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

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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

A Long Sail and an Emotional Flight

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11 May – 10 June 2017

St Martin – Antigua – St Lucia

(Sorry folks it a long one, but I’d say worth a read!)

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Mahi Mahi breaded & fried

As per we are behind the curve with the blog, so much has gone on so I’m disappointed to say that I can’t indulge in my current poetic style of writing (Sad Face emoji) but keep reading the best bit is towards the end!. We left St Martin on 11th May and got caught in an un-forecast Thunderstorm, had a very brief stop for some R&R at Statia and St Kitts & Nevis due to a sea sick baby, followed by a glorious sail (well motor) back to Antigua. Simon was very pleased as we caught ourselves a Dorado (Mahi Mahi) for dinner which Scrumpy and Daisy also enjoyed.

After spending another month…ish in and around Jolly Harbour enjoying the beaches, seeing our good friends Helen & Rick on Symmetry and Simon doing a few days of work, delivering some yachts from the Marina to a Cargo ship setting sail for Southampton. (Yes folks some people have enough money to pay for their boats to be returned to the UK on a big ship rather than sail them across the Atlantic themselves.) It was time to move on again. 

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Simon delivering boats

With a deadline to reach St Lucia where Simon’s mum and step Dad Barry were coming to visit for 10 days we made the decision that Daisy and I would fly and Simon and Scrumpy would sail. I wasn’t much bothered to visit Guadeloupe, Dominica & Martinique again and it would relive the stress of taking Daisy to sea. We didn’t really have the time to wait for good weather windows, so I spent 3 nights in the luxury of an AirB&B with aircon & a swimming pool on the North of the island and poor Simon had to sail 205 miles on his own!

Simon had a rough time of it with propulsion issues an hour into leaving, migraines, long days and having to man the helm between islands as the autopilot wasn’t up it. He sailed 18 hours the first day with a 4 hour sleep, then 13 hours with a 12 hour break…. When I say break he still had to walk 40 mins up hill in the blistering heat to take the dog to vet for a health certificate in Martinique. Then another 7 hour sail to St Lucia, he was knackered when he finally arrived at Rodney Bay anchorage ready to meet me the following morning.
All while I frolicked around in the swimming pool with Daisy, pottered around the accommodation watching Magic Mike XXL and eating popcorn from the microwave! I did have a bit of a rough time though as the air con was really noisy!!!!

 

The Flight
(Here comes the poetic bit, I couldn’t resist!)

Staying alone in a strangers apartment on a foreign island, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with hardly any money, and no access to public transport is a little daunting. I don’t have a local sim card in fact I haven’t got a phone at all as my temporary one had finally given up the goose. On top of this I’m responsible for an 8 month old baby and getting us both to the airport for a flight at 6am, anyone who knows me will know that just the thought of these things alone will be stressing me out. The main worry being that we miss our flight and are stranded in Antigua with no way of contacting anyone.

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Amazing dinning area at AirB&B

Daisy decides the night before the flight that she doesn’t want to sleep even though she is exhausted. Why can’t kids just fall asleep when they are tired, aren’t they dependant on us parents enough without us having to aid them to sleep too. Slowly she works herself and me into a frenzy of frustration. After two torturous hours of feeding, bouncing, rocking, cuddling, cradling she finally nods off but by this point I’m emotionally drained and I’ve still got to cook dinner, eat, shower, pack and clean up. If I wasn’t already stressed I definitely am now.
Most of the night is spent panicking that the alarm won’t go off but at 4.15am the radar vibrates on the iPad and everything runs like clockwork, baby bean gets up in an extremely good mood with perfect timing to feed, dress her and pack away her pop up cot and we’re out the door bang on 4:45 where our lovely Air B&B host is up at a frigate birds fart to very kindly drop us at the airport.
Straight up to the only check in deck open, suitcase is carried off on the belt, breeze through customs and immigration, hand luggage scanned and into the terminal where our gate has just opened for boarding. Easy Peasy. Honestly what on earth was I worrying about!!!!!!!

