February 17, 2015
I think one word can tell the entire story behind the title of this post. One word that describes a condition like no other. A condition that can immediately incapacitate you and there is nothing you can do about it. Those who suffer from it will understand. Those who don’t, well, you’re the lucky ones. If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s Sea Sickness! Okay, so maybe that’s two words. You get the point…
We joined Mike @ This Rat Sailed on an overnight outside run from Brunswick, GA to Palm Coast, FL this weekend. In the days leading up to the trip, we watched the weather forecast closely. We knew we didn’t have the best weather ahead of us, but we had a small window of what was supposed to be 10-15 knot winds and 2-4 foot seas. Just long enough to take the outside down before it picked up again. Or so the forecast said…
By the time we were ready to leave the fuel dock, the forecast had changed slightly. It was now 15-20 knots and 3-5 foot with the occasional 6. On top of that, it was going to be in the low 30’s. Not exactly a joyous sail ahead, but we decided to run it anyways. We figured we could stand it.
Leaving Brunswick Landing Marina at 4pm, we hit the ocean coming out of St. Simons Sound at about 6pm. We had a beautiful sunset trailing behind us as we entered the rolling waves of the Atlantic.
Nearing nightfall, we cleared all the channel markers and began hoisting the sails. By now, I was feeling a little queasy, but fighting it back hard. I’d begun pumping Ginger Capsules (supposed to prevent motion sickness) a few days earlier and really had my mind set that I was not going to get sick this time. As the feeling kept coming over me, I kept popping those little Gin-Gins, but before long, it was no use. I think I did myself in when I went below deck to grab Anatoli’s blanket. I was in and out of there real quick, but that was all it took and when it hit me, I knew I was a gonner! I managed to get through the hoisting of the sails, but that’s about the only useful role I played in the trip down. Keeping the boat pointed into the wind while Mike and Dieter raised the sails, I thought maybe I would recover. Normally, the only way I keep from getting motion sickness of any kind is to be the one behind the wheel. Not this time though, I was ready to spew and we were just getting started.
So there I was, freezing to the bone and hurling into a bucket. I was useless and miserable and at that time, I didn’t care if I never saw another boat again. I had a long night ahead of me and one spot in the boat where I could lie down and feel like I just might make it. But as soon as I sat up or moved around, I was right back in the bucket. I spent 12 hours curled up on the settee in the salon, which was where the center of the boat offered the most stability. My puppy by my side all night, the two of us lay there praying for the sight of St. Augustine Inlet. I wasn’t even able to take a shift on watch. Dieter and Mike handled it all! They were great and even managed to take care of me, dumping my bucket overboard and bringing me a sleeping bag so I didn’t have to go back down into the hull.
Now their story is a different one to tell. I did make my way out on deck a few times, even if it was just to dump my bucket overboard. They were clocking winds at 32 knots and surfing waves that picked us up and set us aside. I think we saw more than the occasional 6 foot wave as forecasted. It sounded like it was brutal out there. At one point, while Dieter was on watch, he came upon a floating monstrosity that he couldn’t make out by the lights. Unable to determine what was in our path, he woke Mike for a second set of eyes. Dieter thought it looked more like an oil platform than a boat, but with nothing on the charts to show a stationary object, they knew that couldn’t be the case. Took them awhile and a few adjustments of our course before they finally figured out it was a chain of three boats in tow, where the second one was shifting, so the port and starboard lights were hard to read. Mystery solved and collision avoided, we continued tracking south and Dieter finally went to lay down around 4am. I vaguely recall him kissing me on the forehead as he passed by headed for his bunk. I remained there in the fetal position hugging the center of the boat with Anatoli cuddled up behind me.
The good thing was we had the wind behind us, so we sailed a broad reach all the way down to St. Augustine. As day broke the next morning, we were only moving at about 3 knots with St. Augustine Lighthouse now in sight. Hearing Mike stir around in the galley, Anatoli was more than happy to keep him company in hopes of a few kitchen scraps. I think they shared a breakfast sandwich as we cruised along watching the sun peek above the horizon. I so badly wanted to get up and watch the sun rise, but as soon as I sat up, the feeling returned and so there I stayed until we were inside the inlet and hailing the bridge tender of the Bridge of Lions.
