Blog Overboard

What can I say? Time flies when your having fun, I mean rum, no maybe it’s on the run?

 Likely that all three could apply. Or maybe I should just say some things are better left on the dock? Who knows, better yet who cares? Here I am again with an update  (Updates?…maybe…)  So enjoy it as long as it last I suppose, and don’t be surprised when I become a long lost internet cast away once again.

Elbow Reef Lighthouse

The Historic Elbow Reef Lighthouse

 In a ridiculous effort to start where I left off; Since I last wrote my amazing two armed crew “Jam” became an international-globe trotter of sorts.  She some how managed to conjure up a job in Japan while floating around Abaco. Yes, everyone was and still is totally perplexed by this. None the less just a little over a month after we had arrived in Abaco waters, I was waving good bye as the ferry whisked Jam out of Hope Town Harbour bound for Japan. Leaving just me and my furry first mate Gypsy aboard the good ship Lynne Marie, I suddenly found my self a solo sailor.

Jam helping out with the Lion Fish invasion

Jam helping out with the Lion Fish invasion

I had known from the start this solo situation was a very real possibility that could present it self at any given moment. Let’s face it not everyone is made for the sailing life and even the best of friendships can become overwhelmed when tumbled to long in a space totaling 27 not so square feet. I always knew that any crew could and would jump ship whenever they pleased. So I was not totally unprepared for this situation, if anything I knew it would come around sooner or later.
Crakin Coconuts in the Cockpit this chic was made for cruising!

Crakin Coconuts in the Cockpit this chic was made for cruising!

Let me be clear though, Jam’s departure was in no way a case of mutiny. Cruising life suited her well and I could see there a desire to keep on hopping down the island chain. I’m almost certain future sailing exploits await her. That month aboard together beyond being an adventurous good time was a learning, growing, expansive experience. We both took a major plunge, up and quitting perfectly good jobs to run off and see what else life had to offer, and we’ve both reaped the rewards of this decision in our own ways. Truly I don’t believe I could have picked a better crew, and honestly I likely would not have made it off the dock with out her. After three years of working, playing and traveling together, it was a bittersweet goodbye.  Both of us well on our way down intersecting paths of adventures, happiness and freedom.  Jam has now gone, saw, and conquered much of the far east and returned to this hemisphere. We were recently reunited and with her now back in Florida waters I can spy future Caribbean adventures on the horizon, hooray!

Laundry day.

Laundry day!

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I’d advise cleaning your conch before you eat it….


some cave exploration


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Bittersweet Goodbyes

You may now be imagining that I’d soon be getting lonely after Jam’s departure, the truth is I’ve not know a lonely day in Abaco yet, crew or no crew.  My mom had actually flown in for a visit the same week as Jam’s departure and by the time my mom flew out there appeared on the horizon another familiar figure. Woodstar my good neighbors from the one and only Banana River Marina, I didn’t have crew but I did have “da best” buddy boat around! They had ice!! They was rich!

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Just me and my furry first mate Gypsy

 The months that followed are a blur of long hot days fishing, diving, and exploring every beach, cove, cave and coral of southern Abaco.  Little Harbour, Lynard and The Bright of Old Robinson became favored spots. I saw more sea turtles than I ever imagined I could possibly see in a day. I’d dive daily on beautiful reef covered in sea fans concealing the likes of everything from goliath groupers, turtles, rays, sharks and crawfish. I became adept at free diving and fishing with a Hawaiian sling.  We spend days in the shallows of the Bright seeking out every blue hole we could find to explore.  It was during these days that the captains log was also thrown overboard. I had done pretty well at maintaining a daily log up until this point. Looking back its evident that entries continued to get shorter and shorter, the last couple entries a comical note or two about another day wasted fishing.  In short, life was good and blissfully slow, it was hurricane season and we were the only boats around with the exception of one or two that might pop up for a day moving through. We found some new and old friends in Little Harbour and caught the occasional lift to Cherokee for groceries. Fresh produce became the stuff of folklore, but it seemed there was always enough fish, rice, and beans to go around. Just as all things, these long hot days were made to pass.
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Gypsy loves a good coconut

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So many Snapper

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My first Hog Fish, so delicious!

Fishing potcake

Fishing potcake

Sweet sweet fresh produce!

Sweet sweet fresh produce!

