29 August 2011

10 Questions for Blue Sky

bluesky Jim, Emma, Phoebe (13) & Drake (11) began cruising at the end of 2005 and stopped in mid 2011. They cruised a Westward Trade Wind Route aboard Blue Sky a DownEast Ketch 45 hailing from Redondo Beach, California, USA. Readers can learn more about them on their website.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
Emma: You must stock up on provisions when inexpensive and or available. If you see it buy it.
Phoebe: Knowing what will not be available in the next cruising area.
Drake: Happy that it was all a surprise.
Jim: How much work was involved with Boat/Home schooling.

What is something that you looked forward to about cruising when you were dreaming, that is as good or even better than imagined?
Phoebe: The various shades of blue the ocean can be.
Drake: Seeing animals in their natural habitats.
Emma: The beauty of the people & their countries.
Jim: The pure joy of being on the boat under full sail when all conditions combined to creat the optimum sailing experience. The best was 48 hours in the coral sea covering 348 nm.

How often have you faced bad weather in your cruising? How bad?
Emma: Not often, Because we always checked the weather.
Phoebe: Did not notice as I was usually down below if conditions were not perfect.
Drake: Less than 2% of total 5.5 year voyage. Not bad.
Jim: Downwind passage 95+ % so even squally, rainy 25+ knots of wind was comfortable. Upwind, current & swell on the outside of Baja, California was the most unpleasant.

What piece of gear seems to break the most often?
Emma: Watermaker.
Phoebe: Portable DVD players.
Drake: Headphones.
Jim: Hoseclamps.

What do you think is a common cruising myth.
Emma: Less work than Home/Profession.
Phoebe: Mermaids.
Drake: Sharks are scary.
Jim: It's always sunny & warm.

Across a year, what do you spend the most money on while cruising?
Emma: Provisions.
Phoebe: Ice Cream.
Drake: Toys.
Jim: Preventative or replacement parts for the boat.

How did you recommend securing your vessel while going ashore? And your dinghy?
Phoebe: Closing hatches & windows for rain.
Drake: Removing the engine kill key from the dingy.
Jim: Very rare to lock the vessel, make certain that dingy is above the high tide line ashore and hoisted in the davits EVERY night.
Emma: Only once did we need to keep a watch on the vessel while crew went ashore to perform check in/out procedures. Same watch person also dropped crew ashore via the dingy and returned the tender back to the vessel.

Of the changes, choices and compromises you had to make along the way, which were you happiest and most satisfied about, which do you wish you had chosen otherwise and why?
Phoebe: Simplified our lives but wished for better shower facility. Ours was on deck.
Emma: To see the world through the children's eyes. Amazed at the lack of solitary free time. We were called the floating chandlery, even so we would have purchased more spares at home (because of availability and low cost) to prepare, prevent or protect components from breaking down.
Drake: Our home moved. All the chores like knocking back the slimy anchor chain.
Jim: Breakfast, Lunch & dinner as a family every day. During the re-fit I was talked into re-using equipment rather than purchasing new. These were the items that most often failed.

Was there anywhere you visited that you thought was overrated (not as good as you had heard)?
Emma: Carribean.
Drake: The silty brown water in Singapore/Malaysia.
Jim: The Great Barrier Reef - disappointing after the South Pacific.
Phoebe: Aruba. Expensive tourist trap, overrun, large military presence because of Venezuela & South American drug cartels.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?

What about insurance? Including: vessel, health & emergency evacuation. 

We had vessel insurance the whole way around the world. Now with hind sight we would have self insured ourselves once we left Mexico and would not have reinstated it until we returned to Mexico and the US (the only two countries that asked for it.) Health insurance is unnecessary as health care and dentistry around the world is available and affordable. However, we were fortunate and did not have a major incident. For emergency evacuation, we utilized DAN. All cruisers we met we told them about this service and we think for the cost/benefit this is an absolute must have!