A day later, I still feel sea sick. We got Mike all nicely tucked in here in Palm Coast, happy to be in shorts and a t-shirt again, and I’m now seriously rethinking this whole sailing thing! I think I would much rather go backpacking and wake up on the side of a mountain ridge, watching the sun rise, listening to the sounds of nature, and knowing I don’t have to worry about anything else going on around me. Strange though… I just can’t let go of the dream even though the obvious is staring me in the face. I don’t think I will ever get over sea sickness. But I still want to finish the restoration on Mofilla. I guess that’s an entirely different sickness all together!
February 10, 2015
Ok, so I know you’ve all seen the movie “Fool’s Gold” and fantasized about what it’d be like to live a life of treasure hunting and adventure in search of the big score! Well, maybe Matthew McConaughey helped to make it all that much more attractive, but even with no Matthew, it would be exciting, right? I will tell you that wreck diving really makes you wonder what else is out there that has yet to be discovered. We’ve talked about treasure hunting for awhile now and we’ve scoped out some areas that are sure to be rich hunting grounds, but that’s as far as we’ve gotten, talking. We have various books on the subject and have wanted to get a good underwater metal detector for quite sometime, but just haven’t been pushed to splurge on such an expensive toy. Well, that all changed when a friend of ours lost something precious to him and we knew the only way to retrieve it was by diving down into the cold black water with a metal detector.
Some of you probably follow Mike over at This Rat Sailed and if not, well, you should. He and his wife have decided to leave the rat race behind and sail off into the clear blue yonder. Preparing their new home for this escape, Mike’s been working his way down his list of boat repairs and while working on the anchor locker, his wedding band of 22 years slipped right off his finger and disappeared into the dark, cold, mucky water beneath his boat. In a bit of desperation, after exhausting his local resources and not finding anyone willing to go down and look for it, he contacted us. Knowing we were divers, he hoped we had a connection to someone who could perform a search and recovery operation and retrieve his precious ring. Well, it just happens we do know just that kind of person, but he was in the middle of his own crisis and hard to nail down. So, we decided to take matters into our own hands. This Rat Sailed and Diving N2 Cruising joined forces and purchased a Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II.
By this time, two weeks had passed since Mike’s ring took the plunge so we were highly skeptical as to whether or not it would still be in the same area he’d dropped it. In his favor was the fact that there was very little current there and his boat hadn’t moved from the place it was at the time of the loss. Little did we know, that in his favor was all the thick muck on the bottom!
Now, those of you who know me, know I am not a fan of being cold! After living in Florida for 5 years now, even Dieter has grown a little thin skinned. We were absolutely dreading entering the 52 degree water for what promised to be needle in a haystack type of search. I even lost a little sleep over it the night before. Anxiety, I suppose… I was excited about the treasure hunt, but in no way shape or form can I tell you I was excited about entering that water! That being said, we knew how badly Mike wanted his ring back and were willing to give it all we had. On the way up to Brunswick, Dieter and I agreed we were better off going down one at a time. We were counting on close to 0 visibility and only one of us could use the metal detector at a time, so this approach would allow us to conserve a little body heat and warm up in between shifts. I quite willingly agreed to let Dieter take the first shift!
Arriving at the Brunswick Landing Marina dead on high tide, we had about 20′ of cold dark water under Mike’s boat. We attached a couple of glow sticks to a weighted line and dropped one down at the center of the area where he lost the ring and the other off the port side of the boat to help orient us while we were down there. Then Dieter suited up and with all the spectators and naysayers watching, he entered the water for an initial observation. His report was just as we expected. Cold! So cold he couldn’t even think straight! Dark! Mucky! Hopeless, well, some thought so, but we weren’t about to give up without trying.
