Travel Through 2018 With Meander

What did the Meander crew do in 2018? Sip cocktails in the cockpit while Honey relaxed with a chewy? Or sail in calm breezes with dolphins leaping in our wake?

Review of 2018 on Meander (golden retriever in red life jacket)
Is it almost time for sundowners? I’m waiting for my cookie.

The truth had less alcohol. But I think real life was more interesting—filled with pretty places, a few mishaps (or adventures), and plenty of friends. Here’s what really happened last year.

A review of 2018 on Meander (girl in pink coat and golden retriever surrounded by live oak trees)


The joy of this life is exploring wonderful places. Sometimes we return to the same anchorages. But I also like exploring new spots with Honey—especially if they have a beach.

South Carolina

Early January 2018 saw us breaking ice leaving Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Yes, really.

Meander motoring in South Carolina.
When we head down the Waccamaw River today, it will be chilly. But at least it won’t be icy.

I can only imagine what Honey thought watching from the cockpit as I jumped up and down on the bow while Mike motored out of the fairway. Mike claimed the extra motion on the boat would break up the ice without damaging our hull. But if he was punking me to make me look ridiculous, neither he nor Honey are telling.

I loved anchoring in dog-friendly Georgetown. The town offers a great dinghy dock, making it easy to take Honey off to play. And every block has a grassy park just waiting for a golden retriever to play ball.

Review of 2018 on Meander (golden retriever beside cannon and balls)
I love to fetch. I’m confident I could fetch these cannon balls.

Best of all, while taking a solar shower in the cockpit, I enjoyed the live music coming from the waterfront restaurants. You don’t think any of the diners had binoculars, do you?

Review of 2018 on Meander (sailboat at anchor)
Yep, that’s Meander just off Georgetown’s Harborwalk.

Sampit River Anchorage
Georgetown, SC
GPS Coordinates

N 33 21 59.96
W 79 17 11.22

While anchored in Awendaw Creek, we piled the family into the dinghy to take Honey off at the Buck Hall Recreation Area. Motoring down the ICW, I pointed out a log floating in the water nearby. Uh oh. Look closer. That’s not a log. It’s an alligator.

Alligator on the river in the Francis Marion Natural Area.
How big a worry is an alligator? Well, they’re shy. But they’re also very hard to see unless you’re looking for them.

Sorry, Honey. You won’t be playing in the water here.

Awendaw Creek Anchorage
Awendaw, SC
GPS Coordinates

N 33 2 3.49
W 79 32 33.31

The May River is a beautiful place to explore the Hilton Head area. And it was easy to take Honey off at the Brighton Beach park and boat ramp. But I’ve never met another cruiser who has anchored there.

May River Anchorage
Brighton Beach, SC
GPS Coordinates

N 32 12 41.72
W 80 50 36.83

One day we landed our dinghy at Palmetto Bluffs, a planned community with stunning homes. It was very nice—sort of like the National Zoo. Except instead of staring at tigers and polar bears, we watched rich people in their natural habitat.

We enjoyed visiting the town of Bluffton even more. But it was the scene of an interesting mishap adventure. Keep reading.


Is there any place more stunning and other-worldly than coastal Georgia? With the wind-swept live oak trees covered in Spanish moss and sea turtles that look like Volkswagens floating just below the surface of the water, I find it irresistible.

Review of 2018 on Meander (golden retriever in front of white dunes)
Okay, I’ll pose for a moment. But then I need to make sure there aren’t any armadillos hiding behind the dunes.

And Honey can’t resist free-roaming armadillos.

We’ve enjoyed two delightful anchorages close to Gascoigne Bluffs park on St Simons Island.

Reviewing 2018 on Meander (golden retriever at foot of tree)
I never saw the tree spirits that haunt St Simons Island. Can you find one?

Frederica River Anchorage
St Simons Island, GA
GPS Coordinates

N 31 10 36.20
W 81 24 38.29

That’s also where I learned a new way to “walk” the dog.

Review of 2018 on Meander (mermaid figure carved into tree)
Is this tree spirit a bit easier to spot?

While tossing Honey’s toy, we heard someone calling their dogs. Looking up, we saw two rambunctious Labradors running all over the park. But we didn’t see their people anywhere.

Then an SUV rolled up. Their windows were open and they were talking to their dogs. Yes, they were “walking” their dogs by driving around the park while keeping an eye on their pups.

