Throwback Thursday: Trindad Part III: How the West Was Done

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

This week finds us in Cuba, one of our favorite stops of the whole trip so far.  After spending 10 fun filled days in Jamaica we took the 3 day sail over with our friends on s/v Rode Trip and and met back up with s/v Skebenga.  The week we spent in Cuba was absolutely amazing and we were heartbroken when our money ran out and we had to leave after spending only a week there.

Putting ourselves up in a marina in the south side of the island in the city of Cienfuegos, there was never a dull moment in our days as we hunted down all Cuba had to offer us.  It was really hard for me to pick what post to use this week as my Throwback Thursday because I want to share each and every one.  The nerve wrecking time we had checking in to the country, wondering if being American would raise any issues for us?  Or maybe the day we spent touring Cienfuegos, hunting down their $0.50 pizzas and $0.20 ice creams.  Should I choose the nice dinner we had out with Brian and Stephanie where we tried and fell in love with ropa vieja and learned of a new drink called canchanchara?

Then was our whole trip to Trinidad on a set of motor bikes.  An escapade where we traveled 50 miles, were separated from Brian and Stephanie within 5 minutes, but managed to end up at the same bed & breakfast once we arrived even though we had absolutely no plans of where we were going to stay. A place where we discovered we could get ice cold beers for the price of $0.20, or visit a night club built inside a cave.

In the end I think I will take a segment from our trip to Trinidad.  One of those days where you don’t expect much at the beginning but it turns out to be one of the best days you’ve ever had.  On this particular day we had almost literally been wrangled into taking a horseback tour of Trinidad by one of 30 guys standing on a street corner trying to peddle a package to us tourist.  “We’ll take you all through the countryside on horseback, it will be beautiful and unforgettable”, they all call from their street corners. The kind of thing you hear from everyone trying to sell whatever they can to make a living.

But because Brian and Stephanie had stopped to chat to one certain gentleman the day before on their quest for fuel and thought it would be polite to entertain him for at least five minutes while he gave his spiel, we were talked into a full afternoon on horseback for the low price of $12 a person.  Complete with entrance to a private park and a stop at a local farm.  We all figured, “Why not?  It could be fun”.  And in saying yes we opened ourselves to an endless day of beauty and the authenticity of Cuba.

You can find the original post here.

Thursday May 16, 2013

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(Photo courtesy of Rode Trip)

 

In the morning we set our alarms bright and early so we could enjoy the complementary breakfast at the casa particular before heading out to spend the morning on horseback. Getting a very quick shower under cold running water in, I ran down the steps to the restaurant to find a nice little spread waiting for us. Breakfast that morning was a mix of guava, papaya, pineapple, meat and cheese, and fresh espresso plus a very thick mango juice. I know a certain set of friends that told us the meals here in Cuba were the worst part of visiting (ahem, Tamarisk!), but this was really one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. Probably one of the most fresh, and definitely better for me than my usual bowl of Lucky Charms. We were going through it so fast that I even had to bring the coffee pot back to the kitchen and ask for ‘Mas cafe, por favor’.

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Good morning sunshine!

(Photo courtesy of Rode Trip)

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Our room at the casa particular.

 

True to his word, Daniel met us on the corner of our casa particular, sharp at 9 a.m. What he also had with him, and what we weren’t expecting, was for the horses to be joining him there as well. I guess we all assumed that we’d be caravaned to a ranch at the foot of the mountains where our caballos would be waiting for us, but nope, they were here at our door. Putting on our helmets and learning the Spanish names of our horses, no Buttercups here, so of course the names were promptly forgotten, we saddled up and were ready to go.

Clomping down the cobblestone streets of Trinidad, I almost felt cool as we headed out toward the mountains, passing the locals on the street and thinking ‘That’s right. I’m pretty bad ass on my horse here while you’re down there using your two feet to get around.’ It was pretty damn awesome. Then the town gave way to a steep winding hill in which we tried to keep our horses from sliding down the sometimes slick cement, and definitely off to the side of the road from the trucks that came whizzing by us at lightning speeds. Soon though, we were on and open road, lazily ambling toward the mountains ahead as we watched farmers and crop workers leaving their little huts on the side of the road to start their daily work.

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There were times we’d be moving forward at our lieserly pace when Daniel would crack a little whip, or whatever he had at his side, while yelling “Ya!…Ya!”, and the horses would pick up to a trot, making the ride a little bumpy and just a bit uncomfortable for most of us. Stephanie, an equestrian in her previous landlubber life, showed us how to stand up on the stirrups to give an inch or two between yourself and the saddle when the horse was riding like that. If it took a lot of bruising and possible future infertility away from me, I can only imagine the wonderful effects it had on the guys.

Along the way we met up with another couple using a different guide, but all of us headed toward the same destination. They were from Australia, and taking seven weeks to travel around the Caribbean. Their children were out of the house, they had vacation time to burn, and this is a part of the world they hadn’t been yet. They swapped stories with us on great places to visit in the Caribbean, and we told them where they could find a good 5 peso beer in town. Merging our groups together, we chatted between steps and trots, and even a few gallops until we made it to a plantation where it was time to take our first rest.

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Set under beautiful rolling hills, which there doesn’t seem to be a lack of here in Cuba, this ranch specialized in bananas, mangoes, and sugarcane. From the amount of animals roaming around though, I’m guessing there was a little bit of meat specialized as well. Once the horses were tied up, I took a quick moment to run walk around while playing my own version of ‘Old McDonald’ in my head. I think they contained a lot of the same things, as this farm came complete with pigs, a 7 day old calf, hens, chicks, cats, but this one was run by a cute little old man named Juan. I’m pretty sure his last name wasn’t McDonald. This wasn’t a resting break though, and soon all of us were put to work, getting the sweet water out of sugarcane. After watching the demonstration by the farm workers, each of us took a turn behind the crank, running a piece of sugarcane through once, and then bending it in half a sticking it through a second time just to make sure we got out every drop. This was much easier for most other people than it was for me.

Once all six of us had our go at it, the water was mixed with lemons and rum, making a sweet little treat for us to enjoy as we enjoyed some time in the shade. Juan played a few tunes for us on his guitar, serenated Stephanie a little, and then her and Brian danced along for a bit, turning and twirling to the beat of the music. We sat down down enjoy some more tunes and tried to decipher the Spanish words being played out. Brian, who has been building his vocabulary with Rosetta Stone, was able to pick up on the chorus that was being sung of “Mi casa es su casa, mi mujere es su mujere”. Which, if translated right, means, ‘My home is your home, my woman is your woman’. These Cubans, they really are a friendly and sharing bunch.

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I may have had to put all my weight into it.
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Juan, trying to sweep Stephanie off her feet.

Back on to our horses, before we could find out what else Juan wanted to share with us, we were on our way to the waterfall. This was the two hour rest stop we had been told about the previous day, and the $6 fee that was being payed by our leader and we had to keep our mouths shut about. Changing from open air and fields, we transitioned into a tree covered forest where the horses were tied to posts, we were pointed in the direction of the falls, and told to be back in two hours.

