The Adventure doesn’t stop here …

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Blog 16 Aug 2017 – 1 Sep 2017

The Adventure doesn’t stop here …

While having such an amazing time in Bequia Simon and I were feeling quite reluctant to sell Tudor Rose. We’d had some interest from an American medical student attending St Georges University Grenada but the boat was a little out of his price range. Still he had requested a viewing and asked us to sail down to him for the 1st Aug. Now the prospect of selling our home was actually becoming real the thought of having to let her go left a lump in my throat. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, we had way too much unfinished business to deal with.
Ever since arriving in the Caribbean the intention was always to head north towards the USA with our hearts set on reaching New York City. Selling up would be an end to the adventure. Either we do it now or never, but how on earth could it be possible with a seasick baby.

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ICW Map (see Green track)

Along the East Coast of America is the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) or ‘The Ditch’ as it is referred to. 1080 nautical miles running from Key West Florida to Norfolk, Virginia, around 350 miles from NY. A network of canals, inlets, bays and rivers just inside the coast and most of it protected from any ocean swell, preventing the rocking, rolling, and lurching movement that makes Daisy sick. If we could just get the boat and baby there without having to sail her 1500 miles from Grenada then exploring the United States would actually be achievable. Simon and I spent a long time researching and deliberating options trying to come up with a cunning plan and as the saying goes ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way!’

A trip back to England to visit loved ones was always on the cards and with direct flights from Grenada to Gatwick it was the perfect opportunity. Bringing Scrumpy back would be too expensive (& traumatic), but with lots of other cruisers settling 12 degrees south for hurricane season we were bound to find someone to look after him. Suddenly it all made perfect sense, Daisy and I could remain in the UK a little longer than Simon. He could return to the boat, collect the pup and sail straight up to America, leaving us to fly out and meet him there.
After a hundred phone calls to Virgin Atlantic and numerous hours searching online at flights it was all booked up and MIAMI, Florida the chosen Rendezvous point. The Big Apple here we fricking come………
Learning about the different cultures and food between each US state is going to be so much fun, but the priority now is to spend a few months in Grenada waiting for these cyclones to pass.

(Needless to say we never bothered rushing down for the boat viewing & the boat was no longer up for sale!)

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Bye Bye SVG, Hello Island of Spice

Union Island (St Vincent & Grenadines) / Carriacou (Grenada) 

Looking forward to going home and extremely excited at the thought of discovering a new place we left Bequai with a spring in our step. The good vibes must have rubbed off on Daisy too, as she managed a 30mile motor sail to Chatham Bay, Union Island without being sick. During our 5 day stay Tropical Storm Harvey brought some rather uncomfortable weather turning the Tudor Rose into seesaw confining us to the back cabin bed for a full day. Daisy coped amazingly.

9 month old Baby Bean made her first ‘Boat friend’ 14-month-old Sijmon on Catamaran Nautik Dreams. Simon and I beamed with happiness watching her play with another baby. Hankering to meet other boat families and keen to get out of the high-risk hurricane belt the time came to leave St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG). Luckily it was only an easy 6mile trip to Carriacou a small and stunning island part of Grenada. We enjoyed 10 days there with some other sea folk who prefer it to Grenada mainland as there’s less people making it a little quieter. A few mor

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Lion Fish 

nings I went ‘noodling’ a water aerobic class with a ‘noodle’ float, which mainly consists of talking and not much exercise. The local dive shop also put on a free Lionfish BBQ on the premise that everyone brings a ‘pot luck’ side dish. Although beautiful creatures to look at they aren’t native to the Caribbean and are destroying the reefs at a rapid pace so the divers are helping to keep the population down, but knowing how to prepare them is vital as their spines are venomous but rarely deadly.

As soon as a good weather window presented it self the anchor was pulled up and Tudor Rose set off for the Island of Spice, Grenada. A 30 mile trip to the Capital St Georges sailing past the submerged volcano ‘Kick Em Jenny’. Taking a boat over one of these is dangerous as gas bubbles can cause ships to sink so imagine my reaction when I realised we were smack bang in the middle of it. Daisy had just started to feel unwell as we reached the start of exclusion zone, preoccupied with her we didn’t notice the course was taking our beloved home right over the mouth of the volcano. Luckily for us it wasn’t active so we all reached our final destination in one piece. Now let the socialising commence!

