Daily Boat Life (in Charleston, SC)

Boat baby in a tub - 10 months old

The tub does double-duty as our coat-storage tub when it’s not full of baby and bubbles

Zephyr is currently obsessed with birds. Pelicans are his favorite, but egrets are a close second, and he’ll settle for a seagull if neither of the above are around. So we spend a good portion of every day pointing out birds and trying to get him to learn the sign for “bird” (currently he only knows “milk” which means he signs “milk” any time he wants anything… which is especially fun when you’re the daddy — aka the ‘milk broker’ — and can only broker the next milk, not actually provide it!).

Boys in their shades

Boat baby munching on an apple in the quarterberth

Little man loves tiny apple peel bites

As we approach Week 8 of life in Charleston Harbor Marina, we’re definitely finding our rhythm… babysitting offers have started pouring in, the hotel staff know my name too (not just Z’s), and we’ve figured out which drivers of the morning “boater” shuttle are willing to make a few extra stops (post office, West Marine, Trader Joes, etc) and which are sticklers for the grocery store only run.

Charleston Harbor Marina - trolley to do errands

We took this beauty to the post office & turned a few heads…

We rode the water taxi into town last weekend… Z is definitely a boater at heart. If you ask “where’s the ship” he’ll delightedly point out any passing freighters, no additional prompting required. So the water taxi was a hit, although the weird kid was more excited by the seagulls and ships than the leaping, frolicking dolphins so we might need to work on the sign for “dolphin” too 🙂

Water taxi into Charleston

On the boat front, another new radome was shipped to us here, it didn’t fix the problem (!!!), so we shipped the remaining radar pieces off to radar-repair-purgatory (aka: New Hampshire). We don’t know exactly when we might get it back (and be able to continue a little further south), but we do know that it won’t be this week, and probably won’t be next week either.

Boat baby in the radar box

At least the radome box makes a good toy

Playing with a hammer in the cockpit - who needs toys?

Who needs toys?? Just give the kid a couple of hammers (and stand back)!

The lack of a plan drives me a little nuts, but at least when I know we can’t leave it takes the constant-questioning away — and means we can just settle into making the most of our time here… Put the cruising guides and charts away for a bit, and quit obsessing over Florida-inlet options and the Gulf Stream patterns and where we might spend Zephyr’s birthday. Zephyr will turn one no matter where we are. And we’re renting a car and going on a roadtrip this weekend. So that’s enough for today.

Digital nomad - office by the pool for the day

“The office”

The Brio Trio with their super cool shades

In the meantime, we’ve got a good little routine going… we wake up and watch for birds out the vberth hatch, we have breakfast together, I work in the hotel while the boys hang out on the boat, we meet for lunch (and milk brokerage), Z goes to bed around 6pm (despite us being 4′ away — god bless battery-powered white noise machines!) so we get a few hours of “us” time (oh hello, husband, I remember you!) and we start every morning with a chorus of dadadada-mamama-dada-mama-da-ahhhhh’s sometime between 5:30 and 6am…

Boat baby snuggled up in the vberth

…Other than the mornings that Z decides 4:30 is wakeup time (seagulls? boat wakes?) and then I hide under the covers and try to figure out what time it is while Jon waits for direction on whether he can “let Zephyr out” (of his zip-up lee-cloth bed) or not 😉 It’s like having an unruly puppy who demands milk a lot.

Boat baby playing in the cockpit

Can't miss the hot chocolate bar at the Beach Club

Have I mentioned the afternoon hot chocolate bar??

And in the few moments of quiet between all this, Jon works on Brio and continues to make little life improvements for us all (Those cockpit speakers? They’re installed! And amazing!! Although now we have to remember to double-check if they’re on before we crank the morning Shakira booty shakin’ tunes 😉 Not sure our neighbors appreciate our cockpit speakers as much as I do!!!) and I continue to sneak peeks at the cruising guides and dream of where the next months might find us…

Charleston Harbor Marina - cute boys


Boat baby reading his boat book

The Project(s) That Couldn’t (in Charleston, SC)

10-month old Zephyr experiences ice cubes for the first time in the cockpit

Lest you think it’s all hot chocolate bars and sunrises… You know the little engine that could? We’ve got the projects that couldn’t.

