Cruising BVI: Sandy Spit

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We couldn’t take Dad and Stacy to BVI without taking them to Sandy Spit just off of Jost Van Dyke.

This little spit of sand and reef has made numerous appearances in all the fancy in-flight and travel magazines. The aerial shot they use even looks like a heart. How romantic, right?

If you get here early enough you can beat the charter boat guests and take a leisurely stroll around the whole island in total privacy. With just a few lonely palm trees and some greenery in the center, the crystal clear water comes bubbling up on the white sand and you immediately feel like you’re in total paradise. The sand is littered with tiny pieces of white coral and a few little tiny shells. In the right light, the sand even appears a little pinkish in color.

The reefs don’t have very much sea life among them, but the water is warm, clear and so refreshing. True island bliss.

There’s so many gorgeous photos, I love them all!! Take a peek for yourself…

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Stacy even found a coconut lying on the beach!

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After enough fun on our own private island, we launched the dinghy and headed back to the boat for some lunch 🙂

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Want to see for yourself? Check back with us soon for some exciting news to learn how you can visit this very place!! 🙂

Hurricane Danny

AL0415W5_NLhttp://www.nhc.noaa.gov/cyclones/

Well folks, it’s that time of year. The hurricanes are upon us. This is our second season hunkering down in Grenada where we hope to be out of the path of most of the cyclonic activity. Why Grenada? Many other cruisers in the Caribbean choose to take their boats south of 12-degrees for four reasons.

  1. Many insurance companies will only cover you “outside the box” from June 1 to November 1.
  2. Everyone else does it.
  3. Grenada is very cruiser-friendly and it’s a fairly convenient place to spend a few months while hiding from hurricanes.
  4. It is statistically safer than anywhere else in the Eastern Caribbean. There is a really neat interactive tool on the NOAA website showing the tracks of all recorded hurricanes throughout history.

Atlantic_hurricane_tracks_1980-2005www.spaghettimodels.com

Though there have been some devastating direct hits on Grenada, such as Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we generally have ample time to head south to Trinidad before we would be in the path of something so evil. I wrote an article about Hurricanes on the Horizon the other day on TinyHouseBlog. It also includes some interesting info about Kick ‘Em Jenny, the underwater volcano that we sail dangerously close to on the way to Grenada. Yep, you read that right, underwater volcano! Not only to do we have to watch out for hurricanes, we have to make sure we don’t sail our boat over the top of an active volcano. Boats don’t float on gas bubbles 😉

kej_3http://www.uwiseismic.com/general.aspx?id=27

Not too long ago we saw a disturbance near the Cape Verde Islands off of Western Africa begin to grow. Along with everyone else in the Eastern Caribbean, our eyeballs were suctioned on to the screens of our laptop and iPhone as we watched it grow into a hurricane. This is the fourth named storm of the season, though the first that really had any danger of coming for us. Danny has been slow moving and very hard to predict. He is undoubtedly aimed at St. Martin, The Virgins and Puerto Rico now but forecasters think he will fizzle back down to a Tropical Storm by the time he makes landfall.

While Peter and I are relieved that we won’t feel any effects from Danny all the way down here in Grenada, our thoughts and prayers are with all of our friends that are up island in his path. Our good friend Genevieve on S/V Necesse gives a first-hand account of what it’s like to prepare and wait. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to ram your floating home up into the shallow, dark mud of the mangroves with your family and all your belongings; tie off to the roots like Spiderman; throw out every anchor and fender you have; remove every piece of canvas and projectile object from the exterior of your boat; hope that creepy crawlies like cockroaches, rats and other bugs don’t invade your boat; praying that the forces of Mother Nature take mercy on everyone around you.

04L_tracks_latestwww.tropicaltidbits.com

That’s the thing with a hurricane – you just never know what might happen. Danny may decide to veer North or fizzle out and all that may be felt is the normal trade winds of 20-30 knots of wind. The price we pay to live in paradise… At least with a hurricane we are semi-mobile on a boat. It’s a lot harder to run from a tornado or earthquake.

