We are Back (and why we dissapeared in the first place)

Ooof. Where to begin?

I wrote the post below months ago. I procrastinated a day and Irma happened. Then Maria happened. While we came through unscathed, we were the lucky ones and so it seemed petty and selfish and childish and every other unflattering word to post the following. Our hearts ache for those who lost everything but their lives to the storms. We also know the numbness may just now be fading and the full force of raw emotions might just now be surfacing for those hit. With that in mind, I almost hit delete on this completely. But, still, it accurately depicts our transition to land(ish) life.

Things have been put in perspective since I wrote it, that’s all.

Re-Entry (September 7)
Sorry for yoinking the blog down with no notice. There was a reason and I will get to explaining why in a minute. First, what have we been doing the last several weeks? We have been “re-entering” the real world. Unfortunately, we did so in an incredibly cringe-worthy, ungraceful, manner.
I would liken our transition to that of landing a small boat, say an inflatable dinghy, on a beach. Through pounding breaking surf. From a distance, from, like, way out beyond the surf where the water is calm, transitioning our cruising direction didn’t look too difficult. Upon approach, though. Yikes. It was ugly for moments. We hadn’t expected to end our cruising season so early, we hadn’t thought it would end where we had started from, and we didn’t know where we were going next. I already wrote about how lost we were. Swirls of indecision, doubt, uncertainty, excitement, and a sense of loss overtook every thought and discussion. Like being tossed in confused seas, we clung to thoughts for only moments before clinging to the next. We do this when what is in front of us isn’t wholly grasping our attention, we’ve experienced this before, but we have never experienced this so intensely. It was a ride. Sometimes a random feeling of doubt just drenched me, like being slapped in the face by a cold wave of water. What now, what next, is this really the end? I did not process this transition well. At times, it felt like we were going to capsize. I mean, we almost sold the boat—WTH?! They said untying the lines was the hardest part of cruising. No. Retying them is the hardest part!
We didn’t capsize. Our little emotionally drenched selves pulled both feet up on the sand. And, now, as we look out at where we came from, we can now put it all in perspective. It is not where we envisioned ourselves to be right now, but that is okay. Life is good. While we debated sell, don’t sell, Alaska now, Alaska next season, turn around and sail right back out…. Life, in the background, just sorted itself out for us. Keith effortlessly slipped back into his old company. I sent out one resume and had a response within thirty minutes. And easily as that, some of the questions were answered. I guess we are settling down- right here-and making some money-right now. My windows at work overlook the water and if I took my binoculars in, I think I might be able to even see our mast. It’s been a long time since I spent eight hours in doors, those windows have been my lifesaver the last two weeks! I have a feeling they will continue to be.
This also answers what happened to the blog- I removed it because I know social media checks would be part of my pre-employment background check. I thought my nomadic ways might get me rejected before making it through the first gate. In fact, I suspect that there will be much fewer posts for a while. Posting big dreams on social media while trying to remain employed in a corporate environment is probably the equivalent to throwing water in a diesel tank. For now, I am going to go old-school with a pretty, paper journal and a fancy pen. Though, I do have some posts planned for our recent boat projects (she is looking pretty) and some recaps/reflections on our first few years of cruising (what an amazing time).

Thank you so much for understanding! I’ve felt out of touch since not blogging, good to be back.

P.S.  Boat NOT for sale (you may read between the lines if you’d like)


I guess I am about 400 miles and a month or two behind. When I left off we had just gotten back from the Jumentos and were planning a slow sail through the Bahamas for the summer.  All was peaceful and good. We are in sweaty-hot Florida now.  What happened?  Well, after an afternoon of soaking in the pretty Bahama water and listing the places we wanted to see there this summer, we came back to the boat and were greeted with a copy of our new insurance policy. I am a good girl and read it start to finish-not just the summary of changes.  I was rewarded with learning that we were about to ONLY be covered in the USA-in like three weeks.  SHIPS! Um, glad we were not in Grenada when I read that!  Or hadn’t just paid for the entire summer of arrangements in the Bahamas! Bahamas in hurricane season, without a secure plan and without insurance just wasn’t happening for us.  So, a leisurely gunk-holey cruise turned into a two-stop run up to the Abacos while we had a good window to do so. Zoom-zoom. Of course, once there, we got the insurance mess cleared up.  Just a little computer generated error. Of course.

