We finally did something other than work, and it turned out to be quite the adventure…

Easter Sunday we worked in the morning as we normally do. There are multiple projects under way, some serious, some fun, and all helping to make the boat look better, operate better, and easier to live on.

After lunch, we packed the dinghy with Ryan's kneeboard, some water and suntan lotion and headed out Sister' Creek Channel towards the ocean. With the wind out of the northwest and a little stiff, the ocean should have a been a little protected but it was a bit choppy. We were looking for a smooth place to pull Ryan on his board.

Our little dinghy loaded with two adults and Goose dragged Ryan around and around until he got tired!

Then it was off to the mangroves. If you didn't know, most of the keys are simply mangrove islands, with these fast growing bushes that can throw new roots out into the water and reproduces like a huge water weed.

The kayakers have cut a long trail through the mangroves. We had heard it was a nice little trail so we pointed the dink in toward the tunnel and crept in.

For the first 30 minutes it was kinda cool, that is until the tunnel became narrower to the point we had to work to get though. And then it started to become a bit worrisome as the sharp ends of the branches where they had been trimmed began to try and puncture the dinghy!

In several places, it took all three of us to force our way through. Working on the boat was easier!

Finally we broke through into a small, very shallow lake in the middle of the mangrove swamp.

Then we got lost.

Just as I am thinking someone will find a dinghy floating around with three desiccated bodies, two kayakers showed up with a map! But they were lost too.

Together we found the entrance to the return channel from hell. The first one was a cake walk compared to this one. We made it obviously, but it took some ingenuity with rope and knots and breaking branches and hoping the dinghy wouldn't pop to get out. When we finally broke out at the other end, it was like we had been freed from a nightmare.

What a fun Easter Sunday outing! Then we had the joy of coming back and cleaning the debris from the dinghy. And rum.

On other fronts, work continues. The new refrigeration is on order and will be here this coming week. We are now discovering a fuel seepage into the bilges which was sort of expected from talks with other Irwin sailboat owners and forums, but it would have been nice not to have to make it a priority.

The batteries are making a big difference in the captains comfort level, and attitude as the concerns of going dead are no longer valid. We can actually go three days before we have to charge.

Shelly's canvas work continues to attract attention. People go by in their dinghies and stop to tell us how amazed they are at the transformation of the boat. We are now all blue, with all new canvas and Yume really does look like a new boat!


The cooler doubles as an extra seat at the dinner table when we have guests, and the wind scoop behind it funnels air down on top of our bunk…

The rain cover over Ryan's hatch helps draw air and allows the hatch to stay open in the infrequent rains..

She made an awning for the cockpit that really helps keep the boat a lot cooler, and it lets us stay out in the shade as the days get warmer.

The nice (cool) spring we had is now changing to a much warmer weather pattern and temps are climbing up into the 80's soon to be 90's.

I will be working for another 4-5 weeks to pay for all the new stuff. The down side is my weekends are now spent trying to get everything done on our boat, while weekdays I work on other people's boats. Sometimes the days are long and hot, with a couple of hours before and after work spent on paws4people stuff, and other web clients.

I really don't know how I used to live like this all the time and am really glad there is a end in sight where we will actually start moving again. Every day we watch a couple more boats drop their mooring and head out – either heading south to the islands or Mexico, or even Cuba, or north up the coast to cruise the Chesapeake or points further up.

Our turn will come!

Thanks for all the comments and emails. They are appreciated!