Dawn after a hard night of growing rollers and waves. None of our weather sources predicted this. At least we can see them coming now. The camera doesn’t pick up the depth. at this point the waves were over 6 ft and growing.  We had been sailing over 24 hrs.


We left Ocean Isle Marina at Ocean Beach N.C. on the 18Nov. I can’t say enough about the people here. They were amazing. They gave us everything we needed to fix the alternator issue and David installed a new alternator. We left on the ICW and left Ocean Beach Inlet which was just south of the marina. It was a tricky inlet, with snake-like 180degree turns and on top of it the navigation aids switched as you changed from heading down the ICW towards offshore. This can confuse people and then they end up on the wrong side of the buoys and ground the boat.

I took over the steering in these parts because David can’t see the screen and the navigation aids at the same time. He needs to put on his glasses to focus on the screen and then take off his glasses to focus on the buoys which makes it hard while steering.  I am really kind of proud of my abilities to steer TC with a tiller, something I’m not super comfortable with as it works opposite a wheel. Sometimes it feels like you are about to hit the shore but really you can’t cut corners due to heavy shoaling and you need to trust AQUA MAP, an Italian app that hasn’t let us down. David finds this stressful as you almost have to trust the app and deny what is in front of your boat.   Navionics is great for plotting offshore courses but can’t trust the depth and the land images are crappy. 

We had decided to play it by ear and if we felt good, keep sailing til we hit Jackson Florida.We checked several weather channels and we were supposed to have winds between 20 and 35 km/h and mild seas- winds from the N, (on our backs) and NE (giving us a little beam from aft (back). We figured they would push us right to Florida.   David didn’t feel super comfy with NE winds as they can be stormy, but we are both tired of the ICW and motoring. It’s much harder on a sailboat’s engine and mechanics than sailing. So,,, we exited the inlet and had a beautiful sail down. We felt rested and confident so we decided to go all night.  Sailing offshore , in good weather, has to be one of the most relaxing soul stabilizing experiences. 


Me helming TC in calm seas. David went to rest down below.  The calm before the storm.


Reality hit at around 10pm when the seas started to act up, much higher winds as well. It was dark and we didn’t have access to an inlet that we could enter safely in the dark so we had to keep heading south. As we had not had time to instal the auto-pilot, we had to take turns steering. I would take the helm and David would lie down in the cockpit as the sea was bumpy. It was a long night. We only saw 2 other motor boats heading south.

By morning, the waves were pretty powerful about 15ft high. They were from the NE so we were taking them on the port aft (so left back part of the boat) making it easy to turn the boat to port which would then take the waves right on the side. This would throw TC sideways down the trough and hit the bottom of the trough on the side. One absolutely amazing quality of TC is that she never put the rail in the water. It was amazing and so comforting. In these conditions I think many boats would have had water in the deck and some catamarans may have even tipped, but after a while, the waves didn’t even faze me. Other than being uncomfortable, I knew we were safe. 

We searched inlets to head into but could not find any that didn’t have lots of shoaling around the entrance and in these winds and waves, we faced the real risk that we could be pushed into a shoal and then the waves would push us further against the shoal. We decided the safest inlet was St. Mary’s , Georgia. We wanted to get to Jacksonville Florida but we were exhausted and hand steering and now awake for about 37hrs.

As we approached St. Mary’s Inlet, David noticed that our speed was the same even if we went to neutral. The wind was pushing us at about 4knots from behind! This was bad news as it meant we had no propulsion.  When he checked, he found that the shaft coupler had disconnected AGAIN from the shaft. This was a fix we had done in Delaware City but as we did not lift the boat out of the water, the fix had not been as complete as it should have been. It may have held except for the extreme pounding of the waves off-shore. We called TowUS (we have a membership, Thank the LORD!!)

Captain Andy was awesome and said he would get there in about an hour. After more than an hour and a half of drifting and trying to keep off the shore but not too far away from the inlet, he let us know that it was too rough for his 22ft zodiac and he had to call the Coast Guard. David and I didn’t want to make a big deal as we were not in immediate danger but we couldn’t put sails up (as you have to motor into the wind to release pressure on the sails to raise them) and we couldn’t motor into an inlet. We had no choice but to have the US Coastguard come.  Well, as we were not in immediate danger ( a little water was coming in through the shaft but the bilge pump easily handled it) the coastguard took their time. We drifted around the inlet for another 2 hours before we saw them coming from Fernandina Beach area which was south of us. We were in good spirits but physically exhausted having started the day before at 7am. It was now about 5pm a day later and dusk was coming. 

The coastguard had 2 men in the back of their zodiac and 2 in the cabin. They tried to radio instructions but their radio wasn’t copying us. We would relay the answers through the radio at their station who then relayed it to them. David, strapped to a jackline (a rope that runs from the cockpit to the bow that you strap yourself in with a life-line that is attached to your life jacket, was already at the bow waiting for them as he knew they needed to tie the boats together at our bow. They threw a ball with their rope attached to it to David but it bounced back into the sea. Then they threw an oval sack that David was able to catch. The boats had to stay about 50m apart as the waves could push one or the other on top of the other boat if they got too close. David was able to attach their line to our bow cleat. Then David crawled back to the cockpit. During the entire time, my job was to steer us and keep us as stable as possible and away from the coast guard boat yet not too far while trying not to focus too much on David being thrown around on deck – no easy task.

Once  the  boats were attached, they started the tow. It was long as they had to pull us out to the start of the inlet channel in order to avoid the shoals around the inlet. It took about an hour of towing.  About halfway through, they warned us they needed to speed up as the waves were getting bigger and conditions worsening. They told us they would be going at 7knots. Well, it felt like we were in a ride at the ferris wheel except that we were hitting the waves directly on our bow and then it would free fall and slam into the water.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, David and I were getting used to the roller coaster feel of it when suddenly the mizzen sheet disconnected from the attachment! The stainless steel shackle broke due to the bouncing pressure it had experienced. The boom started moving violently  180 degrees and fast!. I tried to catch it and was pushed back towards the cockpit slamming my ribs on the side . David tried to catch it and was hit on the head with it (later giving him some bruising and lacerations to the face).  David then rose onto the stern platform and waited for the boom to come about again and grabbed it and lassooed it with one of our bow lines and was able to tie it to the arch on the back.   He then got another rope around it and secured it on each side so it wouldn’t escape.  I tried to keep the boat steady and keep an eye on David who was untethered so he could catch the moving boom. I think that was probably the scariest part as the force of the boom could’ve pushed David or I into the water, as the coastguard, oblivious to what was happening to us pulled us at 7knots into the 15ft waves.  I have to hand it to David, he is my hero proving himself to be super competent and super brave. After our hearts settled  back in our chests we continued being towed.  I stayed in the cockpit with David for a while and then decided I needed something softer to sit on, so I went down below and curled up in the quarter berth. The boat shook when it would freefall but it felt solid. 


