S/V Tiger Lilly

Rig heavy, reef early, and pray often; for God does not assure us an easy passage, but He does promise a safe anchorage...

02 January 2018 | Clan Jeti Anchorage, Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia
03 November 2016 | Singapore, Southeast Asia
02 October 2016 | Kumai River, Borneo
24 August 2016 | Rindja Island, Indonesia
22 July 2016 | Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
14 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
13 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
11 June 2016 | Burnette Heads, Queensland, Australia
07 June 2016 | Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
11 May 2016 | Colmsie, Brisbane River, Queensland, Australia
23 December 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
13 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
07 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
23 July 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
12 April 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
11 February 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
25 January 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
24 September 2014 | BORA BORA, French Polynesia
23 September 2014 | Bora Bora


04 January 2012 | Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, West Indies
Tom-Tom said the part of the voyage which he most enjoyed was watching my face light up as we sailed south down the west coast of Antigua. Oh my gosh, what a magnificent display of color and motion! After being at sea in the grey North Atlantic winter for two whole weeks, my eyes drank in the crescendo of ascending shades of the vivid blue Caribbean waters, rising up out of the deep and bursting on to the brilliant white sand separating sea from shore. From my vantage point the surf looked like a shower of white diamonds. The steep dark green hills of Antigua, scarred with slashes of grey volcanic rock, brooded over it all, and added such solid contrast to the dynamic scene below - it all looked so very inviting and exciting. Antigua truly is a tropical paradise; and it meant so much more to me sailing to these sparkling shores in a small boat than if I had flown in with a plane full of brightly clad plump tourists. I felt like I had really earned this beautiful moment; perhaps I was beginning to understand a small part of this cruising lifestyle. As we ghosted down the west coast, the high island of Antigua shadowed us from the easterly Trade Winds, and we had to start the engine and motor-sail through Goat Head Channel and along the south coast into Falmouth Harbour. (Yes, that's how our English cousins spell "harbor" - go figure!) We motored in and dropped our anchor in this well sheltered harbour of crystal clear water, and found ourselves surrounded by many of the world's fanciest mega yachts.

It took us little time, and with just a few words exchanged between us, to unrig our dinghy "Grace" from the cabin top, flip her upright, and launch her - we were working together as a crew. My first experience clearing Customs and Immigration was really a lot of fun, and not at all what Mr. Serious Naval Officer Guy tried to make it out to be. As my Mr. Serious was dotting all the eyes and crossing all the tees on the official forms, and of course being so very proper and thorough and Naval Officer like, I was making friends with the Senior Customs Officer - who also started out acting pretty stuffy and serious himself. (WHAT IS IT WITH THESE OLD GUYS TAKING THEMSELVES SO SERIOUSLY?) I started to break the ice when I asked Mr. Stuffy Customs if HIS wife cut his hair; it looked just about as short as Tom-Tom's, and when I remarked on this, he started to crack a friendly smile. After I asked him about his family and home, I then proceeded to tell him the story of how my Mr. Horse's Ass (who admittedly had been up most of the night to ensure our safe landfall) made me absolutely fighting mad about something he was barking about just after we anchored (just now I forget what it was, but I am sure that it will come to me), and then he had the absolute AUDACITY to ask me to cut his hair. Well, let me tell you about the first hair cut I ever gave a man with electric clippers - who had just pissed me off royally! Now those hair clippers are hard, sharp, and have perfectly square corners; and Mr. Pissed-Me-Off-Before-He-Asked has an almost perfectly curved head that he was so very proud of (well, it used to be anyway - before I gouged it in 13 very specific places). I cut that sucker three ways: wide, deep, and unnecessarily. Now, let me tell you Sistas out there that I have NOT been asked to cut Mr. Big Shot's hair since! The Customs Officer had really warmed up to my story, and was laughing out loud and pounding the counter in glee; but I think he actually felt sorry for the poor fellow standing before him with slashes of clotted blood on his scalp. We were having quite a good time in the Customs Office (that would be Mr. Smiling Customs and I), at Mr. Serious Service's expense, of course. I came here to have FUN, and that is exactly what WE are going to do - even if it kills him! (Service sez: "I think that someone upset the big wicker basket that their mother used to carry the whole damn Hermes litter in, and they ALL fell on their heads. This woman, in particular, is a real piece of work - and she can be meaner than a friggin snake!")

