With Christmas right around the corner we let Ouest and Lowe exchange their gifts to each other a few days early—Lowe got a Captain’s hat, and Ouest got a Little House on the Prairie bonnet. Both of them were super stoked.

Finally underway. That look pretty much says it all. Ali and I sometimes feel a bit like we’ve seen and done it all, and could easily take these moments for granted if not for the kids.

Our first day took us all of about two miles, to a mooring ball right in front of the old fort and downtown St. Augustine for the Festival of Lights. We were still paid up at the marina for a couple more weeks, but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Our friend was picking the truck up the next day, and then we’d be free to roam again.

I suppose I should apologize here—when we sold the Airstream we got dozens and dozens of e-mails from people wanting to buy the Travelall. I promised them that we would post something on the site a few days before we listed it for sale. But then an old friend came along and said he wanted to buy it, he’d pay us what we wanted immediately, we could continue to drive it until it was time to leave, and then he’d pick it up from the other side of Florida. It was impossible to say no. So, goodbye Platano. You were an amazing truck.

Caroline and Laura Ingalls.

Okay, so day one on the water didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. We quickly discovered that the voltage was super low on the batteries. I opened them up (something I should have done months ago) and found that they were almost completely dry. I refilled and charged them for a while, but they couldn’t hold a charge at all. They were shot. The next day when my friend showed up to take the truck I wouldn’t hand him the keys until he had helped me unload the old batteries and drop the new ones in—a job I couldn’t have done alone, or one day later without a truck. Serendipitous?

To make matters worse, in addition to bad batteries, the generator spit coolant out all over the place and overheated. Ali was clearly thinking we weren’t going to be going anywhere the next day, but she forgot who she is married to. I found the leaking hose, and discovered it was super old and cracked on the inside. I pulled it off, and dug around a bit in my bins. I found a perfect pre-curved hose with only one problem—it was one size too big. I sat in the engine compartment at ten o’clock on Friday night of Christmas weekend and thought it over for a while. What would MacGyver do? Cut off a couple small chunks of the crappy hose, fit them inside the bigger hose, grab the next size hose clamp, and tighten her down. Done. New batteries, and a purring generator. We’re off again.

I had no idea dolphins were such a dominant feature on the ICW. They came and went all day long.

Cruising down the ICW is kind of fun. We enjoyed sliding down the narrow areas especially, just looking around at the homes, watching for dolphins, and having the place almost all to ourselves.

Spying on the kids while they make Mama birthday presents.


33 Comments on “Southbound”

  1. I can see y’all really like living on the boat. How’s it drive compared to the sailboats you’ve had?

    Enjoy the journey!

    1. Getting the hang of it. Tried the stabilizers for the first time yesterday – think we are going to like those! And Pat pulled into the fuel dock like a pro (or is it like a Captain). 🙂

  2. Can you please adopt me into your family? It would be great living with you. But if I can’t do that, reading your posts almost take me there. Save travels.

    1. Thanks, Jacquie. And yes we can adopt you if you cook – hardest part of boat life. Oh and laundry…the rest is all worth it though.

  3. have you gone past port Canaveral yet? if not we would love to meet you guys for some pizza and buy you a beer

    1. Hi Jennifer, unfortunately we did! First night out of St. Augustine. Down in North Palm Beach today, before crossing to the Bahamas tomorrow! Sorry we missed you!

  4. What an amazing life your children have. I always enjoy the photography too. Some really nice pro photo’s each month.

    Cruising: Fixing the boat in exotic and sadly many non-exotic locations.

  5. What a fabulous life for you and the kids. Your kids are amazing (and so utterly adorable!). Safe travels. Looking forward to future posts about your travels.

  6. Beautiful job on the transom, too bad about the batteries & generator. “Always one more thing to do” (somebody
    must have said that) Enjoy your site, keep us posted on your travels & adventures.

    Paul T

    1. Thanks, Paul T. The batteries were old and it was best to get them now. We had meant to check them at the marina but they got forgotten. Same with the generator. Our shakedown cruise was only a few miles away, and it worked out perfect. Still kept our departure dates. Amazing truly.

      1. “Things happen”, new batteries are good, keep us posted, good to see you “On the move” again, especially on a boat.

  7. omg, that photo of Ouest fishing in her dress at sunset is *everything*. I thoroughly enjoy all of your posts and photos, but holy cow, that one is amazing. Although, maybe you have to be female to appreciate it fully. Whatever, you should enter it into photo contests or something. Send it to NatGeo or the NYT. A world of little girls should see it.

    Really looking forward to your next adventures, that is a fabulous boat.

  8. The “MacGyver-ing” of the hose problem was very clever, Pat. It could last forever that way, though I’d probably be inclined to replace it with the proper hose at the first opportunity and return the larger hose to the spare parts locker. Even more clever, IMO, is pressing your Travelall buyer into helping with the battery replacement. That’s a bitch of a job in the best of curcumstances, but having to deal with it when you’re ready to be motoring south just adds to the aggravation.

    My pick of the litter among the photos this time is the one of Lowe standing on the rail and leaning on his dad. It’s a perfect metaphor for the notion of the Little Captain leaning on the Big Captain, and Pat’s confident stance promising “I’ve got your back, Bud.”


  9. Hey guys ! Exciting to see you moving !! Pics are great , just noticed Ali’s comment on crossing tomorrow hopefully that was a typo as the stream is going to be nasty until the northerlys are over !! We normally make that crossing this time of year unfortunately this is an off year as we are switching from sail to trawler ! Looking forward to following along . Safe travels !!

    1. Hi Matt, not a typo but have changed routes to head farther south and crossing after this front moves on (hopefully). Enjoy the trawler – so far it is all good for us.

  10. Ali, there’s no chance you’ll be as far as the Exumas by Jan 13-20th, is there? We’ll be there on vacation during that time and have a son about Lowe’s age. Would surely love to meet you.

    1. Hi Christina, probably not, especially as we are still in Florida today. But we will be sort of making a beeline for the Exumas once we do get over there. Keep in touch and it would be great to meet up. Happy 2018!

  11. You’re off! Fair winds to the Bums! I love every one of these photos, so fabulous. The kids letters to Santa are so humble and sweet. Thank you for sharing them.

    1. Thanks. And yes the kids Santa letters get us each year especially as they cannot usually come up with even three items they want. I guess no television commercials and other kids with cool toys might be the reason. This “Santa” is thankful for it, it was a busy time getting stocked up and ready to go as it was. Happy 2018!

  12. I love on Merritt Island. We have a dock on the ICW Indian River. Would love to wave as you pass, or anything we can do. Godspeed.

    1. Thanks, Pat, very kind of you to offer. Looks like we will miss you this time through, maybe next! Fort Lauderdale this morning, heading to Bimini today! Happy 2018!

  13. The boat looks beautiful, the family looks beautiful, what a beautiful world we live in, enjoy the adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us all.

  14. Yay!
    My favorite pirate magnets! Lol! Have a wonderful time and I am pretty sure I was the first one to ask to be adopted. Pizza in Mahtomedi as I recall. I am so proud of you guys and the way you have dedicated yourselves to having a real family.
    Pura Vida

  15. Pat,
    Donnie and Wendy here (introduced you guys to Pethers in San Pancho). Anyway we can chat soon….have questions about GB42! Lol

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