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!


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!




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.

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.

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.


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 ūüėČ

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.


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 ūüė¶

Boat Yard Life Episode 2


I haven’t written in awhile. I will attribute this to the old adage “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”.

A pretty Island Packet that was just hauled out. This is how close we are to the lift.

While this is mostly true, our life here hasn’t been bad. We have met some extremely nice people. We have made some friends. Boat schooling is going pretty well. We aren’t in the frozen tundra of South Dakota. Being here for the last 6 weeks isn’t where we planned on being, and this has led me to being a little resentful of being away from family and friends to just “sit here”. One of the first people we met said, “when you’re sailing, you learn to let go of plans”. Touche.

One of the friends we have made, Chris (S/V Water Frog) has spent the last solid year making repairs that weren’t in her survey, which, interestingly, was also done by the same surveyor we had. She wasn’t able to sail for a couple years, so didn’t begin getting her boat ready immediately, thereby wasn’t aware of the true condition of her boat. The resident boatbuilder, Ron, who has somewhere around 35 years experience has been overseeing Mike’s work and making recommendations on how to proceed with Voyager. John, the rigger had a similar situation with his boat and was able to tell us right away when we hauled out, what the problem was with our deck. Rocky and his family have been amazing. This is his yard and he lives on site. His son, Clayton, 5, has entertained us with his driving prowess (he sits behind the wheel of side by sides, a dirt bike, the heavy forklift, basically anything with wheels) and has kept Matthew busy on his trampoline and playing.

Chris climbing the mast of Water Frog.

Ron has said he would happily put his name on any work Mike has done. The gentleman in the Tayana next to us has tried relentlessly to get Mike to work on his boat. When he realized Mike is actually a physician by trade, he couldn’t believe it. John has offered Mike a job doing the wood work on his boat. I guess if we wanted to stay here indefinitely, he could have a job!

Wet deck core.
Wet deck.


Finished port deck and new rigging.



Finished port side cabinetry.

I, meanwhile, teach Matthew and we go on field trips. I keep the dogs out of the way and try to keep them safely exercised. I help Mike when I can. I’ve mixed epoxy, held the backs of nuts and bolts, removed stanchions and plates, pulled a portlight to replace, painted and painted and painted, sanded the new fiberglass on the deck (I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN) and I clean the galley before I prepare every meal, due to the constant dust from the construction.




Some of the sites we have taken in are the submarine museum, the Cumberland Island Museum, the Amelia Island Museum, the Tabby Sugar Mill and various restaurants. A block from the yard, I found an old, very small cemetery. There’s a stone there for a Revolutionary War soldier! We have met some friendly dog owners at the dog park and boat schooled at the parks nearby. We have learned about local mushrooms due to Katniss deciding it was a good idea to taste several varieties we found in a local park. This was a scary occurrence and we are still keeping an eye on her to make sure she is ok. This dog is constantly pushing the limits on safe activity. She eats everything and gets herself into some perilous situations routinely! She has worn me out cleaning up after her! Because of this, she is well known in the yard, not something I’m especially proud of.


All in all, this is part of the adventure. We are learning as we go and making friends. No experience is wasted and we are hopefully blessing those around us as they are blessing us.

We have been advised to write a letter to the certifying agency of the surveyor we used due to the number of issues that weren’t listed on the survey. While we haven’t done this yet, we are certainly considering it. We just aren’t sure how much more energy and time we want to give this, other than getting the boat repaired and back in the water. On one of my walks, I found a house down the road. It resembles a mansion and is considered a “handyman special”. There’s a dilapidated tennis court, fountain, pool, etc. The asking price is less than we sold our house for. I jokingly said if we were going to be here awhile, we might as well take on another house rebuild, too. At least the dogs would have a yard while we worked…..

Slainte’ ¬†¬† _/)

Why are we living in the boatyard when we are supposed to be sailing?