US Coastguard towing us into St. Mary’s inlet. We had lost propulsion.

At the point we entered St. Mary’s Inlet, in Georgia,  it was dark (about 7pm). Suddenly everything felt calm, no waves!!! I came up top and saw the TowUS zodiac beside the Coastguard as they took over the towing of TC. We waved goodbye to the Coastguard and they went over the radio to wish us luck. I thanked them and told them they were amazing!!! What a well-trained team and just so polite and professional throughout. They never made us feel like we were dumb or putting them out of their way.  We saw lots of police and tow boats at the inlet as apparently we weren’t the only ones caught in unexpected violent seas. By the way, we check at least 4 different respected weather sources before heading out anywhere and none of them predicted the conditions we experienced. From now on we will be extra careful if the wind is coming from the N or NE.


The videos fail to show the depth of the waves or the drops from the top of the waves. The Coastguard had to speed up as well as we had to head directly into the waves in order to get around the shoaling of the inlet and into the inlet channel. It took about an hour. Believe it or not our eggs that were stored in the anchor locker in a padded cooler never broke! TC shook hard when she free fell off the waves but she was SOLID!!



Captain Andy from TowUS was awesome as well, he pulled us much more gently, and through calm waters, to St. Mary’s Boatyard where we could be lifted up and a proper fix done on the shaft once and for all. It’s amazing to see how they can pull and push boats into tight spots . We were tied up near the lift so that we could be pulled out easily the next morning as we had no propulsion. 



It felt great to be stopped, and TIED to a dock, with no wave action after about 37 hours of sailing/motoring and most of it in very rough seas. David stated that he still felt as if he was moving as the body adjusts to the movement of the waves. I did too but not quite as much. 


Well, we made it Georgia right at St. Mary’s River. We could see Florida across the river.  We were happy to be tied to a dock in shallow water, no waves.  I can say that I never felt I was in immediate danger but I knew there were times when things could have gone south really fast especially with David on deck or trying to catch the flying boom.  Maybe for some, it would turn them off of sailing but I felt like we had tested TC and she had passed.  It may not have been a hurricane but we had gusts of about 40 knots and 15 ft seas, bad enough that TowUS wouldn’t come out of the inlet. TC was stable throughout. Not once was her rail in the water. The weight in the keel did it’s job and her chines (the hard angles on her hull) kept us upright. My confidence in TC grew  that night- now we just need to fix the mechanical issues properly and that requires lifting her out of the water. 

TC being lifted the next morning at St. Mary’s Boatyard , an amazing place a stone throw from Florida where we can work on our boat. David overseeing the lift. 



The last 3 days have to have been the hardest days so far. Our resilience and stamina was challenged.  I think it hit hard because it came so quick on the heals of other break downs. We thought we had fixed the battery/alternator issue. Then, when we left to go offshore on the 15th from Cape Fear and the alternator burst into smoke, we were crushed. 


                                                                                             Fixing the boat means it’s usually a disaster to live in.


Today, David started installing the part that arrived yesterday evening, the Balmar alternator all the way from Kingston. Doug our angel in Kingston was on call all day and David was able to pick his brains when the technology stumped him. David found a machine shop 15 miles away and was able to machine a bushing he needed. This alone involved complicated logistics (we have no car and no uber here)  and the machinist, was none too friendly with David. I went with David to pick it up and suddenly, his demeanor changed.  I’m not sure why but, feminism aside, there is a softening quality we bring to the table in these environments. 

The job was technical, involving referring to online manuals, written manuals and calling Doug our angel mechanic in Kingston. Finally, at around 3pm, David was ready to turn it on. (My job all day was to turn keys on, hold things, cook, and prep food for off-shore). Most importantly, we needed to stay positive. The boat is usually a complete mess with tools everywhere and nowhere to sit and relax other than a berth or a small settee. When that ignition started, I hid behind my pillow in the V berth, David I’m sure held his breath.  Well , when the smoke spewed and the fan belt exploded, I think we both wanted to cry. This is where the rubber meets the road. 

I jumped off the berth and asked David what next. He wanted to cry but he didn’t. We had another belt and he just went about installing it. This time, when the ignition started and I hid my head in the pillow, there was no smoke and no flying bits of belt. It seemed to be running smoothly!!! Halleluya!!!!



We both wanted to cry again, but this time in relief. I know it wasn’t life or death or involving a major life altering issue but we have been travelling for over a month and a half, mostly in the cold and in pretty austere conditions. We long for sun and warmth and friends and I have a flight to catch on the 5th to see my kids , my family my church and my dogs. We high-fived and hugged each other. We recognized, this had been a test of our stamina, our dedication to our goals and a test of the glue that holds us together as a couple. We celebrated with a warm wood fire and a movie night.

Tomorrow, we hope to go off-shore and sail hard. Maybe if possible and if we have the strength, all the way to Florida non-stop. We don’t have an auto-pilot installed so we have to do hand-steering 24/7. We also don’t have reefing in the sails (remember we were late leaving so we rushed through some of the details) which means we have to be careful with weather and head inside and use the ICW (waterway system) at the first sign of strong weather. Our sails are huge and without reefing ability (shortening the sail in high winds) we are limited in what kind of weather we can sail in. 

I’m excited to SAIL!!! I’m excited to stop moving and stay put somewhere. I’m excited to see our friends Bob and Carol in Vero beach who have spent 6 years circumnavigating the world and are hoping we can share their Thanksgiving with us. Truly, I’m super excited just to stop, breathe and go see my kids. 

Hopefully, my next post will be from Florida!

We hope to travel all down the coast of S Carolina and Georgia non-stop.





