Unplanned Visit To Charleston

img_5031.jpg The majority of the people we meet in our travels spend most of their time in "The Ditch", the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), an inside route along the coast stretching from Texas to Massachusetts. The ICW allows you to avoid the frequently rough weather on "the outside" ocean while working your way along the East coast in a boat. Jamie and I have instead preferred to go outside, practicing our sailing and navigation in preparation for future plans, and getting farther faster thanks to overnight trips, rather than motoring along on the inside watching markers and avoiding shallows. img_5037.jpg We got our first taste of the ICW yesterday while motoring from Port Royal Landing Marine out through St. Helena Sound. There's certainly much more scenery, which was an enjoyable change, but it also meant considerably more boat traffic, waiting on bridges, and constantly paying attention to avoid shallows. The entire way we debated whether or not we should just stay inside all the way to Charleston, but finally decided that 50 miles in one day wasn't enough so we headed out into the four to six foot swells.

Exploring the Eastern Seaboard

img_4659.jpg Life on the sailboat seems to move at a difference pace than life on shore. Days often feel like weeks, and now as I try to remember details from the past month I have to wonder if some of this happened a lifetime ago. img_4702.jpg Sailing through the night on the open sea, rocking in the endless ocean swell under the moon and stars is a different perspective on life, offering plenty of time for reflection and introspection.

Bittersweet Farewell to Boot Key Harbor

We always love to get back to sailing after being stuck somewhere for a while. However, this time we left our last port with some sadness. Marathon was the perfect environment for making new friends with all of Boot Key Harbor's scheduled events and steady boat traffic. Friends.jpgIt was almost guaranteed that we leave behind some connections, but we never imagined we would meet such great people.


Key West was fun, but it is always a bit of a relief to get the wind in the sails again. We had payed for the mooring field through April 20th and we were determined not to stay a day later. leavingKW2.jpg

Life at the Key West Mooring Field

brightwork2.jpg As you all know by now, Jeremy and I have been living on a mooring ball in the only mooring field in Key West. The field is located around Fleming Key, which is not as near to the fun part of Key West as the marinas. Our experiences here are a mix of good, bad and mundane. Sometimes Jeremy will work all day and I will fill my days cleaning, cooking, and working on projects. Sometimes life is chocked full of meeting new people and trying new things. Regardless, it is always a learning experience.

Boca Grande Key

img_4496.jpg Our month in Key West is almost over, and we're preparing for our trip north. The past few weeks we've gotten out sailing regularly, practicing and gaining confidence with many of the skills that we'll need as we work our way up the coast. Along these lines, we recently made our first overnight sailing trip, heading over to Boca Grande Key and setting our anchor for a change instead of sleeping peacefully attached to a mooring ball. It proved to be a great weekend and a good experience for us.

Free, Open Source Chart Plotter

overview.png After visiting with some fellow cruisers bound for Australia, I got curious to research some free NOAA charts they were telling me about online. Sure enough, within a few seconds I was able to dig up a link to both Raster Navigational Charts and Electronic Navigational Charts. I downloaded a few samples, then started searching for software to allow me to use them. Within an hour, I had downloaded hundreds of charts and was playing with OpenCPN, feeling the excitement of browsing thousands of dollars in NOAA charts that I had freely and legally downloaded off the Internet.

Wet Kitty

The latest adventure in Quixote the boat cat's life involved a little swim. One night a couple days ago Jeremy decided to work in the cockpit for a change. This turned out to be very fortunate for our mischievous furball.

Captain Ron

Most of you know that we have jokingly referred to our former 3rd party, Bill as Captain Ron. Bill came to Florida in hopes of joining us on an amazing sailing trip to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, I think he got more than he bargained for. Most of his vacation did indeed resemble a bad comedy. It started with 2 inexperienced sailors plus a boat in disrepair and ended with high northern winds ruining our chance of crossing the gulf stream. Bill did indeed live up to the nickname as he battled the worst that Murphy's law can dish out and we even had fun every once in while.:)

Any Way The Wind Blows

DSC00890.JPG We're still finding the rhythm of our new mobile life aboard the Miramar. We left Sarasota bound for the Bahamas, and yet a week later here we are still in Key West, floating in a bay on the northern side of the island, hanging from a mooring ball. When the time came that we had planned to cross the gulf stream, a front slowly crossed bringing strengthening winds from the north. As the gulf stream flows to the north, we have been told that when winds come out of the north they collide with the strong current and build up some impressively large and treacherous waves. So we wait and practice our skills here in Key West, getting out as often as we can, getting better at sailing and docking and anchoring and maintaining our boat.