Tuesday, June 26

Virginia Beach

It has been a relaxing day here in Virginia Beach, anchored on Lake Wesley, while we wait for our weather window to open again.  The temperature was a cool 68 this morning with wind blowing from the north.  Craig and Dan got the dinghy motor cleaned up and working again.  Yesterday we ended up rowing our dinghy back to the boat because there was water in the fuel.  Row, row, row your boat.  Not!  Craig had to come rescue us in the kayak.  It didn't help that we had little helpers named Kate and Olivia.
Today I took the girls around the corner to the beach to play in the waves.  We had quite a bit of drama when the waves were breaking over the back of the dinghy and flooding the boat, as we approached the beach.  A nice man helped drag it up the beach.  All the while I was wondering how in the heck we would manage to get it back in the water!  It's funny now to think back on the debockle we had getting it back in the water, complete with me up to my waist in the water (no swimsuit, mind you).
We are planning to leave tomorrow morning for the last leg of this passage, with the final stop in Rhode Island.  We'll be in touch soon.

Virginia Beach

Olivia and Kate enjoying the kayak

Playing in the ocean!

Another Detour

We decided to leave Charleston without fixing our autopilot because we had a good weather window to get around Cape Hatteras (notourisly dangerous in bad weather).  We left Charleston Friday afternoon under a crystal clear, blue-sky.  The harbor was dotted with sailboats and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge in the background.   We sailed passed Fort Sumter and 2 tugboats pulling barges.  The winds were mild and all was good.  No one threw up on this leg, although I came close once.  We sailed for 3 nights and arrived in Virginia Beach on Monday afternoon.  We ducked into Wesley Lake (just off the ocean) to wait for the cold front to move through.  In the afternoon, just after we fueled up and put water in the tanks, a nasty thunderstorm barreled down on us.  We decided to stay at the dock until it passed.  We were really glad we did, as this squall brought very strong winds (sustained 34 knots registered by our wind vane), lightning and heavy rain!  The wind whipped our full enclosure from its snaps (we’ll have to repair that!).  Since we were still at the dock, we took full advantage of the city water supply and took much needed showers!  We anchored the boat, ate soup complete with focaccia bread from the St Augustine farmers market for dinner and hit the sack early.
The winds are blowing out of the north today (Tuesday June 26) just as predicted and it's much cooler.  Offshore (in our path) the winds are 20-30 knots with 7-11 foot seas.  We are going to sit tight here in our protected lake until the winds change and head out in the morning.  It should take us 2 ½ days to get to Rhode Island from here (Friday).
 Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

 Fort Sumter

 Riding on the bow in the harbor

Tug Boat pulling a barge

Thursday, June 21

A small interruption

They say that your first passage, something inevitably goes wrong.  Well for us it was 2 things.  We had to make a detour to Charleston, South Carolina.  We arrived at 3:30 am this morning.
We left St. Augustine fuel dock and passed under the Bridge of Lions at 4:30 pm Tuesday June 19th.  We headed out to sea to find the Gulf Stream.  About 20 miles off shore, we were headed north to Rhode Island.  Yeah!  The seas were rough and the winds were about 15-20 knots.  We were better prepared this time by taking our sea sickness medicine ahead of time.  The winds were from the North East, which wasn't perfect, but we knew they would be changing by morning to a more favorable direction.
The first item to go was the autopilot.  It shut itself off around 11 pm, sounding an alarm.  Autopilot is like cruise control in your car.  It drives the boat for you, on the course you set to your destination.  It is truly a wonderful electronic to have on board.  And when it doesn't work, that means you have to steer the boat 100% of the time.  This is hard to do for 6 days straight, 24/7!
Then at about 2:30 in the morning, the outhaul snapped in half.  The outhaul is the line that keeps the main sail tight in the boom.  This was  a brand new line we had made before we left.  Seems the guy from the store sold Craig the wrong line. The learning curve is sometimes pretty steep!
So, here we are in beautiful Charleston fixing the boat.  We called a rigger (line specialist) to make us a new outhaul with the correct type of line.  We are waiting for the autopilot repair guy to come out and take a look to see what's wrong.  In the meantime, we gave the boat a bath, Craig fixed our steaming light and also repaired the wind vane at the top of the mast.  We'll let you know when we are ready to head out again.

