Alabaster Bay

When we left Hatchet Bay, we were headed for Governors Harbour.  We decided en route, due to the slightly uncomfortable sea state, that we would cut the passage short and anchor in Alabaster Bay.  This ended up being a great choice!  This bay is gorgeous!  The beach is miles long and the beach combing fruitful.  There were 2 other boats when we came in and the catamaran was gone the next day.

We were able to easily get the dogs to shore, watching when the other boaters had their dogs ashore.  There was also some ruins to explore on the beach and plenty of trees for hanging our hammocks.  A US Navy base was a mile and a half down the road and we walked there to explore.  There are old barracks, gas station, brig, store, absolutely everything that a small base would require.  And it was abandoned.  It turns out that this base played a major role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The base was formed to “listen” to submarines off shore in the Atlantic.  It was initially an experimental sight, that ended up being exactly what worked to divert catastrophe.

Jeff and Jennifer rented a car for 2 days.  While they had the car, we were able to explore both ends of Eleuthera.  The first day with the car, we went to Governors Harbour and explored the Ruins of Club Med.  What a place this must have been!  A lot of the buildings are gone, but the pools (with resident ducks), daycare, tennis courts, basketball courts and courtyard  remain.  Every time we tour one of these ruins, it leads to investigation of the site.  I’m always left wondering how these places can just be walked away from.  There were documents here, plans for the future, financial logs, etc.  And they are left, to mold and blow away in the next wind.

After Club Med, we ate lunch at Buccaneers and ventured further south and found church ruins at Bannerman Town and Lighthouse Beach.  This, my friends, is the most beautiful, secluded beach I’ve ever laid eyes on!!  Now, before you hop in your Chrysler and head out there, be forewarned that the road is questionable.  It’s a good thing the Savori’s rented a Jeep, that’s all I’m saying.

Day 2 of the car rental took us north.  We ate at an absolutely amazing restaurant along the way that had the best local cuisine.  It was called Island Something or other and was in Bluff, along the main road.  I had Curry chicken and it was delicious!  There are only a few items on the menu, but they are made to perfection.  Matthew had wings.  When I asked if she had BBQ sauce for them (when he ordered) she said no, but offered to make some~ and she did.  It was sooo good!  Also, when here, don’t trust the bathroom lock…..

We stopped at the Queens Bath just before the Glass Window Bridge.  This is something special.  There are several small pools and caves that fill with water depending on the sea state and tides.  The water varies in temperature and depth per pool.

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We continued up the road to Preacher’s Cave, stopping first at the Sapphire Blue Hole.  This is a salt water pool that is approximately 60 feet deep.  “Blue holes are typically found on shallow carbonate platforms, exemplified by the Bahama Banks…..” (Wikipedia).  It is a sinkhole originating from a limestone cave.  Regardless of how it’s formed, these holes are beautiful and fun.  When we stopped, there was another family there.  Two sons and the mom had made the 30 foot leap into the pool.  We didn’t really talk about jumping, but before we knew it, Matthew had taken off his flip flops and handed his dad his shirt and was preparing to jump.  Mike just had time to turn on his phone and record it!

 

 

 

After the blue hole, we went on to Preachers Cave.  This, readers, is historically very cool. It seems that this is where the first descendants of Eleuthera came, although, not on purpose.  They shipwrecked in 1684 on the Devils Backbone.  This is an especially shallow area to the north and east of the island.  They sought shelter in the cave and this is where the first church service was held on the island.  There is a cemetery, it is unmarked and we were unable to find it.  This cave is pretty large and has several alternate entrances to the grassy knoll above.

After the cave we wondered down a few other narrow roads and found some mangoes.

 

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That night we made hot dogs on the beach.  It was our last night on Alabaster and we were a little sad.  This also marked our turn around point and from here on we are headed back to the states.

