Sailors to seadogs

Jackie & Colins' adventures on the high seas.

09 April 2017
03 April 2017
03 April 2017
21 June 2016
13 March 2016
27 February 2016
27 February 2016
18 November 2015
12 November 2015
27 September 2015
15 September 2015 | Puerto Real Marina
07 September 2015
28 July 2015
26 July 2015 | Ile a Vache, Haiti
18 July 2015 | Ila a Vache Haiti

Book now available

09 April 2017
Jackie has been slaving over a hot keyboard for the last few months to produce an in depth account of how it all began and what we did to discover that living the dream was not always smooth sailing. You can preview the first couple of chapters by following this link.

just copy and paste it into your browsers address bar and it should work.


03 April 2017
They say the happiest two days in a sailors life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it. Happy wasn't the word I would have used, relieved perhaps, and not a little sad. After all Picaroon had changed our lives in ways that we could hardly fathom, touching our souls with a new found appreciation of what it means to be alive, whilst hanging on the edge of oblivion as the ocean conspired with the elements to knock some sense into us.

It was 4am as we took our last dingy ride ashore leaving Picaroon to fade into the darkness of Salinas bay as we headed for an early morning departure from San Juan in PR to a rendevous with our new landlubber life in Cabarete in the Dominican Republic. We were so close to running out of money, perhaps six weeks was all we could expect before both our overdafts were exhausted when along came a young South African guy called Stefan who engaged me in conversation as I was hanging off the bow sprit in a bosuns chair having just removed the Cranse iron. We had discovered a serious crack in this bronze fitting that holds the furling genoa stay in place, as well as supporting the main mast and hence the rest of the standing rigging. Had we not noticed this it could have snapped whilst we were at sea and been catastrophic. However we were settled at anchor in the shelter of Salinas bay, where Picaroon had been since July 2016, so it was just another job to do before we set sail for probably Luperon before our US visas expired at the end of March.

He made a few inquiries about the boat, how much is it and what is wrong with it. A couple of days later he asked to come aboard and have a look around. He seemed to like what he saw and said he wanted his uncle to check the boat out for him, as he was a much more accomplished and serious sailor. Next came an offer, which we haggled over before settling on a price, subject to survey. We couldn't believe our luck, after waiting over eighteen months with little or no interest via our broker, BVI yacht sales, who had recently dumped us, and the 10% commission they charge, we had a prospective buyer.

He chose the most fastidious surveyor, someone we knew well, Fred, who we knew would pull no punches, and probably sink the deal, especially as we knew there were some major things that needed attending too hidden deep in the bowels of the boat. He found them all. To our amazement, this didn't deter Stefan and he was happy yo go ahead with the deal. So that was it the end of our adventures on Picaroon, and what an adventure it was.

We were very green when we bought Cpt. Rons boat but we had an amazing time and she taught us many things that will inform our next purchase, if there is to be one. And there could well be as we have already started to look at potential boats on the www. In the meantime we're going to use some of the money to find a fix for my hearing problem which we were unable to do when we we're skint. Perhaps here in the Dominican Republic, or maybe back to the UK to try the NHS, which should have been free for us as British citizens but as we've been gone so long that may not apply anymore.

The two happiest days, I don't know, but somehow I don't feel we've quite done with our ocean adventures just yet, there could be another happy day coming soon. Where did you say that Cheoy Lee was for sale Jackie, Polynesia ?

Next, the book. jackie has just finished editing our blogs and filling in the blanks and it will soon be available as an ebook, if we can get our heads around that digital minefield. Stay tuned.

SOS Gone deaf

03 April 2017
Hello, I’m Colin and I’m a little hard of hearing”. That’s how my ex-musician husband introduces himself these days. This usually prompts either (a) a few jokes like “Ah? What? Ah? Ha Ha” or (b) “Me too”. Yes, well Colin is 69 years old and many of the people we meet nowadays do have a little trouble hearing but what they don’t realise is that Colin is almost profoundly deaf due, we think, to Meniere’s Disease.

