Archive for the Category »Cruising «

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.


Kaleo is For Sale

We’ve reduced the price of Kaleo for the Annapolis boat show. She is currently on the hard 15 minutes south of Annapolis and ready for showing through Annapolis Yacht Sales.

Please see the Yacht World listing or call Paul Rosen at 410-703-7367.

Kaleo under sail along the southern tip of Long Island, Bahamas

Nearly two and a half years ago we invested in a capable Aloha 34 that would take us on adventures greater than we could imagine. She has safely and comfortably carried us over 3,000 miles from Kemah, Texas along the Gulf Coast, across the Gulf Stream and throughout the Bahamas as far south as the remote Jumentos, and up the East Coast.

We had initial plans for a six month cruise and have inevitably extended it to ten. What we’ve learned, accomplished, seen and experienced leaves us in awe, inspired and eternally grateful. Kaleo has served her purpose well.

For prospective buyers, please see our “Kaleo is For Sale” page for detailed information on all of its systems, equipment lists, and photos.

Asking Price: $49,500


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.

Shark Week, The Bahamas Edition

In honor of Shark Week, we’re showcasing our experiences with some of the best Bahamas’ shark spots.

Feeding a nurse shark in Compass Cay

From friendly to fiercesome, you can find a range of species making their home among the 700+ Bahamian islands and cays. We’ll give you a glimpse of our experiences with them at Compass Cay, Conception Island, and in the Jumentos.

Compass Cay

The best place to get up close and personal with dozens of relatively harmless nurse sharks is located 65 miles southeast of Nassau. Compass Cay is home to a large population of these bottom feeders who prefer crustaceans, stingray and the steady flow of marina scraps over humans for snacks. Toss out a few pieces of stale bread from your boat and they’ll be swarming around in no time. You can pet them, take pictures, and even join them in the water if you’re feeling adventurous. Their skin feels like wet leather and even though they’re benign, their beady eyes and slithering motion still make them seem ALL SHARK.

Nurse sharks at Compass Cay

Up close and personal

You can read more about our time at Compass Cay here.

Conception Island

Only accessible by boat or seaplane and mostly surrounded by a maze of coral reef, Conception Island offers unparalleled snorkeling and fish spotting. Which, also means unparalleled amounts of shark food. This “out island” is surrounded by deep Atlantic waters (as opposed to the more shallow sandbanks of the Exumas) that run right up to the shore of the island, which provides an attractive habitat for the sharks.

It was among these reefs that Christie set a new speed swimming record when she spotted a shark less than 50 feet away. A blacktip reef shark, about four feet long, was hovering near a reef as she rounded the corner and locked eyes with it. Most likely the shark was searching for small easy-to-snag reef fish (not a skittish swimmer) so we respectfully changed our direction and continued taking in the majestic underwater show.

Snorkeling the reef at Conception Island

For more about our time at Conception Island, click here.

The Jumentos

The Jumentos are the southernmost islands of the Bahamas. They’re pure wilderness with only a few small settlements that are home to the hardiest of islanders who share their waters with the largest and fiercest of Bahamian sharks.

Down there, you’ll likely spot large hammerheads, bull sharks, black tips, tigers and nurse sharks in abundance. And often times they’re swimming right by your anchored boat as the sharks are lured into the shallow waters by all the fish scraps tossed overboard from the plethora of fisherman in the area.

While there, we spotted a hammerhead behind Kaleo and swam with a few aggressive reef sharks who wanted the fish Matt had speared. He graciously obliged their demand and swam away from his catch (i.e.; their snack). If you’re ever that far south, be sure to keep your eyes peeled while in the water as you’re sure to be sharing your playground.

Well hello there!

Our trip to the Jumentos can be found here.

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:

Our 7 Links – Into the Archives

We’re delighted to have been nominated by Matt over at Life’s A Journey to participate in the Tripbase, “7 Links Blogger Challenge“. This project is sweeping the social media scene and is a way to shed light on a handful of archived posts and to show some love to fellow travel bloggers.

We are honored to be the first cruisers that have been selected to participate and are excited to pass the torch on to five others (cruisers of course) in hopes of spreading the word about this interesting project among the cruising and sailing communities.

With the challenge’s criteria to guide us, we reflected on the 200+ posts we’ve written here over the past two and a half years to compile the following.

MOST BEAUTIFUL – Harbour Island, The Nantucket of the Caribbean

This was probably the hardest category to narrow down. We’re blessed to have sailed to so many jaw-droppingly beautiful places along our travels. If we have to pick just ONE place then it would be Harbor Island off of Eleuthera. Only accessible by boat (and having to cross through the Devil’s Backbone to reach it), this settlement is truly beautiful in every sense of the word with the open Atlantic crashing over pink sand beaches, tree shaded lanes winding through historic English architecture and a sense that everyone on the island had the same mindset – to enjoy it. Read the post …


Many readers have asked what it’s really like living on a sailboat. They’re specifically curious to know how we can thrive each day in an indoor living space no larger than most people’s bedroom. The best way to describe it was to open the front door and invite them in. Our home is mobile, efficient, and sufficient. And that’s the beauty of it. Despite being the size of a walk-in closet and in some form of constant motion, it doesn’t feel confining. Rather, we wake up to a new playground each day and have a pretty snazzy pool. We welcome you to take the tour. Read the post …


