Thanks for playing along, y’all! Your questions were awesome and made for a few days of reflective and sweet conversing here on Journey. We are so happy to have you journey-ing along with us and hope you find the answers to your thoughtful questions amusing. Cheers to many more months and as always, thanks for the love <3
Miles Traveled: 723 nautical miles (832 statute miles)
Gallons of Diesel: 62
Days Underway: 22
Nights at Anchor: 17
Towns Visited: 10
States Visited: 4 – MD, VA, NC, and SC, baby!
Showers Taken: 8 each – yup, we went there!
Number of Times We Put on Gym shoes to Exercise: 0
Number of Times Leo ALMOST Fell Overboard: 1 – In Charleston, SC
What’s the biggest surprise?
D- What we are capable of. I still can’t believe we pulled this off and I can’t believe how good it feels, even when things don’t go exactly like we planned.
J- It’s more of a confirmation than a surprise, but I am still amazed at how few things we really need.
Are we aground in Georgia yet?
Not yet, but dang is Georgia tricky! I’ve never seen JR so unnerved as when he was anticipating Hell Gate and he’s the relaxed one! So far, we’ve just added another variable to our trip planning: What’s the tide doing today? We haven’t been able to figure out how to time current so that it’s in our favor, but we can time high tide for when we go through all of these lovely cuts!
Would you do the same trip again? If yes, what changes would you make?
Sure, why not!? The cold has been pretty brutal so we would try to dip out a little sooner, but it’s inevitable to an extent. The ICW has been kinda’ tedious in some spots, but we’re set on seeing it all the way through. Next time, we might consider some outside (ocean) jumps to avoid boring and/or inconvenient spots. It’s still early in the game though; I hope it continues as nicely as it has been so far.
What did you read or hear from other cruisers that you found true? Untrue?
True – Cruising is amazing, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, it’s impossible to explain, the community is crazy supportive, we will be some of the youngest folks out there, everyone has a “way,” go now – do not wait…
Untrue – So far, everything we’ve heard from other cruisers is pretty accurate.
How have your new cramped quarters affected life aboard?
D- I always seem to end up in line waiting for bed. Leo is thinking about jumping in, JR is changing into his PJ’s in the little tiny area between the head (bathroom) and V-berth, and I’m standing in line waiting for my bed!
J- I am most annoyed with getting out of bed. You can’t just roll out. You have to sit up, twist around, and scoot out!
Do you think you would have been ready last year?
D- Hells to the NO. The extra year was good for us in terms of the house(s) and good for me in terms of wrapping my head around cruising. Tasha Hacker’s blog, Turf To Surf, was crucial to my personal growth and, by literally watching her do the same trip I’m doing, it gave me the confidence I needed as well as added to my excitement. I don’t think we would have died or quit last year, but I knew I was ready this year, whereas last year I was hesitant.
J – No, there was just too much to do. If the house renovations had been done, then maybe, but renovating 2 bathrooms as well as preparing for cruising was way too much.
How is Leo doing? Where does he spend his time? Has he climbed on the boom or bimini yet?
Leo is fine. We are so lucky to have the chillest cat in all of the land! He spends most of his time under the dodger, sleeping in the sun. He also likes the starboard berth (couch) in the salon (living room) and has recently realized that if his dad positions his Snuggie just right, it feels like a nest. Evidently Leo likes nests.
His eating habits and bathroom habits have not changed an ounce. We let him graze and leave food in his bowl at all times, and at one point, I felt that he was eating too much (out of boredom, I assumed). I started measuring his food to see how much he was eating, and he actually eats under the recommended amount for a cat his size. Go figure.
He did climb on the bimini once and totally freaked me out. That was still in MD and he hasn’t done it again since. He has no interest in the boom for some reason (he’s not much of a jumper), but he will do a lap or two around the perimeter of the boat once we’ve set anchor. If we are sitting on the bow, he will join us and watch the stuff float by in the current. He rubs his face on everything and seems to like the main sheet the best. He’s pretty low key and for that, we are grateful. Someone in Elizabeth City, NC asked us how we trained him so well. We laughed.
How is Journey holding up?
D- I’m gonna let JR handle this one, but I’d like to say that she’s all I could have ever hoped for at this stage in the game. She is so good to us.
J- Journey is holding up great. We have had no issues to speak of and her engine still purrs like Leo after some face rubbing.
What is the hardest thing to do on the boat?
D- Getting to the kitty litter. Cleaning the box isn’t a big deal because I take it up front and wash it on deck with our anchor wash down hose. Sometimes disposing of the litter is a pain, but I try to only do it at a marina so I can toss it immediately. The actual litter is kept in the bilge under our bed, so in order to get to it, I have to peel back the memory foam, lift up the giant cushion, take off the board that covers the hole thingie, and pull the litter straight up and out of that insanely inconvenient cubby. It sucks and I usually end up freaking out and screaming at JR, “Uh-uh! I’m gonna need you to do this!”
