Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 8 : Jacksonville, FL

Cargo Ship Under Guard

Leg 1 : Day 8 (23MAR11)

Big Boy Day

Today we made our way to Ortega Yacht Club Marina..... in Jacksonville, FL! Leg 1 is complete!

The journey was another serious learning curve as we faced new obstacles and challenges.

First big hurdle was communicating with bridge operators (called tenders) to open up to let us pass.

Bridge Closed at Sisters Creek
"Sisters Creek Bridge, Sisters Creek Bridge, Sisters Creek Bridge this is Sailing Vessel Ariel, Ariel, Ariel over" I confidently hailed.

And through the magic of radio, there was a guy on the other end!  We were polite and respectiful, and had zero attitude from the bridge tender.  We had been lead to believe that we could face attitude.

The operator told me to make my way towards the bridge and he would open it.  Taking a deep gulp of air, I plowed forward at 5 knots.  The bridge wasn't going up yet, I just trusted that it would all work.
WOW! It is actually opening on MY request!

As we approached, magically the bridge started to go up.  Am I aligned? Am I centered?
Moment of truth, going through

We made it through!

Once through the bridge, we made our way towards Jacksonville and entered a manatee zone.  Sure enough, we spotted manatees!

Then we went into tug and working boat land. At one point, we had a big tug on our front and each side! Holy Shit! It was intimidating to say the least.  They are big, powerful, noisy, and rough beasts.

Once through the working boat area, we passed the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium.

The glory of going down the waterway through a city was finally ours, with big buildings on either side.

Then we saw it, a big bridge with only 38 feet of clearance! This was the main street bridge, the blue bridge.

The Main Street Bridge is closed! How do we get through?

Do we actually ask the main street bridge to open up?

We did a pass looking things over, and decided that after 4 hours, big tugs, cargo ships, and manatees, what the hell.

"Main street bridge, Main street bridge, Main street bridge, this is Sailing Vessel Ariel, Ariel, Ariel over."

After a few particulars, the bridge actually started to open up and all the traffic began to back up.
Main Street Bridge Going Up!

Yes, we were those folks.... those folks whom stop the traffic to let our boat through. :)

Racing under at 5 knots, we then found we were hemmed in!  There was a 5 foot rail road bridge.  Were we to ask for this rail road bridge to open up separately? Oh shit.
Crap! A train has hemmed us in.

Ding! Ding! Ding!  And the low rumble of a train could be heard.  At the moment we had decided to traverse the bridge, a damn train was making its way.

Boxed in, we motored slowly around in front of Jacksonville Landing, between the now closed Main street bridge and the closed train bridge providing a major part of the ambiance.
Train has passed and now the bridge is going up.

The train passed after what seemed like an hour (it was 20 minutes), and the bridge went up!

We were on our way to the marina, to meet Paul ... the dockmaster.  A totally cool guy whom helped us all the way in.

One last bridge to get down to the marina, the Ortega river bridge.  Damn, this one was more narrow than my car, the tide was going out, and the wind was blowing us sideways.

The final bridge, the Ortega River Bridge.
We made it through and docked just fine! We can't thank Paul enough for the help to get in.

Leg 1, Savannah GA to Jacksonville FL complete.  Time to provision, rest, repair, and enjoy Jacksonville Florida for a few days.


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 7 : Submarines

Kings Bay Navel Submarine Base

One of many patrols to pass us

Leg 1 : Day 7 (22MAR11)

Today was a long day, covering 37 miles in 7 hours.

The most fascinating part was transiting the Kings Bay Navel center, the home of 6 Trident Nuclear submarines.  The area is heavily patrolled and
Our navigation system showing Kings Bay as a security zone.
monitored.  We listened as lots of pleasure craft were hailed by the Navy and Coast Guard folks.  We were never called, and I'd like to think this was because my obvious good captaining (and following every channel rule, no erratic course adjustments, and slow speed).

