Archive for the Category »Boat Life «

A Weekend On The Water

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting back on the water after life on land for awhile. Whether it’s been a week away, or for us – weeks away, being welcomed aboard a gently rocking boat by dear friends is one of the best ways to start a weekend.

 Peaceful Sunday sail aboard Our Way Too

We hit the road for the coast as the sun rose Friday morning for a long weekend with good friends aboard their boats and to check out the Southwest International Boat Show. Once we pulled into Kemah, which grows on us with every visit, it was all things boats all weekend.

  • We settled in aboard Our Way Too, where we’d be staying with Katie and Dean for the weekend. In our cabin was the cutest and most thoughtful gift, a Lil’ Legends life jacket to help keep our little sailor-to-be safe when out on the water.
  • The afternoon was spent checking out the recently expanded West Marine (which is now about five times bigger than when we were outfitting Kaleo) and visiting with Carolyn, our broker at HSH Yachts. It was great catching up with her and after all the sailing and cruising talk, we couldn’t help but let her know that  if the right boat comes through the area, call us – we’ll be ready. She knows what we’re looking for.
  • Next stop, Alternate Latitude, our cruising friend Steve’s Voyage 440 catamaran, which seems like a cruise ship compared to our former Kaleo and his former monohull, Anchor Management. Along with his sister, visiting from Milwaukee, we headed out for an easy sail, tacking back and forth across the bay while smiling about everything. In fact, Alternate Latitude is available for charter in Galveston Bay and the Caribbean if you’re looking for some time on the water. You’ll be in good hands under Captain Steve and on a very comfortable and sound vessel.

 Cruising around the bay aboard Alternate Latitude

  • And, it wouldn’t be a day on the water without a little seafood, so as soon as Katie wrapped up her work at the boat show, we all headed off the beaten path to a local favorite, Gilhooley’s for their famous oysters and shrimp. After a fun and filling meal with great company, we made our way back to our berths feeling stuffed like flounders.
  • The Saturday morning sun beamed as we hopped into the dinghy for some exploring. Two highlights included playing bridge limbo with the high tide and dinghying over to Wanderer, the actual boat from the cruisers’ cult classic, Captain Ron.

Scooching under a bridge with just inches to spare

 Up close and personal with the boat featured in Captain Ron

  • After lunch, it was off to the boat show, where we checked out a host of beautiful new sailboats, only furthering our fever. We chatted with Carolyn again, visited Katie’s booth for Redfish Island Marine and even ran into an old friend and sailing instructor, John Brown.

Scoping out a new Lagoon

Catching up with John at the boat show

  • We had a quiet evening on board and were up early Sunday for a dinghy ride for breakfast at Classic Cafe. The 20 hp outboard on Dean and Katie’s dinghy made it a much quicker trip than last time. Two new sailing friends, Chris and Tammy of Living and Loving Life, joined us for breakfast and we all talked about … you guessed it, boats and cruising. Soon we were all back aboard Our Way Too for a long Sunday sail on the bay
Sailing alongside Alternate Latitude

We stayed as long as we possibly could and eventually made our way back to the dock where we reluctantly wrapped up the weekend. Thank you again to our generous friends for opening their floating homes to us. We loved every sun soaked, sea breeze filled moment.


Kaleo Has A New Captain

Our beloved Kaleo officially has officially sold.

Enjoying life aboard Kaleo in the Southern Bahamas

She is now under the command of a wonderful new captain who will immediately continue her adventures.

It’s certainly a bittersweet feeling, as we love Kaleo and the journey she took us on. But we’re grateful that she’ll be used as designed, rather than floating alongside a dock somewhere while we’re land-based sailors for awhile.

With the final signature, we reflected on the little ship that carried, protected, and taught us so much. It was a blessing to sail aboard our floating home, build lifelong relationships, and see part of the world in such a unique way.

This blog will live on as we share more about our cruising reflections, thoughts for fellow dreamers, and plans for the next adventure.


Harvest Moon Regatta

Living ashore has by no means left us landlocked.

Since our return to Texas, we’ve been welcomed aboard an armada of sailboats. For us, this has really helped bridge the distance between cruising and landlife. Through former marina neighbors, cruising connections and newfound friends from this blog, it seems there’s always a sailboat shoving off from a dock somewhere nearby.

So, last week, we headed to the coast with plans for Matt to crew in the Harvest Moon Regatta, a 150-mile offshore race from Galveston to Port Aransas, Texas.

The Curmudgeon II crew, Post-race

It turned into a mini-sailing reunion as Steve, from Anchor Management, joined him on the boat, Curmudgeon II, out of the Houston Yacht Club. The boat’s owner, Terry, welcomed the seasoned sailors and the guys jumped at the chance to spend a few days and nights afloat. Throw in a little competition, near perfect sailing weather, a glowing red Harvest Moon and, well, it just couldn’t get any better (unless, of course, they would have taken 1st place).

A sea full of spinnakers

After a solid start, the fleet hoisted spinnakers and the crew on Curmudgeon wasn’t about to be left behind. Once launched, the “kites” ballooned full of air and the boats were off! Little did they know, they would be flying the spinnaker for the next 31 hours. In fact, the spinnaker didn’t get dropped until after gliding across the finish line.