Somehow, though, the damage was already done.  We had already mentally switched gears to H-season in Florida.  Absolutely what we said we didn’t want when we turned around in the Virgin Islands.  Strangely, we were ready to head back to Florida-even after we didn’t have to go. I still don’t really understand it.  In those days I can’t count how many time we said to each other “I thought we’d want to do this for longer” and also “I think I’m ready to try something new”. It befuddled us. Completely. But it was, however odd, how we were both feeling.  And as simple and quiet as that our cruising came to an end. We sailed back with plans to haul out the boat, put her on the market, follow through with our road trip to Alaska and go on from there to who knows where.  There was no frustration or disappointment, in fact our whole crossing we spent recounting what a wonderful, amazing, adventurous two and a half years we just had.  Hell, we had just crossed off our number one bucket list item not once but twice! Still, maybe you can understand how I wasn’t keen on writing about our final sail.  It made it too real, too done, and I hadn’t quite come to grips that it was over and so I just kept putting it off.

Here is where it gets messy though.  Part of putting the boat on the market meant giving a new coat of bottom paint and a good scrub top to bottom and some touch ups.  First, though, we took a few days and found our selves a truck, you know, to haul the 14 foot camper we plan on living in while we drive across country.  Then we hauled the boat. Next we rented a storage unit so we could unload everything single thing off of it to sort what we wouldn’t need any more and make deep-cleaning the boat easier.  I think here is where our “new plan” showed its first few cracks.  As we unloaded and sorted all of our belongings we were unable to put a single piece of fishing gear or snorkel gear in the “get rid of pile”.  Not a thing. Same with our safety harnesses, binoculars, or almost any other piece of sailing gear.  Not sure what we are going to do with it on our road trip or when we don’t have a boat anymore, but we can’t imagine parting with these things either. More cracks showed up while putting a coat of varnish on the teak and I realized I had spent the entire time envisioning cruising. On this boat. In the future. To places we have yet to go. Hmmmmm. 

Fine, plan adjustment, don’t sell the boat.  Keep it, do our road trip/Alaska thing and come back and go sail again. Problem solved.  Except vehicles, boats, campers, insurances for all, storage fees, and State-side living totally blows the budget. Not to mention it doesn’t seem to be the simple life we are working toward. Urf.

Oh, and tangent, we found a little wrinkle in our original drive to Alaska and start a job there in the Spring plan.  It would mean doing our cross-country part of the trip, which we are really excited about, in the dead of winter.  I don’t have a good grasp on the concept of winter, I know this, and it is probably even worse after spending the last two in the islands, but when I read I needed a special little heater for the holding tank in the camper to keep the poop from freezing-I started to get a clearer picture.  We’ve decided we will definitely need to make some adjustment to when we make our trip! It will NOT be in the dead of winter.  No poopsicles.  

Anyway, if you are still reading this rambling mess, at least you might understand why I haven’t written in a bit.  It’s kind of hard to open yourself up when in such a state of transition or uncertainty. It feels extremely vulnerable to do so.  I just kept thinking we’d have a clear path soon enough and I’d write then. It just doesn’t seem to be happening.  We are lost at the moment.  Not unhappy, not at all, just lost. 

In all of this, I don’t have current pics ready to post so instead of using that as one more excuse not finish this post, I’ll add these old ones instead.  I still laugh when I look at them:

Kai, despite having grown up a beach pup, had never discovered crabs-no matter how many we pointed out.  When we were at Attwood Harbour he finally discovered them.  I caught his first encounter on camera. 

And the winner is………

“Not all who wander are lost”  

…..then again, some are.  We know because we are in that other group!



CruiseRO, Our Thoughts One Year Later

We have had several inquiries about how we like the new water maker we put in, a Cruise RO system.  It’s been almost a year since we installed it so we have had a chance to really get comfortable with it and put it through the paces so I thought I’d share our thoughts.