As the end of hurricane season rolled into site murmurs of returning to Florida came bubbling up. Yes I had every intention of returning to Florida when I left, now? After months of floating about Abaco?…  well it sounded like a terrible idea. So I made the call to stay and once again waved goodbye as my friends headed out of Abaco waters. So the new “plan” was to try and keep on moving south! I could, after all always return to Florida if things went awry. I figured once winter arrived I’d probably be able to make some friends and find the right buddy boat to sail south with. Well it didn’t taken long… I found a buddy alright, but in place of sails he had roots! A local boy set a hook right in my heart, and well it’s a bit hard to admit, I’ve tuned back to landlubbing ways over the past year. I got no room to complain though. It’s been nothing short of amazing, and oh so comforting to have some land based resources come my way after 2 years aboard my 27ft floating home, and hey, can there be a better piece of land for a sailor to love than a tiny island on the edge of the great Atlantic? The good news is, while my guy be rooted to this place he is also a well traveled sailor. Sailing and boating is part of everyday life here, which really was the lifestyle I was searching for. I know future cruising endeavors await and in the mean time there’s a garden and local cruising is perfection. In fact my favorite cruising season is now here. Tomorrow  we’ll navigate Lynne Marie up to Green Turtle to take part in the yearly event that is the Stranded Naked Party and then Regatta Time in Abaco. It will be my 3rd year participating in this event and also marks the day I first laid eyes on my now boyfriend, all the more reason to celebrate!

Good bye Woodstar!

Good bye Woodstar!

A Little Harbour sunset

A Little Harbour sunset

Hello Handsome :)

Hello Handsome 🙂

As I reflect back on the course that brought me here, I feel so incredibly lucky, but really I know it had little to do with luck and everything to do with choice. I think back to searching for my boat, living on the dock, the weekly 40hr grind, the weekend after weekend of never ending boat work, the stress and the manic panic of the last couple weeks before shoving off. My mind wanders to where I’d be if I hadn’t taken every single disastrous wave or storm that came along this journey in stride and I can’t even fathom it. But, what I find amazing is the sense it was simply my passion and my choice to “keep on keeping on” that carried me right through it all. I just wanted to sail, to be free, to see the sunrise over new horizons and that was enough to keep me moving in the right direction. It was a long weathering route the majority of which had been completed before I ever actually set sail. Truely it was once I finally got off the dock that things became so much simpler, easy, breezy, fluid. Even though I had little actual “cruising” experience, even though I had little more than the bare necessities, even though I had limited resource and was winging it pretty much on my own, I still managed to find a route to my dreams of sailing off into the sunset. Of course it took form in a ways I could have never imagined. Ironically what started off as a wild eyed burning desire to “sail around world” would curb itself into a much healthier short term obbjective of just getting off the dock to anywhere! The Bahamas was an obvious choice.  I only ended up sailing 350 miles to get to here, but hey that’s all it took for me to reach paradise, now maybe that’s a bit of luck!  I’d still LOVE to sail around the world, but now that seems so much more plausible than it did 6 years ago as a 25 year old who had just learned to sail and knew nothing of cruising. It was realizing that many of the experiences I was seeking in my wanting to “sail around the world” could be had by a much simpler and accessible route that allowed me to start choosing to move in the direction I wanted to go.

Just can’t get enough of those wide open horizons


A found a heart in a piece of buttonwood!

 I have long forgotten this blog wrapped up in the joys and follies of discovering a new way of life, but I’ve recently felt compelled to share this bit, there may be more to follow…perhaps. I’ve been inspired by many other bloggers and adventures of all kinds along the way and I suppose this is my paying it forward, by adding my voice to their choirs. Another case of done it with zero regrets. It seems more, and more I hear the rallying cry to follow your heart, and I must agree with that.  More importantly, the time is never better than now. Taking even the smallest step in the direction you want to go today can make all the difference tomorrow, no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible the journey. Whatever it is, choose do it now or at least choose to start now by what ever means you can muster or in whatever small way you can. Forget about how you think it has to be done or what you think it should look like and seek a way, anyway that you can make it happen. You CAN do it, but’s its rare you’ll ever hear anyone actual tell you that, so if your lucky enough to have some one tell you “you can” don’t ever forget it. The route my heart directed was never “easy” but at the same time it was never truly difficult either, just challenging, and always rewarding. The biggest reward being where I find myself now. In a place and situation I could have never day dreamed up, where it seems I fit just right, and there’s no place else I’d rather be.  Where now bigger dreams loom over the horizon the likes of which I’d never even considered. How does it get even better than that? Keep on Dreaming and once you reach, don’t forget to dream some more.


