Category: OpTrop

Home Sweet Boat Home

We have been trying to do this post for ages, to finally show y’all what this little boat home looks like.  However, mostly it looks a lot messier, so when we had cleaned it all up for my (Caitie’s) parents’ visit, it was our chance to capture it in a moment of calm and cleanliness.

Welcome to TARA!


Companionway stairs hide the Universal/Westerbeke 44HP Diesel engine. Navigation station to the right of the photo (which is the port side of the boat), and cabin (aka our bedroom) on the starboard side.



Nav station, VHF radio and power switchboard for the fridge, lights, fans, etc. We are constantly turning things off to save power…although less so now that we have awesome sunny days powering the solar panels!


Galley! The fridge is top-loading (the two rectangles on the left side of the picture) as well as an amazingly sweet bottom-access door, mostly leading to a cool compartment of beer. The stove and stovetop are run on Compressed Natural Gas, which unfortunately is not refillable outside of a few key stops in the USA, so we often cook outside using a propane Coleman stove or BBQ. Double sinks, including a salt water foot pump, are a lifesaver when piling up a days’ worth of dishes. Gear hammock sadly devoid of fresh fruit, but awesome for preventing bruising underway.


Salo(o)n converts to be a double bed, as well as a large table for dinner and dominos matches. Our dry food stores are in the wall cupboards as well as behind the settees (couches). Water tanks (108 gallons) hide under the settee cushions.


The head! There is a shower behind the door, but we exclusively shower using a solar bag in the cockpit, to save water/power.


V-berth / guest suite all cleaned up for my parents! Normally filled with all sorts of fishing gear, extra sails, cold weather clothes…


The master suite.

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Pat’s Pics! (aka Caitie’s Mom)

SO, we were pretty distracted with our engine “issue” (physically and emotionally), then we jumped right into hosting Caitie’s parents (Pat n’ Steve) – we frankly haven’t been taking many pics nor caring about blog updates.  We’ve been feeling a bit guilty, but alas…

The good news is, Caitie’s mom Pat took almost a thousand photos, and before we dropped them off at the airport I asked if we could snag a few for the old bloggity blog.  Thank god she said “no problem mon!” because otherwise we wouldn’t have much to post…

We had such a great time visiting with Pat & Steve, and finally had some PERFECT weather.  We miss you guys already!  annnnnd thanks for being on top of the photos 😉

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The joys of working underwater

Now that the water is a bit clearer (and warmer) it was time to break out the snorkel gear and check out the boat beneath the waterline!  Fun stuff, eh?

We discovered:

The good – The coat of antifouling paint we applied before we left is holding up great!  No barnacles to be seen – woo hoo!

The bad – Our zincs (sacrificial metal that is supposed to corrode before your propeller does) have mostly corroded away…and by mostly, I mean MOSTLY.  For sailors, it’s hard not to cringe at the sight of the photo below…

Crumbling away…


So today, was zinc replacement day :)  We didn’t want to go for a haul out, so this meant gearing up and getting in the water.

I learned a couple cool tricks via the interwebs:

– Tie string to all tools you plan on using underwater (lanyards around the wrist) – this was a no-brainer.

– Duct tape the anodes together (across one side of the split) to keep the halves from falling apart when trying to get it on the shaft – this one was actually really helpful because it would have been hard to tighten both screws in one breath of air

– Wear one glove on your left hand (assuming you’re right handed) to wedge bolts into when you’re diving…(no, not just because you’re trying to do your best underwater moonwalk)

– Paint nail polish in key areas to avoid corrosion around bolts


Tools of the trade


Impossible to look cool in a snorkel mask.  Believe me, I tried.

It’s impossible to look cool in a snorkel mask. Believe me, I tried.




It was a major success getting the (2) new anodes on.  I got to use my shorty wetsuit (though I probably didn’t need to), the snorkel gear, and tools…underwater!  It felt good getting this one done.  Officially crossed off the list, with more projects to come.

Caitie’s BIRTHDAY!

Caitie said one of her “bucket list” items was to celebrate a birthday in a warm place (those poor December babies!) and I think we’ve finally checked it off.  We’re anchored in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Caitie turned the big 3-0 today (which apparently is the new 20).

We hit it hard with coffee n’ cinnamon buns in the morning, had a gorgeous sunny day on the water, followed by a champagne crab leg feast once we’d anchored.

Happy birthday Caitie!!!

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Cumberland Island

Look, if you have the opportunity to check out Cumberland Island – do it.  I can’t believed I lived in ATL for as long as I did, and never made it out.  The island is only accessible by ferry, there are no cars allowed except for the few private land owners who were grandfathered in (the whole island is basically a natural park)…the beach is pristine, the campsites are well maintained, they have bikes to rent, and wild horses to admire.  We loved it, and stayed a second day to make sure we got the full experience.  Sigh.  we just kept telling ourselves that there would be more beaches in Florida and beyond…

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Thinking of Opa while beach combing. He loved the beach and I will always think of him when I see seashells

Of course Mark went swimming

Swimming in December


Phase Two.

We are back on the water, and have officially commenced phase two.

What is phase two, you ask?  Phase two is when we stress less, warm up, and enjoy more.  period.

We realized that, after reflecting on the first half of the adventure, we have been on such a mission to make progress south, that we viewed any delay as a setback…every day was targeted to be 50 miles…and any anchorage with good holding acceptable as long as it wasn’t too far off the trail.  There were places we missed, because they fell outside of the “plan”.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have seen and done some amazing things since we cast off on September 23rd, and we are ecstatic to have made it as far as we have SAFELY…but we have spent a lot of that time feeling pretty cold, waiting for weather, and often kinda stressed out about “progress” and making sure we “do everything right”.  I know, I know, tough life not working and traveling on the water, but it actually HAS been a challenging couple of months for us.  Anyone who knows us knows that we like to be in control and to have a plan, and this trip has been an exercise in learning to go with the flow and learning to let go of our control and just live in the moment.  It’s been hard learning!

So, after the most relaxing Thanksgiving break we could ask for, we are striving to live more in the moment, to not stress too much about every little boat/anchorage/marina thing, and to be present.  Tonight we saw dolphins playing in our wake as we anchored, followed closely by large pelicans swooping and diving as the sun set over the South Carolina marshland surrounding our anchorage.

Commence Phase Two.