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How do we make our Sail Loot?


You all know our story. A few years ago Peter and I decided to buy a boat, quit our jobs, and sail away. Something we haven’t really talked about, however, is how we can afford to live this lifestyle!

We were absolutely honored when Teddy from the Sail Loot Podcast wanted to feature our story on his website. I feel terrible how long it actually took for our schedules to align. With the best of intentions, we made several attempts to find a strong enough wifi connection to complete the interview over Skype. We tried few places in Grenada during the last hurricane season but the signal was never great and we knew we would need a solid hour of connectivity. Upon finally arriving back to USVI we used our U.S. LTE cell signal and chatted with Teddy for almost an hour and a half.

Although it felt like it had taken eons to complete the interview, the most relevant part of our story was still a secret! Teddy’s patience was amazing and he agreed to wait to publish our interview after we got the clearance to go ‘live’ with the news. After being at the mercy of BVI Government Officials on Island Time since April, just last week we were finally able to make our big announcement.

We burned through almost three years of savings and the time has come to make some more loot for our sailing adventures as the new crew of Aristocat Charters! Running daysails in BVI is going to rejuvenate our bank account, ultimately allowing us to continue living our dream and sharing this lifestyle with as many people as we can.

If you’ve got some time to kill (or if you just want to hear our voices), lend your ear to hear our story on Sail Loot: Episode 031

Thanks again Teddy! You Rock!

Rio Damajagua Cascades: The 27 Waterfalls of the Dominican Republic

Along with the many services they provide, Papo and Pedro coordinate rides from Luperón up to the famous 27 waterfalls not too far from Puerto Plata. We had heard from several of the locals that going to the waterfalls was a MUST while visiting the DR. We had only planned on staying in Luperón for as long as it would take to fix our propane solenoid and our generator but we made sure to work in a little play time too.

The very next day after our generator was fixed, Papo picked us up from our boat and took us to the dinghy dock where a white van was waiting. Peter and I were joined by another cruising couple and their friend. As it turns out, we had met them way back in Spanish Wells, Bahamas!! It was nice to see some familiar faces and share the long ride up the mountain with fellow cruisers.

The ride through town and up into the mountains took about 45 minutes. We stopped at a local market along the way for some cold Cokes for Peter and I, and some ice-cold beers for our cruiser friends.

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The scenery was spectacular. We passed huge pastures, fields of sugar cane and coconut trees. The rolling hills of green seemed to go on forever. It was a great reminder of how people all over the world Live Different. Their small houses were scattered along the country roads with laundry strung across their front yards and often no windows or doors. The heat was stifling but the landscape was so still and peaceful. We were so caught up in its beauty, forgetting about the heat.

All of a sudden, the van slowed to a stop. Something was definitely going on ahead of us but it took a minute to figure out what… Cattle. Dozens of cattle were meandering down the road as if it were covered in grass in the middle of a field. A regular occurrence around here I guess. Just a few days before, we saw a man leading a gigantic pig down the street in front of Putula’s Bar. That pig had the biggest cojones I’ve ever seen!!!! I tried to get Peter to run after it and take a picture but he was too busy happily grinding on his pulled pork sandwich :)

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After a short bumpy ride on a gravel road we arrived at the park that operates the tours for the 27 waterfalls. 27 Charcos at Rio Damajagua is open daily from 8am to 3pm. We were advised to get there early, and we’re glad we did. Truck-loads of people start arriving mid day and throughout the afternoon.

We really didn’t know what to expect before we arrived. Unfortunately Papo didn’t give us very much information about what to bring or not bring. We knew lunch would be included but that’s about it.

There are three different tours  you can choose from. The 1-7 waterfalls are the easiest. 1-12 waterfalls is what we did. It would have been amazing to see all 27 falls but we selected the 12-waterfall tour to make sure we were back in the early afternoon to let the dogs out. The falls range from 10-20′ and most of them are done by crossing your arms across your chest and sliding down. The guides were great and they help everyone get positioned safely before letting go.

It would take at least an hour to hike up to all 27 waterfalls. We took our time getting to the first 12 and it took about 45 minutes of hiking up steep trails. It’s definitely not an easy hike and those terribly out of shape might be swearing up a storm half way through. On the other hand, its great exercise and it was a wonderful way to explore on land away from the boat. Young and old alike can handle it no problem as long as there are no physical injuries restraining your movement. The day involves lots of hiking, climbing, sliding, swimming and jumping. Mandatory helmets and life jackets are provided by the park before departure.