As Matt said, this year’s Harvest Moon Regatta had all the makings of a great race:

  • Highs and lows (both wind and emotions)
  • Moments of intense sailing and hours of just slogging away at the miles
  • Debates about anchors, weather, and the best islands to visit
  • Stories shared about storms, fishing and past races (each most likely exaggerated)
  • And, most importantly, the camaraderie and teamwork that so quickly develop when miles from shore

My role in the race? While I would have loved to have been aboard, plans with family and the need for ground crew took priority.  So, I made the five hour drive from Houston down to Port Aransas (it’s a pretty big state) to pick up the worn out crew. After a bit of visiting, we pointed the 4-wheeled vessel’s bow north and crossed back into Houston around 4 o’clock the next morning.

Sunset on the last night of the regatta

Despite a middle-of-the pack finish, Matt relished the opportunity to watch the orange moon rise on a rolling ocean, feel the wind tousle his shaggy hair, and fall asleep to the creaking of the rigging when not on shift. All-in-all, a great way to spend a few days afloat.


Transitioning to Terra Firma

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of transition and travel.

Our home for a week at Herrington Harbor in MD

Last we left you, we were in Solmons Island, MD. We’re now some 1200 miles away in Texas! And a lot has happened along the way.

After sailing out of Solomons Island, we headed up to Annapolis to prep and store Kaleo while she awaits new owners.

Kaleo resting in her berth

Maryland’s unseasonable heat wave of 95°+ days helped quell our heavy hearts as we spent a week in the marina and yacht yard:

  • Unpacking our belongings from Kaleo, continually surprised by the sheer amount of storage we had aboard. Then packing it into boxes, duffel bags, and all of our Sailor Bags. In fact, halfway through the process we called Enterprise to upgrade our rental to a CARGO VAN. Fortunately they had one and we filled it up.

This is just a portion of our gear ready to be moved to the van

  • Loading the cargo van which took 13 trips from boat to van by way of dock carts. (Of course our slip was one of the farthest from the parking lot.)
  • Polishing every inch of stainless steel on the exterior and treating what felt like acres of teak on the interior

Matt polishing the stainless till it was gleaming

  • Cooking the last of our fridge food and enjoying a few meals out. Lunch at Umai Sushi was our favorite.


  • Emptying and winterizing the holding and water tanks
  • Filling the diesel tank, adding stabilizer, and changing all the fluids in Mr. Beeker (the Westerbeke engine)
  • Winterizing the watermaker, generator, A/C, fresh water system and toilet
  • Removing, cleaning and packing the head sail and all associated lines
  • Washing the deck and polishing the topsides with one of Matt’s favorite boat tools, the Shurhold Dual Action Polisher.
  • Making a few final trips to West Marine for polish, antifreeze, replacement hardware, and well, just for the fun of it
  • Meeting with our broker from Annapolis Yacht Sales to go over the details of Kaleo and to have it formally listed as a brokerage yacht

Sunday, the day before our scheduled haul out, we watched a final church service ( aboard, loaded a few last things into the van and drove into D.C. to stay with our close friends, the Johnstons. They moved to Virginia from Texas while we were away and it was a special treat to be nearby. They graciously let us stay in their home and even stayed up late to catch up despite it being a school night.

Heading back to the Harbor

On Monday morning, we drove back to Herrington Harbor to watch Kaleo be lifted from the water, power washed and placed in the rows of other land-bound vessels. We chose to keep her “on the hard” because it offers better storm protection, easier survey for prospective buyers and less maintenance than if sitting in the water.

Backing in and lining up for the lift

Washing off the East Coast muck

After Kaleo was secured on her stands, Matt went to work on polishing the hull, getting rid of the “ICW smile” (a brown stain from the muddy water) and giving every winterized system a final check. He polished the last part of the hull just as the skies opened up.

Matt polishing the day away

With the packing, prepping and polishing wrapped up, we paused to reflect on the amazing journey just completed and gave thanks to our little ship that carried, protected and taught us so much.

And with the rumble of thunderstorms above us, we drove away with the rain accompanying our tears.

It was a blessing to sail aboard our floating home, build lifelong relationships and see part of the world in such a unique way. We now have cruising in our blood. And while we have just wrapped up one adventure, we both wholeheartedly agreed that, Lord willing, it won’t be our last.

 Kaleo awaiting her next adventure

There isn’t much to report from our drive back to Texas, other than a cargo van corners like an semi-truck and guzzles gas like an airplane. By far the delight of the drive was pulling into the driveway for a warm welcome from family.

Going forward, this blog will be less about our cruising adventures and more on our cruising reflections and future dreams. THANK YOU for joining us as virtual crew along this journey. And we’d be honored if you’d stay on as we transition into land-based sailors for awhile.


{this moment}

Happy Saturday! Hope your weekend is coming along well.

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple moment to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama’s Friday ritual.

North From Norfolk

Kaleo and crew left Norfolk Sunday morning on the cusp of a heat wave bound for Deltaville, VA, about a day’s sail up the Chesapeake.

 A Navy ship heading out of the Hampton Roads on our way to Deltaville

As we passed by the marina in Deltaville we caught a glimpse of our friends’ Ted and Mili’s boat, Morning Glory, waiting patiently for their return from land touring. We so wished they were around as we set the hook in the serene harbor nearby.

Entering Deltaville through a very skinny channel

Sunset on the hook in Deltaville

After a peaceful night’s rest (and our last at anchor aboard Kaleo), we made for Solomon’s Island, MD. That morning the heat wave finally caught up with us as we made a windless motor passage in 95° heat. Electing for a good night’s rest, we pulled into a marina and fired up the A/C. We ordered pizza, had our showers and enjoyed the almost freezing interior.

