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Posts from the ‘Adventures’ Category

so what’s up with Night Music?

First I want to apologize for my delay in posting . . . seems time goes much faster on land than it does on water. We’ve been in a state of transition and when I looked at the calendar and realized how much time had actually passed since we arrived home I just could not believe it!

We arrived in Hendersonville, TN at the first of June. Making our way through the Tombigbee, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers was mostly uneventful. We saw some beautiful sites and met more great folks. We handled all of the 15 locks with little trouble and didn’t get caught too long at any lock which really helped in our timing. We did lock through the Pickwick lock while rafted to an 75ft Hatteras “Kaybird” . . . that was a first for both parties. Night Music felt so small against this yacht, especially in the large lock chamber! Turned out that the lock only had 1 working bay, with only 1 working bollard . . . We had left from the same location that morning as Kaybird, but they had waited over 3 hours to get through. Luckily for us our wait was just about 30 minutes. It was a great example of the Tortoise and the Hair.

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At Green Turtle Bay we had to shift our plans somewhat. We had originally planned to step the mast and have the full rig assembled for the Cumberland River leg of the journey. Turns out that summer pool is actually 5+ feet higher that the river levels we had traveled the previous two times. This meant that there was at least one bridge that was now called into question. We decided to leave the rigging on deck and proceed up river – settling how to put the mast up at a later date. Our friend Myles joined us and we headed up the river in windy, rough conditions. We made it to Clarksville  the next afternoon and enjoyed the hospitality of Myles and his family. Oh – and that bridge? Yeah it was a good call to leave the mast down. We would not have cleared and would have had to turn back to Green Turtle Bay!

From Clarksville Nick and I solo’d to West Nashville. Our friends Bob, Annie and Kevin met us on the river and went ahead to look at dock space in Rock Harbor Marina. We had a great early dinner (Thank you Bob!) and it was fun to hang out with friends again. Annie and Kevin traveled with us on the home stretch, through downtown Nashville and we made it to Hendersonville that afternoon. My mom and dad were there waiting with Ethan. We were so happy to see our little guy again!!

So now Night Music is safely at the Marina. She is empty of most belongings and I can’t fit through most of the doorways. Really . . . we arrived at a good time as I was touching belly and bum to get into the head. This baby has grown a lot since then! We’ve had some good interest in Night Music so she may soon be on with her next adventure. She was such a great boat for us!!

We are unpacked, and repacked – living with my folks again. It has been nice to be home, but when the feeling of ‘visiting’ wore off it was sad for me. Our adventure was awesome. We gained so much experience and knowledge, grew together as a family, and made memories that will last a lifetime. It’s just a bit sad to say that chapter is finished. I miss the simplicity of life on the boat. Sure, it could take all day to do laundry, or go the the grocery. Sure, we only traveled at 5.5 knots . . . but so did everything else it seemed. Our adventure feels a million miles away! 

I do have a constantly moving and growing reminder that we have a new adventure directly in front of us and we can’t wait for her to make her appearance. The kids will share a room and most everything is ready. The crib is set up, art on the walls and the dresser is getting full. Ethan is ecstatic and saving all sorts of things for his baby sister. As I write this I have an estimated 3 weeks left before she arrives.

Nick is still looking for employment. He has been busy with many projects and he and Ethan are woodworking machines having already completed a workbench with shelf, two wooded swords, a shield, added a slide to the tree house and many other projects.

Ethan has been busy enjoying his new found land legs. He explores and wonders all around the farm, especially loving to help his dad on projects and his grandparents in the garden. He started kindergarten today and he is very excited. He gave me a quick kiss at the door to his room, wandered in placing his lunch on the counter and settling into his seat – never looking back.  Time goes so quickly!!

I’ve been busy growing a baby, doing some freelance design work, and getting us back on the grid, doctor appointments, school registrations, activities, etc.

It will be fun to see what is ahead for us and how things pan out. We are trying to soak up as much of this time together as we can, before we adjust to Nick going back to work, Ethan in school and the addition of baby girl.

We miss our friends we’ve made along the way and try to keep up with them as best as possible. We live vicariously through those who are still traveling!