Keep on Dreaming

Keep on Dreaming.

Just Jump

JumpMyself and Jam – My soon to be introduced crew- taking a leap off the bow of a dive boat in PR last summer.

Ready or not the time is NOW and I know it. I can feel it; life is begging me to give up the excuses, to gather my strength and resources, and allow my hearts desires to carry me forward. There is no amount of preparation that can make me “ready” to quit a perfectly good job and sail off in my little home to unknown horizons. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it. I could spend years and countless dollars outfitting a boat to have every marine electronic and toy onboard, a fat saving in a bank somewhere, and still not be “ready.” That’s not to say I won’t be prepared, but how can any of us be “ready” to take a leap into unknown waters? If you ask me, there is no ready, there is only jump.

As the days tick down to my intended departure date, just about a month away, it becomes increasingly harder for me to quite that little naysayer inside my head.  It whispers a million what if’s in my ear, instigating worry and fear. That annoying little voice it’d keep me glued right here for the rest of my years, in my nice stable job, knowing exactly what to expect day in and day out.  That annoying little voice it doesn’t like change, to bad so sad, because I DO.

And though I can think of many things I’d still “like” to have on board before I go, none of them are essential. Sure I could wait another year hopeful to stash away enough money for all those goodies. Yes it’d be nice to have an engle refrigerator along with a wind gen to support it, but it’s not needed. Yes I would love, love, love! to upgrade my camera equipment and get my hands on an underwater housing, but I know I can make do with the gear I got.  A couple kites, and a small quiver of boards would be nothing short of amazing, but I’m pretty sure that while I may be over there wishing I had some fun toys of this nature, I’ll be sure to find fun regardless. And who knows maybe, just maybe, the stars will align and somewhere down the line those things may just find me…. fingers crossed.

At this point I have my needs covered and I’m not willing to wait on casting off any longer. So I say to that little naysayer, “quite down you! this is hardly a difficult endeavor; it doesn’t need to be so scary and complicated as you make it sound! I’m not going around the world after all, I’m merely meandering across the Gulf Stream I’ll practically be in my own back yard!” How lucky I am to be so close to a whole chain of beautiful islands. No need to cross an entire ocean, or sail for weeks on end to arrive in warm clear tropical waters with safe anchorages practically around every turn. So as all the little details and stresses of my final preparations do their best to try and drive me mad, I just remember the sayings and feelings of all cruisers who’ve come before me. This little jem is working exceptionally well at the moment.

 The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use.
– Dom Degnon

I used to Sail….

Walking a sunfish over a sandbar in salt run the summer a taught youth sailing.

Walking a sunfish over a sandbar in salt run the summer a taught youth sailing.

In the past my days were filled with salt air and sunshine, sails billowed overhead, and waves rustled past below, I sailed a lot, at any given opportunity to be exact. Then I bought a boat and well…. I can probably count the number of times I’ve actually been out sailing in the past year on my fingertips. It seems, at times, that boats are all work and no play. I feel my self-growing weary of this, and I know a day off shore in the big old blue is just what I need to revive my soul. But I’m a full days trip from the ocean, so I’ll have to settle for a bit of river sailing next weekend. Which will still be fun especially since I should be shaking out my new mainsail – fingers crossed it arrives in time. I had a skipper ask me to crew in a woman’s race this weekend and regrettably had to turn her down since I’ll already be out of town – lately they only ever ask when I’m not here, how do they know! I’ll be high and dry this weekend, rabbling up on the Suwannee River, listening to some fine musicians and in the company of great friends, can’t complain about that. Except on top of having to turn down a J-race I’ll also be missing out on a local marina flea market that only happens once a year…. I need 3 of me.

So much to do, so little time to squeeze it all in over the next 12 weeks before my departure. It gets stressful at moments, so I close my eyes, I see the sails up there, hear the water down there, feel the sun on my face – it’s my past and my future as long as I keep it together here in the present.

Here’s a little collection of photos from my sailing days past. They are quite literally the wind in my sails, keeping my heart in balance through all these waves of change, little reminders of why I do the things I do.