When we came out to the falls and I saw there was a nice pool underneath for swimming, just like back in Jamaica, I cursed Matt for making me remove my swimsuit from the small backpack we both shoved all our things into for the trip. “When would you possibly need your swimsuit there?”, he asked. I don’t know why he can’t get this through his head. I am always.right. Since none of us did in fact have our suits on us we decided that underwear would suffice, or a tank top and underwear in my case. Stripping off our clothes we placed them down on the surrounding rocks and got ready to jump in.

The guys, taking cues from one of the locals that ran a drink stand just next to the fall, were quick to scramble up the rocks to make a jump in from dizzying heights. Watching them plop in one by one, I was pretty sure that the slick climb alone would kill me and I was much better off only jumping the three feet from next to the pool. The water was cool and fresh, and we divided our time between swimming beneath the trickle of a fall, and sunning ourselves on the rocks. When our time was up we hiked the trail back to our waiting horses and guide to begin the trip back home. Not however, without a stop at the ranch once more for lunch.

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Thanks, but I’ll just watch from here!

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Not part of the packaged deal, but still pretty low at only $10, we were served one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Anywhere. So much for crappy food in Cuba. (Ahem, TAMARISK!!) First was a bowl of veggie soup and a key lime on the side for an extra kick of flavor, and wow, just that little touch makes a huge difference! Then I was served a heaping plate of fresh salad greens, rice, and perfectly cooked and flavored shrimp. Dessert was fresh banana and mango, products of the very plantation we were sitting at. It was one of those meals where I should have put my fork down long before I did, but I could not keep myself from heaping all the delicious food into my mouth.

One more tour around the grounds to say goodbye to all my little animal friends, play with a couple of kittens, and take what is possibly the cutest photo I will ever capture, it was time to leave once more. Ready to fall into a food coma, I was glad that the horses knew their way home by heart and I had to do little more than keep myself upright with my eyes open, which didn’t become very hard considering all the beauty surrounding us. Daniel also took it easy on us after our big meal and kept the horses at a walk, although after 20-30 minutes, Brian and I decided we were ready for some action and would command our horses into a gallop and race each other back and forth ahead of the group.

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Too soon it felt like the horses were exerting themselves in the daytime heat, bringing us up the hill that led back into town and toward our casa particular. It was time to gather our belongings and start the trip back home. We may have only had the previous evening to explore the town that we spent a bit of time and effort getting to, but I think we were all very happy with how we ended up spending it. For an adventure that none of us initially wanted to take, our day on horseback out in the mountains and fields of Trinidad is now one of the highlights on our trip, not just in Cuba, but since leaving Michigan.

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(Photo courtesy of Rode Trip)

 

 

 

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Random Happenings in the Boat Yard

Monday July 27, 2015

George looking for food

Sometimes, a lot of the time now actually, I’m finding that we’re so all over the place with our boat work and every day life that it’s hard to keep track of it all.  Lots of things that don’t warrant a blog post of their own, ether because the event itself is too small to worth noting, or even because there’s a lack of good photos.

Take for example our last night with our Young Bloods group.  The six of us, including Mark and Hanna of s/v Cara, and Meike and Sebastian of s/v Meise, had a great night out at JR’s Saloon as a final farewell before Mark and Hanna left to go West and Meike and Sebastian left to go East.  But I only had 2 photos of our night out. 2!!  Hardly worth encompassing a post on, even though we all did have a really good time.

Looking through some of my photos as I’ve been prepping other blog posts I found a few other cases of the same thing.  I don’t want to leave them out necessarily, but I can feature a whole post on them either.  So instead I’ll give you a quick rundown of the random things that have been happening here over the past few weeks.

  • I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing epoxy coatings.

Glamorous right?  Not exactly, but a necessary evil. We want to be so absolutely sure that no wood on our boat rots that we’re taking every precaution to keep it from happening.  Since condensation is most likely to form against the inside of our metal hull, anything we put up that is near this metal needs a water blocking epoxy coat.  The furring strips that attach to the aluminum frames running horizontally though the boat and every piece of wood that gets attached to these furring strips.

So every piece of Eurolite that is being turned into ceiling, or overhead, or floor, gets a coat of epoxy to it’s back side.  The fronts will be coated with primer and paint (except the floor).  I’m still debating on if I like doing only 2-3 pieces at a time to quickly get the job done and over with, or if I like them to pile up after a few days of measuring and cutting, then spending a good half day out in the blazing sun but without worries of having to do it again for another week.  One great part about finishing each time though means we get to install them and there is visual proof that we are making progress on this boat!

epoxy coating boards

epoxy coated boards

  • The people that previously wired this boat are idiots.

No, I’m serious.  It’s a wonder no one has died on here yet from electrocution or the boat hasn’t gone up in flames.  We found some of their stupidity when we first arrived to Indiantown while looking into compartments in the pilot house and found out that some of the wiring was done with an orange extension cord. That was pretty bad, only it doesn’t end there. When we were ripping out the overhead in the forward salon we noticed that they used an extension cord for their wiring in the mast as well.  WTF? So now, because of whomever these idiots were and thought they could take such a stupid shortcut on wiring, we’re going to have to drop the mast so we can fix it.  Another unexpected chunk of change out of our pockets.  Yippee!!

bad mast wiring

bad mast wiring

  • We made some new friends!

Unfortunately this is not a case of someone new at the marina to hang out with on a near daily basis, but we were contacted by the super fun Bo and Allison of Sailing B+A because they were shortly in town. Another young couple just like us, but these two are not just only new cruisers but newlyweds as well!  Having just tied the knot in May, they left Orange Beach Alabama just a few days after the wedding and have recently pulled into Stuart to keep their boat in a slip for hurricane season.  Realizing they were a mere 20 minute drive away from us they shot over an email to see if we’d be up for a dinner out sometime.  Of course we would!

Wanting to give Bo and Allison the full taste of what Indiantown has to offer, we suggested we meet up at JR’s Saloon for Taco Tuesday.  Along with us for the fun was our mutual friend Ellen (online to them, and in person to us). It’s too bad that we were only able to meet up for a few hours because these two are a hoot and the five of us could have stayed and closed the place down.  The good news is they’ll be back in Stuart in a few months, between odd jobs to keep the kitty full during hurricane season, and we’ve already made plans to meet up as soon as their back in town.  In fact, us girls aren’t even going to wait that long.  As soon as Allison is able to make it back to South Florida we’re going to have a girl’s night on her boat in Stuart full of wine drinking, talk about hair and make-up, and possibly a chance for me to wear my crazy print leggings without getting an eye roll from Matt.

(Again, I only took two photos while we were out.  What is wrong with me?)

Matt and Bo

Sailing B+A & MJ Sailing

 

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A Comfortable Place to Sleep

Saturday July 25, 2015

Matt installing v-berth foam

Today is a day I have been waiting for a very very long time.  It is our first day off from boat work in I don’t even know how long.  Since our Today Show filming, which I think was now three weeks ago.  And that wasn’t even really time off!

