16 Weeks and Growing!

This baby coconut is growing faster than I could have ever imagined. I mean, 9 months seems like such a long time to be pregnant for… but the days and weeks really do go by fast.

It seems such a short time ago I walked into the doctor’s office for the first time with no idea how far along I really was. My guess was about 5 and a half weeks but the doctor decided to do an ultrasound that very day just to be sure since there was a possibility I was actually 9 and a half weeks. My mom knew it and the ultrasound tech confirmed it – 9.5.

I really thought the first ultrasound would have to be scheduled for another day so Peter wasn’t even there to see our little one for the first time with me. I looked up at the screen and was amazed at how much this little fetus was already so much more than just a little blip on the screen. There was a real baby inside of me. I saw the heart beating and I saw tiny little legs and arms stretch out in quick jolts. It was incredible.

We had been quietly sharing the news about our new little coconut with family and our closest friends and were even more excited to share the first ultrasound picture!

All-day nausea had set in around 7 weeks and continued all the way through the 11th week before tapering off. I never threw up but definitely felt nauseous and survived almost completely on crackers. My appetite had vanished and I had also become aware of my strong aversion to coffee – something that should have been an obvious sign for this Seattle girl.

Everyone wants to know if living and working on a boat makes morning sickness worse. Truth is, I actually felt better while we were sailing. When we came back into flat waters my nausea kicked back in.

At 12 weeks we got another ultrasound to make sure baby was growing properly and all was well. So much bigger already.

Fast forward to now.

At almost 17 weeks my baby bump has definitely started to look a little more obvious. I’m starting to feel less fat and more pregnant though its still hard to distinguish the difference. My energy level has not really resumed as most people say it’s suppose to in the second trimester, though my appetite is returning to normal. Orange juice is pretty much flowing through my veins and it seems hard to start the day without yogurt or some other kind of dairy. Sleeping through the night is already a distant memory and I can feel my belly starting to stretch even more.

Everyone around West End knows I’m pregnant so they constantly remind me to slow down and take it easy 😉 I think about the days when getting on and off of our boat will be a challenge. I think about how we’ll prepare the forward cabin for our little one. I think about how our life is already changing and how blessed we really are. Our home is filled with love and the excitement that Peter and I share is growing stronger every day <3

In case you were wondering… we will definitely keep living on our boat. There are zero plans in our foreseeable future to move back to land. We love the life we’ve chosen and will do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Thanks to all the other amazing boat mommas out there I am absolutely 100% sure that we can do it too. Its an incredible and fortunate way to raise a child.

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In just two more weeks we’ll hopefully find out if its a boy or a girl! 

Any suggestions for names?

We Eloped!

Most of you have already seen our social media posts but if you haven’t… SURPRISE! We eloped!

Though we’ve been together for years already, on December 16th Peter and I made it official. They say that one year living on a boat together is like 7 years on land. Ha! If we’ve made it this long together in such a tiny space there’s no doubt in our minds that we’re destined to share many more wonderful years to come.

We’ve been so busy with work that we originally thought we’d make wedding plans for the following summer to give our families plenty of notice to arrange flights, lodging and time off work to be there for the big day. We also knew that we’d have a few more days off to spend with them when the charter season slows down a little. Although I love to plan things out, our lifestyle is much more focused on going with the flow and being adaptable to change. The original wedding plans of course didn’t stick for long…

You guessed it… We recently found out we are growing a baby coconut of our very own! Our little one will be arriving sometime around June 2017 🙂

We both decided to have the wedding sooner rather than later. It made the most sense to just elope, keep it simple and small, and not have any family come down for the wedding since quite a few of them will be coming down to see the baby in July anyway.

After choosing a wedding date literally less than two weeks away, the clock was ticking to get it all arranged. On a random day off, Peter and I went into a little shop near our boat where I found a flowy and casual beach dress and Peter found some new surf trunks and a new button up shirt. After a quick google search I was up to speed on the requirements and procedures for getting married in BVI and made a couple phone calls to secure an officiant. He and his wife took care of their part of the marriage license application and Peter and I went into town to submit the application. Luckily Brittany and her mom were going to be in town as well and were able to sign as witnesses, a crucial part of the submittal requirements.

Thanks to our friend William at Mango Media, his friends at Surfsong allowed us to use their gorgeous beach both on the public side of Well Bay on Beef Island (East end of Tortola) as well as the private portion of their property for our ceremony. I couldn’t think of a more perfect location for our special day!