I took this photo of a tree in Delaware City. It spoke to me of strength and perseverance no matter the circumstances.  It provides joy for those who pass and admire it’s awesomeness but to me it spoke of resilience.  This resilience is what we all need.  We find the way to flourish and survive no matter what life brings. We push through because we are here for a bigger purpose than just for ourselves. 



These last few days since we left Beaufort have not been what we had in mind when we thought of sailing south.  Nicole, the tropical storm has hung on until about the 11th with high winds and seas. We decided to leave the safety of Beaufort and our friends from NS, Gilles and Annik as well as our super ” transatlanticers ” Jean Luc and Janice who decided to wait for better weather before leaving. 



David and I talked about it and decided the winds were not too bad especially if we stayed inside the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway). We knew the seas were too high and not only is it less safe but it’s too uncomfortable with a north wind on our backs and rollers coming from the east.  Neither of us is prone to sea sickness but everyone can get sick if the conditions are just right. We didn’t want to risk it especially with only 2 of us available for watches. 

The canal though, south of Beaufort NC is really narrow and full of shoals. We had to keep our eyes glued to Aqua Map , an excellent Italian chart app that allows input from different sources to identify dangers and shoaling and depths. We also had to watch the buoys and navigation aids as sometimes the charts were not updated . Navionics is wrong a lot so we just use it for creating a route but you can’t follow it as it would take you to the ground. The depths on Navionics are completely wrong as well . 

We passed several boats on shoals reminding us how easy it is to get stuck. One of the sailboats we had passed a few times got stuck in a shoal waiting for a bridge that was in a narrow spot with shoaling, current and wind pushing you to the shoals.  It can be really stressful as you try and avoid hitting other boats who are also waiting for the bridge to open. Boat US was there trying to pull them off but it was a large sailboat and the wind was pushing them onto the shoal.  I felt so bad for the couple and hoped they were able to get off the shoal without damage. 


Boats on shoals..YIKES

Wild spanish ponies on Carrot Island


We anchored at Mile Hammock anchorage , a safe spot with several other boats and discovered our alternator was not charging the batteries.  The alternator for some reason broke a little piece that connected it to the batteries (we have 6 AGM batteries ) David installed the extra alternator we carried but the batteries had been drained and we needed to charge them. Another Canadian couple in a catamaran called Minaki lent us their generator and gas and we charged the batteries! Ken and Lisa are from Alberta! I have learned that the sailing takes care of its own. They refused any payment but allowed us to treat them to some of David’s homemade cappicolo and some spanish olives and wine. 

The next day, we were able to motor to Tina’s Pocket anchorage in Cape Fear. Boy, this place was open to the elements. We bounced around all night.  I’m sure Minaki, beside us had an even bouncier night being a catamaran. The wind was howling but the anchor was stuck in thick mud.  Neither of us slept well. Cape Fear lived up to its name. With the wind and the depth changes from the wide inlet to the open ocean plus the tide it becomes like a washing machine. David and I decided to put on our life jackets and strap on the jack lines just to pull up the anchor! The wind howled at 30kms plus and the waves were bouncing in every direction. 


Tina’s Pocket anchorage in Cape Fear. Calm when we anchored but it turned nasty overnight.

The act of pulling up the anchor was too much for our replacement alternator and it started smoking. Let me say, we were extremely disappointed and beaten.  David though, never a quitter, was able to disengage the alternator from the batteries and we were able to motor 35nm to a marina that had room for us. Many marinas are full at this time so it was a challenge to find one on the way. We landed in the safe hands of Ocean Isle Marina at Ocean Isle Beach NC. 


David is truly amazing. He can fix anything, anywhere.

I can’t say enough about this marina. They are so kind and gave us the outside dock which was long and easy to access. They also helped us get the parts we needed. We were kind of in a slump after the latest breakdown and just needed to lick our wounds.  Well , that night, David made arrangements with Doug our engine mechanic from Kingston to ship us a new alternator and all the parts needed to install it. After that was arranged, I treated David to a Mexican restaurant just a couple of miles walk.  We both were tired after not sleeping at the Cape Fear anchorage and the scary motor to the ICW through the Cape Fear inlet.  So, after a huge feed of  mexican tamales and quesadillas and pina colada and beer, we walked home and slept like logs. 


Safe and docked at an amazing marina. Ocean Isle Marina
A rare night out! David ordered a tall beer but didn’t expect that tall! Authentic mexican food YUM!

Today, we waited for our alternator to arrive from Kingston. David also filled up on diesel, propane and we filled our water tanks in preparation for a long off shore sail.  I tried to bake biscoties but failed miserably as I’m not a baker and I’m trying to bake on cast iron pots and modifying the recipe so it is quasi paleo.. Needless to say, I can barely eat the brownie/paleo/biscotties but we don’t have much choice so I’m sure they will taste ok in a pinch. Our parts arrived at 5, too late for installing in the dusk. We decided to go for a walk and then David would study the alternator instructional manuals and I would update the blog.

Yesterday we went shopping for provisions in the rain. We use a trolley and suitcase strapped. We covered it with a bag to keep it dry.

Sailing (motoring mostly so far) has been a truly humbling experience for me. I never appreciated the security of your city and family and friends:  knowing that should something break down, or your bank card gets frozen (security settings on bank accounts are set off when you use different networks for banking access) you are a call away from relief. Not so much here. 

For the last month and a half, we’ve been travelling in a 37 ft boat, about 220 square feet of living space, through remote places I never knew existed. We are off-grid , with no hot water (unless we boil it) and no plumbing other than foot and hand pumped water.  I can’t control the weather, and I certainly can’t control the fact that we have had several breakdowns which I expected due to the fact we never had a shake down of TC due to the lateness in the season. 

These experiences are changing me. I thought I was done with learning lessons, at 57.  How silly. I am completely at the mercy of the weather and this boat. I can yearn and pray for good weather or that we don’t break down but when the bad storms (that never leave, like Nicole) hit and the shaft or gear shift or alternator break, I am reminded of my powerlessness.  This is extremely frustrating for me, as controlling circumstances is “my specialty”, but it is teaching me to let go.  For my faith friends, they know this lesson:  Let go and let God.  But in reality, few of us really let go. I’m working on being content no matter the circumstances. 

