Exumas Cay Land and Sea Park

Warderick Wells Cay

After a 6 hour trip from Nassau to Highborn Cay (which was beautiful) we sailed to the Exumas Cay Land and Sea Park. The park is about 176 square miles and consists of several islands.  The main office is in Warderick Wells and that is where we started. I am not sure if the pictures could even show the beauty of this place at all. The water is perfectly blue and full of life and the beaches are pristine.  This section of the park has numerous hiking trails to enjoy. Here our a few pictures of Walden in the mooring field.

 

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We did the short hike to Boo-boo hill. On top of the hill you can find a pile of signs from driftwood and other scraps of wood showing names of the boats that visited this place. We found some driftwood later and will hopefully leave our mark in few weeks as we come back with my parents. The trail to the Boo-boo hill led us through water and a little palm forest.

Here are the signs with all the boat names; hopefully ours will be there in a few weeks.

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There are also blow holes located near Boo-Boo Hill. A blow hole is a hole in the cliffs overhanging the Atlantic ocean that under certain conditions (high tide and high wind) the will blow water through. It was not that kind of weather for us.

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We did some snorkeling right of the back of our boat. The kids were jumping in and out of this clear water all the time.

We had a small coral reef behind our boat and since the kids were tired from swimming we went by ourselves. On the way back to the boat we found a surprise visitor in the back of our boat near the sugar scoops where our swim ladder is located; a nurse shark. I scrambled up the ladder pretty quickly. Luckily he went to the other side of the boat while we were climbing up on it. The shark came right back and was waiting for hand outs. Nurse sharks are not usually swimming on the surface like this one did. He hung out with us for the next couple of hours.

We had also reunited here with Summercamp and INNTW (If not now then when),which are two kids boats. We all went on a hike in Emerald Bay. It wasn’t as nice as the Boo-Boo Hill hike, but it was fun, especially for the kids. They took off and were not concerned about us at all. The boys (dads) decided to swim back for the dinghies while us (moms) and kids hung out on the beach two coves over from our dinghies. I think all the people in the mooring field could hear our kids cheering for their swimming dads. The Dads did come back with beverages. I am thinking that maybe this was the real reason why they went instead. They wanted to spare us the hike back or they just wanted a beer?

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Cambridge Cay

Our next stop in Exuma Park was Cambridge Cay. We used the moorings provided by the park again. Our plan was to visit the Dundas Cave, but the winds were very strong for us to visit the cave, but we will be back.

We took a hike on the top of the ridge behind the mooring site. We had some strong winds and waves on the Atlantic ocean side. This was the highest hill we climbed on while in the Bahamas. The view was breathtaking, but it looked more like a picture of  Ireland with the raging sea, cliffs and strong wind. It was a different kind of beauty.

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Here is our Walden and it looks pretty tiny compared to those big yachts.IMG_6646.JPG

We also couldn’t pass on snorkeling ‘The Aquarium’. The name is an exact description of what it looks like. The minute we arrived and tied our dinghy to the mooring ball hundreds of Sergeant Majors, some Jacks and Night Sargents surrendered our boat waiting to be fed. And yes we brought some crackers, don’t judge, we don’t do this usually.  The snorkeling was awesome and it did look like an aquarium. Aside of the named fish we saw a couple of Rays, a Sea Turtle, a Bahamian Grouper and a couple of different kinds of Parrot Fish. The rest of the fish I don’t know nor we remember.

We also checked out a small airplane wreck on the way back to the boat.

Our handsome and supper happy driver brought us safely to the boat.GOPR7167.JPG

Bahamas here we are!

We arrived into Bimini Sands marina on January 18th around 9:30 am. We left way too early from No Name Harbour after Brent being ready and impatient. Bimini Sands is located on South Bimini, which is not the place where all the tourists go.  There is not much on the island except couple of houses, airport, 2 restaurants (one is take out) and the Shark Research Lab. We didn’t originally plan to go to Bimini at all. Our plan was to go across the bank and end up in Chub Cay.  We plan but mother nature changes our mind all the time. The weather window was not very long and a nasty front was following. Second, Bimini Sands marina was running a special where we coud get dockage for $100 a week. Yep that is right, $100 per week.  The resort has nice floating docks with complete protection from bad weather. They also have a beautiful infinity pool and a beach area. The marina had large numbers of fish in the marina and the water was clear.

