Hey there! Welcome to Spyridon’s Blog. We are a family of 3 and ( and our newest addition) a fur baby girl named Luna, we bought a boat in April 2019 and decided to travel full-time in March of 2020. We left Texas March 11, 2020 with the idea that we were going to follow the winds to the Bahamas and then up to New York and Connecticut to say hello to our dearest friends and family. March 11 – 19 is when we took sail across the Gulf of Mexico, its also same time frame that Covid went from whispers in the media, to a full global closure. The entire world shifted in so many more ways then just saying the pandemic. 2020 was an crazy crazy year, And even though it broke our hearts to watch our friends struggle, and media posts about the tragedies going on in the world around us. We had a pretty awesome year. Honestly, It was a very special welcome into our New life style. We traveled without any people around, we were able to explore beaches that would have normally been over run by humans and was completely ghosted. The wild life was so greatful and playful. The world around us was closed but we got to watch the world blossom in a whole different way. We are beyond greatful to have been able to spend this year the way we did. Here is our story.–
Upon arriving in Pensacola, We sat there for a few days contemplating what our future holds and ultimately decided that it’s the pirate life for us- We had a bigger chance catching covid if we stayed close to the land, and felt good about celebrating our adventure because sailing is social distancing. Our Crew Mate Gene was supposed to just help us cross the Gulf of Mexico but had nothing to return to due to Covid shutting the world down and stayed with us for the next 3 months.
Once we decided to keep moving we took a beautiful pit stop that Bobaloo Recommended. ( this was the gentleman we met in Pensacola when we were taking our boat to tx and offered to finish our delivery for us. (Ill post link to our youtube video here ) We would Have never known to we could have anchored here because the charts showed shallow water but Bobaloo swore it was plenty deep so we gave it a try. We anchored in Fort Mcgree which is outside the airbase and has a super cool underground fort you can explore. ( Link to that video here) . Then we went to Clear water and met some amazing people at the city marina who shared a very expensive bottle of tequila with the boys. This was the beginning stages of covid so we all were extra careful. The boys drank the tequila on the docks. Given the circumstances we didnt stay long, Just enough to clean our boat and had some social distant drinks with the nearby boaters, then headed to Caladesi Island which would normally be loaded with people but was a ghost beach ( Here is that video! ). I suggested we went to Caladesi because it was known for the snorkeling, And I didn’t think we would get in any covid trouble in the water. Our boat was anchored a couple hundred yards from the beach — and boy did it look pretty ( I wanted to insert a photo but the interwebs wont let me upload any photos! ) it set in front of the sunset and made a beautiful silhouette photo.
I won’t go through our entire journey but here are some highlights to the beginning of our trip. The next favorite stop was Fort Meyers Beach and we had to stay at the Moss Marina and wait for parts for our boat. We were pleasantly surprised. The facilities were very nice and clean, The staff was so friendly, and the main lady who was in charge of the only fuel station in the area would pressure wash the docks each morning and drop off a fresh bucket of shrimp for my son to play with. This area is a tourist hot zone and we were there during the weekend that should have been a spring break but was a complete ghost town. It was awesome to explore the town with very few cars and people around! Here is a video of Moss Marina!
Our next favorite momories came from anchoring outside Boot key, The sunsets are amazing every night, The community on the inside ran day and night nets on the radio to keep the sanity through the pandemic. One of their main net controllers has a mesmerizing voice and even read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve to the harbor ( Can be found here ). The dolphins and manatees were so happy to have a break from the constant traffic , They were playful and grateful. The water was crystal clear and I wish we had captured more. We were just so soaked into our surroundings and by we I actually mean me because I’m the only one who captures at the moment 🙂 Maybe one day John will help out more. Never less, As we returned back to Boot key in March of 2021 , The waters are not as pretty and the power boats have returned so the sea creatures arent playing as much.