Today, tied up to the marina dock, the alternator taken apart and not knowing whether we can fix it and sail off tomorrow, I decided to bake paleo brownies on a cast iron pot and watch a movie. Letting go –  Maybe there’s hope for me yet . I’m still learning. 


I used a small cast iron upside down over the gas heat and then another one on top to diffuse the heat and create my “oven”. The biscuits need work but I’m getting the hang of “baking”


Well, it’s been a few days since I updated my beloved friends and family , who are all dearly dearly missed.  On the 5th of Nov, after the long Alligator River and Pungo Canal (by the way, there are alligators in Alligator River even though it seems north),  we left Belhaven City with 8 other sailboats towards Oriental. There was not enough wind so after trying once for 30 min, we had to take the sails down through one of the sounds (large bodies of water).

We had to go past a shrimp boat facility called R.E. Mayo and of course, shrimp monsters that we are, we had to stop.  David had current and wind on his nose which turns the boat fast and he pulled up last minute in front of a shrimp boat, not really knowing where to dock. The galley slave/ doctor/ admiral/ deck hand has to then figure out how to jump out and stop the boat .  Let me tell you, you have to be courageous.  I was trying to figure out how to jump 6 ft across the water onto a dilapidated wooden dock with big poles on both sides and NO CLEATS to tie the boat to. Remember the boat weights about 17,000 lbs EMPTY. And I can barely deadweight 30lbs.. so,, I need something to tie the springline around . This old fit sailor, probably 90 yrs old but sprite as a 10 yr old, sees my look of fright and runs over and offers to catch my lines.. BLESS HIS SOUL!!! I could’ve kissed him. I think he read my mind so after he tied off the lines in about  2 seconds to the inside poles, he ran off. 

We then, walked towards the back where we saw the real dock that wimpy sailors need to use with CLEATS.  But I count it all joy as I now know what to do with a dock between large poles.

David suggested 3lbs shrimp and I suggested 5lbs. We bought 5lbs, to support the economy of course and also topped up 2 cans of diesel we had used up to get there.  The shrimpers were friendly, funny and kept calling me maam.  The politeness here is something I am not used to.  I spoke with  a shrimper while waiting for our 5lbs of big shrimp and he asked me how long we had been ” married ” possibly because David and I act like an old couple and I said over 11 yrs. I asked him and he said he had been married over 40 years. He told me that he remembers to treat his wife as if they were dating!  Now this is a man in the know.. Plus he probably brings home shrimp every day which helps. 


This is the shrimper dock David had pulled in too fast due to current and wind. The pole you use is the one on the inside. The shrimp boats are huge. 5.50lb for tasty big shrimps.


David is learning how to eat shrimp the spanish way. You must suck the juices out first (cooked with peel on) then peel it then eat the shrimp.. no waste.. As he was helming, I had to peel the shrimp for him..


Potaje, a spanish dish in the photo beside the shrimp,  is basically comprised of 24hrs soaked beans of your choice, onion, pepper, carrots chorizo and pork hocks . You can also add beef and pork belly , then pressure cooked or slow cooked until meat falls off the bone and beans are soft. YUM.. Great boat food and inexpensive.  The food here is pretty pricey and as we are “cheap ass sailors” as David likes to remind me, this is a dish we cook regularly, plus fibre is always important on a boat as you don’t walk as much…



We left Oriental (anchored outside the city due to packed docks inside) along with about 8 other boats heading to Beaufort and the open ocean!!! This year is a record year for boaters. A man with binoculars called us on 16 after we anchored in Oriental and asked about TC. We told him what it is, 37ft aluminum cat ketch with Tanton hull design and he paddled over on his paddleboard to take a look. David is only too happy to give tours and explain the benefits of a free-standing cat ketch rig, aluminum hull and wishbone booms. 


6Nov : One of my jobs is to search out the best , free, anchorages.  I found a few in Beaufort but they were crowded and we love the wild places. I saw an anchorage that was accessed offshore just north of Beaufort, Cape Lookout it was called. It looked very protected from all sides and we needed to wait for Jean Luc and Janice who hope to buddy boat down the coast with us as well as another Canadian couple on “Calista” We decided to wait and prep the boat for offshore sailing in this isolated anchorage.

I can’t tell you how beautiful this place is. It was a very bumpy 1 hr motor north , offshore from Beaufort but it is spectacular. It has a long history of  warning sailors of the shoals via a diamond painted lighthouse. Each lighthouse on the Atlantic has a specific design which tells sailors during the day where they are. This particular light house has a diamond design.

We anchored in about 15 ft of water but when we returned from our walk the next day, we found the wind had turned the boat and it was touching sand!  However, it was just touching and we easily motored off. We have to remember to give ourselves lots of swing room where there is steep shelving going towards the beach as we have tides and currents and wind changes to work with. 

David and I dinghied ashore and walked the beaches. We also investigated the Cape Lookout state park , visitor center and boardwalks to the open Atlantic. It was a calm day but the waves were pretty large. I don’t think I’d swim there. Fishermen said there are lots of sharks as well. There are certainly tons of dolphins which has to speak to the health of the coastline. One other thing we noticed was that there was NO GARBAGE on the ground. Everywhere we have gone, we do not see garbage on shore or in the water. Bravo to our american neighbours!!

Shackleford Banks, (outer Core Banks) has wild spanish ponies that roam the dunes – possibly from colonists or shipwrecks in the past. I hope I get to see some before we leave the outer banks of North Carolina. You can’t get close as they can be aggressive.

The pink star is where we anchored. We were going to stay there a few days but NICOLE changed our plans.


NICOLE is coming!

We started reading about a tropical storm forming off the Bahamas. It seemed to be increasing and would hit NC on Monday night.. We needed to make a decision either to stay in the Cape Lookout Bight or to move to Beaufort (an hr motoring off shore). At first we decided to stay and experience the storm but all the sailors left and we were the only ones left in the bight. Even the ferry and park people said they wouldn’t be open or running on Tuesday. So after having decided on a great anchorage , David still felt uneasy. I was sooo looking forward to seeing big waves and big wind even though we were very protected on all sides. 

So, as I’m learning , a happy captain is a happy boat.  So we pulled up anchor and motored back to Beaufort where our friends, Gilles and Annik, on the “Calista” said there was plenty of room in a little creek called Taylor Creek. It was crowded but we motored past the crowds and found the “Calista” and a spot not far from them. It is narrow and houses on one side and trees on the other. Annik had seen horses on Carrot Island the shore across from us.  I kept an eye out for the spanish ponies. 

