Daytona, Thanksgiving and a Surprise Trip

After being towed to Daytona Marina we had some decisions to work out. We had already planned to be off the boat for a couple of weeks in November and had secured a slip in Stuart, Florida for Wild Goat and thought we would be making a trip to Clearwater, Florida to make sure the condo was ready for our renters.

Making plans is always a good thing but sometimes even the good ones need to be changed. So to take advantage of the prop needing to be repaired we figured why not just leave the boat in Daytona and surprise my family in Arizona by coming our for Thanksgiving! Plan B was in place – rent a car drive to Clearwater, spend time finishing up some loose ends, fly to Arizona for Thanksgiving and when we return to Daytona in about 2-3 weeks repair would be done and we would be on our way.

It was a GREAT plan! Loose ends tied up, condo cleaned and ready for Bob and Nancy. Trip to Arizona was amazing and we really enjoyed being with the family at this special time of year. Lots of good food, Zoo Lights, laughs and lots of love! Made our way back to Daytona ready to finish the trip and get to the Bahamas.

We got back to the boat on December 12th and the great plan blew up. She was not repaired and we had lost power which meant everything in the fridge was spoiled. Not sure which was worse the smell or the fact that the prop was still not fixed!

Apparently there had been a lack of communication and nothing got done. Not what we wanted to hear but things got moving, parts ordered and diver secured to install new prop. Once again we felt like things were back on track and we would be moving in a few days. Sadly, this would not be the case. Once the replacement parts arrived it was clear something was missing and the only way to solve the mystery was to haul the boat out. Not a horrible thing but just more $$$$

Wild Goat was hauled out on December 19th and the mystery was solved. More parts ordered and now we had to wait since we were getting close to the holidays. We used our time to visit with our friend Cecilia, run errands, crash the boatyards’ staff Christmas Party, more Christmas Lights and fluff the marina kitties. On Christmas Eve we received the best gift! Our prop had arrived!!!

On Christmas Day we motored out of Daytona Marina after what was only supposed to be 2 weeks and turned into 5 weeks.

We are getting closer to making the jump to the Bahamas!!

New York City, ICW and Daytona Beach

After exiting the Erie Canal in Waterford, New York, the next step was to get to the Hudson River and getting the mast back up. We landed in Catskill, New York at Riverview Marine Services where we had the mast stepped but also spent a couple of days due to weather. Once the weather cleared we were on our way. I never realized how beautiful upstate New York is and the trip south on the Hudson River was filled with stunning landscapes and beautiful fall weather.

Sailing into the New York City harbor was crazy after spending so many weeks in the quiet of the Erie Canal but the excitement of checking another goal off our list was an awesome experience. We stayed on a mooring ball at the 79th Street Basin Marina and at $30.00 a night how could you go wrong. Where else are you going to stay on the Upper West Side for that price! We spent a couple of days running errands, doing a little sightseeing and taking in a show before we headed out of town. As we headed south on a beautiful day we sailed right by Lady Liberty and if you think she looks amazing form the city you should see her from the water.

After leaving NYC we sailed “outside” (in the Atlantic Ocean) bypassing New Jersey with an overnight sail and landed in Ocean City, Maryland just in time to spend a couple of days in a marina again due to bad weather. We were surprised with a visit from my Uncle Lee and his daughter Lorinda (who I had not seen for 25 years.) It was such a great visit and we are so very lucky that they made the 3 hour drive for the visit. With the weather clearing we left Ocean City and did another overnight hop on the “outside” to Norfolk, Virginia.

Weather once again had us on the dock for a couple of days in Norfolk so we used the time to visit the USS Wisconsin. Thankfully the weather only kept us in town for a day and we sailed out of Norfolk on the “inside” (via the Intracoastal Waterway or “ICW.”) The ICW was filled with bridges, more locks, lots of other cruisers heading south and the Dismal Swamp (actually the swamp was beautiful, not Dismal) and then eventually landing in Wilmington, South Carolina for a visit with the Donovan’s (Glen, Kerry, Reese and Andie). It was a short visit but Glen and Kerry went out of their way to make us feel welcome and even trusted Robin to drive their “extra” car to make our errands so easy. Thank you! Thank you!

