“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


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2015 in Review

This past winter was the first winter we spent living aboard in Boston, which also happened to be the snowiest winter in Boston’s recorded history!  We also spent our weekends using the space at Jesse’s office to work on boat projects. For the most part, the winter was challenging , but there was a bigger plan that we were working towards and I knew that this was a one-time experience.  Link:  Blizzard of 2015 as Liveaboards

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Constitution Marina – Boston 2015

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Several feet of snow and frozen Boston Harbor at Constitution Marina

In February, we started to coordinate getting vaccinations and medications in anticipation of our future plans.

In March, we began our courses toward getting a Captain’s License, initially studying for our six pack or OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) certification but then decided to continue on to get our Masters Near Coastal.  After getting our TWIC cards, taking a 4-part test, and passing a physical and background check, we were eligible to apply for our Captains license with the USCG. Both Jesse and I officially became Master Captains in June.       Link:   Officially Captains

In June, Jesse turned the Big 40 – so we spent the day going to his favorite spots in Boston, as well as finally taking a Duck Tour – which is amazing by the way – expensive but so much fun!

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Most of the summer we spent continuing to downsize (we still had a storage unit) and working on boat projects.  We did squeeze in a very fun trip to Provincetown with friends.   Link:  Provincetown for 4th of July  2015In August, our plans started to really become real – our family was having going away parties for us.  Even though I know that we will see them again, we would not be seeing them for the holidays this year.  It was really hard for us to say bye to Gramps, as he is now 91 and one of our favorite people on earth – we miss him very much, especially this past Christmas. 😦

September 5 was our last day at work for both Jesse and I.  I was walking away from an incredible job at Harvard Management Company (HMC) with ridiculously incredible benefits and a really great team of people.  I felt awful leaving, but my goals were no longer career oriented.

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HMC’s office – in the Federal Reserve Building (FED); FED’s lobby; HMCs lobby; South Station;  Access Pass

Labor day weekend was our last hurrah with the L dock peeps – we all had a really fun time (as usual!) in Gloucester.  We knew that this would be our last trip with all of our boating friends, many of whom we may not see again.  This was our very last buddy-boating trip with Pam & Chris on Windchaser which was especially hard. 

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Windchaser heading through the Blynman Canal – Gloucester

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 – We cut the lines and departed Hingham, MA.  We had been working towards this goal for five years and it finally became a reality.  Even three months later, it is still hard for me to believe we actually did it!  Link:  The Hardest Part

September 12 – Happy Birthday to me! 🙂  We spent the weekend at Block Island, Rhode Island.

September – December:  We journeyed through MA Bay, Buzzards Bay, Block Island Sound, Long Island Sound, East River (NYC), Atlantic Ocean along the NJ Coast, Delaware Bay & River, C&D Canal, Chesapeake Bay, Dismal Swamp, and the many sounds, creeks, and rivers of the ICW.

Thanksgiving was spent with friends at Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort, SC.  Link:  Lady’s Island Marina’s FB page and Thanksgiving pictures.

All I wanted for Christmas was to be in shorts (outside) in warm weather (preferably Florida). Much happiness…we spent Christmas in St. Augustine, Florida.

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As I write this, we are on our way to Vero Beach, FL to close out 2015 and welcome in the New Year. The past year has been a turning point and very emotional one for me, but I am most grateful to be able to follow this dream with a partner of a similar mindset.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  Twenty Years From Now You Will Be More Disappointed By The Things You Didn’t Do Than By The Ones You Did Do”

Big Hugs to all of our family & friends!  We miss you!

Happy & Healthy New Year to all! 

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Daufuskie?

We have found that we discover the most odd places when you travel with a dog and have to bring her to shore to go to the bathroom. Often, we are not sure what there is onshore (restaurants, etc), we only know that there is dry land for Summer. Our anchorage for the first night after leaving Beaufort, SC, was chosen for the nice dinghy dock that allowed us to bring Summer to shore, in the otherwise complete marshland. This was on an island just off of Hilton Head on the New River, Daufuskie Island.

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Ferry to/from Daufuskie Island

The next morning, we were completely fogged in and decided to stay another day at this anchorage. As we walked around the island we found “RUM >” signs.  Of course,  we followed the signs in order to see where the trail leads…

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To our pleasant surprise, we did indeed find – Rum!

At  Daufuskie Island Rum Company  each bottle of Daufuskie Island Rum is distilled, bottled, labeled and packed by hand on Daufuskie Island. You can tour the distillery and sample as many rums as they have available (three when we went on December 17, 2015, but vanilla was about ready for distribution). Their rum is quite tasty, so, of course, we bought a bottle from one of their early barrels. This was a really fun way to kill some time on a foggy day and have some tasty rum.  Given the opportunity, we will definitely stop here again. Cheers!