We also crossed a number of commercial traffic lanes, a first for us. Watching the ferry go back and forth, plus seeing tugs go back and forth was really cool.  We also saw some awesome looking dredgers, with 4 smoke stacks. We were a part of the water way show today, and it felt good.

Great Lakes Dredge And Rock Company Dredging Vessel

As the hours drew long, we decided to find an anchorage just off the ICW, marker 55.  The little place we tucked ourselves into is very very shallow. We are totally taking advantage of our 18 inch draft tonight!  In the water we can hear all sorts of creatures..... ones we've not heard before. They sound like underwater wood peckers. I sure hope they don't eat through the hull.

Tomorrow our plan is to make landfall in Jacksonville Florida.


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 6 : Land Ho!

Todays workout - see Ariel waaaay back there?

Leg 1 : Day 6 (21MAR11)

Today was a land excursion day, the first day the family has touched
land in 6 days.  Everyone was excited about going to Cumberland island
and exploring.  The plan was for me to take them over in the dinghy
and then for me to return to the boat and wait until 1pm.  At that
time, I was to return to the drop off point and pick them up.
Everything went to plan!

When I dropped off the family, we were near the camp site of those sea
kayakers .... they had stayed the night.  On the way back to the boat,
I decided to bring the dinghy back gondola style.  Standing up like I
was riding a surf board, I took the long oar and slowly worked from
side to side propelling the dinghy and myself half way back to the
boat.  Then I elected to start up the dinghy's engine and enjoy fossil
fuels.  Rendezvousing back with Ariel was nearly perfect.  I had come
up behind Ariel (going into the current) and the dinghy engine cut off
as planned.... I glided to within 3 inches of the grab point!  I just
KJ and her field journal
missed, so as I floated back away, I started the engine back up and made another pass.  Perfect amount of throttle this time as I just drifted into reach of the boat's boarding ladder.

After the girls returned to the boat, I got the run down of the days adventure. I had asked KJ to draw pictures for me of the things she saw.  These were to be drawn in her field book.  I required 1 animal,
1 flower, and 1 building.  From KJ's pictures and her description, my job was to guess, for example, what animal she elected to chronicle.
Working water pump on Cumberland Island
My guess was wrong today, but it was a lot of fun. KJ had highlighted an Armadillo.  I was surprised to learn that those little buggers have made their way onto this island! I remember them making their way
across Texas, but how did they get here?  There are no bridges to this place.  Anyway, today was a good adventure day.


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 5 : By the Numbers

Is the bridge high enough?

Leg 1 : Day 5 (20MAR11)

26.2 miles covered (a marathon!)
2 bridges
1 catamaran
3 islands
2 sounds
1 horse
7 sea kayakers
12 dolphins
83 pelicans
171 seagulls

It was listed as 65 feet!

On the way over, we crossed under 2 bridges. That was a first for us.
The bridges listed their clearance as 65 feet, and our above water
mast height is 45 feet.  Regardless, it was still one of those pucker
moments as we went under.  Talk about a potential disaster!

Cumberland Island is one of those islands with horses roaming free. We
were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of one of the horses grazing
near the banks.  Quite a treat.
On the look out for horses on Cumberland Island

Tonight we are anchoring up behind Cumberland Island.  The Atlantic is
just on the other side and we can hear its low rumble.  The moon is
full and providing an amazing dark orange glow.

After anchoring for the day, at around 4pm, 7 sea kayaks, with their
pilots in them, slowly paddled by.  I nearly offered them a drink, but
they were doing their own thing.  They pulled their kayaks up on shore
and are spending the night.  Pretty cool for them!

Tomorrow the plan is to stay put for the day and rest.  We need to do
some more schooling with KJ, plus we want to go explore the island

Breakfast was, you guessed it, oatmeal! :) Plus Frosted Flakes.  Lunch
was Asian pasta (e.g. ramien noodles). Dinner was burritos.