Murphy’s Law/ Myers Law/ God’s Timing~

Maybe I should just learn that my timing and urgency isn’t necessarily the Ultimate Plan.¬† Maybe, I need to learn patience and not to rush my plan.¬† I’m guessing this is the lesson.¬† On Saturday at about noon, we threw off the dock lines and headed for the fuel dock on our way out of Brunswick.¬† After fueling up and dumping the head, we departed.¬† ONE mile and just across the bridge we encountered the first problem.¬† While checking the engine, Mike found that the front of the engine was streaming antifreeze and steaming.¬† Mike had replaced all the hoses on the engine, except one that wasn’t included in the hose kit from American Diesel.¬† The piece of hose (an old rubber cap) that wasn’t replaced cracked and antifreeze was streaming out of the engine.¬† So, Mike and Dad devised a plug and got her rigged so we could make it to an anchorage.¬† We were by now about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule.


The channel leaving Brunswick has markers 8 miles into the sea.¬† Therefore we have to motor or sail that far out before turning south.¬† We opted to cruise out of the ICW because it gets a little hairy behind Jekyl Island and we weren’t wanting to risk running aground.¬† However, we got out to the last marker and the seas were pretty rolly.¬† It wasn’t scary and the wind was only 9-11 knots from the NE, but it wasn’t comfortable.¬† We had 3-6 foot seas coming from what seemed like every direction, but was mainly the north.¬† We got our cutter sail up and headed south.¬† The temp was in the 60’s and the breeze was brisk. (Side note; I’ve been wearing my North Face coat most days since leaving SD.¬† Not something I thought would happen.¬† Funny how one climatizes so quickly.)¬† Mike was pretty seasick after he went below deck checking the engine.¬† Matthew had a bit of a meltdown, then decided that he was comfortable on the floor of the aft cabin wrapped in his blanket.


We had by now decided we weren’t going to make it to our original destination of St Marys river at the southern end of Cumberland Island.¬† We chose the northern end in the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway AKA The Ditch) to anchor for the night.¬† This took several hours to reach and was after dark as we came in to St Andrews Sound.¬† We were praying the GPS was accurate as this was new territory for us and there are shallows several miles into the Ocean.¬† At our first marker approaching the sound, we hit 9′ depths.¬† Our draw is 5’4″, thankfully, but that was a little uncomfortable.¬† With Mike and Dad both watching for the markers, we made it safely to our anchorage and dropped the hook.¬† We then made supper and settled in for the night.

Erin; helmswoman, galley slave.


Car carrier passing us as we headed out the channel at Brunswick.




Awaking to an amazing sunrise, we broke our fast and headed down the Ditch for St Marys.¬† On our way, we had a few other very shallow areas (6-7′ in one place) and passed a Navy Submarine Base.¬† This was very cool.¬† There is a large “degaussing” station in the channel to navigate around.¬† Apparently some cruisers have been witness to subs coming into the base.¬† Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be for us.¬† We made it to the mouth of the North River, where we would approach the boat yard to haul out to paint the bottom.¬† We anchored for about an hour and made lunch and waited for high tide.¬† The approach is a narrow river that is shallow at low tide.¬† We followed succinct directions that are provided by the yard and made it without problem.¬† About 3/4 in we had a dolphin escort, which was fun.¬† We had seen a few along the way, as well- it’s always exciting.

When we arrived we were pulled into the lift backwards.¬† We hadn’t hauled out before, so this was all new to us.¬† These men are skilled, let me tell ya.¬† I had minimal maneuvering to do, as they guided us and pulled on Voyager with gaffs.¬† As soon as we were in the sling, they assisted us off the boat.¬† I walked the dogs and tried to keep the peace between our dogs and the yard dogs.¬† I soon saw Mike approaching with a not so happy look on his face.¬† It seems that one of the crew noticed “oil canning” on our starboard side.¬† This is basically a deformation of the hull- it looks like dents.¬† This is caused by a weakness in the deck with the knee, hull and deck beginning to separate.¬† Not good news for us!¬† If we hadn’t hauled out to paint the bottom at Mike’s insistence it could have been detrimental for us.¬† The rigging attaches to the chain plate.¬† The chain plate attaches to the knee.¬† The knee is supported by the hull and the deck. In a strong wind or rocky sea, this could lead to a de-masting of our boat.¬† (A few years ago we had experienced a de-masting on our MacGregor 25- that was traumatic enough- nothing compared to what this would have been.)¬† We discovered the deck was weak from previous water damage and had bulged upward 3/8 of an inch.¬† The tabbing on the hull that attaches the knee to the hull had separated 1/4 of an inch.¬† When will I learn to listen when Mike is feeling particularly led to do something?