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Blissful Bequia

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I’m currently in Grenada enjoying the A/C, unlimited running water, comfy seats, decent WIFI and flat ground of our friend’s accommodation. Their boat is on the hard (out of the water) so while they work on it during the day they have kindly let us indulge in their luxury facilities and boy what a treat. So while Daisy Bean has her afternoon nap I figured it was the perfect opportunity to do another blog post following on from ‘Tudor Rose For Sale’

“Happiness is just a frame of mind”

Blissful Bequia
(16 July to 16 Aug)

Quite a few live aboard sailors we ‘ve met on our travels have decided to put their yachts up for sale, but none have admitted it is because they’ve had enough of boat life. ‘Lets leave it fate’ they all claim, Simon and I often laughed at this, thinking that it was utter rubbish. You wouldn’t advertise it unless you had decided to give up cruising and return to bricks and mortar. However now I can totally relate to this thought process, although Tudor Rose was on the market we still weren’t really sure if it’s what we definitely wanted. If someone puts in a good offer then serious consideration will be made, but for now the plan was to continue on as normal. It’s probably a lot like selling your house, it could take months or even years, maybe no one actually wants to buy it so you can’t just decide one day ‘Right, I’ve had enough lets move out’. The boat is our home that also makes it quite sentimental, all the experiences and memories that have taken place on board make you emotionally attached. It is no longer just an object it’s an extension of yourself, so sometimes leaving it up to fate is the only way you can take that jump and make a change. That and the fact there were still lots of places we longed to discover, but doing it with a sea sick baby is not really our idea of fun.

Bequia was even more beautiful than I remembered, having spent a few days here in Feb last year (2016). The water in the Admiralty Bay anchorage was aquamarine and crystal clear the kind you expect to find in a Caribbean paradise. Green luscious hills surrounded us, a soft white sandy beach stretched to the North side of the bay and a narrow waterfront path twisted its way around relaxed restaurants and bars. Each one with it own individual character and charm. Tommy’s had an open white decking, wooden furniture painted pastel blue, decorations hung from the ceiling made from shells, coral and sea glass. Gingerbreads B&B was made to look just like an ornate gingerbread house with white fretworks bordered around the rooftop like fancy icing and a manicured garden with ice cream parlour. It would take hours to describe them all but they all had their own theme and style.

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The view of the shore from Tudor Rose

The general feel of the island was relaxed and laid-back, if it were to have a strapline or moto ‘no pressure, no problem’ would be perfect. People and venders were not pushy like other Caribbean places we have stopped at, but despite this chilled out vibe the low mood on board Tudor Rose seemed to continue for a few days. Simon and I were still feeling down about Daisy’s sea sickness and all my time seemed to be spent trying to keep on top of cleaning and tidying the boat, sorting out and planning meals and keeping Daisy occupied. During the day it felt like I was trying to kill time until the baby went to bed and my negative frame of mind wasn’t doing me any favours either.

One morning however everything changed and my whole perspective on boatlife altered. It was literally like I’d been getting out of bed the wrong side everyday which is a little ironic as there’s only one side you can get out, the other is next to a bulkhead!
It was a gorgeous day so pancakes for breakfast as a family in the cockpit, followed by a dog walk along the lovely boardwalk. Instead of making the usual big deal about food shopping we swung by the supermarket and casually grabbed a few items, stumbling on an amazing little wooden shack called ‘Suzies’ serving crazy cheap Caribbean home cooking for lunch.
After returning to the boat an impromptu seagull feeding session began when I threw a mouldy loaf of bread overboard. Daisy loved watching hundreds of them swarm around the boat like a plague of locus. It reminded me of feeding the ducks at the park accept this was straight off the back on our own doorstep and seagulls have less manors.

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Dog walks along the waterfront

We took our little girl swimming around the boat for the first time, in a little pair of armbands a German boat had kindly given to us. Then Anna & Dave a couple that we met 12 months ago stopped by to say hello and invited us for dinner, also telling us there was a cruisers meet up at Sailors Bar at 1pm where we ended playing dominos into the late afternoon.

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Silly games in the cockpit after ‘Suzies’ take away lunch

It turned out to be the perfect day and seems that happiness is just a ‘frame of mind, when you stop looking at everything from a negative point of view the possibilities are endless. Our time is Bequia turned out to be wonderful and was the pick me that was so desperately needed. I could write a book about everything that we did and all the new people we met, but here’s just a few

 

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Fried Chicken & Fried Bakes 

Cruisers BBQ on the beach
A hike over to Friendship Bay
Walk up to Hamilton Fort
Wake boarding
Trailing fishing lines off the dinghy
Spending time with Rick & Helen on Symmetry
Meeting Jody & Daniel on Champagne Moment
The Bequia Seafood Festival
Dragging Simon to the Service at the local Church
Snorkelling with Turtles & Eagle Rays
Take away lunches from ‘Suzies’

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Hamilton Fort 

Even the laundry was cheap due to it being off-season so I got a break from hand washing and we finally got the boom tent finished. This shaded the cockpit for Daisy and protected it from the rain making life on board a lot easier. After 4 glorious weeks it was time to start moving South towards Grenada as the Tropical storms and Hurricanes were beginning to come through thick and fast.