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 4 : Sailing in my underwear

Leg 1 : Day 4 (19MAR11)

After pulling anchor, we headed out of Tom Sawyer land further down
south.  We had to make it through Little Mud River during high tide,
otherwise the depth would have made it possible for us to run aground
(even in our catamaran).

During the transit through Little Mud River, we experienced our first
Ship to Ship hail.  Someone heading northbound asked if we had a
reflector at the top of our mast, or perhaps did we leave the anchor
light on.  A quick check of our circuit panel showed that the anchor
light was off, so we suggested it was just the angle of the light.
This back and forth helped assure us that our radio system works as it

Our intent today was to make it to Altahama river to anchor for the
night, a nice 16 mile boating day (just on the other side of
Buttermilk Sound).  However, we had made such good time through that
we elected to keep going and make it down to Fort Frederica, on the
North end of Saint Simon's island.

At ICW Mile Marker 666, flashing green 229 shows up indicating our
river to the fort.  We went port, around the sand bar, and made it
into the river.  We wound our way back near the fort and anchored up
around 1pm.  The river is muddy making anchoring really nice and easy.
 The current was running pretty strong when we set up.

There are lots of homes along this water way, some are incredible.
Along with homes, of course, come the other boats and we've been
buzzed by many of them.

The big meal today was burritos.  They were fantastic.

I wanted to wear shorts today, but the "clean" shorts are packed way
deep so into underwear mode I went.  I boated for about 2.5 miles
wearing wonderful black underwear.  Very liberating for sure.... and
there really isn't much difference between underwear and shorts other
than how we choose to label it.   As the Coast Guard patrol boat went
by, I was sure my underwearniss was completely obvious as we all waved
as we passed.  Lots of smiles, and looks of awe, from the coast guard
folks. ;)


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 3 : Tom Sawyer

Leg 1 : Day 3 (18MAR11)

Anchor up at 8:30 without a hitch and off we went down the
Intercoastal Waterway, a water highway that runs from Virginia down to
the Florida Keys and over to New Orleans.

We wove our way down and around numerous marshes, wrecks, and shoals.
At many points it felt like we were on a Tom Sawyer type raft
exploring the little rivers off the mighty Mississippi.

We poked along at around 4.7 knots, covering maybe 5 miles every hour.  The nice
leisurely pace allowed everyone to enjoy the scenery.  There was no
rough water to speak of, and blue skies all day long.  We past a few
boats going the other way, headed North.

At the end of the day, we made our destination of New Kettle Creek.  The
anchor set nicely in the mud, in about 10 feet of water (at low tide).
 We all sat on the deck of the boat and admired the beautiful day.

For showers tonight, we decided to do them on deck at the front of the
boat (rather than in the head).  Each kid went into a bucket and got a
nice refreshing outdoor shower out in the middle of nowhere. Dad did too. :)

Tonight for dinner we are having ham, beans, and macaroni and cheese.
Lunch was hot dogs, and breakfast was Frosted Flakes and Oatmeal
(maple and brown sugar).  Snacks today included an orange, mixed nuts,
and some Pringles chips.


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 2 : Rest, Rest, Rest

Dinghy Ride

Leg 1 : Day 2 (17MAR11):

Breakfast: Maple and brown sugar oatmeal + bananas
Lunch: Salami + baby swiss cheese sandwiches, Pringles Chips, and pickles
Dinner: Mashed potatoes topped with chili and cheese
Treats: M&Ms
Snacks: Oranges, Apple Jacks cereal

We stayed anchored off of St. Catherines Island on Walburg Creek.

KJ and I exercised on the deck, and the whole family spent a lot of
time on deck watching dolphins swimming by and watching and listening
to bird calls.

Thanks to its special climate, the he island is used by the New York Zoological society to breed colonies of rare and endangered animals like gazells, parrots, and Madagascar turtles although we never saw any of them.

We took the dinghy out for a ride, testing the engine repairs Val and
her dad made. PERFECT!

Todays most over used daddy refrain: "Girls, clean up your room!"

Tonight's sunset was gorgeous.


Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL : Day 1 : Bump, Pee, Puke

Day 1(16MAR11):

This day isn't at all what we wanted in our first day.  

It all started with the cast off .... it was horrendous! The tide we wanted to
ride out pushed us so hard that we almost side swiped another boat. 
As we went sliding toward the other boat I yelled, "Oh shit Val we are
going to hit her!" and I, like a jackass, went over to try to stop the
collision with my arms.  The result was that my shoulder popped out.

Pushing the arm back in, Val and I did some quick maneuvers with the throttle and we were able to get out of the situation.  No damage to any other boats, but in the process of pushing off we bent 2 of our side stantions, and the base of one stations
fiberglass backing cracked.  

We were not going to stop now, it was time to lick our wounds and go.
As we motored out of Wassaw sound, we were making a good clip thanks
to the tide.  Before we knew it, we were at the mouth of the sound
ready to face the big pond.

Sails up and it is time to motor-sail out.

"IT'S NOT PEEING!" Val yelled out.  Looking down, I could see that our
main engines cooling mechanism wasn't working. Oh shit.  This was the
damn thing we had fixed back in port.  Was this another sign to turn
back?  If the engine doesn't cool, it will lock up leaving us
engineless.  Sure we have sails, but in and out of small confined
areas, an engine sure is handy ... especially if there is no wind.

We had to do a serious gut check... multiple options were thrown out
then Val went down to the engine and pushed a rod up the pee hole.
Some water started to trickle out .... that was good, that would help
the engine cool some.  BUZZZ! The engine temperature alarm went off.
We were hitting critical, Val kept shoving the rod up that hole.
Trickle trickle ... up went the sails to try to help us move forward
so we could get out of the main channel.  Trickle trickle.  In what
seemed like 30 minutes of BUZZZ on BUZZZ off, trickle trickle, and
trying to catch wind, Val's voice trumped, "SHES PEEING LIKE A RACE

"Let's push on" I declared.

We aimed Ariel and got out of the 3 mile ring buoy and the channel, and we

shut off the engine ... sails fully deployed.

After a few hours of motor sailing, we elected to go back to just engine mode.
We could see that we were not getting enough South bound direction to
make it to St. Catherines, which was today's goal. The wind was coming
directly from the South.

We fired the engine back up and the pee flowed like Niagra Falls.

"Ughhhhhhh mmmugahhhlyaahhhh", "MOMMY!" out came a deep shrill cry...
I looked in and saw Val looking up at me... Dy got sea sick and shared
her breakfast all over herself and Val's clothes.

Val cleaned up Dy and everyone sat in the cockpit.  We rode South and
listened to the radio chatter.  We heard someone calling for Sea Tow
asking for help because they had grounded their Catamaran (42 footer)
on "Ossawaw" sound.  Val and I looked at each other ... ugh.

Continuing South, we pushed on...

Plotting as we went, we approached the 6 hour mark, a full 2 hours
past when we had planed on making to St. Catherines Island.  We still
had about another hour to go.  Both girls were asleep in the cockpit.

Finally we made it to St. Catherines sound.  We watched diligently for
the green can number 9 to help guide us in.  The can was gone! As we
approached where it should have been, we could see that someone had
hit it and knocked it off.  Dangerous as the rest of the can's
apparatus was still there, just submerged.

Turning in, we made our way back behind St. Catherines, found another
boat anchored, passed it a ways, and then sent down our anchor. We
don't have a windlass, electric or mechanical, so it is all brute
force strength.

After it felt like it set, Val went about shutting the boat down and
the kids danced and played.  They were happy that we stopped.  We were tired.

At this moment (as I write this), Val is cooking dinner (Chinese food) and I just heard
KJ say, "Oh look, wieners!" followed by giggles. They are looking at a
human anatomy book we brought along.

Today was a very stressful day.  We are glad we've gone for the trip.
Today did test our resolve.  Living the moments in real time make for
lots of pressure.  For years we dreamed of this day, it is finally
here, and we are exhausted.