The super short story-we love it.  

First, simply on having any large output system onboard:

The water maker is probably the system that has the most dramatic positive effect on our daily living comfort.  We shower whenever we want, and for almost as long as we want, often more than once a day if we go swimming.  We almost always go swimming.  We have a furry little pup who takes great joy in getting as sandy as possible so he gets showers too.  (He, however, might not agree with us about it being a plus.)  Everyday chores are simplified too.  Washing dishes is no longer a struggle to conserve every drop-we just get them clean and move on to something more fun.  We now do most of the laundry onboard too.  At $5.00 a wash and $5.00 to dry here, it is a perk.  The boat and our gear gets rinsed regularly now as well.  It swings the balance from camping to living and this is our life.  The water maker goes a long way in making it a comfortable, clean, un-salty one.  

Beyond just improving daily comforts (which, at least for us, is BIG) it also gives us freedom.  As I write this right now we are in the Jumentos a little island chain in the Bahamas that has only one tiny settlement of maybe 50 people in the whole chain.  There is no water to buy here anywhere.  Making our own gives us the freedom to enjoy these beautiful uninhabited islands for almost as long as we like. It also frees us from being dependent on less than ideal water sources.  And, big perk, we don’t have to find it or lug it!

^^ Pre Bath.  

^^ Post Bath.  Okay, maybe Kai isnt always thrilled that we have so much freshwater.  

Second, how do we like the unit we chose?

Not one complaint.  We haven’t had any issues with the unit since installation.  Keith has been impressed with the quality of all the components, we’ve not seen any wear or corrosion on the pump or any of the parts.  Our water quality is fantastic. Really there isn’t much more to say than we are happy with our choice. (To read more about WHY we chose this unit click here, to read about the INSTALLATION of the unit click here).  Would we do anything different?  Maybe.  There is an option to add a second membrane to the unit we have, converting it to a 30gallon/hour unit and if it were not for money we might add it.  Not that 20 isn’t enough, it is, but we could run it for even less time increasing the efficiency even more.  It also provides you with a built in back-up membrane.  


We’ve had an anchorage all to our selves before. We have had beaches all to ourselves before.  We have even had entire islands all to ourselves more times than we could count.

This is a first, though…

We have an entire chain of islands to ourselves!

It is the beginning of off season, and, yes, the Jumentos are lightly traveled, but we didn’t expect to not see a single other cruising boat our entire time here!  We’ve sailed from one end to the other and back and confirmed we are the only cruising boat here.

It is the perfect time weather-wise to be enjoying this area so we are surprised.  A few times we even remarked that it felt a little weird.  Most of the time we simply soaked up  the solitude.  With no cell service our only communication has been SSB radio and even that we haven’t used much beyond getting weather.

Now, we weren’t the only humans about— just the only cruisers. Out of a chain of about 26 islands two of them are inhabited.

Buenavista Cay has a population of one.  His name is Edward.  He is building a new home next to the one that his father lived in and before that his grandfather.  Edward hopes his son and grandson will join him on the island soon. He shares his island with lots of goats, sheep, chickens, and even peacocks.  He was a delight to meet.

At the southern most tip of the chain is Ragged Island; it has a small settlement, Duncan Town.  I read the population is about 100.  I’d be very surprised if it was that many.  It’s a sweet, sleepy town.  It was once much bigger, when it was a player in the salt industry.  Now more houses than not are unoccupied, but the island is still warmly welcoming.

Things just run at a different pace here. If you would like to eat out you make arrangements a day ahead for the restaurant (singular) to open for you.  The grocery store—also open only upon request—at least this time of year—had a few staple items. But basically you place an order and your groceries will come in on the next mailboat. The mailboat comes 3-4 times a month dependent on weather and barring mechanical problems.  There is no place to buy fuel or water.


^^ The settlement looked surprisingly big, but most building as are empty.

^^ goats were everywhere!  This one found shade in one of the many unoccupied houses.

The shark population continued to demonstrate its healthy numbers to us though. Jeez!

