About Us

We are Jeff and Mary Pernick from Detroit Michigan.  We have 3 children, as we head off on our journey Brian is 28, Sarah 26 and Nathan would be 20.  Brian and Sarah live near Bellingham Washington and have just started a white water rafting company called Adventure Cascades (adventurecascades.com ).  Nate died May 6, 2011 as a result of an auto accident.  He was an avid Color Guard and Drum Corp member and had been driving from Michigan to South Carolina to try out for Carolina Crown Drum Corp when his accident occurred.  We miss him so very much and remember him often.  We are fortunate to have travelled so many places in the country with him and almost daily say “remember when…” thinking of times and places with him.  We miss Brian and Sarah too and try to keep tabs on their adventures as we have for the past several years as they have moved around the country rafting and snowboarding.We have been together since 1975 (married in 1978) and have almost always had a sailboat in our fleet.  The list includes a Lakeviewer, Lightening, Seafarer, Luger, Ice Boat, Wind Surfers, Sunfish and now Beneteau.  We lived on Lower Straits Lake in Commerce Michigan for 30 years and had a few ski boats over the years so we have always been around water and as of April 2012 now live on it.

We sold our home in March 2012 then drove out to Washington with a trailer full of “stuff” for Brian and Sarah.  Once back, we moved aboard Echo.  We have decreased our material possessions significantly, sold some, donated some, entrusted some to friends and family for special care and left very little in a hanger we lease at an airport near Detroit.

We had purchased Echo in April of 2011 and at that time has about a 5 year plan to ready the boat for living aboard and long term cruising.  Clearly our life changed dramatically on April 28, 2011, the day of Nate’s accident.  What we wouldn’t give to have a reason not to have started on our adventure for another few years…

We spent 2 months on board in the summer of 2011 traveling through the North Channel in Lake Huron and journeyed in to Lake Michigan a bit.  This time allowed us to become very comfortable aboard Echo and formulate our plan to move up our departure date.  Jeff had not been involved in the day to day operations of his company since Nate’s accident and since things were going so well saw no need to reinsert himself.  He also was not in the right frame of mind and so very much appreciated that the troops at IHC took care of things so well.

We arranged for indoor winter storage at Jefferson Beach Marina in St. Clair Shores Michigan (our home port) and began making plans for improvements that we would make over the winter.   We were very busy during the winter and spring as we moved from our home of 30 years and completed the list of Echo projects.  We set sail on this journey on July 17, 2012.

Our plans are fluid…we are heading from Detroit through Lake Erie to the Welland Canal.  We will visit Toronto then head to Oswego where we will enter the Erie Canal, then the Hudson River to the Atlantic.  We know we will winter in the islands but not yet sure wether we will head directly to the Caribbean once hurricane season is over (November 1) or work our way down to Florida across to the Bahamas then out the chain of islands.  Remember – fluid.

It is our hope to continue cruising until we tire of it.  Nothing is cast in stone but some of the places we hope to visit include Ireland, Europe, the Mediterranean, the West coast of the US (maybe an extended stay in the Pacific Northwest where Brian and Sarah live), then on to the South Pacific.  Of course we reserve the right to alter our course at a whim and stay for a while anywhere we are really enjoying ourselves.  We hope to meet many new and interesting people and hope friends and family will meet up with us along our path and share in our adventure.


29 Responses to About Us

  1. Mary Tamasiunas says:

    Oh my goodness! I’ve never read this! I knew you were planning to travel…at some point. But then Nate’s terrible accident. I still think of him and all the wonderful memories . I can’t believe it’s now March 2024 and another anniversary will soon be upon us. I always remember Nate and talk about/to him frequently. I’m due for another cemetery visit. It’s so peaceful ☺️. I’m able to visit him, my dad and my brothers. Big sigh . Happy and safe sailing my friends. ❤️❤️❤️ Mary Beth

  2. Michael and Donna Broderick says:

    Jeff and Mary – We watched in awe as you left Captiva Island this morning. While many others have likely experienced heartache too, few have the opportunity, grit and knowledge to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as you two have.
    We would share our photos of you leaving thru the pass and on the Gulf this morning, however your boat is blurred. We are sure you have better ones.
    Happy and safe sailing. You have a story to tell for sue.

    • Jeff says:

      Hi Donna and Michael. Thanks for seeing us out!
      We have made a couple more short hops and are currently in Marco. Planning to leave for Key West at sunset tonight for arrival tomorrow morning.

      It was nice being neighbors. Wish we could have spent more time together.

      All the best!

      • Donna and Michael Broderick says:

        Jeff – Aaaaaaaaaah, great to see you are basking in Key West’s sun. We DO have 2 good pictures of you from Captiva Island. Email us please if you’d care to see them.

  3. Fair winds to ye. I just launched a 40 ton restoring it still freo ketch rig in North California .
    In harbor waiting for masts up
    Face book page reynold chapin
    My wife and ships name?ECHO…

  4. Lisa Bond says:

    So enjoy your posts and all the info you provide. My husband and I have a 2002 Bene 473 (Bond’s Voyage (pronounded like bon voyage) and plan to head out on our adventure in about 8 years. Right now we sail on Lake Lanier near Atlanta, GA. Thanks for taking the time to update us all!