After checking in with customs we settled down and met some cruisers. One of the boats that came from No Name Harbour was Summercamp with Kayla, Dave and their girls Zaia and Jolie. They made friends quickly. IMG_5224[1]

The very first night we learned not to let our kids stick their feet in the water even it was so clear. We had visitors – 4 bull sharks. They were way to accustomed to people feeding them, so they reacted to splashing in water by “going for it”. Last year some dog was supposedly drown, bitten by the sharks in the marina. So no kids in water here. Not the greatest picture of the shark, but it was at night with our underwater lights and taken with Iphone from our boat. This one was about 6-7 feet long.TMIQqQwSSXC8tr5Pkz4sEg

Our Mei with her cast covered in a trash bag walking on the pretty beach in South Bimini.DCIM105GOPRO

We did visit North Bimini, which could be done by dinghy or ferry and runs every 10 min or so and costs $3 per ride.  Our visit in Bimini was for a whole week as the weather was blowing some strong storms in so we could not safely cross the bank. We did have a chance to visit the Shark Research Lab on. We got to see their little sharks and learned about their work. IMG_5223[1]

After a week in Bimini Sands a decent weather window opened up and we took off across the bank to Chub Cay.

Chub Cay

After sailing all day we arrived in Chub Cay about 8pm. We almost hit a channel marker but noticed it at the last second. We spent one day in the anchorage outside Chub Cay Resort, but decided to tuck in into the comfortable marina on the second night as 40-50 knot winds were expected. Chub Cay Marina had a nice infinity pool with a really nice beach. We used every minute of the time there.

Dave from Sumercamp flying a kite with Marco.IMG_6545

Mei and her daddy flying kite.IMG_6555

Next day we anchored between Bird and Whale Cay. We stayed with our friends from Summercamp as the kids were all excited to have boat buddies around. We found a beach with really deep sand, it felt like walking in ankle high snow, except the temperature felt wrong. DCIM105GOPRO

We also snorkeled on a wreck nearby.

Sunset from our boat was beautiful at Bird Cay

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New Providence – 1/30/2019

Our next jump brought us to New Providence Island and Nassau. We avoided the main harbour where the cruise ships are coming and going. We anchored again near our friends from Summercamp in West Bay. We were able to get some provisioning done and also squeeze in some fun.IMG_5201

Did I say the water was clear light blue? Checking the anchor became much easier, you can see it from the top of the boat. Well we could see everything that went by our boat in the water. Kids had fun walking the beach near our boat.

We spent the last couple of weeks with friends from Summercamp. Here is all of us.DCIM105GOPRO

Brent also caught us yummy Mahi-Mahi on the way to New Providence, which we shared with our friends for dinner.IMG_6575

Crossing to Exumas

Although we will be back in Nassau to pick my (Eva’s) parents we decided to make a run (sail) for the Exumas starting at Highborne Cay. Our anchorage in north end was peaceful. We got to snorkel on some reefs near our boat and also dinghy to nearby Allans Cay and its Iguana Beach. The Iguana’s are native on the Exuma Islands. Here in Alan Cay they get fed by people. Tour boats bring their customers here to feed the iguanas and interact with them. So the moment they saw us they went towards us. I didn’t feel too comfortable about it as I read they do bite. We decided to do the right thing and not feed them. I said we snorkeled, well not all of us. Makai completely missed it and slept through it completely on the side of dinghy while we were all in the water.GOPR7085.JPG

Next stop Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

Please note that although it looks like this is all fun and play we are teaching our kids. We tend to do about 3-5 hours of school a day. This includes reading, writing, math, history, science, grammar and foreign language. The difference is we are doing it in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

 

We are in Bahamas!

It has been while since I posted. Over the past few months we made it down to Florida from the Chesapeake Bay area.  We had a stop for Thanksgiving with our family in Georgia and then went south. It was time as the temperature hit the 33F while we were docked in Brunswick, Georgia.

St. Augustine

One of our first stops was St. Augustine in the middle of December. We stayed on a mooring ball outside the city walls with a view of Castillo de San Marcos. The kids were enjoyed the tour of the fort. The best part was St. Augustine didn’t spare any money on decorating for Christmas.  We had a wonderful view of the city christmas lights from our boat. The kids could even hear the Santa riding in his horse carriage and saying his ” Ho Ho Ho”. We loved the pre-Christmas atmosphere.