One one of our first dives down here Keith got a grouper; it holed itself up in some coral with the spear.  Just at this time I saw a nice hogfish close by and was thinking about going after it until Keith pointed out a reef shark coming up over the edge of the coral towards us—not what you want to see with a bleeding, flopping fish below you.

Keith swam down for the grouper and figured he’d give one good pull if he got the fish—yay.  If not, we would surrender it.  He got the fish and by the time we got to the dinghy the shark was circling where the fish had just been holed up.  But the shark didn’t bother with us.

Just as it started to swim off that same hogfish swam right under the dinghy.  Keith couldn’t resist and dove down and I kept an eye on the shark (that was swimming away).  As soon as it heard the “chink” of the spear it whipped around.  Wow—they know that sound!

That particular shark wasn’t aggressive towards us, but we called it done after that.  It was pretty much that way for all of our dives here.  Keith surrendered one fish a couple days later—no reason to take the risk.

On one dive we were swimming up against the rock ledge of the island, I was maybe 20 feet away from the rock wall and was thinking that I kind of liked this-I only had to keep a look out on one side of me. Maybe three minutes later a large reef shark swam between me and the wall!  Because I wasn’t looking at the surface or to that side I didn’t even see him until he was less than 15 feet away and coming towards me. Then it just slid right down next to me.  I pulled my hands in to keep from bumping it.  Startled the bejeezus out of me!  A shark at the surface gives me the creepies much more than the ones swimming below me, I don’t like being eye level.

I called it a day when I had one go down the other side a few minutes after that.  Despite having company in the water, it felt awesome to have fresh fish for dinner every night again.

The water and amount of life was everything we had been dreaming of it to be.

Our last few days we finally had someone share the anchorage with us—a few of the commercial fishing boats.  One of them was on their day off.  It was funny to see that the fishermen spent their free time going fishing.

Keith was filleting our fish on the beach. He likes to take the cutting board over to the shallow water and put it on the rocks and just enjoy a beer and the beach while he cleans the fish.  One of the fishermen came over and offered him use of the work tables on the fishing boat, a generous offer for our two fish.  Keith showed him he had a little set up already in place and they enjoyed a few beers and the afternoon together, each getting a chance to talk to someone new.  Keith was happy that the fisherman thought he did a good job on the fillets.

I think these islands’ allure is equal parts of what they have as much as what they don’t have.  While, perhaps not dramatic, the water, fishing, snorkeling, and wildlife are stunning.  However, what they don’t have may be their biggest treasure. No crowds, no connections, no distractions.

Our weeks have been simple and calm here.  (Obviously, we’ve  found less rolly anchorages.)  Our days are based on tides and winds.  Most of the day is consumed with meals— either catching, cleaning, cooking, eating.  And our entertainment has been fish and birds and goats and sunsets and stars.  Walks and snorkels have provided us with more entertainment.

Basically, we’ve been enjoying ourselves. A lot.

Jumentos, I believe we are in love with you.

^^ Many of the islands were once settled by Loyalist and the ruins and rock walls are still around and made fun exploring.



A Cruiser’s Plans…

Oh, Look.  Our plans…they have changed…again.  Just this time not so of our own indecision or wanting.  

As I wrote awhile back, we had made arrangements to secure a spot in the Hurricane Hole in George Town back when we were in the Virgin Islands.  Our decision to turn around hinged on that arrangement. So when we first pulled into George Town a few weeks ago we went straight over to check out our spot and confirm (again) all details were in order.  To shorten a boring story, airlines are not the only ones who overbook and even though we have written confirmation that we had a secure spot (three written confirmations actually) we learned, upon arriving, we did not. Even though our last correspondence had been just the day before we left the Dominican Repuplic it was never relayed to us that it was dependent on another boat to forfeit their already occupied spot for us to fit.  That information probably certainly would have been a big game-changer to our plans.  To say that we were *frustrated* by having just sailed over 700 miles dependent on these arrangements for the season is, well, gentle.  

