Drena & JR
We met in 1997 waiting tables in Greenbelt, Maryland. We both went to the University of Maryland and graduated with degrees in education (Drena) and mechanical engineering (JR). In 2003 we bought the cutest little cape cod and have essentially taken it apart and put it back together again. We bought our first boat, Jacinta, in 2008 and Journey in 2012. Our dream of living on a boat derived from the desire to live cheaply in Ocracoke, North Carolina (our favorite place in the whole wide world). After tons of research, discovering the secret world of cruising, and about 4 years of saving for the kitty, we decided, “Why stop in NC? We’re heading south y’all!”
A little people teacher through and through, I love calculated risks and a good challenge. I was never good at mob mentality (ask anyone, I’m kinda’ a brat like that) and although I followed the herd for many years, the 9 – 5 thing got pretty mundane for me. I loved my 11 years in the classroom, but I always knew there was more to be done! After an “extra” year to prepare for the cruising life, (yeah, I bailed once) I’m ready for a change of pace. I love takin’ pictures, sailing wing and wing, french fries, reading, my huzzzzband, and I love to learn new things.
The most thoughtful and thorough guy in the universe, JR loves to figure stuff out. He has the brain of an engineer and the heart of a sailor. He is the king of DIY and if he doesn’t know how to do it, he’ll research the heck out of it until he does. If it were up to him, he would have left to cruise years ago! He is crazy loyal and extremely patient. He loves tools, forums, heeling (on the boat, that is), ice cream, and me! :) You may also hear me refer to him as “Jake.” Only a few folks can get away with calling him that, though. You know who you are <3
- Journey is a 1986 O’day 35. She was very well maintained by her previous owners and has been really good to us so far. She is 35′ LOA, has 11′ 3″ beam, and shoal draft fin keel with 4′ 5″ draft out of the factory. The previous owners raised her waterline 4″ for when she is loaded up, so technically there is 4′ 9″ worth of bottom paint now. They also replaced many of her original systems including the standing rigging. The spars, hull and deck, and engine are just about the only original components remaining now that we have replaced the rudder. The engine is a 21 hp Universal M-25 that had around 2,700 hours when we bought her. We hesitated to buy a boat with an engine almost 30 years old, but the hours are low considering the age and we were told most of them were cruising hours with good regular maintenance intervals. Journey has been to the Bahamas twice already, hopefully she’ll show us the way! Some of the features that we love about Journey that make her unique from some of the other O’day 35s are the electric windlass, direct-vented propane cabin heater, upgraded batteries and electrical system, and electronic instruments and tank gauges. Thanks David and Peg!
Our boat cat, Leo, picked us in 2005 when he showed up on our door step and refused to leave. He is about 15 years old and loves sleeping, cat nip, morning treats, his Snuggie, and kisses (well, that one is an assumption :) Leo is quite the dock jumper and has been known to hop on other boats that look interesting. While on anchor, he loves to sit under the dodger and bake in the sun. Leo’s favorite kind of sailing is motoring up the Dismal Swamp :) He also has several nicknames including Babushka, Baboo (for short), Boo (for shorter), Catty, Catrick, Wee, and Baby Lee. Currently, he is enjoying land life and baking in front of the radiator!
On November 2, 2013 we hopped on our boat and started heading south on the ICW toward Florida. On January 27, 2014, we jumped the Gulf Stream and headed on over to Bimini, Bahamas. From Bimini we island hopped on down to Long Island, turned around and made it back to Annapolis, MD in July, dodging 1 early hurricane. We’ll take a little break here to regroup, reflect, and replenish (the kitty :) but will continue to write about our smaller adventures on The Chesapeake Bay and various travel opportunities until we get back out there full-time. We started this blog as a little journal for us, a way to keep in touch with the folks we love <3, and to pay it forward…
Best wishes for a safe, fun and wonderful trip!!! Drena, I am going to miss you at work and so will a bunch of future kindergarteners! You are the BEST kindergarten teacher that I know! I will forever be grateful that Tyler was your student!!!
Thank you Stacey. I’m gonna miss you too. I’m so glad I had a chance to work with you. I am forever grateful that you were one of my families!
Woohoo! I will be following along with your blog and sending you well wishes along the way. Best of luck, you two!