It would have been nice to know a few things about this adventure before we left the boat:


1. A waterproof camera

I brought my iPhone in an old waterproof case, but I had no idea we would be fully submerged underwater several times. The falls are like water park slides where you end up completely underwater at the end of the slide. About half way through the day, my case started to fail and leaked a bit of water in, fogging up the camera lens. This led to less-than-pretty pictures of only the first half of the trip. A fully submergeable camera is highly recommended. The scenery inside the park is absolutely magical and we wish we were prepared with better equipment. Check out some of the photos on Google Images while searching for Damajagua to see some better photography of this magical place.

2. Water shoes with good traction

I wore some cheap $5 water socks from Wal-Mart that had good traction on them. These worked great for climbing over the wet rocks. They weren’t the best for hiking up the trails but I’m used to going barefoot on the boat every day. Peter wore surfing booties with a little tread and those worked just as well. If I had them earlier, I would have worn my new KEEN sandals that are waterproof and have excellent hiking tread. Anything that will keep you from slipping on the wet limestone is recommended.

3. Swimsuit/dark shorts

Peter wore surf trunks and I wore a bathing suit with black shorts. The mandatory life jackets cover up your top so the women don’t need to worry about “spilling out”. Since the majority of the way down involves sliding over rocks, white or light-colored shorts or swimsuits are not advised. We didn’t get dirty but white clothes don’t go well with Mother Nature’s slip’n’slides :)

4. Cash for tips, lunch or drinks

Luckily we had extra cash with us. Papo didn’t tell us there was an additional fee for park entry, in addition to the fee we paid him to get us there. The park accepts cash only, no credit cards. There is a gift shop, bar and restaurant also. Papo’s travel package covered the ride up and back plus cost of lunch and several drinks. The food was buffet style and not very good, but nice after a long day climbing around.


1. A backpack

We didn’t know that the only way down was to get completely soaking wet! The staff at the cashier suggested we leave our backpack behind the counter with them. It was totally safe, but had we known earlier we would not have brought it.

2. A towel

After the last waterfall there is still a bit of a hike back out of the mountains to the main park buildings. It’s hot outside and by the time we got back to where lunch was served, we were completely dry.

3. Sunscreen

Fashionably late as always, I didn’t have time to apply sunscreen before we left the boat. I put it in our backpack for later, but when we arrived at the park there was no time to waste. We were off and hiking within minutes. The entire day is actually spent under the rainforest canopy so unless you are extremely fair-skinned, sunscreen won’t help much.

4. Sunglasses

The hike up and back down is mostly shaded.  Peter and I like to wear sunglasses most everywhere we go and we did just fine the whole day leaving ours safely tucked into the backpack behind the cashier’s counter.

5. Anything that cannot be fully submerged in water

This goes for jewelry, watches, clothing, hats, phones or cameras. All three tours, whether it’s the 27, 12 or 7 waterfalls will have you completely soaked.

6. Flip flops

Flip flops will surely fly off after the first slide. They will most likely float and they won’t get too far, but it’s not a good option for footwear. Some of the pools are murky, especially after a lot of rain so if they happen to sink you might not find them.

7. A change of clothes

There are bathrooms to change in afterwards, but unless you plan on leaving your stuff in the vehicle you rode up in or behind the counter at the cashier, there’s no need to bring a change of clothes. Whatever you were wearing will be completely dry, and probably too hot, by the time you ride back to wherever you came from.


Papo charged us around $30 USD per person for the round trip ride which includes drinks on the way up and lunch and drinks at the park.

Entry to the park varies based on how many waterfalls you want to see. The park cashier would gladly accept USD cash but at a higher entrance price. If you exchange your money ahead of time and walk in with Dominican pesos, you’ll get a better entrance rate.

1-7 waterfalls: around $7 USD

1-12 waterfalls:  around $8.50 USD

1-24 waterfalls:  around $12.50 USD

The entrance fee includes the mandatory life jacket, mandatory helmet and tour guide. We were happy to learn that a portion of every entrance fee goes to supporting the surrounding communities and preserving this natural monument.

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At the deepest pool of the 1-12 falls, Peter and our new friend Evan decided to jump off from 35′ above the pool. I’m not a fan of jumping off of anything so I opted for sliding down instead.