We knew as soon as we pressed “Publish” on this post, we were in for some startled responses. While we are offering Kaleo for sale, it’s because she is a vessel built for cruising the ocean and at least for a while, we are returning to adventures ashore. She served her purpose admirably and we look forward to to seeing where she will take her new crew. But for the record, we are by no means finished with sailing or the cruising lifestyle. Read the post …

MOST HELPFUL POST – Kaleo Has Been Newly Salted

This post, written as part of the Interview with a Cruiser project, compiled some of the most common questions from aspiring cruisers and our answers to them. This interview, along with the many others who have participated in IWOC, are building a knowledge bank that aims to better prepare those dreaming of and/or planning to toss the docklines. Read the post …

MOST SURPRISING SUCCESS – The Charm of Charleston

When looking at our traffic stats, we were surprised that our top destination post was not the exotic locale of a remote tropical island. Rather, it seems like readers were lured by good old lowcountry livin’. We couldn’t agree with them more as the charm of Charleston captivated our hearts and had us staying much longer than planned and leaving sooner than we would have liked. This post was even featured on the Southend Brewery & Smokehouse’s blog, a local restaurant where we dined one evening. Read the post …

DESERVED MORE ATTENTION – A Big 0, Means We’re One Step Closer

This post probably didn’t get a lot of attention because it’s not about sailing, cruising, travel or adventure. But for us, without the step of becoming debt free and having an aggressive savings plan, none of the other posts would have been possible. When people ask how we were able to step away from our careers to sail about the world for awhile, we suggest they start here. Read the post …

MOST PROUD OF – Yoga and Kids’ Church

Kids have a big place in our heart. And it’s important to us to give back to the communities we visit along our travels. So, one of the many ways we have connected with islanders was by volunteering as tutors at their schools and teaching kids’ church in the community. With Bahamian churches, we also  shared resources from our home church that support children’s Christian growth. Read the post …


The final piece of the project is to nominate five other travel bloggers to take part. Here are my 5 nominations:

 To the bloggers selected above, the rules for participating in the 7 Links Project can be found here. Be sure to nominate someone who has not already been nominated. You can check the current list of nominations here.


{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”


Visiting Family in Carolina Beach

We had a wonderful week+ stay at the “Ritz Carlson!” On Saturday, Kaleo glided into a guest slip at Auntie Linda’s condo on Carolina Beach where we would spend the next nine days lounging, learning lots of new ways to slay sea creatures (thanks Jim!), and soaking up treasured time with the family.

It was an action-packed visit culminating in a festive 4th of July celebration. We were well taken care of by auntie and cousins as we:

  • Learned the art of scratch’n for clams! Despite the pouring rain, it was well worth hearing the distinct “clink” of clam shells against the rake tine and filling a bucket with a healthy haul of over 100. We picked out the best, tossed some back to mature, shared with neighbors and cooked up the rest for a delish dinner. (Jim and Sarah sautéed them in a white wine, fresh basil, diced tomato, and minced garlic sauce!)

Our first clamming excursion. (channeling American Gothic)

Scratch’n for clams in the rain


  • Toured the Carolina Beach area with Auntie Linda as our guide. From Carolina Beach’s basin, pier and boardwalk, down through Kure Beach, and into Fort Fisher State Park, we loved spending time on this beautiful island that is uniquely situated between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Matty and Auntie Linda strolling around Fort Fisher

  • Spent a few hours dockside each day fishing for flounder. By mid-week it became a full-on family derby vying for the top spot on the leaderboard. While Matt reeled in two, they weren’t large enough to legally keep and by the time we left there were no other contenders.

Flounder derby catch

  • Lounged in and by the pool chatting with all the neighbors and keeping cool in the warm Carolina sun

Auntie Linda’s pool overlooking the ICW

  • Took a roadtrip to explore Raleigh/Durham. It’s a fun set of cities where we met up with a friend for lunch, stocked up on treasures from Trader Joe’s, and enjoyed a sushi dinner downtown before returning to the slower pace of beach life.
  • Walked to the Carolina Beach boardwalk on Wednesday morning and indulged in a renowned Britt’s Donut. Okay, two. Each. Voted the second best hometown donut in the nation, this local shop lived up to the hype.

Beach breakfast at Britt’s

  • Stopped into Taste of Olive, a unique experiential shop offering fresh cold pressed olive oils and balsamic vinegars where we tasted dozens of flavors ranging from Cinnamon Pear and Luscious Lavender to Outrageous Oregano and Boldly Butter.

Inside The Taste of Olive

  • Spent an evening with cousins Steve and Edie where we BBQed dinner, toured their neighborhood by golf cart, and caught up on everyone’s adventures.
  • Headed out on a spearfishing expedition but the ocean was too rough to make the journey. En route we took a wave over the bow of Jim’s boat which inadvertently inflating our offshore life jackets. Turns out they function properly and were up and ready to save us in no time.

They work!

  • Wrapped up our stay with a 4th of July neighborhood pig roast (Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, and Carolina BBQ styles) with every side imaginable, fishing, swimming and watching the fireworks from the water.

Happy Independence Day!

Thanks Auntie Linda for opening your home to us and Jim and Sarah for all the fishing and cooking lessons. We loved getting to spend time with you guys and the visit is one of the highlights of our trip.

N 34° 20.70  / W  77° 53. 37

{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.


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

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