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South Carolina to Florida: Our Southbound Journey Continues

View of a protected Florida river basin surrounded by palm trees with sailboats anchored nearby, and a few houses peeking out from the trees. Blue skies with a few clouds above.

Disclaimer: This post started in Florida, and we are now in the Bahamas because cruising-prep took precedence over blogging. 😆

We are (were) in Florida! While our posts are currently infrequent, we’re still trying to balance working on the boat, planning travel, writing blogs/social media posts, and not burning out on all the learning (aka relaxing and having some fun). In future posts, we’ll elaborate on the highlights and lowlights of the journey because we are learning and experiencing so much. For now, enjoy this condensed version!

Summary of the Southbound Passages

If you follow us on PredictWind, you’ll see that we went from Charleston, SC, to Savannah, GA, via the ICW over a few days in January, stopping in Hilton Head to wait out bad weather. We quickly hopped to Savannah, where we waited for a part to fix our oil leak (spoiler: it didn’t fix it). Once we installed the part, we went out to the North Atlantic Ocean for a two-day passage to Cape Canaveral (with a brief 4-hour stop in St. Augustine to rest a bit). That passage ultimately landed us in Cocoa, FL, to recoup and enjoy a break in Florida weather!

From there, we worked our way down the ICW and spent two weeks in Eau Gallie, awaiting more parts to fix the oil leak for good this time. While in Eau Gallie, we got to know the liveaboards at the marina and enjoy the art and music that Eau Gallie Arts District has to offer. Once we got the oil leak fixed (for real), we took two days to travel down to Lake Worth, FL, to stage for our Bahamas crossing. And that catches you up (mostly) since we posted about the Beaufort to Charleston trip!

Looking over the deck of a sailboat, entering into a port canal with a large barge boat to the right and a large cruise ship beyond the barge. The water is sea green, and the sky is blue with 70% grey cloud cover
Entering into the Canaveral Barge Canal, we saw a wide variety of military, commercial, and recreational vessels.

Wow! That means we’ve been in Florida for three weeks now. It’s been great to be in warmer weather, where we don’t worry about 30-degree F temperatures and can live more sustainably on anchor. In other words, we don’t have to run the generator to heat the boat, and we’re getting more sun, which means we’re generating more solar energy.

Looking down at the top of a 4-cylinder diesel engine with the valve cover off. Lots of metal tubing and oil-coated parts are in view, and the #3 fuel intake is missing. The turbo is to the right, and the front of the motor is to the left.
Charlie takes a crack at fixing the oil leak coming from the #3 fuel intake (removed in this picture)

Productive Along the Way

Being “stuck” at a marina for an extended period of time gave us plenty of time to knock some items off the boat project checklist. Thus, we’ve done quite a bit of boat work in the last few weeks.

  • Replumbed the aft shower nozzle
  • Repaired the pesky oil leak in the diesel motor 
  • Researched Click2Clear for Bahamas Customs & Immigration  
  • Commissioned the gas-powered outboard motor (it’s running great!)
  • Replaced the diesel tank air vent, which may have been the source of water in our diesel
  • Had the bottom cleaned
  • Defrosted the fridge
  • Replaced a broken rope clutch on the mast 
  • And so much more. Our maintenance log is extensive.
A man in a white sunshirt & sunglasses sites at the back of an inflatable rigid dinghy with an outboard motor on the back. A curious pelican floats in the water nearby, clearly thinking fish may be in his future.
A curious pelican swooped in to assist Charlie as we lowered the outboard onto the dinghy for the first time.

And Some Fun Too!

In other words, our three weeks in Florida were productive for boat projects. In the spirit of balance, we had some fun there. Here’s a short list of fun things we’ve done along the way.

A fun picture of a woman in the foreground smiling an openmouthed smile and a man looking up with a similar openmouthed smile. They are both excited to in visiting the rocket garden. Several rockets are scattered behind them, and a deep blue sky is overhead.
Pinky & Charles in the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center, a super fun trip where they totally nerded out.

We are having a blast exploring and working hard on learning how to keep progressing both in boat knowledge and seamanship. For three weeks, we focused on getting ready for the Bahamas crossing and the three-month stay. And sat at an anchorage in Lake Worth, FL (Turtle Cove), analyzing the weather to determine our next jump and the best route.

Looking at the back of a sailboat at a large solar arch with 2 net swings hanging from the bars. A man sits in one of them demonstrating how they work. A protected river basin is in the background with calm water, clear blue skies, and anchored sailboats
Charlie sits in one of the new swings we got at the Annapolis Sailboat Show last fall

Connection with the Cruising Community

Along the way, we met many incredible people and connected with boats following a similar path. Lake Worth was a culmination of cruisers given its proximity to the north route Bahamas crossing. We caught up with a rigger that we met in Deale, MD, and a fellow Totem-engaged boat that we buddy-boated with on our Beaufort to Charleston trip. We also made new friends in the anchorage for the first time and crossed paths with other cruisers we’ve been following online, Meravaglia and Dawntreader

Up to this point, we weren’t feeling like cruisers. As we made our way down the ICW, much of the journey felt like a delivery. Specifically, we focused on getting south (especially to warmer weather) as fast(ish) as possible instead of going slow and enjoying all the stops along the way. We had a hustle in our movement. Now that we’re in warmer weather, we could take things a little slower, which is the pace we had in mind for this lifestyle shift.

Looking out over the water from the deck of a sailboat, a bright yellow sun rises just above the horizon. The sky is a mix of grey and pink clouds with a bit of blue peeking through. The water is calm, and a sailboat is anchored just to the left of the sunrise.
Sunrise over Ft. Pierce as we rose early to get to Lake Worth

What’s Next?

We’re excited about our Bahamas crossing and nervous about our first foreign country entry (we’re US-based) in our floating home. In reality, we have been preparing for this for the last 1.5 years and have done as much as possible to “get it right.” There’s a point where we have to say, “We’ve prepped enough. Here’s our window. Let’s go.” And that’s what we’ve done as I complete this post sitting in an anchorage in Great Harbour Cay, Bahamas. We’re looking forward to sharing more with you!

Looking out from a sailboat cockpit at a river basin with a marina dock to the right with several sailboats. The sun sets in bright yellow just beyond those boast. To the left and in the background, there are ripples on the water, sailboats anchored in the distance, and a blue sky with bands of white clouds.
Sunset at Eau Gallie Yacht Basin where we spent 2 weeks waiting on parts.

4 thoughts on “South Carolina to Florida: Our Southbound Journey Continues”

  1. Just catching up with what you’re up to and very much appreciate how real you’ve been about how it’s going! I love to sail but have never actually gone anywhere by sail. And I get seasick so I was appreciating how much it takes for you to power through. Enjoy the Bahamas!!!!

    1. There are some good seasickness remedies out there, so I hope you don’t let that stop you. I’ve got a post drafted about all the options I’ve tried! So great to hear from you!

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