22 August 2011

10 Questions for Bika

bika6 Henrik Nor-Hansen and Nina Kristin Nilsen have been cruising since 2005 aboard Bike, a Contessa 26 hailing from Stavanger, Norway. Since 2005 they have cruised through Europe, Africa, Caribbean, South America, North America. The boat is currently in Mexico and they have an upcoming Pacific crossing. You can follow their journey on their blog or website or by email (sybikaAThotmail.com). Henrik & Nina say: We spend short stints on land in between, but have no plans of moving back ashore. The freedom of the cruising lifestyle is too addictive. Also, the questions are answered by Nina only.
Where was your favorite place to visit and why?
Oh oh. Uneasy question. Brought up as a good Norwegian social democrat, I have a hard time singling out favourites. As there's no escaping the Scandinavian mode of thought, as a cruiser I must give every place equal opportunity to charm me with music, stun me with scenery, I must look upon each stranger as an unknown friend. But I'll work around your trick question by picking out this one: Bika. Our boat is my favourite place to be. Because the scenery constantly changes, new friends are always to be had, I'm travelling the world with my best-friend-husband, and I wake up aboard every day feeling immensely free.

What is something about the cruising culture you like and what is something you dislike?
The one-big-family aspect of cruising is both a blessing and a minor curse. It's wonderful being able to knock on any hull, for whatever reason, just because we are fellow cruisers. The strong sense of sharing among cruisers is what makes it possible to live wonderful lives at the edges of society. Money can't get you that lifesaving spare part in a remote anchorage, but a fellow cruiser can. Then there's the sense of belonging. None of your friends and family living on land can truly understand what it's like to live afloat. But other cruisers do.  And the minor curse? Because you find so many friends among fellow cruisers, you find less local friends.

bika3 Across a year, what do you spend the most money on while cruising?
Food and drink. A flight back home to visit family and friends. The boat. Generally in that order, but as we recently have done a major refit, the boat expenses have taken a temporary lead.

While cruising, what do you do about health & boat insurance, medical issues, banking and mail delivery?
We've had health and boat insurance while cruising in the US, but generally do without both. We have some buffer money for whatever emergency may arise, trust local medical services (for prevention we live a healthy lifestyle and carry our own remedies), we use internet banking and have most mail delivered electronically.

How did you (or did you) gain offshore experience prior to leaving?
Like the average cruising couple, I was the rookie while my husband had grown up sailing. To find out if cruising could be for us, we went on an eight week long sailing trip along the Norwegian coast. We went offshore to see if I'd freak out from loosing sight of land or heeling over, we navigated by lighted buoys through dark nights, we ran out of butter and bread. And loved it. Henrik had sailed since he was a baby, even crossing the North Sea and Skagerak, while I only had one year of mostly coastal cruising when we took off.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
Skip the plans, skip the prearranged route (we had them, but soon dumped them).

bika7What is the most difficult aspect of the cruising lifestyle?
Having to go back on land to earn a little money now and then. Office work, set hours, TGIF, all that.

What are some of your favorite pieces of gear on your boat and why?
Our pressure cooker, as it saves time and gas, doesn't give off steam, has a lid that stays on in bumpy seas and cooks healthy food. Radio podcasts (Radiolab! This American Life! The Moth!) on our mp3-player, for night watches. The newly installed AIS receiver, for peace of mind, and because ships reply more if you use their name. The SSB receiver for weather offshore. The sailmaker's bag for offshore repairs. Our laptops, for almost everything.

bika1 What did you do to make your dream a reality?
We set a date, May 15th 2005, and stuck to it. Our decision was based on trust and enthusiasm. Trust in the seaworthiness of a small and affordable boat, and in us as a couple. And enthusiasm, as you can just do it, if you really really want to.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it? 

What gear or gadget do you cruise happily without? 

Ha ha, most! Inboard engines are not essential for small boats, you can charge your battery from solar power, and sail into harbours (as, being sailors on a sailboat, really makes sense). Chart plotters, well, paper charts never fail, and need no electricity. Fridge or freezer? We do like our grandparents did, we salt and dry fish and meat, top our butter off with brine, wax cheese and know that eggs stay almost forever. But we wish we had a dinghy we could sail, and a sat phone, just in case.

15 August 2011

10 Questions for Reflections No. 1

ref1 Alex Kao sailed out of Vancouver BC in the Fall of 2007 on Reflections No. 1, an Alexander 30. He now owns a Moody Salar 40 with his wife Leah and they plan to fix her up, save money for the next two years and take off again.