Freshly painted hull


Dad scraping the bottom.

So- that night, Sunday, we painted the bottom of the boat with 3 coats.¬† Voyager remained in the sling and we discussed and prayed about the situation.¬† We were happy to find that a boat builder and rigger were both available for consultation as well as the many other “experts” who live or hanging around the yard.

The next morning after all the opinions were made, it was decided we have at least 1, maybe 2 or 3 weeks of work to do.¬† Voyager was presently unsafe and needed to be dealt with.¬† After coming out of the sling and put on stands, the hull shape improved, minimally.¬† Where the deck was raising at the placement of the chain plates, weight was applied.¬† That also helped, minimally.¬† Mike began ripping into the interior cabinets on the starboard side.¬† He found the interior woodwork was rotten and easy to remove.¬† Thankfully, he didn’t feel he needed to dismantle the fronts, where the stained glass doors and beautiful teak wood work are appealing to look at.¬† An assessment and more conversations, now also including the man who conducted our survey, showed where the fiberglass on the hull was separating from the knee.¬† More bad news.

Showing how the new support will go threw this slates and be fiberglassed into place.


Now, Mike has rigged a frame inside the boat that stabilizes the hull and it has regained the shape.¬† When he did this, our aft cabin door began closing easily.¬† We had thought humidity was to blame for the difficulty in closing it the last few days.¬† So, with that sorted, a plan for restructuring and reinforcing was made.¬† Ron, the boat builder and John, the rigger have made several stops to see how she’s looking and make suggestions and guide Mike through the process.¬† This week, beginning tomorrow, we will move into a motel while the fiberglass work is done.¬† The dust and fumes will make it necessary.¬† This is absolutely not what we had planned on happening and are pretty disappointed.¬† However, since it has happened, we are grateful that it was found here.¬† This is a one-of-a- kind place with helpful, friendly people and great service.¬† We aren’t wonting for much.



Sean flew in to Sanford/Orlando Friday night.¬† I went to pick him up and we returned to the boat at 0200.¬† He and dad will fly back to South Dakota Monday.¬† The boat is going to feel so lonely!¬† My mother’s heart has been so happy to have Sean here and Dad has been with us for nearly a month.¬† I’ll miss the company and old stories.

Eating around the frame that’s keeping the hull’s shape.
Cemetery at St Marys. the oldest grave is marked 1801, we saw 1802. A Revelutionary war Captain claims the oldest marked grave.

Yesterday, we explored St Marys a little.¬† Unfortunately, due to the government shutdown, the Cumberland Island museum and all services are closed.¬† We had fun, anyway.¬† We have also discovered a fantastic dog park and spend time there, everyday.¬† We have met other dog owners there and enjoy visiting with them.¬† We woke up today to a calendar notification on my phone telling us it’s our anniversary!¬† After 11 years, I finally have a reminder that we notice.¬† Mike and I are neither one good at remembering this, for some reason.¬† Maybe we will get a lunch out as a reward- haha!

“Happy Anniversity” from Matthew.

Right- so I think I’ll sign off, here.¬† There is much work to be done and writing this blog post has been a process- it’s been lost and revamped and I’ve been trying for awhile to attach photos.¬† The Wifi is sketchy and Mike likes to review the details of what’s happened to be honest and precise.¬† Here’s a couple provisioning pictures (remember how much I was dreading that task), the second also shows the cabinetry I was hoping to save.



So- with that said-


We have moved onto the boat~ now what?

We made it.  We arrived in Brunswick December 28th at 0200.  We were beat, had a decent sleep then welcomed friends from South Dakota aboard at 1100.  We have been here a week and a day, now, it feels like longer and I want to get out of the marina.  The boat work continues and we still need to provision.


