Fall Happenings

Mitchell and I have been enjoying catching up with family and friends these past few months.  We have also appreciated the cool weather and beautiful colors that autumn in Ohio brings!

A few weeks ago, our friend, Sonja, invited us to Greenville, OH for her father’s barn raising.  It was quite an event with about 20 people helping out.


While Roger’s friends were doing the heavy lifting…


Mitchell was busy making the cooking device to hold the pot of stew over the fire!


During our mid-day break, Mitchell got to do a little jumping on the trampoline at Sonja’s friend’s house.


Since I didn’t get to take advantage of the trampoline, I did a little jumping of my own on Elizabeth’s (Sonja’s sister) childhood bed!


Once back on the farm, Sonja let us cut and take home a gourd that they grew.


It fit in perfectly with the pumpkin and fireplace at Aunt Annette and Uncle Tony’s house where we are staying!


After a long Saturday of barn raising, we took a trip to Bear’s Mill with Sonja the following day. The mill was built in 1849 and is one of the only water powered mills in Ohio that is still operating.  “Grain is still ground into flour and meals today, using the same cool grind practices as old world millers.”  (link)



A big “thank you” to Sonja, Roger and Loretta for hosting us for the weekend.  We really enjoyed our time in Greenville!

Back in Columbus, we have been spending as much time outdoors as possible.  A few weekends ago, we did some fishing at Antrim Lake. (Well- I spent most of the time trying to untangle my line and lure.)


Mitchell landed a few fish for his Uncle Perry and Grandpa Geno!


In the rest of our spare time …

Mitchell has been figuring out how to get the ring off the pole.  My Uncle Tony would be so proud of him!!

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I have been painting with high school friends.

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Mitchell has been making me PBJ sandwiches to take for lunch when I’m subbing.


My baby bump has been growing.  We will be 30 weeks this Wednesday!

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We have been enjoying a walk every evening.  Today’s walk around Antrim Lake ended with a beautiful sunset!

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And this past weekend my sister and stepmother hosted a baby shower for us.  The generosity of our family and friends left us truly speechless.  We feel so very luck to have such wonderful people in our life!   A huge thank you to all who helped make food, decorate, plan games and clean up.  Everything turned out perfect!!!





T-Rex Lives On

Because of our T-Rex sighting in the Dismal Swamp, Sea Major made it into yet another boating publication!!  Click here to view The Waterway Guide’s weekly newsletter.

Look Who It Is

Do you recognize the bow of the boat in this magazine picture?


It’s good ol’ Sea Major back when she transited the Dismal Swamp last fall!  BoatU.S. Magazine contacted me a while ago and asked permission to use my photo in an article they were writing about the ICW for their October issue (online version).  I happily told them yes; wondering what it would look like in the end.  Never did I imagine that it would be a full two-page spread with my name printed in the crack!!  Holy cow!


When looking closely at the photo, you might have noticed that Sea Major still had the ugly TreadMaster on her decks (how embarrassing!).  In the end, we were able to painstakingly remove all the Treadmaster and sand the decks, but we ran out of time to repaint the decks and apply the new non-skid.  So unfortunately, Sea Major had to be put up on the market looking a little less than perfect!






welcome center

A Few Updates

All is still well with us in Columbus!  Mitchell continues the job search on a daily basis while I have been growing our baby and applying to substitute teach.  For the past two weeks, we have been staying at my Great Aunt and Uncle’s house in Worthington (a suburb of Columbus).  My cousin is letting us stay here temporarily while we continue to apply and interview for jobs.  In exchange, I am helping her clean and pack up the house in preparation for her to put it up on the market.

I have signed up to start subbing in some of the districts around Columbus until we know where we will end up.  Mitchell has been diligently applying to jobs in Columbus, the Midwest and along the East Coast in hopes of staying somewhat close to family and friends.  In preparation for some upcoming interviews, we even got to do some suit shopping for Mitch.


One week ago, we went in for our 20 week ultrasound.  Baby Rutkowski is doing very well and is making nice progress!  We chose not to find out the gender of our little one; wanting instead to be surprised on the big day.


