The alligators were all too eager for feeding time. A little creepy if you ask me!

the view from Crave

This sweet family even watched Marlee and Hannah one day so Mike and I could enjoy St. Augustine on our own. We ate at a hip little food truck, called Crave, with superfood wraps and a view!

This city is thick with history. Walking along its streets, old impressive buildings tower over roads of modern cars whizzing past. Bronze plaques are posted often in front of houses, street corners, and buildings signifying a place of historic importance. Tour trolleys roll by, leaving bits and pieces of the tour guides voice as it trails off. On nice days, people are walking and biking throughout the city streets, and with a bike rental shop nearby, why not?

the Lightner Museum

On our family outing to historic downtown, we visited the town square, America’s oldest parish, and wandered through rows of unique shops.

the historic town square

The girls, of course wanted to visit a beach, so one day we loaded everyone in the dinghy and motored to a nearby shoreline. We quickly realized it was more shell than shore, but the girls didn’t mind, and we had a fun time soaking in the sun and letting the girls explore the natural world.

beach day!

And then we saw an octopus…

Mike first spotted it. It was lurking around the edge of shore where the marsh grass met the water. It was reddish and sleek looking, just how you might imagine one to be. Mike ran back to the dinghy to grab the camera. Knowing how shy wild animals can be, I assumed it would be gone before Mike came back with the camera, but not only was it still there, it seemed to turn in our direction and soon began swimming straight toward where we were standing!

An octopus!

It slithered its way up toward the sand, just a couple feet from where we stood, as we excitedly watched its every move. It’s arms curled and uncurled as it moved toward us. Mike stepped into the water to get a closer picture, and immediately sank in thick, dark black mud. You couldn’t tell it was so sludgy underneath the beautiful water. Then the octopus turned again – for Mike! It was swimming toward him! Now, we didn’t believe the octopus could seriously injure any one of us, but we certainty wanted to give it room, so Mike quickly tried to walk back on shore, which he found he couldn’t! His shoes were stuck in the soft black sandy mud under the water, and as he pulled his feet out, he cut his foot on the many, many shells that littered the area. This silly octopus! We got to see it up close and in full detail, but we’ve never met a wild animal who was so curious and got us into so much trouble!

Mike got his shoes, with difficulty, and he limped back to the dinghy, calling it a day. Later, we realized that the video camera was turned to ‘on’ and recorded the whole fiasco!

After some research at home, we learned that octopi are the smartest invertebrates on the planet. Looking back at our adventure with this little creature, I am totally convinced. Next time we see an octopus, I think we’ll just let it swim on by, knowing now how curious and intelligent they are!

 

Letting Go of the Dock Lines and Are We Going to Cruise the ICW or the Atlantic Ocean?

Letting Go of the Dock Lines and Are We Going to Cruise the ICW or the Atlantic Ocean?

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The marina we stayed at in Norfolk, Virginia

It was a long three weeks at the dock in Norfolk, Virginia. Not because we weren’t enjoying our boat or the area or the people, but because I (more than my husband, surprisingly) was anxious to literally and figuratively “untie the dock lines” and trade the comfort of the marina for the wild unknown of travel.

But there was much to do to prepare to leave and now I am grateful for each extra day, hour and minute we stayed buying, repairing, improving, and provisioning. But in the midst of our preparing and planning we took time to enjoy the area around us and create family memories. We celebrated Hannah’s third birthday and enjoyed a couple of days (the only couple of days warm enough) playing at the beach.

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Hannah’s birthday morning, opening her present I bought months ago wrapped in a baby blanket.
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Our walk to the beach

As we prepared our boat to start traveling, filling settee lockers with cans of food, buying extra diapers and paper towels, there was one question constantly rolling around in our minds: would we travel the Atlantic Intracoastal waterway (ICW) or would we travel on “the outside?” (What cruisers call sailing on the ocean). There were pros and cons to each. Sailing on the ICW isn’t common; you have to motor, so the ICW takes longer and costs more because you’re paying for diesel along the way. The ICW is narrow at times and shallow at times, so it has it’s own concerns. Running aground isn’t much fun. The ocean, however, is wild, a little unknown and there the weather matters a lot. But could we handle an ocean “hop” as new cruisers? Would there be any other boat to travel with? As the temperatures keep falling, how much time do we want to spend cruising south along the coast? Heaters, marinas, and diesel all cost money, after all. We had these questions and many more.

