A Day on the Waterway

After receiving several strongly worded complaints about the frequency of our postings (j/k, hi James!) Ryan and I decided to pen some updates and meter them out, electronically. We’ll prolly be in Daytona or further when you read this. For now, Ryan and I have taken the day “off,” we are hanging out and cleaning up the boat here in Palm Coast Marina. This place is awesome- 20 bucks a night for a slip! Good internet, showers, and place which had Goose Island Bourbon County Stout on tap within walking distance! Life is good.


At any rate, we decided to chill out a bit after putting the boat aground for the first time- it was blowing pretty hard so we were able to heel the boat over (way over) with the jib and get her off the sand after about 10 minutes. Pretty easy as far as groundings go, but decidedly unpleasant for a Sunday. Most days however, are much more basic. We (I) get up before dawn and start getting the boat ready.


I get the fuel tanks sorted out, untie the anchor snubber, start the engine. Usually the racket of the motor is enough to drive Ryan from her bunk, but if that doesn’t work, the chain rattling down the hawsepipe usually is. If it’s blowing a bit or there’s current involved, Ryan grabs the tiller and keeps the boat off the rocks while I get the anchor out of the bottom.


Once we’re properly underway, Ryan gets the coffee going and fixes breakfast while I steer the boat. This is usually one of my favorite times of day, because breakfast!


Our routine usually involves me driving and Ryan navigating, she checks the chart and the GPS, I keep an eye on our speed and currents and such. And I keep an eye on Ryan too. 🙂


The duck is the boat. The boat is on the line. Keep the duck on the line.

For the most part navigation is pretty straightforward, recent groundings notwithstanding. Occasionally there will be a fun little twist, like these range markers.



When the markers are in a line, you’re in the channel. Pretty cool huh? Negotiating bridge openings is another common daily activity, at first it was something I was stressed about, but it’s really pretty simple. You call the bridge on the radio and ask them to open. If it has “restricted” openings, then you try and time it so you show up just as the gates are going down. If either of those things don’t work, you drive around in circles, try not to hit the big boats, and wait for the bridge to open.



Locking through at Deep Creek, VA. Locks are like drawbridges for boats. See how I did that there?

With the ICW’s twists and turns, ditches and canals, bridges and locks, and general narrow-ness, there’s not much opportunity to move the boat under sail…but we’ve been motorsailing every chance we get. It took a few weeks to sort out the best way to do this, because our main foresail is a 140% genoa. A real deck-sweeper. For those of you not up on sailing nerd terminology, it’s a big honking sail on the front of the boat. When we put that bad boy up, we move pretty good, but can’t see anything on one side of the boat. So we compromise, we put up the working jib, which is meant for winds in the 20+ knot range, but we can see! Even in light-ish winds, the jib gives us a nice boost, which has been crucial in some areas with fast flowing tidal currents.


While underway, I collect photos of sunken shrimp boats…




…and strange things like this buoy graveyard


…or this golf course gondola over the waterway


…we ponder things like “should I have eaten those oysters off the marina pilings last night?”


J/K, marina oysters have a slight “essence of human waste” which I find disagreeable

…Ryan takes pictures of me steering “Firefly”


…I take pictures of Ryan steering Firefly



…Ryan and I take pictures of friends boats blowing by us


Bill and Judy on “Whisper” Hey Guys!

…and just generally take in the scenery.


We generally try and get the anchor down with a few hours of light left, time enough to clean up and get dinner started. I like going on dinghy explorations…




…and Ryan likes to crochet.


Her goal is to crochet a “granny square” a day and make a sailing trip blanket! Pretty cool I say.


Crack open a beer, watch the sun go down. Do it again tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “A Day on the Waterway

  1. thanks for this great post with photos! I read a very interesting story of a kayaker doing what you are doing, in the New Yorker this week. Loved thinking about what he saw as he went along, and the folks he talked to. Also in regard to crochet works— I saw in Guideposts a lady made coffee-cup cozies, and they were very well-received by the people buying Starbucks coffee, which needs those cardboard reinforcers, so you don’t burn your fingers. She made really cute knitted ones. Thanks for your gifts at storytelling, and letting us see your adventure! love, martina

  2. Thanks for bringing us into the rhythm of your life on the ICW – a world apart from most of your readers’ daily routines and yet a world so close to the coast where so many of us are only a few hundred miles from.

  3. Thanks for providing us a vicarious trip through the ICW — your descriptions of daily tasks are particularly helpful in picturing your ‘typical’ day. How wise to take advantage of your youth and strength to enjoy an adventure like this. You’ll likely treasure it forever.
    Kate and Mark

  4. Pingback: Meals on Keels | The Bonnie Boat

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