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Month: November 2015

Bluebeard’s Castle

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When Peter’s Dad, Wiley, came to visit us awhile back, he brought along his sister Emma. They had a wonderful time touring around St. Thomas and St. John with us and they really got a kick out of Bluebeard’s Castle!

Bluebeard’s Castle is currently operating as a hotel in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, but they also offer tours of the old tower now filled with artifacts from the days of wooden ships and hidden treasure.

There are many shipwrecks and tales of forgotten treasure here in the Virgin Islands which have sparked our interest. We’ve seen pieces of old pottery and glass bottles scattered among ruins and we’ve even snorkeled over cannons!

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A truly interesting history lesson about Bluebeard’s Castle can be found in this 1967 newspaper article: Historic Castle

Based on the newspaper article, the earliest reference to this property being called “Barbe-Bleu” is in 1859. A quick google search led me to La Barbe Bleue, a French folktale dating all the way back to 1697: Bluebeard – Wikipedia

Is it a little weird that the Legend of Bluebeard printed for the museum tour happens to be almost identical to the old French folktale? I’ll let you be the judge of that ;)

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DIY Custom Shaped Dog Bed

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There’s this funny little space next to our bed in the aft cabin. I think it was originally designed to be an extension of the sleeping area since there’s one on both Port and Starboard sides. Our previous owners decided to remove whatever used to be there and they had a custom “real” mattress made.

With the mattress in place, it left a perfect Betsy-sized area. For the first two years we put a pillow there with a blanket on top to make a nice, cozy bed for Betsy. Gunner was too big so he always got to lay at the foot of our bed, but we wanted to utilize this cute little spot too. Even though we try telling her it’s her Princess Bed she still sneaks up onto the mattress in the middle of the night!

I couldn’t think of anything better to do with the space so I wanted to make something a bit more permanent and easier to clean. After completion of my Throw Pillow Project I had some leftover scraps of Sunbrella Canvas in Taupe and decided to make a custom dog bed. It was a dark color which would help to hide the dog hair and dirt Betsy leaves behind. It’s also a very durable material and cleans up easily.

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When designing this new dog bed, I used a basic box cushion design, just like I used for my salon cushions. I had already learned the technique from watching the incredibly helpful Sailrite videos. The edges finished nicely and I was pleased with the thickness. I had decided on 5″ thick boxing and for the stuffing I got a little creative…

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Instead of buying new foam and/or batting for this custom creation, I cleaned out a few cubbies on the boat to see what I could use for stuffing. I had an old worn-out pillow, a big cotton quilt with ugly colors on it, and an old sleeping bag! All of these items either needed to be thrown away, donated or repurposed, so I used them for my dog bed project :) The sleeping bag got cut into pieces which I layered up around the old pillow and put that inside the old quilt. Together, they formed the perfect thickness for stuffing into my new cover.

With some extra zipper supplies on hand, I measured the back end to form an extra long zipper plaque where I could easily take the new cover off to wash it.

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This whole thing had to be cut into a custom shape with each side being a different length. Although I can’t flip it over, it fits perfectly!

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Thanks to Sailrite and my awesome LSZ-1 sewing machine, I have another home-improvement project checked off the list :)


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The Holidays are Approaching


The holidays are approaching! Thanksgiving is just over a week away and we still don’t know where we will be. Most likely we’ll be in Christmas Cove gathering together with all of our friends in the neighborhood. We may or may not have turkey this year, but you can sure bet that I’ll be making my famous pumpkin pie wherever we are!

Ever since we moved onto the boat, holidays have been a little different. Instead of flying back to California or Washington to be with family, we usually celebrate with friends nearby. We focus less on presents, decorations and big to-do’s, and instead cherish the memories made and the time spent with those around us. As floating nomads, our fellow cruisers feel just as much like family to us as do our blood relatives.

It’s going to be my first Christmas without Gunner and I know I will be sad. He was always with me for every holiday whether I was with family, friends or alone.

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Last year my dad was here visiting us on the boat for Christmas. We were in Christmas Cove and invited a bunch of our closest friends over for dinner. We had 9 adults, two kids and two dogs – a full house :)

Genevieve, Eben and their two girls from Necesse, Kim and Jereme from Lahowind, my dad, Steve from Lunacy and Hoy from Goldilocks were all in the neighborhood. We feasted on a fresh caught lobster dinner and shared many laughs!


We’re looking forward to having Peter’s dad, Wiley, visiting over Christmas and New Years this year. It’s always nice to have family around during the holidays :)

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Broken Hearts


The last week has been difficult for us all after the loss of our sweet boy, Gunner. Our broken hearts will never be the same again.

He was by my side for so many years, it just doesn’t make sense for him to be gone.

I can still hear his impatient bark at 5:00 to let me know it’s time to eat dinner. I can still hear the scraping of his nails on the floor when he would have wild running dreams. I can still feel his soft ears against my face when I would cuddle with him. I can still see his legs stretch out so far as he rolled on his back waiting for someone to scratch his belly. I can still feel his wet nose touch mine when he would ask for a piece of my food – the only trick he knew – to give kisses for a treat.

Time seems to stand still and our tiny floating home feels so empty. I miss my boy.

We all miss him.

Yesterday, Betsy laid in ‘his spot’ on the rug in the galley. It was his very favorite spot to lay in the whole boat – I think because it was the same size as his old crate. He felt safe in there. Betsy had never laid in there before, maybe because Gunner was always there, but never even when he was somewhere else. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her lay there, and she stayed there all day. She usually prefers to be on the couch or the bed, but since Gunner has been gone she has been laying in his favorite places or at my feet.

We are giving her extra love. It helps her and it helps us. She misses her brother just as much as we miss him too.

It’s been so hard to motivate myself to do anything. It would be easier if I had a job to be distracted with but all the boat projects just seem to not matter right now. We’ll be working soon enough but for now its just so hard to get through the day.


If you haven’t seen the tribute article I wrote for Gunner, please take a few moments out of your day to hear our story and see our adventures together here: http://www.wherethecoconutsgrow.com/2015/11/for-gunner-with-all-my-love

Win a FREE HelpEmUp Harness

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I am so happy to announce that Blue Dog Designs (the makers of the HelpEmUp Harness) has graciously offered to let me host a giveaway for one of their amazing harnesses, in honor of Gunner!

As you all know, our sweet boy, Gunner, recently passed away. Without his special harness, we could not have had him on the boat with us for the last two years. A 75lb senior arthritic dog on a sailboat seemed crazy to many, but it was never a thought in our minds to leave him behind. It was because of HelpEmUp that he was able to live out his retirement by our sides 24/7 and be a part of our endless adventures sailing around the Caribbean, Where The Coconuts Grow.

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I recently published an article sharing 8 Reasons Why We Love The HelpEmUp Harness. Since then I’ve received countless comments and emails from all over the world about how this harness has been a miracle for their family. It brings tears of joy to know that I can help introduce so many people to HelpEmUp, in hopes that it will do for them what it has done for us.

Visit www.HelpEmUp.com for information on how to choose the right size and style of hip lift.

If your furry companion could use a little help getting up or down from the bed, car or boat, or has any mobility issues at all, take this opportunity to enter to win a FREE HelpEmUp Harness! Just enter your email address in the form below. Email addresses will *ONLY* be used to contact the winner.


Winner will be contacted via email to obtain size, style and shipping information. Entries must be received by Monday November 16th at 11:59pm EST.

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Even if you don’t win, I highly recommend giving HelpEmUp a try. These harnesses are worth their weight in gold!