Our boat ‘Walden’ in the bay:

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We also got hit by another boat while in the marina. Luckily the damage was only gel coat and some buffing, but it had to be taken care of. We put this on our list of to-do items while in Fort Lauderdale.

West Palm Beach

Our next stop was West Palm Beach, FL. A few important things had happened in the below order:

  1. Brent got the watermaker working! For those of you that don’t know what watermakers are (aside a big pain, Brent would tell you in details) let me explain. A watermaker is a device that takes the salt and other particles out of ocean water and makes it into drinkable water using reverse osmosis. We really didn’t need it much on the East Coast of the U.S. as the water is free at fuel docks and marinas, but the Bahamas is a complete opposite. In Bahamas water costs anywhere from 25 – 50 cents per gallon. IF you think about how much water your family uses in a week this can add up. Plus, you have to go get it in marina or fuel dock. Our plan is to mostly anchor in the Bahamas so a watermaker is important. This fix was big win for Brent.
  2. We celebrated Christmas here. It was a very different Christmas for us. We had a two foot tall tree with only a few decorations, but it was twinkling its lights proudly in our boat. Kids all got gifts that barely fit in their rooms, but we were all happy.78_4MBfJQX-yOhzT7YkRug
  3. We met up with our friends Heather and Mikah and their kids Parker and Cage. They are family sailing on trimaran that we met in Harrington Harbour this past summer. We had a great time hanging out with them on Peanut Island and eating dinner. All was great until….
  4. Mei broke her arm and that is kind of bad for a sailing family. That said we worked it out. Mei’s biggest problem was that she wont be able to play rough like she is used to. She was so upset and didn’t want to get a cast. She was telling the paramedics and us she is fine and doesn’t need to go to the doctors. She was such a brave girl through all this ordeal. We ended up cutting off the cast on our own while in the Bahamas a few weeks later. Yes, we did consult a doctor first.

Next stop Fort Lauderdale (repairs of repairs) and we were ready to head to Bahamas.

Makai turned 7 while we were in Fort Lauderdale.rF7fCIWRSS2Q6xNB8Z9npQW-D4ffQlT9SKaS-090EgNQ

Biscayne Bay

We had to wait for a weather window to cross to Bimini. As we are a sailing catamaran we do try to use our sails as much as possible. It is also important to not run in bad weather and try not to beat into the wind or waves. These conditions generally cause big discomfort and heavy usage of our engines, therefore more diesel money to spend.

We spent our time waiting in the Coconut Grove anchorage which is located just south of Miami. It is a very nice area attractive to cruisers with access to restaurants, stores and public transportation.

Once the wind started blowing hard from the East we moved to No Name Harbour which is a part of Bill Bags State Park on Cay Biscayne. It is a completely weather protected lagoon close to the tip of Cay Biscayne that was once a hideout out for pirates. Bill Bags State Park has a neat lighthouse, playground, beautiful beach and awesome trails. I wish we could stay longer, but the weather window opened and we went across the gulf stream to Bimini.

Here we are at the top of the lighthouse on Cay Biscayne studying our bay exit as we will be doing it while it is still dark.  Our plan was to leave at 4am until Brent decided to pick up the anchor at 2 am because he could not sleep. Too excited to go!

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Enjoying the sunset views from the stern of our boat in No Name Harbour.dbYGeAwtSEy6TDT1VZQkmw

Brent’s excitement kept him up, so we left at 2 am on the 18th of January from No Name Harbour. It was pitch black except for the moon. We saw amazing stars on the way.b3fnZvRsSE68kAvt-JoDJgOne positive to an early departure is that we didn’t miss the sunrise.54_6Fr-UQHW4JHaDPPPL9w

Here we are arriving at Bimini Sands, which is marina located on South Bimini, Bahamas. We made it there around 9:30 am.W622llY7RLmgDIFmyMMy4A (1)

Chesapeake Bay

The last couple of months were spent in the Chesapeake Bay. We had some great and some not so great times. The not so good times were all tied to surprise maintenance on our boat but, yet again, but the good times outweighed the frustration of the bad ones.