I have been feeling much better since the start of the second trimester, but no longer fit into my normal clothes!  Here is a picture for all those out of town folks who have requested a photo of my baby bump.

baby bump

If you are noticing that I’ve put on a few pounds, you can blame my husband for that!  He continues to make delicious dinners for the three of us.  Mitchell is enjoying cooking in a large kitchen again and has been experimenting with Aunt Annette’s cookbooks on occasion.  I, on the other hand, am thoroughly enjoying the dishwasher after having gone without for 3 years now!

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That’s about all for now.  We will continue to keep you updated on our whereabouts and the baby.  Thank you for all your well-wishes and encouragement in the meantime!

Journey’s End

After taking Mitchell’s mom to the airport, Mitchell, Matt and I set out for one last sail on Sea Major.  Having liked Solomons Island so much, we took Matt back there for a night.  We dined on some BBQ while the boys drank girly drinks at the Tiki Bar. 


The following morning, we headed back to Annapolis and enjoyed one last evening of walking around town before Matt had to leave.  To help ease the boredom of sailing life (and lack of fish caught) on our return journey, Matt did a few arts and crafts onboard; coming up with a miniature replica of Sea Major

mini boat

After dropping Matt off onshore, we anchored out for a few days and attempted to chip away at a few last minute boat projects.  On Friday, we pulled Sea Major into a slip and unloaded everything into a moving truck.  [Little did we know, that we would have to move everything into another truck after the first one died on us 15 minutes outside of Annapolis.]

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moving truck

2 trucks

Saturday was spent cleaning Sea Major from top to bottom.  And that evening we got to meet up with our sailing friends, JR and Drena, on s/v Journey for one last hurrah. 

all clean

jr drena

Sunday was a very sad day for Sea Major and us.  It marked the end of a year-long, 5,000 nm adventure and was the day the we put Sea Major up on the market in Annapolis.  As much as we hope she finds a new family, we will truly miss her when she does.  She was our first home and proved to be a very seaworthy vessel.  Sea Major will always have a special place in our hearts and we thank her for keeping us safe while taking us to faraway lands! 

for sale

Having said that, this is the last blog post I will write (besides a few random updates about Sea Major, Baby Kendrach-Rutkowski and where we end up living/working).  It has been a pleasure sharing our stories with you.  We hope you enjoyed traveling the world with us!! 

In The Same Boat

Once we left Norfolk, we spent the next three days heading directly into the wind and waves so we could make it to Annapolis in time to pick up our friend Matt.  The first night was uneventful with all three of us going to bed soon after we dropped the hook. 

However the following night made up for it while anchored off of Solomons Island, MD (map).  Once the anchor was set we launched Sea Minor.   Not having used the outboard for three months (since the Bahamas), Mitchell tried unsuccessfully to get it started.  After about an hour of troubleshooting, he gave up and rowed GoGo and me into shore.  Securely tied to the dinghy dock, the three of us got out before noticing that Mitchell didn’t have any shoes on.  Not wanting to row back out again, we decided to tempt fate and sneak him into the seafood restaurant that overlooked the anchorage (after Mitchell hauled in the big fish he caught – pictured below).

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Once dinner was finished we stopped to admire the sunset over the pier.

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Then onto the Tiki bar … where we proceeded to play a little corn hole and made friends with an Easter Island Maoi.

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The following day, we completed the final leg to Annapolis; picking up the last available mooring ball in case the outboard wouldn’t work again.  As it turns out, we were just in time for the sailboat regatta and boat parade which lead to a VERY busy weekend in Annapolis (map).  After cleaning out the carburetor during the day and spending another hour working on the outboard while on the mooring, Mitchell threw in the towel again and rowed the three of us to shore.  (He is super buff now because Sea Minor was NOT meant to be rowed.) 

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That evening we took GoGo to our favorite restaurant and ordered a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp and crab cakes.  Too tired from all the rowing, Mitchell made us head back to the boat before our friend Matt arrived in town.  Luckily, Matt was able to catch the water taxi out to the boat instead of having to swim! 