We walked three miles each way from the park to Pier Village to have lunch with Honey. Every restaurant on St Simons Island with outdoor seating is dog-friendly. And nearly every restaurant has outdoor seating.

I just wish we had room on board for bikes and a dog cart so we could explore more of the island.

Lanier Island Anchorage
St Simons Island, GA
GPS Coordinates

N 31 9 49.7
W 81 25 5.94

Have you ever been to the Cumberland National Seashore?

Probably not. It’s only accessible by boat. And sadly, the National Park Service ferries are not pet-friendly.

But Honey was happy to share lovies with tourists as one of the rare dogs on the island (a few people live on the island and have their own dogs).

Honey barely noticed the feral horses. She stayed calm as the deer mama walked by with her baby. But armadillos made her insane! Who knew?

Review of 2018 on Meander (woman in pink jacket with golden retriever)
Ooooh, I think I see an armadillo!


Finally, after nearly 3 years, I spotted my first manatee. Squeeee!

Mike and Honey prefer dolphins. They’re more frolicsome.

Review of 2018 on Meander (dolphin swimming beside boat)
Every day on the water is more fun when the dolphins stop by to visit.

Honey and I spent a month in Titusville while Mike traveled to the frozen north to work. And although two rockets went up within sight of our slip (Titusville is across the waterway from Cape Canaveral), the highlight of our stay was hanging out with friends.


I saw the tiny chihuahua first. I asked Honey to sit down so the wee pup could greet her if she wanted to without fear of being stepped on by a larger dog.

After a few respectful sniffs, Anchor (the chi’s ironic name) and her person hung out to talk.

We quickly discovered that not only did we come from the same part of upstate New York but that Terry, Anchor’s person, was the captain of the first sailboat charter we took on Seneca Lake.

Small world much?

I can’t believe I didn’t recognize him. We even named a maneuver after him. Every time we do a 270-degree tack to avoid a gybe (for non-sailors, that means we do something slower and safer instead of something faster and riskier) we call it “doing a Terry.”

Even better was “meeting” a former blogger and her pup who stayed with us on the boat. (Yes, I love visitors—even pop-ins. Why do you think I put the map in the sidebar to show you where we are?)

Any longtime dog blog readers remember Beth and Gizmo of Terrier Torrent?

Review of 2018 on Meander (woman with small mixed dog and golden retriever in sailboat cockpit)
It was so much fun having a slumber party with Gizmo and his person Beth.

Of course, not all our encounters with famous blog pups are planned.

While traveling south, we anchored in the Ashley River of Charleston for two weeks to get caught up on work. While walking to the grocery store, I said to Mike, “Y’know Cathy of Groovy Goldendoodles lives near here. I wonder if I’d remember where her house is?”

Review 2018 on Meander (golden retriever playing with goldendoodle
I can’t believe you passed right by the Doodle Boys’ house and didn’t bring them back to the boat to play with me.

I looked up to scan the streetscape and found two handsome white goldendoodles sitting on the porch. Yep, I’ve become a blogger stalker.

Brittlebank Park Anchorage
GPS Coordinates

N 32 47 13.94
W 79 57 48.52

I wonder how many other S’waggers live within walking distance of popular Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) anchorages. If you do, you better watch out. Honey and I might talk you into joining one of our adventures.

Mishaps (or Adventures?)

After nearly 3 years captaining Meander, I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding mishaps. But if you live on a boat, you need to think of an event as less of a mishap and more of an adventure. Believe me, you’ll feel happier.

A Bad, Good Day in Bluffton

We visited lovely Bluffton, South Carolina for the first time. It was dramatic.

A look back at 2018 on Meander (wooden, gothic church).
The historic, carpenter gothic Church of the Cross sit steps from the dinghy dock. Somehow it survived when the rest of the town was burned by Union troops during the Civil War.

We waited for the wind to calm down before planning a long dinghy ride up the May River. But it was still blowing around 15 miles per hour. And with the wind blowing against the current, we got a bit damp on the way to town.

Review of 2018 on Meander. (golden retriever in dinghy)
I bet our “car” is more fun than yours. Look how floofy my ears look blowing in the breeze.

But it was farmer’s market day! And once we tied the dinghy to the dock, we set off to explore the town.

Review of 2018 on Meander (dock  with dinghy).
Our last view of the dinghy before we left it.

I remember walking around the farmer’s market. I have a faint recollection of taking Honey for ice cream somewhere. And I’m sure we had lunch at a pet-friendly restaurant.