By this time we had been on the boat close to 6 weeks and really thought we would have hit warm weather but sadly we found ourselves still so very happy for the little cabin heater that Robin had added before we left Michigan. We found ourselves once again seeking a dock for more bad weather and landed in Charleston, South Carolina.

We were once again lucky to be in a place to visit old friends and spent a couple days catching up with Todd and Michelle (Michelle is my old friend from 8th grade!) and we also enjoyed a dinner out with Sharon (we worked together at Henry Ford.) Three days on the dock and it was time to leave, we still needed to find the warm weather.

Finally – We found it! Warm Weather! After another overnight sail on the outside, bypassing the state of Georgia, we crossed the Florida line and the weather turned warm, we were wearing shorts, and could turn the heater off at night. We stayed two nights in St. Augustine, Florida just because the weather was beautiful and the town is stunning. But we wanted to make the jump to the Bahamas and had to keep moving.

On November 20th we made our way out of St. Augustine and had plans to make our way to Stuart, Florida to take a couple weeks of the boat for Thanksgiving. Seemed easy enough..Wild Goat sadly had another idea. Just north of Daytona Beach while attempting to anchor for the night she just stopped moving. Engine was running fine but we could not move forward or back. While we had a couple of options we decided to call for a tow (covered with our insurance), and ended up at Daytona Beach Marina.

The next morning we started trouble shooting and thankfully found that it would be a relatively easy and cheaper than most repairs. We had lost our Prop! While this was a set back it actually came at a good time, since we had planned to be off the boat for awhile anyways. Simple enough, leave the boat in Daytona instead of Stuart, parts were relativity cheap in boat part $$$ and it will all be fine. Right?

Of course things never go as easily as planned…

Erie Canal

We entered the Erie Canal on October 3rd in Tonawanda, New York after a yummy lunch of Beef on Weck.  Over the next twelve days we would visit some beautiful little towns, enjoy the fall colors and freeze.  Here are some facts and figures of our Erie Canal adventure –

Total miles in the Erie Canal – 362 miles (not nautical)

Total Number of Locks – 36 locks

Biggest “drop” Lock – 40 feet

Steepest Series of Locks – The Waterford Flight where we dropped 169 feet in less than two miles!

Craziest Thing – at one point the Erie Canal goes over a road

We exited the Erie Canal in Waterford, New York and along the way stopped in Brockport, Fairport, Lyons, Canajoharie, Amsterdam just to name a few.  The Eastern portion of the Erie Canal is stunning with the small towns all catering to the boating community.  Many of the towns we stopped in offered free wall space to tie up for the night along with showers, electricity and laundry.  It’s a shame we did not have more time to enjoy the towns but we were on a deadline since the Canal system shuts down Oct 15th.

We made it to the Waterford Flight (last locks) on October 13th just in time.  We were not the last boats to go thru – funny enough we watched a LARGE Catamaran “JAG” from Montréal go thru and we ran into them again at Highborne Cay Marina in the Bahamas.   

Below are some of my favorite pics from the trip thru the canals and if you’re looking for more information on our trip check my page on Facebook where I posted daily.  Next step is to get the mast back up so we can sail!

Up next New York City, ICW and Daytona

Don’t Give Up on Me Yet!

Please don’t give up on this blog yet, I haven’t I have just been busy. I know, busy doing what I’m retired. We have been on the boat for 5 months and still figuring out how this cruising life works.

I have decided the only way that I’m going to get this blog up to date is to give myself a due date. I know it sounds like I’m giving myself a job but it’s really just a way for

me to get my thoughts organized and made into posts.

Here’s the plan going forward. Since most of you that are reading the blog are friends that are on Facebook/Instagram and have been following our journey I’m going shorten the months of getting to the Bahamas to 4 posts with the highlights, low-lights and just some favorite pics. These post will be made between now on March 1st and then we will be caught up!

Coming up – Erie Canal, New York City and the ICW, Daytona, Thanksgiving and Family and Florida and the Jump to Bimini

Wild Goat is off the Dock!

September 27th, 2019 we were off the dock, waving goodbye to my parents as we motored out of Jefferson Beach Marina and headed south down the Detroit River.

Our first day out turned out to be only a couple of hours and just a short distance to Wyandotte but we did it! We left the dock and started our trip.