 

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The Bequia Seafood Festival 

Tudor Rose For Sale

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Saint Lucia to St Vincent & then Bequia, St Vincent & the Grenadines

This is from a while ago but I wrote it and really wanted to post it as I want our readers to try and see and feel our experiences with Daisy on the boat. 

13 & 14 July 2017

What better way to say goodbye to Saint Lucia than by waking up between the famous and breath taking Pitons towering over us. Admittedly I couldn’t see them at first, as it was still dark. Daisy kindly took it upon her self to replace the 6am alarm with a disgustingly early 4:45am wake up call. It makes me laugh to think the boat was considerately tied onto a mooring buoy to ensure we didn’t wake her when pulling up the anchor (a chain clattering on top of your ceiling is quite an unnerving sound for a little one) but she decided to wake US up instead.

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One of the Famous Saint Lucia Pitons

In an ideal world we would have headed straight to the island of Bequia part of St Vincent & the Grenadines, but we had to stop at St Vincent for 1 night to check the dog in as part of the import/export rules of travelling with a pet. It would be at least 26 hours before Scrumpy would be allowed off the boat as he has to be inspected by a vet on arrival to every new non-EU country. With a 50 mile passage taking approx. 10 hours our expected ETA meant the Vets wouldn’t come out that evening so he was given a good walk before departure.

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A tiny looking Catamaran anchored with us by the towering Pitons 

I had high hopes for Bequia, for one reason and another we still hadn’t met any other ‘kid boats’ to socialise with, in fact we hadn’t really met anyone for a while. Plus the weeks of rain had taken their tool on moral and all of this meant we were missing family and friends more than ever. Bequia was going to hopefully bring some company and in turn fun. Don’t get me wrong living on a boat in the Caribbean IS amazing but with very limited funds there’s only so many things you can do with a dog & a baby. The tropical heat also means Daisy can’t really be out all day in the sun. Doing the same thing every day can get a bit boring & being on board all the time can be claustrophobic and isolating. Building relationships and doing things with other cruisers is vital to our sanity now we are parents and our support network is thousands of miles away.

Despite being fully aware of Daisy’s seasickness it had been a while since her last open ocean (between island) passage and therefore Simon and I were feeling positive, but this didn’t last long. Once past the tip of Saint Lucia we were into the Atlantic swell with a sea state of moderate to rough, heading south with 15-20 knots of wind from the East it was a little uncomfortable but not horrendous by any means. However poor little Daisy Bean did not fare well, cry, vomit, sleep, repeat went on for 5 hours until we reached the protected water of the leeward side of St Vincent. Then it was still another 5 hour slog to our destination, Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately it turned out to be Daisy’s WORST sail to date! It was soul destroying and awful feeling so helpless. All I could do was try to console her and keep her as comfortable as possible but the worst part was feeling responsible for making her poorly. It is us that are the ones choosing to take her to sea and the sickness seems to be getting worst not better.

It really drags you down and you start seeing the negative in everything, being stuck in the same place, having to continuously hand wash nappies, running out of fresh water, not having any friends around to socialise with, constantly being hot and sweaty, eating the same food day in day out due the limited provisions on the Caribbean islands, the volume of damp & mould you live with on a boat, the lack of power, struggling to live off a small budget, feeling terrible that my family are missing out on having a relationship with Daisy. All of these thoughts began surrounding me like a black cloud blurring my vision, preventing me from appreciating the positive aspects of our life. I began to question whether I even wanted to do this anymore. After all what’s the point of living on a sail boat and not being able to sail anywhere, we chose to live like this as we wanted to venture out and see the world ….. not give up all the benefits of living on land to live on a boat and never go anywhere!

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Daisy giving the 1 finger salute while mummy tries to console her

Relieved to arrive in the calm and tranquil setting of the Blue Lagoon, neither of us had the patience to try and find a good spot to anchor so took the offer of a mooring buoy, Simon bartering with the price to try and make us feel better.

Having been here previously when I was pregnant we knew there was a relatively cheap bar ashore offering food and more importantly beer so a well earned pick me up was in order. Popping into the Customs & Immigration on the way to check in, the local Pilot working out of the marina had told us it was open and still normal working hours as they charge overtime if its late evening or a weekend. This turned out to be total bollocks, so 40 later (nearly 3 days Budget), any money for treats was no longer. Simon scrapped together a handful of pennies to at least share a burger but it wasn’t quite the feast we had planned. With 24 hours ‘grace’ allowance it would have been perfectly legal to sign in to the country during the morning saving us a small fortune.