Oh well.  It is done and now we have to figure out where to spend the hurricane season.  We’ve ruled out turning around and sailing back toward Grenada (1200+ miles), Luperon is not an option, neither is sitting here without hurricane arrangements so we’ve got to figure something out. It is often said a cruiser’s plans are written in the sand.  For us it always seems to be on a rising tide 😛

In the mean time, we’ve been having a terrific time.  We swam with dolphins-how upset can I be! Yes, I am still buzzing over that!  We’ve enjoyed the continued company of our friend Tom and we met up with our friends Gregory and Lucie from Puskar for the third season in a row now.  Yay!!!  We’ve celebrated birthdays on the beach, had picnics, and a lot of just hanging out time.  

All three boats sailed up to Lee Stocking for a few days as well.  Keith and I were in need of a fishing trip and got a Mahi on the sail up, conch in the anchorage, and a tuna on the way back to George Town.  We even got to visit our trusty little hidey-hole to wait out some winds. The familiarity of faces and anchorages has felt welcoming and it has been a relaxing time. (Minus, obviously,  the whole we don’t have a place to go part) 

^^ I love a beach that has no end.

^^ Beach trash. Best. Toy. Ever.

^^ Crack conch and Caesar.


^^ This pretty Beneteau just hit the market!

^^ Off season.

** if you just read this, then we have made it back to the world of cell phones and Internet and there will be a backlog of posts making it up in the next few days.  Pics from the Jumentos are coming. Thanks for the patience! 

We Swam With Wild Dolphins!!!

WE SWAM WITH WILD DOLPHINS!!!  A BABY dolphin too!!! My whole world feels complete!  

I can’t get over it-it was AMAZING!  

There were three of them, two adults and a baby.  It was the mom and baby that approached me first, just swam right up so close I pulled my hands in so I wouldn’t accidentally touch them (Any wild momma gets my respect). It was exhilarating how close they, even the baby, would come.  I’ve seen so many dolphins but never close enough to see all the details of their faces.  I loved the little wrinkles around their eyes and the way they looked at us so inquisitively. I was surprised by all the marks and scars on their snout, some quite deep. I had never noticed the markings around the blow holes, and how they were not round.  We just slowly circled each other and checked each other out.  All the while it felt unreal and magical.

Keith got in the water right behind me and they came over to check him out too.

After we all got a good look-over the dolphins started being playful-twisting and diving.  They seemed to like when we dove down too and would come close or swim over top of us.  The baby would dive down then come up and flip his tail out of the water.  Lots of nuzzling between mama and baby. Then all of the sudden they were gone.  We stuck our heads out to look for them.  A second later we saw one swim right under us.  I took a picture and was taking a breath to dive down when Keith and I both stuck our heads out and said to each other “that’s not a dolphin-that is a shark!”.  Same color, same size.  Thankfully not the same inquisitive behavior and it just swam on by.

The dolphins came right back but this time seemed to get on either side of us and instead of diving and playing they swam straight for our boat.  They would circle around get next to us and keep heading that way.  (We were swimming in the middle of the anchorage)  I try not to put human emotions on a wild animal but I swear they were escorting us back to our boat!

A soon as we got to the boat they started playing again.  Flipping on their backs and swimming under us.  We swam under the keel back and forth with them.  We watched them stick their whole nose (do you call it a nose? A snout?) into the sand and eat something.  The whole while they are clicking and squeaking to each other.  Maybe to us too? Their eyes always following us and looking right into ours. I know I’ve said it, but AMAZING!


Our friends Greg and Lucie on Pushkar were anchored right behind us and joined in too and we all played.  What a magical experience to share!  Then again we heard loud, fast clicks and squeaks and see momma and baby-snugged up right on her- zoom off.  Mr. Shark made a repeat appearance.  We thought that would be the end of our dolphin encounter but they came right back again.  We played with them for about forty minutes.

I can’t quite wrap my head around it, something so beautiful and playful, so smart and empathetic, an animal so wild and free chose to spend its day playing with me!  I keep wondering why.  Is it like when we humans go to the zoo and hope the monkeys come out of their houses so we can see them?  Did the dolphins swim through the anchorage hoping a human jumped off their boat?

I’ve sat in the cockpit all day today reading a book and looking up at the end of every paragraph looking out at the water in hopes they come back again.