We are super fortunate that Aventis can get the upgrades she needs so we can sail her anywhere. In addition, we load every available space with food, drink, and paper products.
Lots of boat projects this month… One of the first was the AC unit in the master bedroom had to be replaced with a new unit. Shannon, Patrick and Joffre took on the job.
Another project? The heating element for the hot water heater needed to be replaced. These marine heating elements only last about a year…
All filters on the water maker got replaced.
The wind instrument on the top of the mast was replaced with a new instrument and the broken B & G Chart Plotter was replaced with a new one. Love the new Zeus 3 plotter!
We replaced our 6 house batteries (which were basically all dead) with 4 new lithium batteries. We upgraded our inverter to a 5000 watt inverter which has been amazing! And, we got solar panels!! We can now sail almost completely “off the grid”!
It might not seem like a big project, but we gave the dogs haircuts. It is a bigger and messier project than you’d think!
Ashley spent a lot of time figuring out what we needed for provisions for the next 6-9 months and how to store them all safely. Addie worked hard on her “boat school” curriculum.
For Thanksgiving, we took a road trip to the NC mountains. During the drive we got the call we had been hoping for the past 18 months, a good offer on our house!! They wanted to close in just 2 weeks. Time to really move out! But first, our last Thanksgiving in our home of 17 years.
We had a great visit with family and friends. The family enjoyed one last holiday meal together in our Blowing Rock home.
We spent the rest of our time back in NC moving our personal items into storage, eating one last time at our favorite restaurants, and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.
Coming up next month: Selling the house and Sailing away…
All the bins have been emptied and it is time to find a spot for everything. Addie’s room looks awesome! Her books, toys, and other special things all have a secure place.
In the galley, we added some shelves which increased our storage.
It feels like home now – we have plants!
Mak and Ella have been having fun together doing sorority stuff.
Shannon, Ashley and Addie flew to Maryland and stayed on with our friends on Wind Ensemble. We attended the Annapolis Boat Show with Kent and Kathy Meredith for two days. Addie’s take on Annapolis is that is it an “old timey town.” She loved it – reminded her of an American Girl novel. We had great time!
Back on Aventis, we celebrated Shannon’s birthday.
We woke up on Shannon’s birthday to a decorated boat. The marina minions were busy!
One boat project we undertook was to take the white plastic covering off the 4 exterior windows. They protect the windows and offer privacy, but you can’t see out of them. So, we are taking it off and putting on window tinting. Unfortunately, this was a trial and error project and there were a few mistakes along the way. Great news though, because there are 4 windows, by the time we got to window 3 and 4, Shannon had the system down to a science. Now when you look out the window you have a beautiful view!
We bit the bullet and decided to go ahead and fix Chance’s hind left leg. We had his hind right leg fixed a couple of years ago. Doing his left left leg now means major knee surgery and an 8 week recovery with limited movement. UGH!! (Spoiler alert: we all survived and Chance is doing amazing, swimming and running right beside Caper.)
We had great times at the dock with our marina friends! We may be outgrowing our little dock area…
Addie celebrated Brendan’s birthday with him and Cinder.
Don and Melissa Marlett came to visit with us on the boat. We did not get to take the boat out, but we did share some of our favorite things in Hollywood with them, like the Broadwalk and “La Tub”. We had a great time!
Shannon and Ashley went to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show with our good friend, Joffre, who lives on Willow, the boat next door to ours at the marina. Thanks to Joffre’s connections, we got to tour a mega yacht. That was very cool.
Then it was Halloween and guess what Addie was….
Coming up next month: New Batteries, Solar, and Goodbyes
This month started off with a big scare for many in the path of a massive hurricane…….
Hurricane Dorian had us in her cone of uncertainty for many days. Shannon prepared Aventis for the worst! Adding extra lines and fenders, taking down the headsail and removing anything from the outside that could blow away.
Luckily the winds did not get over 40 mph and the rain was minimal with minimal coastal flooding, so it was time to celebrate!
