Sail to Miami

Who wants to sail to Miami for the Fourth of July? We will be sailing Sapphire Catamaran to South Florida for the holiday.

So far, these blogs have been about past trips. This one is different. This blog post is about our upcoming sail from Central Florida to Miami.

Crew and guests are encouraged to arrive on the boat midday June 28th, 2020. The Safety Brief and Float Plan Meeting will start at 6pm with refreshments served. The meeting is followed by dinner aboard at 8pm. 

The catamaran will leave Titusville, Florida, early the morning of June 29th, 2020. The route will take the ICW South to the Cape Canaveral Locks, and then passing through to the Atlantic Ocean. The weather this time of year can be affected by local evening thunderstorms and extreme storms of tropical nature. With fair winds and nonstop traveling, the offshore sail to Miami should make port on July 2nd. Family-style Meals and safety equipment provided while underway. Watchkeeping, primary navigation, sail theory, and steering the catamaran will be some of the fun for this trip. Don’t forget this will be an excellent opportunity for great photos along the way.

In celebration, Aquatramp.com and Sapphire Catamaran will be hosting a 4th of July/ Full Moon Party in Coconut Grove (Miami), Florida.

If you are interested in joining us for this trip, you can email us at Captain@aquatramp.com for more details.

Bucket List

What age is too young to begin a “Bucket List?” I discovered I was asking myself this question when contemplating how to begin this excerpt.

Once again, we welcome Captain Chris as a monthly guest writer. His attention to detail recaps a trip to Canada with his wife, Holly, to fulfill one of their “Bucket List” items.

What age is too young to begin a “Bucket List?” I discovered I was asking myself this question when contemplating how to begin this excerpt; and as I thought it through, I realized that I unknowingly began to formulate my Bucket List items about my Senior year of High School.  Being raised a country boy on somewhat of a farm in middle North Carolina , theatre and elements of the Arts were not something that I was accustomed to; then in 2004 I watched a video online of Alegria by Cirque du Soleil!  Instantly I was enamored with this performance and I began to figure ways that I could be able to see it in person.  About this same time the show Varakai came to Charlotte, NC and I was fortunate enough to take my Mom to see it; to this day we still often reminisce about how that was by far the best performance either of us had ever seen and I am so very thankful I got to experience that masterpiece with her!  This only made me want to see Alegria more!

Fast forward to 2019 and after watching Cirque’s website on and off for years it was brought to my attention that Alegria was going to be in Toronto Canada!!!  Adventure awaiting knocked at my thoughts as to the fact that neither my Wife nor I had ever been to Canada, Cirque du Soleil was performing in Canada, there is a Castle (Casa Loma) with a world renowned Steak House, and I was currently working in Pennsylvania with only a 5 hour drive to Toronto!   The planning began!  The more I researched Toronto the more I realized it seemed to be a mini-NYC with a booming China Town, a sense of Little Italy, and several other really interesting cultural districts and places of interest; and since we were going in November the chance for Holly to get to experience “a real snow” for the first time was even looming on our horizon! 

Our first evening in this beautiful city led us to the base of the CN Tower where Holly, after reading a little about the Tower, exclaimed “wouldn’t it be something to eat up there at the 360!” luckily those dinner reservations had already been made and we enjoyed making a couple new friends at the table next to us –everyone we met in Toronto were unbelievably nice to us– had a great meal, and even were able to see the “Big Top” tents that were set up by the water where the Cirque show we were attending the next day would be.  If you’re in Toronto and want to see the best bird’s eye view, have a meal at the 360

The next day was one of the most exciting thus far in my life, I had been waiting years to see Alegria and this was going to be Holly’s first Cirque show!  Pictures were taken and then we made our way into the Big Top tent where we were not disappointed.  Vibrant costumes, amazing voices resounding the tunes of Alegria, a Fire Knife Dance that took us away to a Polynesian Island while we sat feeling the heat from the flames on stage brandishing our faces, a perfectly synchronized Trapeze Ac! that encompassed at least 6 performers flying high over our heads doing literally unbelievable stunts!  This show left us awestruck and looking forward to the next show that we will be able to see!  Currently in the schedule is the Michael Jackson One show in Las Vegas, but who knows when we will get there? If you have seen this show, or any other show in Vegas that we shouldn’t miss, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below, I am always open to any insights! 

