03/07/2010, Honeymoon Bay, St Thomas, USVI
REMEMBER: to see this blog with lots of pictures go to our main blog site at www.blogspot.wanderingdolphin.com
So when you live in a small space what do you do when you wake up on the weekend to rain and "cold" weather? (ok cold in our case means any temp. in the 70s or below.)
The rain started yesterday and the wind began to shift from it's normal E or SE direction all the way around to W which usually means a Norther is blowing in. Honeymoon bay, while very protected from the East, is not protected at all from the West so when that happens most of the boats move out but we generally stay knowing it will only last a few hours at most. The waves build up and our comfortable little anchorage becomes a rolly bumpy place to live for a while. Then when the wind shifts to the North the temperature drops. Our bodies are used to a constant temperature in the high 80s and when it drops into the 70s, believe it or not kids start pulling out their polar fleece like its winter time. The water is warm but the wind chill in the low 70s makes swimming too cold for sun ripened kids to find fun. Charlie the dog looks for a little hole under the table to snuggle into with a couple of the kids stuffed animals.
Today the kids woke up to the same weather and all of the little guys decided to tough it out at the beach with Jimmy. EmilyAnne decided to invite her friends over to play board games. So here Dad is trying to write and read on a boat with 3 13 year old girls doing their silly giggley dancing to loud Avril Lavigne music while they play "Quelf" which also makes them act like crazy people just to win the game. (EmilyAnne has to wear a snorkle until the end of the game... for example)
What a hoot! Think I might abandon ship for a while though, maybe I will brave the weather and go for a swim.
03/02/2010, Honeymoon Bay, St Thomas, USVI
To view this blog with more pictures go to www.blogspot.wanderingdolphin.com
Let's talk about chores. Most kids living on land have to take out the trash, clean their rooms, maybe vacuum the floors or in like we did in Montana, shovel the snow. Our kids live on a boat so, although a lot of the chores are similar, like taking out the trash or cleaning the floors, there are chores and work that our kids help with that would be considered strange or even dangerous to land kids.
Our kids take out the trash too but this involves a long dingy ride to the marina where they throw it in the dumpster, Jimmy also does this dingy ride for a cruising kid chore called, "the water haul" while he is at the marina he will fill up four six gallon water jugs and bring them back to the boat for EmilyAnne, who in turn, will use a siphon hose to transfer them into the main tank on the boat.
You would think that the floor cleaning chore would be considered easy for a kid, after all the whole floor is only the size of an average bathroom back home. This particular chore is EmilyAnne's and she hates it! We have four rugs that need to be shaken out off the bow pulpit every morning and then she has to sweep and clean the floor with a sponge. This may sound pretty easy until you think about how much dirt and sand seven people and a dog would deposit every day if they all used only your bathroom floor. If it is not done every day it's even worse of course.
Cleaning your room should be pretty easy if your room is only as big as a large refrigerator right? Wrong! You try crawling into a Refrigerator box and making two (that's right there are two bunks in there) beds! Add to this the heat in the islands where any enclosed space gets so hot that if you do even the slightest work you break out into a sweat. Jimmy's room is a little easier. His bed is bigger and he can move around and turn in there a little bit, but EmilyAnne's bed is right out in the Salon area. She has a curtain to pull for privacy and she is a packrat so she is always trying to organize her stuff so she doesn't have to sleep on her books and stuff. Keeping it straight and looking nice is a real challenge I assure you.
Our kids also get to help with boat maintenance chores that would be considered crazy to land folks. Today we needed to replace our VHF antenna on TOP of the mast. EmilyAnne is our mast monkey. She doesn't weigh much so she's easy to pull up there and she likes heights and loves to be pulled up the Main Halyard just for fun to play. So today when I needed to replace the antenna she was the obvious choice. I love the looks we get from people passing by as they see our pretty little 13 year old girl wearing her climbing harness and zipping up to the top of the mast with a big grin on her face!
Jimmy also has to clean the bottom of the boat about every two weeks. To do this he wears his snorkeling gear and gloves with a brush in one hand and a scraper in the other. He can do everything but the prop and the keel by just free diving it but when he has to clean the prop or go deep enough to clean the keel he uses our Hookah (a breathing system which uses an air compressor and hose with a diving regulator on it.
We may be "living the dream" but as you can see it's not all sun, sand and play.
Cracking The Whip,
02/28/2010, Honeymoon Bay
One of the VERY strange and wonderful things about this lifestyle is the social aspect. You meet people on different boats, in different anchorages, in different countries, scattered around the world. You may become especially close to a couple or in our case families on board boats from all over the world. There are times you may cruise with these boats for months or just share the same hurricane hole for the whole season. Inevitably there is a parting of ways. Sometimes, if you have been traveling in a group for a while, one boat at a time will head to a different place until finally you are the one on a different heading, or the final boat left in what had been a crowded anchorage.
To landlubbers this may sound very sad, and when we first started cruising it was. But since then we have had the, unique to cruising, experience that just happened to me a moment ago, and this experience makes it all worth while. Let me tell you about it.
I was sitting below reading when I heard a rapping on our hull and a voice with a distinct Australian accent calling out and when I peeked my head over the lifelines who did I see but our friends on SV Meander! We had first met Ray and Julie and their son Sam (and Milo the dog) in the Bahamas where we spent a few nights suffering at the posh resort and Marina called Atlantis. We all continued to sail as part of a huge group of "kid boats" through the Bahamas. Those times were some of our families favorites and our kids still miss the families on board boats from that group. There was, Salt and Light, Sanity, Solange IV, High Five, Slow-Mocean, Meander, and a few others. I think the total number of kids was well over 20 during those times. We had BBQs on the beach, gangs of Dads would go out with spears and fish together, having competitions to see who had the biggest lobster that day. The kids explored, swam, built forts, and one time a huge hermit crab hotel. The last time we saw Meander was over two years ago in Georgetown, Bahamas, where they had the whole group (that's a LOT of people) over for drinks and snacks on Meander. Since then we have continued to cruise in the Caribbean while some of those boats are now in Bonaire, a couple are in Cartagena, Salt and Light has made it all the way home to Seattle, Meander gets the "Most Distance Traveled" award for that particular group. After they left us all, they crossed the Atlantic and sailed up the Med as far as Greece, and came back across this year. If you want to read about their adventures check out their blog at www.sailblogs.com/member/meander they had some great stories to tell.
We are looking forward to spending a week or so with them here at Honeymoon Bay.