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The next leg was making a turn towards New Providence.  This is where Nassau is, the Capitol.  We had no desire to go here (we have been vacationing there every year since 2005) while cruising.  It was, however, on the way.  We anchored at Rose Island.  The sea was bumpy and the anchor kept up the rolling.  When we were nearing Rose Island, Mike caught a fish, that when he pulled it in, had been partially eaten in the process.  We hadn’t had anything like this happen and were a little weirded out….  Also along the way, I had tea in my favorite cup from Lynn and read a little.  I was seasick for part of the day and the tea was comforting.

We sit, now at Hog Cay.  Yesterday we explored Bird Cay and the fascinating story behind it.  This was owned by Francis Frances, who was a descendant of the Rockefeller family (Standard Oil).  He bought the house from his sister, Joe Carstair (now that’s an interesting story- look her up.  There is a book called The Queen of Whale Cay, which I intend to read about her.  Anyhoo- Frances and his wife built a mansion and essentially a compound here and made it their winter home.  Google Bird Cay and see the stories.  It is pretty cool.  The house could be made beautiful again with repairs (a lot of repairs) as it’s not completely ruined.  The bones still look good, to me 🙂  I didn’t get many pictures, mostly video and I haven’t gone through them, yet.  Stay tuned!

This brings me to my next point.  YouTube.  We have posted a few videos.  Let me tell you something…. if you enjoy a YouTube channel or two, appreciate the work that is involved.  It is time consuming editing a video!  It is also HARD!  So, that said, go visit our sight.  And be kind- it’s the beginning and it can only get better.  I look at comments on other channels and wander where people get the idea they are invited to criticize….  How about say something nice, or not at all..  Ok, enough.  Yes, I’m fearful of criticism.  There, I said it.  I’ll continue posting videos either way, as this is a good way for us to save them and show our families.  So there.  Enjoy:

Here’s the link for the latest episode.

My next post will likely be from Florida.  We either have 3 days to go, or straight through any of those days depending on the weather.  Pray for safe travel, if you are so inclined.  I will be flying Matthew to Sioux Falls and bringing my dad back in a week or so.  My brother, Jamie, is calling this the prisoner exchange.  Matthew likens it more to a hostage situation as he is very excited to be going home.  Dad will make the last leg with us.  I’ll be happy to see him, then anxious to get home to my big kids and grandson and the rest of the family.

Until then~ Slainte’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Beautiful Bahamas!

After 2 weeks of waiting for the right weather in West Palm Beach, we were finally able to cross.

While in West Palm, we kept busy. There were errands to run, chores and laundry and all the usual household chores. Mike and Jeff, from Ventolines, made a trip to Ft Lauderdale to purchase a watermaker kit and that was installed. This is big news for us. I like to rinse the deck with fresh water, rinse the dogs, shower, etc without worry. This is such a blessing! Mike also had to go up the mast several times to replace a broken halyard. You can get seasick when you are 60 ft in the air when the boat is rolling. Thank you very much motor boats for the wake!!

We also went to the Manatee Lagoon and Loggerhead marine hospital. These were fun and very informative. However, the manatee still elude me. I’ve been pursuing Barbara Manatee (my fellow Veggie Tale fans will know what I’m talking about) for a year and have still not seen one!!
The day we spent out at the Lagoon, etc we were bringing provisions back to the boat and were watching flashing blue lights that appeared to be near Voyager. As we got home, we could see that the law enforcement boats were nearby and one approached us. Due to our recent history while here (see last post) we were a little defensive. They were, however, warning us that there was to be a fireworks display in about 30 minutes and our boat was in the downfall. We explained it would take us a bit to move as our dinghy was full of provisions and we had to get them aboard, etc. Mike also had to address an oil overfill before we could start the motor. Matthew was terrified because they used “we don’t want your boat to catch fire” as a nudge for us to take them seriously. In the end, we got things sorted and moved a short distance up wind to watch the fireworks then went back to our anchorage. The dogs were exhausted and we wondered how hard they worked while protecting Voyager from the police while we were gone.