I’ve been reading Sailing Totem (veteran sailors that have been cruising with their kids for over 10 years) posts on provisioning and feeling a little less anxious.¬† She really tries to buy fresh food where they are, but takes into account the high cost of destinations.¬† The Bahamas are a high cost destination.¬† All produce is imported, as well as everything else.¬† Since the thought of doing without “fresh” produce almost consumes me, this has been a good blog to be reading.

Ok~ enough~ what have we been doing?

Getting “stuff” put away, organizing, changing our minds and reorganizing, Mike has gotten the solar up and wired, but now finds that our old panels from Summer Breeze are working marvelously, while the 4 new panels are barely working at all.¬† He has fixed a leak in our hanging locker and gotten the dingy outboard running smoothly.¬† I got the safety net put up and feel like it looks pretty good (I was skeptical).¬† Have bagged up dog food and made a few decisions on how to stow that (huge endeavor with 2 large dogs on board), made lists and more lists.


Matthew has made 2 friends, Max is 15, Wyatt is 9.  The younger one and Matthew seem to have really hit it off.  We hope to see this family in the Bahamas later.  Based on the current outlook, they could be behind us a couple weeks.

So, what’s left to do?¬† The lists is as follows:

-fix the diesel leaks, there are 2

-finish the solar

-install the refinished handrail on the aft deck

-put trim pieces on the kitchen sink counter


-replace boom lift block

-Replace the traveler block

-jerry can boards

-install closet shelves

-investigate DC power for the fridge

-install a pvc pipe to house the small propane bottles for the grill

Still a list…. granted several of these can be sorted in a day, but the big items have taken over and demanded more time than expected.¬† Add to this that I have had a cold and have now shared it with my Dad and maybe Mike this has slowed us down somewhat.¬† Matthew has not succumbed and has kept busy with his video games and toys when not working on school work.¬† We have taken the kayaks out some and he has fished off the dock with Max and we went down to the Yacht Club on New Years Eve.¬† We aren’t the social butterflies most cruisers are, so the New Years Eve celebrations were fun, for about an hour, then we went home and played Phase 10.¬† I’m sure we will make more trips to the club events before we leave.¬† They have an exercise class most mornings at 0900. I’d like to take part in that, but can’t seem to get myself moving with this cold to be in public by that time.¬† Yesterday, after we finished up school in the library in the club house,¬† I visited with a gentleman about the benefits and draw backs to homeschooling and how well (or not) homeschooled kids do as adults.¬† He shared some statistics I hadn’t known.¬† It was an insightful conversation.¬† I appreciate meeting these people from so many walks of life, their views and experiences are always interesting.¬† I also had a great homeschooling conversation with Wyatt’s mom.¬† She is using a curriculum we considered (ABEKA) and loves it.¬† I’m storing all this information for when we make curriculum decisions next year.


Right~ so, while I am getting whiny about sitting here not sailing, we are networking and making friends and learning from other sailors.¬† We have made acquaintance with 2 separate people because of the dogs, alone.¬† Weimaraners stand out and draw attention.¬† Something we have learned with the dogs on board, is that not all stowage areas are dog proof…‚Ķ¬† Hard lesson learned.

So~ until next time~




We are in the 1 week count down for leaving South Dakota for the boat for the next 6 months.¬† This last few days has been constant review of lists.¬† Provisioning list, general packing list, how bills will be paid, what bills there are, having the dogs taken care of to get into the Bahamas, having the camper ready to be left while we are gone and most importantly spending time with family we won’t see for awhile.¬† Of course, we are trying to do school in the midst and Christmas is around the corner.


Last week we were in the Bahamas on a vacation that had been planned before we owned a boat or had a definite plan.  It was nice to relax without all the preparation we have been doing.  Mike has barely been home (in SD) as he has been working the ER in Pierre then travelling to the boat, otherwise.  He has been working like crazy and I was so happy he had to take a break- he needed it.