That night after anchoring really well in preparation for the tropical storm Nicole, we all dinghied to a pool parlour place where they serve 3$ hamburgers. Remember the “cheap ass sailor” concept.  Well, I wanted to look nice so I grabbed my pink posh leather sandals to go with my black flowy outfit and regretted it quickly. The sandals are made to look nice  but not to walk in. Annik and Gilles thought we were close to the hamburger place but in fact it took us about 40 min to walk there. I had blisters on each outside toes and on the ball of my feet. Fashion over Form always seems to cost dearly in a sailors world.  On the way back, I walked bare-foot to the dinghy.  Once in the boat, I made a moisturizer potion with tea tree oil for my feet and by morning, my blisters were much better. Next time, the pink shoes will be in my bag and I’ll wear my runners until we get to the spot we are looking for..

Nicole gave us a bumpy night, with gusts of 40 to 50 knots. Our spade anchor held very well. We heard from our good friends Jean Luc and Janice on “Tranquilla” that a few boats had dragged onto shore near them. They were farther into the busier parts of the creek. It was hard to sleep as the wind would turn our boat and make it heel while at anchor and we need to be ready to act if the anchor lets go. 

We spent the day looking at weather forecasts from different sources. It may be calm enough to sail south on Saturday. We have lost lots of days and I want to make it to see Bob and Carol before I fly home for Christmas. I’m constantly struggling with the concept of waiting on the weather..Patience is a virtue I lack. 


We listen to NOAA, the coastguard, Windy App and other regular weather stations to get the most complete weather forecasts before making decisions.

It looks like we can sail out on Saturday and we plan to sail off-shore  following the coast line of  North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and finally Florida until Vero Beach. Elliana wants to experience Charleston and Savannah vicariously through us as she dreams of visiting these historic places but we have lost so much time that I fear we will have to sail through with maybe an overnight stop.  I’ve plotted the different anchorages with different options depending on weather conditions . I aim to give us many options so that if we are too tired, or get sick, we can quickly access an anchorage and wait out the situation.

In the meantime, we wait out Nicole’s nasty winds and hope she passes soon. A 37 foot sailboat can get pretty cramped.  Today (Wed the 9th) I’m going to try and bake something sweet on our cast iron pot/oven. If anyone knows how to bake in a cast iron skillet, send me an email at nuri@neversawblue.com 


Going through the many rivers and canals, we spotted numerous bald eagles. This one on top of the pine tree is a young one. 









These are new creations I made in the Chesapeake. You get so creative when you are in a boat with limited provisions. These are corn tortilas I made with corn meal, amarynth flour, chicken salsa and lettuce. YUM


Norfolk seems like the Pearl Harbour of the Atlantic. It is impressive and a little scary. My prayer is that they all sit and rust never needing to do what they are created to do. 


We barely saw another boat pass by the Enchanted Swamp (Dismal is the wrong word for it from the designer Lte Bird in 1724)

Deep Creek city.. groceries and diesel and free dock.. loud but love you..
We provisioned with food, and fuel and set motoring down the Dismal Swamp with smiles, no stress!
Tonight’s sunset at Alligator River. It’s wide open but calm seas and winds. We will be sleeping in the cockpit under the stars! Goodnight , be blessed!








Captains Log  , Stardate 1Nov2022

And now a word  (finally) from our captain…

Today found us departing Hospital Point Anchorage ,(mile 0 on the ICW and Vero Beach is at around 980) intending to cross the Albermarle Sound… But “NO” We get to the first  opening bridge to find it closed and remained closed for nearly 2 hours. In the interim, traffic piles up. We are talking sailboats, trawlers , freighters and huge barges all waiting and jostling for position.

Finally, it opens and the scene is akin to something you might see at the Queen’s Derby except there are no rules. It’s survival of the ‘fastest’ as everyone knows that the next lock will be a major bottleneck with the 30 plus boats all racing to be first in line.

BUT as providence would have it , Nuria had marked the start of the dismal swamp canal option (easy to miss) and we suddenly opt for plan B… The Dismal Swamp route!!!

We originally dismissed this option over concerns about water depth. Best decision ever! The Dismal Swamp is anything but and I seriously think it needs to be renamed the “Enchanted Green Experience”.

So tranquil and green everywhere even the water which in places was solid green surface with the floating duckweed. The only exception being the burst of colours from the fall foliage.

Quite surreal and the depth turned out to be a non-issue for our 5’ draft (except for a brief moment when I had a momentary brain malfunction and went the wrong side of the green mark and drove us into the muddy bottom and easily backed off with no damage except for my pride.


The days run was short as we decided to overnight at the free dock in Deep Creek , a quick left after the first lock. We reprovisioned with groceries, fuel, oil and a fast food indulgence (hamburgers , fries and a coke for Guppy), all within a short walking distance. We are so pleased with our choices.

Next day – 2Nov2022

We depart next morning intending to make Elizabeth City as our jump off point for the Albermarle Sound ( a large gap of ocean between points of land).. But that is not how adventures are born…

Soon into our departure, after the 2nd lock which we missed by 8 minutes and had to wait 2 hrs tied to a wall), we run into a sailboat disabled and adrift in the very narrow “Enchanted Green Experience”.

TC , aka TOWCAT towed Sunshine Express, a 35 C & C with no problems.


We stop to assist and find that their engine is overheating. So, we tie up alongside and I go aboard to try and help.  Guppy was left to steer both boats away from the trees that overhang that swamp  however, she was distracted by Milo, (their cute 11month baby) and Sunshine Express’s mast crashed into some trees.  David reverside back into the center and other than some broken branches, the mast and antenna and instruments survived with no damage. Guppy learned to ignore babies and steer.

Nice couple from Quebec, who left everything , bought a boat (C & C) and decided to live a life aboard – Roman, Anne and Milo (the cutest little baby boy) With darkness closing in, we decide to take them under tow to the nearest anchorage some 18 miles away , Goat Island, and arrive just as night arrives.

We invite them for dinner as Guppy suspects they have not had time to prepare food , which proves to be correct and they are most thankful.

Roman and I discuss possible causes over dinner and review what he has tried so far. We agree to get together next morning and if we can’t resolve it, we will tow them to the next marina.