Dieter spent about 15-20 minutes on his first search and knowing he couldn’t stand it much longer, I was suited up, ready to go in next. He surfaced and let us know that the metal detector was of no help at all. Claimed it was going off on everything it picked up and he was going to resort to just feeling his way around the bottom, but I had better go ahead and get ready to go down, he couldn’t stand much more. He said he just wanted to check out one more thing and then he disappeared beneath the surface again. I was baffled in thinking that the metal detector was a piece of crap. We’d tested it out on land and the sound when it picked up rusty nails or screws was distinctly different from when it picked up on gold. I was determined to give it a try, but just as he surfaced again, I caught a glimpse of that nice golden ring hanging out on his pinky finger! He was trying to get Mike’s attention to show him and he was just planning to let me descend beneath the surface to search for what he’d already found. His way of “sharing the experience with me”! But I busted him on it! I saw him waving his finger at Mike and I think I was probably the most excited person on the dock! I know Mike was relieved, but I would be willing to bet nobody felt the relief I did, knowing I didn’t have to go in that water!
Turns out that the metal detector clearly identified the spot to search and Dieter began raking his fingers through the muck, pulling up what could only be Mike’s ring. He couldn’t see anything, but when he slipped it on his finger, he knew he’d found it! I think that the weight of the ring and the thickness of the muck on the bottom is what kept it in precisely the spot it had fallen. For two weeks, it sat there in that spot, slowly sinking into the muck and Dieter found it!
He said the hot shower that followed that dive was the best shower he’d ever taken! Mike and I rinsed all the gear and laid it out on the trampoline to dry while we all enjoyed an ice cold beer to celebrate our success! Here’s to hoping the next treasure hunt will be in warm tropical waters!
All photos courtesy of Mike Boyd @ This Rat Sailed!
December 31, 2014
Finally, the last topic on the list to bring you all up to speed is the fact that Dieter and I finally decided to take the plunge and make it official. We were married by our good friend Don under the beautiful gazebo of The Crucial Coffee Café in St. Augustine, FL on October 31st. This place and the date was of great significance to us as 5 years ago in that very spot we shared a beautiful romantic evening that was forever branded in my mind and sent me spiraling head over heels in love with him. I think the feeling was mutual
If you ever visit St. Augustine, don’t pass up the beautiful gardens of The Crucial Coffee Café and The Gourmet Hut. Directly across from the Fort on the corner of Cuna Street you’ll see a cute little cedar siding building in which you’ll find tasty treats and coffee. Just to the right of it is The Gourmet Hut, serving the best food you’ll ever sink your teeth into and nestled in between is a beautiful setting of benches and tables tucked away within this tropical garden. If you take a few minutes to enjoy your coffee on the bench next to Crucial Coffee, you’ll find a plaque dedicating that spot to us! The owner, Wendy, remembered us from that late Halloween night 5 years ago and when we told her we wanted to marry there, she fell in love with our love story and insisted that we put a plaque on that bench. It’ll soon be placed on the bench and we will be remembered there as a little piece of St. Augustine’s history.
With that I leave you with this video and wish you all a Happy New Year!!!!
December 28, 2014
Well, continuing along this schedule of writing, the next topic up on the list is Brady’s decision to join us for a year when we set sail. About that…
It’s funny how quickly things can change around here. While there is still a good possibility that he’ll join us, he’s also started talking about joining the United States Coast Guard. Rescue swimmer to be exact! He actually wants to get right in the thick of a big storm and plunge into the fury of the mighty ocean. He figures with the Coast Guard, he’ll always have plenty of adrenalin pumping and he’ll always be positioned near the coast. A match made in heaven! His mindset now is that he knows he likes expensive things. He likes living on the beach and wants a surfboard for every occasion. He wants to hit all the exotic surf spots around the world and have the money and time to travel as he pleases. He really wants his own island! He realizes a lifestyle like this takes money and before he gets too far off track after school, he’d like to make something of himself, something that will afford him all his heart’s desires.
So, while he can have many of those things setting sail with us, it’s at a much slower pace than what he has in mind. Rather than sailing for weeks on the open ocean to get to that cool surf spot, he’d rather hop a plane! Will he still join us for a little while, who knows. If it appeals to him at the time he might. Dieter says we’ll just stay close to shore for the first couple days to test him out so when he says “Let me off this boat” thinking we have days or weeks ahead of us, we’ll turn into port and set him free. LOL I know he’ll join us at some point. If not immediately after school, at some point in his life, I know he’ll be ready for a slower pace.