We decided late Saturday the 30th of March that we would cross the next morning. We had a completely random message from Bruce on Mambo. He is who we sailed with 2 years ago in the Bahamas on a charter. We learned so much from him that trip and had arranged to crew with him last May. We weren’t able to as the weather didn’t cooperate (see first few blog posts). Now, Bruce contacts us, out of the blue and he is in the same anchorage! He and Mike talked after several facebook messages and after a long discussion, Jeff and Mike conferred and we made plans to cross the next morning rather than waiting for evening. We were just blown away that not only did the Lord send us Ventolines, but now He placed Mambo, with his decades of experience here with us, as well! He is so good to us! Matthew had kayaked over to Ventolines for a sleep over, so we made plans for him to come home early the next morning before departure.


At approximately 0630 Sunday, we were ready to move out. It took a little bit longer, but the excitement was tangible. We set a course and off we went. We had just gotten into the gulf stream when Mambo called and said he was having concerns over his engine temp. Mike and he brainstormed a little and Mike commented on how much seaweed we had in our strainer and he might want to check that. Not long after, Ventolines called and were having motor problems. Their Raycor (fuel filter) was plugged. The sea was rolling and there wasn’t great wind for sailing, so Jeff raised his main to try to stabilize the boat while he worked on it. After an hour and a half or so, they decided they would probably need to call a tow boat. Working in a hot engine room with diesel fumes and rolling seas is not fun. This was terrible news. They wanted us to go on, but we were reluctant. We were barely off shore and we weren’t sure we wanted to leave them. If we had been further out, we definitely wouldn’t have. Mambo had just let us know he had reversed his prop and unloaded a bunch of seaweed that was wrapped on. This took care of his overheating. Since he was out there, headed the same direction, we conceded to go on. I cried as Mike increased our speed and we pulled away. It was an absolutely awful feeling!

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About an hour later, we get a call on the radio from Ventolines. Jeff had continued to work on the motor rather than call for a tow and they were running and underway! Matthew and I screamed for joy! What a relief this was! We had originally planned to anchor south of Memory rock, but then decided to make Mangrove Cay. We came in after dark. I hadn’t slept well for the last few nights and my perception was questionable. We could see a few other boats anchored, but were unable to determine just where they were and how far. The island is very small and about a mile in the distance. Since we were in very shallow water on the Little Bahama Bank, we decided to just drop the hook there rather than trust our judgement any closer in. We were also thinking about Mambo and Ventolines coming in after us and wanting to be visible for them. I went to bed almost immediately. I sat outside and prayed and thanked our Lord for the blessings of the day. The stars were so bright and felt so close, it was mesmerizing! Mike sat up waiting for Ventolines. He had radio contact with Mambo, who was going on until he was tired, but was unable to get ahold of Jeff. Mambo passed on where we were so they knew to look for us. Jeff told us later that when they were approaching, he recognized Voyager by the dim lights. The other boats, although further away were brighter. Our anchor light was out and Mike has rigged a solar garden light to our stay as a temporary fix. We laughed at his recounting of seeing us, dim as we were. Mike said he was watching a movie and still hadn’t heard from them, when a spotlight came through the portlight. He said it startled him and he wondered who the heck was spotlighting us way out there…. Jeff, that’s who! HAHA!

The next day we made for Crab Cay at the north end of Little Abaco. This was a beautiful bay with a few other boats anchored in. Mike had caught a few barracuda and a king mackerel on the crossing. Ventolines crew came over for supper and we enjoyed the mackerel with rice and salad with brownies for dessert. It was marvelous. It was so good to sit in our cockpit with these precious people again! I’m still so grateful they were able to come on!

