The Tinii

It's plural for Tinius, because we said so.


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We finally sold Willy!  We definitely have mixed emotions about it selling.  It is really disappointing that the guy who delivered our boat from TN was a month later than he said he would be.  It also sucks that our rudder broke and pushed us back another three weeks.  It also sucks that we cant afford to keep it stored over the winter while we are in Haiti and keep going next summer.  At the same time, I am really glad that we don’t have to worry anymore about trying to sell the boat from another country.  Its nice to have money in our account and to know that it is no longer going to be slowly disappearing in slip fees.   Thanks to Jaqui and Captain Crunch (see earlier blog post) and Allison’s parents it all went down without a hitch.

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We have been living in Haiti for about a month now.  We came here a few years ago right after the earth quake so we knew already that we really like it here.  We have been getting along great with the family that we are living with/ working for.  We really dodged a bullet with that one…

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View of Haiti from the roof.

Last week we took a trip down to the Irish Embassy for Scott’s birthday.  I was really confused at first, the way they talked about it, I thought that we were going to an Irish restaurant in the Irish Embassy in Haiti…  Turns out they just call the local Irish pub the embassy as a joke.

After enjoying our delicious fish and chips, and bangers and mash (we actually ate burgers) we were approached buy this German guy named Stefan.  “Hello” he said “I have a proposal.  If none of you have any moral, ethical, religious, or political objections I would like very much to buy you a drink.”  None of us had any objections, but we did have to go pick up Scott and Aprils kids from work (the kids work for some friends at their pizza restaurant) so we really didn’t have time.  However, before we could even respond the waitress brought out 6 beers and 6 gin and tonics…  My first inclination was that he had slipped something in the drinks and was was planning on taking advantage of us all monetarily (and lets be honest probably sexually too).

He said that he just wanted to have a conversation about economics.  When we asked him what he did for a living he slapped himself in the face repeatedly and then sniffed his armpits.  When we asked him how long he has been in Haiti, he slapped himself in the face and sniffed his armpits.  We decided pretty quickly that unless we wanted to wake up on the side of the road in Port Au Prince we should probably head out quickly.

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St.Augustine – By: Allison

We’ve been in St.Augustine for three weeks now, which feels like forever after you’ve been hopping from place to place all summer. Fortunately, there’s not only a ton to do here, but Josh has a friend from his high school days who lives here as well. Zac and Jacqui live two boats down from us! It’s a small world. Before leaving on The Tinii Adventure, Josh ran into a friend in East Nashville. When he asked him if he had seen anyone else from high school, this friend told us that Zac was, “Like…living on a sailboat in St.Augustine,” as if that was a very strange thing. We got Zac’s number and gave him a call. When our rudder broke in Beaufort and we almost gave up, Zac was one of the people who would regularly call and encourage/beg/harass us not to quit. Once we got to St.Augustine, the dockmaster here kept referring to some guy named Crunch as if we should know who he was talking about. Little did we know that Zac picked up the nickname Crunch years ago which was sort of destiny because with the purchase of a sailboat he completed the transformation to Captain Crunch…and that is baller.

But I digress.

So St.Ausgustine….

We got here and paid for two days at the marina knowing we had to make a decision. First, do we find a place to keep Willy while we are in Haiti or do we sell? Secondly, IF we sell do we keep sailing and risk having to let Willy go for next to nothing or do we stop here (where the marina is cheap and we have friends) and go ahead and list it.

After looking at what it would cost to keep Willy we knew selling it was in the cards. Not only is it expensive to keep a boat, but it’s sort of sad just letting it sit unused. I’d rather have the money growing in savings (for our next boat, haha) and let Willy have an adventure with someone else.

So, the next dilemma. We VERY sadly decided to stop in St.Augustine and list Willy. We just couldn’t justify a couple more weeks of sailing for losing thousands of dollars in a quick sale. So, we find ourselves in St.Augustine catching up with old friends, making new ones, and exploring America’s oldest city.

Luckily, there is a ton to do here….

The most obvious thing is Castillo de San Marcos. It’s a big Spanish Fort downtown.

The Fort

The Fort

The fort was completed in 1695 when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort was never conquered despite many English attacks. Along our sail down the coast, we saw a few of the English forts as well and I can say that without a doubt, the Spanish were much better fort builders. Plus their canons were prettier.

Spanish canons.

Spanish canons.