This was absolutely the most fun we’ve had on land since we moved aboard our boat. Many of the guide books say these are the best waterfalls in all of the northern Caribbean. If you ever get a chance to visit the Dominican Republic, we HIGHLY recommend visiting the waterfalls. For anyone that enjoys the outdoors, exploring and adventures, this was a very fun way to see one of the best things the DR has to offer. If we ever make it back there, we’ll surely go for all 27 waterfalls and do it again :)

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Have  you been to the waterfalls in the DR? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience!!


Welcome To Luperón, Dominican Republic


We said farewell to Punta Rocia/Ensenada around 9pm on the 25th of April. Garmin guided us back out to our course due east in the dark of the night. By then, we were so used to night passages and navigating by our instruments alone that this felt pretty routine. With plenty of time to arrive in Luperón by 8am, we passed by Cabo Isabela and motored around to the next waypoint listed in Van Sant’s guide. From this point forward in our travels along the DR coast, his book became our bible feeding us with local knowledge that proved to be priceless. We took turns reading and rereading the dog-eared pages, underlining and highlighting the parts that coincided with our course.

Who else remembers “making a range with the cliff face and a tree on the ridge in the background”? This was the fool-proof method described in the guide for avoiding the fishing floats and shoals upon entering the harbor. We had no trouble at all and the scenery coming in was stunning. We were still in awe of the beauty of the DR coast after seeing such flat and desert-like land on the islands of the Bahamas.

In the early hours of the morning the only movement in the harbor was from local fishermen. Most of the mooring balls were occupied and carefully placed around the various mud shoals. The charts showed them well, corresponding to the empty spots where no boats laid to rest. We anchored toward the back against the mangroves in a nice place that would allow us to swing without bumping anything or anyone.

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Peter and I lowered the dinghy off the bow with the halyard and used our pulley to move the outboard motor from the stern to the dinghy. Each time, the process gets a little easier, a little faster and we get a little stronger. The gas can was hooked up and Peter was off to the Comandancia. We had heard they may come out to visit us, but after listening in on the VHF, that was not the case.

After tying up at the dinghy dock, Peter made his way down a small road from the harbor’s edge into town. There is a vehicle gate guarded by men sitting in the shade. Adjacent are three small structures, one each for the Ports Authority, Immigration and Agriculture. The Navy has a separate facility across a bridge and up the hill to the left. As for the dogs, they just wanted to know that we had a health certificate and rabies certificate. No extra fees or restrictions with pets. The Customs and Immigration fees were around $90-something total, cash only. The Navy then sent three men to follow him back out to the boat. They wanted to take a look around to make sure we weren’t smuggling in any people from Haiti, then they asked for a tip. It was not mandatory, but it was worth $20 to us to give the men a little cash if it meant they weren’t going to tear our boat apart on a “routine” search. We were still tired from our recent passages and didn’t feel like having every locker emptied as if we had just broached the boat.

Within a few minutes the men sped off in their little boat. They had asked a local man, Rafael, to take them in his boat since they didn’t have one of their own. Little did we know, we would soon need Rafael’s help later that day.

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A few minutes later we went to town together to explore and grab some lunch. Up the road we saw the popular spots – JR’s and Wendy’s. Both have good food and free wifi. While enjoying a bite to eat at JR’s, Peter heard someone hailing our boat on the radio… “Mary Christine, Mary Christine…”

The winds had picked up and clocked around and our boat was dragging!! We thought for sure the anchor was set well to the direction the of the Trades, and the thick mangrove mud had it’s hold on us. Wrong. Peter left me at the restaurant and RAN back to the dinghy as fast as he could go (in flip-flops of course). Rafael had heard what was going on from his handheld VHF and raced over to meet Peter at the dinghy dock to see if he could help. Together they blasted over to the boat. Peter made record time from the restaurant to the boat in 3 minutes flat!!

A neighbor witnessed the whole thing and that’s who hailed us on the radio. They jumped on board our boat and threw out our second anchor in hopes of catching, but we had already hit one of the mud shoals. The boat had drug across half the mooring field, miraculously passing every boat without bumping anyone at all. We knew who was watching out for SV Mary Christine that afternoon…

Usually, Peter always dives our anchor to make sure it’s in good. The water in Luperón is filthy with zero visibility so diving the anchor wasn’t an option here. Our primary anchor is a Delta or plough-style anchor, which turns out does not hold well in the soft DR mud. Had we used the Danforth, we probably would have been fine. Most of the other boats in the harbor were on mooring balls with only a few others at anchor and we just assumed they were all there for long-term. We now know that for only $3 per night, a mooring ball in Luperón is very good insurance.