We didn’t get to spend too much time in the keys because we were having engine issues and we needed to get north before hurricane season. So we began the journey north after leaving Boot key. We made a stop into Charleston which is absolutely beautiful and so many great hidden gems in that town but I wont go to much into Charleston, This is where we met our favorite buddy boaters names Jesse and Eleanor who lives on a Catamaran. We have traveled side by side with them to many ports and truly enjoy their friendship! They used to live in the same marina as Gene who owns a boat in NC. ( This is where we were planning on departing with Gene. ) We did a little ICW and ran into our first active cases of Covid in Vero beach. The staff at the mooring was testing positive and our neighbor who apparently bought a boat without any knowledge of anything about it, was using it for quarantine. He expressed being positive for 8 weeks, was schizophrenic, bi polar, and recently lost his kids to something tragic but wouldn’t tell me what via text .. ( we always leave our boat cards with neighbors in case anything happens while we are away…This one was a big regret– as he continued to text me with insane claims and graphic porn links) I still wonder if I should have reported him to the cops in case he murdered his kids and was hiding out in this barely floating sailboat. We had plans to jump on an offshore trip after anchoring in Wrightsville beach, But decided to stay at a marina in Oriental North Carolina because John caught a bug and we feared he was Covid positive. Luckily, We didn’t go offshore because apon arrival and doing the normal checks. John spotted that our rigging was about to snap! (OH SNAP 🙂 — We spent a month Whittaker Point Marina which is a beautiful Marina! This is where we met our adopted Grandparents, and the Sailing Litzenbergs ( youtube channel link here ) . It was run by the Dockmaster named Robert, who was fired while we were there for standing up to one of the owners who’s daughter took our sail out of a dock cart and dumped it in a mud puddle so they could have two carts to carry their stuff to the powerboat they had at the marina for a weekend trip. The owner handled it all sorts of wrong, and not only harassed Robert through text but claimed he had an eviction letter sent out and that he had to be off the property with a 24 hour notice even though Robert had lived there for several years and his physical address was there so he couldn’t just be kicked off the property without an eviction notice. The owner then called the other owners and told them to get the locks changed because the eviction letter stated a month that day and he needed to be escorted off the property. Once we heard word of what was going on, we informed Robert of his rights.. We sat in the office as they tried to change the locks and escort him away. The officer we called informed Robert that he did not have an active eviction letter and had 30 days to get what he needed done and be off the property. We later found Robert a new job and helped him transition into a new life.
We left Whittaker and headed to a boat yard called Hurricanes. This is where the Sailing Litzenbergs were storing their boat for a couple months and claimed it was very cheap. We discussed on the phone what the prices would be for us to remove our mast, slip fees, and all costs included in our time spent there. I then called one more time before arriving to make sure the crane would be ready the following morning and what the cost for the day would be. — A longer story shortened. The owners did not know that the crane had changed their policy ( so they claimed) and the price for the crane had doubled, Not only did it double but they said that we had to pay for one of their men to keep watch. He was an hour late which clocked us for another hour with the crane and they also wanted us to pay for their man too! When it was time to pay the bill, John refused to pay what they were billing us for. The crane and late employee was one thing, But we asked if there was a charge for the mast being on the hard and they said no, Then wanted to charge us a daily fee on top of the other things. So, John agreed to pay what we were quoted for, We demasted our boat, redid the rigging, and even cleaned our water line in less than a week. We hustled to make this unexpected expense be as cheap as we can and worked hard to make it reasonable, Yet the owner was livid and aggressive with his words towards us for not folding into his bully billing habbits. We werent the only ones who had this issue with this boat yard, We did hear word from the others who had been there awhile that they have had to fact check his billing multiple times. To top it off.. The docks are completely overrun by palmetto bugs( those giant roach-looking bugs) and We caught book lice from a book I had borrowed ( and returned once I opened it up and saw all the little nasties. Unfortunately, that book sat in our boat for 2 days before I noticed so I had to do a full extermination on my book collection. Let’s just say that we were happy to be leaving North Carolina after those two experiences with the locals. It’s such a shame because the land is so pretty!
We made a stop into Hampton Virginia. We found a tight anchorage that was between the space museum and the college. There was a free Dinghy dock and the Dock master gave us access to the facilities for free so we were able to get free showers and wifi access! He also offered to lend out the bikes they had in the office if we needed them ! so kind! After some weather , We found a window to head up to CT/ Ny area.
My Sister had a baby in June and she lives in the Queens, and our extended family lived in Connecticut. Johns dad did some local exploring and got talking with a man who owned a mooring ball in Essex, He gifted us access to his mooring ball which was a stone throw away from the train station. Every morning was a beautiful sight! There was frequently a woman painting the trees as they began to set for fall, The train ran on the weekends and the boat ramp was our side yard. It was a blast watching the amatures figure out how to load and unload their boats. One person left their giant weiner inflatable on the dock so we pirated it and wrote a note for them to find that said,, neiner neiner neiner we got your weiner (insert phone number) 🙂 It was awesome.