The next two days were spent working on the outboard, walking around the beautiful town (my second favorite in the U.S.) and eating fantastic seafood.   Mitchell did succeed in getting the outboard to work in the end … almost.  It will now start but it still shuts off when in idle.  After an afternoon at Pussers, Mitchell decided he was going to give the outboard another try.  We untied the dinghy from the dock, he started the engine and threw it into forward; almost hitting a piling and another boat, causing GoGo (and everyone on board) to laugh hysterically.  We made it halfway back to Sea Major before she died.  


This morning we got up at 4 am to get GoGo to the airport and enjoyed a super-moon lit row into shore.  


As I type, we are currently on our way back to Solomons Island with Matt to hit up the Tiki Bar again.   [Thank goodness they give pregnant ladies a free glass of juice when their husbands order a drink!!]


After being scolded by Mitchell and GoGo for a whole day, I have finally revised yesterday’s blog post to include a picture of T-Rex in the Dismal Swamp.  Click here to see him hiding in the fog. 

Boating With Brio

On Saturday we spent the day walking around Elizabeth City and doing boat chores.  Yet again we thoroughly enjoyed the southern hospitality and free docks of this cute little town along the ICW.


The next two days were spent transiting the Dismal Swamp Canal.  On Sunday, we cruised along in the rain feeling very dismal but enjoying the cool temperatures and swirly green duck weed in the water.  I was so mesmerized by the duck weed that I nearly ran us into 2 trees before finally running us into a third.DSCN2649

By early afternoon, we reached the first of two locks in the swamp.  First Mate Mitch was on the bow line and GoGo took the stern line while the water rose 8 feet.


The next hour was spent enjoying the views along the oldest operating canal in the U.S. while the sun dried us off.  After reaching the visitor center, the three of us went for a hike with Jon and Leah through the state park on the other side of the waterway.


On Monday morning we awoke to a fog covered Dismal Swamp.  The motor up the remainder of the canal and through the lock was absolutely beautiful.  We saw quite a few turtles and enjoyed the reflection of the trees and clouds in the glassy water, but the real spectacular spectacular was the T-Rex we saw looming up out of the fog directly in front of us!  We were able to snap a single photo (and a grainy video) before it moved off into the swamp.

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Center of photo: T-Rex




That evening we tied up in Portsmouth, VA (map) next to s/v Brio.   DSCN2770

To celebrate finding yet another free dock, the five of us splurged and went to dinner and a movie at the 1945 built Commodore Theatre.  Not having high hopes for the movie that was playing, we all ended up leaving having really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, but the real gem was the theatre itself!  The Commodore is a spectacular Art Deco venue…think Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny F-ing K!!


Portsmouth sites…




Technically you are only allowed to stay on the docks for 36 hours but instead of shoving off for the Chesapeake Bay the next morning, we decided to take the ferry over to Norfolk.  While on the ferry, we all agreed that it was nice to be on a boat that we weren’t directly responsible for (well except for GoGo who just likes boats).  The five of us wandered around town stopping at the Chrysler Museum of Art which had a very nice collection.  GoGo was particularly impressed with their well endowed collection of Greek statues.


This morning, the three of us said our goodbyes to Jon and Leah (ok- that’s a lie- we said our goodbyes last night b/c they wake up a lot earlier than us), promising to stay in contact and visit each other in the future (and we will probably take them up on that sooner than they think since they have a three bedroom apartment and really only need one of those rooms).  With heavy hearts, we headed up the Chesapeake Bay while they headed out to sea to do an overnight to FABULOUS Delaware.  We wish them luck as they make their way to Maine!

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On The ICW Again

Luckily Mitchell, Dan and Andrew put some serious offshore miles under Sea Major’s keel and made it all the way from Vero Beach, FL to New Bern, NC (map) so I didn’t have to do any overnights during my first trimester.  (Many thanks to all three of you!!) Since Mitchell’s mom, GoGo, has never been on the boat, she met us in New Bern to join us for some motorsailing up the ICW.


