A three step guide to moving aboard a boat…but then spending several months not actually “living” on said boat

1. Sail up the east coast during June and July. Trust me; this is an effective strategy.  The bugs are out in full force and you’ll lose track counting how many bites each of the crew members are nursing.  Side note – you’ll also very quickly stray from “no, honey, we don’t kill bugs…we rescue them and put them outside” as new varieties of flies (including ones that appear to be sweet little harmless household flies until they bite you; reference this clip for metaphorical comparison: “It bit me!”).  Soon enough, your cockpit will be a display of your fly-swatting power, littered with the carcasses of those who tested you.

The other awesome thing about June and July is that, particularly while moseying through the south, it is hot.  Like, even at night, maybe the temperature hits the low 80s.  Forget about cooking and instead fantasize about air conditioning, all the while recognizing that it is cost-prohibitive and you don’t have the power to run A/C without living at a dock, which defeats the purpose of our cruising plans, not to mention adds to the cost prohibitive equation.

The beauty of this summer cruising strategy as it relates to this step-by-step guide is that by the time you arrive at your northern destination, you’ll be SO ready to get (the hell) off the boat.

Chris driving the dinghy to shore. As most cruisers do, we consider the dinghy the family car.
Dani came to visit us in late June, joining the crew in Beaufort, North Carolina and sailing up to Norfolk, Virginia.
We spent several nights in New York City, including one night anchored close to the Statue of Liberty. It was definitely a high point of boat life!

2. Take full advantage of your family’s willingness to keep your dogs so you can travel. Fly to North Dakota and get a Master’s degree (woo hoo!) and add in an APA convention in Colorado (so that you feel particularly grown-up with your new degree), and don’t stop there…why, if you’re already in Denver, why not go see your daughter in Montana?  Full disclosure – this trip was just me, which only goes to prove one can also pawn off their husband and kid with family too!

Now, family members may even have other lodging options.  Like, let’s say that you’re planning to actually travel on the boat up to Maine only to discover that the boat has an issue requiring a haul-out and repair…which takes a week to get scheduled.  Maybe your sister-in-law has a spectacular condo in the Vermont mountains.  You should go there.  But also, spend some time at the house said in-laws live in too.  That’s right…you can stay with multiple relatives, so don’t just stick with one!

Eventually, though, return to air travel and go out to see your son in California.  Hang out with him and his girlfriend, but also make a vacation out of it.  Explore San Francisco and Yosemite!  Live out of your backpacks and stay in various hotels.  Thank the powers that be for military lodging options because they’re cheap and you can do laundry for free!

Here is Chris at the Vermont Country Store. We had a great time exploring Vermont and I even made Chris and Madi sit through the movie “Baby Boom”, one of my all-time favorites!
Boat school happened at a nearby park when the boat was hauled out for repairs.
Here is Autonomy coming out of the water. Luckily, we were all back in by the end of the afternoon!


Hiking in Yosemite…Chris and Madi elected to hike further up than I did. Instead, I found a lovely rock to wait on and enjoyed the sun. Yes, they did get to see a waterfall, but I…ummm…took the past less traveled?? 😉
Our unique lodging at Half Dome Village in Yosemite – we highly recommend it!
Chris driving the dinghy to shore. As most cruisers do, we consider the dinghy the family car.
Look, here I am! We toured the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California.
We also spent some time in San Francisco, including at this food truck event at the Presidio. Madi took full advantage of the big lawn to run and be silly.
And look, it may not be “our” boat, but we did take one in San Francisco! This is the ferry that runs over to Sausalito.

3. Speaking of power, don’t forget the magnificent glory of Mother Nature. If you ask nicely, she’ll send a tropical storm your way right around the time that you’re thinking, you know, I might want to go home.  Home to the boat…the boat is home…whoa…revelations!  You can go and stand at the dock looking out at your boat, which will be securely tied to a mooring ball and weathering the storm just fine.  You won’t be able to get to it, though, because your dinghy is with the boat, no launch boats will be running in tropical storm force winds, and even your crazy husband won’t be willing to swim to the boat, fetch the dinghy, and come back for you.  (Lame)  Here is video evidence: https://youtu.be/__si5ZBBX5g.

In a rare “on the boat” moment in September, here’s Madi reading. She is really starting to fly through books now!

And there you are!  In all seriousness, we are so grateful for family and that we’ve had the opportunity to spend time together without rushing.  It also wouldn’t have been possible to stay so long in the area were it not for the generosity of a woman who allowed us to use her mooring for free.  That opportunity has meant an extended stay which then impacted our decision to spend October in Boston.  We will be docked at Constitution Marina, just a few minutes walk from the Bunker Hill, yummy Italian food in the North End and all that is downtown Boston.  I am pumped about playing “city family” next month and even have Madi signed up for home school art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts and a whole home school day at the New England Aquarium (how cool is that?!).

I think that the cold temperatures will have us feeling ready to begin the trek south and so we will be (slowly) Bahamas-bound by early November.  I have connected with other boat families also cruising the same directions, so we plan to meet up with people en route.  It will be so neat for Madi to be able to make friends that may continue to be nearby as we travel.

In our last week spending time on Cape Cod, we have found a local place to pick apples.
Madi and I have a fall tradition of picking apples – this is our 4th year! How we’ll do that next fall when (in theory) we’ll be somewhere tropical, I haven’t yet figured out.

A final note to those that are following our adventures on this blog: in case it hasn’t become clear, updates here are sporadic.  I am, however, much more consistent over on Facebook, so please check www.facebook.com/SVAutonomy if you are interested in checking up on us.

And a final, final note: Alex, our oldest, came to see us in Cape Cod in July.  We completely neglected to take any pictures (obviously, we’re in the running for parents of the year, eh?), so though there isn’t proof, he definitely came up here.  He enjoyed such fabulous activities as helping Chris multiple times on boat projects and assisting with clearing his grandparents’ back yard.  Lucky kid!  We did also hit an Irish pub, he visited Vermont with his grandparents (see, it isn’t just us that take advantage!), and spent quality time with his baby sister.  For posterity, here is a non-visit related picture of Alex…



2 thoughts on “A three step guide to moving aboard a boat…but then spending several months not actually “living” on said boat

  1. Hello from Boston! I’m also at Constitution Marina with my two kids, a three year old and nine year old who are also homeschooled. We have seven other boat kids here at the marina, newborn and up. It’s been a great homebase, you’ll love how accessable the area is. Feel free to come and knock! svGoblin at D47


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