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We reached Green Turtle Cay yesterday afternoon. We were at low tide, so had to sit outside the sound for a few hours. Our boat needs 5 ft 4 in of water and the inlet is only 4 ft at low tide and 7 feet at high tide. The wind was blowing higher than expected and the anchorage was rocky. It was still nice to sit out on the deck and read while waiting for the tide to raise. We made plans to anchor somewhere more sheltered if there was no mooring or dock available inside. When 4:30pm came around Donny’s Marina came through and offered us 1 mooring and 1 dock space. We took the dock and Ventolines took the mooring. Docking is so nerve wracking. We have done alright so far, but I get terribly anxious every time. There were 3 people waiting for us to catch lines and we managed just fine.

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Total distance with stops= 180kt miles

As I write, Mike and Jeff are off to Customs and Immigration to get that sorted. I can’t wait to take the dogs for a good walk and explore the area. Green Turtle Cay is someplace that everyone who has been here, loves and raves about. There is a ton of history and I’m especially interested in the Loyalist history after the Revolutionary War.
Right. So, that’s where we are and what’s been happening. I have no idea what the plans are from here. What I do know is the Spirit will lead us.
Slainte’

Hallelujah- We are on our way!!!

On March 4th, at sunset, we were launched from the boat yard! Because we were launched so late in the day, it meant we were also anchoring in the dark, in a 7 knot current, with 6 foot tides and a very narrow channel. We reset our anchor 5 times that night, with a good set finally being attained the next morning at 0600. It was not a restful night, but we were sooooo very happy to be floating again!

We wrapped up a few projects and were finally able to be underway on Friday. S/V Ventolines had contacted us Thursday evening. They are the friends we had met in Brunswick, who had also had some delays. They were currently anchored just a few miles from us! So, on Friday morning, we all set sail for a few miles off shore and headed south.

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I can not begin to express the jubilation and excitement leaving that river had on us! The only down side, was that I had just had news that my aunt, the closest adult I had besides my parents and grandma, who had been on a ventilator for more than a month, had made the decision to stop all efforts that day. So, as we bobbed and rolled and sailed that day (it was a rolling sea), I grieved for my aunt. If we had still been in the yard, I probably would have lost my mind! The sea is truly therapeutic and I spent most of the next 24 hours crying and praying. Mike and Matthew were understanding and just let me mourn.

We were at sea for about 36 hours when we crept into Cape Canaveral. There was another channel, a lift bridge and a lock system. The lift bridge and lock being entirely new experiences. I think we managed like rockstars and were feeling pretty good until we saw where we were to dock. Docking a boat is likened to a controlled crash. Put the controlled crash between 2 pylons and a 10 foot long dock and things get tense. We knew it was coming and with the motor in neutral as soon as we nosed in, we used the gaffs, ropes and a very nice gentleman from another boat, we only knicked the bow a little.

We stayed at the Harbortown Marina for 3 nights. We were able to do some laundry, ate a few good meals and had fellowship with the Sivori family whom until now we had only had radio contact with for 2 days. Wyatt and Matthew get along so well, as do the adults. Mike and Jeff tuned the rigging of both boats and discussed all kinds of other projects, goals and plans. The boys swam, Jennifer and I went to Goodwill. It was a great place to rest for a few days.

We then proceeded south on the ICW. We looked at the weather and decided if we had to motor, we might as well stay a little more comfortable. This also gave us the chance for more practice with the bridges and anchoring. Since anchoring in the channel outside the boatyard, I had some anxiety about it.

Our first ICW anchorage was called Serenity. Some of you will understand why this name has special meaning to us. We had a short dinghy trip to shore on an isolated island and the dogs loved it. They swam and smelled everything. We had our buddy boat over for spaghetti and had a grand time. I still worried over the anchor all night however, despite us not moving even a little…..

Our second anchorage was near Vero beach. We were adjacent a bridge and there was a restaurant with a dinghy dock. Conchy Joes had delicious food. I had a grapefruit and fennel green salad with mahi mahi. It was soooo good! Mike had fish tacos which he claimed were equally delicious and Matthew had his usual burger. There was also a fishing pier and boat ramp at a park and we were able to give the dogs a good walk. It was a quiet night and yet I still checked our anchor all night long.

