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Tis the Season, for hurricanes that is…

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The last two years we spent Hurricane Season down in Grenada with a bunch of other cruiser friends in hopes of staying low enough and east enough to be out of the path of any hurricanes – statistically speaking of course. Our very first year we hightailed it down there since we were very green and wanted to play it safe, though that caused us to miss a lot of the islands without fully exploring the way we wanted to.

The second year we pushed our luck a little and didn’t leave the Virgins until the end of July. Our trip south was rushed again but we made it safe and sound.

This year was a little different. This year we were working in BVI into the first part of August. I wasn’t comfortable with traveling south from BVI to Grenada that late into hurricane season. It also happened to mark three years since we’d been back to the states. After some discussion, Peter and I both decided it would be best to haul our boat out of the water, secure it on stands and fly out to visit family and friends in California and Washington state. It wasn’t an easy decision though, because it would mean a lot of work to prepare the boat.

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Let’s just say it had been a long time since we had to back this full keel into a slip. The Travellift is designed in such a way that we have to back in, otherwise the mast would have to come down. It took a few tries because of the wind, but finally we sprung into place with the help of some linehandlers from the yard.

Even though we arrived for our haulout appointment at 9am, it literally took all day for the crew at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour to deliver and finish securing our boat on jackstands in her permanent location. It was very hot outside. Of course I didn’t plan to be standing around in the sun all day so I totally forgot to put sunscreen on!! My skin peeled for weeks after that mistake :( We had only been off work for half a day before we left to bring the boat up to Virgin Gorda so there was still plenty of work to do before we departed the next morning. We finished stowing all the cushions, setting up dehumidifiers, vacuuming and wiping down all surfaces inside the boat. We finished packing and made a sad little quesadilla dinner out of the remaining food we had left on board. All was still in the yard that night, yet we were bubbling with excitement to start our vacation ;)

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Luckily, Betsy was having a sleepover with our friends on Three Sheets that night. It would have been really challenging trying to get her up and down that ladder in the yard. First thing the next morning we ferried over to Tortola where our friend Scott picked us up. We made a pitstop in West End to check out of the country and pick up Betsy, then made the journey to St. Thomas by boat.

There, our friend William from Mango Media was waiting for us. We spent the morning with him running a few errands – like going to the Vet for Betsy’s paperwork, going to AT&T to get a US cell phone sim card and stopping for lunch at a really awesome secret local spot. It’s so secret I would never be able to find it again!

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to make our flight. Everything up to this point was a complete whirlwind and was completely made possible thanks to all the help we got from our friends. Sometimes it takes a village when you’re in the islands!

***

Fast forward two months… We’ve actually just arrived back in Tortola after visiting all of our family. Don’t worry, I hope to catch you up on our adventures on land sometime this week…

When we booked our plane tickets back in April, we only left ourselves a total of TWO WEEKS (though now we’re down to a week and a half) to get a LOT of work done on our boat after getting back to the islands. She’s currently still on the hard in Virgin Gorda. We will arrive there later this afternoon to begin project-mode trying to get as much done as we can. Unfortunately there are certain jobs that must be done while she’s hauled out of the water so the rest of the month is critical for us, as we don’t plan on hauling her out again for a couple of years. (Knock on teak!) You might ask why we didn’t have someone else do the work while we were gone but Peter prefers to be there while all work is being done. We’re gearing up for another busy charter season so we know we really need to get the critical items taken care of now before our entire focus returns to work.

Vacation mode is *OFFICIALLY* over! Hurricane season technically isn’t over until the end of November but the worst of it has hopefully passed. Even though we’ll still be watching the weather closely, this is a great time of year to be working down here. The tourism traffic is already ramping back up for a new charter season!

While we can’t wait to see all our friends here in the islands, the next week and a half will literally be madness as we scramble to get the work done on our boat. Wish us luck!!!!

Breaking the Silence

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The seemingly never-ending silence on the blog has been like a dull ache in the back of my mind, paired with a quiet whisper begging me to find a little extra time to write again. Ever since our big announcement, Peter and I have been working like dogs, with only a small handful of days off per month which doesn’t leave much time for the things I enjoy like writing blog posts and editing photos. When Peter finds time to surf, I sleep.

