Monday, December 29, 2014

Family and friends...

We left Sirène safe and sound in North Carolina while we traveled to share the upcoming holidays with family and friends. We started with a road trip to Baltimore to meet our new granddaughter Vivienne, which was delightful. She's a real charmer, and her parents are naturals as is evident by what a happy and relaxed baby she is.
We had been looking forward to having a car to do Christmas shopping and maintenance items like a haircut and pedicure, and meeting friends for lunch...none of which we could do right away because our cars weren't working, a problem with my battery, and Bob's car is leaking brake fluid, so that needed a repair garage visit. Apparently cars don't like to sit idle for too long, but luckily these were easy fixes, and all the chores got done. We got the chance to spend some wonderful time with kids and grandkids, some friends, and our church family so it was all worth it.

I can't speak for Bob but as much as I was thrilled to be home with our loved ones, I also missed life aboard the boat. I guess I have become more acclimated to the slow-paced, quieter life than I realized. The Christmas holidays are always fun, and while I  enjoyed getting caught up with family, especially the young ones, it was an adjustment.  The kids are great and a true joy to be with especially at that time of year and nothing is better than experiencing Christmas morning through a youngster's eyes. We hope your Christmas was as filled with wonder and joy as ours was.

We are back on the boat, and the feelings are reversed... we are wishing we were home playing with, and reading stories to little ones and getting wrapped up in the craziness that is family home life instead of readjusting to the quietness of life aboard.

We will take a couple of days to provision and plan, before getting underway and continuing on our journey south.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year !

Monday, December 8, 2014


We are in Southport, North Carolina preparing the boat for a two week layup when we'll go home to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. At the outset of this "adventure" for lack of a better word, we thought we would be further south at this point in time. I need to point out that I am not complaining in any way about our progress made, I think we are doing great. We have moved at pace with our interests and curiosities and our ability/willingness to tolerate adverse conditions. We have met wonderful people and spent time in small towns we might never have even known about had we been zooming along in a quest to get south at all speed and at any cost.
I labeled this post "expectations" because that is the most surprising realization of this journey...our expectations, which we thought realistic, were way off the mark. We expected a pleasant daily sail/motor through scenic waterways with wildlife and waterfowl waiting along the shores to enchant and entertain us, part ICW part Disneyland. The truth...the landscape is no greener in the Chesapeake and along the northern part of the ICW in October than it is in New England...brown and leafless. The wildlife and waterfowl, if they are even in evidence in the summer months, have long ago flown south or burrowed under the dead leaves to escape the chill. The only birds we saw at the beginning of the ICW were snowbirds, like ourselves, heading south to try to beat the frost. The pleasant daily sails are intense, hours spent with one of us at the helm driving and watching water depth while the other closely monitors the charts and the marks/buoys that we need to honor to stay on course in the channel. It is challenging and exciting but it is also stressful thus exhausting.

I thought I would have time...plenty of time to paint the scenery underway, time to compose interesting blog entries describing our experiences, and time do nothing but relax and be in the moment, appreciating that we have the resources and ability to do this trip. The reality is that we are governed by weather, wind and tide, current, available hours of daylight and the mercy of bridge tenders. A typical day starts at 6 am with coffee and putting the boat to rights for sailing. We cast off  at about 7 am with plans to cover 35- 40 nautical miles or 7 hours underway whichever comes first. Sometimes we lose close to an hour waiting for a bascule or swing bridge's scheduled opening so we can pass by. When we get to our destination for the night we shut down, check engine and electrical systems, make log entries and then have dinner. After dinner we sit down to make the plan for the next day starting with weather forecast, then charts and tide tables and crossed fingers.

Once the plan is laid out and recorded we close up shop for the night and go to sleep. We look forward to days when we can stay in a place and explore and get a feel for the community, catch up with provisioning and laundry. Often weather will dictate that decision but some days we realize we just don't feel like we stay put. We are hopeful that those days become more frequent as we get into warmer weather and don't feel compelled to keep moving further south.
Then I may have time to paint all day.