So we wait. While Danny makes up his mind about what he’s going to do, we are watching two new disturbances that are scrambling to catch up to big brother Danny. A perfect storm? Let’s hope not. They’ve got a pretty strong chance of cyclone formation within the next 5 days so we’ll be watching intently from our cozy boat.

two_atl_5d0www.nhc.noaa.gov

In the event that any named storms decide to put a bullseye on our bow, we’ll be referring back to some of our favorite resources on Commuter Cruiser and The Boat Galley here and here. Both Jan and Carolyn give some very helpful tips to keep in mind while preparing for a hurricane.

I have these posted on my Resources page, but if your curious what weather sites we like to check on a daily basis, here they are:

  • National Hurricane Center – Tropical weather advisories from NOAA/National Weather Service
  • Mike’s Weather Page – Up to date tropical computer models, graphics, links and storm discussions at www.spaghettimodels.com
  • Current Storm Info – Global Tropical Cyclone and Disturbance Info from Tropical Tidbits, including predicted intensity graphics
  • StormCarib Satellite Images – Particularly helpful to see the tropical waves and Saharan dust coming off Africa towards the Caribbean Islands
  • WunderMap – Interactive Weather Map and Radar from Weather Underground, with radar images for the Caribbean Islands
  • Weather Underground – Weather Forecasts and Reports
  • Windfinder – Wind and Waves
  • WindGuru – Wind and Waves

For the most current updates, click LIKE on our facebook page! That’s where we post all the daily happenings right now 🙂

Cruising BVI: The Baths (round 2)

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In December we took Dad and Stacy to visit The Baths on Virgin Gorda. It’s by far one of the most spectacular places to visit in the Virgin Islands. If the weather isn’t cooperating, however, it can be difficult to visit by boat. Dad and Stacy were in luck, the weather was just right to pick up a day-mooring and swim in.

Each time I visit The Baths it’s more breathtaking than the last. It could be that I’m always looking for a pretty picture and this place is plum-full of them! As if this weren’t photo-overload enough, check out the first post I did on The Baths for a totally different perspective.

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Stacy, Dad and I swam in and stashed our fins in the bushes. The inner-Tarzan in Dad made a swift and limber appearance as he scaled a nearby boulder to find the perfect spot. I stood back and laughed a little knowing full well I was NOT going to follow. That one was just a bit too steep for my short, stubby, little legs.

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In we go!

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Can you feel the magic? This place is incredible. I’m so glad we timed it just right. Well, we planned for the perfect timing but Island Time ended up working in our favor instead.

Let me backtrack a bit to several hours before.

Knowing full well we’d visit The Baths next, we left Norman Island in the afternoon and anchored off of the West side of Cooper Island. The plan was to pull up our anchor before daybreak for arrival at The Baths at first light. We wanted to make it extra special for Dad and Stacy and we wanted to make sure to get there plenty early enough. Early as in 6:45. We know it can get crazy in there once the cruise ship passengers and charter boat guests start to arrive between 8 and 10am. We wanted to make sure there was no one in front of us, and no one behind us as we explored this majestic place all by ourselves.

Well, lets just say things didn’t work out as smoothly as we’d like. I turned on the engine, then the chart plotter and radar. Peter made his way to the bow to pull in our anchor chain with the windlass. Dad and Stacy were just waking up and thought we were crazy for leaving in the dark, yet they were super excited for what was to come.

All of a sudden Peter stopped the windlass. Shit. The anchor was stuck. “Must be wrapped around a piece of coral,” Peter mumbled into the walkie-talkie.

