I am trying to remember how we arrived at this latest plan. I don’t remember one defining moment where we made the decision but I think it was last year when Alex decided he was going to take a gap year before University. We thought it might be a good time to do a “final” adventure trip with the kids before our lives begin to take us in different directions. The plan was to leave for basically one semester of Amelia’s school. The actual plan regarding where to sail has gone through many different iterations and even now that we have arrived this continues to be the topic of conversation.
To bring you up to speed, this adventure began with us moving out of our rental mid-December. We bunked at Rob’s for a week and then flew back to Alberta for two weeks at Christmas. Packing was challenging; bags for another month of work and school, bags for Christmas, bags for the boat and bags for storage. We seem to be getting better and better though at living in chaos and prepping for departure. I remember how I use to plan and make a ton of lists. Now it just seems like second nature.
After Christmas Alex, Graham and Andrew (Alex’s friend) left the snow and cold and headed down to Salty Ginger in Antigua to get her in ship shape and positioned in St. Martin for Amelia and my arrival in early February. Their first sail was overnight to Nevis and then they island hopped to St. Kitts and finally to St. Martin. Andrew flew back home early February and Amelia and I arrived a few days later. The boys had lots of stories to share but most of them started with “…and beer was only a buck….” I get the impression they lived for happy hour every day ;-).
Arriving at the boat was surreal. I was working 10 hour days up until the day before we left and running errands in any extra time I had. The temperature was way in the negatives and snow and ice was the name of the game, making everything that much harder. Needless to say when the plane landed and Amelia and I stepped out to the top of the stairs that they had pushed up to the airplane…..we paused for a moment like diva’s with our shades on and smiled to the Caribbean sun gods.
Graham and Alex were waiting for us, all tanned and more muscles than I remembered. They grabbed our 55 lb duffle bags and whisked us off to a car they had rented. They had Salty Ginger at dock to ease our transition and to make provisioning that much easier. Needless to say I felt very spoiled with a car and a boat at dock. What had happened to “Perry Style”?
We have now fully stocked the boat. The prices in St Martin are unbelievable and the selection is unmatched in any of the other islands we have visited. We decided to get everything from a dry goods perspective that we would need for the 6 months. We have packed every nook and cranny with food and we made an inventory of where we have put everything since the first night we wanted something and we had to rip everything apart to find it.
Graham has been working to install a super duper water maker. He was hoping to have this done
We have also had time to have some fun. Graham turned 45 on the 7th and we headed down to the cruiser pub for a party. There was a get together planned with Bob Bitchin from the Cruising Outpost magazine. We have been reading his magazine forever so it was very cool to meet him. The afternoon didn't quite go as planned though. Our teenagers had arrived at the beach a few hours ahead of us and little did we know they had already polished off a bucket of beer for $10. When we arrived we bought everyone a round including Bob and the kids tore into it. Needless to say a valuable lesson was learned that night and we quickly realized that cruising with teens will have its own set of challenges and we need to set the rules asap. We did manage to get a nice family photo with Bob before things got too crazy.
We are now out at anchor and the car is returned and homeschooling has begun. Life is feeling much more normal. We have also all agreed on a sail plan which is shocking. We are leaving in the next few days to Grenada! We will then sail north, island hopping to St. Lucia where the kid’s friends will arrive for March break and then fingers crossed….THE GROMITS will arrive!
The Gromits are our friends from Canada who we started off on our around the world sail together in 2008. We met up with them in Panama and sailed together side by side to Tahiti. We conquered many firsts together. They continued sailing long after we had returned to Canada and soon they will make their final leg across the Atlantic to the Caribbean to the point where they will join their starting line! We are very excited to meet up with them and sail our two boat together back to the USA.
Well there you have it, you are all caught up. Hope I have a good sailing story for you next time we chat!