Peter called me on the radio back at JR’s to let me know Rafael would pick me up on his motorbike and bring me back to the boat. Luckily I had stashed a little cash in my bikini top. I paid the bill and finished my lunch just as Rafael pulled up. I hopped on the back of his motorbike and we rode back to his old fishing boat. He had such a kind smile and his generosity was heartwarming.

As the tide rose, Peter tied a stern line to an adjacent mooring ball and Rafael helped us winch over to it. With each surfacing of the buoy, he heaved the line in a little tighter. Slowly, the boat slid inch by inch off the mud shoal into deeper water. We used Rafael’s boat to carry a bowline over to our newly adopted mooring ball before releasing the stern line. We had brought in both anchors already and finished tying up to the ball properly. It was a close call and an unsettling way to experience our first four hours in Luperón. Rafael wouldn’t accept any money for his help so we offered him several huge filets of fresh caught Mahi Mahi instead. He was so appreciative and excited to bring it back to his family. The people of the Dominican Republic are very kind and just as friendly as we had been told.

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Papo runs an excellent service catering to cruisers in the harbor. Pedro answers on the VHF for him and was also very kind and helpful. They own the mooring balls and come around to collect $3 per night. They have wonderful local knowledge, courtesy flags, water and fuel. Papo will bring diesel out to the boat for $5.75/gallon and pump it directly into your tanks. The diesel we got was good and actually much cleaner than the fuel we got in the Bahamas. Papo and Pedro are honest and hardworking. Another wonderful example of the kind and welcoming people of the DR.


The next day we went back into town to explore and visit a local pharmacy. We had heard medicine is cheap there and we needed a few courses of antibiotics on board to keep in our Med Kit. There were several pharmacies in town and Peter managed to speak enough Spanish to get what we needed. It helps to know the Spanish equivalent for what you need ahead of time ;)

On the way back, we ran in to Rafael again. We had mentioned to him earlier that we needed a mechanic to fix a leak in the oil pan for our generator. The previous owner knew there was a leak but hadn’t found exactly where it was coming from. After some rough seas on our passage from the Bahamas, we were tossed around so much that ALL of the oil in the generator leaked out into the bilge. It was a nasty cleanup job… let me tell you. Determined to find the leak, I wriggled my way into the engine room, contorted into some crazy yoga pretzel, and upside-down with a flashlight I told Peter I was sure that the leak was coming from the center of the oil pan where a wood block had been placed.

Rafael sent his mechanic friend Marino out to the boat the next day. He unbolted the Westerbeke, tipped it on its side and removed the oil pan. He took it into town and had a brand new piece welded onto the entire bottom of the pan. Marino and Rafael came back out the next day in Rafael’s boat and braved the hot and sweaty engine room to finish fixing the generator. $300 later, we had a fully functional 5kw generator running beautifully!! Although we don’t run it all the time, it’s nice to have if our batteries get too low.

Rafael (left) and Marino (right) after a hard day’s work putting our generator back together


After a few days on a ball, we checked out the two marinas in the harbor. Puerto Blanco Marina does not answer on the radio and wasn’t exactly open to receiving new boats. It’s really just a dock with a bunch of old boats tied up to it. Marina Luperón looked a little more inviting and had a spot open at the end of the rickety dock. In all its glory, Marina Luperón used to be a pretty happening place. There was a restaurant and bar overlooking the whole bay but it was shut down a few years ago. The government  imposed development restrictions and took out all of the existing docks. Over the last two years, Jimmy (the current manager) has slowly rebuilt a few docks and installed power and water. He charges $10 per day and that includes unlimited water, power and internet. For an extra $7 per day, that’s a way better deal than staying on a ball! A definite plus since the water is too dirty to use the watermaker.

Water is trucked in from a well to the cistern at the marina whenever it’s available. Apparently the water company is owned by a local farmer who often hoards the water for her cattle. She cuts off the entire town water supply over bad politics when the local government gets too far behind on their bill. We even witnessed a riot during our stay where the townspeople throw bottles and light tires on fire in the streets out of frustration for their water and power outages. When power is on in town, there is power on the docks at the marina which powers the wifi router too. Jimmy also keeps cold beer and sodas in the marina fridge. It’s the honor system here so you write your name on the board and settle up later.

