Barnacles… Are They Edible?

July 21, 2018 

    I’m sure they are.  

     I seem to recall hearing about two guys who worked at a boat yard eating the barnacles they power sprayed off the bottoms of boats.  Either they didn’t get paid shit for wages, or they had some pretty expensive habits, or a lot of child support to cover.  

     Even edible, barnacles must taste horrible.  I’ve never seen them on a menu or in a grocery store… and I’ve seen some pretty weird shit for sale.  So they must taste worse than the weirdest shit you actually can buy.

     The boat’s anti-fouling paint that they attach to can’t be healthy to ingest, either.

     Not confidence inspiring… I’ll pass.

     Too bad.  

     Because our tiny upside-down plot of barnacle farmland (or more accurately, farm-metal-plate) produced a bounty of ripe-for-harvest barnacles that would have filled dozens of five gallon buckets.  Enough to feed the anchorage and probably half the marina as well.

     Cleaning the underside of the hull in the Bahamas was a far different experience.  The water was amazingly clear, so I could see what I was doing and everything around me.  Oftentimes, the water we were anchored in was shallow enough I could stand on the bottom while cleaning the boat.  

     Furthermore, in the Bahamas, it was mostly a bit of stringy algae growth that was being scrubbed off with a plastic bristle brush.  Only the occasional barnacle had to be popped off.  Even when we cleaned the underside for the first time, and we had spent the past five months on the east coast, there was surprisingly little growth.

     Here in Charleston… way, way different.  The water turbidity here reminded me of Washington state, where we learned to dive; visibility ranging less than a yard near the surface and not more than six inches within a few feet down.

     I will admit, the Ashley River water temperature was well warmer than I expected.  Warmer even than the Bahamas (which ironically seemed colder than I expected).  I never found myself cold, even diving without a wetsuit.

     The current, on the other hand, was a serious challenge to deal with.  Gearing up, and getting into the water during a slack tide, really made little difference.  The fact that cleaning the entire underside took nearly nine hours, over one and a half days, meant that I was in the water for the full range of currents.

     Even though Kris was not going to get wet, this was definitely a two person job.

     We had rigged up two extra lines with snap-shackles, and clipped them to the D-rings on my BCD.  

     One was tied off to a deck cleat at the bow, that Kris would release before taking in or letting out more line, then re-secure to the cleat.  Basically, I hung from this line in the current under the boat.

     The second line was a signal line.  One tug meant let out more line… two tugs meant bring some line in… three tugs meant there was a problem.

     As I slowly worked my way along the underside of the hull, Kris paid out an appropriate amount of line, and then tied it back off again.  

     In addition to working around the lines, I had brushes and scrapers tied off to my BCD with strings that seemed to constantly dance around in the current, just in front of my mask.

     A handled suction cup we found on the boat, which seemed like a brilliant idea to stabilize oneself against the hull, turned out a complete failure.  Apparently the aluminum hull has too rough of a surface for the suction cup to make a good seal.  

     When it repeatedly detached from the hull at even the slightest pull, it was quickly discarded where, it too, spent the dive dangling around at the end of the string to which it was attached, continually getting in the way.

     Knowing the Maxprop zinc replacement would be the most difficult task, given the need to remove and replace the screws, as well as clean the area where the zinc would be mounted, I made sure that it was done first, while there was no current.

     PYI’s prop zinc fit like a glove.  Hopefully, the specially reinforced sleeves around the screw holes live up to their reputation, as I don’t fancy having to do this yet again further north.

     With the zinc screws tightened down as far as I dared, I returned to the surface and declared the Maxprop zinc issue now resolved for the foreseeable future… Kris cheered.

     The prop zinc weight now off our shoulders, we could turn our full attention to the barnacle harvest.  While replacing the zinc, I had gotten a much better look at the extent of the buildup.  

     It was pretty stunning.

     The entire underside was completely covered in a carpet of barnacles, at least an inch thick, including the prop, centerboard, and even up well into the centerboard well.

     In the beginning, it was possible to hover alongside the hull and scrape the barnacles off with a plastic putty knife.  Without any real current, thousands of liberated barnacles literally rained down on top of me as I scraped them off the hull just above me.  Visibility was already less than a foot, so the snow like effect of the barnacle storm was rather amusing.

     As the current picked up, things got a bit more interesting.  It became harder and harder to maintain  position while trying to scrape a specific area.  One hand holding the scraper, and one hand trying to hold on to some part of the hull, left no hands to hold either of the lines leading on deck to Kris.  Signaling Kris became more and more difficult, as did stabilizing myself on the line I was hanging from.