He had me motor around in a few different directions to see if we could dislodge the chain. What seemed to be an eternity later, Peter decided he had to dive it. IN THE DARK. We were in about 50′ of water and the sun hadn’t even begun to come up yet. A little sharky? Yeah, I’d say so! Dad wasn’t too excited to jump in either. So, we waited another 30 minutes until there was a little daylight. Peter took his new super bright underwater flashlight and his spare-air, then asked Dad to assist. Peter planned to dive down and unwind the chain while Dad stayed on the surface with a mask to communicate with me if I needed to pop the engine forward a jib or do anything else at the helm.

Peter’s an excellent diver but he was not happy about this little hiccup. I wouldn’t want to be the one to do it either. We could have just waited it out until full daylight when it would have been much easier to see, but then we’d be visiting the baths with boatloads of other tourists and waiting in line to get from one area to another.

What a guy! It took some serious underwater skills to unwrap that chain from the huge underwater boulder we had somehow swung around at night, but he did it. We were a bit behind schedule, but we would still get there at about 9-am.

Okay, back to our amazing day at The Baths…

Thanks to Peter and Dad braving it out a few hours before, we managed to sneak into our destination without anyone in front of us and without anyone behind us!! SUCCESS!!

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It’s hard to see, but this stairway leads into a little pool of water brought in by the tide…

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A view of Mary Christine with the mizzen sail up for stability on a mooring ball just outside The Baths:

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I had showed them the secret area that not everyone gets to see, but now they had to come back out…

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We made a new friend. This little guy followed us along the trails all the way to Devil’s Bay Beach. He didn’t seem to belong to anyone but acted like he’d been here a thousand times.

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I almost caught a photo of this little dog leaping off the rock into the water! Dad was ready to get the photo too, though he didn’t make a second leap.

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Cool creatures everywhere.

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All in all, we had an amazing morning!

Don’t forget to see all the photos from my first time through: The Baths

What is ONE word you would use to describe this place?

Celebrating Island-Style

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This past December, Stacy got to celebrate her birthday Island Style! We did a quick tour of the British Virgin Islands and Norman Island is where we took her for a nice birthday dinner.

If you’ve been on a boat in BVI but have never visited The Pirate’s Bight restaurant, you’re missing out. It’s a bit pricey but not more than any other local restaurant in the popular anchorages and well worth the splurge. I wish I took more photos of this place but we were to busy enjoying the scenery.

The food is incredible, the atmosphere is beachy and ever-s0-charming, and they even had a Christmas tree decorated in the lobby! Even the dinghy dock is impressive. The white sandy beach is clean and inviting and far enough away from the craziness over at Willy-T’s. We definitely prefer the relaxed beachy feel 😉

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Before leaving Norman Island we took Dad and Stacy to The Caves and did a bit of snorkeling nearby. Gunner and Betsy even got to share nap-time with Grandpa! 😉

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It was a fun stop on the whirlwind tour but little did they know, Dad and Stacy still had some pretty amazing places to see before we sailed back to St. Thomas.

Stay tuned for some gorgeous photos of Dad and Stacy’s adventures in Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke! (I’m currently catching up on old posts from the anchorage here inTyrell Bay, Carriacou. We leave for Grenada in the morning!

Adventures With Dad & Stacy

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When Dad and Stacy came to visit last December they had a blast learning to use the hookah dive system, playing with the underwater metal detector that they brought for us, fishing and hunting for lobster. They had a pretty cool vacation in the Caribbean if you ask me 😉

Take a look at some of the underwater fun we had…

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We’re currently in Carriacou, making our way down to Mt. Hartman Bay in Grenada this week. We’ll be catching up on publishing a LOT of photos over the next two months… stay tuned for more!!

Time To Head South

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Well boys and girls, the time has come for us to begin our journey South again. Where has the time gone?! We are two months into “H” season and before August is upon us we want to get down to the Windward Islands where statistically fewer named storms travel through.

If a ‘big one’ comes, we can race down to Trinidad with a few hundred other cruisers who will be watching the weather with us several times a day. The forecast for this H season is very light so we’re not too worried, though we are always cautious.