J- Keeping me awake past 9 pm and waking Drena up before sunrise so we can catch a tide. Filling the diesel tank without spilling is probably the next hardest. Most things just take longer than we are used to, but for the most part, we have the time to spare.
What is the best sound you’ve heard so far? Sight?
D- Sound- We were anchored in New River, GA the other night and we kept hearing a weird puffing noise over by the reeds. It turned out to be a dolphin swimming up and down the shore blowing :) Sight- the sunsets and the stars, the stars, the stars!
J- Sound- I agree with the dolphin thing and I’ll add the bells of a bridge finally opening after we have been fighting wind and current for what seems like an eternity. Sight- Finding unrefrigerated Sierra Nevada cans in a beer and wine store in Wrightsville Beach, NC and looking at our progress on how far we have come.
How many hours do you lie awake at night longing to be back in a PG County school classroom?
Oh lemme think… Zero! But I do long for reading out loud, hugs from my kids, finding treasures in my pocket, pinky waves in the hallway, the sound of little people laughing, reading invented spelling, children’s books, holding a little hand, changing bulletin boards, collaboration with other amazing teachers, lunchtime gossip, happy hour after school (at 2:30!), and friends both big and small. Just like cruising, teaching is indescribable, right? You just can’t explain how magical, frightening, frustrating, and peaceful it is. I do miss it, thanks, Duffy <3
Are you glad you decided to do this?
D- Um. Heck yes. I’m terrified of regret and I couldn’t let this one fester in my soul for eternity!
J- Yes. We are grateful and feel fortunate to have this opportunity.
Do you think you will still be married when you return?
Probably. It’s too soon to say for sure, though :)
Would you really tell me (Drena’s mom) if you wanted me to come and get you?
Really, Mom? Have you met me? Have you ever known me, in my 27-ish years on this earth, to go unhappy or mistreated for even a moment? I’m mad spoiled, mostly thanks to you, and I plan on keeping that way, so if I’m unhappy, I’d take care of it in a flash. I’d call ya from the airport, I promise.
Is Leo still fat?
Yes. His little, saggy belly swings from side to side when he runs. Or when he ran, that one time :)
How are your meals? How is cooking? What are your most common meals?
This one is tricky because I know it’s going to change once we hit warmer weather!
Breakfast is easy. We hit Costco before we left and got a big old thing of pancake mix. We do cereal, oatmeal, and I insisted on buying Pop Tarts even though I have recently decided that I hate them. I also toast Cinnamon Raisin bread on this nifty little thing and sometimes make cream of wheat, but heating up milk annoys me. On days we don’t leave really early, JR makes this great egg/potato scramble thing with eggs, potatoes, onions, and whatever else we need to use up. We didn’t skimp on the spices we brought, that was good thinking!
Lunches stumped me, so I asked my Woman Who Sail Facebook group and they gave me about one million good ideas. Here’s a screen shot of some of the thread.
Dinner is the one that I know will change significantly as it warms up… So far we’ve been doing a lot of one pot meals. My step dad turned us onto Bear Creek soups and chilis that only need 8 cups of water to make. They have been great on cold nights and get the cabin all steamy and warm. Sometimes, they last for two nights, which is a bonus! We’ve been spending a lot of time in the prepared food isle, which is funny because we never shopped there before. There are some good Hamburger Helper one pot things and some good skillet sauces that you just add meat to and serve with rice. Oh and Costco sold these great pizza kits with 6 crusts and sauces. We add cheese and various toppings and have really enjoyed these too. It’s funny because our oven is only big enough for one personal sized pizza at a time, so we make one and eat it while the other is cooking! Again, all cold weather, comfort food! I’m sure as it warms up, we will do more grilling and we will begin to dislike using the stove for long periods of time!
My biggest resource in this area has been The Boat Galley. Have you heard of it? Carolyn is the guru of all things galley and I do anything she tells me to. Much like Oprah, I’d drink her Kool-Aid :)
Did you notice any utensils, pans, or dishes you brought along that you did not need?
I had to go down below and check! We really slimmed down in this area and I think we did OK. Maybe one too many cutting boards, but we’ll see once we start catching and filleting fish!
What is the most surprising thing that you did not anticipate?
How often we would see dolphins, how quickly Leo adapted (he is cut out for this life!), how early we would go to bed, how early I (Drena) would wake up, how much motoring we would do, how often the wind is blowing exactly from the direction we want to go, how many places don’t recycle, how nice strangers can be, how supportive our family and friends are, how often we have to do dishes, how annoying boat refrigerators are, how accurate our boat oven is, that I’d start crushing on my husband again, how many grocery store discount cards we would accumulate, how beautifully isolated we are at anchor, how often cruisers plan 4-5 days out and then change their plans… This is fun, we could keep going and going and going, I think!
What ONE thing did you take for granted at your house that you do not have on Journey?
D- My garden
J- Climate control
What’s the one thing you miss the most that you can’t have access to on your boat?
D- Microwave, maybe? I hate heating leftovers in a pan because it’s another dish to wash!
J- I can’t think of anything. I have everything I need.