If you’ve been following our Great Loop adventure from the beginning, you might remember my post about our first night anchored out. In case I wasn’t clear enough…it was a nightmare. Truly.
However, since I wrote that post 9 months ago, I’ve fallen in love with anchoring.
Coming off of a particularly wonderful experience, this feels like a good time for a little update.
First of all, if you missed my initial impression of anchoring, you can go back and read it HERE. I described it, very dramatically, as the worst night of my life. Thankfully, that still holds true.
It was one heck of an introduction to anchoring. Not to mention a really terrible way to start the Great Loop. A couple things jump out to me when I read that post about our terrible night on anchor:
- Gosh, we were SO new and inexperienced. And wow, we’ve come a long way! I guess everyone needs to start somewhere. But I’m embarrassed for myself as I go back and read that post. We picked a terrible anchorage and did it all wrong.
- I still have nightmares about that experience. It was exactly as I described (I’m not dramatic at all…) I honestly can’t believe I agreed to stay on anchor ever again.
But alas, we lived to tell about it. And we’ve actually grown to enjoy being on anchor!
Now please don’t get the impression that we’ve turned into the kind of people who spend months anchoring in the middle of nowhere. We still aren’t experts, and we certainly don’t do it as often as we’d like to.
The most consecutive days we’ve ever anchored is 3. And our total number of nights on anchor is right around 20.
While the numbers may not be that impressive, the memories we have on anchor are certainly some of the best:
- Anchoring in New York Harbor, right behind the Statue of Liberty while we celebrated Mary Grace’s 13th birthday with our friends.
- Being among 100 boats anchored on New Year’s Eve at Cayo Costa State Park and everyone celebrating by honking their boat horns at midnight.
- Anchoring on the Ohio River and watching the election results late into the night with 2 of our buddy boats.
- Camping (on anchor) next to a waterfall with friends and enjoying breakfast prepared on the beach.
- Waking up in fog so thick in Atlantic City that we could barely see the other boats in our same anchorage.
- Waiting out a long, terrible thunderstorm on anchor after planning to eat with friends. Our dinner was spread out between the 3 boats- each of us had part of it! And we had no safe way to get together.
- Rafting to two of our best friend’s boats for a weekend of swimming, eating, and laughing.
You might notice that a common theme running through this list of memorable anchorages is the word “friend.” Being on anchor with friends makes it infinitely more fun!
It also, in my opinion, makes it a little more safe. We enjoy having a second set of eyes and instruments on the situation. While some people relish the idea of being in seclusion, I much prefer people.
Another aspect to anchoring that we’ve been testing is connectivity.
One of the main reasons we stick to marinas most nights is to ensure our ability to work. Most marinas offer wifi (though we rarely use it) and they are typically located in areas with good service. Brent and I both depend on internet and cell for our jobs, and the kids use both for school too. Not to mention, we all enjoy YouTube TV and Disney+ streaming.
Several of our first anchorages were located in the middle of nowhere. Reception was spotty, at best.
Over the last few months we’ve worked hard to upgrade our boat’s connectivity to become the ultimate floating hot spot. (There’s been a huge interest lately in how we do this, so at the end of this post I will put a list of the equipment we use to stay connected.)
Spending time on anchor is so much more appealing when we have all the comforts of a modern home office!
Another thing we’ve gotten much better at is selecting anchorages.
I cringe when I think about our first few anchorages. As I mentioned, they were in the middle of nowhere. They were also often in bodies of water that were subject to major tides and current changes. Neither of those conditions are ideal for a good experiece.
Besides word of mouth, we like to use Waterway Guide to find good, reliable anchorages. We purchased the book and also have a subscription. Through trial and error, we learned that when the anchorage isn’t rated highly…it isn’t for us!
Although we’ve learned a lot and made several adjustments, we still have a few more issues to tackle before we’d be ready for long term anchoring.
Our boat does not currently have a watermaker. And we only have 140 gallon fresh water tanks. For a family of 4, that doesn’t last long enough.
We’ve actually had a really good time experimenting and figuring out what works for us without being too uncomfortable. I mentioned in a previous post, Cooking On A Boat– we use a lot of paper plates now. And when we’re on anchor we use plastic cups and silverware too. Eliminating the need to wash dishes saves us a lot of water.
On the other hand, our trash piles up quickly. So it’s a balance!
We also need to make some modifications to our current battery load in order to be able to power our fridge without the use of our generator. This project is currently in the works, and I’ll look forward to updating with our solution soon.
All of this about anchoring, and I haven’t mentioned the best part…unobstructed sunrises and sunsets!
Anchoring always seems to be a hot topic when I post pictures. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer them. As I said at the top, we’ve come a long way and learned a lot. But we also have a long way to go!
As always, thanks for following along on our crazy adventure. You might also enjoy reading:
Here are the products we use to stay connected while anchoring or even just in marinas to make sure we have the best quality setup:
- weBoost Drive Reach (cell booster)
- Wilson Electronics Wide Band Omni-Directional Marine Antenna (external antenna on the roof of our boat.)
- weBoost Indoor Wall Mount Panel Antenna
- Modem Extender Unlocked
- Green Screen with stand and clips
- Ring Light
- Microphone with USB Connection
We also have SIM cards from AT&T and Sprint…along with our Verizon cell phones. Yes, it’s an overkill. But there have been times when we’ve needed a backup option.
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