Our 4th leg brought us to West Palm Beach. We are in a huge anchorage with a prominent police presence (more on this later). There are cruise ships, mega yachts, various trawlers, fishing vessels and sailboats. We have access to the Palm Beach Sailing Club and their facilities. We can shower there, use the dinghy dock and participate in any events. Due to the weather, we will be sitting here until the next weekend. I have relaxed my anchoring worries a little while here and sleep has been welcomed. Last night we had some strange tides and wind, Voyager rocked and rolled enough that the hook holding our fruit and veggie hammocks came out! Still our Rocna 20 held! This is a confidence booster for us (me mostly).

Right- Police Presence. Well, as soon as we had set the hook, we lowered the dinghy and took the dogs to shore. We were about half way there and were pulled over by a young, zealous GFP officer. We were speeding. We also didn’t have our paperwork onboard. Mike had somehow thought to take his wallet, so we at least had some ID onboard. He gave us a warning and stern lecture on knowing the local rules. We thanked him and were on our way. After that, we have proceeded very slowly in our dinghy and I took pictures of our paperwork to keep on my phone for reference. Well, 3 nights later, we are towing Jeff on their tender, the motor had given out. It was dusk and I was using a spotlight in the bow. We are about 1/2 way back to the boats when we are pulled over, again! Same officer. He starts in on how neither of our boats have a 360 light….. Mike explains, the motor had broke down, hence the towing and we weren’t anticipating being this late, etc. The officer then recognizes Mike and says, “I’ve already stopped you once, I’m not giving you anymore warnings after this one!”. He then looks at Jeff and says, “do you have ANY documentation to show this boat is yours?” Jeff read him off the registration number, using military phonetics and promised to have a 360 light and the officer calmed down a little. While we have seen several vessels pulled over for speeding, etc, ours have been the only dinghy’s we have seen pulled over, most are power boats and wave runners leaving a significant wake. Most tenders around us have gone much faster and there have been no other 360 lights. As Jeff said, “that guy has a special place in his heart for Mike, now”. HAHA! Both guys report the police are very visible on shore as well. Florida has a reputation for harassing cruisers and I guess we are an easy target.

We came in last Thursday, the 11th. Saturday while Mike and Jeff went to Ft. Lauderdale for a water maker (YAY!!!) Jennifer and the boys and I took Meg (dinghy) over to Peanut Island. Its a lovely spot with beaches and a campground with a walking trail around the perimeter. There is supposed to be a museum, but it wasn’t open. Apparently President Kennedy had a bunker here during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His family’s beach house is just across the island from us, about 1 mile on the Atlantic side.

Mike took the dogs for their health exams today, so we are ready for our crossing as soon as the weather permits. As I write, Wyatt and Matthew are playing nerf guns and running, yes running all over the boat, up on the deck and down below. It’s very noisy and screetchy and I wouldn’t change it. Matthew has been missing his “brothers”, Kadrian, Kyrihn and Kyuss like crazy as well as nephew Luc and niece, El. Having Wyatt has eased his homesickness and having Jennifer to relate to on this journey has been a blessing for me, as well. Mike and Jeff get along like they’ve always known each other- it’s amazing. I can’t not believe that all our delays and frusterations were where God was leading us to these people to buddy boat with. I’m so thankful He put us in each others path!

Right- as we sit here, waiting for our chance to get our passage to the Bahamas started, Mike has put the water maker in, we are just waiting for the pump to arrive tomorrow. He has also completed a few other projects, shower drain pump, deck pump, etc. He wants me to post the complete list of all he has done since buying the boat, but I’m not up to that. Maybe he will have to do his own blog post 😉

Boat schooling is going pretty well. Matthew has a standardized test next week that I’m a little anxious for. The wifi and computer have to be a certain strength and settings. If we have been able to make our passage, I’ll have to make sure those requirements are met by Monday. Perhaps we can find a library to use the computer. We will be praying for all this to fall into place as everything else has.

