First Days On Board

First days on board at a dock

We made it to Florida and on Sava and have been living aboard for two days and nights. The adventure has already begun! Here is what it’s been like in our first days on board our new-to-us 46 foot sailboat.

Learning The ICW

We’ve been driving Sava through the ICW, Inter Coastal Waterway, which is predominantly narrow. As a result, we have been under power the whole time. The ICW is too narrow and there are too many boats for sailing, especially with our low levels of experience with our new boat. 

In addition to being narrow, the ICW also has bridges. On a sailboat with a 70′ height, we need those bridges to rise for us.  We boarded Sava and left the slip without a lot of prep. We don’t have a guide to the ICW. I was lucky enough to find a website that has served us well, with a list of all the bridges north to south and their schedules. Some bridges open on a regular 30 minute schedule, some open on demand. Either way, we’ve learned how to call from the VHF radio. “Sailboat Sava, calling…”. It took a man on another boat yelling across to us to learn which channel to use, but we’re getting there.

Getting Through the ICW

Overall, we’ve had it pretty easy with the bridges. The schedule of the bridges lines up so that as you make one you should make the next. We just had a problem yesterday because one of the bridges, Southern, is under construction and can’t go up higher than 65 feet. We had to turn back and retrace our whole day because we couldn’t fit under the bridge.

Life On Board Sava

We’ve already had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and enjoyed some beautiful weather and sleeping spots. The first night, we anchored in Lake Boca. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a dinghy to get to shore, nor did we have any food or cooking implements. We made due with some Belizean rum we’d stowed on the boat last month, paired with a bag of pretzels and some Kind bars. I’m not saying that was enough food for 24 hours, but we made it work.

We didn’t bring a lot with us for our first days on board Sava. We’re basically bundling up in all our clothes to sleep because we didn’t plan for cold Florida nights. I pride myself on packing light and now I need to go shopping.

Back at a Dock

Last night, we were lucky to dock at the Boynton Harbor Marina. We had a little trouble on the approach, which was exceedingly shallow thanks to our perfect timing at low tide. Yes, we grounded. We had some help from a man in a small power boat and one on a jet ski, who pulled our halyard and got Sava out of the dirt. Our hull is 7′ deep. Not a lot of room sometimes for our big boat.

First grounding first days on board
Getting help in Boynton

We really needed to be at a dock

Today? Today we’re getting that dinghy, the ICW guide, and other essential supplies. Like a kettle so we can make coffee. I’ve got a list. Provisioning begins today. One more night without a dinghy and we might have started eating cat food. Or swam to shore. Fortunately we didn’t come to that, but maybe we will as we have a lot of work left to do.

First days on board at a dock
Sava at the gas dock in Boynton Florida

Domino on the Boat

And Domino? She was amazing on our marathon travel day! Sure, she pooped in the Uber to the airport but we were prepared for that, with little diaper pads all over her bag. She was super mellow on the plane, the train and the taxi to the boat. Since moving on board, she’s found tons of places to lie down and get comfy, in the salon and the main stateroom. She’s definitely more mobile when the boat isn’t moving. We think she likes it. We’re glad we brought her. She’s so soft and cuddly, and she’s funny, and a good distraction when we get stressed. She seems happy too.

Cat with bottle of rum
Domino is already a salty sailor

We’ve made some mistakes, and we’ll make more. We’re happy though.  When two manatees swam by us in the ICW yesterday, it reminded me of why I’m doing this. To be outside, alongside the sea life, enjoying the scenery. Two days flew by really fast.

Pin First days living on a boat
Sharing is caring! Please pin.
Pin First Days on board a Sailboat
Please Pin!

Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

One thought on “First Days On Board”

  1. The picture of Domino is wonderful. So glad she is settling in well????.
    You guys are very brave…what an undertaking but how exciting!!! Looking forward to the days ahead with you. ❣️

Leave a Reply