Colin has been a musician all his life and nurtured the talent of countless young musicians through his work as a recording engineer and mentor at a community recording facility for the latter twenty years of his career. He never made the ‘big time’ himself but he has helped many on the road to stardom.

As a Singer/Songwriter, Colin continued to perform and record his songs with his band ‘The Beat Combo’ before embarking on a dream sailing adventure in 2013 after battling with a life-threatening illness which nearly brought his dream to an abrupt end. What little money he had accumulated went into buying a boat which turned into a nightmarish catalogue of repairs and maintenance, draining his bank account (B.O.A.T. = Bring on another thousand!). You can read about our adventure on

Meniere’s Disease is a strange affliction that not only robs you of the ability to hear but also causes bouts of extreme vertigo. Throughout our three-year adventure, Colin’s hearing continued to disintegrate and we sought help along the way but never really managed to find any relief. Communication was a real problem and the episodes of vertigo made sailing virtually impossible. It soon became clear that we needed to return to the UK for expert advice but by this time we had no money left for even the airfares. We put the boat on the market and waited….and waited, until finally, eighteen months later, we sold our floating home and returned to our base in the Dominican Republic with money in the bank for a flight home but not much else.

Now came the conundrum; Our only income is Colin’s state pension and with no home in the UK and long waiting lists for NHS consultants, could we afford to live in the UK for six or more months? As we have been out of the country for so long, it now appears that we would have to settle back in the UK for at least six months to qualify for NHS help even though we have paid National Insurance contributions all our lives. Private ENT specialists are expensive but appointments can be obtained quickly which would reduce our accommodation costs.

The other alternative was to find out what we could obtain in the Dominican Republic. We traveled to Santiago with the help of a friend who acted as translator as my Spanglish is poor and, of course, Colin is unable to communicate. That proved fruitless; just another confirmation that Colin has lost 90% of his ability to hear.

Colin needs to see an expert who can properly diagnose what is happening with his hearing and can point him in the right direction to obtain some treatment or assistance. He is likely to need hearing aids in both ears or perhaps cochlear implants. Always trying to look on the bright side, Colin has turned to painting to find an outlet for his artistic talent. He now lives in a silent world and sometimes I see just how devastating this has become as tears of frustration appear. Music is now just a jumble of distant distorted sounds, unbearable and my once-gregarious and entertaining husband has become isolated and withdrawn.

We can afford the airfares but our best hope is a top private ENT Consultant in London. Your donations will go towards the costs of initial consultation, diagnostic tests, hearing aids, follow-up appointments, accommodation, and travel.

There are no words to express how much this means to both of us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for reading this. It goes against the grain to ask for your donations but I am at the end of my tether and any contribution towards our plight will be very much appreciated.
here's the link.

Lifetime achievement award

29 July 2016
I am not dead.
That isn’t enough information though, for the department of work and pensions back in the UK, the government office that has been paying my state pension since February 2012 when I reached the ripe old age of 65. Every four weeks, as regular as clockwork for three years, my bank account would show a credit from the DWP, as they like to be known as nowadays.

This meager amount of money kept appearing in my account whilst we sailed Picaroon around the Caribbean and, although it was never enough to keep pace with our expenses, it was always there. That was until May 2016, when the DWP credit was mysteriously absent from my account. We waited until the June payment was expected but by the due date, like a phantom pregnancy, that also failed to materialize.

To cut a long story short we had sold our house in the UK and not informed the DWP of our new address. I wasn’t aware that I was obliged to do this when we had left England in 2013 and bought Picaroon to go cruising the islands of the Caribbean. Anyway we no longer had a permanent address anywhere in the world, we weren’t homeless, we were now live-aboard cruisers, of no fixed abode.

Had we looked at the website before we left England and set sail for distant horizons, we may have noticed that if we were going to be abroad for more than six months we should inform them of our change of circumstances, but we didn’t. In fact, it would have been the last thing on our minds to look at the website and specially to take note of article NJP 751/LA4 section 9b.