As for goodbyes, my very sweet Bible Study group had a bon voyage party for our last night of study.¬† We made sailboat tree ornaments and they blessed my with food for the boat. I had complained enough about the provisioning prospects.¬† I strongly dislike shopping and the thought of buying roughly 6 months of food in one trip was making me nauseated!¬† I took home a kitchen sized garbage bag (double bagged) of soup mixes, baking mixes, muffins and more to take!¬† About 50# of food!¬† This was an amazing send off!¬† Of course, we had delicious snacks, as well.¬† One of these ladies won’t be here when we return, so it was a two fold going away gathering.¬† I will miss these Sisters in Christ immensely!



Our Pastor also called us forward last Sunday the congregation to pray over us.  What a comfort to know so many people will be lifting us up!  We are truly blessed.

This next Sunday we will have a get together with Matthew’s birth family, who have all been like family to us.¬† We will have supper at a pizza joint that has an arcade and the kids can play while the adults visit.¬† We are going to miss these people like crazy!

We had an early Christmas celebration with my brother’s family this last Sunday.¬† They will be traveling to WA state this weekend, so we had to say farewell to them a little early.¬† I’ve always thought Jamie and I were very close, we have some sort of communication daily.¬† He has been away on deployments with the military, lived on the other side of the state, that sort of thing.¬† He now has a lovely wife and beautiful 1 year old baby as well as their older kids and it seems a little harder.

My dad, as mentioned in other posts, will be going with us.¬† The plan is he will spend our first 3 weeks with us on the boat, then fly home.¬† Our son, Sean will fly down and visit for a weekend, then the 2 of them will fly home.¬† Dad will be a help and I will delay a couple of goodbyes for a few weeks.¬† I really am not sure how the full time cruisers deal being away from home…. maybe they already were, so it’s not so jarring?

Mike has seen to Voyager having several updates.¬† I wanted him to do a separate post on all of this, but he only gave me his list.¬† Mike is a man of lists… He has lists for everything.¬† So, take my word for it, he has done a ton of work.¬† There has been a new kitchen sink installed, a big (for a boat) farmhouse style stainless one.¬† The faucet was already a newer one, so it’s overall gorgeous, now.¬† He has gone through countless hose clamps, fixed the windless, repaired the voltage regulator and alternator, flushed heat exchangers, wired the solar panels, built bimini gutters, among several dozen other things.¬† We should certainly be ready to throw off the dock lines!¬† There will be a stop a day or two out for a haul out to paint the bottom, but we should be underway shortly thereafter.


Matthew began taking guitar (for the 2nd time) about a month ago.  Last night he played his first recital.  He has done well and we look forward to his playing on the boat.  He still plays piano and has practiced that everyday at the house when we are doing school.  I love to hear him play and hope he will continue into adulthood.


Matthew will also be in charge of some posting as part of his writing assignments.  Look for these special blogs in the future.

I think I’ll go ahead and close out here.¬† There’s probably more news, but I’m short on attention span.¬† I would like to write more regularly as we go as I would like to see our growth while sailing.¬† I know there is so much to learn and comfort to be gained.¬† Bare with us ūüėČ

Until next time~ Fair winds

Here are my precious people-




Life as We Know It


I have come to realize that although I am not an opponent of change, I am not a proponent of going through the transition. ¬† My current wish would be to jump to January and be living on the boat full-time or go back to, say, March and be living full time in our (Sean’s) house, with kids running all over the place.¬† Overall I haven’t minded the 35 foot 5th wheel camper.¬† I have loved what time we have had on the boat so far. ¬† As we get closer to our move time, and the weather is turning colder and the holidays approach, I find myself getting more apprehensive about everything.¬† There are a few challenges of living in a camper when it’s cold.¬† Frozen pipes and drains to name the most obvious.¬† Homeschooling takes up more room that I was prepared for.¬† It’s also more time-consuming and requires more organization and steadfastness than I thought.¬† I truly believe this will become easier as we endure the initial growing pains.