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The streets of Luperón are dirty, the infrastructure is minimal and the standard of living is far from what we were used to in the U.S. On the other hand, everything is inexpensive and the town is full of some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Some absolutely love it here, so much they never leave. It’s a fantastic hurricane hole with all around protection and plenty of mangroves to tie off to. There may not be many anchorages that are both clean and protected but we wish we had more time to see everything the Dominican Republic has to offer. There’s something intriguing about the simplicity of life here in the DR and it’s worth experiencing first hand.

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Next up… pictures from our visit to the Waterfalls!!

Provisioning in George Town

In preparation to continue traveling south from the Bahamas, our fridge, freezer and pantry needed some restocking. Everything is expensive in the Bahamas, but there’s no way around it. We need food! Shopping smart and watching for substitutes can really make a difference.

Exuma Markets:

Exuma Markets is the main grocery store in George Town. This is the last place (that we know of) to reprovision before leaving the country heading south. From what we gather, they have a much better selection now than they did in the past. There are frozen goods, fresh fruits and vegetables (when the truck comes in from Nassau) and staples as well.  If you’re as lucky as we were, you might be able to grab the last jar of Nutella! It’s close to $13 for the larger one but SOOO worth it! For all the times we went in that store, we never saw them restock it.

The frozen meat section has gotten much better now that they are in competition with Prime Island Meats. It’s convenient to grab a couple of New York steaks at Exuma Markets for dinner and head back to the boat on your dinghy. They are actually really good steaks.

Sticker shock:

Really??? Someone please tell me what these are doing in the grocery store!!
Good stuff. Completely sealed and safe from bugs. I bought a few bags and haven’t had any trouble yet with weevils. I wish they packaged oatmeal like this in more places!!
Yes, $7 for crackers.
There were only tiny tiny tiny bottles of generic local brand bleach. Bring enough from the states if you think you’ll run out while in the Bahamas!
Good thing we stocked up at Costco in Florida!
Good thing we stocked up at Costco in Florida
Peter LOVES papertowels! We didn't buy enough at Costco. The quality here sucks.
Peter LOVES paper towels! We didn’t buy enough at Costco. The quality here sucks.
Is it worth it? Bar rags work great but sometimes its just nice wiping up spills with throw away material.
Is it worth it? Bar rags work great but sometimes its just nice wiping up spills with throw away material.


For those of you that need "good" coffee... I had to give up my requirement for good coffee until we reached the DR :)
For those of you that need “good” coffee… I had to give up my requirement for good coffee until we reached the DR :)
Not many options for buying in bulk
Good thing Gunner isn’t picky! If we put some fresh fish on top then Betsy will eat anything too :)

 A note about dog food:

We were terrified that switching dog food often would be hard on Betsy and Gunner’s tummies. Gunner has had a sensitive stomach his whole life. We’ve had to change brands twice in the last three months and both dogs are doing surprisingly well. We supplement with fresh fish and table scraps of fatty steak or other meat often. Although the brand selection of dry dog food in bulk isn’t great in other countries, we try to at least stick with the same ingredients. Gunner does better on Chicken than he does Lamb lately.  If your dog has a hard time switching food, try mixing in other brands before you leave the dock so they have a chance to get used to the change in diet. We did this only once on land and it seemed to be all the time we needed. It was a GOOD thing we were on land for that initial switch ;)

Getting everything back to the boat:

We shopped at Exuma Markets several times to stock up on some of the staple items as well as groceries during our time in George Town. One of the employees helped us take two shopping carts outside the store and down to the dinghy dock. Apparently this is common here. Exuma Markets owns the dock so it’s no problem. There are a couple of concrete stairs before getting to the floating dock. We carefully lifted the carts over the gaps in the dock at each new section. We loaded everything into the dinghy and made sure everything was double bagged to prevent from chaffing and tied shut. It’s usually a wet ride across the harbor.

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Buying in bulk:

If you are ready to buy in bulk, consider checking out Prime Island Meats. They offer free shuttles several times a week. They pick you up at the corner of the Exuma Yacht Club and the main road. You can ride in the back of the white pick up (at your own risk) and they drive you north up to their store.