We were too wrapped up in shutting down our lives in England, with a hundred and one other things to take care of, to have thought. “Darling, do remember to look at the website, there’s an important article, NJP751/LA4 section 9b that I heard Mrs. Wilson discussing the other day in the butchers”, but we didn’t; but we did remember to turn off the gas.

Through the miracle of Skype we called the DWP from Puerto Rico, which was where Picaroon was anchored, and they had good Wi-Fi at the nearby marina snack bar. A recorded voice presented us with various options, but none seemed to relate to live-aboard vagabonds in the Caribbean, so we pressed option 4, which was for all other enquiries.

They played us some tinny version of a Bach cantata, why is it always Bach, for five minutes until Roger, who had a strong Welsh accent answered. After a protracted inquisition of security questions, Roger told us that we had come through to the wrong department. We would have to speak to the international pensions office, and so we were transferred to the DWP IP section, but not before having to endure more obscure Bach Cantatas.

Grizelda, she sounded like a Grizelda, may have been Linda, eventually came on the line and we went through the same inquisition as with Roger until eventually we were able to get to the nub of our question which was,” why have you stopped paying my pension”. Grizelda was a little scathing about the fact that we had been swaning about the Caribbean on a yacht since 2013 and hadn’t informed her department. She seemed to imply that we had been very naughty, especially as she had been subjected to the cold grey skies and torrential rains of England all that time. “I’ll have to submit this case to our specialist international investigative team” she said, with, I thought, a decided smirk in her voice. “You’ll have to call back in seven days’ time”, is there anything else I can help you with today, no, we said, goodbye she sang, and the familiar plop of Skype dropping the call issued from our PC.

So we waited for seven days.
Johnathon answered our call seven days later, after the obligatory Bach interlude, and took us deftly through the security questions. National insurance number, name, date of birth, bank that we pay your pension into, usual amount we pay you and how often. I got these all right until he asked us, we were both listening, what was the date you were married, er……… oh, erm, March 13th 2005 I said, No, 2006 said Jackie, and we both giggled as we honestly didn’t remember. Happily, Johnathon thought this mildly amusing and let it pass, so we could get to the meat of the problem. He wasn’t part of the special investigative team that was dealing with our enquiry, and according to his information on the screen in front of him there was no mention of our call the previous week to Grizelda

He listened to our pleas and our plight and said that what we would have to do was to fill out a proof of life certificate, so that the DWP would know that I wasn’t dead. “I’ll put a form in the post to you today” he said. Hang on though, we said, we’re in Puerto Rico, can’t you send it to us via email. Luckily he was able to do that, although we would have to return it by normal post as the DWP, with its natty modern acronym, is not set up to receive electronic mail. “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”, and with that Johnathon plopped off.

The form arrived soon after the call was over with a note to say we should return it via normal post to an address in Wolverhampton. I needed to have it signed by a worthy person who would verify that I was me and I wasn’t dead.
Since all this started we had visited the website to clue ourselves up on where we went wrong and hopefully how we could put it right. One of the things we discovered was that if there was an increase in the UK pension whilst we had been travelling then there could be an issue as to whether I had been overpaid. You see there are rules as to whether you’re entitled to the increase, and it all depends on which country you are in.

Even though my pension was being paid into my UK bank account there could still be an issue. If I was in the USA I would be entitled to the increase, but if I was in Canada I would not be entitled to the increase, and there’s a list of countries on the website that tells you where you’ll get it and where you won’t. It’s a very obtuse and highly confusing and nonsensical list that confronts live-aboard cruisers who are traveling to countries where you’re eligible and then to countries where you’re not.

Jamaica-good, Cuba-bad, Barbados-good, Haiti-bad, Dominican Republic-bad, Puerto Rico, maybe good as part of the USA, but maybe bad as not a fully-fledged state, so question mark on that one.

We decided that this could be a problem as we should have informed the office each time we checked into a new country then they could decide whether they liked that country or didn’t and whether any increase could be paid, or not, as the case may be.