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At the Airport 

An internal Caribbean flight is an interesting experience nothing like a jumbo jet from London Heathrow. The plane was tiny, with only 17 rows of seats. I know because I counted the windows while we and the other handful of passengers stood on the taxiway waiting to climb the tiny set of steps leading up to the cabin. This flight to me was just a quick and easy means of getting Daisy-Pottermous 200 miles closer to Grenada without having endure another uncomfortable, traumatic, seasick filled sail. It was an obligation, a mandatory requirement, a means to an end or at least that’s what I thought. Last season we’d explored these Windward Islands, sailing up and down between Antigua and St Lucia 3 times. I really wasn’t fused to visit any of it again.
Heading for the runway in what felt like a toy model of an aircraft, the sun was beginning to rise. As the wheels left the ground and we sored up into the sky daylight creep over the land, reflecting gold on the widows of miniature houses and hotels below me. It was a clear, fresh morning and with a portside window seat I had a perfect birds eye view of Jolly Harbour, Five Islands and the capital, St Johns. The winding coastline was met by clear blue water that sparkled like silver glitter had been sprinkled on it. With no need to return here again it actually felt quite emotional saying goodbye to Antigua. So much has happened here; my pregnancy scans, seeing our tiny baby for the first time, telling mine and Simon’s parents I was expecting our first child, the many friends we’ve meet that have shown us such kindness and generosity, BBQ’s & camp fires on Jolly beach. Memories that will stay with us forever.
Being such a short flight the pilot kept below any cloud cover and the flight path followed the leeward side of each island. They were easy to identify from their distinctive shapes having studied them so many times on the GPS, but seeing it all from the sky was just as breath taking as sailing. It was surprising how the shoreline varied so much, Guadeloupe, smooth and straight Dominica, Martinique. I marvelling all the anchorages that Tudor Rose has sought refugee in, pondering the hours and days spent at sea navigating from one to another and yet a mere 50 minutes to soar over it on Lait Airlines. It’s taken poor Simon 3 days in the boat. As we covered the Southern part of Martinique I recognised the huge rock sticking up as you round the corner to Saint Anne’s. Remembering it well from the awful day we sailed from Anse trying to tack against the wind and swell making virtually no progress, 7 hours to travel. It seemed appropriate to give it a two-finger salute as we jetted past.
Daisy slept for most of the flight but by the time we’d touched down in Castries she was getting rather ratty and there was still a trudge up to the main road in the hope of catching a cheap bus rather than an extortionate taxi ride. Luckily my ‘mother in distress, carrying crying baby and huge suitcase’ appearance worked in my favour and I managed to hitch a ride from a nice doctor and his wife all the way to Rodney Bay where a very tired but excited Daddy Bear was waiting for us with open arms……..

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On the flight 

Happy Sunday Everyone

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Sunday 4th June 2017 – Antigua – Hermitage Bay

Yesterday was one of those wet Caribbean monsoon days, the heavens opened up and poured down. The air was hot, moist and muggy, making us sticky and uncomfortable. Water leaked into the boat through window seals and hatches, soaked cushions and floors turning them into slippery death traps. The Dog hairs and sand which cover the boat stuck to everything that was wet, including our feet and clammy bodies. I must sweep up & hoover 2 times a day but when you walk a dog on a beach every day its impossible to keep on top off.
Today Sunday couldn’t be more different, the sun is shining hot and bright, the air feels clean and fresh, the rain has washed away the humidity with it. As I walk Scrumpy along the white sandy beach mid morning I see an old local man, he looks a little out of place in his worn out crocs, dusty jeans and a dirty grey T-shirt thrown over his shoulder as we on the shore of a exclusive holiday resort called Hermitage Bay. People pay $1500 US dollars to stay here per night, and indulge on rich food while being waited on hand and foot. They probably never leave this complex or venture out to see what Antigua is really like. On the weekend many locals congregate on the western side of the beach away from the hotel complex and swim in the calm protected waters of the bay, enjoying salt fish and rum. I often see mothers bring their babies down and dunk them in the refreshing salt water. Babies as young as a month or 2, and its seems so natural. It makes me laugh when I think back to when I was advised by some UK baby swimming classes that I shouldn’t dunk Daisy in sea water and stick to a chlorine filled swimming pool. The typical overprotective nanny culture that we westerners live in.
Anyway I digress, I made some friendly chit chat wit the local man, I struggled a little with his accent but I get the gist. He asks me where I am from and tells me he has over 14 children many named after British monarchy. We talk a little of the Atlantic Crossing and after a while I make my excuses and go on my way. Before heading back to the boat I decide I should make the most of my short time away from Mummy duties so take a dip in the sea. Not originally planning on swimming i am in lace french knickers and a nursing sleep bra rather than a bikini but theres no one around. Scrumpy dog paddles about with me fetching his ball. Theres a nice cool breeze and the water is turquoise and flat calm. The sky is pale blue and a few white fluffy clouds that hang around as if with no where else to be, their huge shadows reining down on the luscious green hills that surround the bay. I spend a few minutes relaxing and taking it all in. What a spectacular view, what a gorgeous day in the Caribbean and what a lucky girl I am ……. Happy Sunday Everyone.

(The first blog post I have ever written real time, had one of the writers moments and had to get it down!)