The following day Scrumpy was inspected by the Government Vet and his Import Permit officially signed off (sigh of relief) then it was a 7mile sail across to Bequia, a small but charismatic island with a relaxed and chilled out vibe to it. You could probably say this about most of the Caribbean but there are a lot of places where cruisers can get hassled quiet a bit to spend money. If you own a boat the assumption is you are rich and have money to burn! But Bequia doesn’t have that pushy kind of pressure going on.

As it’s such a short distance and only an hour to 90minute sail I was hoping Daisy would be able to manage it. Ha there goes that optimism again, but sadly half way across she was sick a couple of times. This time she was not upset and seemed in good spirits, however my spirit was already broken. This is probably what led to Simon and I having an argument on entering the channel of Admiralty Bay. What was it about, clearly nothing important as neither of us can remember but definitely the result of the current mood on board. That night with heavy hearts we talked over our future on the Tudor Rose along with the possibility of giving her up in order to return home (UK) and buy a canal boat. In the morning Simon posted a BOAT FOR SALE advert on Facebook …………….

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Daddy, Daisy & Doggy on the pontoon at beautiful Bequia

Hurricane Season in Full Swing

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(*More photos will be added later when our internet situation improves)

As the blog is a little behind lots of people have been checking to make sure that we haven’t been affected by Hurricane Irma, so I thought it was important to do a specific post on this now. Firstly we are currently in Grenada, which was approx. 300 miles South of where the storm first hit the Caribbean, therefore well away from any danger and a grate relief to us now Daisy Bean is on board.
No doubt you are all fixed to the news coverage showing this mammoth cyclone of devastation tearing through the Leeward Islands and up the East Coast of America. Irma is the strongest ever storm to form within the Atlantic before hitting the Caribbean. Everyone up and down the West Indies knew she was coming but I don’t think anyone had absolutely any idea of the shear volume of damage she was about to cause.

How we monitor hurricanes…..

Anybody who lives on a boat in the Caribbean during the hurricane season checks the weather EVERYDAY. There are a number of websites and facebook sites you can do this on as its good to have more than one source of information but the main one we use is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Centre. They follow any tropical depressions that develop in the Atlantic, predicting when a storm will form and as soon as it does it is trailed by planes, penetrated and scanned by dropsondes and drones, analysed by satellites from space as well as equipment from the depths of the ocean. All the data is put into models that some clever science geek has developed to predict the track and intensity of the storms.
This allows us to follow every single one from the moment it starts as a tropical depression which can be days and sometimes even weeks in advance if it turning into a hurricane. We keep a close on eye on it so Simon and I can decide what pre-cautions we believe are required. For example if we expect to be in the vicinity of a low category tropical storm then any loose items outside would be stowed away or secured, we’d make sure the anchor is properly set with plenty of chain out to weigh us down and make sure no other boats are close in case the boat drags back or swings around in changing wind direction. If something stronger was coming with sustained very strong winds then we would probably head to either Carriacou and tie into the mangroves or to Marigot Bay, a protected bay known as a Hurricane Hole in Saint Lucia. If a high category ‘shit your pants’ Hurricane Bitch like Irma was coming then we would sail somewhere to get as far away from the fucking thing as possible! (excuse the language). It all really depends on where we are and the trajectory/ severity of the gale.

Our thoughts on Irma

It is no doubt just as hearting wrenching for you as it is for us to see the aftermath that Hurricane Irma has left behind. I don’t even know how to put into words what it like watching the destruction of these beautiful islands that have been our home on and off for the last 18 months. People we know have lost their boats, their livelihoods, their homes, their futures are uncertain, they have no water, no electricity, no food. It is just scary, how and where do you even start to begin rebuilding again.
We are hearing stories and viewing photographs and videos first hand on the various Caribbean cruising Facebook groups that we are members of. It is just shocking.
Back in April 2017 we spent 6 weeks anchored on the French side of St Martin often dinghying across the inside lagoon to Lagoonies on the Dutch side for happy hour beers. We past the boat yards, walked around the Marinas and up to the Fort, wondered around the market stools speaking to the vendors. Such a beautiful, lively and vibrant island, it’s hard to imagine that is it all gone. Not to mention the tiny island of Barbuda, (part of Antigua) which has been left with virtually its entire population homeless after being hit by the eye of the storm.

Latest on Hurricane Maria

Now the latest to hit is Hurricane Maria another category 5 with the eye of the storm aiming straight for Dominica, which is still recovering from Tropical Storm Erika in 2015. Just in case you didn’t know the strongest most dangerous winds of a Hurricane occur in the eyewall, however the eye itself remains eerily calm with the winds rotating around it. Anything the eye passes over will feel the full force of the storm, with a short period of calm to assess the damage before another wave of destruction is about to come. I am thinking of all those in its path and praying they came out safe but dread to think of what it going to be left behind once it has moved on. Another piece of Caribbean paradise reduced to ruins and many people homes destroyed. Again I am grateful to be in Grenada and just on the outskirts of Maria, we will see some bad weather and the South West anchorage will no doubt turn rolly when the usual Eastern winds change to Westerly’s but this is a very small price to pay compared to those further North and closer to dreaded eye.

