Everyday Life on the ICW (in Dowry Creek, NC)

A few snapshots from the journey to the ICW…

Deltaville, VA — my first week working from the boat an anchor
The fuel pump that went up in a big puff of smoke as we crossed the Potomac River
Weather that’s warm enough to eat ice cream in the cockpit? Yes, please!
A little rainbow peeking through the 40-knot-gust squall we had at anchor in Deltaville
There have been some chilly mornings
Zephyr and Kevin (the elephant) have been trip-making champions
Arrival in Portsmouth, VA – across the channel from Norfolk – and the official start of the ICW!
Toddler entertainment…
…sometimes gets messy (clean??)
We were shocked to go through the lock with 3 other boats! Here we thought we’d be entirely alone in our February journey south
I love the ICW. It’s a totally unique style of travel, with lots to look at on both sides (and lots to look out for too!)
Late-day sail repair (attempt #1… why is sticky-back never as good as promised??)
More toddler entertainment in the cockpit underway
Might need to practice before we let him tail the winch 😉
Ugly breaking seas on our way into Dowry Creek — they never look big in pictures, but this was the first time we took a bunch of green water on deck. Yuck!
Dowry Creek Marina had everything we wanted — FREE laundry, power, water, fuel, propane, a courtesy car to get groceries and even TOYS in the lounge. Who could ask for more??

Acting Brave (in Solomon’s Island, MD)

I used to be braver. Six years ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about a little daysail to a new anchorage. I wouldn’t have checked the weather 27 times or renewed SeaTow or double-checked our EPIRB and flares. I wouldn’t have agreed to push a departure day back week after week – I would have demanded we bite the bullet and just go already! 

I don’t know if it’s the kiddo or the new-to-us-boat or January weather or long period of not sailing or just the combination of all those things, but I suddenly feel like I’m new to this all over again. I’ve been so excited to leave, to get back to the “nomadic” part of our life, but with a heavy dose of needing to psych myself up for the actual leaving part, faking brave when it wasn’t coming naturally.

The upside of this is that it’s also brought back fresh eyes to what’s around me — to see this life that I really do love to my absolute core. 

Is there anything better than sunrise at sea? 

This is where I am happiest. This is where I belong. This where I thrive – where *we* thrive – where our best sides come out and we work as a team so seamlessly we don’t even need words, just nods and eye contact and half-smiles. 

The sun rising, eyes smiling, water sparkling, a token dolphin because the scene demands it.

The only thing that could make it more magical would be if Zephyr was happily watching the waves with me, but actually he’s inside watching Peppa Pig 😆 A concession we gratefully make to buy the minutes we need to untie our spider web of lines (“how long do you think some of these lines have been tied here?”) and slowly back Brio II our of her slip, pausing to take a picture for what I hope might be the last time but won’t say out loud just in case I jinx it only to realize later that Jon took the exact same picture, standing on the bow and looking back while hoping we were moving forward.


Today was magical and tonight we’re at anchor for the very first time and there’s a gentle rain softly pattering on the deck and it’s interrupted occasionally by Zephyr shouting “no horsey!” (his interpretation of “no-way-jose” 😂) while I lie in the aft cabin in front of the heater duct, full of gratitude for this very perfect day. 

My measure of days is “will we want to tell Zephyr stories about today when he grows up?”

I’m quite sure we’ll tell Zephyr about today.
“And after you’d lived at Herrington Harbour longer than anywhere else in your little life (a true statement that horrified Jon) we finally broke the spell and fulfilled mommy’s goal to leave in January, making a break for Solomon’s Island on January 31st (cuz nothing motivates a lady like a deadline) under a bright beautiful sky and flat seas and lots of nerves about what unforeseen things would break first and by some miracle we arrived without a hiccup and you slept through us dropping the anchor and revving the engine (or at least you complained quietly enough that we ignored you until you fell back asleep) and then because you were with us we mustered energy we didn’t have to launch the dinghy and go for a toot around the anchorage, ending at the Marine Center so you could visit the fishies and otters before we came home to our warm toasty boat and had dinner afloat listening to a soft rain before we all collapsed into bed, grateful for a warm bunk and six pillows each because you and your daddy are both pillow princes”

Or something like that 🙂



Woot Woot Webasto! (in North Beach, MD)

While Amazon 1-day shipping failed us (arriving a day after the perfect little weather-window we were eyeing up), Webasto has not.

The fuel pump on the heater was indeed the problem — a piece that we were assured was “the most reliable component in the whole system” (*insert slight eye roll*) — so the upside is that it was a super-simple swap out to get my favorite piece of equipment up and running again.

Case in point: It was 23*F / -5*C here last night, with a slight skiff of ice forming over the marina, but we were warm & snug inside, completely oblivious to the gross temps outside. And on that note, maybe I should be grateful to Amazon’s delay for keeping us from leaving on this very-very-chilly morning! 😉

Of course now that we’ve got the heater working AND a battery monitor, our thoughts have turned to “HOW much power does this sucker draw???” (Answer: a lot. Like 8 amps a lot. It doesn’t run constantly, so it’s not a straight 8 x 24 calculation, but it’s still more than we’re entirely happy with).

We’ll tackle this from all angles, drawing on our favorite “cumulative benefit of marginal improvements” perspective, to see what improvements we can make.

Current ideas include insulating the heat duct (our cupboards and bilges are getting nice and toasty warm, but this really isn’t the ideal destination for that precious warm air!!); insulating the known cold areas (Brio II is a bit of a warm-air sieve, with the aft cabin having two very thin cold walls – to the lazarettes – and very little insulation anywhere); connecting our solar panels to the currently-in-the-box-solar-charge-controller (it’s on the list, it’s on the list!!); and continuing to evaluate additional offgrid power options (wind generator? more solar?).

It’s a balance between the “easy but expensive” option of more batteries and more diesel consumption and taking the long-term approach of a more sustainably set up system.

Not that any of this matters when you’re comfortably tied up to a dock with endless power, but we’d like to think this won’t always be Brio II’s home 🙂

From our toasty warm home afloat,


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