We spent the evening debating the pros and cons of continuing to explore the Chesapeake for a few more months. And while there are literally hundreds of places to sail and see in the Chesapeake, annually July and August are hot (not fun to anchor in), windless (meaning more motoring, less sailing), with a lot of the bay being home to nettles, a kind of jellyfish (limiting any thought of swimming).

The Wolftrap Lighthouse on the Chesapeake

In the end, we decided it wouldn’t be a lot of fun if we were bound to marinas for the A/C, so next stop was Herrington Harbor where we would store Kaleo.

The parade of sails from Solomons to the Chesapeake

Tuesday morning, as we headed for the yard, hundreds of sailboats swarmed out of the harbor in sync with us as if offering a spectacular send-off parade. While it was really all the racers from the Annapolis to Solomons Screwpile Challenge, it was a wonderfully emotional lift to be surrounded by so many light-hearted sailors along our final sail into the Chesapeake Bay.


Portsmouth & Norfolk, VA

From the Outer Banks we ventured across the Albemarle Sound and while it shares a similarly precarious reputation with the Pamlico, we had a safe and smooth crossing to Coinjock, NC.

Crossing the Currituck Sound, NC

On Tuesday we pulled into (or rather through) the small North Carolina town of Coinjock along the ICW for a night’s stay at Midway Marina and then spent the next full day motorsailing to the town dock at Great Bridge in Chesapeake, VA.

Fun wall of friends in Chesapeake, VA

Nestled between a bascule bridge and lock, this wall dock is a perfect overnight stay before locking through the next morning. Bonus: With Simpatico and Jesse Marie on the same route, we formed a great neighborhood and enjoyed a fun dinner out at Toro Loco, just a short walk away. I love how cruisers’ paths weave in and out, mixing in new friends with the familiar, along our travels.

Serene 78° day along the ICW in Chesapeake, VA

Friday morning it was on to Portsmouth, VA, a small seaport that’s managed to hold onto its 18th-and 19th-century charm for over 250 years. With Downtown Norfolk just across the river, we planned to slow down and take in the towns. We tucked Kaleo into the scenic waterfront town dock at High Street Landing and were off to enjoy the temperate day (mid 70’s by day, high 60’s by night).

Our backyard at High Street Landing in Portsmouth, VA

Taking the paddle-wheel ferryboat to Norfolk, VA with Jesse Marie

Over the next couple of days we:

  • Visited the expansive Chrysler Museum of Art. 62 galleries with over 30,000 works of art from around the world (made up mostly from the private collection of Walter Chrysler, Jr.) gave us a full afternoon of meandering and is not to be missed if you’re in the Norfolk area. Did we mention it’s FREE?! One of our favorite sights was a temporary exhibit where video technology captures the movements of the viewer, so that you interact with and become a part of the artwork itself.

We’re part art!

  • Feasted on a sushi dinner at Domo Sushi before wandering around town and eventually to the Town Point BrewFest to enjoy some live music

Trifeca of greatness. Battleship Wisconsin, Nauticus, and the schooner Virginia

  • Watched an outdoor movie on the fantail (back deck) of the Battleship Wisconsin. The feature film, The Poseidon Adventure, was an action-adventure disaster film about a cruise ship that capsizes and a rebellious preacher attempts to lead a small group of survivors to safety. Though dated (1972) the story wasn’t lost on us sailors, especially since we were watching it aboard such a mighty battleship.

Battleship Wisconsin set up for its “Fantail Film Festival”

The Poseidon Adventure on the deck of the Battleship Wisconsin

“Fantail Film Festival”

  • Returned home to find the dock to Kaleo underwater! The full moon made for a HIGH tide and us wading to our front door.

Wading across the dock to our floating home

  • Spent Saturday morning at the Portsmouth Farmer’s Market and the famous Skipjacks Nautical Wares before heading back to Norfolk to explore Nauticus, a maritime and naval history museum on steroids. Along with hundreds of exhibits on naval warfare, NOAA weather prediction and even a shark petting tank, a visit to Nauticus also includes a self-guided tour of the Battleship Wisconsin. Though we were on it the night before, the 887 foot long, 45,000 pound ship is impressive to say the least.

Captain Atlas at Nauticus

The mighty and stealth Battleship Wisconsin

  • Met up with friends and fellow cruisers Rick and Linda of s/v Sojourner (finally!) who also hail from Texas. We’ve only virtually known them since the beginning of our trip when they gave us much appreciated guidance on traveling the Gulf Coast. It was a joy to finally meet them in person where we got to know each other better over dinner at AJ Gators. Thanks for the ride home too guys!

Exhausted from the full day, we tumbled into bed with plans to continue north the next morning.

{this moment}

Happy Wednesday! Hope your week is coming along well.

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple moment to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama’s Friday ritual.

Adventures Along the OBX

After our fill of fun in Oriental, we elected to take the less traveled route up the East Coast by way of the Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands about 30 miles off the east coast of North Carolina.

Pitstop into “River Dunes” en route to the OBX

Affectionately called the “OBX”, these islands offer isolated escape from the hectic pace of the mainland and are home to some famous firsts of American history, from the first English born baby in the New World to the Wright brothers’ first powered flight near Kitty Hawk.

Our first stop, Ocracoke Island.