Jamestown and Williamsburg

We arrived into Norfolk, VA area on July 10th about 11pm. Crossing into such a busy shipping channel in the middle of the night was interesting. We passed a couple of ships that were well over 700-800 feet long. Even barely moving their wakes were huge. We were happy to drop anchor at 1am. Our adventures began the next day.

One of our first trips led us to Jamestown. We loved it there. The only thing about the trip was that we had to motor almost the whole way. It’s a bit up the James River  (20+ miles) and the depth is not so great outside of the channel. That may have been reason why we were the only boat out there. Visiting Jamestown and next day Williamsburg counted as a history lesson for our kids. This is where some of the very first European Settlements in North America existed.

Kids were all happy (I was not as excited) to go stomp their feet in the mud that was getting cured for the brick maker to make bricks. We had some muddy kids.

On the way back South we passed Newport News, Portsmouth, and Hampton. These are the areas known for building all the aircraft carriers and big navy ships for the US Military. They seemed to go on and on.

Crabbing in the Chesapeake

We have not done much fishing but kids did do some crabbing. It seems the thing to do in the Chesapeake. We used turkey necks on hand lines and it worked like magic. We couldn’t believe how fast we were getting crabs on the line. Kids were running back and forth screaming “I got one”.  Brent and I were having a hard time keeping up pulling them out of water.  That said it is a lot of work to prepare a meal out of them. It took Brent a while to kill them all (no we didn’t boil them alive), then they were cooked, peeled and we made crab cakes out of them. They all love them, me not so much. I still see those crab eyes staring at me.

 

Tangier Island

Brent and I both fell in love with Tangier Island. It is located in Virginia in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. It is a sleepy old waterman’s island that is disappearing rapidly. Every year the island looses acres of land due to ice melting and other environmental causes. The island will be mostly gone and unliveable within next 100 years unless there is some huge intervention. I can’t help to feel sad that it will not survive. The island seems like it got stuck in the last century but in a good way. Kids were playing on the streets, which were shared by walkers, bikers and people on golf carts. We saw very little cars as only a couple dozen are on the island. You can get everywhere with a ten minute bike ride. The island is only accessible by water. There are no stop lights and only a single place to eat dinner.   We bought some oysters from local farmer although most of the watermen live from crabbing. His oyster house (like most of the watermen houses) was a shack on the pilings in the middle of the bay with electricity run to it. Again accesible only by boat.

We stayed in Parks Marina which is run by Mr. Parks. He built the marina with his own hands over fifty years ago and has runs it since. He is in his 80’s now and still going. There will be probably nobody to run this place once he is gone, but then there might be no Tangier Island much longer past that.

The kids didn’t like this place much. The only good time they had when they met a friend who had followed us on our boat and played with them all over the boat. Otherwise they had declared the island boring. They prefer being on the anchor where they can jump of the boat instead in a marina with no pool or fun stuff.

 

Salomon Island

Our next stop was Salomon Island off the coast of Maryland. We found a great anchorage with a small beach nearby. The kids loved it here as they could swim whenever they wanted and had a private small beach to explore. It did get very hot so the water was great to cool off in. We liked it so much we hit it again on our way back south a few weeks later and visited a great museum there. Here is how we get around in our dinghy.

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Rock Hall

We spent more time here than any other anchorage. We dropped our anchor in Swan Creek which was a 10 minute dinghy ride to the marina area. It took a few tries to get good holding but it was worth it. Again the kids loved the ability to swim whenever they wanted. Also the town was really cute. There was a main street with a few good restaurants and a small grocery store. We then moved to a marina and met GeeGee and Grand-Daddy (Brent’s parents). They drove their camper all the way from Georgia to see us and the kids. They camped a short drive away and drove back to the marina each day. It was great to have them there and the kids were excited. We walked the city, went out to eat, relaxed and visited a National Marine Sanctuary. We miss you Gee Gee and Grand-Daddy. After they left we spent another day at the Swan Creek Anchorage and then headed south for a week in Annapolis.