We had only a few of our closest friends that were already in the Virgin Islands attend the ceremony. It was important to us that someone was there to help celebrate even though our family was far away. Even though I had no decorations, arch or even chairs, Brittany surprised me with an incredible bouquet of flowers!! It was more than I could have dreamed of and a perfect finishing touch.

The best part of all is that I had asked Genevieve to capture the photos, and she said yes! I absolutely love her eye for photography, especially of people and magical moments. Plus of course that meant they would be coming to visit us in BVI after taking a ferry over from St. Thomas! It wouldn’t have been the same without them there.

After the ceremony we all drove back into town for dinner and drinks at Island Roots, hosted by Xtian. It was a lovely evening. Scott even surprised us with a few extra days off!! Thank you Scott! And a HUGE thank you to everyone that was a part of this very special day!! xoxo

It’s taken me a little while to get around to posting these, but I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out! Take a look… 

Pictured above:

Bride, Groom and Betsy – Where The Coconuts Grow
Genevieve, Eben, Arias and Ellia – It’s A Necessity
Brittany, Scott, Isla, Haven and Mira – Windtraveler
Darcy, Luuck, Stormer and Rio – Sunkissed Soeters
Rebecca and Brian – Summertime Rolls
Kara and Todd – B&G Yacht Management
Clare and Blade – Voyage Charters

Peter Gets Up Close and Personal with Majel the Tiger

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During our trip to California in August, we paid a visit to the San Diego Safari Park. It was one of Peter’s Mom’s favorite places. The first stop is always to visit her memorial plaque which is displayed just outside the Wings of the World enclosure. Peter’s Mom’s boyfriend Dave and Aunt Lucy went with us that day and we all felt the peace that Christine would have wanted us to have. We were ready for a fun day ahead!

The San Diego Safari Park is a non-profit organization home to more than 300 species of animals and is well known for their free-range habitats and successful breeding programs which help fight extinction all over the world. We saw tigers and lions and bears, OH MY! Just kidding, we didn’t see any bears. There were all kinds of birds, cheetahs, elephants, gorillas, giraffes, rhinos, bats, reptiles and lots of other species I can’t pronounce.

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Of course at lunchtime I couldn’t resist getting the coconut sorbet which came frozen in a real coconut shell 😉

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Look close and you can see a rhino camouflaged near the boulders in the shade…

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This guy was some very rare species that I can’t remember or pronounce, and they told us its even more rare to get a glimpse of him in plain view. Normally very elusive, he was enjoying this beautiful day in the sun just like us…

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Always a kid at heart <3

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Mud bath anyone?

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Finally we made it to the relatively new Tiger Trail. The very cool and zen entrance would be a perfect place for a little meditation or just a nice spot to rest.

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Shortly after the exhibit entrance, a secret pathway led to a thick glass wall where one of the male tigers happened to be napping.

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A little further in we met Majel, an adult female that apparently wasn’t feeling very welcoming. I later zoomed in on the camera and discovered she was warning us upon our arrival, though we didn’t even know it at the time. With a face like that we would have steered clear had we known how she felt that day.

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As we moved along the walkway, Majel roamed around behind the chain link fence and made occasional appearances to check us out. Talk about up close and personal!

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Even further down the walkway we found her laying in the shade.

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Just then, we saw her head turn, and her gaze fixed on Peter who was standing to my left. As he unknowingly and gently loosened the ice in our Yeti tumbler, Majel’s eyes and whole face changed in a way that instantly sent fear running up my spine. As if by waving a magic wand, her whole demeanor turned instantly savage. I involuntarily blurted out “Uh Oh…” and within seconds later, Majel had made one crouching tiger leap into the air and was headed straight for Peter. I couldn’t process what was happening fast enough to get it on video but somehow I managed to get this one picture of her mid-air before her massive body bounced off of the seemingly insignificant chain link fence just 5 feet away from us.

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The fence literally gave way about a foot towards us before she landed on the ground and made one final attempt to bust through and eliminate Peter from her surroundings.

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After that very stressful moment, she decided to go cool off and take a dip in the nearby pond.

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Walking back to where Peter’s life flashed before his eyes, we were in awe of just how close we really were. One of the keepers witnessed the whole thing and shared with us that she hadn’t seen Majel behave like that in many years. She asked that Peter not get close to the fence again because for some reason Majel did not like him. He may have reminded her of someone or some time in her life that she did not like. She didn’t necessarily want to eat him as they are very well fed by the keepers, but she definitely wanted him gone from her space. We were later told by another keeper that she was in heat. Peter has been known to have a very strong effect on females! 😉

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We left Majel to rest after that and continued on our way. Whew!! What an experience!

