Daughter and father steering a boat

Enjoying a Sailing Stay-cation in Hilton Head

It was time. We needed a vacation. And yet, because it was not a holiday weekend, we could not go out of town. Friday afternoon, as we were finishing up the first major phase of renovating our 62-foot schooner, Leopard, it occurred to my husband Lee and I that a weekend on the water with the kids might just be the stay-cation we were all craving. So, my middle daughter Ruth Love (6 years old), was in charge of our maritime-adventure-to-do list which went as follows (words in quotation are her exact words):

1. Pack bags. This included 1 bathing suit, 1 pair of shoes, 1 “pajammies,” 1 “party outfit,” 1 “night night” (comfort blanket), toiletries and no toys or electronic devices.
2. Pack cooler. This included easy to cook or assemble food like chicken skewers, fruit, hummus, veggies, cheese, and eggs and staples like water, “mommy juice” (red wine), and “daddy juice” (beer).
3. “Dog Camp.” This meant booking the boys (our dogs Harlan and Lefty) at Evergreen Pet Lodge.
Life jackets.
4. “Moosic” (music).
5. Blankets. (It was, to our cool delight, in the 50s at night.)

looking onto the ocean from the boat

Ransom (7) and Camellia (3) watching the sun set.

When we launched from Windmill Harbor Saturday afternoon, we planned on anchoring in Bull Creek but had no idea how many smiles and memories were right around the bend. Our neighbors and close friends the Normans joined us for an on-deck grill out. We:

  • Watched the sun set, the moon rise, and the stars and phytoplankton illuminate our scenery.
  • Listened to dolphins get oxygen through their blow holes and little micro-feeders eat algae from the boat’s hull.
  • Felt the vapors from the water mix with the fall air and prompt the resurrection of our favorite scarves, vests and jackets (usually from Outside Hilton Head).
  • Smelled the Lowcountry mix with the yummy aromas emitting from our stern-mounted grill.

Our rusticated evening was so elegant and enjoyable that we all fell asleep by 10pm and did not wake until 7:30am—which if you’re counting and/or a high-charged-non-sleeper like me that means 9 1/2 hours of uninterrupted, blissful sleep.

Lee and Camellia (3) climbing the ratlines.

Lee and Camellia (3) climbing the ratlines.

The next day, we attempted to motor-sail home. And by attempted I mean, we knew we were not ready to go home, home. Instead, we anchored in Calibogue Sound and watched the Harbour Town Cup Regatta. Vibrant spinnakers and smiling sailors cruised by us as we climbed and jumped off the ratlines (roped ladder system going up the rigging). We made good use of leftovers, welcomed passerby friends who decided to “raft up,” and in short embraced all that the Lowcountry had to offer.

That evening we motored into Windmill Harbor not with heavy hearts, but with satiated, seaworthy ones. Ransom (7 years old) had learned how to tie some new knots and cook on the boat. Ruth Love overcame her fear of heights and swam without a lifejacket. Camellia (3 years old) found that a pad of paper was much more fun than an IPad. Lee had fun playing captain and I loved being his first mate. —b.e.WELL, Becca

Becca Edwards is a certified birth doula, holistic health coach, yoga and Barre instructor, writer/blogger, and owner of b.e.WELL + b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com).

Hilton Head Island

Find Your Island Time

Hilton Head is America’s favorite island, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country.
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