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The view from the nearby park

As it turns out, one of our boat “neighbors” in Norfolk knew of a cruising family who, for the last eight years, was sailing around the world with their kids. A family on a boat named Totem. We knew of them as well and had eagerly read their blog when we were learning all we could about cruising. It happened that they were in Washington D.C, making their way to Norfolk after Thanksgiving. We got into contact with them and it was decided: we would stay in Norfolk longer so we could meet them. After meeting them we would decide where we would go and how we would get there.

It was during this time I began learning the often difficult lesson of waiting. I was anxious to begin our journey. It seemed becoming comfortable happened fast and I didn’t want to settle anywhere just yet, I wanted to go. It was difficult not being able to plan in advance; not knowing where we would be a week from now, not knowing if we would leave next week or in two days or if we would have the weather window we needed. But I learned and am learning, to let go of any expectations I might have had (and they are there) and just let it happen the way it happens. Resting in each moment, knowing that this is not only our story, but the story that God is writing for us, and when we get impatient we often miss out on his best.

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One of our last days in Norfolk

But then the day came. We had listened to the weather on the VHF radio each night that week and it seemed that that Thursday would be a good day to say goodbye to Cobb’s Marina. And it was. The rain had passed and the sun was out; it was beautiful, albeit cold, and we were ready. A new couple we had met on our dock helped us shove off and we were finally on the move. The wind in my face felt really good.

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Leaving the dock

We anchored that afternoon in the Lafayette River, an anchorage near the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club, the marina where s/v Totem was staying. That night, over finger foods, we met them: Jaimie, Behan and their three kids. Full of warmth, experience, encouragement and advice, much like the other cruisers we have met so far, we loved being able to pick their brains and get to know another family who lives their life in such an unconventional way. We stayed in that anchorage for six days, walking to a nearby library for the kids to play, finding the local laundromat, and even being invited to the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club’s Christmas lights party.

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The Norfolk Yacht and Country Club in December
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A beautiful boat

When we learned that Jaimie and Behan were thinking of traveling south on the ICW, for lack of good weather on “the outside,” that confirmed for us which way we were to go. A friend of theirs, Bill on s/v Solstice, arrived at the anchorage also, so it was planned that all three of us would begin our journey together south.

I was ready.

Our next stop, leaving Norfolk and traveling the ICW! Bridges, a lock, rain, wind right on our nose, staying behind, and getting stuck in the mud…Stay tuned!

 

 

The Beauty of Living on a Boat

The Beauty of Living on a Boat

I’m the first one to wake up every morning. I emerge from our nest of blankets and sleeping bags, all piled high, five sleepy people snuggled in one room at the close of each day. The dawn awakens me. It’s cold so I slip my socks back on my feet and peek out one of the port windows surrounding our cabin. The water beckons.

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The still of the morning

The water ripples, glistens. It is perfect in reflecting the beauty of the morning. Sun slowly breaks over the horizon, gently calls forth the new day in colors of pinks, purples, oranges and yellows. God calls to me at the ushering of the day, every day, wooing me to his side and I open my Bible to hear what he would say to me. I stop, I listen, I thank him for another day. If I dare, I brave the cold morning wind and slide back the hatch to sit topside with my Bible, journal and pen. I find refuge under the bimini in the cockpit; as soon as I peek out from its cover, the cold bites through me. But I long to find an unobstructed view of the sunrise. The marina brims with boats. Side by side, each dock is nearly full. I see the glory of the sun through another mast, another bow, another stern. But I see it. Beauty that fills up the soul, glory that heals the spirit. Sitting on this boat, something is healing within me.

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The new day

Eventually, little feet emerge from the cabin, looking for breakfast, looking for me. I put my Bible away, and start a pot of water steaming. Oatmeal will fill bowls and tummies, brown sugar sprinkles received with delight. My feet find their place in the corner where sink and stove meet and where I can look out my favorite window. The kitchen window. For now I happily watch the neighboring marina, their lights at night, the way the sun lights up the ripples in the water during the day, but soon, through my little kitchen window, I will see long stretches of beaches, forested shore lines; mysterious new places my eyes have never seen.