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This shows the location of Hurricane Maria as of 2am (GMT) 19 Sep 2017 

Grenada is actually outside of the main hurricane belt and cruisers congregate here in the masses between July and October, for some its because their insurance only covers them to be outside of the danger zone and others feel safer being here. That’s not to say that Grenada doesn’t hit by Hurricanes, it just less likely however the first few storms of the season were aimed directly at Grenada. Luckily they were pretty mediocre and we were still making our way South so not near us.

It is amazing being part of such a big sailing community and everybody here has been pulling together to donate supplies such as food, water and building materials to help with the aid relief.

Hurricane Irma Charities

There are numerous charities raising money to help, below are 2 charities we support, which we believe will make a immediate difference. Please give what you can to help or alternatively donate to a charity of your choice, however do some research and make sure they are genuine. Also if you are donating items ensure these are useful as I have heard BVI is getting inundated with supplies they don’t need which is just adding the ever increasing problem of rubbish disposal on these tiny islands.

Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross
https://www.abredcross.org/disaster

BVI Immediate Relief
https://www.youcaring.com/bviimmediaterelief-943806

More storms are yet to come, see link to article below

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/07/us/hurricane-season-2017-outlook/index.html

 

Living on a Boat with a small budget – Sailing & Cruising

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A friend of mine recently asked me to answer a few questions about living on a boat on a budget for an article she is writing. I really enjoyed answering them and thought our readers would find it interesting especially as many of you have said you’d like a post about finances. Hopefully it will make a nice change to read………

 What is your monthly budget?

£570 that’s for everything!
(Food, cooking gas, diesel, water, general repairs, customs & immigration fees, cruising fees, vets & import/export pet requirements)
Major repairs & upgrades are taken out of a separate slush fund/savings account but we avoid this wherever possible.

What does your cruising lifestyle look like, as limited by your budget? Obviously you can’t just spend money on whatever you feel like- so what do you give up?

When I lived at home (England) in a house & earned a good wage I would spend so much in the supermarket throwing whatever I wanted into the trolley without a second thought, now meals are planned before going shopping & we write a list of the things we need rather than want, nothing is wasted. Non-essential items are put to the end of the list & if we can’t afford them then we have to do without. People must laugh watching us with a note pad and pen adding up the total cost of our basket as items are put in!”

Now we have solar panels as well as a wind turbine this generates enough power to run our navigation equipment, lights and refrigerator on board so we don’t need to go into marinas to plug into shoreside power so we spend all our time at anchor, saving a small (actually large) fortune. We don’t use mooring buoys as I personally think they are ‘money for old rope’ excuse the pun (unless of course it’s a marine park and they are there to preserve wildlife/coral reefs).

Eating out is a rare luxury and when we do it’s such a treat that expectations are high so it’s usually a disappointment. You can find amazingly cheap local cooked food from little shacks or street venders around the Caribbean for a fraction of the price of the restaurants, which are aimed at cruisers with money to burn.

Cruising with our dog costs an absolute fortune in Veterinary health certificates and import permits but we’re not always checking in and out of countries frequently so this tends to keep the cost down a bit. However, recently Scrumpy our Jack Russell Terrier needed some antibiotics and it took a big chunk of budget.

Clothes shopping is just a distant memory and most items gets ruined by the UV rays, sweat, salt water & mould so it’s just not necessary.

Wherever possible we catch rainwater to fill up our fresh water tanks and only use the bear minimum. For example we wash in the sea and then rinse off with a cold fresh water shower on the back deck. YES sometimes naked (more like all the time) and in broad daylight so our neighbours get an eyeful. The deck shower pump works at 3.5 gallons a minute and the indoor shower pump is 7 gallons per minute so washing inside is just not an option otherwise we’d be constantly paying to fill the tanks. Some cruisers are lucky enough to have watermaker but that’s not a perk on our boat unfortunately. We used to drink the tank water but this season it doesn’t taste very nice so buying drinking water is a big expense however we try to avoid it but asking the boats with watermakers very nicely if they wouldn’t mind filling some drinking bottles up for us and so far its been pretty successful.

