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Burnt Store Marina to Marathon

Here are a couple photos from our first leg of the trip leaving Burnt Store Marina on the west coast of Florida as we headed down to Marathon…

We got up early the morning of February 2nd and left the dock. We had a great stay at Burnt Store, but we don’t plan on returning. We’re finally on our way to far off lands!!


It was real foggy when we left. Super glad we had the radar to see other boats out in Charlotte Harbor.




We cruised right toward a rainbow in the fog. It looked like we might find the end but of course we never did ;)


A few dolphins swam under our bow as we made our way out of Charlotte Harbor. Only a taste of what’ts to come!!





Instead of anchoring along the way, we kept on going all the way to Marathon for our first over-nighter. We took shifts and tried to sleep as much as we could but I think we were all too excited to get much rest. We had to dodge the crab pots as best we could but I’m sure we ran over a ton once it got dark. There was just no way around it.


It took a good 26 hours but we made it safe and sound!



FOR SALE!! 2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD SR5

I can hardly contain the excitement… we are FINALLY ready to sell the only vehicle we have left! We plan to set sail from Punta Gorda, FL at the end of this week and we are headed for the Bahamas!! This means we need the truck gone ASAP :) We need to make our Costco run tomorrow or the next day and then we are just waiting for a few more spare parts to show up in the mail this week.

Peter bought this truck brand new in 05 and it has 235,000 miles on it. Do you know anyone in the Southwest Florida area that would be interested in buying it? Price reduced AGAIN to $6800. Fair bluebook is just over $7000. No known issues, runs great. Rubber floor mats not in the picture but are clean and included.

We really hate to sell it, but we don’t have any covered storage for long term. We can always get another one. The adventure we are about to embark on makes it TOTALLY worth selling the 4Runner.

Please spread the word!!



2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD SR5 $6800

ONE OWNER, runs great!

MUST SELL THIS WEEK – We moved onto a sailboat and are leaving for the Bahamas, Caribbean and Central America and will not be returning to Florida. We would keep it forever if we could, but it doesn’t float :)

4WD with locking differential and limited slip differential, V6, 4.0L, air conditioning, tinted windows, iPod ready, premium stereo, DVD player installed in rear, power windows and locks, running boards, ROOF RACK and TOW PACKAGE, cloth seats with custom front seat covers, maintenance records, California titled, original owner. Small dent above gas tank, no other issues known.

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All photos courtesy of Kimberly Young – LAHOWIND & Kimberly Joy Photography


This past Sunday our friends Kim and Jereme of LAHOWIND drove up from Naples to hang out, talk about cruising plans and go for a day sail in Charlotte Harbor aboard our boat, S/V Mary Christine. They are going to set sail for the Bahamas and Caribbean about the same time as us with their dog Oliver. Be sure to check out their website if you haven’t already! If all works out we may be buddy-boating for a while so hopefully you’ll hear a lot more about them soon.

We were SO lucky to have Kim take pics of our harbor cruise!! I love them all!!! Her photo skills make Betsy look 10 times cuter than she already is, which is pretty darn hard to do ;)


WHAT STUDS!! The guys had a great time chatting about boat stuff, fishing, diving and cruising.


There wasn’t too much wind that day and the guys had both trolling lines out. About half way into the afternoon we heard a beautiful sound… ZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FISH ON!!

Peter knew this fish was big. Real big. The guys couldn’t tell what it was until they got it to the surface.


LUNKER!! It was a 32″ grouper! It’s very rare to hook a grouper on a trolling line so the fishing Gods were definitely with us this day! We weren’t totally prepared to hook something so big so we were scrambling to find the gaff to bring him in. This was our second fish for S/V Mary Christine underway and thank goodness Kim was on it with the camera! We were all so excited. The winds calmed down even more and we slowly drifted along under full sail at an easy 2 knots which made it really nice for focusing on the fish situation. I kept an eye on our course and sails while the guys took care of the fish. We could only find a 20″ minimum regulation so he was a keeper for sure.



We had such a fun time with Kim and Jereme!! This is only the beginning…  in just two more weeks we should be ready to leave Florida and head to the Bahamas to continue these epic adventures everyday :)




Livin the dream as we sail to Where The Coconuts Grow in search of surf, sun, sand and serenity…

First night at anchor

Last weekend we had a perfect opportunity to take the boat out and try anchoring overnight for the first time. The weather was nice, tides were favorable and we finally had the confidence to take the boat out by ourselves with no extra crew! We’ve been out on S/V Mary Christine maybe 10 times already but every time so far we’ve had someone else with us, either friends or family. Our first time out just the two of us was amazing! Its starting to sink in a little more, we’re really doing this :)


We sailed across Charlotte Harbor over to Cayo Costa where our friends Jan and David had arrived an hour or two ahead of us. Its real tricky to get in and out of Pelican Bay where everyone anchors up. There is a very narrow channel with 1-3 feet depths on either side. Since we didn’t have previous tracks in and out, Jan and David met us in their dinghy to lead us in.