Tomorrow will be a new day.  We will get to choose what we do.  Stay
here, enjoy the island, go North or go South.  Which will it be?  We
shall see.


Jacksonville, FL! Leg 1 done!

The first leg of our adventure is now complete.  After traveling for 8 days, we are now in Jacksonville, FL at the Ortega River Yacht Club Marina.  We have lots to log into our diary, and we will over the next few days.  Suffice it to say, the shower felt ohhhh sooooo good!!!

The girls did great, by the way.  Our second order of business at the marina was securing Ice Cream!


Wilmington Island Local Stuff

We took a walk Tuesday the 15th and visited a few of the local services of Wilmington Island.  First up with the local Firestation wherein we met Fireman Wilkins. He gave the girls the lo down on the fire house, the number calls the service, all the work firemen do, and a tour of their brand new fire truck which can hold 3,000 gallons of water!  He was obviously passionate about being a fireman and we felt good knowing he was always on call.

We also went to the local library.  It sucked. Well, it sucked if you were a kid. It is definitely not kid friendly. Sure they had a “kids” section, but the library itself wasn't inviting if you were or had kids.


Chef Wan

We found an awesome delivery Chinese Restaurant on Wilmington Island called Chef Wan.  We ended up eating the Chef's food 3 days out of the last 5 before setting off on the sail.  The prices are fantastic, and they deliver to the Maria.  The Teriyaki Chicken Sticks Combo was Val's favorite, while I enjoyed the Beef with Snow pea.  We topped off our selection with a few egg rolls.  There was so much food that the we simply shared with the girls.

Chef Wan
432-B Johnny Mercer Blvd
Savannah, GA 31410


Food quantity

We've gone through and checked out how much food we have on the boat.  Our calculations show that we can go for 2 month on what we have! Water, on the other hand, can only make about 15 days at our current consumption rate.  If we ever had to stretch it, we could make it 20 days but we would be STINKY!


It has begun!

This morning we pushed off!!! We are currently sailing South!  Wahoo!  We are journeying!  The winds were out of the West, SouthWest and the tide is going out.  Nearly perfect conditions to start this.  The weather over the next 10 days looks fantastic.

Morning Of Push Off

Time to start the day.  A quick check of weather shows that everything looks good, the high tide is coming in, and the moon is a beautiful orange this morning.  I think it is a go!  The excitement is swirling around and making everything twice as vibrant in the moment.  Time to test all systems one last time, wait for the sun to pop up, and then we are off!



And it isn't a train!!!

The light came in as promised by Dave. :)

Randy has installed our light. Thank you Randy! (Randy is one of the amazing boatyard guys at SailHarbor Marina that can do anything.  We've learned a lot from him, and we are fortunate to have met him.)

High tide tomorrow morning is at 5:45AM.

Our plan is to be pushing off the dock as soon as sunrise happens and ride the tide out to sea! We will finally be making some miles South.

We will go South for 4 or so hours and see how we feel. Maybe we will keep going, maybe we will stop and anchor for the night.  Who knows!?!

We will be using our Spot tracking satellite system to let everyone know that we are fine.

No clue about Wifi access as we go, so some of the blog updates may be spotty or of some of the other material we had wanted to share that we've queued up.

For the Virtual Crew members, we've been updating the Virtual Crew member only data page with lots of the details.   Enjoy!

Lights may come on!

Here is the light that has decided to hold us up a few days.  It normally sits atop the mast, but we had to take it down to investigate what was going on.  After lots of testing by the boatyard people and by us, we are convinced that the light is simply broken and that there is nothing wrong with our wiring.

Here is the story as it is today:
Val spent yesterday trying to get in touch with Orcagreen, the company that manufactured our mast light.  She left messages, but they never got back to her.  Val then called SailorsSolutions, the online company we bought our light through, and she talked an incredibly helpful person named Nick.  Through the conversation Val learned that there were talks between Orcagreen and other LED mast light companies (Signalmate and another) to create a whole new company.