The reason we finally have the day off today, and maybe why it’s taken us three weeks to earn one, is because we have now put the foam mattress in the v-berth.  This probably doesn’t make sense to you on why it warrants a day off, but about two weeks ago when I thought we were 3-5 days from this happening I told Matt “We should take our next day off once we have the mattress installed.  Spend the day lying in bed and watching movies”.  He agreed.

One of the things I forgot about with Matt is how literal and stubborn he can be sometimes.  The date of putting the foam mattress in kept getting pushed further and further back because we’ve also been working at re-bedding a hatch frame in the v-berth which can be quite messy at times and we wanted to wait until it was 100% finished before we placed our cushion below.  Since we know it won’t be easy to move the mattress around the boat once we have it in we didn’t want to deal with the fuss of even trying. (And if you’re waiting for a post on the re-bedding hatch, you’ll be waiting a looong time.  We didn’t document the first one since it was more of a trial.  We’ll show you how it goes on the 2nd or 3rd one once we have it down.)

So there we were with a hatch frame that needed a ridiculous amount of sanding and priming and painting and could not go in for about two weeks later than we originally expected.  You’d think that we’d still allow ourselves a day off in the mean time, but my stubborn husband kept reminding me that ‘No no no, we said we wouldn’t take a day off until the foam went in’.  I should have known better than to make deals like this with him.  To be fair though, we have been busting our butts and getting a ton of work done lately with the remaining Eurolite pieces for the ceiling and overhead to the v-berth and forward salon.

But today, after staring at the two cardboard boxes of foam we’ve been hiding in storage for nearly two weeks now, we were able to bring them back to the boat to make a comfortable sleeping spot for ourselves.  In total we have three different pieces of foam which together add up to a thickness of 6″.  Two inches of a firm foam on the bottom, three inches of a medium foam in the center, and one inch of a soft pillow topper to rest on top.

Each of these sheets of foam is 80″x60″, so in order for them to be shipped to us in a somewhat tiny package they were vacuum sealed to suck out as much air as possible. The real fun part was watching them expand as the tightly wound pieces of plastic containing them were cut free.  In mere seconds these tight packages blew up to their full size and we went through the process of trying to neatly layer them on top of each other.  Not without a few swan dives into our new cushy bed first of course, just to test it out.

Since we were trying to get a section of material that was 60″ wide into a space that eventually runs down to 36″, we knew it would not be a smart move to try and perfectly line the foam pieces up and glue them together while parts up them were running up the wall in v-berth.  Spraying together the half of the foam that was able to stick out onto the flat board of the murphy bed, we attached the three pieces together using a spray adhesive from 3M specifically to include foam.  Waiting 5-10 minutes to fully let it dry we rotated the foam 180 degrees to line up and glue the other side.

The only thing left to do now was to cut them into place.  We couldn’t leave it as one big piece overall since when we go to flip up the murphy bed, the piece that sits on the ‘wall’ would not fold well into the area since the foam is so thick. Measuring from the tip of the v-berth up to the hinge where the wall folds up and down, we made one cut horizontally to give us the two pieces.  Since the wall of the murphy bed is so wide now, that piece was all set.  Using a sharpie to mark the angle of the v-berth, Matt then used the hacksaw to shave off the edges of the second piece and get it to fit snug into the v-berth.

For the time being the cushions will be left uncovered with fabric as we didn’t like what we had originally ordered online for them.  A clearance gray/silver fabric we thought was Brisa, but turned out to be some kind of off brand pleather that does not look very breathable and we think will get way too hot in the heat of the tropics.  So they’ll just get covered with our bed sheets for now and hope they stick together until we can encase them in a fabric we actually like.  I have to admit, I don’t mind putting off my sewing projects just a little bit longer.

Tonight I am looking forward to the best night of sleep I’ll have had in about a month and a half, now having six inches of pure heaven underneath me.  No more stiff as a board sport-a-seats or cockpit cushions so thin you can feel the plywood underneath us.  All we need now is a finished galley (and possibly lights) and I think we can live comfortably on this boat.

opening foam from package

opening foam cushions

foam cushions expanding

resting on new foam

half of v-berth cushion installed

 

 

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Throwback Thursday: Something’s Going Down like a Waterfall

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

In this weeks installment we have left the Bahamas behind for a lusher landscape.  Spending just under 48 hours on the water we sailed the 275 miles from Great Inagua Bahamas to Port Antonio Jamaica.  Meeting up with our friends Ren & Ashley on s/v Nila Girl and having made the sail over with Brian and Stephanie on s/v Rode Trip, we also made new friends in the form of three guys in their 30’s.  Jason and Piers, two brothers sailing a Sundeer 56 named s/v Tamarisk, and their friend Jimmy who was along for a few weeks of fun.

Wanting to check out some of the sites of Jamaica, the ten of us piled into a van one morning in search of waterfalls and excitement.  You can find the original post here.

Wednesday May 1, 2013

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I was finally able to get close to consecutive eight hours of sleep, but yet again we had plans and sleeping in was not one of them. Having talked about it since we first guided Ren and Ashley toward Jamaica instead of Cuba on their way through the Caribbean, the six of us planned on using the time there together to go see the Blue Mountains and some waterfalls. While taking our long walk yesterday we were approached by dozens of people trying to sell us on trips but unfortunately we never knew how legitimate any of them were.

Brian and Ren were sent on a mission that morning to find us the best deal and when we met up for coffee around 10:30 they said they found a guy that could take the 7 of us on a packaged deal up through the mountains, to Reach Falls to do some swimming, and stopping at Boston Beach on the way back for food and relaxing. The total cost was $170 or just under $25 per person, plus additional cost to get into the falls. When I realized the bus sat 10 and there were only 7 of us I was quick to suggest that we invite the guys from Tamarisk to join us, thinking we could bring the general price down for everyone. I wasn’t inviting them just so we could save money, I genuinely like hanging out with them, but I also really like saving money.

We found Jason on the stairwell once more trying to connect to the internet and invited him along. He was finishing up some business, but since the bus wasn’t coming to get us until just after noon it was still enough time for him to finish his work and round up the other boys. With everyone rushing back to their boats to get ready, we were soon meeting back up in front of the marina with a cooler full of ice that was desperately seeking beer.

Piling all of us into the van we made a stop at a convenience store to stock up on Red Strip, Dragon Stout, and Ting for the expectant Ashley. Continuing on, the buildings of Port Antonio fell away and we were cruising down a two lane road with grassy farms on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. The sights were beautiful and it was really relaxing to watch them pass by in a motored vehicle instead of on foot.

There was one stop along the way before we reached the falls and it was the Blue Lagoon. I had originally thought this was the place where the movie of the same name was filmed, but a little check on IMDB later showed that was actually filmed in Fiji. This one we were visiting did still have it’s claim to fame though, by Jacques Cousteau’s 170 foot dive in it. While most of us were just happy to stare at the pretty colors of the water from a distance, Piers, Nick, and Matt quickly had their shirts off and were swimming in what they said was surprisingly cool water.