     As the current continued to increase, the barnacles eventually began to cascade sideways as they were scraped off the hull.  

     Hovering upside down, underwater, in low visibility, with air bubbles (normally going up) and blankets of barnacles (normally going down) both streaming quickly past in a horizontal direction, proved to be quite disorienting.

     Ever so slowly, progress was made along most of the area around the prop and the underside.  Eventually, I was into the second tank of air, and an entire side was mostly scraped clean.  The time must have been approaching six hours when we called it quits for one day.

     The second tank was nearly empty as well, but the current had really become the insurmountable obstacle.  As the current approached maximum intensity, it became nearly impossible to stabilize myself while I was simultaneously fixed from one point on my BCD to a line, now with quite a lot of tension on it.

     Even adding six more pounds of lead to my weight belt, I found that, as the current eventually peaked, there reached a point where I couldn’t even get down anymore.  I was being kept in place by the line Kris held, with a wake passing around me as though I was being towed behind a boat, but I simply couldn’t descend.  

     Without a line to pull myself down with, it was a losing battle.

     The rest would have to wait.

     The following day, it took a third tank.  But, eventually Exit’s entire underside, including the through hulls and centerboard well were completely barnacle-free.

    During our previous stop in Charleston, we had never gotten off the boat… too bad in the sense that it’s a bit of a shame to be somewhere and not see any of it; but good in the sense that we got out of Charleston last time a mere forty eight hours before the cyclone bomb hit, which left our good friends who didn’t make it out in time with icicles on their lifelines and frozen hatches.

     Now, with both the prop zinc issue resolved and the barnacle epidemic contained, we finally had some time to go ashore.

     The neighborhood we wandered through, just outside the University, in the historic district of Charleston, contained some incredible architecture.  Civil War era mansions and estates, most in beautifully maintained condition with many converted to apartments and businesses, lined the roads.  

     Sprawling, gnarled trees over a century old, as well as mature and well-groomed *******and ******, exploding with the color of freshly bloomed flowers; carefully tended yards and gardens; imposingly thick natural stone walls and steel gates with decades of lichen and ivy growth; front doors that lead into open-air side porches; elaborate horse and carriage entrances at some of the mansions; intricate decorative wood and stonework; actual gas lanterns attached to the brick walls of some of the buildings.

     All elements that contributed to a real sense of authenticity in the neighborhood.  Not a contrived attempt to market something.  Rather, a conscious effort to preserve something.     

     One exploration ashore was ill-timed, as we were the recipients of a lengthy barrage of afternoon Charleston rain.  The only shelter we could find was a leaky trolly stop which we hid inside of, drinking a tasty beverage from the one liter Hydroflask container, which I had concocted before setting out.

    On the upside, as the rains temporarily tapered off, we sought refuge in a nearby bar/restaurant called Sticky Fingers.  It turned out to serve some of the best BBQ ribs and pulled pork I have ever tasted.  Nothin’ like ice cold beer, fried pickles, and BBQ when you’re in South Carolina.  Oh ya… and a Bloody Mary complete with a pork rib garnish… holy shit!

     Charleston also provided us another one of those rare moments of interaction with a really kind person.  While we were checking out at the Harris Teeter grocery store, a man approached us and asked us if we needed a ride.

     Both surprised and caught a bit off-guard, we were unsure what to say, and stumbled for a response.

     He said, You’re boat people, right?

     We laughed and confirmed that yes, we were in fact, boat people.

     He said he meant no offense, but thought we might want a ride back to our boat, which he’d be happy to do.

     Again, we laughed and confirmed that yes, we’d love a ride back to the boat.

     As we pushed the noisy steel cart down the outside ramp, full of probably about eight bags of groceries and two cases of drinks (way too much to have carried back, we had figured an Uber was going to be our only option), I turned to Kris and said with a laugh… Wow!  We’ve finally made it.  Someone picked us out of a crowd as the boat people!

     It was as genuine a compliment as I could have asked for.

     As Andy (I believe that was his name), drove us more than a couple of miles back to the marina our dinghy was tied up at, I had to ask him what gave us away?

     He replied that he was a very perceptive person; but the combination of having our own bags and backpacks, the flip flops, and the tans were the giveaways for him.

     He had owned a boat, was working towards retirement in the next ten to twenty years, and had married his wife with the declaration that he was buying a boat again once he retired.