A favorable weather window has opened beginning this Friday 6.17.15. We’ll leave cozy Christmas Cove and sail up to Virgin Gorda, then point toward Guadeloupe and beyond!

Last year we made this journey at the end of June. You may recall how our first time through the OH-MY-GOD-A (Anegada) Passage went, but if you’re new to our blog, be sure to take a few minutes and read it here —> http://wp.me/p41bpr-IO

We definitely hope for a less eventful and more restful passage this time around.

If all goes to plan, our buddy-boat Necesse will be traveling with us. Eben will be returning this Thursday from a wild and crazy sailing adventure off the coast of Tanzania so he may want to wait until the next weather window before they follow in our wake. Either way, we look forward to many new adventures down island with them!

Only another week or two and we’ll be back at our FAVORITE place in the Caribbean, The Tobago Cays!

The Honest Kitchen: A better pet food

During a massive uproar about the class-action lawsuit against Purina/Beneful a few months back, our good friends on S/V Mirador had just lost their little dog Vanilla to complications that were potentially linked to feeding her Beneful, while devastatingly unaware of the concerns. The cruising lifestyle combined with being down in the islands makes quality pet food hard to find and even harder to afford. In a panic, I began researching the issue knowing we were (at the time) feeding our dogs the same thing. Beneful had seemed like the best option of dry dog food in stock on all the islands we had visited, and yet remained within a reasonable-to-high price range.

I’ve shared my home with dogs nearly all my life, though I never understood or even questioned the true importance of “quality dog food” until now. A few online discussions caught my attention and Peter and I both began spending countless hours researching safe dog foods and countless more hours finding out which ones were actually attainable in the US Virgin Islands.

Reviews and Recommendations:

We began noticing some trends in all the reviews. Grain-Free seemed to be the key in avoiding some common illnesses caused by many dry dog foods on the market. Overwhelmingly, I kept coming back to The Honest Kitchen. Though they do offer grain-free and gluten-free options, it’s not that important to select a grain-free formula from THK unless your pet has allergy issues. If selecting a regular dry food kibble on the other hand, your best bet for avoiding illness is choosing a grain-free formula.

Every review I found had only positive things to say about THK. Within hours of posting about our experience with Beneful, blog followers @wavetothewind (who contacted us on Twitter and even wrote a post about the food >>here<<) as well as S/V Irie on Facebook both gave us strong recommendations to give The Honest Kitchen a try.

Just recently, Reviews.com did an interesting study about the quality of ingredients in dog food. After reviewing all 2,219 formulas, they ended up with 119 dog food formulas — manufactured by 25 brands — that they confidently recommend.

The Honest Kitchen is one of those 25 brands.

Surprisingly, some of the brands many of my friends use back home didn’t make the cut because of ingredients:

  • Cesar
  • Chicken Soup
  • Eukanuba
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet
  • Hill’s Science Diet
  • Iams Veterinary Formula
  • Nutro
  • Nutro Ultra
  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets
  • Royal Canin
  • Nutro Natural

Dog Food Advisor states The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dehydrated Food is “enthusiastically recommended as a superior dog food.”

The Honest Kitchen: Zeal made the shortlist of 22 Best Dry Dog Foods at PetFoodRatings.org

More about THK:

Honest-Kitchen-Logo

If you visit The Honest Kitchen’s website, you’ll quickly learn they provide all natural human grade dog food and cat food products using dehydrated whole foods. Everything is produced in the USA from non-GMO produce, hormone-free meats and some organic, fair trade ingredients – all carefully sourced from around the world (and NEVER contain any ingredients from China).

They make dog food, cat food, treats and supplements with multiple options for grain free, gluten free and various life stages.

A rare approval by the FDA was given to THK certifying that their food is in fact human grade which means it is technically fit for human consumption. Standard pet food is made with ‘feed-grade’ ingredients by ‘feed-grade’ production methods and is unfit for human consumption. I was appalled to learn that ‘feed-grade ingredients’ can include by-products, chemicals, fillers and parts from ‘4D’ meats (animals which are dying, diseased, disabled or deceased)! We would never eat something like that so why should our pets have to?