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While we have been parked here in St.Augustine…we both turned 28. On Josh’s birthday he knocked something off his bucket list. We went to the Hot Shot Bakery and did their food challenge. This required us to eat a chocolate covered Datil pepper so that we could get a bumper sticker and a picture on the wall. I wasn’t going to do it but Josh pulled the “It’s my birthday so you have to” card. After years of eating ghost pepper hot sauce, Josh’s spicy taste buds are pretty hardcore so he was a little unfazed by this challenge. He really wants to try to guzzle gallons of ghost pepper soup at Nitally’s in Tampa because the prize is $1000.

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The Wall of Flame.

The Wall of Flame.

We spent an entire day on our “shared birthday-day” doing touristy things. Since Josh’s day is the 25th and mine is the 27th…the 26th gets a celebration too. We started the day at The Alligator Farm. In hindsight, I added “See every species of crocodillian in the world” because that’s what we accomplished at the alligator farm.

Creepy albino alligator

Creepy albino alligator

Feeding the gators.

Feeding the gators.

We also climbed the lighthouse here. Apparently it’s one of the most haunted places in St.Augustine. I read somewhere that there are 13 pirates buried somewhere around here. I decided that if I HAD to run into a ghost, a pirate one would be the coolest. Ghost kids are creepy, ghost soldiers are sad…ghost pirates are bad ass.

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We also went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not that day. The cool thing about this one is that it is in Mr.Ripley’s house! Apparently St.Augustine was his home base. The other cool thing was realizing that Mama Jimmie (Josh’s grandmother) owns several things that were in Mr.Ripley’s collection…I don’t know what that says about Mama Jimmie or Mr.Ripley.

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Even though we’re bummed to be selling Willy, St.Augustine isn’t the worst place to be stuck.


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Jacksonville… A crazy place.- Josh

We decided to make the 15 mile trek off the ICW to Jacksonville.  You can dock right downtown for three nights!  We are poor. There is no way we could pass up three free nights!

After getting cleaned up we went to the Mexican restaurant right behind our boat at the downtown docks.  While we were shoveling chips and salsa into our mouths like a Saint Bernard that hasn’t seen a meal in three days a homeless man walked by.  He was wearing scrubs and socks, but no shoes.  We couldn’t figure out if he was just homeless, or if he had actually escaped from a mental institution.  Why would he be in scrubs and socks but no shoes??  And his scrubs looked pretty clean for a homeless man…  But I digress.

After we finished eating we went back to the boat and put in a movie.  We were so exhausted that neither of us made it more than fifteen minutes in before falling asleep.  About two in the morning Allison shook me awake freaking out a little bit.  I was a bit disoriented at first. After a second I heard why she was freaking out.  At these free downtown docks there is a lower level with the actual floating docks and right behind is a boardwalk about 5 feet above them.  Standing on that boardwalk directly above our boat was a homeless man singing.  Singing a song about our boat. Opera Style.

HERE THEY SIT

SLEEPING IN THEIR BOAT

WHERE WILL THEY GO

DON’T NOBODY KNOW

SOUTH OR NORTH

WHICH WAY WILL THEY GO

NO BODY KNOW

The song went on for about 10 minutes.  But those are all the lyrics I can remember.

Then when his song was finished he says, “Good night” as if he was talking to a crowd at a concert, “I love you”.

Then around four in the morning.  We hear a woman yelling into her phone, “I’ll cut your head off!”

She continued to yell for about ten minutes before moving further down the boardwalk.  In case you are wondering- No, we don’t have a gun on the boat. We do however have a spearfishing gun and throwing stars.  Why do we have throwing stars??  I’m really not sure…  I think I bought them in Gatlinburg one time.

That night we were meeting up with an old friend and planned on going on a “Short evening sail”.

The weather was perfect!

The weather was perfect!

The wind was just right!

The wind was just right!

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We even saw mermaids and other magical sea creatures!

We sailed for about an hour and then decided to head back to the dock and go grab some food.  On the way back my friend Kevin was driving while Allison and I put up the sails. We didn’t really give him any directions such as “stay inside the buoys”  so we ended up running aground.  Really hard aground.  No big deal, I mean we paid for a Boat US membership which includes free tows whenever you need it.  We called them and they said they would send someone.  We had just seen a Boat US tow boat go by minutes earlier.  A few minutes later they called and informed us that it would be an hour and a half before someone could get there. Then about fifteen minutes later the tow captain that was supposed to be on his way called us and said “High tide will probably get you unstuck before I get there.  Just call back if you don’t get unstuck.”  High tide was not until 11:30pm.  About 10:00 it became obvious that high tide was not going to do anything to help us.  We called him back and he finally headed out to get us.

