Stuart to Beaufort

According to Wikipedia, “a logbook (a ship’s logs or simply log) is a record of important events in the management, operation, and navigation of a ship. It is essential to traditional navigation, and must be filled in at least daily.” We don’t have a traditional ship’s log and if we did, it definitely wouldn’t be filled in on a daily basis.

So how do we know when to change the oil or how long a tank of water lasts or how far we’ve traveled?  Why Google calendar and Excel, of course.  Scheduled maintenance tasks go on the shared Google calendar. Everything else goes on a spreadsheet.

Man, I love a good spreadsheet. There’s the Monthly Expenses spreadsheet, the Water Utilization spreadsheet, the Passwords spreadsheet…in case I forget my Active Captain login.  But my favorite spreadsheet is the Travel Log.

As the trip planner, I use this spreadsheet A LOT and when we’re underway, I use it multiple times a day. I’ve posted a small section of the log below and as you can see, it’s pretty straightforward but there’s A LOT that goes into maintaining this spreadsheet.

Travel Log.jpg

You literally have to go with the flow when traveling the ICW. Tides, currents, weather, bridges, skinny water, winding rivers all dictate how fast and how far you go in a day. That’s why we start each day with a 40 mile, a 50 mile and a 60 mile travel plan. When planning, I mostly use the Waterway Guide and Active Captain to check distances and marina prices. Underway, I open either the iSailor app or the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net app to track our progress. Once I know where we are, I figure out how many more statue miles we have to go. That number and our current speed gets plugged into the spreadsheet, and VOILA! We have an ETA…at least for that point in time.

And that’s why I use this spreadsheet A LOT when we’re underway. We may be barreling down one stretch of water at 7 knots but after rounding a point, we’re crawling along at 4 knots. At 7 knots, we can cover 40 miles in 5 hours.  At 4 knots, it’ll be closer to 9.

Since leaving Stuart, we’ve taken advantage of a good weather window travelling 10 out of 12 days. We’ve covered an average of 47.9 miles a day and have been on the water an average of 7 hours and 15 minutes a day. Man, I love a good spreadsheet!

But, I’m loving these last 12 days on the waterway even more. It’s not too hot during the day, not too cold at night. There’s been more sun than rain. The water’s been calm. Bugs aren’t out in full force yet. The sunrises are refreshing. The sunsets are relaxing. And to top it all off, Sunday was our one year anniversary of living aboard FNR. It’s been quite a year…one that I couldn’t schedule with Google calendar or graph in Excel.

Having spent most my life planning for how things “should” be and then being disappointed when they weren’t, I think I may finally get it. There’s no room for time frames or expectations on a boat. Life is good but it’s awesome and rarely disappointing when you just let it happen.

I’ve complied the pictures taken on this leg of the trip into a slide show.  If you have time, click here to take a look.



Go North, FNR. Go North!

Yes, the weather could have been more pleasant, but overall, our time in Stuart has been really enjoyable. We’ve made lots of new friends and reconnected with old ones. We’ve taken a couple of daycations. Family and friends have visited. But mostly, we’ve settled into a routine. Our days are predictable. We get up in the morning and then next thing we know, it’s time to go to bed. My brother-in-law says that’s how you know you’re doing retirement “right”. I will even admit to getting a little better at doing nothing. And, as luck would have it, I have about 850 miles in which I can get even better. That’s right! It’s time to head north.

There’s lots to do to get ready. We each have a list.

Marci Steve
Clean FNR Get FNR’s bottom cleaned
Plan meals Check batteries
Provision Crank diesel and generators
Laundry Fill gas, diesel, and propane tanks
Fill water tanks Mount dinghy engine on stern rail
Defrost freezer Find a place to park the truck
Update travel log Study charts
Set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than Steve’s so you have time to dilly dally before you leave Don’t get up when Marci’s alarm goes off. She needs those extra 15 minutes so she won’t feel rushed.
Don’t dilly dally when Steve says it’s time to go because it will only annoy him Don’t rush Marci when you’re ready to go because it will only annoy her

Ah, yes. Even when you’re retired, some things – like making lists and annoying one another – never change. But some things do…dramatically.

As I write this, FNR is motoring down the St. Lucie River toward the ICW.  We have a 40, a 50, and a 60 mile travel plan. The ICW is so winding that it’s almost impossible to know where you’ll end up at the end of the day. You may start out going with the tide but before long you make a turn and you’re going against it. We’ll know by mid-afternoon if we’re going to make 40, 50 or 60 miles. And then, we’ll stop.

We will not travel hard. We will not travel fast. We’re just going to travel. Leisurely. Mindfully. Intentionally. If there’s something we want to see, we are going to see it. If we get tired, we are going to rest. If we find someplace we like, we are going to stay for a while. We are going back to North Carolina one 40, one 50, and one 60 mile travel plan at a time. Yes, these waters are charted but our journey is not.  Here’s hoping we can enjoy it!

Sunset Bay Marina
Sunset Bay Marina…another view


Sunset Bay’s Mooring Field can accommodate 60 boats
Mooring Field on a dreary day
The Clubhouse and Dinghy Dock
And I thought two dogs were two too many to bring aboard.  These folks have FOUR!!
Downtown Stuart
These little guys are everywhere!
Do you mind if I join you for breakfast?
Guess where this was taken? 🙂


Key Largo
My little sister, my brother-in-law, Steve and me on Stuart Beach


I drag our visitors to yoga…




Steve takes them for a sail!!