Its funny how far you go to save every penny, even down to making meals that don’t use lots of cooking gas. Any boat maintenance and repairs are undertaken by ourselves, well by my partner (I’m just the cook, cleaner & child minder) unless of course it something specialist. He’s not a plumber, electrician or mechanic by trade but it’s amazing what you can find online so he’s pretty much self-taught and services the engine as well as has fitting the GPS, wind turbine, solar panels and building a radar arch, the list is endless. On a few occasions I’ve repaired the sails on my domestic sewing machine, made cockpit cushions and we are in the process of upholstering our saloon seats.
Tell me a bit about WHY you’ve chosen this cruising lifestyle?

I don’t think I necessarily chose this lifestyle it has just kind of developed over time. Initially we’d just had enough of spending most of our lives working and thinking/worrying about work. Every month striving to make ends meat to cover a ridiculous mortgage and I was sick of living for the all to short weekends.
The dream was to buy a boat move on board and go on a sailing adventure to find sun and rum with no real time frame set out. The only plan was to return home when the money ran out, however now we have realised that you can live an amazingly rich and fulfilling life on not a lot of money.
Although, since setting sail from the UK we now have a 10 month old daughter so our motivations have changed, this life allows us to spend real quality time as family and she gets to enjoy both parents raising her together without the stresses of a ‘normal’ life.

What are some of the main sacrifices you’ve had to make due to budgeting restraints that you wish you didn’t have to give up?

Wine & well all alcohol ….. Its just not something our budget can stretch to, occasionally I’m ‘allowed’ to treat myself to a bottle of wine or rum but this is a rare luxury. Now we have a baby its not like we are partying every night getting drunk, but also being a parent having a glass of vino now and again really helps you to unwind so I really do miss it.
Entertaining guests, a big part of cruising is meeting other like-minded people and inviting them for sun-downers and dinner. I’d love to be able to put on a decent spread especially when someone has done so for us and that is really difficult to do on our budget. Also I hate having to sacrifice on food shopping in general I try to give my daughter a healthy balanced diet which is difficult enough in the Caribbean as the fruits and vegetables available are limited but I really wish I had more money to buy her treats particularly as some items can be pretty expensive on remote islands.
Disposable Nappies, they cost an absolute fortune compared to England so I’m having to hand wash reusable nappies EVERYDAY and I despise doing it, mainly because its never ending. However it does feel kind of good doing something positive towards the environment.

Any final thoughts on living on a boat on a budget?

It’s certainly not for everyone especially if you’re extravagant and like all your home comforts. You have to be uber organised, monitoring all outgoings and planning spending. Sometimes when you have to make sacrifices or unforeseen costs crop up it can really get you down but on the other hand it feels very rewarding being self-sufficient and not wasteful.

If you have any questions please comment below ……Thanks for reading

Dampened Spirits & Old Friends

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Saint Lucia (23 Jun – 12 July)

Noah & The Ark

Whilst in Saint Lucia we experienced rain of biblical proportions, for 2 weeks solid the heavens opened up and pored down an ocean from above. Already carrying our fair share of animals on board including ants, termites, 3 different species of fly, mosquitoes, moths, and drug store beetles I nearly changed the boat name to The Ark and starting calling Simon Noah.
Rain is something that the British are fully accustomed to, but that could be described as a persistent cold drizzle this kind of precipitation is off the scale. Ok in a Tropical climate it’s not cold by UK standards but boy this stuff comes down in bucket loads. Now that’s all fine and dandy when you live in the protection of a nice dry house but not the case on a boat, which seems a bit ironic really so I’ll explain.


As you can imagine a yacht is already a pretty small environment to reside in, which means the cockpit is a very well utilised area. It’s the equivalent of a garden and being the Caribbean we spend a lot of time in our garden. The only shade or protection is provided by a small and in our case shit Bimini. (Its made of crap flimsy plastic instead of study stainless steel and partly held up by a DIY repair thanks to the wonders of cable ties). Rain makes it a no go area, everything becomes soaking wet and all the outside cushions have to come inside taking up half of the saloon making an already undersized environment even more puny. Hatches and portholes (windows) have to be shut making the boat hot, humid and very sticky.
Being hobos, in the tropics with a time consuming and distracting baby lots of items are often left laying around outside, so lots of things always get wet; Clothes, cushions, pillows, bags, towels. Once wet there is absolutely nowhere to put them which leads me onto Daisy’s room.
Life here is generally hot, really hot so in order to keep our home as cool and ventilated as possible portlights and hatches are left open through the night. Unlike windows portholes aren’t vertical, they are slanted, rainfall runs down the mast and coach house roof and into said portholes like a tap. Daisy’s room seems particularly damp and she often wakes in the morning chesty if there has been insufficient airflow. That why it’s vital that one of us wakes up to the Pitter Patter of raindrops and makes a quick dash to close up the boat. Needless to say Simon and I are not great at this and have a bad habit of sleeping through rain during the night. Really not good when Daisy’s cabin is one giant bed covered in cuddly toys, books and her pop-up cot.
On at least 3 occasions the bed and entire contents have been drenched beyond belief and this is exactly what happened during this wet period. So you can imagine life on board was pretty difficult for a while as now the space was reduced even more. There was no break from Daisy for either us as we were basically secluded to the back cabin the entire time to say things got a little intense is an understatement.