Honestly, I didn’t think that Toronto would be able to envelope our emotions any more than she already had but I was mistaken and discovered this promptly upon our arrival at the gate of Casa Loma.  I tipped our Uber driver and even though it was cold and snowing –Holly got her “real snow” as it snowed all day from the time we woke until after we went back to sleep this day, and was snowing the next morning as we walked to the China-Town markets for lunch—the two of us had to stop for a moment at the entrance and just gaze in awe.  Casa Loma to me is like the Biltmore Estate is to us from NC, but instead of a mansion, it is the only complete genuine castle in North America.  One can only imagine what the grounds look like when Spring calls out all the blooms, but here in November the snow blanketed everything for an entirely different style of beauty.  I simply can not express the glamour of this castle in words, as the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” …the following should speak for itself and it’s not a spoiler, everyone who appreciates architectural details and classic engineering should visit this castle if they get the opportunity.  Every detail has been maintained, and unlike most tourist locations in the USA, there are no barricades and gates at Casa Loma. One is free to roam and actually enjoy the sights without feeling as if you are in a cattle shute presentation only for your money.  There is even an antique car display and an unbelievable steak house, Blue Bloods, with perfectly aged cuts of meat from around the world, a Baked Alaska Flambe served tableside that is legit, and the details go all the way down to a castle replica on their chocolates; Blue Bloods can’t be missed!  This is a hidden gem destination that is not that far of a drive just across the border.  Take a trip to Niagara Falls and then add a couple wineries into your agenda –there are probably 50 or more between the US/CA border and Toronto– on the way to Toronto for a few day stay, I do not think you will be disappointed!

Life’s Full of Surprises

In this guest writer article, Captain Chris describes the most influential day in his and Holly’s relationship. For two people who love nature, travel, and adventure, I can’t think of a better location than Cumberland Island.

June 25, 2015, is a day that will remain treasured in many respects to Us for the rest of our lives; it is the day that Holly first set foot on a sailboat and this one action has forever changed the course of our lives!  The day started with an adventure, we left the theme parks of Orlando and braved a ferocious storm to get to our destination in Fernandina Beach, FL in preparation to join our fellow explorers on the Ferry ride to Cumberland Island, GA.   If you have never been to Cumberland Island, I HIGHLY recommend the trip as it is one that has stuck in our minds for years since and for good reasons:  wild horses frolicking, armadillos at random crossing your path, the Carnegie Ruins from a mansion built years ago that was decimated by fire and left for onlookers to enjoy the history that is still “in-the-making.”

Carnegie Ruins

  Research is key here as the ferry ride is the only way on and off of this pristine island; you want to ensure you have everything when you leave the dock as there is nowhere to purchase items once on the boat.   All of this is detailed on their website as well as the fact that only a limited number of people are allowed on the island daily, but once again, it is very much worth the effort necessary to get to this true gem!  Holly and I spent the day meandering around the island enjoying the Ruins and horses, the amazing beach laden with Horseshoe Crabs, and the plethora of wildlife before making our way back to the mainland of Fernandina Beach.  

The wild horses of Cumberland Island.

One of the grandest highlights in life I have discovered in my few years is the element of surprise when it is sure to create excitement and enjoyment; there was one such surprise in store for Holly the evening that followed our trip to Cumberland Island, her first time being on a sailboat.  After a dash to the grocery store to grab a bottle of wine to go with the steak dinner that I had previously arranged to be aboard with our Host, Captain Ralph, Holly reluctantly made her way down the dock to the anticipated “surprise.”  We boarded the Now and Zen and cast off her lines as we made way out of the marina and into the bay.  The sounds of the salt-water chop ever so gently slapping the sides of the hull, being slightly splashed up onto our feet while sitting on the trampolines really set the scene for what was to be a grand 4-hour sail.  Porpoises led the 42ft Manta out of the cove and into the more open water of the bay and as the sails were raised and the engine shut off, we sailed past Cumberland Island and watched the wild horses, this time from a distance, play along the marsh line.  To put it boldly, we were literally in a sense of “Heaven” and sitting there I asked Holly one of the most important questions to be asked in our lives:  “would you someday sail around the world with me on something like this?!”  Without hesitation, the sun to our backs the reply was as eloquent as any sound I’ve ever heard: “if you marry me, I will go with you on any adventure, Anywhere.”  With that statement the wheels in my brain were turning, elation set in and the promise of the adventures to come were already surging in my mind.  Sitting there leaning on the bulkhead the vision of where life was going to take us suddenly was within grasp in my mind and the plans were put into motion to make these goals and dreams a reality!  

Sitting on Now and Then dreaming of what’s to come.

Captain Ralph suddenly exclaimed that the winds were right for us to make a turn and allow the sails to take us down the beach.  With little effort he expertly manipulated the lines to a smooth transition, once again we were sailing with only the wind driving our direction.  Now a couple of hours into our journey Holly and I were informed that dinner was served to which our Captain had put together an exquisite presentation in the cockpit with a filet steak dinner served with wine and even had it adorned with roses for Holly’s entertainment.  Now and Zen was once again turned toward the inlet and we sat back to take it all in: the beautiful day with all its accompaniments on Cumberland Island, all of the amazing wildlife we had been blessed to witness interacting in its natural habitat, the fact that we were enjoying an amazing meal on an absolutely gorgeous catamaran with a great Captain.  When it couldn’t get any better, Captain Ralph comes out of the cabin with an array of desserts for us to enjoy with the sunset!  As Holly took her first bite I leaned over and asked her if she really meant what she said about going with me anywhere, sailing around the world, and by any other means…. if I married her?  She quickly confirmed her prior words without hesitation which were enough attestation for me to reach into my pocket and pull out that little black box I had been holding onto for the past 2 weeks on our vacation awaiting the absolute perfect time in our lives and ask her: “Holly, will you marry me?!”  To which she exclaimed “When did you ask my dad!?….YES!”   I guess we were all in line for a surprise on this day! 

