Category: Passage

We’re BACK! First week in the ICW!

On the road again!  We love being back.  We loved being “gone” too, but being back has its perks.  Full fridge (including BEER, the most expensive commodity in the Bahamas allegedly), calm water, cell phone service and familiar scenery.  We are making great time up the coast, flying through Florida, Georgia and part of South Carolina already.  Loving doing the ICW better this time – warm weather, local knowledge, and a few more months of boating experience are making this trip up way more fun than our route down.  Here are some road-trippin highlights so far:

Slightly less beardish

Slightly less beardish

The Big Mainland

On the road again (this time, red to PORT)

le journal

le journal



Still one of our favourite places

Still one of our favourite places

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#streetstyle in Beaufort, SC

#streetstyle in Beaufort, SC

Happy hours and free BBQ?  Southern Hospitality!

Happy hours and free BBQ? Southern Hospitality!

Beautiful Beaufort, SC ("Bew-fort")

Beautiful Beaufort, SC (“Bew-fort”)

Forrest Gump celebrity spottings.

Forrest Gump celebrity spottings.

Schwing bridge / full moon

Schwing bridge / full moon




Rough winter for this guy


Fort Matanzas, Florida. The black and white makes it look kind of epic…but it was about the size of a garage.


BBQ in the Georgia marshlands (Wally’s leg, GA)


Beers in Beaufort, SC


Navigation. “Easy in. Weird current vs wind but quite scenic (for FLA)” – anchorage reviews by CL


Love dees manatees


The land of 1000 bridges


Wow – wasn’t expecting to wear this guy again. Frig!


This guy gets us every time. Hard to tell whose hair it might have been…


Classic ICW anchorage morning on the Herb River, GA

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Gulf Streaming

We are waiting out Tropical Storm Ana in Charleston, SC right now (don’t worry – so far it’s just been a bit blustery and rainy), which has allowed us a chance to sort through some of our fave photos from the past couple of months.

Our Gulf Stream crossing was relatively easy – we anchored on the Little Bahama bank the night before (basically anchoring in 10 feet of water with no land in sight) and then headed out at 3am for a 15-hr close haul sail to Fort Pierce, FLA.

We mostly dodged the thunderstorms that had been following us around in the Abacos, except for a solid shower right before making landfall in the US of A.

Awesome sail day to Eleuthera from the Abacos. Caught a deep sea monster but couldn’t get him on board.

First American-style grocery store in 3 months (Marsh Harbour) = SURFnTURF DINNA

Bearded man and the sea


Pink House in Green Turtle Cay. There was a cat by the conch but I scared it away.

Nautical book club

Power Shower




Our dinghy guard bird


Sunrise in the Gulf Stream



Excited for new adventures in the USA.




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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Lowcountry Living

This section of the ICW can be boiled down to 3 main themes:

1) Fog

2) Marsh

3) Wilderness

We’ve been a little MIA from the internet, because we’ve been a little MIA from society the past week since returning to the boat.  We are transiting one of the more desolate sections of the ICW, with few (and far between) towns, and even fewer boats on the water.  To add to the feeling, we’ve had some crazy Bermuda-triangle style fog white-outs, including one that came in so fast that we we were able to tick something off our bucket list:  spontaneously anchor in a non designated anchorage (because it was too risky to keep going).

It’s been great though!  We’ve continued our “Phase Two” ethos, we still have a stocked library and pantry (after our thanksgiving haul), and have been enjoying shorter transit days in the quiet of the marshland.

Jurassic Park

Haven’t seen one yet, but not for lack of looking!

Seagrass birdsnest

View to the left

View to the right

Misty morning

Best visibility we had all day

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Mark hit a wall the other day with our “high output” alternator, as it was not delivering adequate charge to our NEW batteries.  It took a couple days of testing and tinkering (with a few posts), but he re-did the wiring and managed to solve the problem!  Small victories.


Boat maintenance is 80% fitting into small spaces.


“I don’t think so, Tim”.

Big Sky, Georgia.

Our next few days should include a peek at Jekyll Island (home of Rockefeller mansions), Cumberland Island (wild horses!) and then F.L.A.!  BIKINIS! (or at least, fewer sweatpants).

P.S. Thanks Pat for the beersocks!

I wish we could brew on the boat!

I wish we could brew on the boat!

Dismal Swamp to North Carolina!

Damn, we’ve come a long way in 10 days!

Honestly we loved the Chesapeake Bay. We found amazing anchorages (Solomons, Jackson Creek, Chisman Creek), had some gorgeous sunsets and hope to spend more time cruising in “sailors paradise” again in the future.





For now though – let’s keep on…pressing on!

As we got into Norfolk to start the ICW, we were quickly awakened from our sleepy daze by chatter on the VHF radio. It went something like this: “Warship 89, Warship 89, this is Warship 72, Warship 72, over”….”Warship 72, this is Warship 89. Switch to bridge-to-bridge channel 13, over.”…”Copy that. Switching to channel 13, Warship 72 out”.

…all this while we see the boat (apparently named Warship 72) crossing our bow at 20 knots.

"Warship 72, this is Sailing Vessel Tara, over"

“Warship 72, this is Sailing Vessel Tara, over”

Exciting stuff!

As we got into Norfolk, we realized that the US Navy is, shall we say…well armed. There were ships upon ships upon ships lined up in the harbour (everything from aircraft carriers to “warships” to hospital/red cross boats). It was quite a sight to see.