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As a side note- I know that if your an old salt out there reading this you are probably thinking “I was once stuck aground for 3 days off the coast of the Azores in gale force winds while pirate cannons were splashing all around us.” Well…  My friends had to be at work at 7:00 AM and I might as well use the Boat US as much as possible to make sure I get my moneys worth.

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Needless to say out “Short evening sail” turned into the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island.  We were out there for a total of six hours.  And we never got dinner…


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The Boat Diet

I discovered the key to happiness, skinny-ness, and possibly wealth. It’s called The Boat Diet. I can’t say I discovered it. Pirates probably did that, but they hadn’t perfected it and died of scurvy. Although not the discoverer, I can be the multi millionaire who writes a book about it, gets on Oprah, and creates an over night sensation. I mean, didn’t cavemen invent Paleo? They weren’t the ones to make money off of it though.

So here it is….

Are you feeling sluggish and stressed out?

Need to lose those few extra pounds?

What if I told you I knew the key to solving all your problems?

What if I told you that in a few short months I could have you tan, skinny, and relaxing in the sun without having to even think about working out or watching what you eat.

See...eat whatever you want.

You too can eat this….

...yet have a body like this.

…yet have a body like this.

Look how tan we are!

Look how tan we are!

It’s not impossible…it’s the boat diet.

First, buy a sailboat. A trawler might work but not as well. And don’t get too nice of a boat. If you’re too comfortable this won’t work. Preferably no hot water, no air conditioning, and an engine that conks out every once in awhile to keep you on your toes.

Now, quit your job, move out of your house, and onto this boat. Head somewhere warm. Not warm – hot actually. That way all you can really wear is a swimsuit so you’re constantly aware of that belly. Not in a bad way. It’ll be gone so fast, wearing the swimsuit is a good thing. Being aware will make you happy.

Oh, I forgot to mention the boat shouldn’t have a fridge, just an icebox. Now stock the boat and icebox with goodies. Wine, beer, cookies, pasta…all the stuff you couldn’t have on a regular diet but can totally have on this one.

Sounding good, right?

So off you go…to the tropics.

Heading south to hot weather...

Heading south to hot weather…

Your boat is gonna break down a few times. There’s a workout right there…sweating on a breezeless day, squeezing into weird boat spaces, trying to get bolts off that have been in place since 1975…who needs reps with weights?

War wounds from contorting and squeezing into boat spaces that were meant for lifejackets - not humans.

War wounds from contorting and squeezing into boat spaces that were meant for lifejackets – not humans.

Squeezing a flame arrestor onto a carburetor...aka an arm and chest workout.

Squeezing a flame arrestor onto a carburetor…aka an arm and chest workout.

Then you’ll go for a few sails. Not only will you be pulling up sails and getting another great ARM workout, but the boat will be heeled over and rocking…can you say CORE WORKOUT?

Now, anytime you want to get off the boat you have to climb a ladder and over lifelines. And if you wanna go to sleep you have to hike yourself up and into the v-berth. There are your legs for the day.

You wake up and put on your swimsuit and sweat off all your water weight all day. However, you’re also getting that tan I promised.

Navigating buoys AND getting a tan.

Navigating buoys AND getting a tan.

It’s so hot that you don’t want any beer or wine…just water. Remember how I said you could have anything you wanted…you can…you just won’t want it.

You’re so stressed out sailing, or navigating buoys, or fixing engines that you forget to eat so you grab an apple.

You have to anchor, so you pull a 30lb danforth up and down a few times – or you have to dock and literally stop an 8000 lb boat from hitting the dock with nothing but your newly found brute strength.

It’s late, you’re tired, but you’re on the ocean and there’s fresh seafood so you through some on the grill. You eat about three pieces of shrimp and more fruit because its hot and you’re tired.

The next day you wake up to do it all over again but 5 pounds lighter and with more muscle!

It is a lot of work, but eventually you’ll start relaxing and enjoying things. You’re engine kinks will start to work out, you’ll get better at docking and anchoring, and you’ll start to eat more.

THEN…you have to walk, or bike, or longboard everywhere because you don’t have a car. So, you might be able to eat pasta and have wine for dinner now…but you’ll have to longboard at least 2 miles because people are dumb and don’t put grocery stores where you need them.

Longboarding for groceries.

Longboarding for groceries.

Aftermath of longboarding for groceries...