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making our way north

After a week’s stay in Mobile, we left last Sunday to head up the rivers. Nick completed the new paint on the mast and built a great mast cradle for the ride up river, while I drove Ethan to his grandparents, all baby stuff taken care of and had a visit with the doctor. All is going well – I’m around 24 weeks and feeling good. Only complaint is it’s starting to get a bit difficult getting through the doors on the boat!! We did find out by default (received an ultrasound photo that had the sex) that we will be welcoming a baby Girl to our family!!! Ethan is very excited!

We’ve encountered quite a bit of downstream current from all the rain which has made for a slow go. Once we reached Demopolis, the current lessened and we have been making better time (lower part – 4.5 mph ; currently ranging from 5.5 – 6.5 mph). The amount of trash in the water has decreased as well and makes for much better travel. We made it to Columbus, Mississippi today and have stopped at the marina here to change the oil and take a bit of a rest. We’ll head out early tomorrow and see just how many of the locks we can get through in one day. So far timing has been great and we have not had to wait very long at any of the locks (we’ve made it through 4 of the 13 – then we’ll have 2 more on the Cumberland). Weather has been great – sunny and beautiful. We did get a bit of rain while in Demopolis, but while we were at the dock. We miss Ethan like crazy, but know he is having way more fun running around at both grandparents houses than he would on the boat for long days of motoring (and not a beach in site!).

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We should make it to Green Turtle Bay by mid-week, get the mast re-stepped, then make our way on to Nashville.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!!

Made it to Mobile

We stayed in Destin for just over a week. After my family’s visit we had some friends drive down from Nashville and had other friends who happened to be down from Knoxville on vacation . . . was so great to see some friends and catch up a bit! The weather was very windy and cloudy. We delayed leaving because of the forecasted wind on the nose, and almost waited until Wednesday to leave, but Tuesday morning we woke to a perfect forecast to make our run. “NW 10-15 changing to SW 12-17 in the afternoon, seas 2 ft.” So we talked with Silver Lining and decided to make a run for Perdido Key – 50 nm away. We made it out the very shallow cut (we saw 7 ft.) and started west with wind 10 knots on the nose. We continued to hope that it would actually shift to the predicted NW but never saw it. Instead, about 20 miles out the winds grew to 25 knots and had just the very slightest bit of South in the direction. So half way to our mark, strong winds on the nose, bashing through waves we made it slowly to Perdido. The worst of it only lasted about 3 hours, but it felt much longer. It slowed our progress so much that we made anchor with about  45 minutes of light to spare. We anchored and hit the beach with Silver Lining before having our fair-well dinner with them as we were headed to Mobile and they to Pensacola.

The next morning we woke early to get moving and make our 50 miles into the Dog River area of Mobile. All we saw was thick fog. We delayed for a bit, then saw it starting to clear so we decided to go ahead and start moving slowly down the ICW. The fog lasted for a few hours and when it finally burned off, it was hot! We made our way into Mobile Bay and were greeted by the very muddy water. Then we started seeing trees floating by and recalled the flooding at home. Rain up north will definitely play into our plans for heading up river.

We made it to Turner Marine around 4pm that afternoon and I got try my hand at backing into a wet slip. Ugh . . . I’d been avoiding this the entire adventure, but now was face-to-face with something I had been dreading. I would love to say that I gracefully defeated my nemesis, but that would not be the case. No damage was done and no one was hurt, but it was not graceful and I was happy that there were lots of hands to help out. We secured the boat, Nick passed out beers and we got settled in. Our friend Ryan was in town for work so we got to catch up with him as well and run a few errands too.

We were supposed to have the mast pulled yesterday, but because of storms that has been delayed to Monday. The lumber for the mast cradle will be delivered on Monday as well (thank you Lowe’s for free delivery!). Once pulled, Nick will start sanding and painting the mast and boom. Ethan is ready to be at his grandparent’s houses, and I have to fulfill some ‘red tape’ to complete my application for maternity coverage, so we’ve rented a car and Ethan and I will leave in the morning for a quick trip up to Tennessee. I’ll return Tuesday or Wednesday to help finish some details, then we will just wait for the rivers to get back to normal or close to normal pool for our trip upstream. Let’s just hope for no rain for a week or two : )

Things are progressing. It is still bitter-sweet as we start to say good-bye to our adventure.