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The marina gives us a particular flavor of boat living. People come and go, boats get hauled out and put back in the water, the boat yard bustles with older men smoking cigarettes, machines grinding, docks empty and fill again. Like the tide coming in and going out, never ending, so is life at the marina. And one day soon, we will go out too, and another boat will fill the emptiness we will leave behind.

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The Boatyard Shop

Our children love the marina; they love boat life. Their youth softens the crustiness of the boat yard. Around scruffy bearded men with calloused hands they run around, saying hi to all. As we walk around the rocky yard, they exclaim in delight at the boats on the hard. That one is so beautiful mommy, they say, especially towards the ones that are not beautiful at all. Paint chipped, demasted, barnacle bottomed, neglected by their owners, but to a child, a wonderland.

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Fun in the boatyard
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Our marina

Most days you will find me washing something. Soft bellied babies, last night’s dinner plates, yesterday’s clothes in a five gallon bucket. It seems, my daily life is in keeping this clan clean. And it’s not as easy as it used to be. Pressing a button, turning a knob, flipping a switch- that’s the modern way. Here, I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and I know the day is ready to dry my towels on the stern. Here, I feel the bitter chill on windy days and know my hands will likely freeze while I rinse off dishes in cold water from the sink. Here, the sun and moon are not mere ornaments in the sky, something pretty to nod at now and then, they are tools and guides by which we live. Sailing at night? Best to do it on a full moon. Anchoring before sun down? Better leave early, that winter sun begins to set late afternoon. Rain on the way? Time to put away the baby clothes drying on the deck.

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This is a place where if you long to be insulated from the elements around you, you will be miserable. On the sail here, it was quite rolly. The seas were boisterous, the salty spray splashed in my face as I sat fixed on the beam, gazing into the horizon, trying to steady my queasy stomach. I loved it. I’ve lived my life in fear, I’ve lived clamoring to insulate myself from all the things that might make me uncomfortable. Not anymore.

There is so much beauty here. Not just in sunsets and moon rises, not just in Night Herons splashing for fish or Buffleheads bobbing up and down, and not just in the kind smiles and conversation from boat neighbors, but there is so much beauty growing within me. I am learning who I am. Barefoot, free, on the deck, wind in my hair- beauty.

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Sailing from Annapolis, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia {Part I}

Sailing from Annapolis, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia {Part I}

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The view from our dock at Holiday Point Marina. We hadn’t seen the sun in a few days.

October 2, 2016- Day 1

Our first voyage as a family on s/v Gromit! We were all excited but nervous as well. It would be the first time for everything, so we didn’t really know what to expect, but Mike’s dad joined us for the cruise so we would have extra help if we needed it. His many years of sailing was great to have on board.

We left Holiday Point Marina in Edgewater, Maryland (just outside of Annapolis located on the South River) bound for Solomon’s Island. The weather was crisp and cool, and the water was calm. The sun was finally peeking through an overcast sky- the first we’d seen of the sun in a few days! First, we stopped at the nearby fuel dock to gas up. While that didn’t go super smoothly (getting used to maneuvering a boat against a dock isn’t the easiest!), we got the gas we needed and we were on our way.

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Waiting at the fuel dock

Leaving the South River, we headed south on the Chesapeake Bay, and the winds were fairly calm, about 5-10 knots. We motor sailed which means we used the power of the engine and the power of the wind in our sails to carry us. Motor sailing gave us a little more predictability as far as our speed. We were able to average about 5 knots of speed, which isn’t bad!

It was sunny, but quite cool. The children wore lifejackets and were tethered into the jack lines of the boat (meaning they can’t get out of the cockpit and they can’t fall out). The adults were comfortable walking around the boat with ease since the boat was barely rocking. I even fell asleep a couple of times, it was so relaxing!

We had charts with GPS to direct our path. Mike (the captain) spent the night before plotting our course so we would know exactly where to go. The only thing we had to watch out for was other boats and crab pots which were common. We definitely didn’t want to get those crab traps tangled up in our propeller! We also used our depth sounder to make sure we were always in deep enough water. Our keel is 6′ long, so it’s important the water be deeper than that. The charts we had also told us the depth of the water so we could make sure we were not accidently turning into a shallow area or an underwater wreckage site.

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The weather was perfect!

