Thursday, May 30, 2013


Charleston, SC
Our Norwegian friends conducting home school on Cumberland Island.

We've gone state-hopping. After two nights at one of our favorite stops, Cumberland Island, Georgia, we set off from the St. Mary's Inlet for an overnight passage to yet another favorite: Charleston.

The weather was finally, finally turning in our favor. The squalls skittered away and our northeast route would be blessed with 10-15 knots of east wind slowly clocking to southeast and easing at the end of the day. Then, the diurnals would kick in giving us some good wind for the night.

Well, none of that happened, but it was a beautiful trip anyway! For once, the unpredicted weather was in the other direction, lighter.

We headed into the deep at 6:30 and into pretty big swell on our beam. Under full sail, we were able to ride over it nicely.


And back up again:

The wind didn't ease much, and it never clocked south, so we rode on the closest point of sail we could manage, which put us exactly on course to Charleston. For the first time ever, we raised the sails and never changed the set for 30 hours.

The swell laid down in the late evening for a gorgeous night of stars punctuated at midnight with a half moon.

Sometimes dolphins joined us.

Photo by Chip
We rode in on a rising tide and reached Charleston Maritime Center at exactly slack water.

A perfect passage? Almost. For the first time in three years, I got seasick. :-\ Perhaps it was the particular motion of the swell, which wasn't anywhere near as bad as the Gulf Stream crossing. Curious. I was at the helm the first three hours, and then got sick. It never left me.

Chip was a superhero, helming about 2/3 of the trip.

Another cruiser posted this excellent article about combatting and treating seasickness. I know there were several factors that made me susceptible:

  1. I didn't sleep well the night before. 
  2. We had been inshore for a week or so, on smooth waters.
  3. I started on an empty stomach.
All bad. Usually if I take a slug of Pepto before leaving, I don't have much trouble. This time I was not so lucky! I slept at least 12 hours of the passage.

Once we arrived in Charleston, the queasiness disappeared -- and Charleston awaits. Now that's perfect.

Thanks to Stian on To Be for the photos.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Lake Worth, Palm Beach, FL N 26º 45.964 | W 80º 2.667

A lightning-filled squall chasing us into Nassau.

If you read our logbook for the past two months, it tells a lovely story, island hopping through the Berrys and Exumas. Perfect destinations that evoke turquoise dreams. And that is a true story.

If you look at our beautiful photos, the story is a little different. It was a turbulent weather season in the Bahamas this spring, with storm fronts constantly on the move. We had less than 10 days where the weather didn't dictate our movement.

We ducked into the all-around protection of Warderick Wells so many times, we started calling the entrance our driveway. Fortunately for us, it's one of our favorite spots in the northern Exumas and offers calm nights and lots of activities no matter the weather.

Squall line north of Warderick Wells.
The weather gurus kept predicting an end to the storm fronts.

"Next week, we'll start getting settled weather..."

The squall that chased us from Hawksbill to Shroud Cay.
We eventually got weary of rolly anchorages and the high stakes running dodge, so we decided to head back to Florida, where it's easier to find protection.

On our way from the northern Exumas to Nassau, a squall stalked us. I thought I was outrunning it, but I think it just fell apart.

Then on our ride north, the New Providence Channel was all bumpy from gusty wind the day before. On our first attempt at crossing to the U.S., we went north off the bank at Great Harbor and turned back rather than facing unpredicted 20-knot wind and annoying swell.

The next day, we sailed west instead of north, across the Bahama Bank in lovely following wind and seas topped by a riot of stars and a bright swath of Milky Way.

By dawn, we left the bank and entered a confused Gulf Stream where rolling swell, 4 to 6 feet, came at us from behind and on the starboard side. There was not enough wind to keep us stable, but for the Gulf Stream, it was not so bad.

As we approached our destination, Lake Worth, the weather reared its head again. Squalls surrounded us on all four sides.

When I looked to starboard and saw a waterspout, I screamed right out loud, "PLEASE, JUST LET US PASS!!!"

Waterspout dropping from the clouds.
Oddly, old Mom Nature listened. One of the squalls dissipated and the others skittered off.

There was but one more bit of weather before we ducked safely into inland waters.

As we came within 10 miles of the Lake Worth Inlet, an offshore squall kicked the wind up from the east. At the inlet it was pushing the water into big 6-foot rollers marching in at short intervals on an incoming tide. Had we missed our target arrival time, the tide would have turned, leaving us to stand off until either the water laid down or the tide turned again.

Instead, we rode in at a galloping trot and finally dropped anchor just inside the inlet on a perfectly smooth Lake Worth.

We live at Mother Nature's whim, and sometimes she's a harsh mistress. But on her good days, she's such a charmer. She blessed us with many perfect days to explore new islands with friends old and new. Photos to come!

One last volley at Great Harbor the night before we left.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Warderick Wells, Exumas, Bahamas
N 24º 23.736 | W 76º 37.937

Copyright 2013 Tammy Kennon
When we untied the lines in Manteo in October 2010, I left with two very large bags. One bag held all my expectations for this dream life I had been imagining for 15 years, and that bag was stuffed. Dreams by their nature are fanciful and idyllic, and my imagination was fertile, I thought. So what did I find when I crossed the abyss between dreaming and reality?

The other bag held everything I believed about myself, and, at 50 years old, I thought I knew myself pretty well. I was strong and confident. I had a successful career and business. I was good at taking on new challenges and learning new skills. So what did I learn about myself when I cast aside all the accomplishments of my first five decades and set off on a new venture?

Since we arrived in the Bahamas this year on March 17th, instead of blogging, I've been writing a book about crossing the abyss and walking around in this 3D dream, how my waking life has shaken out compared to those fanciful expectations and how my reflection in the water has compared to the one in the mirror.

As of today, I have completed the first draft of 12 of the 16 chapters.

I promise to check back in here regularly with progress reports and more photos of this continuing 3D dream.

Thank you for reading.

p.s. -- Our storm dodging has continued. We are once again in Warderick Wells and will head north when the wind turns favorable later this week. We'll check back in from Nassau in a week or so....

Saturday, May 4, 2013


"I check my watch and the wind speed. I wonder if we'll keep this pace, and if the wind will keep a constant breath, if that cloud far off to the east is headed our way. 
Ming's words flutter like tell-tales in the breeze, and I am reminded of the things that matter and the ones that don't."

"I'll get there when I get there."

It was a simple sentence we heard only six days after leaving our home dock, but their meaning has resonated for three years.

And I am still learning the lesson: how to patiently ride a soft wind, to release the false frenzy of land, and focus on the moment, not the destination.

For the backstory on this column:
The day we fell under Ming's spell: Get There When I Get There
The day we met Ming: The Raft-Up