Val then called SignalMate and talked with the SignalMate owner, Dave, and verified that a new company was indeed forming.  The new organization is called MiSea.  Dave then did something awesome, he offered to honor the warranty of Orcagreen and send us one of his companies products as a replacement .... not only that, but that he would cover the cost of overnighting the light to us so we could get on our journey!!! THANK YOU DAVE and SignalMate!!!

Today our new light may arrive, and the fantastic folks at Sail Harbor Marina Boatyard will install it.  This would allow us to push off tomorrow morning, just after high tide.

We are simply going with the flow.... to do otherwise would just result in being tired and frustrated. :)



Here is a list of what we've had for breakfast the last few mornings:
Corned beef hash
Corn Flakes
Oatmeal (Apples and Cinnamon)
Fruit Loops
Oatmeal (Maple and Brown sugar) and bananas
Salami and Cheese
Breakfast Burritos (sausage, egg, cheese, tortilla, salsa)

Each morning starts off pretty much the same.  First task is to boil some water and make coffee with it.  The hot water is then used for other stuff like potentially making oatmeal, or hot tea, or even instant milk, all depending upon what's for breakfast that day.  Any hot water left after this is then put into a thermos for the remainder of the day.  The thermos has been fantastic at keeping the water hot for almost 20 hours.


Lights OUT

Our efforts today resulted in ...... NO LIGHTS!  The anchor light still doesn't work. During the day it is really hard to tell if it is working or not, but at night you can tell for sure.

First thing in the morning Val will go and secure some assistance from the boatyard folks.

We won't be leaving in the morning. :( Maybe Tuesday! :)

How long to travel on foot for 5 miles with 2 kids?

After working on the anchor light, we decided we would go for a walk. It is beautiful out today.  Our plan was to pack a backpack and walk to the playground here on Wilmington Island.  From previous trips in the car, we knew it was exactly 2.5 miles each way.

Off we went!  It took us nearly 2 hours to get there.  All along the way, we stopped to look at beautiful flowers, houses, and animals.  Once we got to the playground, the kids played hard for about an hour, we ate lunch, and then started the journey back. Val and I were determined to come back at a much faster rate, one targeting 20 minute miles.  It took us 56 minutes to cover the 2.5 miles.  Not bad!!! Mom, dad, a 5 year old, and a 2.9 year old.  The girls did great.... and are now taking naps. :)

Today is our first full day without access to a car.  We did just fine.


Lights Out

Tonight's pre-sail inspection of our lights revealed that neither our anchor light nor our tri light (a light used under sail power) was working.  One can get by without the later, but the former is very important when you are spending the night on the hook (at anchor in the middle of nowhere).

I whipped out my multi-meter and I can see that the fuse box terminals and the base of the mast has power for these lights, yet they are still not on.  This means that we will need to shimmy up the mast and inspect the unit at the very tip top.  That event will have to wait until the morning.

Such is the life of voyagers!

KJ's Bedroom

Ever wonder what a kids bedroom looks like on a sailboat named Ariel?  In this shot, you can see a portion of KJ's room .... the bed area.  She has elected to sleep perpendicular to the direction most people would sleep on the bed. :) The area in the upper left is a window (hatch) into KJ's room, but her drapes are drawn in this photo. Val did all the decorating, and she has received raved reviews from all those whom have seen it in person.  The picture doesn't do a good job of catching how vibrant the colors are.  I suspect that when KJ is 15, all those figures on the wall will be pictures of some boy bad icon.  Not sure I'm ready for that!


Go, Go, GO!

From the start of February til now has been go, go, go. At the start of February, we had 2 cars, an apartment half-full of stuff, Bill was still employeed, and a boat not ready to go and with engine trouble. Now that we are almost at mid-March, we have no cars, no apartment, only the stuff we kept for the boat, no employment, a full functioning engine, and a boat that could push off the dock at anytime. Wow, it's amazing how much can change in one month!