Part of our cruising life means turning on the VHF radio each morning and tuning into a common channel. We can listen to all other boats on the channel. If there is someone that needs help we can respond, if there is a warning of an obstruction in the water we can know about it, or if someone wants to speak to us they can “call” us- we all use the VHF radio. On our way to Solomon’s Island, we were hailed by a nearby sailboat, a similar kind as ours. They recognized the name of the boat ‘Gromit’ and knew the previous owners. They called just to say hi- how neat!

We ate sandwiches in the cockpit for lunch and snacks throughout the day. Right around dinnertime we arrived at Solomon’s Island and pulled up to the anchorage we had planned on stopping at for the night. We anchored at Kingston Creek Anchorage, about 45 nautical miles from where we started. We dropped the anchor, made sure it was set and we were done. We did it! Our first day of sailing was done, and we were all hungry and ready to relax.

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Mike getting the anchor ready

The anchorage was beautiful and calm, and we were the only boat there. The girls spotted a little beach amidst forests of trees so we promised in the morning before we left we would take them there.

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The shoreline

The first night’s dinner was rice and roasted turkey and gravy (already prepared except for the rice). The sun dipped low as we ate our dinner in the cockpit. Day 1 done!

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Calm waters and a beautiful sunset!

October 3, 2016 – Day 2

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Sunrise at Solomon’s Island
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Hannah enjoying the dinghy ride

We awoke to very calm, serene waters as the dark faded and the sun began to lighten the sky. We could hear music and the clanking of traps from a few little fishing boats nearby, other than that there was no one else there. We got up and everyone had a quick breakfast while we got the kids ready to go to the nearby beach. We were anxious to keep traveling and get to our next destination, but we knew there had to be reward in this journey for them too. We lowered our dinghy, climbed aboard and zipped over to the little shore. Along the shore were trees and beautiful houses. We let them play in the water and find pretty shells for a little while, then headed back to Gromit to get going to our next anchorage which was at Point Lookout.

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This was the highlight of the girl’s trip!
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The shore all to ourselves
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Stunning striped rocks
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Barefoot boat kids

Mike and I want to be a team on this boat, which means I’m at the helm while he tends to the anchor, the sails, the dock or whatever else needs to be done. He does also help with the helm and of course the navigation. So each morning I’ve been able to practice steering us out of the anchorage and into the bay and keeping us on course. Of course, Mike and his dad played a huge role in that too, since they were teaching me and there were times I didn’t feel competent enough to be alone at the helm. But I loved it! And I was able to get a feel for the movement of the boat and how she responds to the wheel.

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Mike at the helm watching the autopilot, radar and navigation

We left the anchorage and headed south on the Chesapeake Bay, again motor sailing. On our way again, we were hailed on the VHF radio, although this time it wasn’t from a friendly cruiser wanting to say hi. This time were hailed by a Navy Range Marker Ship asking us to go east about 2 miles to stay clear of their range. Of course we would! It was out of our way but we’d be foolish not to comply! It cost us about 4 miles which means we lost about one hour of time.

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Talking to a Navy ship

Today the winds again were calm. We were feeling less nervous as we made our way. We anchored at Cornfield Harbor near Point Lookout which is on the Potomac River. In the first two days we traveled 71.5 nautical miles! We were halfway to our destination of Norfolk, Virginia!

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Finally able to dry some clothes in the bright sunshine!

This anchorage also had a shoreline with a sandy beach so before we had dinner we took the girls to play again. There was only one other boat anchored there with us, but we had the beach all to ourselves. We found plenty of shells, rocks and bones of animals. Unfortunately, the beach had biting flies which we did not like! The weather had warmed up quite a bit so we could finally wear our bathing suits and shorts we brought. After a little while there, we went back to the boat and ate dinner in the cockpit (I can’t remember what it was).

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Arriving at our anchorage
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This water was incredibly calm and smooth
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They can’t get enough of the water!
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Daddy showing the girls how to skip rocks
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Haven and Mommy

After the sun went down, we went up to the deck to see the stars. They were incredible! We weren’t near very many lights, the water was perfectly glassy and calm and the night was dark. The stars shone through that darkness like brilliant little diamonds. I’ve never seen so many stars and constellations in my life! We could even see the hazy cloud of the milky way. Magnificent! What a treat!

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Goodnight moon

Little did we know how different our final two days of sailing would be!…