'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Loving the Journey, but…


So why don’t we write more often?  After all, the success of a blog – I’ve been told – is determined largely by the output of the writer.  Blog advisors (yeah, that’s a thing) will tell you that a blog should be posting new content every day. Every. Single. Day.

Which probably has something to do with the Sesame Street effect.  If you’re not familiar with it, it seems that a criticism sometimes leveled at the long-running children’s program “Sesame Street” was that its format of short (30 to 60 second) skits and videos (which were designed to engage and hold the childs attention most effectively) actually produced an entire generation of adults with the attention span of a Cocker Spanial.  

In the blog world, that means if you don’t publish every day, your readers forget you exist and wander off to something more interesting, like the American election circus or a MacDonalds commercial. So if you, gentle reader, feel the need to do something more scintillating, like eating a Big Mac, I can hardly blame you: It’s Big Bird’s fault.

So why don’t we write every day, like a good blogger should?

Because we’re tired.  We’ve spent the last four days driving our home along a sometimes narrow, occasionally confusing and not infrequently shallow canal that is never the same two days in a row.  Sand and mud move and flow, marks are moved, barges sweep the banks, and houses and docks are added every day. 8 hours of that and you’re ready for a stiff drink and a long sleep, let me tell you.

Grand Dunes Bridge, Mile 358 of the ICW

So we end up going to sleep about 8:30pm, wake around 6:00am, get underway by 8am, and once the anchor is down, it’s supper, secure the boat for the night and repeat.

But oh, that 8 hours of driving…

Reds to the right – or left. Huh?


I assumed – when we were planning this trip – that the actual travel days on the ICW (or “The Ditch”, as it’s called out here) would be basically boring.  Follow the markers, keep the red ones on the right and the green ones on the left, and try to stay awake.  I was wrong.

First off, I only have one eye working still.  Since we’re moving south, the morning sun is off my left side, which is often pretty blinding, what with the reflection off the water and all. Without. Right eye to fill in, I find that it’s sometimes a it of a challenge to see where we’re going. That’s tiring.

Second, the markers are sometimes confusing, and rarely they are actually wrong.  that’s due to something called “Shoaling”. Shoaling is the movement of mud and sand in the channel, when that loose material from, say, a hurricane, decides to build up right where last week there was a clear channel.  Yes, the Coast Guard is out here putting things back to rights, but that takes time, and the shoals change every day.  It can be pretty tense working your way through some of those changeable areas, and more than once we’ve heard the depth alarm go off, requiring a mad application of reverse and much hissing of “where’d the water go?!” before things are resolved.  At the Shallotte Inlet in North Carolina (mile 330) we actually had to ignore the markers and navigate using advice we received from friends, plus an image Nicki located on the Army Corp of Engineer’s website of the depths – and we still came within 6 inches of grounding before we felt our way through. Whew!

No wonder I’m not sleeping so well some nights. I lie awake replaying the day’s lessons and trying to plan tomorrow’s route…

Sionna going 5.4 knots over dry ground. Cool trick!

Oh, and technology?  Not 100% That’s a picture of the screen on our chart plotter – a nifty little device that projects the GPS position of our boat onto a digital chart.  Hmm… we seem to be sailing over dry land… And at over 6 mph!  This is why you watch the marks first, not the screen.

And finally there’s the trash.  Trees, sticks, floating garbage, sunken boats… They’re all out there, and they’re not fun to meet up-close and personal.  We’re constantly looking for such things, in addition to other boats, barges and markers, and the combined effect is that we get to the end of a day exhausted and ready for a nice rum beverage, a warm meal, and an early bedtime.

So that’s why we don’t write every day.  We’re loving the journey, the experience and the adventure. But sometimes, we just don’t have the energy to get creative at the keyboard.  We hope you understand. 

But you can always watch the election news if you need more stimulation!

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

11 thoughts on “Loving the Journey, but…

  1. Why don’t you sail outside on the ocean, set the autopilot, kick back and enjoy the ride?

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

    Liked by 1 person

    • Several reasons! First, because this is still about the journey, and though there are unexpected facets of the ICW, we’re loving the sights and sounds and smells of this land – we’d miss that outside.
      Second, we don’t have an autopilot or wind-vane, so passages require 24/7 on the helm. That’s easier outside, of course, since there’s much less to hit, but it wears after about a day.
      Third, And finally, because we’re enjoying the ride too much to miss it – this first time, anyway. When we bring the boat back north in a couple years, we may well do it in a series of off-shore hops, and avoid some of the driving stress.


  2. Still love following your adventures, and if you posted everyday I probably wouldn’t have time to read anyway.


  3. I am loving getting your blog when you “get a chance”. Enjoy your journey. I also like knowing where you stop each night with Farkwar.com. Although, your detour to China last night, did shock me!


  4. Glad to see your still progressing. I thought I would let you know that the Fernandina Beach town marina is currently closed. Damage from the hurricane has caused the city to keep it closed till FEMA decides if they will finance the repairs. I would fuel up at Jekyll island before heading south. You can still anchor but where you are landing the dingy is the issue. I have seen a lot of boats at the north end of the island where they can land at the beach by the state park boat ramp. It looked for a moment that another triangle 32 would pass into the analogs of time but I have been able to salvage my boat to the tune of about $6000. She will be out of the water this year while I make repairs. I lost about 4 feet of the teak toe rail at the bow. yesterday I was working on it and was a bit surprised to see that the deck was “kinda” through bolted to the hull. Perhaps your aware of the hull to deck joint but I had never seen the actual bond. The hull is made with an inward turning flange and then they just set the deck flat on top of the flange, I can’t tell if they actually bonded it together with epoxy of simply used buytl tape. The toe rail was then bolted on. This is what is holding the deck on. When you remove the toe rail you see the holes drilled for through bolts do not even pass completely through the deck, they are just catching the edge of the deck, sort of a half circle where the drill bit went by. The toe rail is then screwed down which overlaps the deck by about 3/4 of an inch. It appears this is the mechanical fastener keeping the deck in place. I suppose it is strong enough 50 years should be a long enough testing period. I will keep you informed on the area as you get closer. Fair wind.


  5. Listen up, Gaffer – you post ’em in your own time, and we’ll read ’em!

    Are you guys really getting 9-1/2 hours of sleep a night?!? Oh, the envy!

    At some dead low tides in the dredged channel in Rockland, our depth sounder reads a steady 2 feet as we tiptoe out into the harbor – and the sounder’s transducer isn’t even the lowest point on the hull! This on a 500-ton ferry, boys and girls!

    My favorite is your chart plotter pic – proof that The Force is strong enough to move even a loaded ketch over land. Here’s something to make your boys shrink to the size of raisins, though: during a recent USCG inspection, one of the inspectors talked fondly about his expectations that in the not-too-distant future, physical bouys and daymarkers would be supplanted by virtual ones which appear in the “correct” locations, but only on your digital chart plotter. This as a maintenance money-saving step.

    He was serious. Really. Can I show him that photo?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember Shallot Inlet as being one of the most challenging…even before the hurricane! The Corps surveys are great, though. It’s funny how exhausting the retirement lifestyle is. Glad you are enjoying the journey!


  7. In addition to the exhaustion caused by having only one good eye, there is noise-induced fatigue, caused by running the engine all day long. It’s a real phenomenon. You are exposed to the noise and vibration all day. It’s good you are getting all that rest between days. Keep that up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m reading back and you have been doing great. I conk out sometimes around 6pm! I tell Albert not to count my sleep hours! But I have slept 13 hours, 5pm til 6 am! This is definitely work! Xo


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