Now comes the tricky part. If I’m paid every four weeks they would have to work out when I was in a good country, so I get the increase, and when I was in a bad country so they could deduct the increase. If the good country and the bad country overlapped by a week or two I suppose the sums would become a tad esoteric, and whether their number crunching computers, that can’t accept email, would be up to it heaven only knows. I suspect not, and what’s more it could delay any payments they may, or may not think I was due.

Anyway to be on the safe side, and not to fall foul of benefit fraud (they now call your pension a benefit), we enclosed a letter explaining where we had been, with approximate dates of arrival and departure in the hope that they would think we were honest upstanding members of the British Empire, and reinstate my pension. We also hoped that trying to unravel three years of a pension that had barely increased more than five pounds a month since 2013 would not be put into the ‘too difficult’ pile and lost behind some dusty filing cabinet in the basement of

Anyway I digress.

We were calling the pensions office every week to see if my life certificate had materialized in the UK, getting more and more desperate each time we called as we were seriously short of money by now. Somehow we must have touched a sympathetic nerve in the particular DWP officer who answered our call on the third week since we had posted the ‘not dead’ form. We must have sounded desperate because he said that he could authorize, what he called a safe payment. He said it would take about five days to reach my bank account, and would not be the full amount I was owed but perhaps it would relieve our situation.

Five days later, well seven actually, as the weekend doesn’t count for the DWP, we checked my account and sure enough there was a payment from the DWP which, when we did the sums, turned out to be the amount I would have received back in 2013. So they were withholding any increase until they had my swimming certificate logged on their system, but at least we were getting something, and my bank account was back in the black.

We called back a week later to ask if my undead form had reached them yet, but still the answer was no. It must have got lost in the post we decided, as all important documents not sent by recorded delivery do. I know, I should have sent it with Fedex but hindsight is a fine thing.

Four weeks later we’re in the Dominican Republic, and we called the DWP to report our change of address and enquire on the rogue form that had gone Awol. As it still hadn’t been delivered we decided to send a duplicate form back to the UK with relatives who were here on holiday. The DWP officer we spoke to thought this would be expedient, though I think she just said “good idea”. So we filled in another form, had it verified and it was posted the day after our relatives landed in the UK. This time it went by recorded delivery.

The same day that the second LC was delivered I had an email from my brother in the UK who had had a letter from the DWP asking for more information about a life certificate they had received. They hadn’t a clue who this ‘not dead’ certificate was for as it had no reference number and no National insurance number on it. This letter had arrived at my brothers address because this was the contact address that I had put on the original form. So obviously the first form had now arrived, but it had only got as far as the mail opening room at the DWP.

Now comes the stupid part.

The only information that I was asked for on the form they emailed to me was (a) a contact address, so I gave them my brothers, in the UK (b) what my present address was, which at the time of posting was in Puerto Rico and (c) the name and address of the attorney who witnessed my signature and verified my passport. Can you see what’s missing?

The one vital bit of information that would enable DWP to identify this Colin Williams was my National insurance number, and a reference number. Nowhere on the form did it ask for this, although there was a box that said please quote this reference number in any correspondence with the DWP. Foolishly I thought that the five letters in this particular box must be my reference which would identify me with this form. The letters were IPD/LC. I suppose I thought it strange at the time that it said reference number when there were only letters, but who was I to question the odd way that the DWP made up references.

Of course IPD/LC was not my reference, it stood for International Pensions Department/Life certificate, and a unique number for my case was missing, the box had been left blank. Also at the head of the form, in a ‘for office use only’ section were three boxes. Officers identity number, room number, and clients National Insurance number, all of these were blank.

All of these blank boxes should have been completed by the DWP officer prior to emailing me the form, but he didn’t and I hadn’t spotted this omission, why would I, so when my ‘not dead’ certificate arrived in the DWP mail room they had no way to confirm who I was, or who was dealing with my case. Some bright cookie must have thought, I’ll write to the contact address and enclose a supplementary form asking for more information.