Rigging up my catamaran for a sail on the Banana River

Rigging up my catamaran for a sail on the Banana River


Beached while we explore the Mangrove shallows of the Thousand Islands

Beached while we explore the Mangrove shallows of the Thousand Islands


Offshore @ CCYC Mermaid Regatta  - I'm Flying the Spin

Offshore @ CCYC Mermaid Regatta – I’m Flying the Spin

We Won! - The only winning crew I've ever been a part of :)

We Won! – The only winning crew I’ve ever been a part of 🙂


Racing 420's at the MYC Spring Regatta

Racing 420’s at the MYC Spring Regatta


...some other MYC Regatta - Defiantly a cruising class race there much more my speed :)

…some other MYC Regatta – Defiantly a cruising class race there much more my speed 🙂

One of the First long 20 mile days I sailed aboard my boat.

One of the First long 20 mile days I sailed aboard my boat.

Anchored out in the river on a fall afternoon.

Anchored out in the river on a fall afternoon.


Currently my last time out - Sail going up on a 40 ft Catamaran I chartered for my best friend Bachelorette last month

Currently my last time out – Sail going up on a 40 ft catamaran I chartered for my best friend Bachelorette last month


A fun day out on Paramour with Racheal

A fun day out on Paramour with Racheal


Ok so its not a sailboat but it was an awesome day offshore and a stellar birthday catch!

Ok so its not a sailboat but it was an awesome day offshore and a stellar birthday catch!

Time the Slipperiest Fish of All


FishIt feels like time has been accelerated to supersonic speeds and is in limited supply these days.  Man-o-Man has there been a lot going on and it seems like I’m still gaining momentum.  Some days I want to release the main sheet, throw the tiller and round up to a complete stop just to catch my breath! But no, I’m holding fast I’m going to need every bit of that momentum to get me off the dock this summer. Goals have been set, routes charted, and the winds of changes are picking up. Abacos is word for the summer and with just 16 weeks left for preparation, planning, and completing projects my to-do list seems never ending.  That’s some how frightening and exhilarating all in the same moment. All these things I’ve been seeking, all the dreams I’ve been dreaming, all culminating. Now all that’s left is the foot work and I know I can take care of that. So stayed tuned friends I’ll be sharing a lot of new things here, updates on boat projects, trip planning, various art work, photography and design pieces I’ve been working on, and even some writing I’ve started doing for another web site.  It’s all going to be a lot to keep up with but I’m determined to stick to my goals one of which is to share here more often!


In the beginning, there were ripping tides, J boats rides, a beautiful bay front, a watchful lighthouse, full moon cruises, a roaring inlet, oh so much Bush beer, and these guys….

It all started in St. Augustine when a co-worker asked me if I’d ever been sailing.

“No” I told him,

“We should go sometime, I could teach you” he said

“Yeah?! let’s go!”

“I’m serious.” he said

“So am I!”

That was that, by the end of the week I found myself at the helm of a J-24, my life forever changed. It’s hard  to explain, the experience I had when I first felt the sails fill, the boat tune in, slicing forward through the water only the sounds of birds and the wind in my ears. I can’t tell you why it was so much more than just sailing a boat. It was a great AAH Ha moment, a real stars aligning, treasure finding, mind melting realization of a moment.  I think it may have been the single most insanely clarifying moment of my life; I didn’t know the first thing about sailing or sailboats, but in that instant I knew it was for me.

The year that followed was full of sailing and I couldn’t get enough. I was extremely lucky to have a group of friends who always wanted to get out, one of which had regular access to a J-24, a Catalina 30 and a Cape Dory 22.  We started racing the J-24 in the yacht clubs Wednesday night “Beer Can” races. We took night cruises on the Catalina whenever the moon was full, we sailed to our hearts content, in the river, out the inlet, offshore, whatever the weather was good for. I learned a lot rapidly, and at the end of the summer 4 of us who had all been learning together took a basic keel boat certification course.  The biggest benefit of the course? I could now talk the talk. I had already acquired most of my basic skills from my time on the water, but I was lacking in my vocabulary, I wasn’t fluent in sailor speak. Suddenly I was able to communicate about this new passion and I started tearing through sailing literature with new understanding.  The books inspired me further, growing my love, all I wanted to do was get on a sailboat and be able to keep going, no turning back!