The friends we made in the Northern Bahamas this summer were not so lucky. Dorian had a devastating effect on the Abacos. We feel very fortunate to have spent time there the past two summers. We look forward to visiting again once they have had time to rebuild.
Shannon returned to NC to start the process of moving out. Unfortunately, a few house maintenance issues kept us in Blowing Rock longer this month than we had planned. The old copper pipes seem to leak at the worst possible time and location (downstairs bathroom ceiling this time).
Caper and Chance are bored and ready to play again!
Turns out, we did not mind getting to hang out in NC a little longer – the weather was amazing and we got to enjoy some extra time with Makenzie and Ella, who are now sorority sisters also. Family time included visits with friends/family, more hikes, and great meals.
We even had time to visit friends in Nebo/Marion/Asheville…
Back in Boone, Addie’s church youth group had a going away party for her, which included 4 wheeling and horse back riding.
We had a great time celebrating some friend’s birthdays at the App State – UNC football game. App beat UNC!
We also got to celebrate Julie’s birthday before we left (Shannon’s mom).
Time for us to go! Goodbye Mak and Ella. Aventis here we come!
September came to an end and we began to get settled in our new home. More to come next month on final boat projects, provisioning and our house in Blowing Rock.
Makenzie and three of her friends, Raegan, Satchel, and Keef, joined Addie, Ashley, and Shannon on the boat for a week of fun in early August. They arrived in Nassau at 11:30am on Monday and off we went from Nassau to Allen’s Cay, Exuma for the night. It takes about 6 hours to sail there. We visited the iguanas, swam, and waited for our favorite anchor spot to open up.
Addie relaxing and watching the older kids snorkel back and forth to the boat:
It was predicted we were going to have a “blow” (high winds and rain) for the next two nights, so we grabbed a spot at Highbourne Cay Marina and waited it out. We were obviously suffering in this horrible weather and boring place. 🙂
Calm seas, clear skies and big boats.
We definitely were suffering here in our private beach cabana with our boat just 20 feet behind us.
We kayaked with sharks, played in the water, and spent time at the bar (where Grant Hill and his family happened to be hanging out also).
After two fun days with no rain or high winds, we headed south toward Staniel Cay to find the swimming pigs, which reside one island over on Big Major Cay.
The next day we snorkeled in Thunderball Grotto but the current was too strong to stay inside safely so we didn’t stay long. As we were climning on our dinghy, the anchor lost hold and we ended up on the rocks with a line wrapped around the propeller. Not fun! Luckily some local tourist guides were there to help us out.
But, back at our boat, we still managed to relax and have some fun anyway!
The next day we sailed to Norman’s Cay and enjoyed the afternoon at a secluded beach:
At Norman’s Cay we also snorkeled a plane wreck that belonged to the drug smuggler, Pablo Escobar.
Sadly, we had to sail back to Nassau. However, instead of going back to the marina, we anchored in a beautiful bay on the west end. We had great fun swimming and jumping off the boat!
We explored the bay in the dinghy:
We were staying at Lyford Cay on the SW side of Nassau and saw this big house built by Nygard (who was the first person to put spandex in clothing) where celebrities used to gather and have parties and bands would play. It is uninhabited now and falling into disrepair. It is an extraordinary story and when you have time, you can read about it here.
It was a Great Week with Makenzie and her friends!
After dropping the Makenzie and her friends by dinghy at Jaws Beach, they grabbed a taxi to the airport and we spent the day cleaning in preparation for our 4 day journey back to Hollywood, FL.
All by ourselves at anchor northwest Bimini.
After snorkeling Bimini Road, which they claim is the road to the lost city of Atlantis, we moved from the north end to the south end. We swam to Sherry’s on the beach for lunch.
After securing the boat and a quick clean out of the fridge, we caught a flight to NC. We got back to Blowing Rock just in time to get Ella the last few things she needed and move her into her dorm at Appalachian State University. We now officially have two girls in college!
As summer came to an end, we all enjoyed some of our favorite activities.
Our love of beer and being with friends gave us many opportunities to enjoy both this month.