    Lisa Bond

  5. Eldred Baird says:

    I pray that this note re: The Southern Cross will copy correctly because I feel that you folks will enjoy it.
    About Our Daily Bread | RBC Ministries | Donate

    Our Daily Bread — The Wonder Of The Cross

    January 27, 2014

    Our Daily Bread is hosted by Les Lamborn

    READ: Hebrews 12:1-4

    [Look] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. —Hebrews 12:2

    While visiting Australia, I had the opportunity on a particularly clear night to see the Southern Cross. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, this constellation is one of the most distinctive. Mariners and navigators began relying on it as early as the 15th century for direction and navigation through the seas. Although relatively small, it is visible throughout most of the year. The Southern Cross was so vivid on that dark night that even I could pick it out of the bundle of stars. It was truly a magnificent sight!

    The Scriptures tell us of an even more magnificent cross—the cross of Christ. When we look at the stars, we see the handiwork of the Creator; but when we look at the cross, we see the Creator dying for His creation. Hebrews 12:2 calls us to “[look] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

    The wonder of Calvary’s cross is that while we were still in our sins, our Savior died for us (Rom. 5:8). Those who place their trust in Christ are now reconciled to God, and He navigates them through life (2 Cor. 1:8-10).

    Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the greatest of all wonders! —Bill Crowder

    When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride. —Watts

    Christ’s cross provides the only safe crossing into eternity.

    Bible in a year: Exodus 16-18; Matthew 18:1-20

  6. juanjo says:

    Health Check Up???

  7. juanjo says:

    hey guys, How you doing??? Just read the bio, sorry to hear about Nate. Where are you right now? Some new things coming to the Yacht club really soon will keep u posted. Safe Trips and enjoy the ride!!!!

    • Jeff says:

      Hi Juanjo. Just returned from a quick trip back to Detroit. We are in St John now looking for a weather window to St Lucia. Keep us posted on the Yacht Club. Hope we get back there some day.

      Jeff and Mary.

  8. Michael Phelan says:

    Blue Skies Mary and Jeff…..

  9. Jeff and Mary

    We have some friends we met years ago sailing that have a blog that may be of interest to you. There is some great information, this particular blog is when they had a sailboat, they are now living aboard a trawler. sea-trek.blogspot.com

  10. Angie Koper says:

    Hi Jeff & Mary,
    I just read your bio, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your son.
    Not sure if you remember me from Redford High school or not, my last name was Tullos back then. I found this blog due to a reply I saw of Debbie Birds on FB, I had to register on your blog and follow your journey as my husband and I also left Michigan on our sailboat a Bayfield 36, and set off for the Bahamas. We loved every minute of it, but we went the way of the Erie canal. We only spent 9 months of sailing before we decided to buy a house in the keys and then just took long sailing trips from there. I just read your log on the black flies on Lake Erie and had to laugh. We had our boat on Lake Erie for 7 years before setting off on our journey and the black flies were terrible. I think all of our charts had blood on them from swatting those little pests. I wish you both fair winds and following seas and look forward to your reading your blog.

    • jpernick says:

      Of course we remember you Angie. We have thought of you and your journey as we prepared for ours. We are just 20 or 30 years behind. I’m not sure if we will visit FL or not, but let’s keep in touch.

  11. Karen Phelps says:

    It was wonderful spending some time sailing on Echo. Thank you for the experience, and your hospitality. Blessings to you both upon this most courageous journey.

  12. patricia boyle says:

    Fellow Sailors, Keep a weather eye out for Jeff and Mary. You can sail the world wide, but you’ll never meet nicer people.

  13. Gavin Fredericks and Louise Gray says:

    Hi Jeff & Mary
    We are Gavin, Louise and 12 year old Gabby. I joined your blog a few weeks ago not reailizing our lives are running in parallel. We have a 2002 473 called St Jacob (jake for short) and Monday Morning we thru the ropes off in Mackay Queenslsand Australia and are heading off around the world. Hopefully we may catch up with you somewhere along the way. Good luck and fair to moderate winds in your sails.

    • jpernick says:

      Hi Gavin, Louise and Gabby. We are doing exactly the same thing on exactly opposite sides of the world! The internet sure makes the world a smaller place. But it is still plenty big in a sailboat. Good luck and let’s keep in touch.

  14. Ed says:

    J & M

    We’re heading to Cape Cod around mid-July and back thru Long Island Sound late August to the Chesapeake in September. Then south to the Bahamas eventually. Hope to see you somewhere along the way.


  15. Glen says:

    When you get down to the Abacos in the Bahamas…. give us a call!
    s/v graynorth
    B473 #163

    • jpernick says:

      Sounds good to me. You can follow the blog by subscribing on the home page to keep track of us. Hope we meet up somewhere!

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