It was a short stop, so they were only in a few minutes before returning to shore to dry off. While waiting for them, us girls browsed the stalls of jewelry and other knick-knacks for sale. Knowing there is no extra space on the boat for frivolous items, coupled with the fact that I don’t know if I’d ever get any use out of these said items, I politely turned down every seller that held something up to me with a hopeful smile. There was still plenty of business for them to be had though, as Ashley spiced up her outfit with a red coffee bean necklace, and Piers now had a new Jamaican flag to decorate his cabin with.

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I love how these boats seem to be floating on air.

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Matt & Piers taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon.

 

It didn’t take too long to get to the falls from there, or maybe we were all just having so much fun while talking about our sailing lives with cold roadies in our hands that time seemed to speed up a little. It was time to suit up and head down to the falls. Our driver told us to follow the well marked path down which would lead us straight to the falls. At the bottom there would be a guide that could walk us up the falls if we wanted, for a tip, or we could try doing it ourselves although it is not as much recommended.

Finding the cement staircase with guardrails on the side (what is this, America?) we walked down to see a wide beautiful waterfall in front of us. It wasn’t too high, maybe 20-25 feet, but all it’s rushing water let to a delicate pool below that looked like the perfect place to swim while admiring the falls. We were all a little tentative to get in the water, only because it was much colder than the warm bath waters of the sea we’re used to, but Jimmy took the first plunge and we were all soon behind. There was a spot off to the side for jumping in the pool, and since it was only about 15 feet up and half the height of our jump at Dean’s Blue Hole, most of us were off it without a second thought. Stephanie took a little coaxing, but she too enjoyed the thrill of momentary zero-g.

There was a cave under the fall that most of the guys pushed their way past the barreling water and inside right after they made their initial jump in the water. Then it was time to have the guide bring us up the stream. Climbing the mossy side, most of us had opted out of wearing shoes since we figured they’d just get in the way, although with the amount of times I almost lost balance and face planted into rocks, I think they may have been worth the inconvenience. I brought up the rear, quite far behind actually, and didn’t get to enjoy the sights so much on the way up since I was constantly looking at the placement of my feet and where they would go next. I finally caught up to everyone though, due to obstacles like climbing over downed trees and squeezing through rock crevices, and then it was time to go back down….through the water.

Our guide had deposited us at an area of the stream where the water ran down through a cave/tunnel before coming back out…and we were about to go through it. He gave instructions to the guys on how to get through and helped us girls down since it was about an eight foot drop. I was let down first and sat inside while I waited for Ashley to follow behind me. There were still spots for the light to shine through and it was actually quite wide. Getting tired of waiting I waded over to where I thought the exit was, and just when I was about to make the plunge to get out, Jimmy popped up in the cave, having come through it backwards. He showed me the way out and how to get down the next few obstacles where I was able to impress him with a belly flop into the next standing pool of water.

The rest of the way back down was much easier, floating through the open pools and walking over stones in some shallower areas. When we got back to the fall Matt was talked into jumping off the top of it, and although I was not worried about him and the distance to the bottom, the slippery wet moss at the top did make me worry that he might have a less than graceful fall. This guy is impervious to danger though and was back to swimming in the pool at the bottom just a few seconds later. I once again made the shorter jump off the side and made my way across the pool to finally check out the cave for myself. There was quite a current pushing you away as you tried to get in, but basically hanging on the back of Ashley as she went in before me, I was able to pull myself in as well.

This cave was much bigger but also much darker than the first one we had been in. Matt lead us through a path in the cave that led us out the side of the cave where there was barely a trickle of water coming down over us. I was a little disappointed at this since I expected to burst back through the powerful opening we came in, but maybe it’s better because that route would most likely have led to a black eye , which I’m pretty good at getting. Back at the landing everyone was enjoying their drinks we brought down from the van and we watched the sun begin to lower and shoot brilliant yellow colors over the falls. Before we left, Jason set up his fancy camera equipment and took a great group shot of all of us.

hiking trails Reach Falls (4)

guide talking, Reach Falls (5)

(Above two photos courtesy of Rode Trip)

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Go for it Jimmy!

Jessica & Piers - waterfall (7a)

waterfall group shot (8)

(Above two photos courtesy of Jason Windebank)

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 Getting ourselves back into the van we made our way to Boston Beach for some eats and relaxing.  It wasn’t quite what I expected when we got there.  I was thinking that something named beach would be a little more…beachy.  This was just a patch of grass with a path leading down to a rocky waterfront.  It was fine though since there were no plans to lay out on sandy beaches or get in the water, and it was still  a good place for watching a sublime sunset reflect off the rocks in the distance.

Stopping first at the food stands on the road we ordered items like jerk chicken and pork for dinner with sides of festival, a sweet slightly fried kind of breadstick, and brought our food to a grassy patch to enjoy it.  Around us were locals trying to sell jewelry and trinkets, and I finally broke down and bought a bracelet made of sea root, after trying on every one he had to find one that could fit my tiny wrist.  We were all tired and happy and when the food was gone we climbed back into the van for the ride home while watching the sky turn pink and orange out of our windows. But you know us…our night was not over yet..

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Tongue & Groove

Monday July 20, 2015

settee face

The intricate construction I was mentioning in the last post?  Unfortunately does not just apply to the routed plywood we are using for the ceiling and overhead.  We have decided to make things very complicated for ourselves in the way we are going to assemble all of our cherry doors, cabinets, and pretty much everything made from cherry.  To make them look really nice and add a fine detail, instead of using just plain pieces of cherry plywood we are now using cherry boards to frame an inset of cherry plywood.  I’ll give you a quick example of the cabinet doors in the v-berth before I confuse you further.

(*Let it be known now that I will probably do a terrible job explaining this process.  If you’re looking for actual know-how, visit this page for someone who made cabinet doors for a home using this style of woodworking.)

cherry doors in v-berth

For anyone curious to know the details or specs, for the frame we used cherry 4/4 lumber that we milled down to S4S 1″x3″s and 1″x4″s, and used 1/4″ cherry plywood for the inserts.

To get the boards of the frame to fit together we did it in a tongue and groove style so there are no nails or screws holding any of it together.  Now that we’ve done this process a few times it’s begun to get a little easier, but there were about two solid days of trials on pine 1″x3″ boards, using our table saw to slice 1/4″ grooves right down the center for us to be able to slide the plywood in. The grooves only extended 1/2″ into the boards, so a lot of practice was getting the proper blade height and the distance between the blade and the fence to make sure the grooves ended up in the middle of the board.  Once that part was down we had to spend even more time practicing the perfect cut for the tongue on the end to be able to piece the frame together.

