We were sure we’d be in Miami for Thanksgiving! How could it possibly take more than two and a half months to make our way down the coast?! We (or more accurately I) imagined that each day would be perfect. We’d keep moving the desired distance from one place to the next, see a beautiful sunrise as we left an anchorage in the morning and bask in the warm glow of the sunset at our destination. So with that imagery I never would have imagined that we’d be two months behind our original schedule!
Our delays started before we even left the dock in Philadelphia. First we needed an extra week to get several key boat projects finished – that was not as much of a surprise as boat projects always take longer than planned. Then that put us at the weekend the Pope was in Philly (our friends and family would not be able to make their way to our downtown marina to see us off) and unfavorable tides in the morning. So we pushed another week. And then the storms hit the area – this wasn’t even the hurricane Joaquin that was expected, these were the heavy tropical storms coming through the area just before. With the winds in the 20s and gusts into high 30s, we were definitely not going anywhere. So that’s three weeks before we even left!
Next we were hanging out in a coffee shop in Oriental, NC and complaining about how slow our engine is running (that’s another little thing that’s been making our passage days just a little too long) when one of the guys there recommended a local boatyard to get a mechanic to come out to check it. Within 15 minutes they diagnosed the problem and within a few hours we moved to the boatyard. The boatyard was wonderful and they did an excellent job – we’d recommend it to anyone and if we need any more work done as we travel north we’ll try to time it such that we stop at Deatons to get it done there. We also met other awesome cruiser – it was truly a cruisers boatyard stop. But that set us back another week and a half – here is more about that adventure.
So there we were, already delayed over a month and only a few states down the coast. We of course began rushing a bit as I had a fligh booked out of Miami to visit family in mid-December. When you start rushing you sometimes make bad decisions as we did on that fateful Thanksgiving day trying to get to Charleston. So here we are in Charleston, NC for over a month now.
In some ways things ended up working out just as they should. I changed my flights and went back to visit with my family for three and a half weeks instead of just 10 days. I was able to be there for the birth of my nephew and the family events that followed and I extended my tickets to stay for my niece’s 5th birthday party. And everything else in between: dad’s birthday, friends, holiday parties, family time. There were many ups and downs during my visit and I am really happy I was there for all of them in person and was there to help and support my family through it all – watching from the sidelines would have been really hard.
So what’s next for us… Lots of boat projects and getting the boat ready to head back out there. We’ve taken advantage of being at a stop to expedite a few projects we were going to do in Miami while we wait for the weather window to cross to Bahamas and to get a bunch of things ordered and shipped here while we are stationary.
While we are here we plan to:
- Install the solar panels and controllers.
- Make bimini awnings to enclose the cockpit a bit more and help keep most of the rain out.
- Install new faucet in the head.
- Install the full length mirror in the head – I know we are on a boat and it’s not really high fashion over here but having access only to a pocket mirror I had to hold in my hand was driving me bananas.
- Inspect and lube all the seacocks (those are the levers that control the water flow through the holes in the boat so it’s very important they are properly inspected and maintained or the boat could sink).
We are no longer on a timeline, so once we head out of here we plan to really take our time, not to rush and make sure we truly explore the places we stop at. Our adventure isn’t over, not by a long shot. This just forced us to stop and slow down just a little bit. And if the rest of repairs go as planned, this time next week we should be back in the water!