Our two-day trip to Petersburg took four days, and not because of site seeing.

Day one: Miscommunication

I think we’re leaving the dock to anchor near the front of the bay where I’ll have full cell service (that is, internets) for the entire day, a luxury I haven’t experienced in months. While holding to an easy anchorage, I planned on putting in hours at my tech job and accomplishing various other internet chores.

Abby thinks today is a great chance to get a head start on our trip to Petersburg and that I only need a couple hours to complete my work. So while I settle myself behind my laptop, she shoots us out of the bay and across the channel, away from the cell tower.

When I almost lost service, we reconvened on the goal of the day, and realized our miscommunication. We anchored where I had a decent connection, and stayed for the night.

Day two: Why did we anchor here?

Surprise Harbor is not a good anchorage. The whole place is pretty shallow, so winds create large swells easily. We tried to leave but the winds matched our engine power, creating a stand-still. We re-anchored in the shitty weather and proceeded to re-check our position every 5-10 minutes for over 24 hours (thankfully only having to reset the anchor once). The boat continued to rock all day, just enough to make reading [or anything requiring focus] impossible. We weren’t in any danger, but we also couldn’t relax.

Day three: What’s the equation for wind plus tide plus boat?

Abby made a similar trip to Petersburg in one 16-hour day, so she thought we could travel this one section in 8 hours. We did some motor sailing (I’m still amazed by wind power; having the sails catch takes the breath out of me), but by midday we knew we weren’t on schedule.

With 3 hours left of daylight, we calculated we were still 7 hours from the nearest anchorage. We had not planned to run at night; we don’t have great lights for running at night; we were really freaked about running at night.

The night sky was packed with stars, and a waxing moon rose to my right, encouraging me along the way. I won’t lie; it was scary. Beautiful, but a bit scary. You can’t see the water, so you can’t judge the water. No one knew we were out there. Radar and GPS are not perfect.

The sun set around 6. I did most of the night driving, and by 10pm Abby was dropping anchor while I was drifting into dream land. We made it just fine, but we need to learn more about winds & tides.

Day four: Finally.

The last day was a breeze. Calm waters carried us the 5 hours into Petersburg. We even rode a couple back eddies, which doubled our speed. Abby pulled into the harbor like a pro, regardless of the nervous sweat she broke out in. And I saw my first grocery store since March. We promptly loaded up on junk food and spent the evening bingeing the entire first season of Transparent. We earned TV and Oreos, dammit.


I love love love living on a boat. It brings this nomad’s heart such fulfillment. I’ve only been living aboard for about 3 seasons, but I can’t see myself calling a piece of land ‘home’ ever again. Abby’s been doing this nautical dance for about 5 years now, and we’re both learning more every day..as are our cats.

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One comment

  1. Beth Maiden · October 22, 2015

    I love reading this.

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