Aftermath of longboarding for groceries…

There it is…The Boat Diet! All you have to do is buy a boat, drop everything, and sail away….


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Fernandina Beach aka FINALLY back to society – By:Allison

It had been a hot minute since we’d been anywhere of any substance. Meaning – anywhere we could buy ice and coffee. That’s how we determine society nowadays. Our boat only has an icebox, and we hadn’t had ice since we left Sunbury. Between that and groceries running low we were pretty ready to be back among people even though the wild horses were good company for awhile.

We made the whopping hour trip to Fernandina Beach and picked up a mooring ball at the Fernandina Harbor Marina. This was our first mooring ball and I was nervous, but it was pretty uneventful.

We immediately freshened up and took the dinghy into town. The best part of Fernandina was the food, by far! There are a ton of places to eat. Our favorite was a little Cuban place called Hola. It was really inexpensive and DELICIOUS.

A plate full of fried goodness doesn't look that pretty, but we all know looks can be deceiving.

A plate full of fried goodness doesn’t look that pretty, but we all know looks can be deceiving.

They have a free concert series over the summer that was going on Friday night, so we got to see that too.

Music downtown

Music downtown

The best part of all was the fact that there was a farmer’s market (FRUIT…finally!) and ice at the marina.

We left Fernandina and headed down to Jacksonville where we are now. We have lots of fun stories on this place so stay tuned…


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A not so little storm and wild horses – By: Allison & Josh

WARNING: We are tag teaming the post. I’ll preface each section with who wrote what. We made an agreement that we will not fix, edit, correct, or yell at each other for what the other one wrote.

Allison:

We definitely decided against going ashore at Frederica. Josh was itching to move again, so we geared up for a big day of motoring down the ICW to Cumberland Island. There was still a chance of storms around, but what the heck.

We got past Jekyll Island and the sky started turning dark. St.Andrew’s Sound was coming up. There was another boat we’d followed off and on during the past two days and he seemed like he was going to go for it so we decided to as well. St.Andrew’s Sound basically cuts all the way to the ocean and then you make a sharp right turn back up into the north side of Cumberland Island. We knew the conditions could get rough but it looked like a small storm on the radar and we were making good time. The seas kept building and the winds got worse. Everything got packed away and out came the rain gear….

Josh:

So Allison and I together decided that we couldn’t go ashore at Fort Frederica because the dinghy dock was completely on land except for two hours before and after high tide.  We would have had to wait until 2pm and would have had to waist another day completely.  On top of that we were starting to run out of provisions and didn’t want to have to travel on the July 4th.

When we got to St. Andrews sound the weather started getting rough, but, nothing too bad.  Then it started getting really bad! It was just like on deadliest catch.  The bow of the boat would point toward the sky then crash under the waterline.  The splash would fly back to the cockpit like a Water Ride at an amusement park.  There was another boat that was a couple hundred yards away from us.  It was crazy seeing what was happening to us happen to another boat.  The wave would lift the boat up and then it looked just like the boat would just sail into the air and drop.  I tried to get Allison to give me the gopro (so I could prove that
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Some Darien love and our first little storm – By:Allison

After we left Sunbury Crab Company, we headed for an anchorage at Blackbeard Wildlife Refuge. We had heard good things about this stop and it would be a quick, easy day to get there.

When we arrived there were already several boats anchored. The current was really strong and the winds were blowing. We don’t really have anchoring down to an art, so we were anxious. We motored past all the boats to a good spot. I was driving, and Josh was manning the anchor because we don’t have an electric windlass.

We tried three or four times and the anchor wouldn’t bite. We switched roles and Josh motored way closer to shore which made me nervous so naturally we got over our stress and acted in total kindness toward one another. Ha! Actually we called each other names and yelled a bit. I begrudgingly dropped the anchor anyway and of course when he hit reverse it held.

I proceeded to complain about our location quite a bit. We were both a bit stressed and the anchorage wasn’t as cool as our last one.

We decided to check the weather since it was windy, and it didn’t look promising which added to our happy moods.

The next several days looked stormy and windy. The anchorage wasn’t super protected either.

We decided to skip exploring the island the next day and head out in the morning. It sort of bummed me out so now we were super awesome and kind and loving.

We went to bed with the boat swinging all around. Luckily we slept pretty well regardless after much apologizig to each other over our bad moods and cold words.

The next morning the other boats left around nine and we weren’t far behind. We had decided to go to the town of Darien. It’s about 7 miles off the ICW but they have free docks and that sounded good to us.