The first couple days were really just a blur as we worked to find our rhythm in out new home and lifestyle. Our next goal was to get to the Erie Canal and transit our way thru before it closed on October 15th.

A couple of stops later and an overnight sail across Lake Erie we arrived in Buffalo, New York just as the weather turned from foggy to a full night of rain. The next morning we had a small window of dry weather and used the time to take down the sails and get ready to have the mast taken down at our next stop of Tonawanda, New York.

Let’s hope we have given ourselves enough time to transit the Erie Canal.

September, seriously?

August came and went so fast that our heads were spinning. Days filled with lunches, dinners and doctor appointments that when we finally came up for air it was September.

We had finally figured out that we would not be taking a “shake down” trip before leaving the docks for good. Making this decision did relieve some pressure of getting everything completed but at the same time added some concern, would all the new equipment be ready for a trip? Sadly, the need for more time with the to-do list was gone and we had fingers crossed everything would be fine.

As we inched closer to the end of September the Captain (Robin) finally said that we had to stop making plans off the boat and concentrate on making the move. We scheduled our “Open Boat” for friends and family to meet Wild Goat, made plans for our last trip to Clearwater to deliver items/car and fly back. On September 13 we moved onto Wild Goat for good, staying on the dock at Jefferson Beach Marina until the last details were done!

The last two weeks of September were a blur! Our “Open Boat” was AMAZING! Over two days friends and family came to meet Wild Goat and the love and support that we received from everyone was overwhelming. I do wonder sometimes how did we get so lucky?

Baxter moved in with Grandma and Grandpa and I’m not sure who was happier, Baxter or my parents! We made our trip to Florida and returned to Michigan on September 21st and knocked out a few more projects.

Finally! On Friday, September 27th we turned in my lease car, got a ride to the marina from my parents and left the dock!

After 5 years of planning and leaving almost 3 months later than expected Wild Goat headed south!

August – Baxter in Quarantine and the Condo is SOLD!

How did we get to August and we’re still on the dock? As in the previous months August was no exception when it came to hitting us with unexpected issues!

Just as we thought we were getting closer to getting off the dock for at least a week to make sure everything was running properly on the boat we had another set back. This time it was Baxter’s turn.

Before Baxter moved in with my parents i wanted to make sure we got him into the vet for his yearly thyroid check (he had hypothyroidism and was treated with Radioactive Iodine and he was cured, only followup now is to make sure he levels are checked during the year) and to finally get his teeth cleaned. Seemed easy enough. Baxter as always been a sweetheart at the vet and was one of the favorite cats at the clinic until now, and the simple visit turned into a 10 day quarantine after he decided to bite the vet tech! Ugh!

Back home we went and the trial trip on the boat was changed to a long weekend.

With the quarantine over and the vet tech not contracting rabies we scheduled Baxter to get his teeth cleaned. Again it seems so simple, drop him off, teeth get cleaned and we pick him up. Right? Wrong! Along with the cleaning Baxter had 5 teeth pulled! So, we got to bring home a “stoned” kitty (the first 48 hours we don’t think he ever shut his eyes, and wanted to eat everything in sight) that needed rest and meds for his mouth to heal. As any pet owner knows the guilt of knowing your furry child is in pain is overwhelming and we just couldn’t leave him and take a trip. Long weekend on the boat cancelled.

Finally able to check off “getting Baxter ready to move” from our list – it was time for the next HUGE step. Selling our home.

On August 30th we closed on the sale of our Condo. I was expecting to have mixed emotions at the closing. This was the home that Robin and I started our life in and personally it was the longest place I had ever lived (19 years) in one place. But instead of sadness all I felt was happiness. Happy that Robin and I were another step closer to reaching our goal, happy that I was carrying so many wonderful memories but most of all for the the new adventures that would be coming to our old home with Bernie, Lucas and Jessica.

While we had spent the last three months with our good friend Bernie living with us it was his time to become the home owner and start the next adventure in his new home. My wish for Bernie and his kids is that this home brings them as much happiness, amazing memories and love that Robin and shared on Ashby Ct.

Next up, September!

July – Cleared to Sail, Cleo and finally the correct Windless

And just like that it was July. While we waited for Robin’s appointment at the end of the month with Dr. Abdulhak the work continued. Boat work, house work and oh, so much work.