Not only do the Antiguan folks spell some words differently (like harbour and endeavour), but their money is really hard to figure out, too. They use Eastern Caribbean Dollars, and some apparently smart and important person in the Government has decided that 2.7 EC equals one US Dollar; but the really smart people in the shops and tee shirt booths use 2.6 - isn't THAT clever of the shopkeepers! I must have been in the pool at swim practice the day they taught the 2.6 times tables in 4th grade, because I have NO CLUE how to figure out their money - I just tell Tom-Tom to pay the man!

After arriving in Antigua and finding out that laundry ashore costs $10.00 USD per load, and that water cost 15 US cents per gallon, we elected to hand wash our clothes aboard Tiger Lilly; we would use the water we had in the tanks, and then buy water to top-off when we went to the fuel dock. You will recall that little lobster pot incident that we had on the way in, well that fire-drill produced a LOT of extra laundry, so we washed our clothes and bedding by hand and dried them on Spaceship Tiger Lilly's life lines for the first 4 days we were in this tropical paradise - my welcome to the cruising world! (Tom sez: "Cruising is nothing more than working on boats in exotic places" - and I sure hope that he is wrong on that one; but then, this is not his first rodeo - as he is so quick to remind me.) I have found one more area this compulsive-excessive husband of mine excels in; hand washing our laundry. Here is the "Official Tiger Lilly Northern Hemisphere Procedure for Hand Washing Laundry." The two large Home Depot orange plastic buckets that live in the shower are brought out to the cockpit and filled to the 3/4 level with water (not 1/2 or 7/8, but exactly 3/4). Next, we read the laundry detergent label (HE READS IT EVERY TIME) and precisely two ounces of soap are evenly disbursed into the water. The clothes are added until the water is EXACTLY two inches from the top of the bucket, and then a toilet plunger is used to agitate the clothes (in a clockwise pattern). This is the Phase-One Wash Agitation, and you can probably imagine that our laundry is not the only thing GETTING AGITATED by this time. The clothes are then allowed to soak for about two hours with the sun warming the buckets, which are turned every 15 minutes - all timed by the MOST AGGRAVATING kitchen timer buzzer I have ever heard in my life. (Tom sez; First you have to understand that this woman has NEVER owned a watch!) Then 50 anti-clockwise plunges are applied in the Phase-Two Wash Agitation. (According to Mr. Know-It-All the alternate clockwise and anti-clockwise pattern must be reversed in the Southern Hemisphere to correctly offset the Coriolis Effect. Here's the kicker Ladies, he made me get out Bowditch "The American Practical Navigator" and look up the word coriolis. Working with this guy is more fun than a root canal!) Then an old-fashioned hand-operated wringer is clamped to the boom gallows aft of the cockpit and the clothes are rolled almost dry with two passes through the tightly tensioned rollers - first head to tail, then tail to head. Only Tom-Tom could have found this antique wringer in the twenty-first century (remember his Horatio Hornblower identity crisis thingy?); Horatio found it on a web site that supplies the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish community. I could have bought a bottom-of-the-line automatic washer at Sears for almost the same price, but where would the water or electricity come from to operate it? Where would we put it? Dancing with our low-carbon footprint seems to be stomping all over my flip flops - what is up with that? I must admit though that I was impressed by the construction of our industrial strength, direct drive, double dip-galvanized, prehistoric wringing contraption; which is so heavy that it could kill a rhinoceros - if sincerely applied. (Until seeing one of these museum pieces, I had never really had an in-depth understanding of that quaint warning about keeping your tits out of the wringer.) The First Rinse Phase is next, the soapy wash water is dumped on deck where ever a good cleaning is needed (which is most everywhere after the boat has been in the salty sea for two weeks) then refilled as before (less 10% since the clothes are already partially wet - we are leaving NOTHING to chance here), two ounces of fabric softener are substituted for the detergent (and of course we have to read THAT label too, and then make some ratio calculations with a calculator), and then the clothes are agitated 50 times with the toilet plunger (you guessed it, in a clockwise pattern). After the First Rinse Phase (I swear to you that I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!) the clothes are rotated by hand from the bottom of the bucket to the top, and agitated 50 more times in the Second Rinse Phase (we are now at a total of exactly 200 plunges - made in very specific patterns (BUT WHO'S COUNTING? WE FLIPPING ARE, THAT'S WHO! WE COUNT EVERYTHING! We even count the lever strokes when we pump the head - down and back up is one stroke, NOT two - but then, that is a whole 'nother story.) Then it is back to the boom gallows (that whole gallows-thingy sounds so depressing to me) and our Amish wringer, an artifact right out of the Old Testament, for the final double-pass Rinse Wring-Out Phase. Ladies, if you haven't already CUT YOUR THROAT OUT OF DESPERATION, or simply THROWN YOUR LAPTOP ACROSS THE ROOM OUT OF FRUSTRATION by this point, then you know that we are having some fun now, and are ready to hang the clothes out to dry on the life lines. Standing on the foredeck and looking aft towards the cockpit, I could clearly see it coming; The very first instant this man made a motion towards me, no doubt to tell me how to hang out the laundry, I WARNED THE MR. TOUGH GUY WITHIN AN INCH OF HIS OVERLY-STRUCTURED LIFE TO STAND CLEAR OF ME - OR BE PREPARED TO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!! And so help me, as God is my witness, I WOULD HAVE DONE IT! I don't think there is a jury of 12 honest citizens this side of MARS that would convict me; I am confident that when the jury heard my story they would find the case to be justifiable friggin homicide, and then the judge would likely order him dug up and shot again! As you can probably understand by now, our clothes are certainly clean when Mr. Tidy Whitey gets through with them, but it makes me absolutely crazy watching the process.