We’ll look for you in the Bahamas! Check out our blog too: http://www.summertimerolls.net
I love it! Nantucket looks amazing. Catch ya on the way back down!
Great blog! You will have so much fun! We sailed south to the Bahamas and back to Annapolis 3 times. The amazing experiences will definitely outweigh the scary moments. I wrote up our adventures on my blog http://moondance38.wordpress.com along with advice on what we learned. We met so many wonderful people and made many lifelong friends. We are currently living in Vero Beach. Would love to meet you when you get here!
That would be awesome! Thank you so much for reading :)
Hi Leo! So happy to have found you! Another boat cat! hooray! You look pawesome and your humans seem cool too. Looking forward to following your adventures! =^.^=
Hey Bailey! Leo IS pawsome but he’s not sold on the whole boat thing just yet. Maybe you can text him some helpful hints :) Oh! And JR and I love your PFD! Leo’s is kinda’ cheesy and we think he’d like yours better!
Hey, just checked out your great blog. It seems we will both be heading to the Bahamas around the same time. We will definitely keep up with your adventures as you get ready to head out and maybe our paths will cross someday.
Thanks. Same to you!
I’ll be here, watching the home fires. If there’s anything you need, you know you have our support… you know the number. I’ll follow along in spirit everyday.
Yay! Thanks Daddio :)
Is it just me, or is #6 missing? :-)
Love the plan, by the way. Hope to see you guys out there someday!
Just found your blog (thanks to Sailing Luna Sea)! We will definitely be following your adventure. We’re planning to take the leap of faith ourselves in January and cruise south (from Naples, to the Keys, to the Bahamas, and Caribbean). Best of luck! -Kim, s/v LAHO
Wonderful blog ! Love the ?? format. Just where is Leo sleeping ? Bet you loved having that heater. Hopefully that will be the end of it for awhile.
Thank you! Leo sleeps mostly on the couch and under the dodger outside. The heater was awesome to have! It definitely got some use! Thanks for reading!
Inspiring, Drena! Thanks for sharing. Wishing you many incredible moments of peace, adventure and growth. It is so great to see you happy and following your heart. xo
Thanks Lisa! I’m glad to hear from you!
You have no idea who I am nor do I know you and have no idea how I found your blog but I do have a cat with the same problems. I feel so sorry for her when she tries and tries and tries but no poo. How do you give the cat the meds? Mine will NO take anything.
Ha! I love it, the internet bringing people together based on cat constipation! Leo gets a “morning treat” which is about a tablespoon of wet food (otherwise he only gets dry food). Our vet recommended that we mix in about 1/8 teaspoon of Miralax, which is a tasteless, powdery laxative for people. He inhales his treat so fast the powdery laxative doesn’t stand a chance! Hope this is helpful, thanks for reading!
OMG, you probably just saved me hundreds of dollars in vet bills. Thank you so much. Good Luck on your journey it sounds so exciting. Happy Holidays.
Thanks! Same to you!
Drena, thank you for sharing your adventures in well written detail. Along with your many beautiful pictures, it’s vicariously living at its best! You have entertained and enlightened me, which is the best kind of story. You are a talented writer. I hope there is a sequel!
My husband, fat cat, and I are about to move onto a boat in a few months. I am so excited to read through your posts and learn more before our big transition! I’m nervous about having a cat on board, it’s reassuring to read about other boat kitties :) We’ll be posting our adventures (and misadventures) on http://www.svrisi.com. Cheers!
Hi Kathi! It’ll be fine. We just super accommodated him and kept a close eye on any changes in behavior. His biggest issue was making passages because he got nervous and restless with the motion of the boat. We have quite a few posts about cat life on the boat if you look under “The Adventures of Leo.” Best of luck to you!
Fun reading. Great photography. I enjoyed many trips to Bimini, Chub Cay, Great Harbour Cay and Nassau, usually in a 24′ Aquasport center console outboard. The most beautiful water and warm lovely Bahamian people. Your adventures rekindle fond memories. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading. It seems like an eternity ago…
Hey guys! The picture you have of the Southport, NC, water tower is great (https://sailingjourney.net/category/water-view/). I would like to know if we can use it for a non-profit booklet we are putting together for Generations Church in Southport. Thanks!
I’m a little late, but be our guest! Thanks for asking!