The water equalizing at the St. Lucie locks.
At the end of our first week as liveaboards, Dan and I decided that we were ready to head down the Okeechobee Canal to Stuart on Friday and then on to Lantana on Saturday. Thursday afternoon we visited the St. Lucie Lock to watch how the process worked, since we have never transited a lock system before. Once there, we were encouraged at how easy everything looked and we were confident that we could handle it even with our limited experience. We spent the rest of Thursday evening packing up what definitely needed to be on the boat, buying some food for lunches underway, and dropping off one of our cars in Lantana.
I think the car wanted to come too.
We got up early on Friday morning ready to head out. Dan made a quick stop at McDonald’s for his morning coffee and I finished straightening up around the boat. When Dan got back he parked the car on the hill in front of our slip and came in to let the dogs out one last time, our last step before casting off. That’s when things went south. As Dan was walking the dogs, he saw movement from the corner of his eye…our car was rolling down the hill straight for the docks! Amazingly, the car was stopped on the edge of the docks by the bowline from another boat, only damaging a few fittings on the boat and denting our bumper. However, now we were stuck with a car teetering precariously over the water; we did not want it falling in!
Some of the workers from the marina were able to bring over a chain and straps to attach the car to a tree and then adjust the boat away from the front of the car. Not before reminding us of the sailor’s superstition, “You know they say it’s bad luck to leave on a Friday.” Then the waiting game started. Indiantown isn’t exactly within quick driving distance of anywhere, so we waited almost two hours for the first tow-truck to arrive…only to have him tell us that his truck wouldn’t be able to winch the car out without further damaging the docks and our car. The sheriff on the scene has the number of another company to call that were able to help us, after another hour wait of course. All in all, the incident cost us about $150 in towing, 5 hours of time, and an unknown future amount from insurance claims. Not exactly how we had envisioned the day going.
We did decide to still leave for Stuart later that day, but that’s a story for another post.
Ready to head out on Saturday morning.
Dan, Carter, and I have now officially survived our first week as liveaboards. After 20 grueling hours in the car (plus a nice day-long pit stop in LaGrange, Georgia with Dan’s brother Kyle), we were ready to get onto the boat and start making it our home. Easier said than done we soon realized. In Peoria, we loaded a 5×8 cargo trailer plus our two vehicles with all of our stuff and once we started unpacking quickly figured out that not everything was going to fit on the boat. (This is the point where Dan can say I told you so!) About 60% of what we brought is currently on the boat with us, 20% is still in our cars and trailer, and 20% is now in the Indiantown dump.
In the heat, we are in a constant struggle with Carter to keep his clothes on!
Indiantown Marina is a great place to store a boat over hurricane season and we met quite a few people preparing their boats for summer storage. It is not, however, a place where we would want to live on any extended basis, as there are almost no amenities in town and the nearest area of interest is a significant drive. Not to mention the friendly neighborhood alligator that liked to hang around our boat waiting for our dogs, cat, or toddler to fall in the water. As you might imagine, we were ready to move on as soon as possible since Dan’s job officially starts on Monday.
This is where we will be staying once we get our boat moved
To help break up the monotony of unpacking, each day we made sure to get off the boat and enjoy ourselves. Carter had been asking to go to the beach since he first found out we were moving to Florida, so we spent one evening touring our future marina home and heading over to the beach and dinner. The marina is part of the Loggerhead family of marinas that are up and down the east coast of Florida and we have been very impressed with their friendliness and beautiful facilities. Because the same group owns multiple marinas we will be able to stay at the Stuart marina for free on our way to our home base. Here are our top impressions of living aboard after our first week:
- Organization will be very important for our sanity. We have a lot of storage on this boat compared to others we’ve seen, but it’s still a major adjustment for us.
- Even after only a few days, going on land makes us all sway a little. After the first night on-board, as we got off the boat Carter stopped and started turning his head in a circle saying “Whoa! Everything is moving Mommy!”
- Little boys skin their knees a lot more when they don’t have the protection of long pants.
- Systems on a boat are more different than house systems than we had anticipated. Dan is very handy, but we’re feeling at this point that the learning curve is steeper than we’d hoped. We’re seriously considering hiring an instructor to help us learn our boat better.
We’ve been running pretty much in high stress mode over the last few days but we know that everything will normalize soon once we get settled into our new marina and Dan starts working. Thanks to everyone for your help and encouragement through this stressful process. Let us know what questions you have or share your first week stories in the comments below.
We’re heading into unknown territory.
5…4…3…2…1… We are now in the final week before moving to Florida. The stress and excitement are mingled into a crazy jumble of emotions as we prepare to leave our friends and family and also embark on the next stage of our adventure. I think the mix is the most evident in Carter, who asks every morning “are we going to the beach today Mommy?” but then has been in a rotten mood the last few days, overly concerned that we’ll forget his toys. We’ll be glad to have everything settle down again in a few weeks (hopefully!)
To be completely honest, I think all the hustle has obscured the reality of what’s happening. Knowing how hard and long we’ve worked towards this goal means that I logically see how great it’s going to be for our family, so I just keep telling myself that as I’m sorting through huge piles of junk that have accumulated after being together for 10 years.
We have tried to make a conscious effort to be present in the last few days we’re here, not just stressed, grateful for the path that has brought us this far. We know that everything will work itself out in time, but once these days are gone we can’t get them back. Because our families will be far away, this is most likely our true “sending off” even though we won’t be casting the dock lines for a few more months. We are blessed that our families are so supportive of our dream, even though we know they aren’t happy to see us leave.
Thanks to everyone for the well wishes as we get ready to head South. We hope some of you will look us up the next time you are in Palm Beach!