Charleston sunset through the porthold from Charleston Harbor Marina

There were the weather cloths that just needed a few grommets to finish them off… an Amazon deal (for 1000 grommets… your first clue 😉 ) on nickel-plated steel that ended up rusting to bits within literally DAYS of installation. Fun fact: removing grommets is way less fun than installing them.

There was the anchor locker drain hose that needed replacing (let’s just say that the old hose install involved a decent amount of duct tape…). Seemed simple until we discovered that the marine store shipped us the wrong size of hose. Discovered, mind you, after we’d emptied the entire vberth storage locker into the main area, I’d climbed down into said locker, and Jon was full on baby wrangling Zephyr (who was *certain* he’d be most helpful in my lap, as I juggled heat guns and holesaws, trying to make the hose situation work).

The swim ladder hardware we installed (turns out we haven’t swum off the boat in YEARS) didn’t actually work with our swim ladder (but a little metal filing by Jonathan at least fixed that one).

The hole for the cockpit speakers (which we’ve been carrying around in a locker for literally 8 years!) ended up an inch too high (blame Zephyr) so now we’ve got a 7” hole in the cockpit to patch (and another hole to drill! Maybe we’ll have speakers in 8 more years…)

The port integral water tank work (a saga too long and unresolved to share in entirety) created such a fiberglass dust cloud that I literally sent Jon to buy (another) Festool Hepa vacuum. We left the other one in Maine, thinking we’d never need a huge vacuum on the boat… but it’s been one of the more missed items! So off to buy a vacuum to finish a dusty project Jon went. Zephyr and I hung out by the pool, under J’s orders to stay out of the chemical muck.

And then just when we thought we’d gotten a handle on the biggies and had a weather window for our jump to Florida, the B&G Vulcan 9 radar gave us a “No Radar” message (in the midst of the worst fog we’ve had since leaving Maine, of course). This puppy is less than a year old, so the good folks at B&G shipped us a new radome immediately… but unfortunately they shipped it to our billing address instead of our current mailing address, so there’s a new $1700 radome on its way to snowy Maine, where it’s really not that useful to us…


It’s a cruising truism that this life is about working on your boat in exotic destinations… so I guess I should be grateful that we at least like our boat and we like working on her!

And — it goes without saying — we’re enjoying Charleston and the marina here, so a few more weeks (waiting for our lost little radome to finish its tour of the United States of America and arrive in South Carolina) won’t hurt 😉


Finding balance (in Charleston, SC)

We thought we’d stay a month, make it easy to head back to Maine for a week of work and visiting, but we like it here… so we may stay a little longer 🙂

9-month old baby on a sailboat cruising in Charleston tiny home afloat

Being in Portland was bittersweet… wonderful to see the community we had found, and sad to know we were just visiting.

But as someone who has left quite a few “homes” behind over the years, I stand by that it’s better to leave when you’re still sad that you’ll miss a place than to stay until you’re completely burnt out and never want to set foot there again. This way we keep our Portland memories in the awesome-adventurous (if occasionally freaking cold) box, where they belong.

“How do you decide how far you’ll go?” a coworker asked me. I couldn’t think of an answer. Some magical formula of weather windows, the appeal of certain areas, days we can sail, and the amount of energy we have to dedicate to sailing?

The ICW is a bit like a highway, generally moving everyone up or down the coast along a well-worn path. We can roughly map out plans (50 miles/day, 3 travel days/week) but plans are loose and easily tossed aside for nice people, nice places, or the need for a few lazy family-nap days.

So trying to plan out the next few months is a bit vague too… we’ve got cruising guides, lots of math, rough ideas of where it might be fun to spend Zephyr’s first birthday… but really, no set plans!

Plus it is *really* nice here, in this little slice of marina-resort world, with friendly folks, easy weather, daily shuttles to the grocery or marine store (dangerous for perennial-project-pursuers like my husband!) and an easy work set up for me.

So we’re just hanging out a little longer, living our funny little life on our funny little boat, until the next wind shift beckons (a-la-Mary-Poppins) and it’s time to continue south!


Working while cruising with a baby on a little sailboat

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