Back at Big Water Marina – Where It All Began

It all began with a little sailboat we kept docked at Big Water Marina in Starr, South Carolina. Genesis was truly our beginning; or at least the beginning of us actually doing after years of dreaming.

Let me back up a bit… Greg and I have dreamed of traveling and living on a sailboat for most of our married life, but it was really never more than that… a dream.  Something for us to distract ourselves and fantasize about, especially on the many days when the daily reality of life became either too overwhelming or worse yet, too mundane.  It was never more than a fantasy though. Something to look forward to… ‘some day’. Don’t get me wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed our homes (yes, there have been many), our kids, and our lives in general… but there was always that niggle at the back of both of our subconscious minds – an itch really… to travel… more. 

I remember at one point when our now grown kids were still quite young, Greg got on a kick for us to get an RV and travel the country with all of the kids. After all, he was self-employed, I was homeschooling the kids… why not? At that point, I was the one stopping us. I simply could NOT wrap my head or heart around it.  My health had been gradually declining since the age of 26 and furthermore I was in the nesting phase of my life. Not only that, I was deep in the throes of raising and even more overwhelming, homeschooling three, soon to be four kids at that time. We got bored and antsy easily so we moved a lot (26 homes in our first 21 years of marriage) and at that point I wanted nothing more than stability and security.  Furthermore, I absolutely thrived on our homeschool community and the resources we always had at our fingertips.  Finally, neither Greg nor I possess a calm, quiet, or chill personality.  We are both a bit (okay a lot!) on the loud side and having produced equally loud offspring, the mere thought of us all crammed into a tiny RV was simply inconceivable to me.  So the question of “why not?” was quickly and easily answered and that kick was kicked straight to the curb. 

Fast forward quite a few years after God brought me back from a major health crisis of being paralyzed from multiple sclerosis.  I was no longer paralyzed and my perspective on life had totally changed. I had the live each day to its fullest mentality and I absolutely enjoyed the little things in life…  like walking… especially without a cane! My new motto was “seize the day and live it to its fullest”! Unfortunately, that event had done more than paralyze my body, it had also paralyzed all of Greg’s dreams for our future.  While I continued to improve, he seemed stuck in a mid-life crisis of sorts and was living as if simply biding his time, waiting for ‘the other shoe to drop’ when it came to my health. One day, after much prayer in how to get him out of his funk, I had an epiphany. I walked up to him and declared, “How are we ever going to live on a sailboat if I have never even learned how to sail?”  This one question was the spark it took to fire him back up and get him out of his funk and dreaming again. Within months we found a great deal on a 26’ sailboat that we both instantly fell in love with at, you guessed it, Big Water Marina. We named our beloved sailboat, Genesis as the first book of the Bible starts “in the beginning…” and that is exactly what it was for us. The beginning. The first step of our dream becoming our reality.

I instantly fell in love with sailing with an exuberance that almost exceeded Greg’s. We spent much of the next four years driving back and forth to Big Water every single chance we got. We spent all of our “free” time sailing and exploring every inch (or so it seemed) of the beautiful and expansive Lake Hartwell and all of the little islands it encompassed. I loved (and still love) the freedom and ability to breathe deeply that I have only ever experienced when on the water.  I also thoroughly loved the many times we spent a night or two (or three) sleeping aboard our cozy little sailboat and I easily could picture myself needing not much more than a good ole sailboat to live on. That said, we were still raising our kids and doing that while living on a sailboat wasn’t feasible… yet.

Fast forward to May of 2015 and Greg ended up having quite the health crisis of his own.  His resulted from an accident on his moped in which both he and Elijah (our youngest) were rushed in their own respective ambulances to the hospital. They both recovered fully, but Greg now had a completely different perspective on life.  The perspective I had gained from my health crisis:  Live each and every day to the fullest because you never know what tomorrow will bring. At this point we were down to only two of our four kiddos left at home and our third was leaving for college in August of that same year. Our last one had no desire AT ALL to live on a sailboat, but was excited to travel the country by RV.  So our path quickly became obvious. Live on an RV until Elijah is raised and moves onto his adult life, then get our forever sailboat. By February of the next year we had sold everything, including our beloved little sailboat, and we hit the road to travel full time with our youngest in our brand new 41’ Fifth wheel (RV) and we have never looked back. 

Although we never looked back, we did come back – all the way back to where it all started – Big Water Marina.  Turns out they now are Big Water Marina and Campground!  So we came back to our old stomping grounds and got a 50 amp FHU RV site overlooking “our” Lake Hartwell to spend a full month here getting our youngest and our third (now freshly out of college) set up in a place of their own.  After over three years of traveling across this entire beautiful nation of ours, our youngest and last was very ready to settle back down and to get his own adult life started… in one location.  He loved traveling the first year; liked it the second year; and tolerated it without complaint the third year.  Having spent the entirety of his high school years travelling the country, he was antsy to settle down and stay in one place near his brother, family, and friends. 

Big Water helped in a big way to make the transition not only enjoyable, but memorable.  They made some major improvements during our absence and their new staff made this already special month in our lives even more so.  Not only were we welcomed back with open arms (by new owners, nonetheless) but we were treated like family.  We stayed at Big Water for a full month.  Not only did we enjoy the view out our back window of beautiful Lake Hartwell, we enjoyed their Marina, the beautiful grounds, and we even got in a day on the lake in one of their amazing new pontoon boats for rent.  We also visited with our poor little Genesis, who was still sitting there at the marina as if waiting for us to return.  She looks as if her new owner hadn’t touched her since he bought her from us…  dirty and neglected.  It was quite sad to see her that way, to say the least.

Greg and I have left South Carolina and are now trying to adjust to this new phase they call the “empty nest”.  It’s a bit unsettling and we can already tell that it will take some getting used to. I already miss Elijah, my last one, more than I ever anticipated. That said, we are already planning for our next adventure in life. We both want the boat – but we also both want to spend more time out west before we take to the sea. We realize that once we get the boat and move aboard we won’t be traveling as much across the entire country, so if we want to go back out west (which we both do badly!) then the time to do it is sooner rather than later. We are beginning to get excited about our future plans (notice I don’t call them dreams – they are plans) of living on a boat. Before we do though, we plan on spending the next year or two traveling back out west while praying about and researching what our next home should be… a monohull sailboat; a catamaran; or maybe even a trawler?!?!  

So much to do… So much to see…  So little time. My words of wisdom are the same as always: Don’t just dream it, DO IT! Live each day intentionally and to it’s fullest. And of course – SMILE!

Happy Trails and Sunny Sails!

Here’s a video Greg put together highlighting our stay at Big Water Marina

First by Land | Then by Sea