Slainte’

PS Check out Sailing Ventolines on Facebook and Instagram

PSS I highly recommend Max Lucado’s book on Anxiety; Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

PSSS Sitting on the hook in windy, rolly seas can also make one seasick 😦

Winter Weather

I’m afraid I don’t have a ton of information worth sharing at present, but am feeling compelled to write something.

We have been living in the camper for 4 full months, with 2 1/2 to go.  Mostly I don’t mind.  However, when the 3 of us are here, plus the 3 big dogs, I find I feel a little short of breathing space.  Megan’s family comes on Tuesdays generally as they are both off work that day, that makes 6 of us for supper plus the dogs.  I can’t complain about our self imposed tiny living, but sometimes I’m tempted.  I take my time doing laundry at Sean’s, folding the clothes and enjoying what feels like wide open rooms.  He wouldn’t mind if we were up there more, but it’s his house now and I don’t want to take advantage.  When I have had big things to cook, I’ve used his kitchen, besides laundry that’s the extent of my coveting our old house.  He stops in after work several times a week and I can’t pretend that I don’t love seeing more of him.

We have been working on the apartment to some extent.  The work really goes easier when Jon and Sean are able to help.  My back has been giving me grief, so I haven’t been on hand as much.  When I’m feeling short on patience with our living situation, I look at Pintrest for kitchen ideas, that seems to keep me focused.

The last few weeks have been wet, snowy and cold.   Today is October 16th.  I look at the temperatures in Brunswick, then Nassau almost daily.  We watch our favorite sailing YouTube channels and anticipate our travels coming up in just a few months.   We haven’t set a course as of yet, but I’m looking forward to getting on the boat and making those plans.  I’m missing the warm weather, already.  I envision it being cool in Georgia when we get there in December and then the trek down the ICW being gradually warmer each day.  I don’t know if that is, in fact, how it will go, but in my mind it is.

We will start homeschooling Matthew next week.  We decided to start at the beginning of the 2nd quarter rather than wait until the big move.  We are a little apprehensive.  Matthew seems to have an overly romantic view of how wonderful it will be.  I pray my patience level is adequate.   Mike and Matthew have already decided that Mike will teach math and science and I’ll do the rest.  I like this idea, being fully aware that if it is observed, or voiced that Mike is a better teacher, he will take over.    It may save headaches if he would just do it, haha!

As far as curriculum, we plan for now, to keep using the resources from his current school, Black Hills Christian Academy.  BJU (Bob Jones University) is used for most subjects, with Purposeful Design and Words Their Way.  We will see how we like it for the rest of the school year, then decide how to proceed for 5th grade.  We have talked to a few homeschooling families and watched several reviews and tutorials on You Tube trying to decide what to do.  It seemed this is the most straight forward and he’s already used to it to some degree.  We can always make adjustments as needed.  If anyone has pointers feel free to share in the comments.  We really are open to suggestions or to learn from your experience.  We will hopefully have a handle on routine before we get on the boat.

Since we will be starting the homeschooling process sooner, we plan to take a short trip to the boat in early November.  One friend who is keeping an eye on her says she needs a good washing.  So far Hurricanes Florence and Michael have both bypassed the Brunswick Marina.  We are super grateful for this, of course, but are itching to go see her and make sure all is well.

I have been brainstorming ideas with a friend, Jennifer,  from church on small gifts we can keep on the boat to share as we go along.  Again, if anyone has ideas, share them, please!  We are thinking some tea bags with a scripture, or some sample oils, etc.  Mike and another friend, Larry,  talked fishing tackle, which Larry graciously donated.  I’m, also, trying to come up with a [business/boat] card design.  I need to find a program that I like to design it, then print.  Mike is repairing our bimini cockpit cover that we brought home and is customizing it for solar panels.  We have lists for provisions that we are always adding to,  but I think this is a never ending project.

I’ll write more as the Spirit moves.  I’ve included just a few pictures from the last few weeks.  Just life, messy and uncensored.