California Dreamin’

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After a short layover in Miami, we arrived at LAX airport in the very wee hours of August 6th. Peter’s dad was waiting for us at the baggage claim area with arms wide open. He’d visited us in the islands a few times but it felt like forever ago. Until this moment, we were California Dreamin’ about what it would be like to be back in the states. After years of living in the islands, it becomes quite clear that the U.S. is the land of milk and honey – the land of plenty – where everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips.

What did we do first? We went to the closest In-n-Out burger drive-through of course!! We fed our starving faces after a very long day of traveling and then proceeded to take a nice long, real, hot shower back at Peter’s dad’s house, before completely crashing out.

The very next day we made it a priority to find some real authentic Mexican food! Three years without it is just wrong.

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Over the next few weeks we accumulated some new clothes and some running shoes. We went into a Costco probably a little sooner than we should have – I think I almost had a panic attack from sensory overload in there. The carts were four times bigger than the ones in Soper’s Hole and it was like a frickin freeway in every isle! We went into a normal sized grocery store, a CVS pharmacy and even the movie theaters. It was exhausting.

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I stared in awe at things like water fountains in the mall where they just keep dumping water out all day long and people even throw money into it!!! Mind blowing!!! Its things like this that I never would have noticed before. Now, it’s incredibly disturbing how wasteful our society is. I thought California was in a draught. (I know its probably recirculating water but still… )

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We also took care of some real-world responsibilities like renewing our driver’s licenses, buying and registering a new-to-us car, obtaining car insurance, and sorting through mail. We even stood in line outside the DMV before it opened. What a nightmare.

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We found a great deal on a 2006 Tahoe on Craigslist that would serve many purposes for us, most importantly getting us around to all the family we were going to visit. We wanted something comfortable, reliable, something we could potentially sleep in while driving from California to Washington, something with 4wd and something that would easily tow the motorcycle trailer we had left our stuff in three years before. We had plans to tow the trailer up to WA then empty it at my dad’s, then sell the truck and trailer before flying back to our boat.

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When we saw the trailer again for the first time, we were surprisingly pleased with the condition! Fear of water damage, heat damage, rats and insects had us scared to even open it. A huge sigh of relief came from both of us though as we saw that everything inside was perfectly safe. The plastic hatch/vent on top of the trailer had long since disintegrated in the hot California sun but luckily nothing was damaged by the little bit of water that did come in. There were a few spiders but not enough to gross me out.

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The first order of business was to take everything out and decide what we wanted to get rid of, and what we really wanted to haul up to Washington to store with my family. Some sentimental items like an old rocking chair, photographs and Christmas decorations were definitely being saved.  There were other items inside like camping gear and yard tools that would be very expensive to replace if we ever moved back to land but just not realistic to hold onto anymore. Honestly, we have no plans for becoming landlubbers anytime in the foreseeable future. We gave away a lot of things to Peters family and carefully repacked the trailer with the remaining items – about half of what was there before.

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After getting the trailer prepped for our journey north, we continued to enjoy our time in sunny southern California. We visited SO many people, both young and old. Peter and I learned about Pokemon-Go and Uber. So much had changed since we had been there last!

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One of my favorite moments was visiting a nail salon with Peter’s step-mom Monica!! I picked out a Caribbean Blue nail polish (to match my ring of course) and tried to explain to the poor ladies why my hands and feet were so calloused :S
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While staying at Wiley and Monica’s house in LA, we ended up doing a little ‘Cesar Milan’ work with their dog Little Man. He had this complex where he would “claim” their entire dining room table and every chair around it! Apparently he had been doing it for years and they couldn’t even have guests over. After watching a very short Cesar video on YouTube I set to work to claim back the table and chairs 🙂 The picture below was taken by Peter while Monica was at work one day. She could not believe it!! Not only was Little Man allowing me to sit in ‘his’ chair, he was sharing his new bed with Betsy 🙂

I am SO proud of Monica for how fast she learned how to do what I did. She couldn’t believe how easy it was to change her energy and her actions, which in turn allowed Little Man  to be less stressed and calm and submissive! Monica has happily reported that after we left, she is still able to sit at the table whenever she wishes. Yay!!!

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With lots more family to see, we drove all over southern California.