Guess where Craig is taking this picture from?

Sunday, June 17

Timing is everything

I don't have enough time in the day to get all the postings I wanted to get written and get ready to leave on our first ever long passage.  So, instead, I will give you the low down of what is going to happen and then I will play catch up later.  So it might seem like we are going forward and then backwards again.  I tried to post Maggie's video tonight but it said it was blocked for some reason.  Stay tuned for that....

This past week has been another whirlwind of activity.  Instead of packing, we are happily unpacking.  It's like being in a new house, only smaller, waaay smaller.  It's like going back to your first apartment but with a husband, 3 kids and all their 'stuff'.  But I am not complaining.  It was a beautiful sunny, warm - not too hot, kind of day today.  Every other day has been interrupted with a huge thunderstorm and was sticky humid and hot.  Again, I am not complaining.  There has been a plethora of things happening to the boat - either by us or by the St. Augustine Marine Center.  It's hard work getting a boat ready for a life at sea.  There are lots of new systems to get up and running - like the all important wifi connection! 

Our captain, Dan, is arriving tomorrow and we are planning to leave on Tuesday.  This is, of course, if the wind cooperates and changes to anything without the letter "N" (which means winds out of the north).  If we can't start our passage, we could go up the ICW (inter-coastal waterway) until the weather window is just perfect.  Say a prayer, cross your fingers, stand on your head....whatever it takes so we can be freed from the dock.

Saturday, June 16

At Last

Let's see, where to begin?  It's been a long time since the last posting and I truly apologize.  Without further ado, let's begin from the start, or the last posting, to get you up to speed.
On our boat, at last!

To our devoted followers, our occasional followers, our random followers and everyone in between.  Our adventure has begun!  WooHoo.  It’s hard to believe that nearly 12 months ago we decided to take the leap.  We could not have done it without the support and encouragement of our family and friends, even though some of you thought we were a little nuts at first.  Cheers to you for helping us get here because without you, we’d still be stuck in Dallas!

We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends that are our family away from home.  Maggie and Kate both had going away parties hosted by their friends.  Kate's was a surprise to boot!  Craig and I also had our own amazing Bon Voyage party hosted by our wonderful friends.  It was a glorious Caribbean affair, pool side that lasted (for some of us) until 3 am!  Thank you!!

 I won’t dwell on the negative, horrible, grinding facets of getting here.  Except I will say that despite having 3 garage sales, giving stuff away and putting items out by the street with signs that say “free”, we have a LOT of stuff.  Where did it all come from?  I do hope we come home and realize we don’t need it and can get rid of more!!!   We did fit a lot in the attic and had room to spare in the storage unit.  Phew!  This, of course, would not be complete without some sort of mishap, or two.  The electricity went out on the third floor 2 days before Craig was leaving and Maggie's ankle swelled up and started hurting again (hence the boot in the pictures) at the same time.  We scrambled to get an electrician to fix things and raced up to the storage unit to find the box that had Maggie's boot. 

Road Trip!
At the airport, ready to take off

Craig and Maggie's road trip to Florida was delayed by a day because we just unequivocally ran out of time.  That and we realized we were not spring chickens and didn’t want (or need) to pull an all nighter to get things done.  The movers were delayed, which conflicted with the carpet cleaners and the car still needed to be packed.  It was downright chaos down to the wire.  In the end, everything got done and the car was locked and loaded.  To say that the car was packed, would be a gross understatement!  Is it illegal to drive that way? 

Don't let me forget the army of people that took over the care of our children while we were in a packing frenzy.  To all those who took the girls unselfishly, a HUGE thank you.  At one point, I was telling someone that I felt bad for my kids that I hadn't spent any time with them and had to stop mid-sentence and say, who am I kidding, they are having a blast.  It's like summer camp, only better! 
Olivia, Lydia & Kate 
So here we are, in Florida, on the boat, in the water, at the dock, waiting for the many boat projects to be completed and the "weather window" of opportunity to come-a-knockin'.

P.S.  I am having serious wi-fi issues and can't seem to get my pictures to load up in a timely fashion.  It's on the 'list' to get it up and going, but it is not a priority at the moment.  Sorry.  I will add the pictures a little later.