Saturday was spent getting the boat back in order, cleaning and restocking (much to the dismay of Mitchell and GoGo!).  Then on Sunday, we explored the historic little town of New Bern- the birthplace of Pepsi.



We enjoyed the lovely Sunday Jazz on the Deck at the marina — wish I could remember the name of the band; they were awesome. GoGo forced Mitchell to stay much longer than he would have wished, but he is a good son and she was buying.  🙂

The following morning we left the marina (without running into any poles since I was steering!) and set sail for Oriental, NC (map).  Having stopped here on the way south, we were excited to be visiting once again.  Tied up to the town free dock by 2 pm, we set off on a walk through town.  [Note to self- this is not the time of day to be walking around if you hate the heat!]  We ended the evening with a fantastic dinner at one of the local restaurants! [M&M’s- the scallops sandwich and slaw were delicious.]


The three of us also spent Tuesday in Oriental in order to meet up with our sailing friends, Bob and Sue.  We had met them in Vero Beach on the way south and have kept in contact with them since then!  After eating lunch in a Silo, we stopped at The Bean to enjoy a cold ice cream treat.

sue and bob

“Early” (if you ask Mitchell) the next morning, we headed for Belhaven, NC (map).  It turned out to be a beautiful day with good wind and small waves.  Sea Major made good time with the mainsail up and motor on.  Along the way, we passed a couple we had met in Oriental and told them to stop over for dinner if they made it to Belhaven.


Anchored inside the harbor, we were excited to see Leah and Jon (s/v Brio) pull in just in time for taco night!  The evening was spent swapping sailing stories while we watched the sun set.

Well rested, after being rocked to sleep on anchor, we spent all day Thursday working our way north along the ICW.  This time, we transited the narrow Alligator/Pungo River Canal.  Both sides of the waterway were lined with beautiful trees, old stumps and swamp land.  Once again, we spent the night on anchor after enjoying a fantastic pasta dinner with homemade bread (thank you Mitchell).

Today we started the morning by almost running aground because we were following the ‘magenta line’ on our chartplotter instead of the navigation markers in the channel. [The magenta line would have taken us on the wrong side of R8A.]

magenta line

Shortly afterwards a weather announcement came over the radio saying that severe weather was south of us and headed our way.  The lady advised small sailing craft to take cover.  So what did we do?  You guessed it- we booked it across the Albemarle Sound with our jib sail up and motor on (doing between 7-8 kts) in hopes of making it to Elizabeth City (web cam– you can see Sea Major) before the bad weather hit.  Not a hour too soon, we pulled into the free docks that we had stopped at on the way down and were again greeted by Gus.  Our friends on s/v Brio pulled in a few minutes later and now we are all hiding from the rain!


Leaving Vero with a worse crew than last time…

[Written by: Doctor Captain Mitch]

Yeah… these guys… Andrew (left) and Dan (middle).


Ok, new rule – never leave on a 5 day off-shore trip with a Brit and South African during the World Cup.  The boys showed up on Saturday, and we got the head sail back up and the dinghy in the davits.


We waited for the lightning storms to subside and left Vero Beach on Sunday at 2 pm heading south for Fort Pierce Inlet.


We didn’t get out of the inlet until 4:30 pm and sailed in a very narrow strip between two terrible lightning storms until early morning.


We got to see a lot of dolphins on our way north.32

But Andrew hates dolphins and every time we saw some would throw his hands in the air and complain how lazy they were.


Worn out from 3 nights on the boat, the boys decided to make a pit stop at Charleston, SC.  After being thoroughly impressed with my docking skills, we headed to the bar where most of us had American beers (sort of) and the boys were so enamored with the bar maid they nearly gave her a 150% tip.


We played some pool.


And eventually found our way back to the boat.


The next leg of the trip took us out at Charleston and we motor-sailed the next leg to Beaufort, NC on a glassy ocean.  The water was calm enough that we even caught some fish.


That night we enjoyed our tuna and mahi in the cockpit.


Many thanks to Andrew and Dan!  I would just like them to know that it has been three weeks and I have not crashed into one dock since that time in New Bern!