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I’m SO happy we got to see my friends Jen and Mark one afternoon as we passed through Orange County. Before we left three years ago, Peter and I had attended their baby shower for their first child, Isabella. I was heartbroken I couldn’t be there when she was born, and even more heartbroken I wasn’t there when she had her second baby, Jamison. Jen and Mark were very good friends of mine since the time I first moved to California back in 2008. Even though we only had a few hours with them, it was definitely a highlight of my trip. Their babies are so beautiful, so very sweet, and so lucky to have such good parents!

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At Peter’s Aunt Lucy and Uncle John’s house, his cousin Kayleigh found a way to sneak Betsy up on the only couch she wasn’t allowed on 😉 She wasn’t deprived of cuddling, that’s for sure. This was our home-base in San Diego. We had the most amazing home-cooked meals thanks to Aunt Lucy, and we even started running in the evenings. During the days we bounced all around visiting friends and our favorite places in our home away from home – Sunny San Diego.

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Another luxury I treated myself to was scheduling a visit to see Rob – the best hair stylist in San Diego – at The Park Salon! It was SO nice to walk in and be offered wine, soda, water, coffee or tea, then get shampooed in a special room that could also double as a meditation room, which ended with an amazing shoulder massage – just in case I wasn’t relaxed enough – followed by laughter and chit chat without ever having to describe what I want done because he’s that good. Even though I have a harder hairstyle to cut, Rob knows exactly what to do. Back in the islands I never ever got my hair cut because no one knows how to my cut the right way! Sigh. What a relief to pay for a service where someone actually knows what they are doing!! Maybe I can convince Rob to bring his family to Tortola to open a salon!! 😉

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Speaking of the park… we visited a few real parks, with real green grass and open spaces. Peter played baseball with his little cousins at Kate Sessions park in San Diego and of course he learned how to hunt for Pokemon.

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We visited my sister Annie and met her incredibly charming boyfriend Charlie! One of the items we found in the trailer was Peter’s old skateboard that Betsy used to tow him on. Annie loves skateboarding so we thought it was a very appropriate gift for her. When we brought it out to show her, I think Betsy was just as excited. She instantly remembered what to do and Peter took her for one final run. She went nuts!!!

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The beaches were just how we remembered them. A cool, crisp breeze with the warm sun kissing our faces… It’s a totally different kind of beach here.

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Peter did manage to get in some surf while we were there. We stayed at the South Carlsbad campground – camping out in our awesome Tahoe – and had a bunch of friends come visit. While we didn’t get to see everyone, we both saw some of our closest friends. We did our best to not get too overwhelmed with scheduling all of our visits though it was a very daunting task to try to align schedules with so many different people in so many different places. For those that we missed, you’ll just have to come visit us in the islands!

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Up next… how Peter was almost eaten by a Sumatran Tiger!!

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!

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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!!!!

West Coast Here We Come!

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Another day is done as we inch closer to the end of the charter season. August 2nd will be our last charter before we take a much needed three month break. What will we do?

We’re hauling our boat out of the water for the remainder of Hurricane Season and Betsy, Peter and I will be flying back to the States for the first time in THREE YEARS!

We’ll visit family and friends in California for a few weeks first, then we’ll drive up to Washington to see more family and friends, then we’ll be finishing up our travels in Tampa, FL to see my sister. We’ve been talking about some exciting ideas for what to do with the time between CA and WA but I can’t tell you quite yet. If the timing happens to work out, we could be in store for an absolutely epic adventure 😉

In the meantime, we’re trying to prep our boat and do as much decommissioning now as we can so the actual haul out process goes quickly. We’ve got today off work and one more day off scheduled. Our timing is going to be very tight:

August 2 – Last Charter

August 3 – Take the boat up to Virgin Gorda and stage for hauling

August 4 – Haul the boat at 9:30am

August 5 – Be in St. Thomas by 10:45am, Vet appointment at 11:30, Airport arrival by 2:00, Depart by 5pm

August 6 – Arrive in LAX by 1:00am

We’ll return to our boat in Mid October for some TLC before diving into another busy charter season on Aristocat beginning November 1.

If you’ll be anywhere between San Diego and the greater Seattle Area from August to October… let us know!

Also, we’re looking to buy a truck or SUV in LA or San Diego, most importantly to have transportation to visit everyone, but also to haul a motorcycle trailer up to Washington in September, then sell both the truck and trailer before we fly home. Let us know if you’re selling a comfortable V6 truck or SUV with a tow package in LA or SD!

Follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for all the updates!