We made good time and pulled into Darien just after lunch. The docks were easy to use even though the current was nutso. After docking, we cleaned up and got checked in. Darien reminded me a little bit of my hometown of Headland. It definitely had that small town vibe! There were also about a gazillion historical markers so I was in heaven.

Waterfront Park in Darien, Ga

Waterfront Park in Darien, Ga

Willy on the docks in Darien

Willy on the docks in Darien

I love historical markers so much!

I love historical markers so much!

We walked to a super ghetto laundry mat and got that out of the way. Then we cleaned up and got dinner at a place called Skipper’s Fish Camp that was on the water downtown. It was delicious!!!! The blackened shrimp was pretty much heaven.

We called it a night pretty early after walking around the town and the docks a bit.

Dinner in Darien.

Dinner in Darien.

The next morning we grabbed breakfast at a little cafe called The Purple Pickle. The owner was the nicest and introduced us to the dockmaster and his wife who were super awesome. They let us know that the wine bar would give us a complimentary drink! Free anything makes me happy bit free docks AND wine was just too much.

Later, we took the longboards about a mile down the road to Fort King George historic site. The rangers were really mesmerized by the fact that we longboarded there. It made me feel sort of bad ass but if they had seen me going all of a quarter mile an hour while simultaneously freaking out the entire mile my cover would have been blown.

Tabby ruins in downtown Darien

Tabby ruins in downtown Darien

Fort King George

Fort King George

In the museum.

In the museum.

The fort is just a remodel of what it would have looked like back in the day, but I can be nerdy about history so I enjoyed it. We sat through the cheesy film and everything. Did you know that Darien, Ga was settled by Scottish Highlanders? I didn’t until the cheesy film told me so.

Scottish Highlander house

Scottish Highlander house

Cemetery at Fort King George.

Cemetery at Fort King George.

On the way back to the boat we bought some fresh shrimp for dinner. There was going to be live music at the park we were docked at, so we wanted to eat on the boat.

After cleaning up, we walked to the wine bar for our free drinks. This place was adorable! After the wine, we both got a beer and listened to their live music. There was a gentlemen at the bar with a Bama cap on and I was really trying to refrain from yelling Roll Tide across the bar. I mean, it wasn’t a sports bar it was a fancy wine bar. After the wine though, it was getting harder to control myself so I walked over to finally get it out of my system. We basically became immediate best friends. He was a council member and he gave me his card along with permissible to stay in Darien as long as I wanted.

FREE wine at the wine bar.

FREE wine at the wine bar.

After he gave us a history lesson. On Darien, we decided to go make dinner and listen to the band downton.

It was such a picteuresque night.   The past two weeks have involved less and less engine work and more seafood and wine. I am a fan. Although I don’t mind knowing my way around an engine, I’d rather learn it later. Like when I am not dependent on the engine daily and when its not located I’m the middle of my living space.

I really didn’t want to leave Darien. It was too easy and too free. But we did move on. We want to do more offshore but the weather isn’t cooperating.

We headed down the ICW to the Ferederica River. It wasn’t super far, but we had to time it all right with currents and tides which is a huge pain in the ass. There was a narrow and shallow cut we had to get through. I read horror stories about how bad it was. Deemed “the single worst stretch of the icw” Little Mud River was giving me a headache already. It’s these twisty, scary, shallow stretches that make people go offshore and swear that Georgia is a place to be avoided. To add to my nerves the weather was predicted to be stormy and there was a patch of storms headed our way.

Honestly, Little Mud River was no big deal. Like…not at all. Once you get the hang of how rivers shoal in the currents it makes it easier to find deep water if things get shallow and don’t match up with the charts. Also, I read somewhere to think.of yourself like a barge and don’t take close turns. That helped too.

Right as we were coming out of Little Mud River, the sky got really dark and we could see the rain coming. There wasn’t a good place to anchor so we decided to press on.

We shut all the hatches and put on our rain gear. I stayed inside making sure things stayed dry and that we were on course since we use our laptop.

The lightning popped close enough to make Josh nervous but we crossed paths with a fee other boats who were pushing through so we knew we weren’t crazy.

Braving the storm

Braving the storm

Luckily, it was a short lived storm and we came out on the other side fairly quickly and pretty close to the Frederica River. It was also nice because it cooled everything off!

We motored on down the river to Fort Frederica. Honestly, its a little underwhelming from the water. Tomorrow we might go to shore if we ha e time and do some exploring…we’ll have to see!