     Andy recommended some tours, as well as a few things to do and places to go, dropped us off at the marina, and, after helping to unload the groceries to the dock, headed off.

     Exchanges like those can make the uniqueness of a cruiser’s situation really stand out.  So often we have to depend entirely on ourselves to accomplish things.  When, on that rare occasion an exceptionally kind individual offers to go far and beyond conventional hospitality, it makes the moment even more poignant. 

     We also met Stephen, aboard his Alden 40 Challenge, who we had anchored next to.  For days we couldn’t figure out why his dinghy just sat on his deck.  A bit of a recluse, Stephen had motored down after buying the boat in Maine (he said he hadn’t put up the sails since the sea trial), and had been anchored at that spot for the past three months.  He hadn’t taken the outboard off the transom rail since he’d arrived, and was currently using his dinghy on deck as a bath tub.  

     One day, we gave him a ride across the channel in our dinghy to get water at the marina mega-dock.  We had brought our two five gallon and two six gallon jerry cans.  Stephen, a resourceful guy, proceeded to pull ten empty, half gallon jugs of cheap whiskey from his duffle bag and started filling them at the spigot.

     When one of the marina dock hands walked by, he wasn’t sure what to think; so he just kept walking.

     During one ride to the dock, Stephen asked me what I thought of Trump?

     I said… I think he’s a fucking idiot.

     Stephen replied, “Oh.… I’m an avid Trump supporter.  I hope that means we can still be friends.”

     Hmmmm… not what I expected.

     But we now had everything in place… zinc sorted… hull clean… fuel tank full… water tanks full… provisions and beverages restocked… 

     From Charleston, if the weather held, we would be shooting for Rhode Island, over seven hundred miles away. For at least six days, we would be between fifty and eighty miles offshore.  The weather window looked as good as we could hope for.  An entire week with no low fronts forecasted along the east coast.

      Another go big or go home moment….

A Snail’s Pace

July 18-20, 2018 

    Just when we thought everything looked good.

     Out of the North River without hitting any mud…  I had insisted on a redemption re-match at the helm coming out this time.

     Outside the St. Marys inlet there was two to three feet of chop, but fifteen to twenty knot winds behind us seemed promising.

     Yet, by nightfall we had been struggling with the sailing for over eight hours, and had slowly extended our distance offshore to fifteen miles.  Our adjustments were intended to reduce the overall rolling motion the boat had been experiencing for quite some time, caused by the angle and size of the swell which was now three to five feet, as well as maximize our options for altering our angle of sail if needed.

     Even with the winds steady at fifteen knots, the relentless swell pitching the boat back and forth was causing insufferable slapping of the sails as they relaxed and reloaded with nearly every roll.  The noise was not only obnoxious, but also an indicator of a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the sails, rigging, and mast.

     Experimenting… main only… genoa only…genoa and main with one reef… genoa partially furled… all still had the same end result.  The combination of sailing angle, as well as swell direction and size, made for slapping sails; and altering course seemed the only way to keep the sails filled and quiet.  

     Even so, we just couldn’t get up any speed whatsoever.  It seemed as though the speed indicator never got above three knots during our first twenty four hours.

     The following morning, we were visited by two inquisitive dolphins.  I have a note in the log joking that, we are moving so slow they must have thought we were a floating shipping container and moved on.

     At noon, we found ourselves in the path of a mahoosive thunderstorm.  Dark and very ominous looking, elongated and strangely shaped clouds stacked up on the horizon and bore down quickly towards us.

     Already fighting to wring even two knots of speed out of our sails, we chose to fire up the engine, drop the main, and furl in the genoa.  Within minutes, twenty to twenty five knot winds blasted through and the sea all around us was covered in messy white caps and breaking waves.

     Thirty minutes later, the wind had stabilized back to below twenty and we started putting sails up and turned off the engine as the breeze dropped back down to fifteen and then ten.

     Later in the afternoon, a pod of fifteen or more dolphins approached us.  We weren’t moving any faster, but they seemed much more content to show off for us, staying with us for over fifteen minutes.

     Still, we just barely crawled along.  Measuring speed at a sailor’s pace, quite different from the mindset of a typical dirt dweller, is something we have gotten more and more used to… yet this was ridiculous.

     We suspected that there must currently be a massive barnacle buildup on our hull and prop, causing enough resistance to affect our speed by what seemed to be 30-40%.   

     We had monitored bottom growth constantly in the Bahamas, and cleaned the hull a couple of times.  It was almost spotless when we departed the Bahamas, just over a month ago.