Strict regulations are demanded of their suppliers and quality control testing is in place to ensure all THK products are safe.

So, why is it dehydrated?

THK explains all the benefits of dehydrating in comparison to processing kibble, canned, raw and homemade foods >>here<<. The actual process is described >>here<<.

We learned just how intricately connected pet food choices are to digestion issues, urinary tract and kidney issues, skin and coat problems, ear infections, body weight, energy levels and the overall health and longevity of our pets.

While the pricing for this food may seem steep, keep in mind a 10-lb box of THK dehydrated food is equivalent to a 40-lb bag of dry kibble food. We did the math and the numbers are very comparable, if not cheaper than other pet food products that have passed the same scrutinizing reviews shown above. To help ease the cost, there are several loyalty programs that give you free products based on the volume you purchase on a regular basis.

THK-Embark-4lb-WebTHK-Force-4lb-WebTHK-Zeal-4lb-Web

Sustainability:

It has become increasingly important for companies and individuals to ‘go green’ and reduce our carbon footprint on our planet. THK is no exception. They have succeeded in many ways to do their part to reduce their pawprint!

They pride themselves on green production, green ingredients, green business and even green packaging that is 100% biodegradable and BPA-free.

allies-hero2THK Team and their four-legged helpers that share their office everyday

The ultimate pet food for living on a boat:

Not only do we believe The Honest Kitchen provides a better pet food than all the rest, it happens to only come in a convenient, space-saving size, perfect for living on a boat!

I’ve written before about how we store dog food in our tiny floating home, but we’re still limited on just how much we can store at one time. Now that we are committed to only feeding our dogs high quality food, we stock up with enough food to sustain Betsy and Gunner when we know we will be traveling.  For example, when we travel South to Grenada for Hurricane Season (July through November), there is absolutely ZERO quality pet foods available in the rest of the Caribbean. The Honest Kitchen food is long-life, shelf-stabile for up to 12 months at room temperature so stocking up for long periods of time won’t compromise the quality of the food. Storing SIX 10-lb boxes of THK food sure is easier than storing SIX 40-lb bags of dry kibble 🙂

Try it out FOR FREE!

I’m incredibly excited to share with you that I was accepted into the Ambassador Program for The Honest Kitchen!

As an Ambassador, I am able to provide a personalized link which will automatically apply a promo code to your online cart for a FREE sample pack (within the U.S.). Only a small shipping charge of $1 applies. All sample packs will also include an $8-off coupon for a future purchase!

1. Click through to my personalized link: http://bit.ly/1TnVAz0

2. You’ll see a pop-up message telling you the code has been successfully applied. Select the option from the drop-down menu that is best for your pet(s). The DOG pack contains two grain-free options, good for dogs of any age. Definitely try these if your pup has allergies or other sensitivities. The CAT pack contains one of each of the two cat foods available, both of which are grain-free.

3. After adding one of the sample packs to your cart, the promo will be automatically applied (if you use this special link). The cost of the sample pack will be zero and shipping will only be $1(within the US). All sample packs will include an $8-off coupon for future purchases! If you’d like to add additional sample packs to your order, a small fee will apply. Please let me know if you do not receive a confirmation email and I will send you a coupon code for the free sample instead.

Using this link gives you a no-strings-attached, risk-free opportunity to try THK, and using this link will also award my account with points which I can redeem for dog food for Betsy and Gunner! As a result, hopefully you’ll come to see the value in this awesome company and decide to make the switch for your own furry children as well as educating others about THK in the future.

Don’t forget to check the individual product page online to find out ‘how much to feed’ of each formula!

Though I don’t receive points for any future purchases made, I strongly endorse THK and hope you’ll continue to order from them when your sample is gone, as well as helping educate as many people as possible about the importance of healthy pet food. Please share this article with anyone else that may be interested!!