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Annapolis

Annapolis is known as the sailing capital of the U.S. There are sailboats everywhere. It is also neat to visit to see the history and be so close to the downtown area. The mooring area (where you can tie up to a submerged chunk of concrete) is only a couple hundred yards from the shops and restaurants. We all went out to eat at Pusser’s and looked at some of the historic buildings. On our last day there we spent most of our time at the U.S. Naval Academy. We were all very impressed by the campus and there is a great museum with a large number of miniature models of ships. Some of these date back to the 17th century and have amazing detail. Since Annapolis is mostly old stuff (that is what the kid’s said) we decided to head back to Rock Hall for the annual Pirates and Wenches Weekend.

Back to Rock Hall

We went back to Rock Hall and anchored at Swan Creek again to go to the Pirate Festival. It was great fun. Things started off Saturday morning with a treasure dig for the kids on the beach. We also saw pirate plays, pirate cannons, did a pirate scavenger hunt and learned some pirate talk. On Sunday Marco and Brent did a 5K while Mei and Makai did a fun run. All in all it was a great weekend of fun. Brent even got to rescue a boat in the anchorage when we had a big storm Saturday night and a 50′ boat with no one on board pulled it’s anchor!

Herrington Bay North

We knew that we had a lot of items that needed to be repaired and it is tough getting everything fixed while “on the hook” so we decided to spend a few weeks at a marina. Herrington North is about 25 miles south of Annapolis and it has almost everything you could ask for in a marina. We spent three weeks there and it was nice to have constant air conditioning and power. We were able to get some engine work done, some new lines run up the mast and all new rivets on our trampoline. The work was great but the family also enjoyed the activities. The marina had a pool where they had a breakfast buffet one morning and a Labor Day Party a couple of weeks later. They even had some movie nights for the kids and a shuttle that ran us to the grocery store. We met some other great cruising families and hope to hook up with them again. Eva also had a big birthday surprise when Tammy Deraney (our old neighbor) flew in to visit for a few nights. Eva had no idea. It was fun to have another person on board and Tammy was our first overnight guest. After a few weeks we knew we had to get south so we could get the boat laid up for the rest of Hurricane season.

All the fun the kids had on the top of our boat. They especially like to be pulled up the mast. It was not that comfortable; I tried.

 

Here I got to celebrate my birthday with my surprise visitor Tammy.  I loved it! The best surprise of all

Back South and Cape Charles

Upon leaving Herrington we made a beeline to Cape Charles, VA about 120 miles south. We stopped at Salomon Island and aother small marina before getting to Cape Charles. Upon getting there we started to get Walden ready to be lifted. We knew that we had to get some paint work done (the one from June did not adhere correctly) so we decided to have the boat hauled while we went to visit family in Europe for six weeks. Cape Charles is a sleepy little village that we used a borrowed golf cart to explore. Everyone was nice and we got the boat prepped for dry land and a possible hurricane in our absence. For the next few weeks we will be on dry land!

 

 

Second Leg of our Unplanned Camping Segment

After spending a couple days back at my parents house in Cumming, GA for some doctor visits we headed back out on the road on Monday January 15th. We left real early and thought we were going to get our transmission looked at that had been giving us some problems. Once we got to the shop in Atlanta we found out that they could not work on our model. After a couple of hours my wonderful parents sent us north to another shop up I-75. Once there my parents were kind enough to pick us up and bring us and all the kids to the Tellus Science Museum. We even got a lunch with their cousins before we headed out that afternoon with a repaired RV. If you even need great service and are in the area check out Open Roads RV. That evening with such a late start we only got a couple hours south and stayed at High Falls State Park.

On the 16th we got a good start and headed south to Florida. Eva drove most of the way as I had a great time home schooling the kids. Trying to teach hand writing at 65mph is not for the faint of heart. We have been doing about 3-4 hours of schooling each day. Some days are great, on others I want to tear my hair out. That afternoon we pulled into Osceola National Forest and stayed at the Ocean Pond Campground. We had a good time riding bikes, hiking and getting some schooling done. The first couple of days were cold but by the time we left it was finally warm and over 65 degrees.

