Hello from sunny St. Augustine, Florida! Our trip is almost over after traveling on the boat for 8,654 miles, and soon we will be on our back to Michigan – without our boat. It is a bittersweet thing to be sure, but what keeps going through our heads is: “We did it!” We had set out to spend two years on the boat and see incredible places and meet incredible people, and “We did it!” From Lake Michigan to the Erie Canal, the Hudson River to the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey, up the Delaware Bay and back down the Chesapeake Bay and to the ICW where we eventually ended up in Florida and then the Bahamas! Then we turned around and came back up the entire east coast of the US, went through the East River in New York and on to the Cape Cod Canal where we ended up on a mooring ball facing the incredible city of Boston! Then we headed up to Maine where we spent over a month sailing along coasts that are so incredibly beautiful you can hardly explain them with words. After that, we turned around and reversed our entire route and went all the way back to the Bahamas. How amazing is all of that?! And all along the way we spent time talking with fellow cruisers and getting to know all about their lives. We have countless boat cards from other cruisers, but also got to know a lot of them really well. There are even a number of them that we hope to stay connected with and maybe even go and visit someday as the friendships we have forged have run deep.
Right now we are in St. Augustine and are in the thick of cleaning and polishing the boat to get her ready for her new owners, meaning that soon we will be boat-less for the first time in about 25 years. But we are ready for the change and are excited to see what the next adventure in our life will be.
In last week’s post we were traveling up the ICW along the east coast of Florida to get to St. Augustine. Last Friday night we anchored by Cocoa, Fl, and then headed north again on Saturday to Daytona. That was an interesting day as the winds kicked up – again!- even on the ICW. Granted, most of the ICW travel that day was in wider waterways so the winds had more of a chance to affect us than typically on the ICW, but it was still nuts to be in higher winds again. We left at 6:30 am with winds in the mid-teens, but by the time we reached Titusville, where we planned to stop for fuel, the wind was steady in the 27 – 29 knot range almost directly on our nose, with gusts up to 34. It was predicted to be in the high teens, but it was a lot more! We pulled into Titusville Marina and they wouldn’t even let us stop on their fuel dock as the winds were too much. We turned right around and went about 3 miles further to get behind the NASA Railroad Bridge where we were able to anchor. This allowed us to pour our last 10 gallons of fuel from our jerry cans into the boat. Just before we anchored, and knowing it was a bit shallower in that area, we briefly touched bottom, but thankfully we never got totally stuck.
We certainly weren’t in any danger of running out of fuel, but I never want to get a whole lot below half a tank so the 10 gallons just gave us a better piece of mind, especially pushing into the waves as we were. We then were going to fuel up in New Smyrna, but the marinas I called didn’t seem to really cater to sailboats and seemed too iffy for us so we continued the final 12 miles to Daytona where we filled up the fuel tank and anchored for the night. It had been a long day because with the high winds and the waves we were pushing into we could only average about 6 knots/hour, so it was slow going. We still covered 61 miles that day, but it was a slog. The waves were not that big because the fetch isn’t that long on the ICW, but we were pushing right into them which slowed us down. The boat was also totally awash in water almost the entire trip as the wind sprayed the water all over, at times even making it difficult to see through the dodger for a few seconds until the water ran off. But, the day ended well.
After a good night of sleep in Daytona we headed north again on Sunday, thankfully in much calmer winds, and went the remaining 47 miles to St. Augustine where we stayed on a mooring ball at the Municipal Marina. Throughout the day we reflected on our trip, the places we have seen and the incredible places we have gone to. We have been truly blessed to have had the opportunity to do this journey.
We did go ashore Sunday evening for a wonderful pizza in town and got to stretch our legs a bit. The next morning, Monday, we got a pump out and put another 5 gallons into our fuel tank to top it off before we headed to Oasis Marina. It was only about a 2.5 mile trip to the marina but it was our last leg on this incredible journey.
Since arriving here at Oasis Marina we have been spending our time cleaning the boat and going through absolutely everything. On Sunday the new owner will be arriving and we will be closing on it on Monday. By the time the new owner arrives we will have moved all of our stuff off the boat and will be ready to hand her over. We think she looks even better than when we first bought her!
By next Thursday the new owner and his broker will have prepped the boat for truck transport and she will head north for a stay of a few months in Muskegon before she heads off to Wisconsin where she will be slipped for good.
So you’re wondering how we’re doing with ending this amazing trip and selling the boat, and what’s going through our emotions? We are too. I know that sounds strange, but I think after being on a boat for so long you end up looking at things differently than if you had fresh eyes about a trip like this. Maybe also it didn’t help that it was so stinkin’ windy in the Bahamas this year, and that we had such tough days slogging through crazy waves in getting here. We also wonder how things would look if we didn’t push ourselves so hard to get to St. Augustine so quickly – after all, we went 580 miles on a boat in 11 days in a lot of cruddy weather! But all of that impacts us and has helped make us to definitively feel we have made the right decision in selling her. There are sailors out there who revel in 25 – 30 knot winds with 6 – 8 foot waves, but that’s not us, especially after almost two years in being out here.
It probably will hit us more in the next month or so when we may grieve more for the boat and our adventures, but for right now we are looking forward to things such as not always being concerned about electricity usage, water usage, things potentially going wrong, using a bathroom that is larger than a very small broom closet and walking around in a house that is not constantly moving around. We have actually done very well with our environment, but now as it gets closer to being on land the alternative looks good again.
We ultimately know that as we sell the boat and step away from being sailors that what we set out to do: “We did it!” And we think we did it well! And we also think we learned and grew from the experience and are probably different people than we were when we left in June of 2018. I might even get into that in a later post. We’ll see.
It will be a busy few days now until next Monday, but we picked our U Haul truck up today (which is way too big for what we need!) and by next Monday late afternoon we will be homeward bound. It is warm up in Michigan, right? We think we know where our jeans are, but really aren’t sure! Maybe we should look for them…..