Roman, Anne and the cutest Milo ( except for my Sam of course)

By now, Tomcat is realized to be the real hero in this situation and that by turning the  “M” upside down, we have now become TOWCAT.

That night I do what I do best at night… think… and I come up with a logical set of steps to pinpoint the problem after he has already had half the cooling system apart. I dinghy over with my plan in the morning. Without getting into the details, we have him up and running. YAY!! They both gave me great big hugs. It feels so good to “ Pay it forward” as we have experienced the kindness of many on our adventures/misadventures south.


Captain out.


A fixed bridge in the Dismal Swamp , I loved the columns 



As we motor up the Alligator River, I will try and catch up on our logs. 

On 29Oct, we left Sassafras River anchorage on the Chesapeake. We had anchored there after crossing the Delaware/Chesapeake Canal.  We left with NE winds . we did end up sailing at 10 and then the wind died down just before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge- a huge bridge spanning one of the narrowest parts of the Chesapeake. David decided to take down the sails just after the bridge before we noticed a huge submarine surfaced about 500m in front of us.  We soon heard from the coast guard warning all vessels to stay 500 m away. We hurried to get the sails down and then motored away from the sub.  There was a touring boat right beside the sub and I’m just surmising there might have been a collision as all traffic stopped and there were guard boats on the tips of the sub to protect it.  Freighters were stopped south of the sub and they don’t stop for anything usually.  The submarine was impressive. It was huge, and you could see armed people on top of it. 

We motored until dusk and reached South River anchorage which was very unprotected,but due to mild winds , it was adequate. We did catch an amazing sunset at this anchorage. The Chesapeake has about 11,000 miles of coastline. It would take a lifetime to explore it. We didn’t have the time so we had to motor south through it knowing we were missing lots- Baltimore, Annapolis to name a few. 

Both of us were getting really tired of motoring by this time and the Chesapeake is unending in size. So we decided that we were tough enough sailors to go all night! Our engine fix seemed to be holding well and confidence in TC was high. We left South River at 8 and motored pretty well until 9:30 the next morning! It was a little stressful due to battleships and freighters and crab and fishing traps. I felt like we were in a video game where you have to dodge the dangers.  Night was cool. We had planned on watches but David was not comfortable to sleep so we set up the queen bed in the cockpit (raised the cockpit floor and added the 3rd cushion). We grabbed our big sleeping bag, blankets and pillows and took turns navigating through the night and sleeping outside. The stars were amazing. It felt safer having the other person beside to double check lights and guess whether they were boats or just navigation aids or even lights in the distant shores. We got really good at identifying what was a freighter or battleship and what was an anchored freighter. The crab traps were unending and for us a danger because we stayed just outside of the channels most of the time. 

We had to slow down before coming into Norfolk as it was still dark and we wanted some light. I felt great. I had my second wind and the bright sunlight was waking me up. David on the otherhand, looked a wreck but to be fair, he had done most of the steering. Our auto pilot is not installed yet. We managed to motor into Norfolk at daybreak  and were amazed at the boatyards, naval yards and the battleships of all types. Truly an amazing display of the strength of the US navy. Many boats were surrounding the ships at anchor with big guns. We made sure to stay as far as possible while dodging freighters. This area was more of a challenge than the New York harbour had been. 


The battleships and aircraft carriers are striking. Norfolk and Portsmouth are busy ports.

We searched for an anchorage and came upon one that was pretty packed. David did his magic and got us anchored in between some sailboats. i was a little nervous as it was crowded but the holding was good and there was no wind. It happened to be Hospital Point anchorage in Portsmouth which is a city right beside Norfolk. It happens to be known as the symbolic mile 0 start point for the ICW. We didn’t know that when we chose it. It felt appropriate. 

After, some time to rest as we didn’t want to be awake all night, we rowed to shore (didn’t feel like unleashing the dinghy motor ) and wanted some excercise anyway). We walked to a dollartree store and provisioned a little. The houses are gorgeous in the historic section. We also saw palm trees in some yards! We are in the south now! 


Later, we met “Doug” a live aboard sailor with a Westsail who was anchored near us. He motored up to us in a red dinghy with his dog. We chatted for a while and shared politics and points on Bahamas and Florida. He lives up and down the coast and knew just about everything sail wise along the atlantic coastline. We picked his brain about Bahamas. He remarked that he had not seen as many boats heading south as this year. It seems many more people are heading out to the ocean this season. He felt the Bahamas would be very packed this year but you could still find isolated spots like David and I like. The difference is we don’t mind places with no bars or restaurants. When he got a call that his new sails had arrived, he bid us a quick farewell. It’s really neat to meet such interesting people who all love being on the water. 

After, as we were settling in with dinner, another sailor approached us to check TC out. It’s garnering some attention as it is a very different sailboat and sailors are a curious lot. He also offered to buy David’s Trinka as David had told him he had a Trinka as well and David’s is a little bigger. The Trinka though is quite tippy and heavy , we really like our small Highfield rubber dinghy as it is small, light and stable. 


We left Hospital Point at about 7:50 knowing we had to catch the bridge (Gilmarton Bridge , the first opening bridge after Norfolk harbour) at 8:30 . We sidestepped the crab traps all along the anchorage and headed out. Soon after, we were flanked by big motorboaters and yachts.  As we approached the bridge and slowed down we realized it was not going to open anytime soon. David is getting really good at keeping TC stable while waiting for locks and bridges. It’s not easy with sailboats especially when motorboats fly by with wake and freighters surround us. Unlike most motorboats, we don’t have bow thrusters. You have to play with the gear and move from neutral to forward and reverse while overcoming wakes, tides currents and those moving towards you while keeping an eye on depth. 

I WAS STRESSED!! We ended up waiting almost 2 hours surrounded by over 20 boats crammed in front of the bridge and I was losing my mind which, I can honestly say doesn’t happen often. I can handle stress but this was crazy. Freighters beside us, sailboats within 50 ft, arrogant yacht people budding in front and refusing to move even for big barges filled with sand!  I could’t believe it, you could hear them on the radio asking them to move and they would just ignore the barge.  How do you ignore a barge that is honking it’s horn behind you????