Slainte Mhath~

FYI~ YouTube sailing channels we love:

Sailing LaVagabond

Delos

*Sailing Zatara

*Sailboat Story

*Sailing Britican

**Sailing Doodles

Distant Shores

S/V Ruby Rose

*Children onboard

**dogs on board (at least in the beginning)

 

Observing the Sabbath and finding clarity

WARNING: LONG POST – PROCEED AT OWN RISK 🙂

 

Oh my….. where to begin.

The last 6 weeks or so have just flown by.  If you are reading this, thank you.  I had intended to write weekly as a kind of diary for our adventure.  As it turns out things have just been too hectic to actually do so.  I am all the time thinking, “this is a piece of information or feeling or occurrence that I should be recording.”  As I was driving to Blunt late last Sunday night this phrase from a Frost poem popped into my head, “miles to go before I sleep” (Stopping By Woods).  It had occurred to me that we had not observed a day of rest in months.  Yes, I am serious.  MONTHS.  I’m guessing there might have been a day in April that we took a rest day.  So, the point I’m making is that our trip to Brunswick this week needed to have a little lower key or less ambitious milieu.  My back has been killing me as well as my knee.  These aren’t new injuries, just an ache and pain that I wasn’t having enough time between activities to let settle.

Right, so just what have we been doing that has brought me to this point?  So many things.  We had to get moved out of our house, so our son Sean could take it over.  We moved into our camper, but had to move out almost immediately because we had it rented out for a week.  I have helped Sean with his vacation renters and house cleaning.  Mike has not worked since May 30 at the clinic, but has continued to work in the ER in Pierre.  Besides that, we have worked on the hay barn that will eventually have 2 apartments.  Mike has been insulating, then we prepped and poured concrete in half the building (the shop side).  The Blunt house has had some major changes that are finally visible as well.  We have completed the 2nd floor bathroom and made major headway on the first floor bathroom.  The walls in the living and dining room are finally up and mudded, primed and partly painted.  I have broken 2 mowers and Mike has been able to fix one.  This next week in Sturgis is the Rally and we have again moved out of the camper for rally renters.  This seems like it should be a small project, but actually isn’t.  We live there, so the “things” being moved are our daily used items, mostly.  I’m ashamed to say how long it takes to do this and how inadequately I get it done.

I stopped working at the clinic much earlier than planned, but am now grateful it happened that way.  I don’t know how I could have managed otherwise.  We have continued to have Lucian on Sundays and when Megan gets called in.  We have also been able to keep the K’s a couple of times and are so grateful we can do that.  Pearl, our 10 month old niece has visited a few times and we were able to help Jamie and Bree with her.

Vacation Bible School is something I have helped with for the last several years.  The last 3 or so, I have headed up the craft class.  Our theme this year was “Game On” and our verse was 2 Peter 1:3 which says, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”  It was during this week that I began to feel a sense of what the Lord was calling us to do on our sailing away project.  GEAR UP, GET READY, GAME ON!

Matthew and I took a trip to Branson for a week, as well.  This is a trip that although restful, was very busy.  Helena, our 10 year old niece was able to go with us.  Megan, Lucian and Mom also went.  We had just turned in our VW jetta for the TDI lawsuit and bought a Conestoga wagon (I refuse to admit to owning a minivan, therefore it shall be known as Connie the Conestoga Wagon).  We filled her up and headed south.  My Mamaw is the reason we travel to Branson, but the town sure does offer a lot for the kids and us to do.  We took in Silver Dollar City and White Water, Samson at the Sight and Sound theater and shopped for school clothes.  Yeti shaved ice is conveniently located across from Holiday Hills where we stay, so I always stop there for my favorite treat.  I never feel like we have enough time there and miss my Mamaw more every time we leave.  Below is a picture of us celebrating her 89th birthday while we were there.