Awe the frustrations of being a dreamer.  Life of course was still happening all around me and as much as wanted to just cast off all ties and sail away I had things to take care of before I could make that happen. I finished college and hung around St. Augustine awhile longer. I had an amazing summer teaching kids how to sail on Opti’s and Sunfish . Then the hunt for the “real job” began, but while I hunted a “real job,” I also started hunting sailboats. I didn’t know were my job hunt would lead, but I knew that a coastal city was as mandatory as finding the job. I had a plan to get my hands on a sailboat just as fast as I possibly could.

Dinghy <3, Shooting Stars & Bioluminescent Waters

Every Girl Deserves A Good Dinghy, or so Jes-sea once told me, well this sailing girl has finally found hers. After months of research and scouring craigslist I finally took the plunge settling on a 7’11” Dyer ‘Midget’ with a sailing rig and pair of oars.  A little fiberglass beauty with solid design, hand laid fiberglass construction, and bronze hardware details, Dyer dinghies are classic tenders that surprise, are still being built to this day. I figure a company that’s been making and selling handcrafted dinghies for over 80 years must be doing something right.  The real kicker? It was in St. Augustine in the possession of an acquaintance I knew from my time teaching sailing camps there. So off I went to St. Augustine for a night. I got to catch up with my ‘sailing sisters’ Rachael & Jes-sea, then picked up the dink before getting back on the road the next morning.  A trip to one of my favorite places, a chance to catch up with two of my favorite people, and a new sailing toy all wrapped into one?! Yes, yes, and yes.  So home I came happy as a clam ready to try out my new dink…only life and weather was uncooperative.  Between work and afternoon thunderstorms I didn’t have an opportunity to take her out for another four days.

Finally Thursday night the clouds had cleared and there was a bit of steady wind stirring around the marina, I wasn’t waiting any longer. I grabbed a headlight and rigged up the sail. Tommy came along for ride and we slid silently out of the marina into the barge canal headed for the river.  It’s August and the bio-luminescent algae in the water is at its peak. The water was ALIVE, all around us fish could be seen darting in ever direction. Their rapid movements illuminated from the stirring algae.  Behind us my little dinghy’s wake looked like clouds of pixy dust floating through the water.  Above us the sky was dark and starry with no moon in sight.  I spotted several shooting stars streaking across the horizon, the first of many to come from a meteor shower that would peek over the weekend. We reached the river and sailed out of the channel into the shallows of a small mangrove island. BIG glowing silhouettes of fish started streaking out from beneath us. My dagger board hit bottom and so I headed back for deeper water.  My little dinghy sailed pretty good with two us on board.  It had been a long time since I’d sailed a small boat and just as my heart was filling with joy about how this moment seemed so perfect it got even better. I heard the distinct sound of a dolphin exhale. On the other side of the channel were pair of dolphins herding schools of fish onto the shallow riverbank.  We sailed right up to them, the water boiled with fish, the dolphins in quick pursuit, the entire dance illuminated right before our eyes.  We came with in about 10 feet of them and for a moment the action was all around us, then swiftly they had continued their hunt up the riverbank.

I tacked around and headed us back toward the Marina but once we got into the barge canal the wind became shifty and I was unable to make any headway. No problem, break out the oars….this should be pretty straight forward right? Not quite, who knew rowing was such a highly refined skill!! After about 20 minutes of laughter, frustration, some serious concentration, and still no headway Tommy finally agreed to take over. Thank goodness cause well I’m sure I would of made it back eventually, it would have been a long sleepless night and I think I would have returned as one giant bug bite.  I have since been working on my rowing skills and I’m happy to report they’re coming along nicely.  I’m growing to love my little dink more and more every day.  I was on the fence about a hard dink vs an inflatable, which is what every cruiser seems to recommend these days, but I am so happy I ended up with a little sailing/rowing dink instead. I even found an old school 2hp Evinrude outboard, so I can motor as well, if I like. I’m sure that there will be moments in the future were, weather, or distance, or who knows what may cause me to look at an inflatable roaring by me with envy from my hard little dink. But I also know there will be many more moments of wonder like that of the dolphins hunting in the bio-luminescence of the Indian River. It was a moment that could of easily slipped by unnoticed if it had not been for the silent mobility, that sailing affords.  It is that silence, or rather those sounds you can hear, the creak of your boat, the water against your haul, the dolphins exhale, that allow your senses to come alive and in tune with the world around you.  It is a huge part of my love for sailing; I live for that moment when the sail goes up, the engine goes off and peace floods my senses.