Our fun family time got cut short with the threat of Hurricane Dorian which was headed right at south Florida. Shannon went down to secure the boat and wait out the storm.
Next Month: Hurricane Dorian Prep and Moving Out of the House
We will catch you up with what we’ve been up to since August soon, but we wanted to catch you up to “real time”.
We sold our house last week and left Hollywood, FL early the morning of December 14th to start our full time cruising adventure. Makenzie and Ella are with us until December 30th when they will fly back to North Carolina from George Town, Exuma, Bahamas. On the 14th we had a great, though rolly, sail to Bimini.
We hung out in Bimini on the 15th and then today, December 16th, we had a leisurely breakfast of fresh Bimini coconut bread french toast and bacon (in honor of Ashley’s birthday). We then had another great, short sail to Gunn Cay where we are spending the night before leaving very early in the morning for Chubb Cay. Chubb Cay is the half-way point to Eleuthra, which is where we are going to spend the next week or so before heading to Cat Island and George Town Exuma.
Today at Gunn Cay we swam with sting rays and sharks, walked the beach, snorkeled around the boat, and had a great afternoon hanging out on the boat. We will post pics soon!
You can now follow us live! Our satellite keeps our location up-to-date real time, so you can see where we are at the moment. Click on the link below to see where we are right now!
We will post pics and more info soon!
Until then, best wishes and Merry Christmas!
Addie, Shannon and Ashley spent July 4th week at the Exuma islands in Bahama checking things out for later in the summer when Mak and Ella were coming back with friends.
After sailing about 6 hours from Nassau Yacht Haven (where Aventis had been docked during our time in NC during June), we stopped at Leaf Cay for the night so we could check out the iguanas on the beach and swim.
The next day we sailed south to Warderick Wells Cay in the National Exuma Park, where we spent 2 nights.
We were greeted by the locals right away. Our guess is that these nurse sharks get fed by boaters. They never came up to us while we were swimming though.
We walked to the top of BooBoo Hill to call the girls and let them know we were ok. Turns out the cell tower on Highbourne Cay went down in the middle of our first night at Leaf Cay so communications were spotty at best. Cruisers leave driftwood with their boat name and date at the top of BooBoo Hill.
We took the dinghy out for a ride around the islands around Warderick Wells and found our new favorite beach. A private beach with perfectly white soft sand, crystal clear water, and rocks for jumping off into the water.
And of course, we spent many evenings relaxing and watching amazing sunsets…
When we were motoring to Highbourne Cay, we had an awesome dolphin escort.
While at anchor at Highbourne Cay, we saw two sets of amazing fireworks on July 4th. One set was from a mega-yacht and lasted about an hour. The other set was from the resort on Highbourne Cay and lasted about 30 minutes.
We finished our week with our last night at Allen’s Cay (right across from Leaf Cay where we were the first night). We like this spot because it is only big enough for one boat to anchor in the harbor and you have a private beach, except for the iguanas. It is the perfect spot to leave from when heading back to Nassau.
We spent about 10 days in Blowing Rock taking care of a few house projects and visiting with friends and family. We got to enjoy the Blackberry Festival in Lenoir, NC with Julie (Shannon’s mom) and Jack. Here is Addie with the Blackberry Lady:
We had dinner and visited with our friends the Tageson’s.
Ashley had a visit with her siblings (Greg, Brie, Brandy and Lindsey) in Greensboro NC.
Makenzie and her friend, Kate, went to San Francisco for a few days…
Ella and her friend, Ramsey Parker join Addie, Ashley and Shannon on the boat for a week in late July. Makenzie stayed home to watch the dogs. After a quick provisioning, we headed from Nassau back over to the Exuma islands. Our first night was at Norman’s Cay.
Then it was off to Stainel Cay to see the swimming pigs. When we arrived, they tried to jump in the dinghy with us to get the food we brought over for them. Once we got onto the beach, the girls had a great time with the pigs.
Also while at Staniel Cay, we got to snorkel Thunderball Grotto. This is where the James Bond movie, Thunderball, was filmed in 1965.