After three nights in Osceola our gray tank was full so it was time to leave (there were not full hook-ups there). We headed further south for warmer weather and some clear water we ended up at Salt Springs in Ocala National Forest was great with full hookups but it did lack the full-on camping look. Since it allows long-term stays (up to 180 days) many people were set up to stay. We seem to prefer campgrounds with a more rustic look and a little less parking lot look. The kids did get to experience a couple great things while there. First we went fishing on Lake George. It is interesting because the Salt Springs have some salinity to them. The fish included both freshwater species like Largemounth Bass and Bluegill and saltwater fish like Mullet. All of the kids caught tons of Bluegill and Marco caught a bass. Even Eva joined in the fun and caught a fish. I spent pretty much all my time baiting hooks and releasing fish. The last day in Salt Springs was the most memorable. We bought some cheap goggles and hopped into the Springs. Unfortunately we forgot the GoPro so we got zero underwater pictures. It was still great though. The water was 72 degrees and crystal clear. We saw lots of fish and blue crabs. The crabs were pretty large and the Mullet were huge. We only spent about 30 minutes in the water as everyone got pretty cold. The outside temp was about 75 so we warmed up quick and rode our bikes back to the campsite for the nightly campfire.

Our next destination was Alexander Springs but since it was still in Ocala National Forest the kids were excited to hear that our drive was only 35 minutes. This is always the big question when we are headed to a new destination. If we say anything over three hours they moan pretty bad. Alexander Springs is exactly what we like. Large open campsites, big trees and no crowds. Out of about 50 sites there were 5-8 other campers in the campground. We had a great time on a hike through the jungle and saw a couple of small gators but the highlight was the Springs. We all hopped into the Springs and saw some amazing fish. They have over 100 million gallons of 73 degree water coming out of them each day. The fish were great and the visibility was well over 100 feet. There was one other person in the water so we had the place almost all to ourselves. We almost went back again the last day but the air temps dropped to about 65 so swimming without a wetsuit was not so appealing.

We knew we had to get back for Makai’s surgery on January 29 so we started to head north some. The last site we stopped at was Suwannee River State Park. We spent three nights there including Mei’s 7th birthday. The sites were heavily wooded and for $24 a night night and full hook ups it was a great deal. The best part had to be the mountain biking on the river. Makai and Eva both completed the easier one mile trail while Marco, Mei and myself did the four mile loop. I was so proud of Makai and Mei for both doing their first ever trails. Everyone had a great time and Mei was ecstatic to make her own birthday cake and get some much-needed Legoes. We ended up spending three nights here and even got our laundry done in some down time we had. After a few nights at my parents we will be back on the road again for another segment

Our first voyage

The repairs/upgrades on Walden were finally done on Wednesday June 27th. We were supposed to leave the day before, but once we filled up our fuel tanks, we found out that they were leaking. All the gaskets on top of the tanks at the inspection ports were compromised and had to be replaced. So back to the marina. The guys from Just Cats guys replaced them on Wednesday and Thursday. We could have probably done it ourselves, but we had captain Blain with us and were already behind schedule. I think there were over 200 bolts that need to be carefully unscrewed to release the old gaskets and then put them back on with new gaskets. The trick was to not strip any of them in process. If that happened the fix would become much longer. Just Cats guys worked hard and carefully and it all got fixed by Thursday afternoon. It took us a couple of days to get rid of the diesel smell and any remains of the leaks in bilges and crannies of our boat.

We left Thursday afternoon around 4ish. Our plan was to make it as far as we could. Possibly to Chesapeake Bay. Our winds were not that good for us to sail, but we were taking the Gulf-stream up and that gave us extra speed. The plan was motor sail whenever the wind would cooperate. Now keep in mind we only had our captain for a certain time, so we could not wait for the wind to pick up.

On our second day heading up the coast the winds were finally cooperating and we were happy to put out our sails. We were still using motors also, but on smaller RPM and were able to our top speed up to 11 knots. All was great until a squall caught up to us. To decrease the windage Brent was pulling the jib (the front sail on our boat) down . Here we ran in a problem that our brand new fuller got jammed. This was happening in the middle of the squall and in the dark evening hour. Scary, right? For first trip and not much experience especially. Luckily we had captain Blain with us, who helped us reel it in after few tacks back and forth. Hoping this is it for our night of adventure, but it wasn’t. We always read and heard that bad things do happen at night mostly. Brent was on the watch when loud crack happens and the main sheet (line holding the mainsail) went loose and there was a lot of violent flapping. Main sheet ripped and was all over the place. He had to wake up Captain Blaine to help fix this problem. We established the rule that while on watch at night nobody is allowed to leave the help/cockpit area for deck without second person at helm. Plus Brent had no idea how to fix the problem. Together with captain Blain they jerry rigged the main sheet which was now two lines instead of one. They also found out that one of the blocks had ripped apart. It must have had sun damage from the inside and the damage was not visible outside. So the riggers couldn’t tell there was a problem with it. And that was the time we gave up on sailing and motor rest of the way. During the next day we also found out that our engines are not charging the batteries. Later on we learned our solenoids are bad. Engines were putting out power but the solenoids were not sending it in.

