You’ve Got Mail! How Do We Handle Mail?

We are full time cruisers and no longer own a home. So, how do we handle mail? Many people have asked me about this. Fortunately, we found a great solution that came highly recommended.

First of all, we moved everything to electronic statements and payments that are made automatically. We also do Online Banking and Mobile deposits. That was the easy part. Try as we may, not everything comes electronically and we still needed to receive regular mail.

The internet is a wonderful thing for finding information. One website that I follow is www.theboatgalley.com. This site has become one of my Go-To sites when I need to know something about boating and everyday living. She had recommended a company that has been in business for over 25 years and caters to cruisers, RV’ers and people who work overseas. St. Brendan’s Isle is based out of Green Cove Springs, FL.   Their website is www.sbimailservice.com.

We have now been using it for 6 months and could not be happier. We did a change of address with the local post office and we completed their paperwork that gives us a street address and number. Our mail is received there and they first scan the envelope.   We get a notification via email that we have mail. You've Got MailWe are able to look at the envelope to determine if we would like the contents scanned or if they should shred it.

I read about their internal security measures and felt comfortable with their handling of privacy issues.   If I tell them to scan the contents they scan all of the paperwork and if it is a check they will scan the front and back. We have been able to print the check information and complete a mobile deposit transaction. Once we are finished with the scan we would send it to be shredded.

There are times when we need to have the mail forwarded to us i.e. new credit cards or boat documentation.   They will forward the mail to us at our next destination / marina.   I usually try to accumulate enough held mail to make the forwarding worthwhile.   We pay a monthly fee for the service and an additional fee for the forwarded mail.   It has worked perfectly each time!

St. Brendan’s also performs other services for boaters. They know how to help establish residency, obtain a driver’s license and ship internationally with customs issues. The other added bonus is that we have told them to pitch our junk mail so that we never get any!

“Some things are just a mystery to me, while others are much too clear.”   Jimmy Buffett

North & South Carolina – Fresh Shrimp, Great Weather, Docktails & a Funeral

Great Weather sceneryAll week we continued to have great weather for our travels through the Carolinas. This area is one of my favorites to experience. We stopped at old favorite places and found some new ones that drew us in. The boat is performing perfectly with no issues. We have continued to travel along at our 10 mph and around 50 miles per day.

I have always heard good things about Beaufort, SC and we happy that we decided to spend 2 nights there. The marina is right in their downtown district. It is dog friendly place even to serving a Pet Menu in one of the restaurants that we stopped in with the dogs. They let me know that it was “Yummy”. We were there for Easter Sunday and attended a sunrise service right by the marina. Afterwards Capt. Steve whipped up an Easter Brunch and my friend, Martha made her special Bloody Marys. It was a beautiful morning.  Easter Bloody Marys

Charleston is always worth 2 days and that is definitely to enjoy their fabulous restaurants. We had our fill of oysters and seafood in the short time that we were there. This is a mandatory stop. Our favorite place is Pearlz Oyster Bar, but found 2 others that ranked high, also.

Fresh ShrimpShrimp BoatsWe went off the beaten path and tied up in Georgetown for a night. We were excited to see the shrimp boats and bought 3 lbs of their “off the boat” shrimp.   This was another cute small town and walking around was very pleasant. Time spent there was short, but I liked it.

We had been waiting for Myrtle Beach to pull out our golf clubs again. The dock master let us use his car to get to the golf course. We all played well and I loved having the Red Tees set so far forward. This made me feel that I was really hitting my clubs far!   While we were there we had some waxing and cleaning done on the boat while we golfed. It was a productive stay! Read more

Leaving Florida – First Guest, First Fairways, First Anchorage & Krispy Kremes

After spending 4 days in Jacksonville visiting friends and sharing the boat with more friends it was time to get the Party Started out of Florida. My best friend from high school decided to take a chance and come with us. She really didn’t know what to expect because her boating has been limited and has never taken the Intracoastal. She was amazed at how flat and marshy the trip is through Georgia.   She is thoroughly enjoying herself and doesn’t miss anything along the way.

Typically, when doing deliveries we would by-pass Georgia because it is long and tends to have some shoaling issues. But, since the ocean was not a good alternative we felt that with our shallow draft we would not have a problem. We had no issues and even cutting across big bodies of water the ride was pretty smooth. I didn’t mind it at all and there was no stress going along at 10 mph.

Golfing on the LoopWe went straight to Jekyll Island because one of our “must dos” is to play golf along the way. My friend brought her clubs and we played one of the courses there.   We are so glad that we did.   We hadn’t played in forever, but it didn’t matter and we were pretty happy with our round. Read more

Our First Week of the Great Loop

We couldn’t have asked for a better day then when Gypsies Palace left the dock n April 1st for our first week of our Great Loop Adventure. The winds and seas were calm so we traveled outside from Boca Raton to Stuart. Just a beautiful day that you dream about.

5 O'Clock SomewhereThe whole week was a party everywhere we stopped as we met with friends on nearly every stop! We even had friends ride with us from Boca to Stuart and Uber back home! We stopped in a place called Nettles Island on Hutchinson Island and it was interesting. There were really nice mobile homes with regular homes in between and they were all built on an angle. Golf carts were used to ride around. These people have a slice of paradise.

Our next day took us to Vero Beach where my friend got us space at the Quail Valley Yacht Club. The funny thing there was that the dockmaster tried to fit us into a slip that he said was 28 ft. with our beam of 25 ft. We got stuck between the pilings going in so in reality, their slip was 25 ft. No matter how hard Capt. Steve tried that boat was not going to fit!

We started the new tradition of the “Coconut” welcome shot.   I found this bottle of Captain Morgan’s Coconut Liquor and we all raise a toast to the Loop with each group of friends. By the way, my Vero friends brought us lobster to grill on the boat – really roughing it, right? Welcome to the Loop

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Traveling with our Dog on Board

Many people wonder what it is like to travel with a dog on board when full time cruising.  So, how is life going with Jazzy, our miniature schnauzer?   Transitioning from a house and yard is a big adjustment.  We were convinced that Jazzy would be able to adjust, but just how much?  We have taken him out on boating trips before so we knew he was comfortable with the boat, but could he really turn into a boat dog?

One thing we knew is that Jazzy is a dog that really doesn’t like the water, more specifically swimming. We had no worries that he would jump in the water to chase a bird or take a swim like a spaniel or lab.   He definitely prefers the boat when it is not underway.  Once the engines start he knows we are going.  He usually comes inside and sits on the couch out of the way.   When the ride is smooth he simply sleeps, just like at home during the day.  If the motion of the boat changes i.e. from the wake of another boat, he usually hugs against me.  That is not his favorite thing! Read more

What Is Your Comfort Zone?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” is a quote by Neale Donald Walsch and was recently given to me by one of my friends as we started our Coastal Journey.   Most of us live each day in our “Comfort Zone”.   Steve and I were no different. We had a comfortable, but somewhat predictable life.   We changed things up with travel and friends, but for the most part we were “safe”. When we looked at our retirement, was being safe what we wanted – predictability, routine?  Life with a sameness.  That did not seem like either of us.  What we have seen that happens to people as they age is that there world becomes smaller and smaller and their comfort zone shrinks. Read more