Living the Dream: One Year of Full Time Cruising!

Pete's Bar, Little Harbour, Abacos
As of this past Saturday, we have been jobless and cruising full-time for 1 year. Yea! 1 year ago we left our slip in Palm Beach, and spent a few weeks in Miami before heading offshore and via some of the ICW all the way to Washington, DC. We hauled the boat in the Chesapeake Bay in October and then headed south, returning to Miami. In February we headed for the Bahamas and we have so far passed through Bimini, the Berrys, the Exumas, Long Island, Conception Island, Cat Island, Eleuthera and we are now in the Abacos. 

While we've been terrified of wind, waves, and the general oceanyness of the ocean; we have no regrets. Our horizons and comfort zone has expanded, but most of all we've been amazed that all three of us are still on the boat together (although threats have been made!) 

Some numbers:
3370: NM traveled on Independence in 1 year
821: NM traveled in the Bahamas miles so far
73: NM motored in the Bahamas
12: Nights spent offshore

The grand total according to our GPS odometer is a whopping 9,087 NM clocked since December 10, 2014. Matt says this large discrepency is due to all the 24/7 swinging at anchor. I can't believe this, can someone provide a better explanation of the additional miles? 

Nearly every night has been at anchor except:

3 nights for Tropical Storm Colin, June 2016 at the Amilia Island Yacht Basin in Fernandina Beach
1 month docked in Charleston while we drove west to see family, June 2016
1 night in River Dunes, Oriental, North Carolina for 50 knot squall (and reprovisioning in the courtesy car!!) August, 2016
2 nights in Belhaven, North Carolina because our dinghy was dead again and we thought a mechanic there could help (he couldn't) August, 2016
7 nights, mooring, Washington DC, Sep, 2016
5 weeks on "the hard" in the boat yard, Deltaville, VA, Oct 2016
3 nights in Bald Head Island, NC waiting for weather for our passage to Miami, November 2016
2 months on a mooring in Miami to get Hastings to vet visits, November - Jan
3 nights in Bimini Sands to clear in and wait out a cold front, Feb, 2017
3 nights in Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands to wait out another cold front Feb, 2017

Of course, it's not all sunsets and cocktails here people! Here's a list of our biggest maintenenance issues that have come up:
Week 1: Starboard starter died right before Memorial Day Weekend. 4 days wait (holiday!), $250 part. 
Week 1: Dinghy engine died. Rowing commenced. Fixed in Week 3, cause: bad kill switch
Week 3- Month 8: Constant rebuilding of dinghy carbeureutor. Finally bought new $200 carberutor. Problem solved.
January 2017: Unplanned haul out for saildrive seals: multi-step drama, but 18 hour haul out. 
Flex-o-fold prop drama: 2 weeks, tons of drama, very bad being disabled in the Gulf Stream. Still bitter. 
Hob, oven and grill constantly on the fritz but functional. Fridge on the fritz, but functional. House batteries on the fritz, but functional. 
Cameras that have died: 3
Sand and salt water is over everthing, all the time
2 hats lost to the ocean
Clothes deteriating rapidly
1 ceramic mugs - broken
Favorite tall glass - broken
We're living up to Independence's motto "Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air" (Walden). Here's to living the dream and powering through the nightmares for another year! 

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  1. Congratulations! That's a huge accomplishment. Did you have more maintenance issues than you thought you would? Your list doesn't actually look too bad to me for one year.

    1. I was really worried about all the maintenance. Matt does it all, silently, while I sit and read a book, so it really doesn't bother me. I do get to clean the blood out of all his shirts, but it really doesn't seem that bad! Honestly, we haven't had a lot of issues. Our worst issue was Hastings health, followed by Matt's L Series camera lens - expensive and disappointing - not even boat problems!

  2. It's so nice to hear that David's not the only one giving blood to the boat on a regular basis (we thought it was his age, lol). Congratulations on your first year!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. Oh, we gave blood to the boat even on our 19 ft center console! It's the price we pay.

  3. That's awesome! 3 cameras gone. Ouch. I thought my friend was doing poorly going through a camera a year... :-) 12 nights off shore in your first year of cruising is impressive as well. It looks like you are ready and prepared to stick it out together and with Independence for the indefinite future! The trial run is over and accomplished. :-)

    1. The cameras are a real shame. We're looking forward to continuing the journey. It's amazing how much our comfort zone has changed in the last year.

  4. Congrats. I have enjoyed the blog for sometime. Definitely an inspiration to us wanna be cruisers.

    1. Thanks so much for following along. If we can do it, so can you....it gets easier every day.

  5. A great milestone, congratulations! We're still at Pete's. We'll toast to that accomplishment with another "Blaster".

    1. We keep checking AIS to see if you are on the move yet. We're outside Hope Town. Enjoy the blasters!


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