Laughing in the face of adversity is one of Simon’s mantras from his military days, but by the end of the 2 weeks it was hard to funny side. Most of our time was spent in the Capital Castries which is not typical of the Caribbean as it’s a city (if you call it that more like a shanti town) and has no beach and dirty water but has great shopping for cheap odds and sods. Finally the sun eventually came out and the grey cloud hanging overhead was lifted along with our spirits……….. but fear not it didn’t last long

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The Sun Finally Back Out in Marigot Bay

Stay tuned for the next post to find out why!!!!!

Our Old Friend Kevin……

Its always lovely to come across other cruisers you’ve meet before especially when your least expecting it and during our stay in Saint Lucia we were really happy to see our old friend Kevin on Canper. If you follow the blog you may remember him from the infamous post about Cedeira, Northern Spain. This was only a few months into our trip so he was one of the first people we meet while cruising. Back then the boat hobos were novices but so much has changed and now we are in the Caribbean with a baby onboard

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Daisy watches Kevin’s haircut

Kevin stayed in Spain for quite some time and we often talked of him wondering if he ever finally decided to leave and cross the Atlantic. Honestly I didn’t think he’d ever make it out of Spain so we were so pleased to see him in the West Indies. Only this time he had a tan, crazy long curly hair and had clearly been on the ‘boat diet’ but he looked really well. Spending the evening catching up and sharing stories over sausage and mash was just lovely, while Kevin consumed his body weight in his favourite tipple Coca Cola. He was even treated to a hair cut on board Tudor Rose with our clippers. Hopefully we will catch up again in Grenada but mainly because he prefers the company of Sir Scrumpington rather than us …….aye Kevin!!!!!

Here’s a link to the Cedeira post:

https://boathobos.com/2015/09/23/cedeira-8-days-of/

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We were also treated to a flying visit with French treats from Symmetry 

Life on board with a baby & Nanny’s Visit

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Saint Lucia (8 – 21 June 2017)

Since returning to the boat after 6 months back in England things have changed somewhat. Long gone are the days of snorkelling around the boat together for hours on end, spending afternoons napping, watching films on the laptop and evenings socialising over copious amounts of rum with other cruisers. In fact life on board is nothing like it was before now we have a baby.

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Hand washing… the joys!

It’s a completely different ball game, a typical day involves getting up at 6am and entertaining the Bean for a couple of hours, then making her breakfast, feeding her, putting her to sleep for nap, brushing & cleaning the saloon and cockpit to minimalize the amount of dog hair, sand & other miscellaneous crap that ends up in Daisy’s mouth & sticking to her clammy little hot body. Hand washing, rinsing, wringing & hanging out pissy shitty reusable nappies. Covering the bubba from head to foot in sun creamed several times a day to prevent her skin melting off in the tropical sun. Dressing her and preparing to leave the boat; packing a bag, shutting windows, packing lots of water, putting on the baby carrier, searching for a dummy, unlocking the dinghy, searching for the outboard kill cord, looking for a pair of flip flops. Finally after locking and unlocking the boat 12 times for various forgotten essential items poor Scrumpy can finally be taken for a morning walk. Then its back to prepare lunch, eat and wash up. More entertaining the Bean, putting her down for another nap, clean the boat for second time as the mornings activities and dog walk along the beach have turned the shoe box into a bombsite again. I actually live in a permanent bomb site, you’d think inhabiting a tiny space would make it easy to tidy up but there’s no where to put anything especially when your carrying all this infant related crap that gets used on a daily basis.

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Lunch surrounded by mess & washing! 

Other activities might include filling up the water tanks as we are out of fresh water, which means puling the anchor & bringing the boat alongside a fuel pontoon or doing the 4-5 day food shop, hand washing bedding, removing the build up of weed and growth from the bottom of dinghy, hand washing the mountain of dirty food encrusted baby clothes which never gets any smaller, sorting out import and export admin relating to transporting Scrumpy between islands, defrosting the fridge element every 5 days, playing real life Tetrus while unpacking food shopping, regularly re-organising food cupboards to deal with the evolving eco system of bugs slowly taking over the boat. I haven’t even got to the make dinner, feed Daisy, Bath Daisy, put Daisy to bed, wash up again bit yet. Admittedly these are not all child related chores, some are boat chores, some are life chores, some are dog chores, some are travelling admin chores, some are general life chores but put them together and what have you got …… well a lot of fucking chores!