If you want to be really smart about your provisioning, take a ride up there to check it out at least a few days before you need your food. See what they have, talk to the owners and put in your order. They are SO helpful!

Here’s a link to what they carry.

Mon. 10am-3pm, Tues.- Fri. 1-6 pm

Sat 10am-3pm (Closed Sun.)

Their phone number is on the website and you can contact them by email as well. The morning cruiser’s net will sometimes mention special pickup days or messages about hours or the shuttle.

Prime Island Meats will cut your selections to any size you like and package them in ziplocks with freezer paper in between each piece and they will even PRE-FREEZE everything for you!! This is extremely helpful so we don’t spend a whole week trying to get everything frozen in our little freezer on the boat. They put everything in their giant SubZero freezer and they will have it ready for you when you want to pick it up. We brought a cooler with us to pick everything up on the second shuttle trip but I think they will even deliver everything to you in both George Town or Emerald Bay Marina.

Peter is the kind of guy that likes meat with every meal so we were lucky to find this place. We of course plan on always having fresh fish aboard with reserves in the freezer but it sure is nice to have a Filet Minon or choice deli meat with pre-sliced pepperjack! You can get any kind of meat, cheese or deli item you want. Just let them know in advance and they can get just about anything in.

The prices compare to the States but the quality is well worth the price. Prime Island Meats and Deli has a great service here, definitely worth checking out if you’re in George Town.

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Emerald Bay Marina: Peter’s Birthday and Luxuries on Land


After a frustrating attempt to find the elusive 2.5″ exhaust hose and elbow we desperately need, we decided to head back up to Emerald Bay Marina, just north of George Town, to catch up on some chores last week. Peter’s birthday was March 30th so we splurged and spent a good 6 days at the dock.

There was a special for $1/foot per night if you stay three days minimum on their “no power” dock. It’s $2.25 otherwise. Water is .40/gal and power is .85/kw on the power docks. Pump out is $25 and available anytime you want. Diesel was $5.73 with a nice long dock to pull up to on your way out. We managed just fine with solar alone especially since we were using much less water on board with free showers on shore. This means we didn’t need to run the watermaker, which is one of our biggest power draws. The showers were the nicest we’ve seen since arriving in the Bahamas. The water was hot and there was never a wait for an empty stall. The second night we were there the hot water heater for the facilities died but they got a new one installed within two days. The laundry is free with four HUGE new front-load washers and dryers. Wifi was free though the connection was never very good. Coffee was provided in the office every morning and the lounge felt like a huge house. Monday evenings the Harbormaster puts on a “happier hour” where they serve conch fritters, sandwich bites, fruit, and homemade rum punch. All these perks are free, but when you check out, they do add a 10% service charge to the bill to recoup some of the costs for the free services.

The no-see-ums got us bad at night. The breeze inside the marina just isn’t enough to keep them at bay. Those little suckers inflict a wicked itch from the very second they begin their feast and the itch lasts about a week. Peter and I can’t help scratching all the time and even the creams don’t help. Let me just tell you… shaving your legs with 30 bug bites per leg is NOT fun!! Near impossible without further damage to my poor skin. It could be worse though… at least we didn’t have any other critters welcoming themselves aboard. We were lucky to have a slip at the end of the dock because the boats closest to land were getting ants blown off the trees into their boat!

There was a resident turtle that swam around the marina. He spent the majority of the time at our dock.






Gunner sure wishes he could swim as fast as the turtles!

For us, staying in a marina isn’t a vacation. It means double the work while taking advantage of a still boat, hookups for power and water, and access to facilities on land. We probably did 10 loads of laundry during our entire stay, from clothes to towels, to sheets to cockpit cushion covers. Not only was it SO nice to be able to wash all the salt out of every piece of fabric on the boat, but we had access to DRYERS that made everything soft again! I really don’t mind the crisp air-dried and sun-baked effect when we do laundry at anchor. There sure is something satisfying about not relying on machines and doing chores the way our grandparents did. Every once in a while, though, it’s pretty wonderful to have soft towels and sheets again ;)

The huge concrete floating docks served as an excellent workspace for servicing our 12′ dinghy. The aluminum floor boards needed to be removed and cleaned while a bit of 5200 was applied to some areas needing reinforcement. Peter didn’t worry too much about making a mess in hopes of making the dink look a little run down and less desirable to any potential thieves. Who would want a dinghy that’s been patched up a few times? We haven’t heard of any theft in the Bahamas but as we travel south into the Caribbean we’ve been warned to make sure to remove and lock the outboard back on the big boat every night.