Not to worry though! We WILL have a 3rd crewmember anyways. We’ve found ourselves lost since our dog passed away in August and finally after much consideration, we’ve broken down and brought a new puppy into our lives. Say hello to Anatoli – a 3 month old Anatolian Shepherd who joined our family just 2 days before Christmas. He already loves the beach!
December 18, 2014
Next topic on the list in my attempt to bring you all up to speed before the end of the year is “DieterFest”! A group of Dieter’s closest friends from the whitewater paddling community up in Virginia & West Virginia have formulated a plot to get him back up there to visit yearly. They held the first annual DieterFest this past October and it was such a hit, we all vowed to make it official. So, from here on out, we’ll pull together yearly for a special gathering of good friends, good times, and good food in the beautiful mountains of Wytheville, Virginia.
While we’ve been removed from the whitewater community for about 4 years now, the friendships Dieter left behind up there are deeply rooted. It’s so easy to pull back up and reminisce over good times, especially where Dieter is the topic of many entertaining river stories! Every time we get back up there we’re torn by how much we love being in the woods and mountains. Whether its on the river, hiking, or on the slopes, the mountains have as a strong a pull on us as the ocean does. One of these days, we’re bound to end up back up there, even if only a little escape cabin in the woods. One day…
For now, we leave with this song and video
December 11, 2014
Yes, I know, once again, I have failed to update the blog weekly even though I’ve already set the stage for 6 weeks worth of writing! It’s just so hard to find the time to write as often as I’d like when life is chugging along here in paradise.
As I mentioned a few weeks back, we spent a week on vacation right here at home back in October and had family come down to visit. We do this yearly and each time we’re reminded that we have our very own tropical paradise right here in our back yard. We don’t have to set sail or travel the world to find it, we have it! Don’t get me wrong, we still plan to set sail and go off exploring one day, but we also want to keep our little piece of paradise that we’ve found here in “The Hammock”.
Since we’ve decided to purchase this place, our minds have been running non-stop on all the projects we’d like to kick off to make this place exactly what we envision in a tropical beach paradise. We have lots of ideas to make our home a vacation retreat and to establish opportunity allowing us to thrive in our own community. Whether we rent this place as a vacation rental while we’re sailing or we continue to call it home, we can’t go wrong. It’ll always give back everything we put into it.
How can we thrive here and share our love of this place with other people? How can we help launch Brady into the world of adulthood and set him up to make a little money on the skillsets he has? That’s where the “Paddle, Charter, Dive, Surf” motto comes in. Between the three of us, we have everything from skills and equipment to licenses to establish “Diving Into Cruising” as a business right here in Flagler County, FL. All that Brady wants to do is surf, I get that. But he has to start thinking of a way to pay his own way when he gets older. He’s been teaching surf lessons and leading kayak tours over the last year, so why not give him room to grow with that? Throw in surfboard building and repair and he has a viable business that he can run while continuing to do what he loves. We’d love to build him a little surf shack so he has a place to work his boards and make an art out of his passion.
As for the Dive and Charter part of that equation, Dieter and I know the area and have the equipment and credentials to take guests cruising up the ICW between Flagler and St. Johns County, an area rich in maritime history. When it comes to diving, we’ve done it all from springs to oceans, so we’re ready to share all the beauty that Florida has to offer with each and every visitor of our one of a kind community.
So, the tricky part is how can we incorporate all of this into our sweet little plot of land? We’ll have to get very creative in spatial design!
November 19, 2014
Ever wondered about the world that lies beneath us, only within your reach for a few short minutes at the most each time you break the surface of the water? What if you could weightlessly hover on the bottom of the ocean as if you were a fish yourself? That’s what SCUBA brings to the table. Launching yourself into another world, you’ll find it an experience like no other. Descending beneath the surface of the ocean or deep down into a freshwater spring, life is surreal. You’re totally weightless, time stands still, and all you have is the peace and tranquility around you to guide your thoughts.
We filmed the certification of my brother and niece so that we could share that journey with you. This video shows you the progression of a new diver, from the first day of class, to open water skills, to that first dive, and then onto perfecting your technique so that you can safely and effortlessly enjoy the world beneath you.