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The rest of the island is also pretty interesting.

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Savannah, Georgia

While we were staying in Beaufort, SC, our very gracious friends, Tom & Nancy Bartlett, offered to take us on a road trip to Savannah, GA.  As we had decided to skip stopping in Savannah (it is out of the way of the path south we were taking), we jumped on the chance to check out this town.

Savannah, Georgia, is America’s first planned city. General James Edward Oglethorpe (who had previously founded the colony of Georgia) founded Savannah in 1733. He designed his new capital as a series of neighborhoods centered around 24 squares. Chippewa Square is at the center of the downtown historic district (and was the site where Forrest Gump was filmed).

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To get to Savannah’s waterfront, you first walk across a bridge.

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Then you climb down some super-sketchy stairs and through an alleyway.

Savannah "underground"

Savannah “underground”

To finally get to the cobble-stoned water front.

Savannah Waterfront

Savannah Waterfront

Cracked Earth – A World Apart is a large Earth globe split in half and is a tribute to World War II . You can walk inside and read the names of those who died in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters of the conflict. 

Just off the waterfront is the market area.  There are several local artists with a gallery here.  This area very much reminded me of Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

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  • Martinis at Jen’s & Friends – over 100 martini choices including maple bacon. 
  • Dinner & Craft Beers at MoonRiver Brewing Company 
    • click the link above to check out the haunted history of this establishment
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Handmade Christmas ornament  – Cotton inside a glass bulb with the leaves on the outside.  Art by Gullah Artist & Owner of the Gallery, Sabree (and her daughter).  www.sabreesgallery.com

The Gullah are a distinctive group of African Americans whose origins lie along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, as well as the adjacent sea islands. They live in small farming and fishing units, having formed a tightly knit community that has survived slavery, the Civil War, and the emergence of modern American culture.

Big Thank You to Tom & Nancy for a very fun side trip to Savannah! 🙂

Nancy & Tom  - Savannah, GA

Nancy & Tom – Savannah, GA


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Charleston, South Carolina

The City of Many Names

The community’s name of Charles Town honored the king, but was changed to Charleston at the end of the Revolutionary War:

 Charles Town  ->  Charlestown ->   Charleston

Charleston is often referred to as the The Holy City.  The many churches in Charleston are a reminder of the impact religion once had and still has on the development of the city. The spectacular view of the cityscape is dotted with steeples, many of which you can view from the Charleston Harbor (which is also unfortunate, as these steeples were used as targets when enemies of Charleston were firing upon the town from the harbor).

Viw of the Holy City's steeples from the harbor

View of the Holy City’s steeples from the harbor

Views coming into Charleston

Views coming into Charleston

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Church that George Washington attended; including his family’s personal, locked pew

A City of Endurance

There were several fires and natural disasters that almost completely leveled the town, along with several wars in-between.

Charleston was a hotbed of secession at the start of the American Civil War and an important Atlantic Ocean port city for the fledgling Confederate States of America. The first shots against the Federal government were those fired from Fort Sumter.

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Fort Sumter flying the French flag the day after the terrorist attack in Paris, Nov.2015

Tours

We found a a great way to take in the sites and learn the history of Charleston in about 2-3 hours and FREE!

FREE Tours by Foot: http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/charleston-sc-tours/

If you are so inclined, you may tip the tour guide (which we did because he was so awesome!).  Note:  I think there may have been a $1 per person fee for reserving on-line.

The old houses and streets are so pretty.  I especially loved the gas-burning lanterns and the house that had the New England Patriots flag.

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Remnant of a time past

I really wanted to go on a historic pub crawl, but this was just too far out of the budget per person, so, we did the next best thing – Local Craft Brewery tasting tour. 🙂

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Local Brew…mmm…beer

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Our neighbor on Mega Dock:  the 159 ft sailing yacht, Thalia

You can charter the sailing yacht Thalia:    http://www.charterworld.com/?sub=yacht-charter&charter=thalia-2927

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Dolphin in the marina

Charleston was fun but we must continue south to warmer weather and blue water.


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The ICW: Opportunities for all to Get Shot, Run Aground, or See an Elephant (Miles 200-400)

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a 3,000-mile (4,800 km) inland waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States; consisting of natural inlets from/to the ocean, fresh and salt water rivers, bays, sounds, creeks, and artificial canals. The sites and the trip along the ICW cannot be described in one word.  At times it is painfully boring but at other times you cannot take enough pictures and at other times you are just baffled trying to comprehend why certain waterways on the ICW are utilized (shallow and shoaling, swamp, military camp with active ammunition activity, just to name a few challenges).