Catching up . . . Ft. Meyers to Destin

I’m a bit behind on my postings. We’ve been moving quickly up the west coast of Florida and across the panhandle. We’re hanging out in Destin since Sunday with visiting family and friends arriving tomorrow and this weekend. Once we leave Destin we are two days away from Mobile where we will get prepared to travel up the rivers.

We left Ft. Meyers and traveled north on the ICW with our cruising buddies on sv Silver Lining. We met them in Ft. Meyers, but figured out we’ve been traveling right around each other for quite a while and have many mutual cruising friends. We anchored in a small cove just north of Boca Grande then left early the next morning to tackle the 11 bascule/swing bridges in our 50 miles to Tampa Bay, anchoring by De Soto National Park. We stayed for two nights and were able to catch up with our friend DeWayne there, enjoying a great breakfast and the ride to the store to pick up a few items (Thanks DeWayne!!)

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From Tampa Bay we traveled on the ICW originally set for Clearwater, but decided to continue on to Tarpon Springs. We got settled just as the bottom fell out. We docked right downtown, ordered pizza and settled in for some rest! We and sv Silver Lining waited for a good weather window for an overnight passage across to the panhandle. The weather didn’t pan out exactly, so we motored the entire way. The Gulf was as calm as a mill pond and the moon was full and bright. It was beautiful!!!

It was hard to believe and a bit bittersweet that this was our last overnight of our adventure. So funny how time flies and how different our perspective is after a year + of experience. While on my watch, I saw about nine ‘flairs’ off the port bow. I called Nick up, called Silver Lining to see if they saw it as well, then we called the Coast Guard. We veered off coarse for a couple miles just in case, but then let the Coast Guard know we were continuing on our original coarse. We looked on the chart and noticed a firing range located in the same direction as the ‘flairs’ we saw and decided that it would be difficult and less likely for someone to shoot that many flairs. Turns out it was a firing drill and we were relieved to know there was not someone out there in distress!

As the sun rose we made landfall and continued up the panhandle in the ICW for another 40 miles. We stopped at a free dock just off the ICW in White City. We were all exhausted, but happy to have made so many miles. Later that afternoon we met some folks that live right down the street. They always like to visit with the cruisers and were very interested to here where we and Silver Lining have traveled. They graced us with amazing southern hospitality, bringing their Low Country Boil to the dock to share with us!! It was delicious.

We took our time the next morning, traveled to Port St. Joe then out in the Gulf to Panama City Beach. We stayed for two nights, then off to Destin. We saw many of the Spotted Atlantic Dolphins and two sea turtles. Nick has still been unlucky with the MahiMahi but caught around 10 Little Tunny . . . known as a sport fish, but not really for eating. We had also hoped for some Spanish Mackerel since they were supposed to be ‘running’ but no such luck.

Here in Destin Ethan has immensely enjoyed time with his Aunt Beth and his Nanna and Grandaddy. We’ve spent time at the beach, the pool and visited the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. I’ve enjoyed sleeping in a regular sized bed and being in air conditioning.

The weather forecast looks like it might clear up enough for us to move on Monday so until then we’ll enjoy our time here visiting and enjoying the beach for a bit longer!

Marathon to Ft. Meyers

Another overnight ticked off the list! We left Marathon Tuesday morning around 8:30 am and arrived in Ft. Meyers Beach Wednesday morning around 9 am. All in all we only burned 9 gallons of diesel which is a far cry better than our trip south. The morning contained a bit of motor sailing, but once we got out from the keys a bit we had a great sail. In the afternoon the wind completely died and it got hot. We motored, then motor-sailed for the evening while we could see all the crab pots, then cut the engine and sailed for the rest of the night. The wind picked up around 10 pm with some squall activity, but we luckily didn’t get much rain from it. We reefed early before dark and settled into our shifts. At one point with a double reef and a bit of a jib we were making almost 7 knots! We slowed the boat way down so we would not reach Ft. Meyers before daybreak and made our way in the darkness. We felt much better about this trip than the southern portion. 

Today we’ll travel north to the Boca Grande area, then hoping to make it to Tampa the next day and get to see a friend there. Should be a fairly easy run and will be different to run the ICW for a bit again.