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s/v September Sea

"Whatever happened to Charmaine and Bill?"
Well... from the Gulf Stream to the 'Main Stream'

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s/v September Sea 

Current Location: Marathon, Florida Keys

~  See Charmaine's Spectacular "Sunrise to Sunset" Gallery ~

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Welcome to the website home of Charmaine and Bill, a chronicle of sorts of our adventures while sailing and living aboard a 1984, 36-foot, full-rig, Lancer sailboat sloop, named s/v (s/v = sailing vessel) "September Sea."  This website is a work in progress, so please come back and see us often.  We hope you enjoy it here and will be kind enough to sign our Guest Book.  Please feel free to share your comments, questions or suggestions.  You may sign the Guest Book as often as you like, as we love hearing from our readers!  Highlights and most popular sections here include The Hurricane Chronicles, the Sunrise to Sunset section (a gallery of a some spectacular photos I've taken while we've been out on the water).  We also feature sections dealing with what life is like aboard, shots taken while under sail (sounds like we ran into pirates... LOL  "Let me clarify that..." [Hahahaha.  Shades of Don Knotts' character, ["Atta boyyyy"] Luther, in "The Ghost & Mr. Chicken"]: Photography Shots), Marinas we've frequented, Places we've been; Some who have visited us aboard; Our current port of call & its weather info; Living aboard; and a tour of our sailing vessel... but much, much more as well. 

Sit back, relax... and above all, Enjoy!


We purchased our sailboat as our gift to one another for our 30th wedding anniversary, which was in September of 2002.  As 2005 approached, New Year resolutions turned to me turning to Bill and saying: "Time to get that website up.  We've got a lot of stuff to show for the last couple of years down here."  Yes.  So here I sit as Bill awaits a first page to peruse.

You know, the website was long overdo.  It's something I wanted to create and keep updated right from Jump Street.  In the meantime, we've made quite a home for ourselves down here in the Florida Keys.  We absolutely love it!   What could be better than living in the tropics, living aboard a sailboat, and becoming avid sailors--yet all done within the comfort zones of one's own country.   Somebody pinch me!

We'd never sailed ourselves, but the thought of it quickly became more and more appealing every time I'd hop on one of the John Deere tractors and mow grass, seemingly all day long.  We both grew up in the Midwest -- Illinois, to be exact (remember, ya don't pronounce the "s" -- it's either "ILL-ANNOY" or "ELL-ANNOY"). We'd spent the previous 15 years owning properties that had lots of acreage (which meant lots of yard work all year round!). Yes, all year round.  'Cause if you weren't mowing, you were seeding or planting, and if you weren't planting, you were  raking, and when you weren't raking, you were picking up debris from storms, or you were plowing the snow off the sidewalks and long driveways.  Yikes!  Then it'd storm or snow again and the process would have to be repeated all over again!  That's just the yard!  Then there's the upkeep and maintenance of the house!

My Goodness!  We had become, truly, slaves to our possessions!

Enough was enough!  Even though I have always loved gardening and mowing and raking... the love of it began to wear thin as the knees and back began to wear out!  Thus, Bill and I both began to dream of a simpler, more fulfilling life.  We dreamt of freedom. The kids were grown and on their own: it was time for Mom and Dad to really think about doing something--in the very near future--something that might be, perhaps, a little out of the ordinary.  We were fortunate that our business is in Information Processing (software development), as Bill has been in that business for thirty years.  I do some freelance writing and photography, and help with the detail portion of running our software company... all of which can be done from anywhere... Yep!  All we'd really need in order to move our jobs aboard would be a high-speed internet connection.  WOW!  That's IT?  Yep.  Pun intended!  So I thought: Why in the world were we still living where dealing with snow and cold, tornadoes, and miserable weather is normal??

LIGHT BULB TIME!!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!

We had been to the Virgin Islands on vacation in the past and had once chartered a sailboat for the day.  We really didn't participate much at all, but it sure stuck in my mind that the Captain of that vessel lived aboard.  I recall thinking what a really cool lifestyle.  Didn't give it much thought again until my knees started aching miserably while planting bulbs... LOL.  So I went to Bill and proposed the idea of celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary by selling everything we own and buying a sailboat or sailing catamaran [See my article "The Reluctant Mate" as published in "Living Aboard" Magazine, issue March/April 2005] and saying goodbye to grass and weeds and houses, and all things that required a lot of maintenance -- in a WARM CLIMATE!  He didn't even bat an eyelash when he jumped in with both feet!  He says to me, "You mean I actually get to live in a tree house?"  Well... sort of... I guess.

We decided to "feel-out" what it would be like to sail and live aboard.  We chartered a vessel out of Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove, Florida.  We would stay aboard and live the sailing and live aboard life for four days.  So glad we did that... by the time our experience was over, we were truly bitten with the sailing and live aboard bug.  We'd talk about how much fun it would be to really learn to sail and how to take care of our vessel.  Oh yeah, we need to find a vessel!  Just a minor technicality... 'cause we're gonna learn all about that too... Wow!  We'd sail and be able to go and explore new things... and take our 'house' with us!

Thus, it's easy to understand how we both were hooked big time on the thought of such a new beginning... and what an incredible adventure that all would be!  Our minds and mouths were running a mile a minute... LOL.  But think about it: To sail, snorkel, scuba dive, anchor out, venture into new things before the desire to do so vanished beneath the frailty of the human condition: getting older and not being able to physically do it! 

We dreamt of freedom.

We dreamt of the sea.

But did we really know what we were getting ourselves into?

Many say that sometimes things happen for a reason.  We'd step in line to agree with that adage.  It doesn't really matter how you dream or what your dreams are, as long as they allow you the freedom to simply Be.  That's what we were lacking, our freedom.  We had made a wonderful home for ourselves and our children that was quite self-sufficient in nearly every way.  Our own little Garden of Eden.  Little did we know that pursuing the feeling of freedom didn't mean creating your own self-sufficient haven ON LAND... it was already attainable in a much simpler manner.  You see, it was out there all along!  Free of charge:  The Sea.

It soon became very apparent that the Sea itself, no matter what other name may be attached to it, as it all ends up being the Sea -- is not only free, but allows us to be free as well!  We wanted to embrace, what seemed to us, to be the last of the Great Freedoms of our lifetimes.  So come on along with us as we learn if the more often than not elusive dream of buying a boat, learning to sail, living aboard (and earning a living too!), exploring the tropics like the Keys and the Bahamas and doing this all year 'round -- is it just a pipe dream or is it realistically attainable?  Well, surely for some it is!  But are such dreams realistic for the average person to one day turn into a lifestyle of his or her own?


       Well...  Bill and Charmaine went to "Sea" for themselves!

How did we go from land to sea... how did we learn to sail?

s/v September Sea Member of the

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Website created & maintained by Charmaine Smith Ladd

Website's Initial Publication Date: January 15th 2005

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 - All Rights Reserved - Update: December 10, 2014

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