John and his father used to sail and his dad would come to a marina called Cove Landing. The owner of the property recently passed away in an accident and his daughter and her family was taking over the business. We decided to go there to do our bottom job so John and his father could rehatch old memories and bond over the boat load we were about to encounter.
OH BOY It was it way more work than we anticipated… Our friends lent us their car and we were able to travel to them for dinners and a place to stay while our boat was on the hard. We are so grateful for everything they did for us. Our boat ended up having about 200 blisters… The previous owners used some sort of epoxy faring compound under the paint and used a top paint instead of a bottom paint which was the source of the issue. Chris, The owner ( Jens husband ) was extremely helpful! He talked us through our questions, and was surprised by the big mistake the previous owners had left us with. He frequently stopped in to see how we were doing and was over all an amazing energy to be around during this very stressful time. We worked from 7 am – 8 pm every day until the job was done . He even hired John to handle some jobs for him in exchange for our time spent there. This marina has a lot of Native American history and the views are immaculate. If you find yourself heading to CT We highly recommend stopping into Cove landing. They have a mooring feild but also have floating private docks with electricity and water you can stay on. The channel is clearly marked and plenty deep. Their barn has a full Kitchen and bar that you can utilize and a beautiful outdoor sitting to enjoy your morning coffee.
We left CT/NY in October. I was very upset to leave without another visit to my sister but the weather window was just right and we had to go if we were going to make it to the Bahamas. As we travelled south we stopped into Hampton again , Which is where Eleanor and Jesse were, And Gene was on another boat about to join a Salty Dog rally with an incompetent sailor who later discovered he was not a sailor ! He decided to leave late like 3 days after the rest of the rally due to nerves… and into a hurricane that was forming and heading north. He then claimed motion sickness and hid down below for the most of the journey and poor gene had to motor sail because the captain was too afraid to heel over. Yup… He demanded that Gene was not allowed to trim any sails and refused to allow his boat to be a sailboat which ultimately put them both in big danger.. I won’t go to far into that but luckily Gene was safe and they flew home the first chance he could.
Hampton is also where John and I were shamelessly suckered into adopting a beautiful White mutt who was left tied to a tree and needed a home. The lady who was taking care of her had chickens and turkeys and a chihuahua clan amongst other dogs who didn’t seem to bother the pup and we fell in love instantly.. Totally aware that this was a terrible idea, That we didn’t need a dog especially when we were heading to the Bahamas … We still took her in and we don’t regret it much . She transitioned into boat life just fine, learned to potty in the right spots, was easy offshore, and a fast learner. She instantly bonded with Jenton and has become his snuggle partner. Even though we shouldn’t have adopted her, we are happy to have her be apart of our Journey.
It wasn’t until we stopped into West Palm beach and were planning to do the jump to the Bahamas — That we decided we weren’t going to do the Bahamas! Ugh! This is why–
In order to travel to the Bahamas, You had to get a covid test 5 days before arriving, and apon arrival you then needed to wait 5 days before getting tested again, you also needed to buy their special health insurance for the pandemic, and they were claiming to start inner island testing too. The idea of stopping into these areas and having to take test after test didnt sound like it was worth the leisure and that the covid vaccine was probably next. It would have been a very expensive trip to do and we were already so late in the season. Plus, We had just adopted a dog a couple months prior and she was starting to get comfortable and training was doing well so we thought it was in the best interest of everyone to spend some time in the keys, work on our pups training, and do a full season next year.
Which brings us to where we are now! Its been one full year since we left Texas March 11 2020, and we are living in paradise in the Boot key Harbor once more. This time we are fishing and exploring, and intertwining with the locals, John has picked up many jobs here and so have I . We have restored a chunk of out traveling funds and are happy to wake up to the morning cruisers net , and set off into our days each morning. Next week we plan to head to the dry Tortugas but the weather isn’t being so nice. If you are reading this , I want to say thank you! Wow ! I know this was a long blog post but its a whole years worth of awesomeness! So thanks for reading!
For those wondering what our plans are moving forward , We plan to head north again for hurricane season, Hopefully restore more money into our travel funds and pray that our social medias will eventually float us down to South American after the Bahamas next season! Wish us luck!
Thanks for reading ~ and Happy Sailaversary to us!