We then went back to Warderick Wells and tried to show Ella and Ramsey our favorite private beach, but it was not so private on this day (another cruising family already staked it out for the day) so we found another secluded beach!
Over the course of the week, we observed many beautiful sunsets…
We had a fun and relaxing week with Ella and Ramsey!
And Makenzie did a great job taking care of the dogs back in Blowing Rock/Boone. Next month it is her turn in the islands!
Coming up next month: More adventures in Exuma
June was a fun month back in NC for us. We left Aventis at Nassau Yacht Haven Marina in Nassau, Bahamas to spend time in NC.
Makenzie gave us a beautiful way to remember Aventis while away:
Makenzie moved into her studio apartment with her cat Gracie.
Ella got “Capped” by her friend Riley. This is a ceremony where seniors have a friend help them get there cap and gown on; it is the first time they are seen in public with it on.
Shannon helped Kent and Kathy Meredith move their catamaran, Wind Ensemble, up to the Chesapeake for Hurricane season.
He made it back to Blowing Rock just in time to see Ella graduate on June 14th at 5:30pm at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, NC. She completed high school in three years with honors.
Addie’s last days at Blowing Rock School included a pool party with classmates and teachers.
We got to celebrate Father’s Day with all three girls in Blowing Rock.
Ella turned 17!!
For her birthday, Ella wanted a Tattoo, so off to Virginia we went since she was under 18 (NC doesn’t allow that). Ella got a puzzle piece in honor of her sister, Addie. Makenzie has the same tattoo on her arm also.
Because she is so loving and supportive, Makenzie got a tattoo also. Her tattoo is of the year our family was established.
We spent a day in Black Mountain, NC at a Brewery and Cidery with friends. Addie got fairy hair.
Back home, Addie played games with some old friends and dogs…
Addie had a great week at Pizza Camp with her friend Brendan.
And of course, we spent time walking the dogs and enjoying those cool summer days in Boone…
Coming up next month: Sailing around Exuma, swimming pigs, iguanas, and sharks
Early one morning, Aventis (with only Ashley and Shannon on board) joined six other catamarans for a trip to the Abacos.
First, we motor sailed about 60 miles across the gulf stream to West End, Grand Bahama Island. It was a great day of fast motor sailing. Running between 8-9 kph. Engines at 2800rpms.
After a day of motor sailing, we docked at Old Bahama Bay resort and marina. About half the boats were sailing through the night but not us. We enjoyed a beautiful evening in West End having dinner with El Jeff (Steve and Thea). It included a $35 bottle of Woodbridge Cabernet. (About $10 in FL).
The next day, we woke with the sunrise in order to get to our next stopover.
We were leaving West End and heading to Great Sale Cay for our next anchorage.
Today, we are heading from Great Sale Cay to Manjack Cay.
So, we got up with the sun in order to get to Manjack Cay before dark.
On our sail to Manjack, we passed the famous “Center of the World” rock. Someone had a sense of humor!
We arrived at Manjack Cay and found some of the other participants who are going to be at the Catamaran Rendezvous next month! The Catamaran Rendezvous is a 3-day “party” of catamaran owners in the Abacos.
Manjack is a very unique place. The island is almost completely split in two by seawater. This split creates the perfect environment for sea turtles in this shallow protects waterway. The only way to see it is by dinghy or paddleboard. So, the next day, we went for a dinghy ride up the creek with Kent and Kathy from Wind Ensemble!
After our dinghy ride, we found a cool little beach at Manjack that had swings and tons of sea biscuits.
After the beach, we joined our Catamaran Rendezvous friends on the back of Catamaran Guru’s boat Zuri.
We weren’t able to stay as long as we would have liked to at Manjack because Ashley had a flight to catch back to North Carolina from Marsh Harbour in a couple of days, so we sailed from Manjack Cay to Marsh Harbour the next day. And yes, we bypassed some great islands on the way, but, hey, we will be back!