Mamaw's bday

Just as we were arriving back in South Dakota we learned of the tragic sinking of the Duck in Branson.  This was so unfortunate and shocking!  It sounds like a triad of mistakes were made and 17 people died as a result, 9 in one family!  We have ridden the Ducks countless times and have pictures of all the kids at the wheel.  It just felt to unbelievable.  There is probably a name for the grief we felt, but it just left a hollow, sad feeling.

Here’s Matthew driving the Duck Aug 5th, 2013.

M driving the duck

Link to one of many stories about the tragedy:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=19&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi15ufTutHcAhUJ7FMKHUW2CD4QFjASegQIAxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2018%2F07%2F20%2Fus%2Fduck-boat-branson-accident.html&usg=AOvVaw3-Bur1XAJWov1fbzkTqCXa

Duck

Since deciding we were undertaking this huge life change, I have struggled with the reason God is allowing me such a wonderful adventure.  I have for years thought this would be such a great thing to do, but felt it was a selfish ambition.  I mean, who doesn’t from time to time, just feel like walking away from life and doing just whatever is in your heart to do??  I had been asking God why I had this strong desire (along with Mike) if it was selfish.  And if He has a plan for us, to show us.  As pieces of our “normal life” were falling away and it became more clear that this really was what we were meant to do, I was becoming more convinced and yet more anxious.  Mike was able to see it a little more clearly, “Erin, these are signs we are on the right path”.  I couldn’t get past the “what are we supposed to DO?”  Thinking my sole motive would be living a life of leisure and not having a purpose was driving me crazy!”  There has to be a calling, a plan, SOMETHING!

Right.  When we were looking at boats, the owners of the HR had mentioned something from their cruising years that stuck with me.  She said that they kept little “gifts” on board to offer to people when they visited.  For children, they might have little stuffed animals or for women, a perfume sample.   So, while teaching VBS that week in July the Holy Spirit began to move me in a direction of simple clarity.  Why can’t I have a few VBS type  materials on board?  Why can’t I have a couple totes devoted to small but thoughtful gifts that can be given to people we come across that just need to be shown that Jesus loves them?  These are simple ways that I feel can make a difference.  Just throwing these ideas out to a few friends, our church family and family members has taken that burdon of “what am I supposed to be doing” questioning off my shoulders.  Pastor Bob brought it to the attention of the congregation last week and now there are several people being thoughtful in what we can do for others we meet as we sail.  That they are calling us unofficial missionaries is a little overwhelming, but we will try to live up to that expectation!

Back to the Sabbath.  Our first day on board Voyager was pretty restful.  Mike, however, struggles with a full day of not working.  He replaced a headroom faucet and organized a few areas.  I slept, read and M and I took a bike ride to the pool.  We have trouble adjusting to the time difference, so our nights are pretty late as are our mornings.  Strange that 2 hours can make much difference.

We brought Katniss and Falcon this trip.  I admit I have been pretty apprehensive about these 2 living on the boat with us.  They are territorial, quirky dogs.  So far, they have proved me wrong in every aspect.  They have behaved on leash, there have been no accidents and haven’t shown any hostility to those docked around us.

getting settled

We are now finding our refrigeration system has a glitch and is short cycling.  This means it’s kicking on and off and not working/cooling efficiently.  It’s also not cycling water and will burn up the motor if not addressed. we have tried a few recommended fixes, but to no avail.  We are also cleaning our water tanks and Mike will be polishing the diesel tanks.  We still have a few items to organize and stow, as well.  I’m taking this moment to write in hopes I can get into the groove.  We really are doing the blog as a record of events for personal revisiting, but hope others find it useful, entertaining or something of the kind.

So- while all this is going on, I am determined to keep our family reminded that we need to set limits on how much and how long we are working.  I also am determined to remind us all that we need to rest.  God intended us to take a day each week, from what I understand.  We need to be faithful and obey.

I’m adding this last picture for two reasons.  1. The boat is gorgeous.  2.  I’m fascinated with all things Scottish.  (Yes, it’s Inverness Canada, but still…..)

Thistle