Last week, we were on Voyager and Matthew was in his second week of being sick.¬† Matthew has not been sick before, beyond a couple of fevers that lasted maybe 24 hours.¬† He had never been on an antibiotic before.¬† Strep throat was diagnosed the week before, by Mike.¬† He had picked up some antibiotics for Matthew and M had been taking them.¬† His fever had come down, he seemed to be feeling mostly better by the time we got to Brunswick, other than extreme fatigue.¬† Then Monday night he began itching.¬† There were “no seeums” thick around the boat and we thought he was just scratching do to them.¬† By Tuesday morning it was apparent that this was not due to insects.¬† He was covered head to toe in a hivey, red, blanching rash that itched like crazy.¬† His face was also swollen, eyes, cheeks and most alarmingly, his lips and mouth.¬† We kept a very close eye on him, dosed him with Benedryl and stopped the amoxicillin.¬† Because of the fatigue that continued and his raspy voice we questioned whether he might also have a virus; mono maybe.¬† Mike explained, when a body is so amped up fighting a virus, then an antibiotic is introduced, the body can sometimes fight the medication as well and you get the rash and allergy type symptoms.¬† Regardless, he will not be taking Amoxicillin again.¬† So, now, into our 3rd week, Matthew still has a light rash and is still spending an inordinate amount of time sleeping.¬† Yesterday, before we got through with school, he begged for a nap and slept 3 hours.¬† This meant we were wrapping up math and science at supper time.

Right.¬† Last week on Voyager we were attempting to get several projects knocked off the list.¬† Our “project time” was somewhat compromised due to interrupted attempts at school and checking on Matthew.¬† We did get quite a bit accomplished, but Mike opted to fly back to her yesterday and get some more done.¬† So, we were up at 0330 getting him to his flight.

The ever being edited to-do list….

Matthew and I are spending time in Sean’s house for school, so we can spread out and have access to water.¬† I used to go to the gym in the mornings when I took him to school.¬† I’m at a loss now as to when I should go.¬† CrossFit Kids is on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, so that seems like a good time for me, but what about the rest of the week? Why is this such a hard thing to¬† accomplish?¬† Since I am not coordinating trips to town, I seem to be at a loss as when to go.¬† This is so strange to me.

Since “retiring” (this still doesn’t seem like a word that should apply to me) I have been trying to make a conscious effort to see my friends and make them a priority.¬† I’ve succeeded with some friends more than others.¬† As farewell time gets closer I’m getting more emotional about it.¬† Mike and I have set ourselves apart, isolated ourselves, even.¬† We have spent so much time together, working, travelling, etc that we haven’t left a lot of room for others for quite a while.¬† I recently completed a Bible Study on friendship (We Saved You a Seat by Lisa Jo Baker) that opened my eyes to several aspects of friendship I hadn’t thought of.¬† I’m trying to implement what I learned and be a better friend.¬† I also know that “time” is my love language and what I value from others.¬† This is ironic as it’s also what I have withheld to those closest to me, I believe.

I can’t really think about the upcoming 6 months without my family nearby.¬† My dad will leave with us, so that will help.¬† We have had a friends family say they will be near Brunswick when we are just getting there and we may be able to meet up with them.¬† This will make me so incredibly happy if it works out.¬† I hope that our kids and other family are able to visit, also.¬† I have visions of us reserving our condo at Harborside in the early spring and our guests staying there if they aren’t comfortable on the boat.¬† Since we are mobile, we could meet almost anywhere within reason.¬† Think about it- is a trip to the Caribbean in your future??

We are 5 months into retirement and although we have been exceedingly busy, I still haven’t found my “purpose”.¬† I guess homeschooling is the major purpose, now.¬† I’m hoping that once on the boat, it all comes together.¬† I have enjoyed having my quiet time, although interrupted, most days.¬† I’ve been creative and completed a few artsy projects.¬† I have been able to take a girl trip (Mom and Lynn and I visiting Scottsdale and seeing writer Diana Gabaldon) which was so much fun.¬† Last week alone I read 5 books!¬† 3 of them on Audible.¬† Audible is amazing, it’s definitely one of my all time favorite things.