     Kris was adamant that I was not going in the water for a look, while we were underway… it simply was not open for discussion.

     I was adamant that some sort of visual confirmation was required here.  If there weren’t barnacles, then maybe we were tangled up in something that was being dragged along under us.

     As a compromise, I climbed down on the transom and stuck my dive camera down in the water with the video recording.  I randomly panned back and forth, in what I believed to be the right general direction and then pulled it out of the water and had a look at the video.

     The rudder could be be seen, moving in and out of the frame, as though the camera had been operated by someone who wasn’t looking at what they were recording.  The prop was beyond the field of view, but bits and pieces of the hull could be seen at times.

     Sure enough… the rudder and what could be seen of the hull was covered in a blanket, not of stringy algae, but rather, of solid barnacles that appeared to be an inch or more thick.  No doubt about it, this was the primary culprit responsible for our snail’s pace.

     The barnacle growth could only have happened while Exit sat at anchor on the North River for three weeks.  The river must have an amazing amount of passing nutrients and organic matter, because the speed at which the barnacles attached and grew to the degree they did seems rather remarkable.

     In hindsight, we had noticed a startling degree of algae growth on the top ten meters of the anchor chain and snubber as well.  It was severe enough that I had to scrape it off with a screwdriver and wire brush before we pulled up anchor.

Underneath that beard of algae is 1/2″ chain

     But, for some reason at the time, I never put two and two together, recognizing that our hull would simultaneously be suffering the same fate as the anchor chain.

At the same time, there’s no way we were ever going to be getting into the muddy  North River.  Even had we recognized the extent of barnacle growth on our hull and how much it would impact our speed, we would have been more than content with moving slow over swimming in water we had seen crocodiles inhabiting…

     Eee-ahh… Eee-ahh… Eee-ahh…

      Jeeves again.

     The barnacle situation would have to wait.  At least the autopilot reset this time, but Jeeves had become more and more temperamental on this passage.  It was becoming a problem.

     At 5:00pm, another thunderstorm descended upon us.  Again, we dropped the sails and fired up the engine, not knowing how full-on things would get.  Our current inability to achieve any speed under sail made things particularly dicey when the seas started kicking up a fuss.

      This storm was not as immediately intense as the previous one had been; the winds never reached twenty knots.  But what it lacked in wind, it more than made up for in rain and lightning.

     After two and a half hours, it was obvious this was no passing squall; it certainly didn’t appear that things were going to let up anytime soon.  We shut down the engine and ran with a double reef in the main and only half of the genoa out, hoping to keep just enough speed to steer, but minimize the amount of sails slapping around in all the messy seas.

     At 11:00pm,  Jeeves decides he’s had enough.  No amount of resetting the system makes any difference.  A couple of minutes pass and the alarm triggers again… Reset… Hand steering through the entire night in these storm conditions is going to be brutal… Alarm… Reset… Alarm…

     Jeeves is done… he’s thrown in the towel and already gone to bed.

     There seemed to be only one viable option, and in my opinion, it did not involve sitting at the wheel in the rain all night.

     This was the perfect time to break out our backup autopilot.

     A much older Autohelm model, it utilized a small and removable piston style ram connected between the deck and a short tiller attached atop the rudder.  We had fired it up during the sea trial for a few minutes, and it seemed to work, but had never gotten it out again since that day.

     In the dark of night, aboard a boat surrounded by rain, lightning and super sloppy seas, one is definitely not going to find ideal conditions to try to sort out a backup autopilot.  But, hey… it is what it is. 

     The ram didn’t mount securely to the tiller and, in the end, had to be lashed on with a line.  No problem.

     However, the geometry of the mounting angles and distances was such that the ram didn’t have enough piston extension to fully turn the rudder as far as it is capable of turning.  This would be ok in mild conditions, where the autopilot is only making minor course corrections.  But, in rough conditions, when the autopilot is fighting rudder pull, swells and wave action, and struggling to maintain a heading, it really needs the full movement of the rudder to keep up.  It either has to work much harder to try to alter course substantially or possibly, in the end, just can’t compensate enough and sets off an alarm.

     The conditions were severe enough that the backup autopilot had to work quite hard, given its’ limited control of  Exit’s turning radius.  Nevertheless, despite any shortcomings, it worked like a champ throughout the night.  We were blessed with not a single autopilot alarm during the course of the evening, to both of our delight. 