But can you even imagine how HE feels when he goes to a laundromat ashore with his Get-R-Done production (not process) oriented bride? First, I CRAM in - using my not-unformidable foot-power if necessary - 30 pounds of really dirty laundry into a 15 pound machine, ignoring any posted capacity warnings, and not sorting ANYTHING by color. Next, I usually put in HALF the amount of detergent recommended on the label, which I guess at - if I remember to put in any at all. Finally, I go off somewhere and completely ignore the wash cycle while reading a motocross magazine, checking the bulletin board for the local carpet cleaning rates, and socialize with the homeless denizens that frequent the seedy laundromats patronized by sailboat cruisers. Somewhere in this process, if I remember, I throw the clothes in the dryer, feed it a few quarters (slugs if I have them), turn the heat up to max, and forget about them. Meanwhile, my Tom-Tom has retreated to a neutral corner, kicks a cat if one is convenient, and then has a head shaking / sneezing / swearing fit. You can only imagine how much fun we have when Mr. Blue Jackets Manual and Ms. Origami-NOT get together to fold clothes. Hint; Do you remember how Jack Nicholson packed for his road trip with Helen Hunt in the movie "As Good As It Gets"? Then you KNOW just how precisely this man folds clothes - and as Jack would put it, "Precisely is not a word I use lightly here, Sweetheart."

Well, that's my wash day story, and I am sticking to it. In spite of all our back and forth ego flexing and war of wills, somehow our marriage is turning out just fine. Perhaps a good way to describe us is "The Odd Couple Goes Cruising," starring Felix the perfectionist (Tom-Tom), and Oscar the sports fan (me, of course), living on the same boat with two very different philosophies of life - but we are actually enjoying ourselves. OK ladies, are YOU ready to sell everything (including your automatic washing machine) and sail off in a cruising sailboat? Yeah, that's what I thought. This ain't exactly Margaritaville baby, but I think that God has a plan for us all, and it may be something we NEVER expected for our lives - so hang on, it's going to be a wild ride! I also think that God's plan for His people is that we be happy, joyous and free - and certainly not seasick! So, I am quite hopeful "This too shall pass" and most importantly I claim the promises of Psalm 91 for my own - look it up, you will be surprised. Well, there you have it, the rites of passage aboard Spaceship Tiger Lilly, pretty much from MY point-of-view. We think that we can use sailing as a way of realizing God's plan for Tom and Lilly. But we guess that right about now you are probably asking yourselves some questions:
A) What about her seasickness?
B) Can she live with that strong hard-headed SOB?
C) They seem to be so different, how can they get along?
What do you think? Can we do it?
See ya!
Lill (aka The Tiger Lilly)
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, West Indies

Answers to the Marriage Quiz:
A) Don't worry, I'll make it - my sea sickness seems to be manageable.
B) Of course I can live with him, he's trainable.
C) Lots of love, and prayer are what make our new marriage work. Remember, Felix and Oscar are each exactly what the other one needs!
Vessel Name: Tiger Lilly
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 CSY44 walkover hull #55
Hailing Port: Green Cove Springs
Crew: Lilly and Tom Service
Lilly is a retired business woman, and was previously a professional athlete. As one of America's first professional female triathletes, she was a pioneer in woman's sports. [...]
Our kids: From 1987 to 1991 Tom circumnavigated the world with his family. Daughters Dawn and Jennifer were ages 11 & 13 when they departed on a 4 year, 40 country / island group, Trade Wind voyage around the world, and 15 & 17 when they returned to St. Petersburg, FL. During his high school [...]
Tiger Lilly's Photos - Main
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