Our Salty Life ~ Year End Review 2018

As we complete the last few tasks on our list, and prepare to sail further south at the end of the week; I find myself slowing down from all the holiday “hustle and bustle”, and  looking back on this INCREDIBLE year in COMPLETE AWE! It has been full of many AMAZING “ups” ...but has also handed us some pretty “eye-opening” CHALLENGES! 

This time last year we still had our home in Colorado and were very much in the “honeymoon” stages of this WONDERFUL cruising life! Paul had already moved aboard to deliver our (then new to us) boat S/V Margarita south... and I was finishing up my contract in Colorado (trying to stay warm)...

...and I’ll just state for the record, that it was NOT an easy task!!! 

The kids and I were able to meet up with Paul in St. Augustine for Thanksgiving during his sail south, and then again in West Palm Beach for Christmas! These were bittersweet “vacation” weeks, as we knew we still had a couple months of my contract ahead of us, and were dreading being apart! 

...but we made the most of our time together, and were able to see just what we had to look forward to in the coming year!!!

...and what an AMAZING first Christmas it was on board!!! It for sure went into the file for “MOST EPIC Christmas EVER”!!! 

New Years Eve 2017 -the kids and I said our goodbyes and boarded a plane back to Colorado! It was so hard to leave Paul (and this wonderful new found life afloat) and return to the frigid cold,  but we knew what we were working towards... and we could not wait for Spring to be here so we could return! As I wrapped all the loose ends of our life in Colorado, Paul became familiar with our new boat and cruising home! He took her on many sailing trials, and made (WAY TOO MANY) maintenance lists for our future haul out! The months seemed to creep by as the kids and I counted down the days til we could return...but eventually the snow began to melt and the  day FINALLY came!!! 

Adjusting to our life “afloat” after being in Colorado for two years came a lot easier than I thought it would! I knew we’d done it before, so yeah, we had an idea of what to expect; but it literally came back to us just like riding a bike! (only a MUCH BIGGER bike) ...lol 

Spring in FL was most certainly welcomed by all of us... after experiencing snowy winters in CO that would easily last through the end of May!!! The Krew were ecstatic to participate in the spring sail camp hosted by the Hillsboro Sailing Club! We learned that week that they both have a VERY competitive spirit, just like their Daddy... ESPECIALLY AUTUMN!!!

The Hillsboro Sailing Club also offered GREAT opportunity for us adults to show off our competitive sides too! We were able build a race crew with some new friends we met, and signed up S/V Margarita for the Gulf Stream Regatta! It was such a close race...but we did INCREDIBLE, even with our dingy in tow (that’s how real “gunkhole cruisers” race)!!! In the end, we got 3rd over all...but we realized that “racing” your home, might NOT be such a good idea! It took us weeks to put the boat back together after the race!



One thing I noticed about returning to our life afloat was how time seemed to slow back down. We had more hours in the day...and life became INTENTIONAL again!!! I had so missed this way of life...and truly hope NEVER to return to the 9-5 grind! 
Eventually spring gave way to summer, and I (Leeanne) had a summer contract opportunity proposed to me. Knowing what we were striving to accomplish this year, but also knowing how hard it was being apart from my “better” half... I had a TOUGH choice to make! Ultimately I knew it would be silly for me not to go for the 11 weeks, but I had never been apart from my Littles (a.k.a. the Krew) for more than 10 days at a time!!! As summer approached, I kissed them goodbye and boarded a plane for CO. It was a very humbling experience for me to be able to provide for this cruising life we are striving for...but on the same note, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done...leaving my Littles! In the end I think the “seperation” was a benefit. For the first time in over a decade I had time for just me! There were days when I just sat and read for HOURS!!! I also realized just how BIG and RESPONSIBLE my little people had become! Being able to view them through a different lense (2000 miles away)...all I can say is that I am SO PROUD of them, and looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these two INCREDIBLE young adults!!! On a VERY IMPORTANT side note...I have to give MEGA KUDOS to my husband for taking on the “single parent” role during this time! He truly did an AMAZING JOB...from setting up summer sailing camps and getting them there...to weekend lemonade stands...he really is SUPER-DAD!!! 

     ...and what an unforgettable summer it was!!!

During my summer stay in CO we decided to take a week long family vacation to break up the seperation! It was SO NEEDED ...and SO MUCH FUN!!! What better way to vacation when you live on a boat, than to go on a cruise?!?!

After spending the 4th of July week together as a family, the rest of my time in CO seemed to fly by! I was so relieved when it was FINALLY time to return to the boat for good! Upon my return it was time to dry-dock Margarita and prepare her for our sail south! We did a lot of upgrading and refitting, as well as some basic “yearly maintenance”...but it felt like it took FOREVER! One of the most challenging of tasks while we were in the boat yard was fabricating and installing our hardtop! We knew we wanted one, but we couldn’t afford to have one made! We’ve learned really quickly that DIY is a great thing in this cruising-life!!!

We finally wrapped up the last of our “boatyard” honey-do list, and headed south to Boca Raton FL. It was beautiful sail there...especially the full moon that seemed to be following us at midnight!!! 

The Krew were beaming with EXCITEMENT as we pulled into Lake Boca and prepared to anchor! Our stay in Lake Boca was a bit longer than we’d expected...but it was such a GREAT place to stop and prepare before heading further south! From BEAUTIFUL sunrises with my morning coffee...to the INCREDIBLE sandbar that was swimming distance from the boat!!! We truly have nothing to complain about when it comes to this anchorage! It is well protected and convenient when needing to dingy to shore! We’d stay here again in a heartbeat!!! Even our fur-baby Bella seemed to really enjoy her time in Lake Boca!

The water in Lake Boca stayed warm and swim worthy throughout the entire Fall Season! We were able to host some great get-together moments with other cruisers traveling through the area...as well as bringing a very special friend from CO to visit with Autumn the week of her birthday!!! Sami fit right into our CRAZY cruising lifestyle, and we can’t wait to have her visit again!!!

We also had THREE VERY SPECIAL visitors come just before Thankgiving!!! They were able to stay for a whole week...and I think we may just make that a yearly tradition!!! We ABSOLUTELY LOVED having our niece and nephews (The Martins) visit while we were in Lake Boca!!! :)

After all of our visitors had all gone...we decided to drive up to St. Augustine to celebrate Thanksgiving at the St. Augustine Cruiser's Thanksgiving Potluck! We had such a great time the year before we figured there's no better way to be Thankful than with other "liveaboard cruisers"!!! This year our family headed up the "Kid's Corner" at the potluck...and we had a BLAST doing it!!! HAPPY GOBBLE-GOBBLE DAY!!!

...as we wrapped up '2018' and prepared to celebrate our 2nd Christmas on-board S/V Margarita, there was so much anticipation in the air!!! Our Holiday travel plans had all come together, and it was FINALLY time to leave Lake Boca! All I'm going to say is...this year was another Holiday Season that will go down in the "MOST EPIC" file! But, you will have to wait for our next blog post to hear all about it!!! ...lol

Here's a SMALL sneak-peak...

...TRUST ME when I say...YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS OUR NEXT BLOG POST!!! Our Christmas and New Years was TRULY EPIC!!!

Until then...

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
The McKissicks