Those of you who subscribe to our YouTube Channel or follow us on Facebook may have already seen this video. We did share it there when we first published it, but as you know, I’m a little behind in my writing, so this is the first debut published here on the Blog
November 9, 2014
You may be wondering just what the heck happened to the boat restoration. Looking back over our posts, the last time we updated you with anything on our beloved Mofilla was June 26th! Well, let me tell you…
That was the last time we worked on her and we decided to give ourselves a little break from both the grueling boat work and the heat. Our plan was to take a few months off while temperatures were up over 100 degrees and get back to it by September/October. Then plans changed on us a bit and required we take a little more time, not because of the heat, but because of the money we’ve been sinking into the restoration. We have something else we have to sink that money into at the moment and while it wasn’t exactly the direction we planned on taking, it’ll work out better in the long run.
You might remember, if you’ve been following us for awhile, that we were on a downsizing plan and a huge relief was the fact that we were renting our current home and planned on staying here only a couple more years while Brady finishes school. Well….. that’s changed. Our landlord has decided he wants to sell the home this year. We love it here and when we first moved here, we wanted to buy it, but the landlord didn’t want to sell at that time. As time moved on and we decided to move aboard a sailboat, we were quite happy to be renters. Now, we have to make the decision to buy the place or move We don’t want to move and the more we think about it, this place is home.
Even when we do move aboard the boat, this will always be a place to call home and a place to come back to, a place for Brady to come back to, a place we like to think of as our own. It’ll make a great vacation rental as well, so we may even find ourselves appreciative of the income it can provide when we set sail. It’ll be a good investment and is not something we want part with, so, we’ve had to funnel our money into efforts to acquire this house by the end of the year. That means the boat restoration that was soaking up a couple thousand dollars a month has had to take the back seat.
Don’t worry, we’ll get back to it just as soon as we can. We pay her regular visits and just hope that we hold onto that prime little spot we have her in for the full restoration. We don’t need anymore rugs yanked out from under us! If all goes well, we hope to be back at it by the first of the year and as long as mother nature provides us some decent weather, we hope to have her in the water by next fall.
November 4, 2014
To all of our loyal readers and to those who’ve recently joined us, I want to apologize for the lack of writing lately. I’ve had many topics I’ve intended to update you on, but my normally dedicated writing time has been infringed upon, self-induced, but infringed upon nonetheless and I need to get back in the habit of writing at least weekly. That kind of means I have to put myself on a schedule! I hate schedules! It’s the very thing we’re trying to get away from, but I do love sharing our dreams and passions with you all here, so I will make my best efforts to do so.
To start with, how about a preview of what’s to come in my next few posts? This’ll help me stick to it and may keep you interested enough to keep checking back in with us!
List of upcoming posts:
Reacting to Change – Boat restoration put on hold in order to meet necessary financial obligations which have come about due to a slight kink in our plans.
Open Water Scuba Certification – A full 30 minute video following two students as they learn to scuba dive with Aquatic Alternative
Family Week – Every time we have family come and visit and we take off work to enjoy our own home in a different light, we feel like we’re on an exotic vacation! A week off, enjoying good times with family at the beach (our back yard).
DieterFest 2014 – A group of Dieter’s closest friends from the whitewater paddling community up in Virginia & West Virginia have formulated a plot to get him back up there to visit yearly. The first annual DieterFest was held at the end of October and was an incredible gathering of good friends, good food, and all in the beautiful setting of the mountains of Wytheville, Virginia.
We’ll have a 3rd Crewmember When We Set Sail – Brady has decided that he wants to set sail with us after graduation and explore the world a little before deciding on his next step in life!
Making it Official – Dieter and I have taken the plunge and made our union official. Celebrating our five year anniversary, we held a beautiful intimate ceremony in the garden nestled between The Crucial Coffee Café and The Gourmet Hut in St. Augustine, FL.
So, that should keep me busy for the next 6 weeks or so if I can just discipline myself enough to stick to a schedule and set aside time for writing. I’ll do my best! It just seems like fun or work always gets in the way.
September 27, 2014
Okay, so I apologize for the super late production of this video! But… Well, you know… It is what it is! Life! Check it out… I think you’ll find it was worth the wait! I’ll really try to stick to my deadlines for future episodes
Best trip ever!