Week 2 - Happy New Year
We rang in the New Year in style with a horse-drawn carriage tour of St Augustine, fireworks, dinner w/ live band and counting it down with a whole bunch of new sailing friends aboard S/V Valhalla - thanks Stan & Sarah.
New Year’s Day was spent relaxing aboard. Teaching the cup song to the girls proved to be both entertaining as well as refreshing -for Andrew, as he dove into the water to save an over-zealous solo cup who flew out of the cockpit :)
St Augustine was a great stop for picking up the supplies needed to wrap up a few boat projects. We even traversed King St with our "new to us" whisker pole in hand.
The weather turned a bit on us and the St Augustine Municipal Marina was gracious enough to hold a space open for us on the other side of the bridge so we moved from our first home in the north mooring field to a calmer spot in the south field for our last night there.
Jan 2 was a fun and exciting day, even if the girls didn’t know it yet :)
We dropped our mooring and headed south to Marineland Marina. We had a chilly but short motor south and the crew at Marineland were super helpful at getting us docked quickly with the gusty wind - thank you, Eric, Quinn, and Daniel at Marineland.
We rushed to get settled in so we could meet up with our friends, the Wolff pack, at Marineland Dolphin Adventure Park.
The kids even had an opportunity to pet and feed the dolphins. Such an amazingly fun way to celebrate 2016 and our new life!
A trip back home to Jax was in order to wrap up a few loose ends.
It is always bittersweet to go home. The girls get kind of excited to see all their stuff and watch tv, Andrew gets stressed out because it reminds him of all the stuff we are leaving undone, and I feel like I’m in a tailspin because I have so many projects to complete before we cross to the Bahamas that I’m not sure where to start. But we try to keep our head about us and just eat it like an elephant, “one bite at a time”.
We were so happy we spent the first part of the year at the dock because we had a FL style burst of winter and we fired up the heater to stay warm. Now, I have to apologize to anyone in freezing snow, etc. because it was nothing like that; but we are Floridians, anything below 50 gets us layering up, cuddling like we’ve had an Arctic blast :)
We took the first opportunity of nice weather to move a little further south and even sailed most of the day towards Daytona.
After our beautiful day sail, we topped it off by dropping the hook for the first time just south of Memorial Bridge. We had great holding and a perfectly still night that got us excited about all the nights on the hook we have ahead of us (even though Andrew did pop out the top to check our positioning every 15 minutes :)
January 8 is one of my favorite days of the year.
It is the day I first became a mom, my most favorite job! Happy 13th Birthday, Paige!
We woke and pulled anchor promptly to head to the local city dock to pick up Paige's birthday surprise. Mom & Dad Howell met us there to squeeze Paige's neck and Mom joined us aboard for the quick 2 hr ride south to New Smyrna where Dad met up with us.
We revisited the Inlet Harbor Marina, one of our most notable stops of our delivery home where we crashed into the dock - see The Bump & Grind if you want to read more about that :)
Surprisingly the dock guys remember that day really well, too!
It was fun to celebrate in a familiar setting and great to have Mom & Dad join us for a slumber party onboard.
Things learned in our second week aboard:
I don't have near the time I imagined. I had dreams of endless minutes to read and write and maybe ponder life as I stare into the distance but that doesn't happen as often as you would think. There is always something to be done; just as breakfast dishes are done, it is time to adjust the sail. You may sit for a moment then the charge for the fridge needs reset. I'll be ready for a sit down but everyone else is hungry :)
It's not normal yet, I'm still counting the days aboard. The transition from vacation mode into normal life mode is still illusive. I'm a foodie and would love to eat out in every location, every day. Luckily my family is very appreciative when we make a good meal in, it encourages me to press on.
The quality of communication and family time is invaluable. Watching my girls learn to communicate better and everyone enjoy each others' company is what this is all about!
Oh, and we completed our first full day back to school aboard - yay us!
We are looking forward to a week in Fort Pierce to complete the rest of the projects aboard and what is hopefully the final trip home to Jax. We'll keep you posted.