From the middle of December we’ve been going full speed ahead taking charter guests out almost every day. We provision in the morning with food, drinks and ice, making sure we are fully stocked up to prepare snacks, a huge buffet lunch, sodas, beer and unlimited rum punch all day long. Peter keeps a careful watch on the engine maintenance and we both make sure the boat is clean inside and out. The number of guests have been anywhere from 2-25 people per day, ages ranging from 3 months to 100 years and from excellent swimmers to those that can’t swim at all. We take people sailing and snorkeling, rain or shine, and we make sure they have a safe and fun-filled day.

Mom recently came to visit, staying on our boat with us for a whole month. She went to work with us most days and rested on our boat other days. I think she’s really the only one that has witnessed just how hard we work. She saw us wearing all of our many hats as bartenders, tour guides, captain/crew, snorkeling instructors, lifeguards, chefs, babysitters, entertainers, cashiers, accountants, merchandise salespersons, booking coordinators, plumbers, mechanics, and janitors. Between the blood, sweat and sheer exhaustion, she got to see us doing whatever it takes to keep living the lifestyle we do. She also got to see the wind fill our sails, the sun kiss our cheeks and she saw the pure joy we felt whenever we got to jump in the warm blue water. No one gets our love for this lifestyle as much as her. (Wish you were here tonight, Mom!)

We work hard to play hard. That’s how the saying goes, right? Well, it couldn’t be more true for us. By the time we get home at night it’s dark and my body sometimes won’t let me stand long enough to cook a meal in the galley. Our dinners usually consist of something that can just be popped in the oven, or we end up going to one of the three local restaurants in West End that are within reach by dinghy. Forget about laundry, or cleaning, or dishes. Yeah, posting photos and writing blog posts follow somewhere behind those things… Then our heads hit our pillows (Betsy too!) and we fall fast asleep only to get up the next morning and do it all over again.

But, we get to live in the Caribbean – the British Virgin Islands to be more specific – on our sailboat, with our dog, where we can live by the 80-80-80 rule. We knew we’d have to work again someday and that someday has already whirled right past us. I honestly have NO idea how it’s already May! But we’re here, coming up on three years since moving aboard our boat, and we’re still doing whatever it takes to make this lifestyle work for us. Some people buy a boat and go cruising for a year or two, then go back to their previous lives on land. For Peter and I, our old lives just don’t make sense anymore. We were trapped in the rat race with no end in sight. For now, our plan is to keep following our dreams and keep doing whatever it takes to make it work.

So if you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to, just imagine us in one of our many hats while we work for tips trying to fill our cruising kitty ;)

Though blog posts have been few and far between, you can always see what we’re up to on Instagram or Facebook! No account needed. Browse our social media pages just as you would this website, or follow/like our social media pages to make sure you don’t miss a post :)

 

** Official Announcement **

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The suspense is finally over and we’re ecstatic to share the plans we’ve been cooking up!! We’ve been cruising around the Caribbean for the last two years living on savings and a little side income I’ve made from my blog, writing for Tiny House Blog, and working at Pizza Pi but the time has come to join the full-time working world again.

Have no fear – we are not saying goodbye to the cruising lifestyle and we aren’t even going to be working on land! An incredible opportunity has fallen into place that will allow us to be out on the water everyday doing what we love – sharing this amazing lifestyle with as many people as we can. We’ll be able to bring Betsy with us during the day and come home to our cozy boat every night, just a short dinghy ride away. The best part is that it’s all happening in some of our favorite places in the world!

** THE BIG NEWS **

Our friends from Windtraveler finally announced today that they have purchased Aristocat Charters, a daysail business here in the British Virgin Islands!! (Be sure to check out Brittany’s announcement HERE with all the details. It’s been a long process but we finally found our way through all the red tape!)

Scott and Brittany have asked us to run Aristocat, a 48′ Privilege Catamaran, out of West End, Tortola. We are taking guests sailing and snorkeling to either Jost Van Dyke or Norman Island.

The other boat, Lionheart, (also a 48′ Privilege Catamaran) is run by Scott and our friend Luuck from Sunkissed Soeters. They depart from Village Cay Marina in Road Town, Tortola, visiting Norman Island or Salt, Peter and Cooper Islands.

If you’ve ever dreamed about sailing and snorkeling in a tropical paradise, come to Tortola and let us show you just how magical it can be!

Please show a little love and like the Aristocat Charters Facebook Page. If you’ve sailed with us already, please share any recommendations for us on Trip Advisor. We always need new reviews to stay at the Number 1 Daysail in Tortola!! :)

If you’re wondering what this means for our cruising plans, we’re going to be refilling our cruising fund as first priority. We don’t know what the future holds, but you can be sure that we’ll be having fun and of course continuing to share all of our adventures with you along the way!