We made our way to Marsh Harbour and got a great spot at anchor. Our anchorage for the next couple of weeks in Marsh Harbour:
We had dinner with friends at Snappas in Marsh Harbour to help us celebrate our 24th Anniversary! Poor Snappas is no longer there because of Dorian’s destruction.
Ashley took a flight back to North Carolina in order to help bring Makenzie, Ella, Addie, and Makenzie’s friend, Hope, back to the boat. She flew right over Aventis!
While waiting for the girls to return, Shannon went sailing one day on Wind Ensemble to test out their spinnaker. The next day we took Aventis out to test out a new spinnaker that Catamaran Guru kindly gifted us!
Later that week, the girls flew down and joined Shannon back on Aventis!
It is also Makenzie’s birthday!
That night, there was also a Catamaran Rendezvous kick-off party at Wally’s!
The next day, all of the Catamaran Rendezvous participants took a ferry over to Great Guana Cay to party at Grabbers!
We had a great time playing games, drinking, eating, and socializing with everyone at the Rendezvous.
The next day we all “raced” to Tahiti Beach. Winds were about 5 knots and we couldn’t use our motors. It was a slow race!
After starting out near the back of the pack, we wound up fighting for a top 5 finish! We had a couple of close calls to get 4th though…
After the race, we anchored at Tahiti Beach for some swim time and boat decorating.
That night, the Rendezvous had a Junkanoo Party!
The next day, we hung out, partied and played games on the sandbar at Tahiti Beach.
All the partying and games made us hungry! Luckily, the Rendezvous provided awesome food from the Thirsty Cuda!
After the party (and the end of the Cataraman Rendezvous) we set sail for Nassau. We had only a couple of days to get to Nassau in order to catch a flight back to NC.
Our first night heading toward Nassau, we stopped over at Little Harbour.
We had a great time exploring Little Harbour and hanging out at Pete’s Pub:
The next day, we left the Abacos sailed from Little Harbour to Egg Island. Egg Island is on the very north-west tip of the Eleuthera Islands.
The next day, we sailed to a marina at Nassau, docked, cleaned the boat, and flew back to NC.
Why did we leave so quick? Because Ella is getting ready to graduate!
And Makenzie is getting ready to move into her studio apartment.
Coming up next month: Sailing “Wind Ensemble” to the Chesapeake, Ella’s Graduation, and hanging out in NC
We finally decided to send the drone in the air for a test flight at the marina:
Still need a lot more practice before feeling comfortable using the drone out at sea!
Ashley and Shannon spent a beautiful day at the Tortuga Music Festival on the beach in Fort Lauderdale:
We had a great day at the music festival! Our favorite performers were Chris Janson, David Lee Murphy, and Kenny Chesney.
We met the previous owners of Aventis!
They are a very cool couple from Texas. They only had our boat for about 6 months before Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma was the first Category 5 Hurricane to ever hit the Leeward Islands. We were told when we bought her that she was out of the water at the time. We learned that she was one of only a few boats in the marina at Nanny Cay, BVI to survive the storm! Can you spot her?
She was dented, scratched up, and dismasted, but she didn’t sink or have any major issues. As you can see, it could have been much worse! After Hurricane Irma, they moved the boat to Puerto Rico, where she was hit again by Hurricane Maria. She sure has been through a lot in just a short time! She has a lot of grit and character – we love it!
It took a couple of weeks, but we got the watermaker installed!
Having a watermaker is a game changer for cruising. We installed a 12 volt model that can run off the batteries and make about 20 gallons per hour of fresh, clean water.
For Easter break, Ella and Addie came down to the boat.
One of the days we spent at Whiskey Creek with marina friends. Whiskey Creek is a cool spot about a 20 minute dinghy ride from the marina.
The next day we went to one of our favorite hangouts on Hollywood beach – The Taco Spot
We also had a great time at Jimbo’s on the intercoastal while Ella and Addie were down:
We decided to take the girls to Biscayne Bay for a couple of days:
We celebrated the end of the week at Gigi’s
(a nice restaurant on the ICW):