Slow-Mo: The Second Month with SV Banksy
Slow-mo: The Second Month With SV Banksy
It's hard to believe it’s been two months of owning SV Banksy. The first month we went from "getting the keys" in Annapolis... all the way to Charleston, SC. We traveled about 750nm. Month two, we went from Charleston, SC to St. Augustine, FL. About 275nm. Slowed waaaay down. The truth is we stopped once this month so we could order and install some things for the boat plus go home and see my mom and family in between holidays, and the second long stop...well. We didn't intend it to be this long. We're "stuck" in St. Augustine, waiting for critical boat parts...remember that main halyard we chaffed?
Charleston to Hilton Head
Ryan and I pulled up anchor and left Charleston, SC on Nov 21, in the late afternoon, planning an overnight to Hilton Head, SC. The wind was so low that we didn't get to do any sailing, but we motored on easy seas, and I felt FINE. That was awesome. There was a dense and eerie fog that rolled in during the still-dark hours of the morning when I was on solo watch. Thank goodness for radar and AIS, showing me boats and other anchored and floating things out in the dark. It was slightly disorienting to see waves rolling in and out of the fog, the far horizon and stars no longer visible.
The fog cleared slowly as daylight arrived and we came up the channel to Hilton Head. Ryan drove us into the marina for an easy docking with the help of a friendly dock hand. I lost my nerve at the last minute and didn’t want to drive and dock us. I don't know why, but Ryan was great about it.
Hilton Head Harbourtown was a lovely, welcoming spot with an easy basin entrance and lovely nearby golfing grounds. The facilities for the marina were (temporarily) the same as the facilities for the nearby golf course—the Club House. They were lovely, clean and posh, with a welcoming Christmas tree newly decorated in the main entrance. Of course, like many things sports in the US, the women's facilities were about 1/8 the size (and plushness) of the men's...
We had planned to stay in Hilton Head for Thanksgiving but found a lovely weather window to head south and so we went!
A Bit Further South
We did a day hop south from Hilton Head to St. Catherine’s Sound, ~50nm, with lots of lovely sailing. Yay! I napped a lot along the way—that gets rid of any sea sickness. We anchored in the middle of Blackbeard/Walburg Creek that night, our first solo anchoring! The current changed directions during the night, which gave an odd sensation of times of just bobbing about aimlessly. The boat is being pulled one direction… then there is an eerie weightlessness… and then it slowly, slowly begins to be pulled the other direction. The anchor kept us safely held, though we made lazy circles around it.
The next day was Thanksgiving. We did another day hop, ~55nm, mostly motoring, to anchor next to Lanier island Marina near St. Simon’s Island, GA. We had hot showers at the end of our sail and a Thanksgiving meal that even included pan seared Brussels sprouts. Mmmmm. There were a couple of other boats anchored nearby, one of whom dinghyed by and waved and called out Happy Thanksgiving.
We started our next hop bright and early in the morning. We sailed down to Fernandina Beach, a cute touristy beach town juxtaposed with big manufacturing plants right on the water. The sailing was super lovely... a very comfortable close haul to beam reach. It was the first real sailing day where I didn’t feel nauseous *or* too tired. YAY.
In Fernandina, the people were super friendly and the marina was clean and nice. (Wifi did not work at the boat, as you might expect at this point.) Fernandina had a nice farmers market, a good coffee shop (for birthday waffles!), a great little restaurant (Wicked Bao) and a neighborhood craft beer bar with a great bottle selection.