Again, I’m probably getting ahead of myself and should explain the full process better.  Getting into technical terms, the frames are made out of what are called rails and stiles.  Rails run horizontally across the top and bottom, and stiles are anything that run vertically.

rail & stile

After the cabinet doors in the v-berth our next project was to make the face of the settees in the forward salon.  The plan was to use a 1″x3″ rail on the top and a 1″x4″ rail on the bottom, as well as 3 stiles, one for each end and one for the center.  The rails were the easiest part as they only needed one groove.

Using our calipers to measure the blade height of the table saw and getting a few more practice runs in with our pine, we brought the cherry boards over to cut the groove in them, sending them across the table saw twice, rotating the board after each run, front to back, to get our desired width of 1/4″.  Then they were set aside until later when they’d need to be cut to their proper length.

The stiles required this step as well, placing a groove down the center, each end piece only received a groove on the inside, and the center piece receiving grooves on both sides. To be able to fit the stiles into the rails we also had to give them a tongue, with a length of 1/2″ and a width of 1/4″. To do this on the table saw we first cut the stiles to the proper length, adding an extra inch to account for the tongues on each side, and then raised the blade up just high enough so it would not cut through the entire piece of wood, but would only come up approximately 3/8″.  Measuring back 1/2″ from the end you make a swipe on the table saw and then keep moving the board further from the table saw, still making swipes until you’ve hit the end.  Flipping it over and doing the same to the other side you should be left with a small piece in the center that is now 1/4″ wide and 1/2″ long.

The next and easiest step is cutting the 1/4″ plywood insets.  Measuring the length and width of the open space in the frame, we needed to add an extra inch on each side to account for where the plywood would slide into the groove.  Something we almost forgot to do on more than one occasion.  Measuring the lengths we ran them through the table saw to get a straight cut and that was it.

Then it’s time for the dry run!  Setting the bottom rail on a flat surface we slid the tongues of the stiles into the gooves of the rail and lined them up flush on the ends and centered the middle piece.  From there we slid in the plywood pieces and then placed the second rail on top where the groove encased both the tongues of the stiles and the extra 1/2″ of the plywood.  If anything wasn’t fitting properly we’d take it apart and make a few necessary cuts, usually just an 1/8″ here or there.

When we were satisfied with the way everything was fitting together on the dry run it was time to glue it all together.  Bringing all the pieces inside the boat we went through the same process, just adding a wood glue to the tongues of the stiles this time.  After it was all pieced together we used clamps to press the boards tight together and left it to sit for about an hour.  Then voila!  Time to install!

Kind of.  We’re not permanently installing anything at the moment, plus all of our pieces of cherry will need about six coats of varnish in the end (three with gloss and three with satin), but it’s still nice putting them in place and becoming one step closer to finishing an area.

measurements for settee face

Matt making measurements

tongue & groove cabinet face

tongue & groove cabinet frame

gluing v-berth door

glued & installed settee face

cherry settee face

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Throwback Thursday: I am a Nice Shark, Not a Mindless Eating Machine

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

This week still finds us traveling the Bahamas with our good friends Brian and Stephanie on s/v Rode Trip.  After a few very enjoyable weeks in Long Island Bahamas the 4 of us decided to trek to the lesser traveled island group of the Jumentos and Ragged Islands.  Very private, beautiful, and filled with some of the best coral and fishing we’ve come across in our travels.

Having visited three islands in the chain already we were indecisive of where to stop next but found ourselves tucked into the beautiful little treasure that is known as Double Breasted Cay.  Surrounded by the clearest and most tantalizing waters we’ve ever seen, we found out after our first afternoon there that it would be wise to keep out of them.  We were sharing our anchorage with a group of sharks.

You can find the original post here.  To see the post on Picturesque Double Breasted Cay, with more photos of this beautiful anchorage, click here.

Friday April 12, 2013

4.12.13

Even though Buena Vista Cay had been previously described to us as ‘not to miss’, we decided the empty coral heads and lack of challenging walking trails were not enough to keep us there and we hauled anchor once more. Slowly making our way down to Ragged Island and the only settlement of Duncan Town, we thought we’d stop at one more cay on our way since we were in no real rush. Our biggest goal in mind now was not which island held the prettiest beach or a good pit for bonfires, but one that would shelter us from the terrible swells that would constantly rock our boats back and forth all day and all night. One of the days we had been on the radio hailing each other while traveling, we were overheard by another cruising boat a little further south that mentioned they were at Double Breasted Cay along with a few other boats and the swells were not bad there. This boat was now headed toward Hog Cay which is right next to Ragged Island, and we were invited to a beach get together should we decide to continue on the extra 15 miles south. Since we chose to visit the Jumentos and Raggeds mostly for their seclusion, a harbor full of other boats did not sound tempting so we planned to anchor that night at Racoon Cay which is the island just north of Double Breasted. It had a large cove that hooked around and we were sure the swells could not wrap around it and reach us. (I know this sounds like a geography lesson, but these islands are literally within 3-4 miles of each other and I feel the odd need to list them all)

Stephanie had listened to the weather on their SSB that morning, and according to weather guru Chris Parker, winds were supposed to be 17-20 knots out of the east. Coasting under the protection of Buena Vista Cay still (see, there I go again) we did see those light winds, but once out of the shelter, they settled into the 20-25 knots that we had been experiencing all week. This was fine as we were used to it and I still liked the speed that would carry us to our next destination as soon as possible. I should quickly mention here that one of the reasons we also decided on Raccoon Cay was that the harbor was easily accessible from the banks, and since we hadn’t broken our ‘no engine’ streak yet, we didn’t want to mess with all the necessary tacking to get into the impossibly hidden harbor for Double Breasted. Or at least, that’s how it looks on a map when you know it will require at least 18 turns and sail trims to get into it. On our way to our intended anchorage for the night the winds not only picked up to the 25-30 range, but began shifting so that we were pointing further and further into it. Not only did this make it harder to sail, but it also looked as if our spot we had picked out at Raccoon was not looking as protected as we thought it would. With a quick talk on the radio on the radio to Rode Trip we decided that even though it would be tricky to get to, Double Breasted probably would be the best place for us.

Matt and I had already been having issues at this point while sailing where our self tailing winch that was no longer self tailing had gotten the line wrapped in it to the point we had to tighten the line to another source, take apart the winch, free the line, and put it all back together. I was getting to the point that I was happy with our no engine streak, we proved that we could get through multiple days of sailing under sail power alone, but I was ready for it to end if necessary. Stubborn Matt on the other hand was ready to make those 18 tacks if necessary since, as he claimed, ‘What does it matter if it takes an extra hour?, We don’t have any place we need to be.’. Mmmm hmmm. So while we were on tack #4 avoiding a 3 ft sandbar just to our boat north and I accidentally let the line for the traveler slip out of my hand where it flew through the cleat and up on the deck causing the boom to now be permanently stuck on the port side until the line could be retrieved and fed through again (something I tried to do, but was quickly yelled at to get back in the cockpit even though I was on the high side), we decided to stop fighting fate or nature or whatever was causing our bad luck, and turn the engine on after 100 miles and three anchorages without it. The streak was now over.