Entering Silver Lake, Ocracoke

Part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (a marine national park) and only accessible by boat or small plane, Ocracoke is considered the Pearl of the Outer Banks for its renowned beaches, authentic village charm and natural beauty. With a clear forecast for Saturday, we made our way across the Pamlico Sound, which has a reputation for being a contemptuous and fickle body of water. Other than slow progress due to currents and little wind, we were blessed with a safe and easy sail to this enchanting island.

View of the Ocracoke Lighthouse from Kaleo

Evening fell as we dropped the hook in the protected Silver Lake Harbor, the very place where the infamous Blackbeard once kept his pirate fleet and met his fate during a naval battle in 1718. Surrounded on all sides by the village and a lighthouse shining brightly, Silver Lake is about as perfect an anchorage as they come. And it only got better from there. We joined Gregg and Jo on board Simpatico for a delish Indian curry chicken dinner and made plans to explore the next day.

Silver Lake Harbor, Ocracoke*

After watching church service on Sunday, we joined Simpatico in renting bikes and pedaled off to the fun-loving Howards Pub Restaurant for lunch before making our way to the beach. And what a beach it is! With over 16 miles of unspoiled Atlantic shoreline, Ocracoke offers the most beautiful and secluded beach we’ve seen along the East Coast. No wonder it was named America’s Best Beach for 2007.

Cape Hatteras Seashore

From the sun and sand, our pedal-powered machines took us back to the village for an ice cream break then on to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Built in 1823, it’s the oldest operating lighthouse on the East Coast. Though the interior was closed to tours, it was neat to see a tower that served as the warning guardian to so many ships.

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

We all continued our leisurely cruise and, from one end to the other, we covered just about every inch of the village. Along the way we stopped at the British Cemetery, where four navy men from the British Ship HMT Bedfordshire are buried and celebrated each year after their ship was sunk by a German U-Boat while on loan to the U.S. during WWII.

A must-visit if you’re in Ocracoke, Zillie’s Island Pantry is a unique wine, beer and gourmet foods and cheese shop where we stopped for pre-sundowners. Then it was back to the boats for dinner before returning to shore to enjoy some live music.

Zillie’s Island Pantry for snacktime with vino & microwbrews. NEAT place!

Monday morning we were up early for a sail north to Manteo on Roanoke Island, another hot spot in the Outer Banks and the home port of our friends Chip and Tammy of Cara Mia.

They, along with Dale and Karen of Jesse Marie were already there with plans for us to join them that evening for “The Lost Colony”, the nation’s first and longest-running outdoor drama reenacting the lives and fate of the first English colony to settle in the area.

After a long but (thankfully) easy trip up, we dropped the hook and dinghied in for a heartfelt reunion over pre-theater cocktails. Then it was off for an evening of entertainment at the historic outdoor Waterside Theatre.

Pre-theater cocktails with “Jesse Marie” & “Cara Mia”

The performance is an intense account of what was believed to have happened to The Lost Colony. It’s a story of hope and fear, of comedy and tragedy, of mystery and suspense. And it’s retold each summer on the very site where it took place.

Taking our seats for “The Lost Colony”, the nation’s longest-running outdoor drama

More than 400 years ago (1587), 117 men, women and children sailed from Plymouth, England to settle on a New World of Roanoke Island. Just three years after settling, they vanished, leaving behind no trace of their fate. From the hardships of crossing the Atlantic, to attacks from Indians and lack of supply ships from their homeland, these settlers endured and kept faith that they would survive. Though the full story will never be known, it’s believed they couldn’t sustain the colony and with less than 60 remaining, eventually moved south in search of more fertile grounds.

The following morning we moved into a slip at the Manteo Waterfront Marina and borrowed Chip and Tammy’s bikes (thanks guys!) to explore the town. In between cool off sessions in the A/C aboard Kaleo, we explored the historic waterfront, visited the maritime museum and even washed the boat.

Swallowed by the giant Adirondack chair in downtown Manteo

We wrapped up the evening with a “neighborhood” BBQ on the docks with Jesse Marie and Cara Mia. Dale grilled steaks and chicken over charcoal briquettes and we all enjoyed a feast of dishes from all three boats. Once again, thoroughly enjoying the friendships formed along these adventures.

Thanks for letting us continue to share these adventures with you. Can you think of a time when you took the road less traveled? We’d love to hear about it!

(*Photo credit:

{this moment}

Happy Wednesday! Hope your week is coming along well.

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple moment to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama’s Friday ritual.

Exploring Beaufort and Oriental, NC

On Tuesday, we untied from the dock in Carolina Beach, waved goodbye to Auntie Linda, and continued north toward Beaufort, the third oldest town in North Carolina and pronounced “BO-fert” as opposed to the “Bu-fert” of SC.

Oh the company you’ll keep sailing along the ICW

It was a two day hop that had us anchoring within the boundaries of a military base, Camp Lejune. Though the cruising guide says any boats in the area can be ordered to leave due to military maneuvers at anytime, day or night, we had an undisturbed and peaceful night’s sleep. And a bonus, we synced back up with our friends, Gregg and Jo, of Simpatico who also happened to be anchored there.

As we were pulling up anchor on Wednesday morning we met a fellow cruiser in the anchorage, David, on Cloud Messenger. His depth sounder had stopped working so he asked to follow us through some potentially tricky parts of the ICW where the channel gets shallow. Our boats draw the same amount of water (depth of the keel), so if we started getting into questionable areas we could warn him via radio and proceed slowly together. So, with Simpatico, the three of us set out for Beaufort.