Alex says: I moved onto a Cheetah 26 when I was 20 and lived and sailed around Vancouver. 5 years later I sold her and I spent 2 months backpacking Venezuela and Tobago then lived in an apartment for 4 months. I missed the boating life so I bought and moved on to "Reflections No. 1". I spent the next  5 years sailing the BC coast and testing and fixing her up. She is a Alexander 30 sail boat. It is like an Alberg 30. The builder took a Gulf Island 29 mold and raised the freeboard about a foot. It has a 3/4 full keel. It is 29'6" long.  My first leg was Victoria to San Diego. I took 2 crew: Greg and Jen. We did the trip in September. I left the boat in San Diego and returned to Vancouver to finish the work year. I returned on Dec 20 and  solo sailed from San Diego to Puerto Escondido, Mexico stopping along the way.  Then met a surfer named Jeremy and sailed to El Salvador. I wanted crew to cross the Gulf of Twanapec. I put the boat in a boat yard in May 2008 and returned to Vancouver to work. I returned to the boat at Christmas 2009.  I did a lot of inland travel, ran a small boat yard and did a lot of fishing trips off the coast of El Salvador. Greg came down again in 2009 and sailed from El Salvador to Costa Rica with me. Leah, my now wife sailed from Costa Rica back to El Salvador in 2009. I also solo sailed from El Salvador to Nicaragua in 2009.  I put the boat is storage again in May 2009 and returned to Vancouver to work. Leah and I came down together on Jan, 1 2010 and sailed from El Salvador to Costa Rica, Panama, Galapagos, Marqueses and Hawaii. I sailed solo from Hawaii to Port Renfrew BC and back to Vancouver in a August 2010. 

What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you didn't find to be true?
That you need all of this equipment and toys. We got by with out a water maker, radar, sat phone, our SSB only received and had a safe and great time but some other cruisers thought we were nuts. At every port I saw someone fixing or cleaning a water maker. If I remember right I could get 5 gallons of bottled water for $2.50 a most places.

How do you fund your cruise?
I worked along the way by fixing other cruisers boats and returned to Canada to work full time. I am a Marine diesel mechanic and worked along the way and when I ran out of money or hurricane season  I returned to Vancouver to work.

What is your biggest lesson learned?
I learnt a lot about weather and how slow a hurricane travels. When we were sailing from Marquises to Hawaii. There were 2 hurricanes off Mexico, 1000 miles away from us. We saw them on weather fax and were nervous until we found how slow they move.

Finish this sentence. "Generally when I am provisioning..."
I buy too much canned food and not enough fresh. I forget how long fresh food will last.

Describe a perfect cruising moment that will make cruisers-to-be drool with anticipation
We stopped at a island in Northwest Panama and had it to our selves for 5 days and never saw anyone else. It was so desolate I could get coconuts with out climbing trees.

What do you think is a common cruising myth
We had some smooth passages on a 29 footer (Galapagos to Marqueses - 24 days). Sure it would be more comfortable on a bigger boat but you sure don't need a 45-50 footer like most of the boats we saw out there.

ref2 When have you felt most in danger and what was the source?
We had a freighter sneak up on us. We were doing 18 min watches. It was Leah's watch and I was awake reading. I heard the VHF buzz and since we we 1000 miles from anywhere I knew there must be another boat around. I went up and scanned the horizon. The sun was setting and we had the main out all the way on a broad broad reach. The freighter must had been in the sun and I didn't see it. I went back down below, 5 min later we were hit by a bigger than normal wave. I commented to Leah about it but didn't get up. 1 min later we were hailed by the freighter, I popped up to the deck and it was a quarter mile away after passing in front us.

Is there something you wish you had bought or installed before starting cruising?
After that freighter scare I bought a AIS receiver in Hawaii. I love it and wouldn't go off shore again with out one.

What was the most affordable area to cruise and the most expensive? What was affordable or cheap about each area?
In Panama beer in the grocery store was 35 cents but every cab driver charged different prices for the same ride. In Marquesas restaurant food when available cost a lot but you could trade for fruit and veggies. Galapagos burgers were $3.50.

08 August 2011

10 Questions for Seayanika

seayanika4 Katriana Vader cruised from 2004 until 2006 aboard Seayanika, a custom 49-ft Bluewater Pilothouse Cutter hailing from Vista, CA, USA. From California, Seayanika traveled through Baja and mainland Mexico and then through the South Pacific (Marquesas, Tuamotus, Society Islands, Cook Islands, Nuie, Tonga & Fiji). She left California with the Baja Ha Ha in 2004 with a party crew of four and had several other crew members join her at different stages of her cruising. Readers can learn more about their voyage on their website or through email (info@seayanika.com).

