I definitely got a few eyebrows raised at me when I explained to some folks that we were going to be on the sailboat for 17 days… 6 of us. I did decide to not try to tote the dogs along as well! I must admit that I did have a few concerns myself, it can be a small space to share among that many people, a lot of cooking and cleaning, but I thought for the most part that being in Paradise would work everything out. And it did! All concerns were completely unfounded. Plus our girls are awesome and we have always been the family that piles up on one couch even if there’s two available. Were a snuggly bunch, so a small space is no problem. They actually helped cook, clean & did the dishes!
We can also be a loud bunch with lots of silliness and carrying on, there is constant laughing and shrieking. Yes, these are the sounds of Seahorse when all of my lovelies are on board.
The sounds when they are chill…
We could not have asked for better weather. It was 80 everyday and we had little rain which gifted itself pretty much only ay night and there were no storms … like the freak storm that blew through a few days ago. Friends and fellow cruisers told us that everyone was caught in anchorages with 40 – 50 mph sustained winds with the water churning in heavy chop and rain so hard that they couldn’t see. Many boats were dragging past each other or up to rocky shores before people could even realize. Yes, this would not have been paradise.
And Paradise was our itinerary!
We really just woke up each day and carried ourselves to whatever interested us. No big agenda….
We spent our days scouring the shores for sea glass in which Kate and I found a ton on the beach in Hopetown one evening when we went for a swim. It was coming in with the waves in handfuls. We went back under similar conditions the next few days and had no luck there anymore, but it was sprinkled all along the beach waiting for us on Tilloo Caye a few days later.
We snorkeled everyday. We snorkeled so much that when I did yoga, water dripped out of my nose like a sink with a drip. Yes, I am aware that the snorkel is suppose to keep water out, but it seems that just enough always finds its way to me here and there. In the bahamas you can really swim off the boat just about anywhere and find something interesting or pretty to look at.
and there are major reefs around every corner… which is a scary thought when you’re sailing! Pelican Reef was definitely the highlight of our snorkeling trips and made me decide that I have to have a good underwater camera! I got a few shots at other places, but was underwhelmed with the camera quality and it was such a pain to use because there is no display screen so you can’t see any footage until you upload it, blah too much of a distraction.. I actually liked using my phone, but my life proof case failed me, so I just decided to not take a camera to Pelican, but I should have brought it, any picture of pelican would have been beautiful! … It was a complete underwater forest of sheer beauty and so abundant in fish and…. suddenly Travis says,”send the kids back to the dinghy! Sharks and barracuda bigger than me!!!” I saw a 3 ft Barracuda the day before and Ryan assured me that it wasn’t big. I believed him, but I didn’t know we were going to actually meet the 6 ft. giants! Baracuda’s are so darn scary. They stare at you and almost always lurk around you like they’re stalking you and they look really mean! Lilly gets all tongue tied when she says Barracuda…it comes out Caraboodie. So this is our new name for Barracuda which I think softens the dauntingness of this sea creature a bit…..So we put the kids in the boat, but I’m thinking I don’t want to let a few stupid sharks and Caraboodies not allow me to see The Pelican Land & Sea Park! So I ask Travis if he will swim out with me. He’s in and so are Ryan and Richard. The guys definitely wanted to keep snorkeling, they just didn’t want the children to be eaten or the women to be scared to death. Apparently we were a big, scary bunch or Richard’s camouflaged Shark Suit kept them away because we never saw anything other than beauty again. We saw an expanse of colorful reefs, sea fans, beautiful fish, a massive eel. We decided to bring the dinghies over so everyone could snorkel in safe distance to the dinghy. This worked out well. The kids didn’t have to swim through the current to get there and the dinghy was nearby.
Some pics from our Snorkel in Hopetown.
Lilly is quite the diver! She is especially handy when finding conch, she dives down and grabs a shell… if theres something in it, she gives a thumbs up sign and carries it to the surface all excited. If theres no conch, she shakes her head and gives a thumbs down sign. So cute!
Kate and Lauren flipping in!
We paddle boarded for fun and sometimes for transportation to town or to a beach or to a snorkeling spot. One day Kate and Lilly and I were all on the paddle board together when about 40 ft. directly in front of us, a fin popped out of the water. I shouted out,“Holy Shark Fin!” About that time it turned and headed right at us! What! “Sit down, everyone sit down!,” we all chanted. I think I may have asked Kate if she had the Go Pro on, but hey, I mean it is a great shot! I guess it was just checking out the paddle board, maybe it thought we were it’s Momma. A few seconds after he turned and headed right at us, he turned again and went under water, we weren’t sure if that was a good sign or not at the time, but we all sat there as still as possible, bantering back and forth to each other in our Oh My Gawd! Shark! high pitch voices, but we never saw it again. Then we saw a Sea Turtle. That’s better! We followed it around a bit, but it finally lost us….
Mary Helen and I had a great Sea Turtle encounter on the bow one night. We were up together talking and enjoying the stars and being moored in the Man-O-War harbour when a Sea Turtle came swimming by. We were able to follow it with our spotlight and watch it swim around the boat. The spotlight made the water a brilliant green background beneath it. It was a really cool site. The spotlight then attracted a bunch of cool little fish. Our turtle finally swam away and we went to bed.
