An unexpectedly great adventure

June 17, 2017   An unexpectedly great adventure

Its a rainy day in Savannah.  Actually, it is a ‘big boomer, lightening flashing with incredible intensity’ day in Savannah.  A good day to go to the local Starbucks and do some blogging.  This is the third day of thunderstorms and they come with lots of lightening.  We would worry about getting an electrical hit on our mast if it wasn’t for the fact that the sailing yacht Asahi is still on jacks and its mast is waaaaay higher than ours.

62417 thunderclouds savannah


Rainy day in Savannah- replenishing the humidity bucket

7617 Ellis Asahi moved to land

Your mast is higher than ours

Work on our projects is nearing completion and we are hopeful we will push off from the dock sometime this week.  Originally, we were going to meander up the East Coast exploring along the way but after experiencing the heat and humidity of the South we have decided to take the advice of our Thunderbolt project manager, Lars, and head north further and faster, to where it is cooler. We will do the meandering when we return South.   It is approximately 450 miles to the Chesapeake, which may be our first stop.

One benefit of our delayed departure is that Rowland, our earlier captain, finished his other commission and is going to rejoin us for this sail.  Can’t wait to see him again.  I’ve already dug out the tea pot and will have a ‘proper cup of tea’ awaiting his arrival.

It’s been almost 5 weeks since we arrived in Thunderbolt.  It might be surprising to those of you who know me well, and talked to me as I prepared to embark on this grand adventure, that I didn’t use this time to ‘high tail’ it back home.  To be honest its surprising to me as well.  In the weeks leading up to departure, I was a high-strung, anxious basket case to say the least.  While Doug could not wait to depart, I was relieved with every delay in our departure.  I was overwhelmed with all the preparation for moving into a new home; the thoughts of leaving the family, friends and the life I knew and loved; and the great unknown.  After all, what’s the worst that could happen besides falling off the boat and drowning; getting thrown off the boat and drowning; sinking in a storm…and drowning or, if not drowning, getting eaten by a shark.  But hey, I signed up for this, so it was time ‘man up’ and hit the road.

What I’ve discovered is that it is incredibly interesting…even sitting tied to the marina dock has been interesting.  I’m seeing a life that I’ve never experienced and while I do miss all the people and my life in Minneapolis, the new experiences keep me engaged and its fun.  I’m beginning to see how people, such as a high school friend, Judy, and others we have met, have fallen in love with the lifestyle (ok, the prescription drugs probably help as well).   That being said I’m not ready to give up on Doug’s and my agreement of ‘3 months on and 3 months off’ just yet but I think that may evolve.

Writing this blog has been fun as well.  It serves as both a journal for me, as well keeping us connected to friends and family.  Thanks for spending time reading this.  I hope you forgive the layout — I’m still learning how to manage adding photos.   And we love to hear from you.

More on Life in Thunderbolt Marine, Savannah, GA

 Two weeks ago, we were moved to a different area of the marina – a much less desirable area of the marina compared to our previous location, especially if you are living on the boat.   And yet, it brings new points of interest.

The move was done to get Minnehaha close enough to an area on the dock where an aerial lift could reach the top of the mast for work to be completed.  The area where we moved is in the heart of the work area of the marina.  All around us boats are on jacks as they are being sanded to be repainted or have scaffolding in place for other repairs.  No longer do we have the nice views of the salt marsh or the cool breezes from the river.   It is much noisier, dustier, warmer, and much less private, but it was necessary.   It also means that we must walk across the work yard.  It is really interesting to literally walk under boats, such as the 180’ Asahi, to get mail or get to our parked car.

71417 view from wi dow TMI Savannah

Current view from our boat

71417. TMI work yard

Our new neighborhood

71417. Under l ellisons boat

So this is what Asahi looks like underneath

7717 Mike King TMI work on mast2

Mike of TMI heading to the top of the mast to do repair

71117 Capt Horry moves in ruins view2

Captain Horry, our next door neighbor. No sleeping in when workboat Captain Horry is next to you











71617 Sunrise from end Thunderbolt marine dock

I still get to see beautiful dawns if I walk to the end of the dock– but its so worth it.

One advantage of the move has been that we have met more of our fellow boat owners or the captains who manage a boat.  In our previous location, with the large mega yachts, we would meet crew members of those boats but it’s not the same.   The group of owners/ captains is diverse and currently includes Americans, British, Italian and an Israeli.

Daily life on Minnehaha

When we tell someone that we are sailing and living on our boat, the reaction is usually the same.  “Wow, that must be so exciting – a dream come true.”   In many ways, it is, but generally it is also a life of routine and mundane chores.   If you think that the days of meetings and phone calls has gone away, think again.  We have spent quite a bit of time doing both while discussing repairs, etc. with the marina and the boat manufacturer.

71117 Doug taking care of business

Another phone call for Capt. Doug

Minnehaha did not come equipped with a full crew, like the mega yachts here (primarily because Minnehaha’s owners did not come with the same assets and budget).   Cleaning, washing dishes, doing laundry, and taking out the garbage are part of the daily routine  (we time the walk to the garbage bin with the tide – much easier to carry out garbage at high tide).  How long can those chores take?  Consider the fact that ‘cleaning’ frequently includes jobs like washing the hull to minimize the effects of saltwater and dust from the marina.  You don’t even want to see the algae that is growing on our fenders.  And we don’t want to see the barnacles that have grown on the hull during the time we have sat here.  This weekend we did a chore that I haven’t had to do for 30 years – defrost our refrigerator, freezer and ice maker.  I had forgotten how fast ice can build up on the cooling unit- especially in an environment as hot and humid as Savannah. It was a chore that had to be done -it was becoming increasingly difficult to get to the ice cream.   I finally found a use for the hair dryer that I had brought on board.  It significantly shortened the defrosting time.


Ramp outside out boat at low tide

ramp at high tide

Ramp outside out boat at high tide – much less steep


Sure glad I brought the hair dryer…for defrosting refrigerator

We fill our free time with exploring, reading (usually on the aft deck sunbed), going to movies or in the evening watching DVD’s or Netflix, when we have Wifi access.   This weekend we bought some fishing gear for when we head back to sea.  We were completely overwhelmed when we first shopped for fishing equipment.   Thanks to Nicki and Jon for some advice to get us started with the basics.  According to Jon all we really needed to do was ‘put a bright, shiny object with a hook on it in the water and we’d eventually catch a fish!”   Doug is optimistic enough he also bought a filet knife and cutting board.  Stay tuna!!

7616 Enjoying the aft sun bed

Favorite place to read- on the aft deck sunbed


Netflix night in the salon


Salt water fishing gear- where do you start? HELP

20170715_71527 new fish gear2

Thanks for the advice Nicki and Jon. Now comes the test of the fisherman


  1. sue salmela · July 17, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your adventures! I love it!

  2. Lori Aspaas · July 18, 2017

    Keep “maning up” Deb as so enjoy your blog! Be safe! Dan and Lori!

    • minnehahasailing · July 19, 2017

      Thanks Lori and Dan. Appreciate your comments. And back at you guys…i read your caring bridge every time . You are in my thoughts often. Cant wait til Dan is healthy…maybe we can get you to join us on the boat.

  3. Sharon K · July 19, 2017

    Good article Deb! Gives the reader a real feel for what’s going on including your positive adaptation to this new chapter in your life!

    • minnehahasailing · July 19, 2017

      Thanks Sharon. Its always nice to get feedback. If you can double our money msybe we can hire a crew 😉

Leave a Reply