I was even happier not to be messing with sails once the wind began gusting into the mid 30′s. Even though the mood was a little tense I couldn’t help but look at Matt and say, “I thought that 17-20 knot winds would be a lot less gusty than this. That Chris Parkers’ full of shit man.”. (Do you get the movie quote?) Luckily I was able to wrangle a big smile out of him too. The bay ended up being empty of other boats which was a nice relief to us, and we anchored Serendipity in ten feet of some of the most beautiful water we’ve ever seen. Even though it had been a slightly stressful twelve mile trip, it was still early in the afternoon and we were not ready to spend the rest of the day sitting on the settee and watching tv. Matt and Brian were excited to have new coral heads to check out for fish and Stephanie and I were eager to check out a new beach. The boys set off in one dinghy while us girls took the other, me with an ice cold Sands in my hand since, hey, it had been a stressful morning. Greeting us right on the shore of the beach where we landed the dinghy was a fire pit, but a much better set up than the one we had just used at Buena Vista. This one came complete with wooden benches and logs to sit on, along with a table made of milk crates and decorated with plastic owls. A little out of the norm, but entertaining nonetheless. We hiked a trail while barefooted which was not a good idea, so soon we quarantined ourselves to the sandy beach.

Along the shore were dozens and dozens of conch shells. Nothing new, there were literally hundreds littering the beaches of the last few cays we’d been to, but something about these ones made Stephanie very excited. These ones were not left overs from fishers after a clean with holes in the top of the shell where they had cut the conch away from it. These shells were untouched, as if the conchs were using them as hermit crabs do, willingly leaving a perfectly good one behind to move into a bigger or better one. Soon she was stacking them up in her arms, excitedly claiming that she could make horns from them or save them as gifts for family (sorry if I’ve ruined an early surprise for anyone). It got to the point where they were toppling out of her arms and I thought I might need to have an intervention for her. I’m not sure how it would go, but I think it would start something like “Stephanie, I really care about you…but I think you have a problem”. Scooping up just a couple myself, I mean, I do want a horn too, we piled 10 of them back in the dingy to head back to the ‘Dip, where we intercepted the guys on the way back from their fishing adventure. While we had been safely strolling beaches, albeit Stephanie’s new addiction, the guys regaled us with a tale of how they had a shark encounter while fishing and Brian flew out of the water and onto some rocks while Matt heaved himself back into the dinghy. It hadn’t stopped their fishing adventure though, they just moved to a new spot, and were still able to bring back a good number of fish for cleaning.

Since Brian decided he had too many fish and the lion-fish which was on his spear would probably not make it’s way to the dinner table, he flung it back into the water to let it be eaten by other fish once it’s poison’s had worn off. It hadn’t even been able to float away for five seconds when we saw a dark shadow rush past and snatch it up. It had been moving so fast that although we hadn’t been able to get a good look we assumed it could be nothing other than a shark. Sure enough, as if it knew where it’s last meal just came from, it sped back towards Serendipity and began circling the side we were all standing on. Now we could make out that it definitely was a shark, probably just over two meters long. This being our first encounter, we were all excited to watch it zip around at lightning speeds and dart from one side of the boat to the other. Soon it had a buddy join in and we thought we’d turn it into some kind of dinner theater. With all the fresh fish on the boat that need to be cleaned, we brought out the cutting board and fillet knife, ready to throw the scraps overboard and watch the sharks go at them.

Each time some guts or a head flew into the water the two sharks would race toward the surface and snatch it up before it even had a second to submerge. After the first two fish, we had the bright idea of tying the remaining body of one of our catches to a string and dangling it just off the side of the boat so we could get them to come in even closer and get a really good view of them. Even though the waters in this cove are crystal clear, there is constantly a 10-15 knot breeze blowing through causing ripples on the surface and obscuring anything below. With the string tied around the backbone of the fish and Stephanie and I stationed on each side with our cameras, Matt slowly brought the fish down to the surface of the water. I don’t know why we thought it would be any different than when we threw the scraps 10 feet out from the boat and the sharks still managed to be there within a half second, because this fish had barely touched the water before one of the sharks whizzed by, cutting the string with it’s razor sharp teeth and speeding off with the fish. We all sat there dumbfounded for a second with our mouths agape and thinking ‘Did that just really happen?’. Then we all broke out into a nervous laughter and made jokes about how we were definitely not going to dangle our toes in the water now.

The close up of the shark was enough for us to get a much better look at it and determine that we thought it was a black tipped shark. There actually are a few kinds of sharks in the Caribbean that don’t pay much attention to humans and shouldn’t cause worry, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks, but black tips are not one of them. They are known to be aggressive and unpredictable. Now that water that had been looking so tantalizing earlier, calling my name to go for some refreshing dips, was now not looking so friendly. The most beautiful bay we’d come across yet in the Bahamas, and now I couldn’t even go for a swim in it. It was somewhat of a happy trade off though, to get to experiencing a couple of sharks up close and personal. They had no intent to leave us alone anytime soon, and so we kept doing whatever we could do to bring them close to the boat, throwing over scraps of lunch meat, leftover lobster and contemplating Georgie (aka: shark bait). I don’t know what their thoughts were on us, but one of the sharks actually did begin to show aggression a few times when it would swim cautiously toward our dinghy that was tied to the stern, and then smack it’s tail against the hypalon side before rushing away. It was then that we decided to call it a night. Brian and Stephanie carefully got back in their dinghy and she was even allowed to choose one of her conch shells to take back to Rode Trip with her. The rest were tossed over board, possibly in the direction that the sharks were still sitting. You know, … just to see what they would do.

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To help you further your geographic education.

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It’s All About Money: Sail Loot Podcast

Monday July 13, 2015

I’d have to say that about 70% of the emails we get in our inbox have something to do with money.  It may not be the sole subject of the email, but it usually comes up one way or another.  “How do you afford this; What did you do to save; What does it cost to maintain this lifestyle”.  We don’t mind these questions, in fact we usually openly talk about our money.  Through our Cost of Cruising pages you can find out what we spend each month and year and where all of our money goes.

To take it one step further though and find out everything there is to know about us and money; starting from the beginning and going up until now, we were contacted by Teddy at Sail Loot to participate in a podcast talking about this subject. We talked about absolutely everything from when we bought our first boat, how we outfitted Serendipity to cruise, what gets covered in our monthly expenses, and how we try to save where we can.  If you’ve ever had a money related question for us, chances are it’s been answered in this interview.

Keep reading to see how our interview appeared on the Sail Loot website, including the podcast.  If you’d like to see the full thing on their site as well as check out more links relating to the discussion, make sure to check out the original post here. For even more podcast from other great cruisers talking about their finances, make sure to check out Sail Loot’s home page.

Thank you so much Teddy for taking the time to interview us, it was a pleasure talking with you!

Matt & Jessica The Baths

“Matt and Jessica decided that it was time to get off the couch and start experiencing life. How they would experience life was the first question. When they decided that sailing was the answer, all they had to do was learn how to sail, find a boat, and figure out how to find their sailing money. Easy enough, right?