Diana Gabaldon, mentioned above, wrote the book Voyager for which our boat is named.¬† This is the 3rd of the “big books” in the Outlander series.¬† At the end of the book, the main characters are shipwrecked and wash up on a beach in Georgia.¬† This year is also the 25th anniversary of the release of Voyager.¬† Since we found our Voyager in Georgia and it is an apt name for a boat, we went with it.

Well, this has been a scattering of thoughts for a blog post…. if you’ve stuck with it, thank you.¬† As we mentioned from the beginning our blog is a journal of events for us to reflect on as much as anything.¬† If anyone is entertained by it or interested in any way, we are appreciative.¬† We realize this is an alternate life and not everyone understands why we are doing it.¬† Sometimes I don’t know why we are doing it.¬† That’s ok.¬† The world needs us all, different lifestyles, loves and passions.

Megan and Lucian- because they are adorable. Luc had just trick or treated at a house blasting scary noises. He remained like this the rest of the evening.


Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

Proverbs 4:25

Homeschool….. game on!

Homeschool day 1

Dad is in charge of science and math

The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind.¬† On Saturday Matthew had his last soccer game of the season.¬† His team played against the parents and siblings of the team.¬† It was a really fun time, despite Matthew being kicked in the calf by a dad….ouch.¬†¬† He is fine, but was out for several minutes of the game.¬† He had a swimming party that afternoon to celebrate the conclusion of the season.

Sunday morning found us on the road to Midland for Kyuss’ baptism.¬† He is one of the children who has lived in our home.¬† Last Wednesday was his “gotcha day” and we were able to celebrate his baptism with his family.¬† We were named his godparents, which was an amazing privilege for us.¬† We picked up Lynn, Kadrian and Kyrihn and all travelled together.¬† It was like old times, having them all together, again.¬† We are so incredibly blessed by these boys and their families!

Homeschooling began yesterday.¬† ¬†So far Matthew is excited and ready for this.¬† We are having trouble understanding the new ebooks we got for teachers manual, however. We will be getting 2 hardcover books from BJU so that will be nice.¬† I’ve spent some time on the phone with tech support and some of our issue may be our wifi, which is our mobile hot spot as we don’t have good, reliable internet where we are.¬† So, maybe I’ll go into Megan’s house later and try it there.¬† I’m sure once we have all this under control, we will all feel better about it.

We have also been working (mostly Mike with¬†Jon’s help when he can be here as well as Sean on his days off)¬†tirelessly on the future house.¬† It’s looking less like a hay barn everyday!

I had some special time with my grandson, Lucian on Saturday.¬† We don’t get time, just the 2 of us, very often.¬† While Matthew was at his soccer party, Luc and I went to the DC Booth Historical Fish Hatchery.¬† We spent an hour exploring and looking at the fish and various pieces of history on display there.¬† This is a treasure to be enjoyed if you are in Spearfish.¬† Granted, it is off¬† season, now.¬† The museum, rail car, and house are all closed, but the ponds and wildlife are still on display.¬† The bright colors are in their glory.¬† If you find yourself in Spearfish, this is a beautiful, FREE activity that is family friendly.

That’s the news for now.¬† We are pressing on.¬† Upcoming plans include a master provisioning list for the boat and a trip to see her November 1!¬† SQUEE!!¬† Our friends in the marina report that she is pretty dirty and in need of a good bath.¬† I will be happy to oblige!

Slainte’ Mhath

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


*Sailing Zatara

*Sailboat Story

*Sailing Britican

**Sailing Doodles

Distant Shores

S/V Ruby Rose

*Children onboard

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


On being “homeless” and a gazillion pictures

We did it!!¬† we closed on both houses this month and are officially “homeless”.¬† This seems like an odd thing to have aspired to, but we have, at least temporarily.¬† We are still in our little 5th wheel camper and still own 10 acres of land.¬† There will now be a slow progression to building a small apartment for ourselves after finishing one for our daughter’s family to live in while keeping an eye on our “home front”.