Another call to the DWP confirmed that my brother could email the more information form, which I printed out, filled in, scanned, and emailed back to him. This I was told would be quite acceptable to the DWP but the scanned copy would have to be printed out by my brother, put in an envelope and posted to their mail department. They will then collate this supplementary form with the original Life certificate and be able to confirm that I’m not dead.

Will this be the end of this saga, who knows?

There was talk back in the 70s, something about the paperless office of the future, but I suppose I’ll be long gone before the DWP discover new technology, and a simpler way of proving a person is undead.

So Baby boomers beware before you up sticks and go spending the kids inheritance on some wild adventure, remember that as well as turning off the gas, you’ll need to read that DWP directive, it’s on the website somewhere.

Luxuriating Landlubbers

19 July 2016
In September 2013 we stepped aboard Picaroon in Salinas bay in Puerto Rico and decided that she was the vessel that would carry us away on our long planned adventure. We had spent over five years dreaming and scheming to get to that momentous day when we could sail off into the sunset and leave the troubles of the world behind us. The troubles of the world faded, but the vagaries of boat ownership were lurking, waiting in the wings to take the edge off living the dream.

Almost three years later, and with mixed emotions, we boarded our new found cruising friends, Hank and Susys, dingy at 5.30am in that selfsame Salinas bay and looked back, as Picaroon shrank into the distance, her reflection mirrored in the calm of the dawn. On the one hand we were looking forward to some landlubber time ashore with the prospect of flushing toilets, electricity at the flick of a switch and an endless supply of water coming out of the taps. On the other hand we were sad that we may have come to the end of our adventures aboard Picaroon, that is, if she finds buyer whilst we're in the DR.

The last couple of months, anchored here in Salinas bay, have stretched our resolve to breaking point with the catastrophic costs and upheaval of having to remove the engine and have it lying in bits all around the decks as well as having the guts of it gracing the salon floor for a few weeks. Our home had been defiled, our bank balances plunged seriously into the red and our deadline for meeting Jackies' daughter and grandson, in the Dominican Republic, getting too close for comfort.

The day before our departure we set a second anchor, which was a bit of a fiasco, as the weight of the chain I was paying out from the dingy played havoc with my ability to steer in the direction I wanted to go. After wrestling with the tiller for ten minutes I managed to get to the planned drop zone and heaved 45lbs of CQR anchor out of the dingy and into the glutinous mud as some added insurance against Picaroon dragging. From June to October is the hurricane season in the Caribbean and Salinas bay is not the safest place to be should a hurricane blow that way. Our two anchors should hold in a storm but should a big blow threaten to come ashore on the South coast of Puerto Rico Picaroon would be very vulnerable.

There's a hurricane hole about five miles away where all the locals head for when a named storm approaches, and according to our friend Steve who's keeping an eye on Picaroon whilst we're gone it can get pretty chaotic as people race to get to a safe haven, tied up to the mangroves near Jobos. We'll have to keep an eye on the weather whilst we're here in the DR because if there's a threat of a hurricane hitting Puerto Rico we'll have to get a wiggle on and fly back to shift Picaroon as Steves' got other boats to take care of and won't be able to move ours. At best we'll get about four days warning which is going to make for a very tight deadline to run Picaroon to safety, so of course we're just hoping that Puerto Rico, and Picaroon, will dodge anything horrible.

So the adventures of Picaroon seem to hang in the balance, awaiting a buyer, but it has to be said these salts are reluctant sellers.
We've spent a long time sitting at anchor over the last eight months, In Puerto Rico, St Thomas and the BVI waiting for that illusive buyer to turn up but being on anchor for any length of time means the constant drudgery of provisioning the boat.
For instance:
Fresh water has to be hauled aboard in heavy five gallon jerry cans from some source ashore and as we only have three jerry cans aboard this can mean up to four trips to get 60 gallons. We use about 10 gallons a day even though we're very frugal with showers and washing up but it's a chore that is heavy work and becomes tedious. If we had our time over again we would have definitely invested in a water maker.