Shipping Info:

At this time, shipping is only offered to US addresses only. For orders to AK/HI/PR/USVI: A shipping charge between $2.50 and $5.00 will apply for the sample packs. The price of the sample is still free with the code for new customers though the shipping fee is required to these locations. For sample packs or product purchase orders to AK HI and PR, transactions can be made online. Orders for USVI must be placed over the phone by calling the Customer Service line at 619-544-0018.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’ve tried THK before, leave a comment and tell us about your experience!

(All photos published with permission, compliments of The Honest Kitchen, available at www.thehonestkitchen.com)

Dad Comes To Visit

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In December, Dad and Stacy finally came down to visit us! Although they had never seen the boat in person, they were so excited to take a vacation and come visit us that they booked a whole three weeks!

Stacy was able to use timeshare credits for a smokin’ deal at The Elysian Hotel which is directly across from where our boat was in Christmas Cove. They spent the first three days of their trip with a view from shore. Palm trees, a sandy beach, good food, and iguanas! What more could you ask for?

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They spent a bit of time exploring on land after making friends with our favorite taxi driver, Yisrael, who moonlights as a jumbie dancer at Iggie’s.

Eventually it came time for them to move aboard and join us in Christmas Cove.

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We spent a day or two enjoying the clear blue water and took them on some snorkeling expeditions. Check out this tiny little fish that lives inside a hole in the coral… can you see him?

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Peter and I shared the beauty and peacefulness of the evenings with Dad and Stacy. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but photos still just don’t do this lifestyle justice. You’ve got to see it in person to really take it all in.

It was just the beginning of their trip but they had already seen so many beautiful moments. I can only hope this helps them understand a bit more about why I’m down here in the Caribbean instead of back in rainy Seattle where they came from.

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We sailed away from Christmas Cove toward the South side of St. John.

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“Sure doesn’t look like the daily commute you’re used to, does it Dad?”

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In the quiet little anchorage we settled in, we spotted deer swimming across the bay! They scattered up over the rocky shore and up into the hillside.

We spent the next couple of days enjoying the solitude of the South side and Dad was quick to pick up the nearest power tool to help Peter with a few urgent boat projects. Together they reengineered the brackets for our two new 155-watt Kyocera solar panels which would replace the two 80-watt panels that were on either side of our lifelines. The 80’s got moved up to the bow and rewired in series to add a little boost to our solar array, though they aren’t as efficient as they used to be.

The reason for the urgency to add more solar panels is because our two 105-watt Aurinco panels had both just failed. They are still both under warranty but the manufacturer is refusing to honor the 2-year 100% warranty and it has turned into a huge mess. We depend on solar power to run our systems on a daily basis and to have our two strongest panels both simultaneously fail after less than a years time, we couldn’t waste any time in replacing them with panels we could trust. It got to a point where we couldn’t run our 12-volt watermaker without having the generator on. Disappointing to say the least. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on all the details of this nasty mess and why we strongly discourage anyone from purchasing semi-flexible Aurinco Solar Panels.

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We took plenty of time to play around in the water and show Dad and Stacy how we like to spend our afternoons 🙂

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Gunner and Betsy got to go to shore and run around!

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Gunner usually needs a little convincing before he will swim around.

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And of course, Peter and Dad went fishing every chance they could 🙂 I don’t think I’ve met anyone that loves to fish more than these two.

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Stay tuned for more adventures from when Dad and Stacy visited back in December!

We’re currently back in Christmas Cove where I am working at Pizza Pi. We are preparing to head back down island to Grenada in just a few weeks. My oh my how the time flies…

Denali: More Than Just A Viral Video

This morning I woke up to make coffee, then sat down to check my messages on the computer. I kept seeing this video called ‘Denali’ appear in my feed. Normally I don’t stream videos because of the bandwidth it takes to watch them, however I had a feeling this would be worth the data. It’s about this surfer/photographer, Ben Moon, who (together with a director and cinematographer) made a gorgeous video dedicated to his dog, Denali. (The article on littlethings.com gives a little more perspective and background on the video, as well as why it is is narrated by the point of view of Denali. Check it out HERE.)