Remembering Why We’re Here

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Mary Christine Pieschel 10/11/1954 ~ 05/25/2012

It’s been four years since the devastating disease of Breast Cancer stole Christine away from us. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of her.

It’s because of her, and in honor of her that Peter and I are on this adventure now while we are still young. Peter’s mother, Christine, would have loved to do what we are doing and she would be so proud of us. We know she is watching over us and she continues to inspire us every day to keep doing what makes us happy.

After hearing countless memories remembered and retold by loved ones, there is no doubt in my mind that Peter gets his adventurous spirit from his mother, Christine, and his father, Pete. They were both taken from this world far too soon yet both live on through their only son as he follows his dreams and his heart. They would both be so very proud.

Life is short, enjoy the time you have to the very fullest and do whatever it is that makes you happy!

Please consider donating to Christine’s twin sister Lucile, so she can participate in her SIXTH Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk (60 miles in 3 days) in San Diego this November. She walks because she told her sister she would never stop…

Lucile’s team, Powered By Optimism, has been recognized in the newspapers for their overwhelming camaraderie and support.

You can visit her fundraising page >> HERE << where donations can be made to help Lucile meet her goal and walk with her team another year.

I Said Yes!

After five years of dating and non-stop adventures…

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Peter proposed and I said Yes!

How It Happened:

It was Monday the 13th of June. We had a much needed day off from work and took our dinghy out around the corner from West End to Smuggler’s Cove on the North side of Tortola for a sunset stroll. Peter let me out of the dinghy and he anchored it off the beach a little bit so I didn’t have to swim in. I had never been to this beach before so I was excited to explore a new place. The hours before sunset are notoriously buggy at the beaches so we promptly applied bug spray before getting any bites and began our very romantic walk up to the Eastern end of the beach. After almost stepping on a washed up urchin, we turned and walked the entire length of the beach toward the other end.

Near the picturesque palm trees there was a family playing in the sand and swimming around but we pretty much had the rest of the place to ourselves. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a baby reef shark swimming by in the shallows and we watched the gentle waves roll up on the sand. The cool Caribbean breeze kept most of the bugs away and we finally arrived at the “end of the road.” From that moment on, our lives would never be the same…

Peter got on one knee and magically pulled a grey box out of his pocket. With the most genuine and loving words, he asked me to marry him!!

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We were both a little in shock of what just took place, but we were both very much ready for it also. For a very long time our conversations had included talk of marriage and kids, though we weren’t sure when that would happen. My mom had been visiting a few months prior and one day after another casual mention of our future wedding, Peter nonchalantly told me to go pick out a ring… So I did!

The Ring:

My mom and I drove into town while Peter was busy getting the fuel tanks polished on Aristocat. There aren’t many jewelry stores on Tortola but I’m pretty sure we found all of them. I’ve looked at engagement rings before in various cruise ship ports but not with the same mission as this day. This day it was real. I was really going to get married! I wasn’t just looking for a ring I might like “someday” – I was looking for a ring I liked now. I always thought I wanted an Emerald (my birthstone) as the center stone for my engagement ring. I wanted something different than what everyone else has. Emeralds are cheaper than diamonds yet not as hard as diamonds – a real concern for someone like myself that lives on a boat in a harsh salt water environment where I’m constantly using my hands. Our active lifestyle is rough on our bodies to say the least and knocking my ring against stainless steel or getting it caught on something is a very real danger. But, I loved emeralds.

I began asking to see the available emeralds in the first store we visited, but quickly realized the most efficient way to start this shopping experience was to find a setting I liked first, then worry about finding the right stone. The selection was very limited. I didn’t see anything I had to have, even with the very familiar sales pitch that bellowed softly from the lady behind the counter.

“This ring is very special. The retail price is $$$, but for you? Don’t look at this number. That’s the retail price. For you, we can offer you a very special price.”

A small calculator is brought out from under the counter and many numbers are pounded into it, several different times. Finally, the calculator is turned around to face me and I see a significantly smaller number that I still don’t like.

“Thank you,” I tell the woman. “It’s just not what I’m looking for.”

I take her business card and assure her that I’ll be back if I change my mind.

The next store was much larger though they only carried diamonds. The woman in that store kindly didn’t waste my time or hers and referred me down the street to another store that would have a better selection of gemstones. I swiftly browsed the engagement ring settings but nothing caught my eye, and we were on our way.