Katriana says: I have traveled my entire life from the time I was 17 years old, have visited over 100 countries and speak six languages.  My daughter Lanika (whom the boat is named after as in “Sea Ya Nika”) traveled with me for ten years between the ages of 3-13.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising?
I suppose what I was most surprised about was how tiring and boring the passages were. I had this idea in my head that the longer crossings were going to be endless days of contemplating life, looking at sea life and birds and maybe looking for some wind. Aside from the paltry sightings of marine life, the occasional flying fish and squid that landed on deck, and the messy but amazing boobies (bird), the 23 days from Mexico to the Marquesas were mostly devoid of punctuation marks. Also, I was expecting nice even rolling waves during the majority of the passage, maybe somewhere between 3-15 footers. Instead of a relaxing up and down movement on the swells we encountered confused, washing machine seas the entire passage. Even in the ITCZ! The constant erratic movement of the boat (for nearly 600 straight hours) required continual bracing, I swear, even during sleep. The upside is that upon arriving in the Marquesas, although worn out from all the involuntary isometrics, I was in the best muscular shape I had been in a long time. Wind was never an issue…it was constant.

seayanika5 When you are offshore, what keeps you awake at night (that is, what worries you most)?
The biggest worry of course is to make sure I STAY offshore and off reefs. I mostly experienced this fear when nearing Fiji as I had been warned that there were uncharted reefs and I needed to keep a sharp eye out. Unfortunately, I am pretty night blind so it wasn’t an easy thing to do. In the six months Seayanika was in Fiji, all the “planned” trips were during daylight hours. The “unplanned” ones were mostly emergency moves due to wind shifts and lee shores.

Is there something from your land life that you brought cruising and feel silly about bringing now?
Well…my bread maker. I didn’t use it, not even once. We found it more enriching and calming while on the passages to prepare the bread ourselves than to turn on the generator to power up for a high AC load. Plus it helped fill in time.

seayanika3 Describe a positive experience you have had with local people somewhere you have visited.
There were so many wonderful people and experiences it’s hard to pick out just one. However, the locals on Palmerston Atoll are well known for their hospitality. They literally adopt you when you arrive; feed you lunch every day, and share their way of life without asking anything in return. When Seayanika was visiting, we were accompanied by friends on three other cruising boats, and we did our best to reciprocate. Sam Peterson on Moana worked on the island’s computers, someone else provided mechanical assistance, and everyone dug into their larders to help out with the island’s shortages, butter and toilet paper. I had also brought a lot of baby clothes along, and since there was a baby girl on the island I was able to find a home for some of them. The grandmother, (oh how I wish I could remember her name) was so thankful that she made me a purse out of a coconut and sent it along for me with Moana, who stayed an extra day. While on Palmerston we were all treated to a "sports" party in our honor by the 65 inhabitants. There was food and drink, games and contests…ping pong, darts and they even played Euchre! Who would have thought that particular card game would be popular in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

What did you do to make your dream a reality?
Built our own boat. To insure safety, comfort and reliability we felt it was our best option. It took four years of back-breaking labor to build, but the end result was worth it. Every safety feature, every redundant system, every luxury that I felt I couldn’t live without (ice maker, bow thruster, water maker, washer/dryer, drawer refrigeration), I got it all without having to make compromises. Safety was paramount, and by building the boat ourselves we knew it was solid and safe, and where absolutely every piece of equipment was located, why, and where to troubleshoot when problems arose.

What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you didn't find to be true?
I read a lot of books about cruising before setting off on this adventure and found most everything to be spot on. I didn’t really have any illusions that it would always be easy or idyllic, but at times it certainly was. The view was ALWAYS great! I’ve traveled internationally almost my whole life, so the only aspect I had to adapt to was the “cruising life”.

seayanika2 Is there a place you visited where you wish you could have stayed longer?
Without a doubt that would be the Tuamotus. The “Dangerous Archipelago”, made up of all those beautiful, tropical atolls, is my personal ideal when thinking about the tropics. Pristine white sand islands, swaying palms, coral reefs, tons of fish and shells….who wouldn’t love it. Unfortunately, much of the time the weather is problematic for cruisers with rainstorms, squalls and dramatic wind shifts. Being anchored in shallow lagoons with little or no protection from the winds can be challenging. After less than one month visiting only three atolls I decided it was best to leave. But I really, really, really wanted to see more.

seayanika1Tell me your favorite thing about your boat.
I love that my boat is open and light, but still has plenty of places to hang onto while navigating around inside. I love that she is so solidly built without being unnecessarily heavy, and that she comfortably and safely took me cruising around Mexico and the South Pacific. On rough, cold or rainy days I love, love, love my pilothouse.