Finally the bridge opened, and the race began.  Strangely,  the night before, I had marked the entrance to the Dismal Swamp Route. It was the route David wanted to take but our friends Chris and Jackie, who have a 4.3 draft said they had touched bottom. So, David and I had decided not to take the chance. I had marked the entrance and as we passed the race of boats after the bridge, I saw the marker I had made and told David that if he wanted to do the Dismal Swamp, I would be ok with it. I wouldn’t complain if we got stuck.  I knew up ahead we were coming up to a lock and all these motor yachts and barges would be jostling for a spot in the narrow lock. We, along with the other sail boats, would likely be stuck there all day and stressed trying to avoid collision. 

David, who had been dying to do the Dismal Swamp, didn’t hesitate, he turned us 90degrees, almost heeling us in his joy and haste before I changed my mind and we entered the mystical swamp route. I didn’t even mind when about 5 minutes into the new route, David had a brainfart and grounded us as he had gone on the wrong side of the green navigational aid. The green needs to be on the left as you enter land and on the right as you head off-shore. It’s easy to get mixed up as you travel in and out of rivers and canals. David was able to drag us out easily from the mud and we proceeded up the Dismal Swamp.  I already sensed peace around the corner.

We discovered a green oasis.! My stress level dropped like a weight and I could smell the forest all around us. We navigated the Deep Creek lock with 5 other boats, only one a motorboat. It was so well managed. The lockmaster, an older man went up and down grabbing your lines, looping them around the post and giving it back to you. He kept control of how many and when everyone entered. It was actually PLEASANT to go through this lock.  We chatted with sailors all around us. Across from us was a Catalina 47 with 4 men who were delivering it to Fort Pearce Florida. They were curious about TC. Then David chatted with a young Canadian woman who was just behind and across on the lock and she told us to stop at Deep Creek Dock right after the lock. We badly needed food and DIESEL. 

Thank you , Cdn woman sailor!!! Deep Creek dock was perfect, although loud with the busy bridge nearby, it was across from a Food Lion grocery chain store  which turned out to be one of the least expensive grocery stores. PLUS across the bridge was a Sitco gas station with Diesel. David used the grocery cart, that they allow you to take to the dock,  to carry the diesel cans back and forth from the gas station and we filled up the fuel tank and filled up all our cans. Afterwards, we returned our cart and another cart that had been left at the dock. The fuel in gas stations is much cheaper than in marinas. We had been down to 1/2  a tank so that was adding to my stress levels as well. Unlike David, I like to be super prepared and have difficulty with “winging it”.  David, being the perceptive man he can be, knew I needed to be “talked down off the ledge” and treated me to a fastfood hamburger and coca cola!  Would’ve preferred KFC for my fix but Coca cola will do in a pinch.  I felt the stress of Norfolk drifting away like the duckweed in the Dismal Swamp as I sat back in the cockpit, snug as bug on a dock sipping my coca cola on ice. 

Deep Creek lock,, the easiest lock we’ve done!











Friday the 28th of October and goodbye to Delaware City.  Yesterday was a test of mettle, fortitude and stamina. David spent the entire day upside down over the Volvo engine – ovlov is imprinted in green on his chest now forever. 

The repair that grew:  We had arrived last Saturday night due to the coupler of the shaft. Turns out the shaft was misaligned and then upon closer inspection , the entire engine was too low at the front. It should have been .004 inches off at the most. But in reality its was .038 inches off. This is a dramatic difference which explained how the coupler was distorted and would shear off any bolts that joined the shaft to the transmission. 

The fact that Delaware City is a beautiful but TINY city with basically a convenience store, a liquor store , a couple of restaurants and a marina added to the challenge. However, the people were amazing. We met Nancy, the pastor, her husband George who drove us for the right bolts to Midland, about a 30min drive away. Then we met Hamad another sailor who drove David to get more parts as the repair just kept growing. And lastly we met David and his new wife Clair, doppleganger in spirit if not in looks.   Dave is a pilot for the rich and famous but has flown food and provisions for the poor in Africa for many years , a musician, an accomplished sailor and lots more. His wife works for the famous magazine BoatUS and knows just about everything boat related in the US. I accompanied them to a Neighbourhood Watch session with their sheriff (3 officers in total for this town including the Sheriff who patrols as well!) MMM our Chiefs usually have about 10 years of patrol experience before they move up the ladder. Then they have lots of sitting on boards experience. They could learn a thing or two from the sheriff who stays close to the streets. I had coordinated Neighbourhood Watch for 2 years for OPS and CPTED trained in level 2 so I figured it would be fun to see what US towns do. Plus, it was good to get out of the boat and see PEOPLE!

Today, I tried to use my creative boat cooking imagination and used leftover quinoa and cornmeal to make little pancakes. They were actually not too bad and due to the quinoa have a complete protein. You can tell when sailors are down on fresh provisions as their creativity in the galley soars in direct proportion. 

So excited to move on and just revving the engine now, 11:52. It sounds smoother and praying that it is happy and leaves the shaft bolts in one piece. Off to the great Chesapeake Bay through the Delaware/Chesapeake Canal. 

From 7 to about 6pm, lifting the entire engine to fix the issues. BRUTAL
Creativity in the galley. A sailor skill!! Corn/Quinoa pancakes with salsa for breakfast. yum



The day started off beautifully. We pulled anchor from the beach at 7:30 (slept in) and then dodged all the fishing traps to the main channel heading up , northwards, the Delaware Bay towards our destination, a canal that links the Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay (avoiding open ocean). 

We had to motor again, as the winds were from East and then northerly at 5 to 10kms, which definitely did not have the power to allow us to sail in that general direction. Motoring is tough as it is a loud Diesel engine and you end up breathing some fumes for most of the day.  

At 12 the transmission sounded strange and it turned out that the bolt holding the shaft and transmission together had sheared again. But this time the shaft didnt slip out as David had added a stopper to it the last time. That was really good as it meant we didn’t have to dive under the boat to put the shaft back in.  

We had 2 sailboats ahead, and radioed to ask if they had a bolt the right size. One of them, did. A couple we had chatted to in Waterford , Dave and Karen from “Here and Now” . They were amazing. David rigged a bag at the end of our super long boat hook and the men got the boats close while Karen and I, did the exchange. I reached with the hook and she placed the bolt into the bag and then I brought the hook back without dropping the bag into the water. It worked. David was able to replace the broken bolt and Karen and Dave followed us in case.  