Review of 2018 on Meander (golden retriever looks wistfully at lunch).
How could you forget lunch? I don’t know how you live with yourself after not getting me my own BBQ plate.

But nearly everything we did that day was wiped out by what we found when we returned to the town dinghy dock.

As I looked down at the water, I saw our life jackets, oars, and fuel tank sitting on the dock. What I did not see was the dinghy.

It had sunk. At the dock. Tied to the cleats.

With the wind opposing the strong current, wavelets blew over the transom, slowing filling the boat.

Poor Honey. This was going to end up being a long day. And she didn’t complain once.

Honey the golden retriever says trees are for squirrels, not for flinging dog poop.
For some reason, my people didn’t take pictures during our Bluffton adventure. So here’s one of me being cute just to make you smile.

I tied Honey’s leash to a park bench out of sight of the dock and hoped for the best while Mike and I worked to retrieve our sunken boat and engine from the drink.

The good news is that nearly the whole damn town of Bluffton turned out to help us over the next two days.

I wrote all about it but never published the post. Do you want to know how the police, a charter boat captain, a tour guide, and a bunch of NASCAR mechanics helped us get back to the boat? Ask me in the comments and I’ll post the whole story.


Our only plan for the day was to hang out at the beach at Fort Matanzas State Park. Suddenly we felt a jolt that shook the whole boat.

Review of 2018 on Meander (golden retriever and woman in pink jacket walking on beach
A dog can never spend too many days on the beach.

The captain of the catamaran anchored near us decided to snap a few pictures of the fort while leaving the anchorage. Sadly, he forgot about the current. When he noticed he was drifting into our boat, he shifted into forward, snagging our anchor rode on one of his propellers.

Review of 2018 on Meander (golden retriever on sailboat stuck to catamaran with two men)
I’m going to stand by in case things things get heated and they start throwing cookies at each other.

Several hours and one cold, professional diver later, we gave up on getting our anchor free of the propeller. After tying a float to one end of the line, the diver cut our anchor free. And off we headed to St Augustine to get a new anchor rode.

Poor Honey. Yet another adventure that kept you from getting to the beach.

Review of 2018 on Meander (primitive fort)
Fort Matanzas. What do you think? Was a picture worth all the grief?

Honey Gets a Boo Boo

In July, Mike traveled to eastern Pennsylvania to work for a month while Honey and I stayed on Meander in Hampton, Virginia.

I struggled all month at getting Honey off the boat in a slip with short, fixed finger piers and a three foot tidal range. But it became even more challenging when Honey injured a nail playing. 

A look back at 2018 on board s/v Meander. (golden retriever on aisle of sailboat)
Y’know, I wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the bow to turn around if you’d just spring for a bigger boat.

In the course of getting Honey treated, I learned a lot about visiting an emergency vet (click the link to see cute pictures of Honey making a fashion statement with a saline bag boot). I also learned that some cab drivers are really impatient as I saw mine pulling away as I carried Honey across the parking lot at a brisk run.

I thank the universe every day that Honey is only 50 pounds. And never more than on that day!

Would it surprise you to know that when I put Honey down to catch my breath, she immediately started wagging and limped over to greet the dock master? Yep, I thought not.

It takes a lot more than a hurt and bleeding paw to keep Honey from greeting a friend. And everyone is her friend.

Looking Back at 2018

Many sailors hate the ICW. For them, it’s just a shallow, challenging route that gets them to the clear, blue water of the Bahamas. 

For us, it’s home. And there’s so much to see in the Chesapeake Bay and inland coastal waters. 

I hope to find time to write about our visit to the Dismal Swamp (more beautiful than the name suggests) and to share more dog-friendly anchorages with fellow cruisers.

If you want to follow our travels in 2019, ask the universe to send us good weather, continuing work, and freedom from hurricanes and boat repairs. Share in the comments what you want to know about Honey’s life as the first mate of Meander.

Just don’t ask for more mishap tales. I only want to sink a dinghy once.


  1. http://Martine says

    I loved reading about your adventures. I’ll continue to read as long as you continue to post. May you have smooth sailing for 2019!

    • Awww, thanks Martine. That means a lot.

      I love writing Something Wagging. But I’ve worried that I’m no longer interesting to S’waggers. Really appreciate your faithfulness and encouragement.