They ended up taking some sailing lessons, and getting some sailing practice for about 2 years on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. Their sailing money came with a lot of hard work, some downsizing (of their possessions and their activities), and some budgeting to make sure that they wouldn’t blow through their cruising kitty while sailing across oceans.

Matt and Jessica started with a little bit of money saved up, “normal” jobs, and a dream. They took off with enough sailing money in the bank to cruise for about 4 to 5 years if they stuck to their budget. Enjoy listening to this episode of the Sail Loot Podcast for all of the details!”

A Few Things You’ll Learn About Matt and Jessica, MJ Sailing, and their Sailing Money In This Episode:

  • Their Hunter 240, their first trailerable sailboat.
  • Their jobs on land prior to taking off cruising.
  • How much they paid for all of their sailboats.
  • Their cruising budget.
  • How big their crusing kitty was before they left. You know, this directly relates to how long they planned on cruisng.
  • Where they’ve sailed so far.
  • Crossing the Atlantic…twice within the span of a year.
  • The Re-fit of their new sailboat, Daze Off (the current name).
  • Matt’s hobby.
  • Where they’re living while they re-fit Daze Off
  • How Matt and Jessica keep a low-cost lifestyle.
  • Going the “wrong way” around the Caribbean.
  • Jessica’s sailing money and frugal cruising tips.
  • And Much More!

Kimberly Joy lifestyle photo

Serendipity 3

Daze Off 2

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Euroliting the Ceiling

Friday July 10, 2015

walls in vberth

So much work and so little to show for it.  At least that’s the way it feels lately.  Whenever I post photos on our Facebook page of something new that’s gone up or the difference from when we moved on her a month ago, all of you have been extremely encouraging by telling how nice everything is looking and how far we’ve come along. I think that Matt and I forget that the demolition stage is very quick and easy, yet the rebuild takes a lot more time.  A LOT.

I remember back when we had either first bought the boat or were debating it and Matt showed me the website of a guy that was doing something similar…ripping out the whole interior and starting from scratch, just like we are.  This guy had all day every day to devote to his boat as well and we thought we’d be on the same kind of schedule as him for completing projects.  Framing out v-berth?  Bam, 1 day.  Building new cabinets for the salon?  Bam, 1 week.

Two things we have learned since then.  A. We are not boat builders.  Or carpenters.  This is all new for us and although we hope we get the hang of it as we go along and things will eventually run much more smoothly and quickly, we’re still in the learning stages right now.  And B. We’re making our job infinitely harder by trying to make an ‘intricate’ interior.  If it was just installing plain ‘ol plywood we’d be much further along by now.  But instead we had to get fancy. Oh, and having an aluminum boat requires extra steps. Let me explain.

For the ceiling (walls) of the boat we are using a 1/4″ marine plywood.  After doing some shopping around we landed on something called Eurolite which, like it’s name implies, is an extremely light wood made from a European poplar.  While buying a sheet of 3/4″ marine plywood from a shop in West Palm Beach they gave us a sample of it to take home and after applying an epoxy coat to one side we were confident that it would still give us the strength we needed as well. We’ve ordered 10 4×8 sheets to start at about the cost of $34/sheet.  Keeping all the extras stored in a 10×10 unit we’ve had to rent up the street, we’ll bring one back at a time and begin the fun on it.

As part of our ‘intricate’ interior we are routing v-grooves into the plywood spaced 3 1/4″ apart.  Between marking the plywood with a pen on each end, clamping a straight edge on it, routing, and then sanding the grooves, each board takes about 2 hours to complete. Once the sheet is routed and sanded go into the boat and make a template of the area we want by cutting and gluing together small 1/4″ pieces of wood that we then trace onto the Eurolite.  Using our jigsaw to cut out the traced pattern we bring it inside to fit, and usually have to make a few adjustments before it fits into place and we can screw it into the furring strips.

Once we’re satisfied that the pieces fit we have to take them out again where the back side and edges are epoxied to prevent any possible condensation around the aluminum frame from rotting the wood. So far we only have the two boards in for the v-berth, but we’ve also spent a lot of time working to cap and enclose the area that the murphy bed folds up into, separating the v-berth from the forward salon.

One of the last projects we’ve been working on lately has been replacing the plywood that folds down for the murphy bed.  While we’re redoing the area we decided to extend the width of the area that folds down and extra 4″ on each side, which actually gives us the space of a queen bed now.  Before we’d be laying on our backs with our shoulders basically touching, but these extra few inches have made a world of difference. We can actually spread out without bumping into each other anymore.  I don’t think we’ve had this much space in a bed since we’ve lived on land and we’ve been sleeping soooo much better already.

Eurolight boards in v-berth Matt in murphy bed taking out overhead Jessica & Meike v-berth Matt working on caps paneled v-berth And once again Georgie puts up with us and our work.  If she’s not hiding somewhere in the crammed quarter berth she’s out laying on the sport-a-seats that we keep in the pilot house until it’s time to bring them to bed at night to use as our mattress.

In a quick note on our friends, they are all gone now, leaving us to fend for ourselves for company.  Meike and Sebastian are spending a few days touring Miami before flying back to Germany and Mark and Hanna are on the Gulf side of Florida positioning themselves for a jump down to Guatemala.  Before they left though we were able to get Hanna her birthday gift of an American meal.  Corn dogs and Budweiser.  What’s more American than that?
Georgie on a sport-a-seat Hanna

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We’re on the Today Show!

Friday July 10, 2015

mj on today show

If you haven’t been following us through our Facebook page (and you totally should!) you may not know that we’ve been getting a bit of media coverage lately.  Or, going viral to put it bluntly.  We have been in news publications everywhere from the US to the Netherlands, even to China and Japan.

Some of you who do know all about our coverage and have seen us splashed about here and there may wonder yourselves where it all started.  Well….a few months ago I was contacted by a UK based news agency called Caters.  A woman in the office reached out to me and said that she had found our blog online and thought we had an interesting story.  Would we mind doing an interview for her that she would in turn try to sell to a magazine or be published by any news outlets?

I told her that I would be happy to, although honestly I didn’t expect much coverage to come of it.  We’ve been doing this for years without anyone taking (too) much interest and countless people before us have been doing exactly what we’re doing for generations.  This is the world I live in now and it seems like the least odd thing in the world to drop everything and sail into the sunset.  Where do you think I’ve made so many good friends in the past few years? We’re all doing the same thing!

So imagine my surprise when I woke up on June 24 and found an email from a reader who sent us a link saying that a story about us had been published in the Daily Mail*.  I didn’t know much about the Daily Mail, but I did know it was a big time publication in the UK.  Following the link, both Matt and I were stunned to find our story there, and already with so many comments and shares.