It was here I added our temporary tag for SV Banksy, using electrical tape to make sure we at least had the boat name on (if not the hailing port). We went to visit family and framily in Colorado for a few days before coming back to Fernandina and heading south in an overnight to St. Augustine. We somehow don't have pictures of the amazing humans we love that we were lucky enough to visit in Colorado... just a single one of the snuggly dogs of the framily we stayed with (thank you again, Bob and Kim). I guess when the hanging and silliness is so great, you sometimes don't think to take pictures...? <3
Sunshine and Rain... and Waiting
Hanging out in St. Augustine hasn't been all beautiful days. We did get our toes in the sand, and we have walked all over St. Augustine, and through the "nights of lights". We have had more delicious tacos and seafood and met new friends. We've had the typical not-so-great-but-fine touristy meal. And we've had several days (7? 8?) where the weather stayed grey and wet all day, and the wind blew so strongly that we didn't feel great leaving the boat--the strong winds were blowing us into the dock and popping our fenders. Though it didn't feel great staying on the boat with all that motion, either... unfortunately, I can't much read/write/do much while there's much boat motion--though that may be changing a bit. As I was writing much of this post it was raining, the wind was blowing with strength and direction so as to make the local waters super choppy (as it had been for over 24 hours)...
So we’ve been waiting much of the last couple of weeks in cold windy choppy-water weather! In the meantime, Ryan has of course done a bunch of lovely maintenance and boat improvements. My favorite improvements include an improved kitchen faucet and the addition of a UV water filter at the kitchen sink. This is for taste and for backup/safety. We have a UV filter on the water maker that we use to fill tanks when we're out sailing. We have a carbon filter system on the water goes into the tank when we’re docked. (When you pull up to the dock there's a power outlet and a hose connection for your boat.)
Other important things we are taking care of: We got the outboard motor serviced for our dinghy, and had them improve the setup. We added a water/fuel separator. (I would think a dinghy would have that, anyway?) We think our earlier issue was a little water getting into the fuel–have not tracked down how. Ryan installed a heavier-duty and much nicer bridle. We’ve done more planning about where we enter the Little Bahama Bank (look at that on google maps using satellite view—it’s breathtaking!) and learning more about traversing the gulf stream. We’re getting Bahamas mobile service set up, emergency evacuation services in place and doing and re-doing and re-doing and re-doing logistics for our next places to stay as they slip while we wait for the halyard.
We had the halyard set up to be finished, delivered and installed the first week we were here, but the team we were working with didn’t let us know until Friday afternoon (after we could really do anything) that they wouldn’t be able to deliver and they didn’t know when they could—that their supplier was overwhelmed. We looked all over town for a backup and finally used a wonderful connection in Annapolis to have one made and shipped… and as I’m posting this, it just arrived yesterday evening and is being installed this morning. A full week after the first one was supposed to arrive...(but apparently that's sort of nothing in terms of waiting for boat parts). Fingers crossed that all goes well this morning.
Unfortunately, all these slipping logistics have us missing Florida family at Christmas. I’m super bummed about that. We were warned that you could never plan to be in a specific location at a specific time while sailing… but I just didn’t quite believe it somehow. Right now, it looks like we’ll need to be sailing from St. Augustine to Fort Pierce later today/Christmas Eve and throughout the day on Christmas… and then sailing away from Fort Pierce on the 26th because of local dredging. Whew. Overnights are tiring and it will be a few of those.
So it’s been a slow-going month, and not quite in the ways I’d anticipated… but hoping that’s to come. Fort Pierce, Palm Beach, then, hopefully… Abacos. And hopefully more of the kind of slow I’m craving.
Slow Days with Banksy the Dog
When Banksy was diagnosed with cancer, I mostly stopped traveling for client work (I kept two amazing clients that I traveled for just a very small bit.) Some people will read this and think I was crazy about this dog. I was. He was the best dog in the whole world, and he filled my heart with love and my days with joy. When Covid hit, and Ryan and Banksy and I would spend the time previously designated for commuting and getting ready to leave to walking Banksy. We were walking 4-8 miles a day, happily exploring the nearby river and ponds and downtown Fort Collins. I loved the slowness of it. I've always loved being on the go, traveling and doing and helping amazing humans deliver better together...and then I loved stopping all that, and slowing down, not traveling, walking more… I loved our daily walks so much. I would gladly have done that the rest of my life if I could. Astoundingly simple and fulfilling days in a four mile radius. But we can't. We lose our loved ones and loved dogs.