  2. I wasn’t following you until partway throuth the year, so this was a really fun catch-up on your travels. I can’t believe you saw an alligator so far north. They are pretty common down here in Florida. Fair winds and following seas for the upcoming year of adventures!

    • I’ve seen signs warning us of alligators as far north as Southport, NC. I wonder if rising temps will cause gators to show up in surprising places? Who knows? Maybe Florida would get to hot for them. 😛

  3. My goodness, you really did have some adventures during 2018! And yes, I’d totally love a recounting of how you managed to retrieve your sunken treasure (aka, the dinghy). Happy 2019. Here’s to loads more ‘Golden’ adventures!

    • We’ll be anchoring in some new places the next few days. But when I get a moment to catch my breath, I’ll definitely massage that post into shape. It’s quite a story that involves darn near the whole town.

  4. It’s amazing, really! We don’t know how you do it on a small boat with all the issues and everything, but you clearly enjoy it, and that is all that matters! Cheers to an even more fun 2019.

  5. http://Stacey says

    I would love to hear more about the dinghy ordeal!

    Old Town Bluffton was also the site of our latest sailboat mishap. We anchored for a few days over Thanksgiving weekend just past the dinghy dock, near the Oyster Company. A random diesel issue combined with the holiday (no mechanics available to help) left us stranded for a day, followed by a six-hour tow to Savannah. Thank goodness for towing insurance!

    • Sounds like a Thanksgiving you won’t forget soon! Our first cruising season we ended up destroying our transmission getting back to safety ahead of a gale and both Christmas and New Year’s kept us from getting our work done.

      Hopefully 2019 will be easy for you with no more visit from Captain TowBoat!

  6. http://margaret says

    I seem to only get your blog sporadically so I am glad to here how your 2018 travels went. I hope 2019 brings you fair skies and following breezes and you have wonderful adventures. How long did it take Honey to acclimate to sailing and what does John do when he has to leave for work? Do you have hobbies? or how do you spend any spare time when you are in one spot for a month (i.e.: while John is working). Looking forward to hear about more of your adventures.

    • Sadly, I only publish my blog sporadically. But I hope to figure out how to post more often in 2019.

      I will write more about our life on board. But I can tell you that I work on board as well so I don’t have much time for hobbies myself. At least not as much time as I had hoped. 🙂

  7. http://Meagan%20&%20Merlin says

    Merlin & I would love to hear more. Did u have to pay for the new anchor rode or did the guy who caused the accident in the first place?

    • Luckily the culprit paid for the anchor rode. But not for damage we discovered later. Or for two nights’ stay in a marina we didn’t intend to visit. Grrrrr.

      But I guess as mishaps go, it was a pretty cheap one. 🙂

  8. http://Edith%20Chase says

    It’s always interesting to read about your adventures. I look forward to reading more. 🙂

  9. What great adventures! I grew up on St. Simons, so I’m glad that you got to enjoy it–and I’ve spent a lot of time on Cumberland! Rye saw her first armadillo this year, too, and she was even more excited about it than I was. Hope 2019 is filled with just as many good adventures

    • Lucky you to grow up in such a beautiful part of the world. 🙂

      And Honey isn’t telling me what makes armadillos so compelling (normally, her prey drive is non-existent). Perhaps Rye will let you in on the secret?

  10. I love reading about all your adventures, and definitely want to hear the story about the dinghy!
    Here’s hoping you have more good times, and less not-fun adventures like a sinking dinghy or snagged anchor to write about in 2019 though.
    I enjoyed reading that you met Beth and Gizmo, I remember them being around when I first started blogging, and was sad when they disappeared. It’s good to see they are doing well and had a nice visit with you.

    • So many people who started blogging when we did have moved on. It’s nice that you remember Beth & Gizmo too. It will be interesting to see how many old timers join next week’s pet blogger hop.

  11. Hi Pamela! Bet you thought Shadow, Ducky, and I were MIA. We’re sporadic bloggers, too, these days. I’d love to read about the sunken dinghy “adventure”! I remember reading about the dingbat who messed up your anchor rode. Geez, you’d think he would’ve been a lot more careful. And, yes, I remember Gizmo and Beth, too! I used to love reading about their geocache adventures. Glad to see they’re ok!

    Give Honey a kiss and chest rub for me!

    • Glad to see you here. I think of you often and wonder how you are al doing. Especially while I’m traveling in South Carolina.

      Today’s the pet blogger hop so I’ll do that first and try to get the dinghy story up soon.

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