Beautiful Beaufort, NC anchorage and waterfront

Captains Matt and Gregg (s/v Simpatico) catching up in the anchorage

It turned out to be an easy 45 mile (7 hour) motorsail with only one shallow enough area where we skimmed bottom. We set the hook (actually two in opposing directions because of the crowded anchorage and switching currents) then did some research on what to see in town and relaxed on board the rest of the evening.

We spent Thursday morning window shopping, exploring the waterfront and visiting the North Carolina Maritime Museum. Along with artifacts and displays on boating, fishing and lighthouses on the East Coast, the museum is the official repository for articles from Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, which ran aground near Beaufort in 1718.

Getting a taste of coastal culture and maritime history

Pirate lore galore

The ship was discovered by a commercial salvage company in 1996 near where it was reportedly run aground by Blackbeard and his crew. Many of the near 300 year old artifacts, from the ships enormous anchor to its many cannons, dinnerware and muskets have been recovered. Since it sank slowly after hitting the a shoal, Blackbeard and his men had time to ferry off all of the treasure. Along with the intriguing exhibit, we were surprised to learn the Blackbeard’s rein as a fierce pirate was only over a span of about two years. That’s a lot of heck to raise in such a short amount of time!

Boatbuilding in the Museum’s Watercraft Center

After taking in our fill of pirate lore, it was back to Kaleo to head for Oriental. We were again joined by Cloud Messenger, and other than a quick stop on anchor to keep us from sailing into a storm passing ahead, had another uneventful trip. We pulled into the free Town Dock (check out their HarborCam), secured the boat and sauntered around the unofficial sailing capital of North Carolina. Dubbed so because with only 875 residents, there are over 2500 boats.

Kaleo at the Town Dock with God’s Grace between her & the approaching storm

That evening we met up with our new sailing friend, David, and swapped Bahamas cruising stories over dinner at M&M’s Cafe.

On Friday morning, we could see a wall of rain charging our way, so we closed up Kaleo and headed across the street to “The Bean.” The local coffee shop where all the town’s news, sailing stories and such are traded over their signature drinks. We indulged in the Chai Tea Smoothie and Chai Tea Float while mingling with others seeking dry shelter while waiting out the torrential downpour.

After the sun came out, we hopped on complimentary bikes borrowed from the cruiser-friendly “Provision Company” and explored more of the town. After mining through the treasures at the boater favorite “Marine Consignment of Oriental” and a ride over the town bridge, it was back to Kaleo for a few boat chores. Afterward, Simpatico came by for a visit, David came for taco dinner and we met a neat family of four that had been out on a week-long trip aboard their trailerable sailboat.

Picking up some wheels at the Provision Company

The group wrapped up the night over margaritas and some “Bimini Ring on a String” at Oriental Marina’s Tiki Bar. From there, we headed home to get some rest and prepare for a long day of crossing the Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke, an island accessible only by boat, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Matt taking his turn at “Bimini Ring on a String”


{this moment}

Happy Wednesday! Hope your week is coming along well.

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple moment to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama’s Friday ritual.

Happy Independence Day

Today we gratefully celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Because 235 years ago a group of courageous men got together and they made a commitment, they made a declaration. These Founding Fathers were willing to risk everything for a set of ideals that still inspire the people of this nation today.

For us, those ideals have bestowed the freedom to pursue a road less traveled. One where the notion of breaking free from the status quo, living simply and exploring the world in our floating home went beyond just capturing our imaginations. It gave us the freedom to pursue a dream and to see it take life.

Today we’re reminded that this freedom came at a high price and that we’re remarkably blessed because of the sacrifices made to secure it. That in itself is worthy of a spectacular celebration.

As you reflect on your dreams, you might find inspiration in revisiting The Declaration that was drafted to give us all the freedom to pursue them.


Smitten with Sailor Bags

When it comes to toting our gear from the boat and back and everywhere in between, we’re set!

Our new Sailor Bags

The crew over at Sailor Bags generously shared an assortment of their signature bags to help outfit us along our sailing adventures. And they’ve certainly done so in style!

These bags are sturdy, fully collapsible, water resistant and guaranteed for life making them ideal for anyone active on and off the water. Being crafted from custom-woven sailcloth, they have a classic nautical appeal that keeps them in season year-round and adventurers like us organized on the go.

We first discovered their website when searching for durable, stylish and affordable bags to replace our bulky landlife luggage. While we could find durable bags out there, none seem to fit the full bill of style, value, and durability as ideally as Sailor Bags.

With Kaleo dockside while we visit family in Carolina Beach this week, we’ve been using our bags continuously to haul clothing and gear back and forth from the boat to the pool, condo, cars, and beach. They pack easily with large openings secured by sturdy zippers (like the kind on a dodger or bimini) and the tough sailcloth can handle being tossed onto the dock or sitting on the cement at the pool.

Sailor Bags are made in almost every style and size that you could want. Duffles, Totes, Cooler Bags, BackPacks, Messengers, Stow Bags and more. In case you’re curious, we have the Mini and XL Tote, Medium and XL Duffel, Messenger Bag, Wristlet, CoolerBag, and LunchBag.

Check out their site to learn more and join them on Facebook where they have fun giveaways, discounts, and other gift ideas.


The Charm of Charleston

Charleston has been a great home for the past 10 days!

Our floating home at Charleston Maritime Center

This city has captivated our hearts with its rich history, poised charm, culinary delights, and hospitable character.

The Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park

With the captain’s eye on the road to recovery, we spent a restful Wednesday getting a lay of the land by way of the dark tinted windowed and air-conditioned vintage-inspired trolley fleet (free). That evening, we made the walk from our home in the Charleston Maritime Center to enjoy a waterfront dinner at Fleet Landing (Iron Skillet Mussels, Carolina Lump Crab Cakes with all the good Lowcountry sides) while watching sailboats race in the harbor. This set our culinary tour through the city in motion. Thanks for the recco, Chip!

Watching the races off Vendue Wharf Pier

We quickly realized there was a lot of ground to cover and while downtown is walkable, we decided to rent cruiser bicycles from Affordabike (only $40/bike for the week). In addition to riding through virtually every nook and cranny of downtown Charleston, we:

Our snazzy land cruisers

  • Stepped back in time as we sauntered through the Aiken-Rhett House (c. 1818), the most intact (preserved, not restored) “townhouse” showcasing urban life in antebellum Charleston. From the original carriages in the carriage house, to the privies (outhouses) in the work yard along its avenue of magnolias, to the warming kitchen and intact slave quarters, you truly get a sense of what life was like for this family and the families that served them.

Aiken-Rhett House

Pedaling about town

  • Met our marina neighbors, Steve and Linda Daschew, world famous cruisers of Wind Horse, who now build extremely capable ocean-going cruising powerboats. The Daschews were a gracious couple who gave us a tour of their boat and shares stories of their previous adventures.

Rainbow Row along East Bay Street

  • Enjoyed a community table-style dinner at CRU Cafe (Butter lettuce salad with poached pears, walnuts, Gorgonzola and honey sherry dressing, White wine-truffled mussels and peppers, Apple-smoked bacon pork tenderloin with sweet potato gnocchi, local collard greens and smoked tomato demi)
  • Topped it off with desserts at Kaminskis, a Charleston dessert institution (glass of Cabernet with a flourless chocolate torte, Brandy Alexander milkshake made with brandy, a hint of chocolate, and three scoops vanilla bean ice cream AND a mini peanut butter/chocolate parfait)
  • Feeling a little loopy (from all the sugar) and needing to work off some of the overindulgence, we made a 6 mile midnight ride up the Cooper River Bridge to take in the city lights from the 575 foot high viewpoint
  • Meandered through the beautiful Marion Square Farmers Market on Saturday morning where we enjoyed breakfast crepes, chai tea and the abundant sights of fresh locally grown produce, handcrafted art, and the sounds of young native musicians under canopies of sweeping oaks.

Marion Square Farmers Market

  • Rode around the historic Ashley River District and met some great new friends after stopping by their neighborhood lemonade stand. Come to find out they’re a family of sailors that have just as much hospitality as Texans (if not more!). We left with a bike basket full of Confederate Mint to grow on the boat and an invite to joint them for church service and their family dinner for Father’s Day.

A fortuitous glass of lemonade

  • Took in some live music and grain-fed burgers lunch at Ted’s Butcherblock Backyard BBQ with our friends Chip and Tammy of Cara Mia and Dale and Karen of Jessie Marie
  • Wrapped up the evening with dinner and sundowners on the rooftop bar of the Vendue Inn. With spectacular views over the historic homes and out to Charleston Harbor and beyond, it was just one more reason to fall in love with this city.
  • Were treated to a lovely and memorable southern Sunday by joining Laura Wichmann Hipp (a distinguished and warmhearted Charleston native who loves and knows well the city in which she was born) and her family for church service at the remarkable St. Philip’s Episcopal Church (established in 1680) and an elegant Father’s Day lunch at their historic home overlooking the Ashley River. All while learning more about this city’s rich history and their family’s sailing legacy. What a gift they shared with us during our visit!

Note: For the discerning visitor who wants to experience true Old Charleston as a guest, not a tourist, Laura offers a comprehensive Charleston Tea Party Private Tour. She will guide up to six people through her friends’ historic homes and gardens in the morning and wraps up with an elegant home-cooked lunch of Low Country cuisine served on 19th century Cantonware at her home. See her website for her number to make your reservation for this authentic Charleston experience when you’re next in town.

  • Joined Jessie Marie in the cockpit of Cara Mia for an impromptu dinner complimented by recalling our Bahamas cruising experiences and sharing memories of our dads in honor of Father’s Day.
  • On Monday evening, at the recommendation of our fellow cruising friend Mili, we dined at Poogan’s Porch, another delicious Charleston institution (iceberg wedge salad, fried green tomatoes with pecan encrusted goat cheese and peach chutney, Sweet Tea Glazed Salmon with candied lemon & mint risotto, sautéed asparagus, fresh Pan Roasted Snapper with sauteed arugula, summer tomato & bacon risotto with a lemon avocado compound butter – ah, and their warm homemade buttermilk biscuits!)