I hit play and waited for the video to load. Sure enough, within the first two minutes my eyes were welling up. With tears streaming down my face, I clicked to share this post with you.
It’s more than just a viral video that will make you cry too. It’s more than incredible photography and cinematography. It’s more than a love story between a man and his dog.
This is a video that hits home for me with impeccable timing. Take a few moments to watch the video and come back to read why I shared this.

Though Gunner was 12 when we first brought him to the boat, we knew the day would come, eventually, when he would need to say goodbye. Over the last few months it’s become apparent to Peter and I that Gunner’s days are numbered. 

He’s been my sweet boy since the summer of my senior year in high school. He went off to college with me and guarded our home when I went off to work. He’s been on many adventures with me and I never considered even for a second that he was too old or too big to come with us when we made the decision to move onto a sailboat and sail away.

I’m not gonna lie… It’s not easy having a 75 lb Weimaraner on a sailboat, let alone a senior dog who is having trouble with his hips and his bowels. He can still hold his bladder well but he’s quickly losing the ability to know when he needs to go #2. We’re keeping him on a tight routine for trips outside to go potty on deck and it’s still mostly manageable but we know the situation isn’t going to get any better. Accidents happen when we’re least prepared, like when we are sleeping, or when we are trying to anchor, or even when guests are coming to visit.

I’ve been struggling how to write about this for awhile now. How do you know when it’s time? How do you know how much pain they are in? HOW DO YOU KNOW?!!?

I’ve never been through this with an old dog before. I’ve never been the one to have to make the decision. I can only pray that Gunner will make it for me and let me know, as Denali did for Ben Moon.

Until then, we show him as much love as we can each and every day.

Feels Like Home in the USVI

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After our 3 and a half-day passage North from Grenada to the US Virgin Islands, we spent a few days relaxing in Christmas Cove before sailing off again for more adventures.

Peter and I had both heard that St. Thomas wasn’t going to be terribly exciting to see, though there were a couple places we shouldn’t miss. Honeymoon Bay off Water Island was one of those places. It’s an idyllic little cove with umbrellas and bright colored chairs strewn across the palm tree lined beach. We also heard there is a movie night held on Mondays where they project against canvas tied up between the palm trees. Though we never made it to shore, the view from the anchorage was perfect.

After a couple nights, the swell direction changed and it wasn’t just ferry wakes rocking us ragged. The constant swell wrapping around the point was enough for us to move.

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We couldn’t leave, however, without taking a long dinghy ride out to some snorkeling spots to hunt for lobster. Much of the US Virgin Islands are protected either by National Park or Marine Preserve where there are restrictions on fishing and lobstering. It’s tricky to find places that aren’t protected, though there are a few. Leave it to the Lobbie Whisperer to find them…

We set up our hookah dive compressor, The Air Line, and jumped in.

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Just under the surface we saw a little nurse shark. They’re fun to see because in the day they are usually resting. I’d much rather see one of these little guys than a bull shark or huge Caribbean reef shark!

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Within minutes, Peter spotted a hole with four or five lobsters poking their antennae out, almost as if to say, “Pick me! Pick me!”

For those of you wondering what Peter is holding, it’s a snare. In the USVI you are not allowed to spear lobster with a gun or a pole spear, you can only catch them by hand or with a snare. This ensures that if you pull out a female with eggs or one that is too small, you can safely let it go. With a spear, you often don’t find out there are eggs until its too late.

Hunting lobster is truly an art and Peter has mastered it beautifully.

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Another successful hunt followed by a gorgeous sunset.

“I think I could get used to this life,”

Of all the islands we’ve visited, the USVI feels most like home. I think we’ll stay for awhile.

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What place feels like home to YOU?