Now reading this, it may well sound like bitching, whinging and moaning which I am pretty good at. And I know you are all thinking “GIRL, you live on a BOAT in the CARIBBEAN!” Do you know how I know this, because all my friends back home repeatedly say it to me, but for some reason it really really …. really bugs me. I get that you have to go to work and do a shitty job for somebody elses gain and sit at bus stops in the rain, or lose the will to live during the rush hour commute home. So, just to make this very clear I am not complaining I am merely trying to give you an insight into what baby boat life is like. Cruising and living aboard is not one long holiday and with a baby you tend to get trapped on board working around naps, meal times and keeping the baby out of the sun but yes it beats sitting on the bus at 7am making your way to work in dull dreary grey England watching the rain trickle down the windows as school kids scream around you. However it’s not all rum and sunsets here, talking of sunsets I can’t remember the last time I saw one. I’m usually in a dark cabin breastfeeding the Bean to sleep as part of her bedtime routine.

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Daisy helps shop for a new dustpan & brush & (bug free) Tupperware

The arrival of Miss Daisy Rebel has not only dramatically impacted on the day to day stuff but has altered my thoughts and feelings about being so far away from home (England). When it was just me, Simon and the dog the distance wasn’t a big deal, however being a parent has totally flipped this around. Daisy is developing everyday and growing into a little person with her own character and personality. I hate that we are not able to share that with family and friends, particularly our parents. Staying at my Nana’s house for the weekend as a young girl are memories I treasure now she is no longer with us. Getting into her bed in the morning and eating cornflakes with sliced fresh nectarine, laughing as she sang and danced to 1940’s music on her kitchen radio, helping her in the garden. Although Daisy is seeing and experiencing the wonders of the world by sea, she’s missing out on other things and although at 9 months she is still too young to remember, my parents are also losing out and they are fully aware of this ….as am I.

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Daisy & Nanny Bear Bev Reunited 

Having Simon’s mum Bev and step dad Barry visit us in Saint Lucia for 10 days was worth its weight in gold. Nope that’s an understatement it was actually priceless, but it reinforced deeper the parent sized void I was currently feeling. Both of them stayed on the boat to maximise the short time we had together and more importantly with Daisy. Four adults on board Tudor Rose was a rather cosy set up and not something I could do for longer than a couple of weeks. Generally someone is always in the way of someone else and when it rains, which is does a lot during ‘rainy season’ you are all huddled inside one tiny room sweating in the tropical humidity with all the windows shut. Not a fun place to be, luckily we sought refuge at Marigot Bay, $20 (US) for a mooring buoy and you get to use the facilities of the 5* Capella Hotel Resort & Marina with an amazing swimming pool, huge double sunbeds, complimentary towels & cold bottled water. Probably the most luxurious leisure facility the Boat hobos have had the privilege of using but more surprising was how they treated us. Normally these places just let you in to encourage you to spend money, here you won’t have know we weren’t hotel guests. The staff were friendly, welcoming and attentive popping around throughout the day with fresh coconut water straight from the husks, canapés and fruit all on the house. It was a great place to just hang out and chill even when it was raining.

Hurricane season is from 1 June to 30 November so Simon is now checking the weather online daily. The main site for storms is the National Hurricane Centre and during Bev and Barry’s visit we got our first potential warning of a Tropical storm. Marigot Bay is a hurricane hole and surrounded by steep forested hills providing the perfect protection, being moored here already was a relief. The day before the storm was due to hit, boat after boat after boat came in to seek shelter, including all the locals (which can only be a good sign) many of them tying into the mangroves. Fortunately the path of destruction changed to further south, so just a false alarm but better to be safe than sorry.

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All aboard the Tudor Rose 

Saying our goodbyes when it was time for our visitors to leave was hard but made slightly easier by having some dates planned to meet up again. There’s nothing worse than being 3000 miles from home wishing each other bon voyage but having no idea when you will see each other next. Although sad I’m not going to lie it was nice to get the boat back to ourselves. Daisy could go back into her front cabin and hopefully start sleeping through the night again, plus I’d get a third of the bed back. Having her in our room had been unsettling for all of us and she’d been waking 3 to 4 times a night. Once in her own space normal slumbering patterns resumed instantaneously, what a relief that was. Thank god I have a child that sleeps (smug smiling face emoji). However you can’t have everything in life ….. because that just wouldn’t be fair. But I’ll save that for the next post!

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Daisy sad to say Goodbye ……….(See you soon Nanny Bev & Barry xxx) 

Special thanks to Bev & Barry for spoiling us rotten & bringing us lots of treats and clothes for Daisy Bean