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The houses and yard art were both fun and interesting to see.

The ICW through Camp Lejeune occasionally closes for artillery, small-weapons firing, and beach landing exercises.  You may get to this point and need to figure out what to do with yourself for a while -It’s not like you can just park the boat and go for a walk!

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Collages

There are many different boats navigating the ICW.  Some boats have become a hazard to navigation.

North and South Carolina are Golf-Meccas and there are hundreds of courses on the coast.  The course designers have figured out how to “play-through” the pesky waterway known as the ICW.

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And, of course, there were more bridges.

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Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

But, best of all, there were more dolphins.

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Nature Ops:  Dolphins, Eagles, Pelicans, and yes, those are Goats!


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Beaufort, North Carolina

Do you want to come to the south? Well, you should know that there are two towns named Beaufort and you better learn the correct pronunciation of each.  You see, there is a Beaufort in both North Carolina and South Carolina, both of which are along the coast on the ICW.  Many people stop in both locations and have messed up which is which: Beaufort, NC is “Boe-fert” where as Beaufort, SC is “Bew-fert”….why? – I have no clue!

We had a magical journey from Oriental to Beaufort – there were so many dolphins!  As we rounded into Taylor Creek in Beaufort we saw false albacore tuna jumping right of the water, and then we saw her….our first Wild Horse!

Wild Horses

Beaufort’s wild horses can only be reached by boat, across Taylor Creek at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve, where they have free run of the entire Reserve which is made up of Town Marsh, Carrot Island, Bird Shoal and Horse Island. The habitation has extremely little fresh water, which is mostly ground water the horses find by digging.

Unlike North Carolina’s other three groups of wild horses, the Beaufort horses’ lineage is not isolated to the bloodlines of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs. These horses are descended from stock kept on these islands in the 1940s by the Beaufort doctor who then owned the land. Researchers have noted that these “feral” horses exhibit the characteristics of the wild Outer Banks horses descended from the Spanish Mustang stock that first arrived on these barrier islands as far back as the early 1500’s. I suspect there has been some island-hopping horse love happening. 😉

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We hiked and kayaked the Reserve but it was challenging to get the dinghy through the marshy inlets.  We probably saw about 50 horses at one time and a little baby horse (colt?) with it’s parents.  Each day we had at least one horse that would come to the same spot to snack on the grass – right onshore from our boat.

Dolphins

Each morning, we sat out in the cockpit and enjoyed our morning coffee and the dolphins.  When it’s quiet and still in the morning you always hear the dolphin’s “chuffs” before you actually see them.

The dolphin forcefully “chuffs” or exhales when first surfacing for air to clear the recessed blowhole area of water. There is a network of complex nerve endings located in the region of the blowhole. These nerve endings sense pressure changes so the animal knows when its blowhole is clear of the water and it is safe to breathe. 

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Watching dolphins never gets old – at least not to me!

We spent almost a week in Beaufort.  As you can probably tell, we spent plenty of time just enjoying watching the horses and dolphins.  But, we did also go to shore.

Jesse’s uncle and cousin drove out to meet up with us.  We took them on a tour of the area via dinghy and then headed into town for dinner.  At Clawsons they were having a beer tasting and the local brew was super cheap (and good)…the food wasn’t bad either.

Both sv Calista and sv Hullabaloo were anchored in Taylor Creek as well, so we all ended up doing an impromptu bar hop one day.  We started at the Royal James Cafe for the crazy cheap (but awesome) “All the Way” hot dogs. We then went to the Backsteet Pub, which is a very cool, old nautical pub.

We spent some time just walking along the town’s waterfront.  As this area was Blackbeard the Pirate’s coastal haunt, we had to check out the the Maritime Museum.

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Overall, we really liked Beaufort, I would say the only downside is the amount of derelict boats.  There is not a Harbor Master to enforce the clean up of boats so you will find that there are sunken boats, with just a mast out of the water, some boats are on shore, while other boats look like they are about to sink and are an eye-sore.  These boats are taking up prime space in the anchorage.  We actually dragged anchor one night when the wind picked up and we had to go to a dock for the remainder of the night; knowing we could not reset and let out more scope due to all of the boats around us on “illegal” moorings (the town people just create their own moorings).  It is unfortunate, and we have been seeing this more and more as we have been heading south.