Keeping enough power in the batteries to run the lights, fridge, computers, pumps, vacuum cleaner etc. means having to run the engine every day which eats diesel and also has to be shipped by dingy to Picaroon. Not as often as water but sometimes, as it's not always available at the dingy dock, we may have to go searching for a nearby garage which means finding a friendly face with some transport to fill our three containers which are also a weight and have to be shipped back to the boat in the dingy. If we had our time over again we would have invested in 1000w or more of solar panels which lots of cruisers have. They hardly ever run their engines as the sun shines every day and is free.

A large freezer would be next on our list so we could stock up on fresh food that could last us a month or more instead of having to shop maybe two or three times a week often at stores that are often a long way from where we're anchored. Another reason for having those large solar panels, as freezers eat a lot of power. All of these things and more we now know would go a long way to making life as live aboard sailors much less of a hassle.

So now we're landlubbers, for a while at least, back in our apartment in Cabarete in the Dominican Republic where we'll stay at least until September. If Picaroon hasn't been sold we will have to return to renew her cruising permit for being in US waters and probably sail her back to the US Virgin islands and hope to find a buyer when the season kicks off in November.

Between now and then we're going to luxuriate in the conveniences of life ashore and enjoy our beautiful gardens, the swimming pool and our Robinson Crusoe beach.

I painted our beach on this piece of driftwood

A bolt from the blue

21 June 2016
You might call it a bolt from the blue, well that’s how it all began maybe three or four weeks ago. Ever since the crankshaft bolt snapped sending the main pulley flying from the end of the crankshaft we seemed to have been dogged by one disaster after another. At first it looked like a simple, well in theory it was simple, just remove the broken bolt from the end of the shaft and screw in a new one.

We called in an expert with the tools to do this, but part way through trying to remove the broken bit of bolt there was a sharp intake of breath, like experts do, and an “Oh dear.” Turned out the keyway in the crankshaft had been damaged as the pulley flew away.
Bolt from the blue No 2. Only way to fix this is to take out the engine, remove the crankshaft and take it to a machine shop to be fixed. It took three days to get the engine out and apart.

The machine shop said they couldn’t fix the damage to the pulley which had also suffered in the breakdown. This was a special double pulley designed to make the engine work in a boat. We searched high and low for a replacement hours, days, a week. It was looking hopeless, and we were getting demoralized. Finally we found one, in Japan!

We managed to borrow the $2000 that this repair was going to cost, as we had long since run out of our savings, and were simply surviving on my small UK pension. Picaroon was up for sale and had two or three prospective buyers waiting in the wings when the catastrophe with the engine bolt occurred. We put them all on hold pending the repair being carried out and the engine put back in the boat.

And then we had bolt from the blue No3. One day we checked my bank account to see if my pension for May had been paid into my account. There was a credit that looked about the right amount but with a curious code next to it but we assumed it was my pension. We became a little suspicious but decided to wait and see what happened when it came around to the June payment.

When the date came around for Junes’ payment nothing appeared in my account, it became time to panic. We asked our old next door neighbour to ask the new owner of our old house if there had been any mail for us from the UK pensions office. Sure enough there was a letter that had just arrived which said my pension had been suspended and it gave me a number to call in the UK.

Had we still some savings to live on then this would have been an inconvenience, but as we rely on my pension coming in each month to survive this was a disaster. Of course we didn’t get our neighbours message on a weekday when we could call the pension offices, we received it on a Saturday, which meant we had to endure the anguish and worry of a whole weekend before we could call them.

The letter had said that my pension had been suspended because they didn’t know where I lived.

We had sold the only house we owned in the UK to fund the buying of Picaroon which we bought at the end of 2013 in Puerto Rico. Ever since then Picaroon has been our home, we’re what they call liveaboard sailors, and for the last three years we’ve been sailing around the islands, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Virgin islands ending up back in Puerto Rico, which is where we are now.