From there it went crazy.  We were contacted by Redbook Magazine and Business Insider for actual interviews or permission for use of our story, which we agreed to, but then we found that other sources were taking information based from the Daily Mail and our blog to write their own story.  We were catching fire and spreading fast.  It seemed like every country had their own story about us and we couldn’t even keep up with all the posts or links about ‘The Couple That Quit Their Jobs and Sold Everything to Sail The World’.  With their cat.  For some reason that seems to be one of the biggest points of the story.  I think Georgie is getting more fame than we are. (My cute little moggie)

Of course we began receiving a ton of emails from people who had just heard about us, mostly to wish us well and tell us what an inspiration people like us are, others asking how we afford this lifestyle (we saved, there’s no income here!), and a few more media and press requests.  One of the big ones that contacted us and there was no way we could say no to, was NBC’s Today Show.

Not just because, well, this is one of the most well known morning show’s in the US, but because of the segment they wanted to present us in.  The Secrets of Happiness. It wouldn’t be a segment only about us and going over what other articles had already talked about, but instead we would be part of a week long feature about happiness, and on our air date, placed with a few other people that took the road less traveled and left everything behind to find theirs.

It was great to think of our life in a new light and why we’ve found ourselves out here.  It’s not just getting away from the rat race and bills and rush hour traffic.  Although we may sometimes forget as this life becomes more normal than not, it’s a great reminder that we took that extra step to ensure our happiness.  Something we’ll always be able to look back on and smile and say, ‘I stepped outside of the box to make my dreams come true’.

Thank you to the Today Show for reminding us of why we’re out here and why we’ll continue to work hard to maintain a life that brings us such joy and happiness.

I’m not sure how to embed the video so I can show it on this post, but you can find the link to the online clip of it here.

 

There are so many other thank you’s I’d like to give out as well.  To all of our readers who have been with us for awhile, thank you for following along and I hope you’ve enjoyed all of our previous journeys as well as all the new ones to come.  To all of our new followers who have just found us through the Daily Mail, Today Show, or other sources, thank you for taking the time to seek us out, I hope you’ll stick around.  I know things may be boring at the moment as we’re fixing up our newest boat, but I promise lots of new adventures are just around the corner.

P.S.  I’ll always say it again and again, but thank you SO MUCH to my friend Kim for the beautiful photo shoot she captured of us in the Virgin Islands, producing probably the most popularly used photo of the two (and sometimes three) of us.

And thank you to her again for catching a great shot of us on her tv screen that I was able to use as my header photo.  🙂

 

*Normally I wouldn’t do this, but for the record I just wanted to set one thing straight that wasn’t right in this article. When it talked about us being ready to abandon ship and jump in a life raft, I had meant that we were in a bad storm and were ready as in prepared for the worst, in case it came down to that. We both know that you never leave a floating ship.

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Young Blood

Sunday July 5, 2015

cookout at Indiantown Marina

 If there has been on saving grace so far this past month while we’ve been working on and living on Daze Off while we begin to tear everything apart in order to rebuild, it’s that we’ve had friends to not only cheer us up, but to also share in our misery.  Think we’re the only couple in the marina living in a stripped down boat or even the only ones without a galley at the moment?  Think again.  And the best part is, these other people that can split in un-finished boat blues with us or pass over a glass of Prosecco at the end of a long day are young bloods, just like us.

One couple I may have mentioned a few times but haven’t yet gone into much of an explanation on are Mark and Hanna.  They’ve been here with us at the marina since late April after having purchased a Morgan Out Island 33 in the yard that they’re working on to get seaworthy before sailing it to Guatemala for hurricane season and finishing renovations there. Both new to sailing, Mark just left the airline industry, and German born and raised Hanna has spent the past few years traveling solo around Europe and working at a little bed & breakfast in Costa Rica.

It’s been so nice not only having another young couple in the yard to have a few dinners and drinks with, but now that we’re on Daze Off and living, literally, in a state of chaos, we know we’re not the only ones.  We get to trade stories with Mark and Hanna about what it’s like to live in a space that has all the walls and sometimes the floor torn out.  Or what it’s like also living out of your vehicle and having to unpack and repack about 15 different bags just trying to find a clean pair of underwear.  Misery loves company, and having someone around on the exact same page as us has made this experience much more tolerable so far.

The other young bloods in the marina with us at the moment are a German couple, of course they are, Meike and Sebastian.  I swear this little spot of Florida is experiencing a German invasion, but so far we’ve been loving all of them.  There was even one more young German couple (Johannes and Cati) that we thought were going to be here at the marina to do some repairs, but they were able to get away with minor fix up at anchor in Lake Worth.  Maybe next time…

Anyway, back to Meike and Sebastian.  They live on a big 42 ft steel boat called Meise.  They’ve been here for about a week and a half now but are unfortunately leaving just as soon as they’ve come.  Putting Meise into storage for hurricane season, they’ll soon be on their way back to Germany via air to work for a few months and get a little money back in their kitty before returning in December to resume cruising again.

The funny thing with Meike and Sebastian is we were so close to meeting them last year.  They just left Germany in August and once they hit Maderia they were on the same path as us, always just a few weeks ahead. To think, all that time we were alone in the Canaries and I was desperately searching for some young cruisers to buddy with, and these two were there. This is what happens when you don’t have a blog, Meike!  Then we can’t connect because we don’t know about each other!

I’m not sure if we would have made it happen though anyway since these two were participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, leaving out of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in late November, and we wanted to stay far away from that congestion until it was long gone.  I can’t even imagine what the anchorage and marina would have been like with 300 boats all getting ready to depart at the same time.  So we took our own time and hung back in the other islands until Thanksgiving.

Sigh, I’m getting off topic again.  The point is, we have all found each other here and now and it has been wonderful.  Even though we’re all hard at work on our three different boats, we all find time to connect and unwind.  Sometimes it’s just a passing hello in the kitchen as we’re on crazy schedules depending what work we’re doing that day, where one group might wander in to eat their dinner at 6:30 (most likely us) and another group doesn’t show up until 9:00 after trying to eek out as much work as they can for the day while there is still light in the sky.

On a few occasions we have managed to plan a dinner between all of us where we’ll each bring our own entree to cook and sides to pass.  Hanna will make one of her fantastic bread dips and Meike keeps me topped off with Prosecco.  A quickly growing favorite of mine. I like to think I also contribute something to these dinners, but it’s usually just corn on the cob or potatoes.  So hopefully these photos capturing our memories will ensure my spot of being useful in this group.

We’ve all had some great times together, and our nights out on the patio are sometimes what keeps me going through the brutally hot and arduous work days. With Meike and Sebastian flying out later this week and Mark and Hanna sailing off to Guatemala at the same time, we’ll soon be left alone here at the marina with only ourselves and Daze Off.  Slaving away and waiting for the next group of young bloods to come along and keep us company.

(This isn’t to say you have to be young for us to enjoy your company, it’s just surprisingly all that’s been coming through here lately.)

getting ready for dinner

grilling out

Hanna and Meike

Sebastian and Meike

young cruisers, Indiantown

P.S. Check out this amazing gift Mark and Hanna made us to remember Serendipity by.  It looks just like her!

etching of Serendipity

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