Another bonus of coming to Emerald Bay? We finally got to meet Rebecca and Brian (and Lucie and Stevie) of SV Summertime Rolls!! These guys are awesome. It was so nice to finally meet them in person after getting to know them in the blog world for several months. One of our favorite parts of being in the cruiser community is that everyone is so kind and always helps out wherever they can. I believe in Karma and it’s always such a gift when someone helps you out. Rebecca knew I didn’t have any cake mix or eggs to bake for Peter’s birthday so she offered us some peanut butter brownie mix that she had on board. We thought we were going to be able to go to the store a few days back but the weather wasn’t cooperating and we decided to just head up to the marina instead. Many of you know how much I like to bake and a few of you know how important it is to me to stick to tradition and make sure there is always a cake or baked treat on birthdays. Rebecca, I can’t thank you enough for helping make Peter’s birthday a special one. Now that we are living on a boat in the islands, we have to make due with what we have and get creative to keep special traditions. Finding a substitute for birthday cake turned out much better than we could have ever imagined!

Peter and I had a nice dinner at a restaurant inside the neighboring resort for his birthday. We treated ourselves to a few meals there and sucked up the island vacation feeling while we had it :) After a bit of R&R we got back to chores. Peter had to go up the mast to retrieve one of our halyards. The mizzen halyard (attached to the smaller mast in the back – for the non-sailor readers) wasn’t fastened all the way during our trip down to George Town. Peter intended on greasing up the threads but forgot it wasn’t attached all the way to the sail when he attempted to raise the mizzen last time. The halyard popped off and immediately pulled to the top of the mast 35′ in the air. While we were in still water at the marina we were able to get some help from one of the neighbors who winched Peter up the main mast with the main halyard. He then had to clip on to the triadic stay (49′ in the air) connecting the top of the main mast to the mizzen mast, and SHIMMY DOWN the stay to the top of the mizzen mast where he clipped onto the lost halyard. Then I slowly lowered him down the mizzen mast, bringing both halyards with him. There were no photos of this ordeal – we were a little busy :)

While finishing up our laundry, we decided to move over to the dock with power hook-ups to top off our batteries. Without shore power its pretty difficult for us to get above an 80% charge. When we do connect to shore power we always take full advantage of the power to charge up our electronics and make microwave popcorn! Unlimited electricity is a luxury we don’t get often. The most important cleaning task on the agenda was using our shopvac to get in all the nooks and crannies of the entire boat. Having two dogs on board really isn’t too much of a hassle but it is challenging to keep up on all the shedding. Both Betsy and Gunner are short-haired dogs and they shed significantly less than some, but it still needs to be kept up on. Since our generator isn’t connected right now, we can only run the vacuum when connected to shore power. It was so nice to have a sparkling clean boat again!!

The marina landscapers were harvesting coconuts and cleaning up the palm trees. One man stabilized the ladder, one went up with a machete and began chucking the coconuts back into the truck while a third man picked up the branches and coconuts that had fallen to the ground. They kindly offered to cut open a few coconuts for us and Peter filled our Bubba (52oz insulated mug) with fresh coconut water. The men scraped out the jelly from inside the coconut to infuse our water a bit more. The jelly sits at the bottom inside young green coconuts where the meat starts to form. Wow was that a treat!! Coconuts were EVERYWHERE! There were several floating by in many of the slips and they were littered on the ground everywhere we went.

We are living in paradise WHERE THE COCONUTS GROW…

The other great part about staying at the marina last week was talking to the girls at the reception desk who suggested we use Reggie Express Services to ship the parts we need from the U.S. to George Town. The air freight service receives packages at their Ft Lauderdale address and puts them on a plane every Wednesday heading to George Town. We spent a few days finding the parts we needed and lined them up for shipping.

We left the marina Saturday April 5th and headed back down to anchor in Elizabeth Harbor while we wait for our parts. The plane arrived today 4.9 and everything should clear through customs by tomorrow morning. We’ll make a trip in to town and get started on our exhaust system repair along with a few other installations of replacement parts!

As everyone says, Cruising really means fixing your boat in exotic places… we fully understand the meaning of it now :)