What are some of your favorite pieces of gear on your boat and why?
When I’m trying to dock is tight spaces I love my bow thruster. It is surprisingly useful when anchoring and even saved me the embarrassment of getting caught in irons a couple of times. At hot, remote anchorages, there’s nothing better that having an icy cocktail that clinks complements of the ice maker. The ice maker was also an excellent redundant system for the refrigerator and freezer, when the compressor developed issues in Tahiti. The water maker worked flawlessly and provided an abundant source of the purest, softest water. I enjoyed being able to provide friends with endless hot showers after a passage. I only found the trash compactor useful on the long passages, it now goes mostly unused. And I highly recommend a memory foam mattress. Much better than being tossed around on a spring mattress in rough seas.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it? 

Would you do it again?

And my answer to that would be both yes and no. I would not do another crossing or passage of more than a few days. It was always a bit of a 'crap shoot' when you were looking for a weather window for more than that period of time. Uncertain weather was always my fear, not so much because of safety issues, but because of comfort. I guess you could call me a fair-weather sailor. The “yes” portion of the answer is for the island hopping within an archipelago or island chain, the camaraderie among cruisers and the wonderful local people you meet. Everyday of cruising is different, and most of it is good.

01 August 2011

10 Questions for Irie

irie5 Mark Kilty and Liesbet Collaert have been cruising since 2007 aboard Irie, a Fountaine Pajot Tobago 35', hailing from Newcastle, Delaware, USA - they've never been there. They went down the ICW to Florida and then have spent their time in the Bahamas,Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USVI, BVI,  St. Maarten/St. Martin and the Eastern Caribbean island chain down to Grenada. You can read more about their travels on their website and their blog or reach them by email (crew@itsirie.com).

Liesbet says: I am a former teacher, freelance writer and avid traveler from Belgium and my husband Mark is an ex-software engineer from the United States. We left the US with our two wonderful dogs (Australian Shepherd mixes) Kali and Darwin. We lost Kali in Puerto Rico at the age of 10.5 and recently lost Darwin during a visit to the US at the age of 9.5, both to cancer. It changed our lives and our family. Mark and I belong to the younger side of the cruising community and new family members are considered.

Why did you decide to cruise?
I love to travel, explore and expand my horizons any interesting way; Mark likes to sail. He was sick of the "American Dream", after 10 years of hard work and I'm just open to anything new. He planned on going cruising at some point in the future and meeting me made it (kind of) happen a bit quicker. I'm the traveler (I do like to sail as well), Mark's the sailor and together we are cruisers! We love being mobile with our own house. This interview covers our second attempt (the first one failed after two days) to be cruisers, even though back then I didn't even know what "cruising" meant!

irie1What did you do to make your dream a reality?
Nothing special really. We just followed "the steps" to make it happen, just like any other time I had an adventure in mind. But the story goes like this: When I met Mark in California while camping around the US in 2004, he had a long-term plan of going cruising. Since I decided to give up my travel plans to be with him, I encouraged him to do it sooner, so we could go travel by sailboat, something entirely new to me. Mark bought a 25 year old monohull, quit his job, sold all his belongings and all four of us moved into F/Our Choice/s for 5 months, working on her hard every day and getting her ready to go cruising. Two days out of San Francisco Bay, the dogs hated the heeling of the boat and were uncomfortable. Within 5 weeks, we sold the monohull, bought a camper and traveled overland to Panama and back for 1 year. Then, the sailing bug bit Mark again. We sold our set-up, bought a small pick-up truck (initial plan was to move to Belize, but that was right before the sailing bug bit) and camped in a tent with our dogs for two months in search of a decent and affordable catamaran. We found her in the Annapolis area, right before our self-appointed two-month deadline was up. Take two started after four months of preparation, in October 2007. The dogs loved it!

What do you think is a common cruising myth?
That life on a sailboat is (always) romantic, easy, wonderful, exotic and something to be envious of. That sailing equals freedom. That we cruise, because we are fortunate and/or rich! The reality boils down to one word: choices.