Not really what we wanted on our first trip. The delays in repairs and circumstances like hurricane season made us leave Ft. Lauderdale right after the repairs were done. I would definitely recommend to not do that unless really needed. For us as inexperienced sailors we felt like that safe trip away with captain we trust was worth the risk. Why?

A) Our experience with open ocean is not that great. Brent had done some longer delivery, but I haven’t done much of big open ocean at all. We also have 3 little kids o worry about.

B) Not all captains are good captains for us. We wanted to be safe and learn. We wanted someone we feel comfortable with, who can handle us newbies, kids and still can teach us. Captain Blain is it. Brent already knew him from his delivery and he was right bout him being the perfect fit. We had hired other captains before and not all were good at lol.

So this all said we chose to get to Wrightsville Beach North Carolina and spend our last day with captain there. We learned some docking (I had to dock our boat!!!), anchoring and worked on some troubleshooting before he left us for his next delivery.

What happened to the Troncalli’s?

After leaving Canada we headed down to Georgia to unpack and repack. This was our final packing to bring all of our stuff on the boat. We said goodbyes to our family and friends, which was tougher than I thought it would be. The thing is we will be back at some point at least for visit.

We left for Ft. Lauderdale area about 3 weeks ago thinking 2 weeks, max 3 weeks and we will be moving on our boat. We are over the 3 weeks and it had not happen yet. It just seems like that nothing goes per schedule in marine repairs world. And nothing runs on budget either. I have read a lot about marine repairs from other owners and just hoped we will get lucky and in the end we may have, just not the standard I would hope for. We are only 2 months past our original estimates and about a week later for our recent estimates to be done with all repairs. Our boat has received a new rigging, new barrier coat and bottom paint, new solar, all the engines got maintenance done, rails replaced, repaired, windows, hatches replaced………and lots of other things that can’t even be listed. Brent had spent almost every day on the boat, which was very difficult. Our boat is out of the water in boat yard for repairs. Boat yards are not that great environment especially in sunny hot Florida. He wasn’t able to run the A/C because it requires raw water intake. So working in hulls of hot catamaran in Florida heat was strenuous. He was coming home completely exhausted, but the experience of being there and learning about the our boat was priceless. Lots of times it was quite stressful and depressing as it seemed where ever we turned or flip a switch, something new had to be fixed or tended to. We know there will be more to tend to and fix/replace and it is never ending story on a boat. I have recently listened to a podcast of family from Sweden that sailed around the world in 4 years. They have talked about that we can expect every single equipment on the boat to cause us some problems and needing fixing/ replacement if we are out there for couple of years. Year ago I would thought that this might be exaggerated, but I think I changed my mind. A lot of boat owners claim to spend 10% of the boat cost on yearly maintenance and I think they might be right. All depends how much of it we will do and how much we hire contractors to do for us. I just hope this major overhaul will keep the maintenance cost at lower rate for at least year or two. That said we are nearing the end of the repairs and I can see glimpses of the beauty our Walden is.

We are moving on Walden this week! It will probably be Friday and Saturday. If you read this post and it is well past Friday, it just means I was superstitious to post this in time of writing this blog post. I am excited, or not…. we got pretty comfortable living in campgrounds around America. And now we are moving on the boat. What were we thinking? Over last couple of weeks we learned that things will break on boat often. We will be fixing/ replacing items all the time. RV repairs are mostly fracture of the coast of the boat repairs. We know RVing and are comfortable. Sailing? Not so much. Yet we are excited and scarred in the same time. We will tackle it one step at the time.

The plan is to sail off on Wednesday June 27th if weather permits. We are hiring captain to help us for week or so to sail North towards Chesapeake Bay. We will go as far as we need to to escape from the upcoming hurricane danger. I expect our next longer stop to be somewhere in North Carolina like Charleston or Beaufort.