Sure enough, at 17:15 , the bolt sheared again. There was obviously an issue with the alignment of the shaft as the bolts were all shearing. David decided to do the walk of shame and call Boat US. It’s like CAA on the water. Dave and Karen stayed until we confirmed that the tow was coming.  They were wonderful to wait with us and gave us reassurance as the water was still quite big there. We had been about 30 min from our anchorage at Reedy Island where Tony was waiting for us. 

When you call Boat US, the US Coast Guard calls and makes sure that they communicate with you until you are under tow. This is reassuring as you know that they’ve got you in case the tow doesn’t make it. I have to say the professionalism of Lte. Anderson and Brandon from Boat US were unbelievable. They were thorough and clear and explained everything in detail. 

Brandon arrived with 2 kids in tow, watching , I assume their dad rescue some dumb sailor. It was dark by then and he explained the manouevres that he would do. Initially he used a line on our bow, and we just tried to follow with the tiller. After getting close to Delaware City, and the closest marina, we stopped and he put his boat beside us and tied up beside us and just hip guided us through a narrow canal, about 80ft into our marina dock! I am amazed at the way they can move the boats and push and pull other bigger boats. 

David and I were tired after a long day. We ended up at the dock at about 20:00hrs and got tied up for the night. What counted was that the shaft broke in a safe place, no big storm or open sea so it was definitely a blessing. We decided to make sure the issue was fixed properly before heading out.  David did some investigating and found the shaft was misaligned and the coupler was defective. He was able to find the part and had it shipped to the marina but we didn’t receive it until the afternoon of the 26th. Which meant the mechanic wouldn’t be able to adjust it until the 27th. David prepped everything and inserted the new coupler which looks nothing like the old one and that way the mechanic at the marina does not have too much to do.


Delaware City Marina is 3US$/foot /night and then 2$/foot/night. As our dollar is about 76cents US right now, it makes for an expensive stay. The nice thing is that they have hot showers, a laundry facility and a book shelf. We took advantage of all of those amenities and I washed all our sheets and small rugs and dirty laundry. We walked all over the small city and found most businesses close in October.  Other than being the first City in the First American state , Delaware City is a beautiful small town on the Delaware River. It also boasts of being the first City where a black person in the 1850’s was able to purchase their own land in Polktown! They also started their own church. History is huge here and they commemorate people who played important roles in their country with parks and signposts. 

On Sunday, missing our Parkway family church , David and I visited the methodist church and were warmly greeted. Nancy, the preacher spoke of our “dash” –  The little mark between our birth date and our date of death. What kind of life do we live between those 2 dates? She called the sermon, THE DASH.  Her husband who introduced himself, offered and took us to buy parts we needed for the repair. Later, I joined their study on Tuesday night and met some lovely ladies and had a wonderful time sharing the book of Acts! I made them laugh as I told them I was so excited to spend time with people due to the fact that it’s been David and I pretty well all the time in a 37′ boat for the last month! They laughed as they knew EXACTLY what I meant.

Hopefully tomorrow, Thursday, the 27th, we will have a new coupler installed and we will be confident that our propeller and engine will take us to Florida without further problems!!

Dave and Karen on “Here and Now” following us up the Delaware before our last breakdown.

Brandon our super sweet and professional BoatUS rescuer towing us from the front and then from the side. Thank you BRANDON!

One of the man lighthouses on the steel posts in the middle of the Delaware. I can’t imagine living there in a storm!

We left Atlantic City anchorage at 6:00 am. It was still dark. The lights from the casinos made it easy to spot the channel and as it was a calm morning, we had an easy time spotting the navigational aides out of the channel. The winds were from the S/W at under 10kms so we had to motor. The water became green and glass like. It was so calm and beautiful . We could spot the dolphins so easily as the water would break with their fins. Sometimes they would appear maybe 100ft near the boat but they would disappear and dive under and reappear farther off. It seems like they had been conditioned to stay away from motor boats. I wished we had been able to sail but the winds were too light and on our nose.

We decided to not anchor on the other side of Cape May and cross to the other side of the bay as there was a safe anchorage there called Refuge Harbour that was very protected from the south and west. It took a while to cross as the distances are so deceiving. What you think is an hour turns out to be 4 hrs of motoring. It was a game to avoid the fishing and crab traps as they are not easy to spot. I would watch one side and David would watch another side. Together we managed to avoid them. 

We arrived at a beautiful beach in Lewes City. We rowed to shore rather than attaching the motor to the dinghy and started walking using our GPS to point to the grocery store.  We had asked for directions from a woman near a beach condo parking lot and as we started walking, this land rover drove up beside us and the man said he was a sailor and his wife had told him we were going to the grocery store and that he would drive us.  It’s just amazing how people here are so willing to help. His name was Mark, from England and he was an avid racer. We really appreciated the ride.  We provisioned and walked back to the beach.

On the way, we saw people lined up on the sidewalk. When we asked them why, they said it was the Homecoming parade. Apparently in the US , all the Highschools have these parades and football games. The whole town comes out and there are homecoming princesses, marching bands, decorated fire trucks and even the cadets all marching and some dancing. They threw out Halloween Candy and as I was going into sugar withdrawal as our boat is pretty sugarless, I grabbed them all and stuck them in my pocket for later. 

When we returned to the beach, Mark was sitting there with his dog and a glass of wine, watching the sunset and keeping an eye on our dinghy that we had locked up to a bench. We invited him to come sail with us in Florida, when we get there that is.  Of course, I’m sure it will be slow for a racer such as Mark didn’t seem to mind. We rowed back and settled in for the night with all our yummie and expensive provisions. 

Bye Bye Atlantic City. If we were gamblers it would have been more fun.
Dawn, heading away from Atlantic City
The water turned a beautiful green and smooth like oil. We spotted dolphin pods but they kept their distance from the motor.
Lewes City Beach. It’s gorgeous, drops off fast for 10 ft for a long while.
David walking up the boardwalks to the condos along the beach on our search for provisions.
Lewes is a gorgeous place to spend a week in the summer without having to go further south.

Beachhouses to rent. Obviously many empty places now in October.

Homecoming parade at Lewes City. So nice to see kids with school spirit.

Rowing back to TC and trying to capture a photo.