One of the projects included on the “boat work” list was installing a windless. (moves the anchor up and down so I don’t have to do it by hand) Robin spent many hours, sent many emails and sadly the windless that arrived at our door after waiting for 6 weeks was wrong. Few more emails and maybe a phone call or two and the correct windless was ordered again and this time the correct one arrived. Not sure I have have ever been so excited to see a “boat part” ! Installing was a challenge but Robin did an amazing job!!

With a huge item off the “boat work” list we finally felt like we were getting closer to launch date and things were settling down after months of craziness.

And then the unexpected hit us again…. Cleo

Cleo showed up on our deck about 5 years ago and after months of trying to find her a home she came to live with us. Cleo took over the house and made it quite clear when she liked you and if she didn’t! We noticed that Cleo was just not her “sassy” self and after testing we found out that she was in kidney failure. With not many options and not wanting Cleo to suffer we came to the decision that it was time to let her go. Cleo came with a whole lot of attitude but a whole lot of love and as we now it’s never easy to let go of our “furry” family.

Thankfully, the follow up appointment with Dr. Abdulhak came and went with no surprises and with the good news we had hoped. Robin was cleared and ready to sail! No need for physical therapy or any other appointments!

Bring on August and let’s get Wild Goat off the dock!

June – Garage Sale (so much stuff!) and Surgery (not me this time)

My last day of work was Friday, May 24th. After working at Henry Ford Health System for 19 years all in the same department I have to admit there was a lot of tears as I turned in my badge and keys. (So many people that I miss but I’m not going to lie, I don’t miss getting up at 4:00am for work everyday)

Having May 24th as my last day of work this gave me about two weeks to get ready for the garage sale that was June 6th, 7th and 8th. No problem, how hard it could it be? Robin and I had been working for the last year on downsizing so this would just be the final push. Wrong! I had no idea just how much STUFF there was still to address. With the help from Robin, Karen, and my Mom, we got thru a huge amount and were as ready as we could be for the sale. Since the sale was happening at my parents house we rented a U haul to get everything over in one load and the truck was full.

The garage sale was a HUGE success and we cleaned out almost everything, put $1800 in the cruising budget, and were lucky enough to have a church come and pick up everything that did not sell so nothing came back to our condo!

During the time we were getting ready for the garage sale Robin started experiencing severe pain in his neck, this is was not something new but this time the pain would not go away. This time the pain was different and he noticed that he was loosing strength in his left arm. On June 5th we finally saw Dr. Abdulhak @ Henry Ford Hospital and after reviewing his MRI the only solution was surgery. The disc at C3-C4 was pressing on the spinal cord and needed to go. Talking with Dr. Abdulhak about our plans, surgery was scheduled for June 19th! Robin ended up having a Disc Replacement and from start to finish Robin was in the hospital for a total of 30 hours! No brace, no physical therapy just heal 2 week follow-up for the surgical sight, and then follow up Dr. Abdulhak on July 30th. Robin was scheduled to retire on June 28th so he spent the last 8 days of his career on sick leave.

And if the end of May and June were not crazy enough already our friend Bernie who was purchasing our condo moved in with us the weekend of May 24th!

Winter in the Barn

Keeping our promise to Wild Goat to not have snow on her decks again she spent the 2018 winter in the barn at Jefferson Beach Marina. If you have never seen a barn full of boats it’s a sight to see and I’m glad that I am not the one responsible for getting all the boats to fit.

Wild Goat was in amazing condition when we purchased her from Ron and Jackie. They had added solar, dinghy davits, refrigeration, refinished all the wood work below deck and replaced the standing rigging. Not having to worry about any of these big items gave us the opportunity to make some “nice to have” upgrades to WG and since she was in the barn this gave Robin and I about 5 months to work on our projects. The project list was long and we managed to get most of checked off the list before we went back in the water.

  • New Ports
  • Striped and refinished wood on the deck
  • Added AIS
  • TV Antenna
  • Water and Waste Tank Level Gauges
  • Battery Monitor
  • Sails cleaned and inspected

Getting all of the things above done along with cleaning, polishing and waxing the hull surprisingly enough took us most of the 5 months that WG was in the barn. Finally, on May 11th WG was launched!