     We considered calling the backup Autohelm Otto, but decided instead that Schumacher was more fitting, named after the nickname given to a Indonesian driver we met in SE Asia, all the way back in 2008 (less than two months into our travels after leaving the US, Schumacher drove us safely through the endless winding roads of Sulawesi all night long to deliver us to the location of an extraordinary traditional funeral we were allowed to attend).

     At 4:00am, entering my final hour of what had been a very long six hour watch, we were pummeled by our third thunderstorm in twenty four hours.

     In spite of the intensity of the two earlier storms, this third one stood out as being the most memorable.  

     The wind, blowing at a steady fifteen knots (it had held consistently above ten knots, oftentimes at fifteen or more for the past day), suddenly ceased entirely.  Then, after what seemed to be a brief pause by Mother Nature, momentarily holding her breath, the sky opened up and unleashed a torrent of rain.  

     Without even a whisper of wind, the deluge of huge raindrops dumped straight down from above in buckets.

     And yet, the seas all around us were completely still… like a bathtub.

     It was a very surreal moment.  The volume of rain coming down.  The absolute lack of any wind.  The sea as smooth and flat as glass but for the surface disturbance caused by billions of raindrops, their impact on the water generating a loud and relentless sizzle of white noise that surrounded us.

     For over an hour, Exit sat… no wind to carry us… no waves or swell to push us… adrift on the ocean in the rain.  Not much progress, but no slapping sails and no loud engine either.  A fair trade.

     When Kris took over the watch at about 5:00am, the storm had mostly subsided, with the rain diminishing and a slight breeze returning.  

     Just as the sky was beginning to display the first glimpses of another sunrise, I crawled into bed, exhausted, and was sound asleep almost instantly.

     Six hours later, I awoke from a thoroughly fitful sleep, thanks in no small part to Schumacher.   After tagging in for Jeeves, our new ace in the hole had performed brilliantly all night without triggering a single autopilot alarm.

     As I climbed the companionway stairs into the cockpit, I was greeted with yet another surreal scene.

    Kris sat in the cockpit with a smile on her face, and promptly introduced me to her new friend – a bedraggled looking baby bird which stood on the opposite bench, not three feet from her.

     Apparently it had happened across us hours ago while flying through the storm, and decided to take refuge on the only solid object available to rest upon for miles in any direction… Exit.

     After landing, the young fledgling, exhausted from what must have been a confused flight that had carried it twenty miles offshore, seemed content to simply hang out with Kris.

    She indicated that, though uninterested in the crackers she had offered, the little bird had rested repeatedly next to her in the cockpit on my flipflop for quite some time, between curious explorations hopping around the entirety of Exit’s deck.

     As I hurried to grab Kris’ iPhone, trying to capture a classic moment looking up into the cockpit from belowdecks, with Kris sitting on one side smiling at a frazzled baby bird who stood on the opposite bench looking back, the bird hopped up on one of the lifelines and flew away, towards the coast.

     We half expected it to fly back to the safety of our cockpit within a minute or so.  Obviously, it had gotten the rest it needed because it kept on flying.  We didn’t see the little bird again… maybe it eventually made it home and is currently spreading the story of being rescued by a giant metal island while caught in an offshore storm on the ocean…

     By mid-afternoon we were inside the channel approaching Charleston, but still nearly ten miles out from the actual inlet into Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter.  In the log, there is an entry of great exultation for the backup Autohelm last night.

     Thankfully, there was no opposing current to be dealt with at the inlet nor along the subsequent five miles up the South Channel and into the Ashley River, as we were still barely crawling along, even under engine power.

     We dropped anchor at almost the exact same place we had in 2017, the day after Christmas, when we were here last.  It was opposite the Charleston City Marina Megadock, just downriver (or upriver, depending on the tidal direction of the three knot currents) from a fifty five foot bridge we couldn’t get under.

     It had taken us two days and four hours to get one hundred eighty three miles… any speed records already in the books were well safe during that passage.

     It was self-evident that the barnacles needed to be dealt with immediately… but… the water wasn’t at all clear… the currents were gonna make things a bitch… it wasn’t the Bahamas any more; this was gonna be cold.

     I asked Kris if we should inquire with the locals regarding the potential for crocodiles in the Charleston Harbor. 

     Her response, it was probably best not to ask, made two things very clear.

     First, the hull WAS DEFINITELY going to get cleaned here in the Ashley River.

     Second, the person doing the scrubbing WAS DEFINITELY going to be me.

     Yep… this was not going to be one of those me-only dives that generated a great deal of envy from Kris.