The whole area was pretty industrial and pretty cool despite the heavy military presence.

Inspiration for George Lucas?

Inspiration for George Lucas?

When we cleared Norfolk, we entered the Dismal Swamp, which actually wasn’t dismal at all. It was a nice break from the busy harbour, and reminded us of the Erie Canal that we’d transited so many moons ago.

The swamp apparently has tannins in the water which make it a very dark brown. It was like motoring through really strong cup of tea!

Hard to get a photo of the tannins haha

Hard to get a photo of the tannins haha

Next thing we knew, we were in North Carolina! We were spat out in a really nice little town called Elizabeth City. We were stoked to be there because my folks had made arrangements to drop by on their way home from SC! They pulled up just as we docked and we had happy hour on the boat, then went for a nice dinner (plus a couple bottles of wine) to celebrate! Couldn’t have been any better. Love yous!


The next day = SUN! WARM! NO WAY! IS THIS POSSIBLE?! FIRST TIME in 6 weeks where we didn’t look like we were preparing to hike up Mt. Everest?! Ah yes (warning: the next photo is rated at least PG-13. Look away while you still have a chance), let’s just say we soaked it up while we could.


We are starting to like the south :)

Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy it for too long, because a cold front has been blowing in and has brought beaucoup de rain. We’re sitting down below tonight (in Belhaven) letting our foulies dry below the bimini in the cockpit.


All in all, we are REALLY happy with our progress over the past 10 days, and it feels AMAZING to finally be in the Carolinas. We may even make it to Charleston for Thanksgiving as planned (knock on wood)

Sigh :)  Time to open a bottle of vino and make dinner.


Well, we hunkered down and waited on the hook for Saturday and Sunday in Chesapeake City. It was ugly – one day of pouring rain (though it broke temporarily for a nice sunset in the evening), and one day with 15-20knot winds dancing us all around the anchorage. We were in a very tight cove, with docks/rocks on all sides and spent the day playing the scope vs. swinging room game…not our favourite game. That said, we were SO HAPPY to be out of Cape May where it was showing 35-40+ knot winds and 12 foot seas!

We used the time to do some painting & reading – it was good to get the creative juices flowing again.

One nice break in the clouds on Saturday Night

One nice break in the clouds on Saturday Night

Art!  (and beer...and sandwiches)

Art! (and beer…and sandwiches)

When Monday rolled around it was time to get on with it. The gale warning had been dropped to a small craft warning so we took that as our sign (HA). It ended up being a nice but BREEZY/COLD day.

(edit: I think these next few photos are actually from our Atlantic City to Cape May sail which was considerably warmer…Picture this but bundled up with two hats/gloves/extra layers!)

More selfies - what can you expect there are only two of us and someone's got to steer!

More selfies – what can you expect there are only two of us and someone’s got to steer!

We were ready for some shore power/hot showers, so we decided it was time for a marina day in Rock Hall, Maryland. We were happy to get here – enjoyed a beautiful sunset and re-provisioned (can you believe we’re drinking Budweiser? It is America after all…)

Made it!

Made it!

Holy sunset, Batman!

Holy sunset, Batman!

Gratuitous sunset ring shot

Gratuitous sunset ring shot

This morning, we’ve been enjoying decent WiFi! Finally! We’re catching up on emails, enjoying our coffee and planning for the rest of our voyage down the Chesapeake. It’s gorgeous outside and we feel a bit guilty for not rushing out to sea while the weather is nice, but we need to recharge a bit (literally and figuratively).

First cup of the day :)

First cup of the day :)

Get to work!

Get to work!

OK enough bloggin’! I’m off to cook some (recently acquired) BACON & EGGS :)

Happy Halloween from Chesapeake City!

We made it!!! Sunrise to sunset, to the minute (with impeccable current timing) we made it down and around Cape May, up the Delaware Bay, up the Delaware River and through the C&D canal today. It was long, tiring, wave-crashy and cold BUT we are finally off the Jersey coast!


For Halloween this year, we’re dressed as two kids who think it’s fun to sail in the North Atlantic at the end of October :)

Happy Halloween!

Cape May!

Wow – what an incredible day! The seas were flat, we had 12 knots over the beam, just 40 miles to cover, and blue skies/full sun to keep us warm :). This is what sailing is all about!

Onward to Cape May Video

Unfortunately we won’t be checking out Cape May (proper) because we are anchoring out for a quick departure EARLY tomorrow am.



We want to try our damndest to get up the Delaware bay to Chesapeake city before some seriously nasty weather hits the coast on Sat/Sun…


It’s gonna be ugly, so we are getting the hell out of dodge and heading inland. Root for us!

Xo Mark & Caitie

The Atlantic.

We made it! Hot damn we set a few records for ourselves today:
-first sail in the Atlantic Ocean
-first night sail/incredibly early morning departure
-first 20knot breeze sailing on Tara
-longest day ever sailed (90 nautical miles)
-first time to Atlantic City
Annnnnnnd most jersey shore ever seen in one day (literally)

It was really a big one for us. I didn’t sleep a wink last night because I was teetering on the go/no-go decision…but we made the right one- We went, and we went safely. Now we are happily anchored just off of Harrah’s casino.


Plus! Another bird landed on me and made friends today. I’m hoping this will be a trend :)