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As per our usual, we had signed papers with the Savery’s for the Blunt house, spent a day packing up and when we went to leave, the battery was dead in Mike’s trailblazer.¬† While it was connected to the charger, we went to the grill and had a steak, thinking this would be ample time to let the car charge….wrong.¬† Right.¬† Joe and Bethany were gracious enough to let us hang out during their supper, while further charging of the battery happened.¬† I’m telling you, this is a sweet family.¬† We finally were able to embark on the journey home at 7:30pm.¬† Two hours later, with a loaded to the ceiling car and a flatbed trailer also loaded, Mike struck a fairly good-sized deer.¬† We had already joked that there were signs we weren’t supposed to leave Blunt, but this was toooo much.¬† I had been following in the Conestoga (aka mini van).¬† I hadn’t seen the deer right away, but quickly figured out what had happened when I drove past it and Mike was stopping on the shoulder.¬† Thank God the radiator and other mechanical parts weren’t harmed!!¬† As it was, the passenger side headlight, fender and inner wheel well, and door were damaged.¬† The frame where they attach was also bent.¬† So, in true Mike Preys fashion, he pulls out a few straps and a rope,¬†pry’s¬†the fender off the tire, ties it all up and we went on our way.¬† By midnight, after arriving home, he had located and messaged someone with a trailblazer they were parting out.¬†Then he¬†had¬†all the¬†necessary replacement parts by 5pm Saturday. He also has a few extra parts, in true Mike Preys fashion…..¬† Sunday, between church, taking care of grandson, Lucian and an event at church, he managed to get all the broken pieces off the car.¬† Today, Monday he has just about everything replaced.¬† He is finishing up the bumper and will be done.¬† Don’t anyone say the cobwebs have time to collect on this man!


In other news…. Matthew is adjusting at his new school.¬† It’s been slow going.¬† His grades have not been what we are used to seeing, but are improving.¬† There have been a few other issues that I won’t dwell on, but suffice it to say, things are looking better.¬† He is playing soccer in Spearfish for the first time this season.¬† His team, while not showing any inclination to win, yet, seems to get along pretty well and his coaches are also very nice.¬† He plays mostly defense and is good at it.¬† On Saturday, he ran 4 miles for a jog-a- thon that benefits his school (if interested in donating/supporting get ahold of me) then had a game immediately after.¬† His Birthmom, Kristi came and ran with him.¬† What a blessing she is for him!! We picked up Luc and headed to Kyrihns birthday party in Rapid City in the afternoon.¬† He was able to spend the night with Lynn and the boys.¬† Everyone was exhausted and I was in bed by 8:30~ unheard of!

We had a chuck wagon supper last night at church.  Our Pastors wife, Cindi had been planning this for eons and it came together amazingly!  There was so much love and time and seat put into it, such a blessing and honor to be able to help the little bit that I did.  It was a free community event and I believe we had around 70 guests.

Chuck Wagon Event

Voyager has weathered the weather (;-))¬†well, so far.¬† We have a few friends keeping an eye on her.¬† It’s a little harder that we expected to be here and not knowing how things stand with her.¬†¬† Mike is still toying with the idea of him just flying down sometime to check in and get a few more projects cranked out.¬† I guess we will see how this pans out.

Things are tight in the camper ( I feel like it should have a name, as well…. masculine maybe; Angus?¬† Malcolm?).¬† What we NEED to survive seem to grow…. mostly in shoes.¬† My¬† shoes.¬† I think as long as all our “stuff” is stored in a nearby barn, it’s likely to keep accumulating.¬† I’ve been trying to keep order to it, but now that Mike and Katniss are home as are our belongings from Blunt, I feel a little overwhelmed.¬† It’ll come together and I’ll get a system worked out, probably about the time we head south to Georgia.

Anyhoo…. it looks like we might get some September winter weather next week.¬† We wouldn’t want to get off without that kind of memory to sustain us while sailing.¬† South Dakota fall storms are notoriously bad.¬† Mike wants to plant us in the barn (camper and all) before then, ¬†but I can’t stand the idea of being holed up in there for 3 months.¬† I might be sorry next week.

Stay tuned~

Slainte Mhath