Rocking on a traditional porch joggling board

  • Left our bikes at Poogan’s and spent the rest of the evening threading through walkways, alleys, cobblestone streets and intricate gardens

Charleston is a city filled with fountains

  • Tuesday morning, we hopped aboard a classic mule-drawn carriage courtesy of Palmetto Carriage Tours that canvassed 25 – 30 blocks of Charleston’s historic downtown district filled with gracious houses, gardens, mansions, churches and parks. The hour-long excursion was educational and entertaining and our carriage driver was both.
  • With full intentions of untying from the docks on Tuesday afternoon (wanted to wait for high tide to depart), we were pedal, pedal, pedaling our way to return our bicycle rentals when we called our favorite Austin cruising family, Honu Lele, to see where they were in the world (they had been in St. Augustine and we were hoping they were near or on their way to Charleston).
  • Turns out, they could make a quick 60 knots (er, mph) by rental car to meet us in Charleston for a couple of days soooo it was settled. We were staying!
  • We toured the town, lunched at Southend Brewery and Smokehouse, and meandered through The Battery, a landmark waterfront promenade famous for its stately antebellum homes, cannons, oak trees, palmettos, statues, a gazebo, and incredible views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse. From this stroll, it’s easy to imagine the battles that occurred across the harbor.
  • Spent Wednesday morning swimming, building sand castles and lounging at Isles of Palm beach

Ana and Matt building sandcastles

  • Lunched at the beachside Banana Cabana and explored Mount Pleasant, a suburb of Charleston just across the Cooper River
  • Hosted Honu Lele for dinner aboard Kaleo and then made our way to the Charleston Candy Kitchen for after-dinner treats.
  • Enjoyed our desserts du jour while people watching from the steps of the U.S. Customs House before winding our way through the lively streets to stop by the family-style swings on the pavilion of Charleston’s Waterfront Park.
  • Bid our “see you soons” to Honu Lele on our last night in town (for now)

We untied Kaleo’s docklines on Thursday afternoon and headed into Charleston Harbor absolutely smitten with this seaside city.

N 32° 47.18 / W 79° 53.30

7 Simple Recipes to Keep a Boat Shipshape

Who doesn’t like a clean house? Whether it be out to sea or ashore, we’ve found a few simple recipes that help us keep Kaleo shining inside from stem to stern.

Yet you won’t find Mr. Clean or Windex lurking under our galley sink.

With just a few basic items that you most likely have on hand (water, vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil), you can do almost all of your household cleaning, save money, and keep your home free of the toxins found in many store-bought cleaning products.

Here are a few recipes that will help you do most of your everyday cleaning:

General Surface Cleaner

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree oil

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and use to clean general surfaces such as counter tops, sinks and the stove. Do not rinse.

Tea tree oil is antiseptic, germicidal, antifungal, and antibacterial agent making it a very effective surface cleaner.

Mold and Mildew Eliminator

Using the same recipe as above, wipe down surfaces in high-mold or high-humidity areas. Tea tree oil is a natural fungus fighter but if you encounter large amounts of mold, or black mold, however, call a mold-removal specialist.

Head (Toilet) Cleaner

  • 50% water
  • 50% white vinegar

Mix in a small spray bottle and use for head surfaces, the toilet bowl and wiping down the gel coat shower pan. If you’re concerned about the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your mix, but know that the odor of vinegar disappears as it evaporates.

In addition, about once per month we run a pint of undiluted white vinegar into the toilet, flush once and let it sit overnight to fight the salt water deposits that build up.

Glass Cleaner

  • 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Mix the ingredients into a spray bottle for an effective glass cleaner. It also works well on the chrome faucets in the galley and head and even on the stainless steel dorades and rails on deck.

Trash Can Deodorizer

Mix the two ingredients thoroughly, ensuring all lumps are removed. Place a (fresh) piece of absorbent cloth on the bottom of the trash can and sprinkle this mixture over it. Change the pad and deodorizer every other week or so.

A few other natural deodorizers

  • Boil 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors
  • Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors in the fridge or icebox

Laundry Detergent

  • 4 cups of water
  • ⅓ bar of natural soap, grated
 (this is where the scent will come from in the detergent, so go with something you like)
  • ½ cup washing soda (not baking soda)
  • ½ cup of Borax (20 Mule Team)
  • 5-gallon bucket for mixing
  • 3 gallons of water
  • (optional) A few drops of scented oil such as tea tree or lavender which will overpower the soap (especially if you choose unscented)

First, mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until thickened. Let the mix sit for 24 hours and it’s ready to go. Use 3/4 cup per full load. You can store this in gallon jugs aboard and fill a water bottle to take to the laundromat.

Bug Trap – Not really a cleaning product but one we use when those nasty fruit flies visit.

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of dish soap

Cut the top off a small plastic cup. Add apple cider vinegar and drops of dish soap. Place on your kitchen counter and within minutes the little buggers will be swimming. Apple cider vinegar attracts the bugs and the dish soap traps them on entry.

Happy (and healthy) cleaning!

Amelia Island, FL to Charleston, SC

We departed St. Augustine on Saturday morning where our route took us up the ICW to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, the northernmost town on Florida’s east coast.

Looking out over the Fernandina Yacht Club and Harbor

With plans to head offshore from the St. Mary’s Inlet just north of Fernandina Beach the next morning, we took the rest of the day to explore the town with our friends from “Simpatico” and some of their friends (now our new friends) aboard “Magic Beans.”

Strolling the tree-lined streets, we drifted in and out of an eclectic collection of local stores, shops, galleries and boutiques. A mid-afternoon ice cream stop helped keep us cool and upon a glowing review from Don on “Magic Beans,” we stepped into Pablo’s for a little A/C, margs and Mexican dinner.

Fernandina Beach welcome center

Lots of pirates roaming Amelia Island

Full on fajitas but not ready to call it a night, the sounds of live music brought us to the garden patio of Cafe Karibo where a local band, Hofmann’s Voodoo, was staged beneath huge oak trees, singing and strumming a guitar and mandolin to a funky mix of Americana and Acoustic Blues until about 8:30. An ideal way to wrap up an early evening as we still needed to prep “Kaleo” for our 30 hour passage to Charleston the next day.