In place of a television
So you can have a t.v. onboard, but we barely watch it at home… We do have Satellite radio and we do have a dvd with videos, but this is more fun…
Mary Helen drew us a lovely Christmas tree and this seemed small and perfect for Seahorse. Santa understands that Sailboats are a bit small for a tree and he just throws the presents down the hatches anyway….
Now the funniest thing about Christmas In Hopetown is the ice skating rink! So basically it is a very large plastic cutting board! Lilly wanted to give it a try…The kids had such a hard time skating on it that they had these walker like things to make it easier. Imagine skating on a cutting board! LOL. It was cool that they had it though. Lilly loved this hat and wore it for 4 days straight, yes at night too.
We strolled down the golf cart sized streets with fellow cruisers, vacationers, islanders, and second home folks Christmas Carolling and enjoying our first Island Christmas.
After Christmas, we let go of our mooring in Hopetown and headed for some remote anchorages. I love checking out the small towns and settling in, but I love taking off to the next adventure too. I really love getting the sails up and letting Seahorse come alive. It is as if she is sleeping while were are in a mooring field or at a dock. I think she sleeps more like a dolphin when we are on anchor, keeping half of her brain awake while the other half sleeps…this is how many humans sleep on anchor too 🙂
So off we went. Leaving Hopetown, for our next adventure. I will admit that I was a little scared getting off the mooring. There were so many boats and we were all so close together, but no troubles. I don’t want to press my luck, but getting on and off moorings has been really easy thus far. It’s so scary shallow here by the way! Our friend Ryan says it’s like sailing in a swimming pool. It really is, so crystal clear and blue and it’s so tricky to the eyes. 14 ft really looks like 3 sometimes. I guess you get used to it. I’m not used to it yet.
We found Conch heaven near Channel Caye, it was just everywhere! Everyone of us were surfacing with it left and right. We realized we had 15 in no time, so we threw the smallest ones back and Travis and Ryan headed to the boats ready to Concher the Conchs!
Apparently there is a learning curve, but after a few, Travis & Ryan were pros
After Conchering the Conchs, it was time to be really manly and start spearing some fish! Travis became the Lion King, spearing 3 Lion Fish. Travis said they are really easy to catch because they don’t try to swim away like most fish, they try to act all big and bad by exploding their body like a firework, but that’s all they do so…
Each morning we would all kind of get up and do whatever. Swim, Paddleboard, Read, Snorkel, Yogi …and eventually we would all end up in the same place, this includes Sophia. So one day we all ended up at the beach eventually. We decided we needed refreshments and Conch Salad so Travis, Ryan, Mary Helen & Lilly and I headed back to Seahorse for some provisions…
We came back with some conch, avocados, tomatoes, onion, lime, some Radlers… even the lizards were interested, scurrying around us like little puppy dogs with curled tails. They really didn’t like anything we had though it turns out. We had a lovely lunch and Kimberly made Lilly into a mermaid once again. Lilly loves this!
As we were finishing our lunch, a peculiar man with a cute dog comes to shore off of a small powerboat. He talks to us for some time and introduces his “shy” friend from a far who is to shy to come to shore so he is in his boat hanging out. The man proceeds to tell us he brought a couch…This struck me really funny, but we did find a bed in the woods, so…
As the man left to go back to the boat, Ryan wondered out loud if he should help him with the couch. ..
Really I think Ryan just wanted to sit on it.
Without fail, everyday something interesting will happen….
And when the water pump breaks…this is how you take a shower, then rinse with the fresh solar shower.
Richard & Karen on Oriana joined us on our anchorage for New Year’s and we had a nice night that ended with Richard & The Girls playing Richard’s Guitar and Mary Helen’s Ukele and some fireworks from Hopetown and Pete’s Pub.
After New Years, we needed to head back towards Marsh Harbour… something about school and work and a plane ride back to the states.. Boo. We still had a few days, but we needed to be close by. A sailing rule is that you never can say for sure you are going to be able to go where you want to go when you want to be there, best to be a little ahead of the game if you have to be somewhere, don’t plan for the best! Best yet, don’t plan!
But sometimes you must, so we headed to Man-O-War. I absolutely loved this quiet little Cay.
Still the loud people do come to town, but they seemed to like us. I mean everyone needs entertainment.
WE finally made our Conch Horns in Man -O -War. You are suppose to blow your Conch Horns at sundown. Lilly was the first one to blow a horn and she blew it like she had been doing it all of her life. Mary Helen had no problems either.
I snuck away at dawn on our last day. Travis knows this about me. I have to ring it all out. When we went to St. Lucia, everyone was packed up and waiting for the bus to the airport with there suitcases and I was on the water swimming and drinking champagne for breakfast. I don’t want to miss one second of our last day!
Till Next time… My heart and soul is on this boat and traveling this great earth! I’m so glad we had the good fortune to be able to be here and bring the kids along and show them a whole different kind of experience from everyday life.