All of this could have not been accomplished, as quickly as it was, without the assistance of Bill's sister Jen and her spouse Iris. Jen kept KJ and Dy during the last full week of February, so that I could spent that week at the boat, getting her ready and Iris let me borrow her suv for a month.

During the last week of February, I was able to get the engine was fixed, transducer and fish finder installed, water system flushed, girl's room redecorated with Princess and Fairies, the boat cleaned from bow to stern (on the inside), adjust the location of stuff for weighting purposes, and gas tanks and propane tanks filled.

Bill was hard at work that last week, as well. He was still working and empting the apartment of stuff.

After all of the hard work, this week has been the finale. Monday we turned the apartment back over to its management, visited my dad in Alabama, and it was Bill's last day at work. On Tuesday, we drove from Alabama to Savannah and started putting the last of our stuff away. Wednesday was another day of hauling stuff from Iris' suv to the boat and Thursday was spent on the galley and putting stuff away, ending in a nice visited from Bill's brother David and his wife Nancy.
Today and tomorrow we have a few more loose ends to tie up, ending with a visit from Jen and Iris. We are soooo close. If the weather stays as predicted, we will be shoving off from the dock on Sunday morning, headed South.

Thank you, for everything Jen and Iris!! We love y'all!!!


David and Nancy visit

This afternoon my brother David and his wife Nancy came out to visit us. KJ and Dy had never met their uncle and aunt, making this an extra extra special visit. After catching up a bit and giving a nickel  tour of the boat, we went out to dinner and talked about the similarities between David and I... quite amazing how many there are given that we were not raised together (David and I share the same biological father, but different mothers).  We enjoyed learning more about David's chiropractic business, and we enjoyed sharing more details about our trip with them.  KJ quickly built an affinity for Nancy, while Dy was connected with David.  We are so glad they made the drive out to see us.


First Night

After a 6 hour drive, we arrived at Sail Harbor Marina at 4pm and boarded Ariel for the first time as full time residents.

We all wanted to celebrate, alas everyone was so tired after the weeks of pushing so hard and the long drive today.  By 8:20pm, Val, KJ, and Dy were asleep.  Our celebration activity was a pizza from Papa Johns. I had an adult beverage to spice up my celebration a bit.

There is a lot in Aunt II's car still to unpack.  The car was so full, in fact, that Val had to sit on stuff for the whole ride.

It is very hard to believe we are now fulfilling our dream.  We spent years planning and saving to make this possible, and now it is really here. Like really, really real. Incredible. Surreal. It is like a dream state.  Maybe that is from the tequila.  Time to go to bed. :)


Support from work

The amount of support that I'm receiving from my company and co-workers, to make this trip, has been nothing short of astonishing. Even though my departure makes life hard for so many co-workers, I've received nothing but grace, love, and support.  This has come by way of emails, hugs, tears, gifts, and so much more.  IHG has even given the SailboatFamily the gift of a much needed SSB radio to stay in contact!

There is no way I can express my gratitude to every one and every thing IHG is. It is truly a great place to work.  If you are ever fortunate enough to join this remarkable company, you should.  If you are ever looking for lodging, consider our Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Indigo, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, Crowne Plaza, or Intercontinental brands, because the people behind them (from the hotel all the way down to the CEO) really care about people.

I love you IHG. Thank you for everything.  You truly do make great hotels guests love.


March March March March March

One week from today, we will be living on the boat full time. This is so hard to believe.  At work yesterday, when folks asked about the trip, my response was, "yep, next week we will begin our journey." My mind focuses on the "next week" part.   For years we've been planning this trip and right now we are in the transition from dreaming into doing.  This transition is surreal.

Last night the TV was sold to a nice, and very talkative, guy in our apartment complex, and the second couch (known as the ugly old couch) found a new home.  We have 2 beds left, and we are using KJ's in the living room as a make shift couch.  These final items, along with the wii, will probably be gone in the next couple of days.