There to Here – First Years Aboard

Like any new lifestyle or life change, it takes awhile to get into the swing of things. Beyond the sailing, anchoring and boat maintenance/repair, there was just acclimating to a life afloat in a small, compact, very defined area. We weren’t used to living so close to nature, being dependent on tides, currents and seasons. We weren’t used to “foraging” for food, i.e. figuring out where the closest grocery store was and hoofing it with our backpacks to get there and back. I certainly wasn’t used to lugging dirty laundry to the laundromat or doing laundry by hand aboard. After awhile, however, it became second nature and we settled in.

 Squall approaching ... yikes!

Squall approaching ... yikes!

After our first big adventure of crossing the Gulf of Mexico, we stayed for a few weeks on the west Florida coast, then visited the Keys and headed up the East Coast of the US. We weathered our first big squall on the way. Cups did much better than we did and, in retrospect, I doubt it was that big a squall … it just seemed so at the time and we weren’t as prepared as we could have been. Lesson learned.

 Heading through the railroad bridge at Bahia Honda

Heading through the railroad bridge at Bahia Honda

We stopped frequently, enjoying this port or that one … Bahia Honda, Miami (yikes!), Lake Worth, St. Augustine.

 Working on Nine of Cups in Charleston, SC

Working on Nine of Cups in Charleston, SC

 

We determined we needed to add some equipment … solar panels, wind gens, more robust ground tackle, an SSB (single sideband radio). After careful research, we made all the purchases and stopped in Charleston for David to install it all. We always had our eyes on the horizon though, pushing to go further to the next port. We felt compelled to rush, always cognizant of our budget and spending. We were just a tiny bit fearful of the next dragon to raise his head … not so much that we didn’t think we could handle it, just that we never knew what or where the dragon might be.

 Hopetown Harbour, Abacos, Bahamas

Hopetown Harbour, Abacos, Bahamas

 

 

 

The summer of Year 2 aboard, we headed to Maine … a place the nay-sayers in Texas told us to avoid … too many lobster traps, deep anchorages, unfriendly people, year-long waiting lists for moorings. It was a good decision and gave us more confidence in ourselves and Nine of Cups while allowing us the opportunity to explore downeast Maine and Mount Desert Island. Then, we headed south to the Bahamas … the Berries and the Abacos. Enjoyable, but crowded … not really our cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 Canadian freighter schooner  Aventuur  at Charleston Maritime Center, SC

Canadian freighter schooner Aventuur at Charleston Maritime Center, SC

 

While in Charleston on our way back north the following year, we met Andy from the Canadian sailing schooner, Aventuur. After a few discussions with him, we determined New Brunswick, Canada was the place to go and we headed north the following summer. We enjoyed Nova Scotia and New Brunswick so much, we didn’t have time to explore as much as we had planned. The meet-up with Andy in Canada is a story unto itself. Read it here.

 

 

 

 

 

Our adage became … if you can see your breath, time to move south, so once again, we traipsed down the east coast as the weather got colder. We sailed through Hell’s Gate in New York City, past the Statue of Liberty and the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers. Though the US east Coast offers significant sailing opportunities, we felt it was time to set our sights a bit further afield. We’d read and heard about the lush Caribbean and the wonders of Trinidad. Perhaps that’s where we should head? We made another trip across the Gulf Stream in late November headed to the Bahamas, but this time we had thoughts of heading south in mind … after all, it was just a little further.