Captain Chris and Holly, Engaged




Pura Vida

Guest writer Captain Chris writes about his honeymoon with best friend Holly to Costa Rica. The culinary experience and fishing adventure is a dream destination.

Costa Rica: You had Our hearts @ “Pura Vida” 

We awoke with pure excitement after only getting a few hours of sleep from enjoying the magnificent Central American inspired dinner the night before!  Juan Carlos, our personal Waiter, ensured we would have the most delightful time from making his custom guacamole that was only to embellish the encore of fresh perfectly blackened Tuna and Mahi served over some of the best rice I have ever experienced.  And for dessert, a flambe style bananas foster served tableside, a true dining experience that has only been surpassed once in our travels… but that was at a castle that I will detail in a future post!  With the illustration of such a meal leaves to question “what could be more exciting for the day ahead?”  Holly and my first Billfishing adventure!  An experience I have been waiting my whole life to enjoy and now that I was able to enjoy it with my newly married Best Friend, an epic day surly awaited us!

Chef Juan Carlos
Preparing Bananas Foster

I. Juan Carlos Preparing Bananas Foster! 

Now it was a new morning and we awoke to a breakfast served on a porch manufactured from the Guanacaste trees that are native to that area of Costa Rica of our secluded hut; fresh squeezed juices and some of the best coffee I have ever enjoyed had us prepared to meet the man who I had been conversing with for 2 months about this fishing trip, Captain Rick Bergstresser of Rhino Charger fishing charters.  Rick soon picked us up in front of our abode and we were off into the unknown adventure to be had.   We met our Mate for the day, Victor, and the diesels were sounded off, warmed up, and the with the smell of rigged Ballyhoo invading the air we watched Victor take control of his station and begin to check lines while setting the reel drags in preparation or deploying our baits.  

Within minutes the Captain had spotted a Whale cruising the Tamarindo Beach and after we were blessed with a couple of amazing breaches, we settled in for the ride to the fishing grounds.  With upmost excitement Holly hit me on the shoulder and exclaimed “LOOK!” as a school of a hundred or more Porpoises made their way jumping from wave to wave!  Suddenly the 34’ Island Hopper designed fishing machine was slowed and lines were set in hopes of a Tuna or Mahi that may have been running with the Porpoises.  Quick action on the fishing front like we had hoped for was not on the agenda for our mid-July day, but with fishing anyone who has partaken in the: hobby, sport, lifestyle…the Angler knows it is a true labor of patience. Holly and I settled into the enjoyment of where we were and the fact that we were there together and loving the fact we were living life; when the reel began to scream and within seconds Holly was in the fighting chair hooked into a massive Pacific Sailfish.  Line continued to peel off the reel as the Captain skillfully worked the boat into the perfect position for her to successfully bring the behemoth boat-side.  This was where the testament to Victor’s fervor came into play and he did not disappoint!  With his help we were able to not only bring Holly’s first Sailfish boatside but Victor made it possible to capture one of the most cherished photos we have to this day! 

Holly in the Fighting Chair
Holly, Captain Chris, and Victor with Holly’s first Sailfish!

II  Holly, Capt. Chris, and Victor with Holly’s first Sailfish!!

This day was already one of the best days of our lives, and as we sat there on the boat remembering the fight of the fish, laughing and preparing our story to illustrate the battle and the conquering of this awesome catch, Holly and I enjoyed a fresh cut chilled watermelon with the Captain and Mate.  The Imperial beers went down smooth in the hot Costa Rican sun as we were really starting to realize just how special this day was, how could it get any better?!  “DOUBLE!!!” that’s right! 2 reels had the drag screaming and line peeling off, Holly was back in the chair, throwing watermelon over the side as pure excitement overtook her.  I was handed the other rod and as I got into the stand-up fighting position my line went slack, this day the Wife was going to show the Husband how fish catching was done!   Holly got into her rhythm and really put on a show of true professional angling skills!   This battle went on a bit longer as this fish seemed to really want to give Holly the fight she was looking for!  30 minutes passed and then an hour, some action shots were photographed, and before we knew it, Victor had us in a perfect photo opportunity once again!  

Captain Chris, Holly, and Victor pose with Holly’s 2nd Sailfish!

III Victor, Holly, and Capt. Chris with Holly’s 2nd Sailfish

We simply could not believe how fortunate we had been: to find each other, to be blessed with the ability that we were able to be where we were, to be living out a dream to be boating the beautiful creatures!!!  As we brought the lines in and put up the tackle to make our way back to the shore we were graced once again by more of the playful Porpoises making their way from swell to swell; we discussed the fact of how could this Honeymoon get any more perfect –which we were soon to discover—as this was our second day of two weeks in this literally unbelievable country that we had found ourselves enamored with!