I backed the boat down as Peter dropped the anchor. We don’t have our chain marked yet for length but Peter did a rough estimate of how much chain he was letting out. It was pretty rusty and made an awful mess on the bow. We pulled the anchor snubber out of the depths of the line locker and got that all set up too. The current made it a challenge to keep the boat into the wind and to reverse in the right direction at the same time. We did pretty good for the first time though!! I suppose it’s just like docking… practice makes perfect. Pretty soon we’ll be doing this in our sleep, literally ;)


The next item on the agenda was to drop the dinghy into the water. We hooked it up to the mail halyard and lowered our dink down. Suddenly, we realized something was missing…

Our gas tank was safe and sound inside a crate… back on the dock at Burnt Store Marina!! No need to take the outboard off anymore! We will be rowing this time. Good thing I like to row!

We grabbed a spare line to tie the dinghy up at shore and got the dogs ready. Betsy is only 45 lbs so Peter could pretty much just pick her up off the deck and set her down. She was a little unsure of it all but that dog has no fear!



I didn’t get any pics of lowering Gunner down because it was a two-person job. I’ll try for some next time so you all can see how we get this big guy around. Thanks to our AWESOME ‘Help’EmUp‘ harnesses, we were able to get a 75 lb dog off the boat into the dinghy relatively easily! Peter grabbed the forward handle and I held the rear hip lift handle and we lowered him down. Gunner had one thing on his mind… Get To Shore!! He gets really excited to go anywhere so this was totally fun for him. They both did really well once they were inside. We have an aluminum floor so we didn’t worry too much about their nails.


The current was moving with us and we got to shore pretty quick. The dogs got to stretch their legs and we checked out a few of the trails.

We wen’t back to the boat right away and started on dinner. BBQ pork loin and Caribbean rice was on the menu. Our LED cockpit lights were on and the evening was just perfect as we enjoyed our first meal at anchor. Next was time for showers. Since our generator isn’t quite fixed yet, we ran the main engine to be able to use the hot water heater. Hot water showers at anchor? Yes Please!! It was sooo refreshing. We snuggled up and enjoyed being rocked to sleep as the small waves lapped up against the hull.

All was quiet until 4am. Gunner has been recovering from a bladder infection and in the wee hours of the morning he HAD to go potty. The way he was whining and talking to us let me know that he really had to go.  Peter was sound asleep, but I got Gunner up into the cockpit and took him back to the aft deck where our chunk of Astroturf lay waiting for the first potty away from the dock. It didn’t take long and Gunner copped a squat. HOORAY!!!! This was such a relief to know he’ll actually go if he needs to.

The dogs have been in training for a few weeks now. We would sneak the fake grass underneath them as they peed to get a little scent on it. If we held them in place long enough they would go as long as it sat over top of the real grass on shore. Betsy finally got the hang of it and she doesn’t have any trouble going on the boat if we tell her to.

Gunner must have been nervous because he had to go again at 6am and 8am. He was whining all night long and would NOT go to sleep. When 6am rolled around I decided to just stay in the cockpit with him incase he was trying to hold back a #2. It was cold, breezy and very dewy. Even though I didn’t get more than a couple of hours of sleep I did my best to enjoy the stillness of the bay around us. The sun began to come up and the gratitude slowly grew. A sliver of serenity? Youbetcha!


We had anchored in the deep hole in the center of Pelican Bay. When the sun came up I heard splashing all around and realized the dolphins were herding fish and feeding. They kept popping up in different places as they went around in circles swimming by all the boats.


In the morning we went to shore again and walked across the island to the gulf.


There were shells EVERYWHERE! The tiny pieces littered the white sand beaches as far as I could see.



There were a few horseshoe crab shells along the shore as well. Check out Jan’s post if you want to learn a little more about these strange-looking creatures of the sea :)



When it was time to row back to Mary Christine the wind was NOT our friend. It was blowing 15-20 knots and we had to row up wind. There were a few times we got a little scared we would be swept out to the gulf. We were barely making any progress and I all could do was cheer Peter on. He powered through it getting us and the 12′ dinghy back safely. Scary.

We wanted to get back to the marina before sunset so we pulled up the anchor and followed our tracks back out to the harbor. It was a little tricky keeping the boat into the wind again while Peter pulled up the anchor but we managed.


We sailed back and the puppies were happy to be going somewhere again.



We ended this awesome adventure by catching our very first fish while underway!! Spanish Mackerel… mmm!


Back at the marina we docked for the first time alone, and of course it went way easier than I expected :) We had a lot of firsts and a lot of fun!

Until next time!!

I’m gonna be an auntie!


My little sister Carmen and bro-in-law Keith are expecting their first baby in March! We’re so excited for little Jackson to arrive :) They live here in Florida so it’s really nice that Peter and I have been able to spend some time with them before we leave the U.S.

Carmen and Keith came down to see the boat and puppies a few weeks ago and we took them out for a really nice day sail. Neither of them had been sailing before. It was really fun to show them what we’re going to be doing for the next few years. Pictures are great but it really helps to put things into perspective when you can see the boat in person.





Keith was having a great time relaxing even as we were heeled over :)



Gunner and Betsy do better each time we take them out. They weren’t anxious or feeling sick. Gunner sleeps almost the whole time and Betsy cruises all around.



Of course the guys had to set up the trolling lines… You never know when you’ll get a bite!




Baby Jackson was getting rocked to sleep as we cruised through the harbor quietly under sail.


Keith tested out the helm and did an awesome job.



It was so nice to have family come visit and it’s always great to get in more practice out on the water :) While we won’t still be in Florida when Jackson is born, we will definitely come visit him as soon as we can! Hopefully baby Jackson will be able to come visit his auntie Jody and Uncle Peter at some beautiful island soon too!