The store she referred me to was at the very end of the cruise ship pavilion. On the way we saw two other jewelry stores, both of which had very small selections since the stores had just been built. All of the shops in this area were brand new. I started looking at sapphires and blue diamonds and aquamarines. The half a dozen emeralds I saw were not the right size or shape, nor were they in any settings I liked. I tried on an emerald cut aquamarine with a pave halo around it, which I kind of liked, but didn’t like the halo design at all.

Another store tried to show me yellow diamonds set in rose gold that were all being removed from little plastic bags like they belonged in a gumball machine. They were all identical. No thank you!!

Finally we arrived at the last store, but they were closed! Just then, I saw a man in the doorway and I asked when they would be open again, since I don’t ever make it down this way. I told him about my mission to find an emerald engagement ring and he offered to let us in and show us what he had. While they didn’t have many emeralds, they had an impressive display of tanzanite and he put one up on the counter. When I am shopping, I am very picky and can quickly identify the things I do not like, but end up taking forever to decide on the things I do like. I tried on a few of the brilliant bluish purple rings and quickly became fascinated with their history and beauty. I only liked three of the hundred on display; one of which was a 3.5 carat cushion cut tanzanite solitaire. Some would call it gaudy but I thought it was stunning. By this was by far my favorite cut and size on my finger.

I thought it was the one. I took some photos and told the nice man we would be back!

Later that night we showed Peter the photos and he agreed to go look at it on our next day off. We did go back, but after a little time had passed, I wasn’t sure it was the right ring. Peter knew right away it wasn’t me, though he wanted me to come to that conclusion myself. So that night I began my internet search for the perfect setting and perfect stone. I was just going to order it all, in good time, instead of buying something in a store just to have it right away.

I’m so happy I waited!!

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I ended up finding a gorgeous setting from a jewelry designer in California that to me, looks like a wave – I wanted something ocean-minded. After looking at thousands of different ring styles, this one is nothing like any other ring I’ve ever seen. As unique as it already was, I wanted it to be even more special. Along this search I decided that I was going to let go of my long love of emeralds and choose an aquamarine center stone instead.

Aquamarine is Peter’s birthstone. It’s not any softer than an emerald and its much much cheaper than diamonds or emeralds. It’s the most gorgeous color of blue, perfectly matching the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. What really sold me on this stone is the significance of it…

Aquamarine is said to protect sailors and guarantee a safe passage across stormy seas’

How perfectly fitting for our lifestyle!! I fell in love with the stone right then and there. I had to have it.

The jeweler found the perfect stone for the setting I chose and it took a little over a month from start to finish to have the wax mold made and sent to be cast. Our good friends from Windtraveler and Sunkissed Soeters were all very instrumental to helping get the ring to us in BVI as it was carefully transported a great distance. When it finally arrived, Peter and I both agreed a proposal was in order on our very next day off 🙂 Although it wasn’t a surprise, the moment was as perfect as I could have ever dreamed it to be!

What’s next?

Clearly I’m all about being non-traditional. I picked out my own ring, I didn’t want a diamond center stone, and the proposal was not a surprise. We don’t have a date or location set for the ceremony though it will most likely be very small and happen barefoot on a beach 😉 I’m not into big to-do’s and I don’t believe in spending a bunch of money on a dress I will only wear for a few hours of my life or on a venue and decorations that will disappear at the stroke of midnight like Cinderella. Our hard earned money will be better spent in support of continuing this amazing journey and enjoying many wonderful experiences, instead of just one experience. Going against the grain is normal for us and our wedding will be no exception 😉

Stay tuned!!

An Interview with Sailrite

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Most of you know I’ve really been enjoying my LSZ-1 Industrial Sewing Machine from Sailrite. Even though I hadn’t used a sewing machine since 8th grade Home-Ec, Sailrite makes it so easy for anyone to learn how to do truly professional work! I’ve completed quite a few projects and the list keeps growing with items that need to be repaired.

Last year in Grenada was our first sail repair project. We took the genoa down and hauled it up to a flat grassy area at Secret Harbour Marina for easy access. Our buddy Steve from Lunacy (sistership/buddyboat) helped us out in exchange for letting him use the machine for some repairs of his own. He fell in love immediately! The LSZ-1 quickly went to the top of his wish list. He has plenty of sewing experience, and his own machine onboard, but he said this one takes the cake. He was blown away at how easily it handles heavy-duty materials like sailcloth and several layers of Sunbrella.

After hearing how happy we are with their products, Sailrite interviewed us for a feature on their blog. Curious about what we said? Check it out here! “Sailing & Sewing Where The Coconuts Grow”

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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 🙂