Enjoying the music of Hofmann’s Voodoo

Monday morning we checked the weather, said our radio farewell to “Simpatico” and topped off on fuel at the marina. We made 7 knots on the ebb tide (outgoing tide) leaving St. Mary’s Inlet, hoisted sails and were making great time toward Charleston, about 140 miles away.

Late afternoon, Matt went down for some rest with plans to get up around 10 p.m. Lighting woke him up a bit sooner and with the winds gusting in the low 20’s we decided to reef the main (reduce the amount of sail so as not to get over powered by strong winds). No sooner had we got in the first reef when the winds picked up above 25 knots.

With a thunderstorm behind us and ever-growing sea state, we played it safe by going to our third reef (the smallest amount of main sail out). It was a wise move as within the hour winds were blowing at 30 knots and the ocean swell was running about five to six feet. It seems our smooth offshore sailing streak had run its course as we spent the remainder of the night reefed down with following winds and seas. Though we were getting rocked and rolled, we gained the benefit of speed where at times we were surfing down the waves at 9+ knots, a new record for us.

After what seems like an incredibly long night, dawn broke with only about 30 miles to Charleston. If we kept up the evening’s pace, we could have made it in 6 hours sooner than planned. That did not happen as the winds soon shifted to 15 knots from the NE, exactly the direction we were headed (not good). So we spent the remainder of the day painstakingly tacking toward Charleston and finally arrived in the harbor at 7 p.m, 6 hours later than planned.

With darkness approaching and already 36 hours into this passage, we decided to pull into a slip at the Charleston Maritime Center where we could tie up safely and get some much-needed, solid rest.

As we crawled into bed, Matt mentioned having a lot of pain in his right eye which was pretty bloodshot. By the time morning came, he couldn’t open it and was in intolerable pain. A quick Google search led us to Access Healthcare, a quaint, modern medical center within about a mile’s walking distance of the marina. After 15 minutes with Dr. Dave, Matt was diagnosed was a corneal abrasion, a scrape on the clear surface of the eye. He walked out with an eye patch, a need for a pair of those nifty disposable sunglasses you get after dilation (which we picked up from an optometrist down the street) and a prescription for pain management. Ouch!

Captain, er Pirate-in-pain Matty

With the captain slightly out of commission, still exhausted from our abusive passage and with tons to see and do in Charleston, we’ve decided to make the Maritime Center our home for the week. We look forward to some rest, recovery and a fun week of exploring the incredibly charming Charleston.

“Kaleo” at harbor in Charleston Maritime Center

N 32° 47.39 / W 79° 55.42

Sights From St. Augustine

After a few day hops up the ICW we landed at Hidden Harbor Marina to explore the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, FL.

Historic downtown St. Augustine from the water

While we had plans to take a mooring ball ($20) at the municipal marina (anchoring is a little sketchy with the currents), a blog friend, “Captain Peppers”, turned us onto Hidden Harbor Marina. Just two miles up the San Sebastian River, the marina truly is one of St. Augustine’s best kept secrets! Secure, impeccably clean, cruiser-managed and ideally located across from the winery and a short walk to beautiful, historic downtown St. Augustine. Ah, and their rates – just $25/nt., utilities included! Bonus: There’s even a community garden where we were given fresh tomatoes and potatoes upon checking in. We can’t say enough about this place and its outstanding dockmasters, David and Hayla.

“Kaleo” resting at Hidden Harbor Marina

With Kaleo tied up we spent the past two days:

  • Hiking to West Marine for a few project parts and the grocery store to stock up on fresh foods
  • Making Chicken Tiki Masala dinner which before joining “Captain Peppers” (who lives at Hidden Harbor) for a sundowner aboard his cruising boat. We had a nice time hearing about his cruising plans and sharing some of our experiences.
  • Exploring Old Town St. Augustine, with its narrow cobblestone streets, quaint cafes (snack break at the Spanish Bakery for empanadas), unique shops, the grand Flagler College (the former Ponce de Leon Hotel of the 1890’s) and the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in America

St. Augustine City Hall

The east cannon wall of the fort

Just checkin’ things out

  • Lunching at Carmelo’s Marketplace, home to the best pizza in town and only a short walk from the marina
  • Touring San Sebastian Winery, where the vintners make several varieties of sweet wine out of the native Florida muscadine grape. The gratis tour included an extensive tasting session and all sorts of wine-related recipes and entertaining tips from our enthusiastic guide.

The winery on the San Sebastian River, across from the marina

Casks full of Port

  • Listening to Hawaiian Jazz music at a complimentary concert in the plaza with a wine smoothie – yes, a frosty wine smoothie (!) to top off the night

Concert in the Plaza

  • Checking off a few boat projects like changing the oil, topping off fuel, replacing a deck fill and housecleaning
  • Baking a stuffed artichoke to share with sundowners

Stuffing the artichoke to steam/bake

  • Driving, yes driving, to run a few errands as David let us borrow the marina truck (another perk of a cruiser-managed marina)
  • Hanging out with new friends, Gregg and Jo on “Simpatico”, who were in the Bahamas this season but we had just met while anchored in Daytona Beach. They’re a lively couple from Nebraska and we enjoyed talking all things cruising and which boats are mutual friends.

Overall, St. Augustine is a city filled with rich Spanish history and was a great way to wrap up our sail through Florida.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...