After spending as much time in boatyards as we have, it might make you wonder: Is it all worth it?

In this episode, we set off on our first overnighter of the season, with a destination of Marathon in the Florida Keys. We’ll finish our bimini here, which didn’t get done while we were in the yard.

It seems like cruising is really just doing boat projects with a sprinkling of sailing here and there, so is there a payoff, or is the journey the destination?

Hope you enjoy!

Lauren & Kirk

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@6:53 “Shifting Sand” by Steve Plein —

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Episode Dialogue

– Last time after eight months on the hard, we finally got Soulianis back on the water. It’s our first sail.

– Yeeey!

– We sailed across charlotte harbor to Cayo Costa, cruised down to Fort Myers, then to Marco Island. From here, we were just about to leave on our first overnight sail of the season to Marathon in the Keys. Looks like they are dredging that shallow spot we were worried about. I think we were on the right side of the channel when we came in. So hopefully this will be all right. What did you see?

– I think I saw a eight, nine.

– [Lauren] So you think we are home free?

– I think so. So we were down 233 amp hours, which put us around 50%

– [Lauren] And that was after spending, what?

– four days on anchor without starting the engine and only just over a third of our solar out. The engine has been running for 25 minutes and we’ve already put back 22 amp hours into the battery with the new alternator, so that’s pretty sweet.

– We actually haven’t been plugged in since…

– When we launched.

– When we launched, yeah because when we moved down the dock, our cord didn’t stretch far enough to get to the plug. We were at the dock for two and a half days without any power. So we’ve been without power for like nine days.

– Yeah and that was not possible last year.

– [Lauren] After arriving in Marathon, we planned to finish the Bimini and install the rest of our solar. But first, we sail.

– So we just jibed. We’ve been on the spinnaker since two o’clock today, so we’ve had pretty light winds, I think we’ve only seen 10 knots apparent a few times but we were doing six knots of boat speed so and we maybe at 16 knots of wind. But it’s been a really pretty peaceful calm sail we’ve got dolphins with us almost the whole way, there are a few over there.

– [Lauren] Yeah, there are few on this side

– Yeah We left Marco Island at the high tide at 11:30 and we’re probably gonna get into Marathon a little bit too early. So we may even end up just anchoring out on the bank a little bit, right before the Keys and get a few hours rest before we go through the channel. It’s nice when the swell line’s up with the stern and we just… it gets real quiet for a second.

– I was just sitting up on the bow pulpit and it’s been a really long time since I’ve been able to do that because we haven’t been on a downwind sail for a long time. So I could be up there just holding myself with my feet and having both hands on the camera, which was awesome because I could get whatever shot I wanted to. This has been a really nice sail. I made sure to take my seasickness tablet before we went out. I took it a full hour before we left and I think that made a huge difference. I’m wearing my sea bands too and I haven’t felt sick at all this whole time. So, I’ve actually been able to shoot which is really cool. ♪ Shifting on an island ♪ ♪ Tides they’ll steal our steps away ♪ ♪ So what to do with the time left ♪ ♪ That we’ve been given here today ♪ ♪ Winds they’ll blow hard September ♪ ♪ Big storms they’ll pass and roll away ♪ ♪ We have time to remember ♪ ♪ Love we shared along the way ♪ ♪ And hold your breath waiting for the other shoe to drop ♪ ♪ No regrets it’s always been you and I ain’t stopping ♪ ♪ Living life all right by your side ♪

– So we’re about five miles out of Marathon, we had a pretty interesting night last night. We had got to the start of a channel around 4:00 am. So we actually threw out the anchor for two hours this morning to wait for the sunlight to come up. Mostly because we didn’t wanna turn on our engine. We snagged three crab pots last night, all at the same time. Thankfully we have a feathering propeller and so we were sailing and the propeller wasn’t turning, it was just feathered. So they weren’t snagged all that bad. I got two of them off with a boat hook but the third, unfortunately I had to cut. But it was still pretty sketchy. It was pitch black trying to figure out what’s going on and all of a sudden, not all of a sudden even, but the boat just kinda, isn’t really that responsive and it’s slowing down and we had 12 knots of wind, but we were doing like three knots of boat speed and we’re like, “what’s going on?” and so we got out the flashlights and looked over the back and we could see a line trailing that one was really taught so that one I had to cut. So we thought, “Okay, we’re good.” The boat’s still only doing like three and a half knots, 10 knots a wind, “What is going on?” And we shine the light back down there again. Oh, there’s another one and it’s like, “All right.” So we get that and I take it off 10 minutes later, the boat’s only doing four and a half knots. It should be doing five and a half or six with 10 knots of wind. And we can’t see a line anywhere, we can’t see anything. So finally we lean way over and the ball is literally like stuck in the propeller. But again, luckily the feathering prop, we were able to just poke it off.

– [Lauren] Up until now, our poor feathering prop has received some pretty bad press and this is all because we mucked up as rebuild. But this thing actually is really awesome. It gives us an extra half to full knot of boat speed while sailing, reduces prop walk and provides more thrust in reverse. In emergency situations, allows the boat moving at six knots to stop within one boat length and also makes disentangling lines and other debris from it a much easier and safer task.

– We poked it off with a boat hook and neither one of us had to go for a swim in the middle of the night. At that point we just decided, “Hey, let’s anchor. We’ve got too many crab pots around”. The wind clocked around and we’re starting to get on the nose and we called it a night and anchored in the chop for two hours till the sun came up and we could see around them.

– [Lauren] Just after sunrise, we took a quick peek at the prop and rudder to make sure everything looked okay,

– We’re in Marathon, we’re gonna be here for a little while to try and finish this Bimini. Get a few other little projects done, we’ve got a few issues that have crept up with our fridge possibly the roller furler on the headsail, what else was there? There was like two other things that broke

– [Both] topping lift broke

– [Lauren] And the auto helm is–

– Oh the auto helm yeah

– it’s not working very well.

– It’s randomly shutting off.

– So we’ve got a little bit of work to do yet but Bahamas, here we come.

– Do you think we can actually sail under the bridge?

– I don’t know if I can get up wind of it enough.

– Ohh, that was quite a night, love. Lots of crab pots, and when we saw the phosphorescent plankton, that was pretty sweet. I really wanted to film it, but I was so tired and I don’t think the camera was gonna pick it up anyway. What do you think we got? 40 minutes of sleep each?

– [Kirk] Maybe.

– Maybe?

– All right, can we jibe, do you think?

– [Lauren] Sure.

– Let’s fall off the wind a little.

– [Lauren] Uuwi, slicing right through this channel.

– [Kirk] Can I go through that other side though?

– [Lauren] Love, nice, freaking boat handling

– Thank you.

– Look at that water. Once in Marathon, we rendezvoused with Kirk’s parents and with our new rigid inflatable dinghy. which we’re gonna share more about in our next episode. Then, we sailed out to Sombrero Reef to do one of the things we’ve been dreaming about since we bought the boat, jump off into crystal clear water

– Been waiting months to do that.

– [Kirk] The propeller looks totally fine. The bottom doesn’t even have slime on it yet. That’s so awesome!

– I need a hair tie, let’s go under

– Go down together?

– Yeah, in one, two, three.

– Do I have snorkel-mask face?

– Yeah!

– How nice is this?

– This is incredible, I’m in the water without a wetsuit.

– Yeah.

– Oh my gosh those purple fans are so pretty.

– Yeah they are. Bobbing around next to our boat, in that incredibly, clear blue water felt amazing. It was the culmination of a dream we’ve shared for so long. But I can’t help myself from thinking about the saying, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And what a wonderful journey it’s been so far.