So first thing on Monday morning we took the dinghy over to the Marina snack bar where the wi-fi is usually pretty reliable called the UK number using Skype. A pleasant sounding lady took my call and asked a few security questions and took my national insurance number. At first I thought they would be just checking to see that I hadn’t died and that this was me, alive. When she asked for my UK address I told her that I don’t have one at the moment as I am living on a sailboat in Puerto Rico. I’m sorry she said, I’ll have to pass you over to my college in the international section.

After five minutes of “hold” music a friendly chap took my call. I explained my situation, with a little difficulty as I’m deaf and my hearing devices I use don’t work that well with telephone calls. But luckily Jackie was sat with me and between us we thought we had jumped all the hurdles. That was until he asked how long we had been out of the UK and we said, since 2013. Oh, now that makes things more complicated, he said, I’ll need to pass this on to our specialist international team. We gave him an email address and our Puerto Rican telephone number and he said we would have to wait to be contacted by them.

How long we’ll have to wait for that call, or email we don’t know.

From our research on their website it seems that we have maybe fallen foul of the rules governing payments made to pensioners living abroad. It would appear that if you live in certain countries then any increases in the state pension will not be paid. It’s a curious list of countries where the increase is paid and not paid. For instance if you’re in the USA you get the increase, but if you live in Canada you don’t. If you live in Jamaica you would get the increase but not if you lived in Cuba. Barbados is good, the Dominican Republic is not good.

As we’ve been travelling around quite a few of these islands there are places where we would be eligible for the increase and others where we would not. However, we have never stayed anywhere longer than six months and sometimes we have only stayed a month. If we have to give details of where and how long we stayed at various islands/countries it could get very complicated for the pensions department to work out if I’ve been overpaid or not, which equates to a very long and drawn out investigation.

The thing that is ridiculous here is that whatever increase I’ve had in my monthly amount has been very small indeed, I would hazard a guess that my pension has only increased by about five pounds since I left the UK in 2013.

The big mistake that I have made, if any, is that I never informed the pensions dept. that I was selling my house in the UK and moving onto a boat in the Caribbean. I suppose I stupidly thought that as long as I don’t become a resident of another country, but simply passing through, then I was still a UK citizen, with a UK bank account, it’s just that I was between properties. OK three years is a long time to be between properties, but whilst I was living on my boat I didn’t need a house in England, but I still considered myself to be English, and have the rights to receive my pension.

So right now we’re eating into our respective overdrafts, which are minute and getting smaller by the week. We can’t survive much longer without my pension being reinstated.

We’re not allowed to work here, in what is in effect the USA, and we can’t sell Picaroon without an engine. Oh what a to-do, what a pickle.

It was bad enough having the bolt from the blue breaking, but then to have my pension withdrawn at such a crucial time, well, it’s just not cricket, insult to injury is what it is.

It’s been a horrible four weeks, the worst month ever.

If you want to help us out whilst we’re in this hole you could buy my album of songs that I recorded before I became deaf.
You can pay what you can afford.
Thank you in advance.
Visit to get your copy

Vessel Name: Picaroon
Vessel Make/Model: Hardin Sea Wolf (Formosa 41)
Hailing Port: Luperon Dominican Republic
Crew: Jackie and Colin Williams
About: We had never sailed until September 09 when we went on a RYA Start yachting course in Largs in Scotland. We have this plan to learn how to sail a 36ft boat around the Caribbean, in about 2 years time. 2011/12 now updated to August 2013
We moved out of the UK in September 2013 and bought ourselves a boat, she's a Hardin Sea Wolf and we have been fixing her in Salinas in Puerto Rico. In May we set sail for the Dominican Republic where well be for the summer of 14 then next November we set sail for new horizons. It's adventure [...]
Picaroon's Photos - Main
Luperon, Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica
No Photos
Created 18 May 2015
4 Photos
Created 29 March 2014
shakedown voyage
8 Photos
Created 26 March 2014
2 Photos
Created 13 December 2013
22 Photos
Created 15 October 2013