Describe a perfect cruising moment that will make cruisers-to-be drool with anticipation.
The wind is blowing a perfect 15 knots out of a favorable direction (off the beam), the sails are full and we are moving through the water smoothly. The sun beams in a blue sky and the breeze keeps us cool. The autopilot does the work, the crew is smiling, and the pup is relaxed in the cockpit. We approach the coastline of St. Lucia, where the giant Pitons loom picturesque on the horizon. All of a sudden a pod of dolphins greets our sailboat with playful jumps and speedy group movements through the clear water off our bow. Wow! (Oh, and then we catch a giant tuna and have sushi for dinner)

What is a tip or a trick you have picked up along the way?
Keep an eye on the weather and use a "weather window" to get to your destination, instead of a deadline (like meeting friends or family at a certain day). This is common sense more than a tip, but it is so true. Nothing is more annoying than having to bash into heavy wind and seas to HAVE to get somewhere.
Talk to other cruisers to find out about the lay of the land (custom and immigration rules, points of interest, good harbors .)

irie2ALWAYS make sure your anchor is set, no matter how light the wind is.
Do as much as you can yourself; it saves money, frustration and time, you know it's done right (albeit after a few tries sometimes) and who to blame and you learn more about your boat.

In your first year of cruising, what transitions did you find the most difficult?
Our first year of cruising was actually the best one. We discovered new places, enjoyed being with our dogs on all the beaches, didn't stress about finding and having jobs, had a sailboat in good working order and I was living in my biggest "house" ever! What I remember as finding "difficult" was the fact that there are barely any other young cruisers out there and that we were soooo dependent on the weather (and had to find safe havens each time a cold front made it down), something -in my opinion- that takes away from your sense of freedom. Being so reliant on the weather (which means skipping new places, islands and countries) still bugs (and restricts) me.

What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you found particularly accurate?
I didn't really hear or read about cruising before we started doing it ourselves. But, what I would like to add as a benefit to cruising (which I might as well have read, or written about myself) is that it is very easy to meet other cruisers and be part of the cruising community, that it can be done cheaply, that you become accustomed to "social drinking", that there is a lot to do (1, 2) and that sailing in perfect conditions is awesome.

What I heard from other cruisers before we left the US is that The Bahamas are one of the best and most pretty cruising grounds. Back then I found that hard to believe (they are relatively close, the closest, to the US), but now, after three seasons in the Eastern Caribbean, I have to admit that I do agree (so far)!

Are you attracted more to sailing itself or cruising-as-travel and has that changed over time?
I am a traveler by heart, not a sailor. I just love exploring new territory and experiencing new cultures, languages, sights. However, when the conditions are "right", I do love the sailing as well. Just feeling the boat, the wind, the elements, and staring at the horizon. Very peaceful. I have learned to really enjoy it, especially during daytrips while and after months of sitting in the same place, working.

Of the changes, choices and compromises you had to make along the way, which were you happiest and most satisfied about, which do you wish you had chosen otherwise and why?
During this second sailing attempt, we decided to get the boat ready enough to live and sail comfortably, without more gadgets than needed. We made that "mistake" the first time around, and worked on that boat for eight months in total to turn it into the "perfect" cruising boat. This time, we got her going after a few months (note: Irie was a newer boat than our previous one as well) and learned through experience what was needed.
Since we've left, we bought and installed solar panels and a wind generator, very good decisions. We also collect water in an efficient way now. Living off and with Mother Nature is very satisfying! Sitting in Luperon, the Dominican Republic, during a whole hurricane season was easy and safe, but not good for the boat and a bit boring (that was before we had jobs as well). We vowed not to do it again and rather pick a hurricane destination where some exploration and sailing can be had (like Grenada).

We started our own business from our small sailboat in the Caribbean and are still not sure whether that was a wise and good decision.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it?

irie3How can you afford to cruise? 

Since Mark and I are relatively young, we get that question asked a lot, especially by non-cruisers. Obviously we are not retired and by choice we want to live this lifestyle longer than a one or two year sabbatical. We can only function and be happy onshore for a couple of years at the time, so a floating house is a good compromise of having our own place and being able to travel.

How we afford it is by working along the way, what in turn takes away from the cruising experience. Most of the time, we are stuck in one place trying to make money and the enjoyment of cruising, sailing and traveling has dwindled down to only a few weeks out of the year.

We pick our anchorages based on WiFi (wireless internet) availability (and dog friendliness in the past). I write, translate, find miscellaneous jobs, and help out with our business, Mark runs the business, customer service, website, part of the sales, and so on. Not always easy from a simple boat in a simple location. Together we run the daily boat errands and fix all the boat issues. It's a busy life to be cruisin'!