Back To Our Reality


July 17, 2018 

     Journeys back to Washington always mean one thing… overindulgence.

     And this trip was no exception.

     Too much food… too much drink… too much smoke. Ok. Probably about the right amount of each of those for a holiday.

     And a holiday was essentially what it was.  A holiday away from boat life.

     Though it may sound rather odd (some might say every day is a holiday living on a boat), full time cruising also has it’s routines and (sort of) schedules that need to occasionally be gotten away from.

     When we first bought Exit, a man whose opinion we hold in high regard told us, “You need to get off the boat sometimes.  Every year you should be sure to spend at least a few weeks away from Exit.”

     In a year, we had slept aboard all but four nights. 

     The seventeen days away were good for us.  Good timing and good times.  

     Now, after two and a half weeks, Exit was sitting quietly at anchor as we approached her in the dinghy.  

     Nothing changed… except for a conspicuous increase in the bird shit on the deck.  A day later everything was back in place.  

     We probably made a half dozen trips back and forth to the boat yard refilling jerry cans with water, and even arranged a ride to the filling station to get twenty five gallons of diesel.  This meant our fuel and water tanks were full sans docking the Mothership… yes!

     Before our trip to Washington, we had tried to deplete as much perishable food and freezer-stored food as possible.  We really needed to make a provisioning run, but still had plenty of food aboard.  We could hold out for a closer grocery store.

    We had brought back six prop zincs (five spares) that were PYI’s special reinforced design (so they wouldn’t fall off).  I just needed to mount it on the end of the prop.

     However, there was one problem… we had also seen crocodiles twice now (once near the boatyard dock and a big one once near the shore next to where we were anchored).  That, combined with fact that the North River water, a shade lighter than coffee, provided zero visibility to see these crocodiles, clearly meant that there was no way in the world I was going to be dealing with the prop zinc here.

     The plan was to make for Charleston, SC, which was a hundred sixty miles away.   Somewhere around thirty one hours, we figured.

     By then, we could assess our offshore status, and either continue north or duck into Charleston to install the prop zinc and at least replenish our fruits and vegetables.  

     The haul out could wait until we were headed south again.  For now… New England was reported to be brilliant for sailing this time of year…

Leaving Our Baby At Anchor For Seventeen Days


June 23 – July 13, 2018 

    The North River is no hurricane hole, but the sixty foot tall dirt embankment on the south shore next to us provided about as much 180 degree protection as we could ask for.  

     Only very occasional small boat traffic.

     The tide-controlled reversing currents were relentless, but we had already been dug into the Georgia mud for three days with twenty five knot winds.

     We were confident our Rocna anchor and hundred feet of rusty half inch chain would just keep swinging Exit in the same figure eight pattern indefinitely.

     Worst case scenario, she would drift into the soft mud or marsh nearby… better than rocks or docks.


     Though we kept repeating, the day before our departure, that we were merely prepping her for a bit of wind, we had seen some pretty nasty storms crash through.  

     In the end, we stripped her decks of basically everything but the dodger and sails (which had been thoroughly lashed down).  Even the bimini cover was stowed belowdecks.

     Electrically, power was shut off to everything but the refrigeration, the mast light, and the automatic bilge pumps.  Despite our confidence that the solar panels would have no trouble keeping the house battery bank fully charged, we took the extra precaution of emptying, defrosting, and turning off the freezer to further reduce any unnecessary drain on the batteries. 

      All seacocks were closed, all hatches double checked, and all the bilges were clean, dry and had working pumps with functioning float switches. 

     A year ago, we worried about leaving Exit at anchor while we went ashore in the dinghy for a couple of hours. 

     Six months ago, we worried about leaving her on a mooring ball for five days while we galavanted off on a road trip to New York City.

     Now, we worried about leaving her unattended on a single anchor for seventeen days.


     Oh, the times they are a changin’…

      Packing only carry-on bags, we climb into the dinghy, and give Exit a reassuring pat on the side of her aluminum hull. 

     It’s more for us… she’ll be fine.  

     She’s established time and time again that all she needs to sort herself out is water underneath her.

     The dinghy goes on stands in Rocky’s backyard… no charge… sweet.  No North River low tide mud bath for Bart.

     A one hour car ride to Jacksonville, kindly offered by Mary and Christian…  a six hour bus ride to Atlanta…  an overnight plane ride from East to West Coast.

     Boom!  Back in Washington… the state.

Exit waiting patiently at anchor for our return


Sovereign Nations

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