1965 Airstream Renovation Timelapse

Kyle and I have sold the Airstream! It wasn’t in our plans to sell Koko, but as is the theme this year- nothing goes quite as planned 😉 We are currently renting a cabin on a beautiful property in Brooksville, Fl and will be here until summer of 2021. In the meantime, Kyle is working for a boat company and I am in the editing process of my memoir.

Below is the timelapse from the Airstream build. We had a great time with this project and look forward to the next one: converting a shuttle bus into a camper!

Keep on Keeping On

The sky is overcast and the air has a wet feel to it, a reminder of the downpour last night. The grass and surrounding trees and bushes have a deep green look to them, happy and healthy from the rain. I can hear multiple frogs all around me, some behind, some in front, and a few to the sides. They are loud and I smile, thinking about how happy they are about the wet conditions. I know that in a few hours when the sun comes out, they will quiet down so for now, I enjoy their talking. I am sitting inside the camper, whom we have named KoKo (keep on keeping on), at the kitchen table, drinking some warm coffee and listening to some gentle music. I awoke this morning at 4:55am with Kyle as we do every morning. He leaves for work around 5:15, so we wake up, make coffee, he has a quick breakfast and then we say our goodbyes. I then go about my morning routine. I meditate for 20 minutes, do yoga, and then either go on a run or a bike ride. This morning I went on a bike ride. It was incredibly peaceful. Because of the rain last night the air is cooler, I even found myself a bit chilly in shorts and tank top. I pedaled down the road, observing the grayish blue of the sky, and watching as the sun would poke through from time to time casting a light on the tall Florida pines. I took deep breathes, gulping in the cool, fresh air. I smiled and stopped my bike for a moment when the sun was shining on a small sliver of the dirt road. I made my way back to the camper and sat down at my computer by 8:15am, in order to start the rest of my daily routine. Usually I spend 3 hours writing my book, but this morning I thought I’d do a blog update before I continue with my book. After 3 hours I take a short break, taking some time to stretch or lay out in the sunshine for 15 minutes. I then do some remote work for a couple hours, before diving back into my book. The day passes quickly when I follow my schedule, and I am making great progress on my memoir about the river trip. Not only am I doing great on my word count goals, but I feel really good about it. Kyle will be home from work around 3:30pm and that is about when I stop writing for the day. Often I finish around 3pm, and then I go sit outside for the last thirty minutes, reading, napping, or just laying in the shade observing my surroundings. Kyle is finding great success at his job and is very much liking it. He likes the people, enjoys the work, and is always positive about his days. His days are filled with a mix of design work, prototyping, and problem solving. He spends some time out on the factory floor, but mostly in his office utilizing the design program he went to school for and the company’s drafting table. I am so happy for him because he is doing something that he loves and has always wanted to do, and he is getting paid to do it!

We are absolutely loving the Airstream life. We have stopped staying at paid campgrounds, not so much because of the money, but because we found them congested, full of people, the sites too close together, and didn’t enjoy the paved roads running right by the camper. So now we are staying at a variety of campgrounds provided for free by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. We can stay at each place for 6 nights before needing to move. There are so many places that we alternate so we only visit the same place about once a month, and they are all within 20 minutes of Kyle’s work. This is a different type of Florida than I have ever known. It is rugged, overgrown, completely private and isolated, wild, and filled with endless wildlife. Each day after Kyle gets back from work we go on an outing. Some days we go canoeing, others we go bike riding, and last night we simply went on a long walk. Each of these camping areas are located within thousands of acres of land, and they have miles and miles of trails. Altogether, just in this Southwest area of Florida there is over 449,000 acres of untamed land! On Monday after Kyle got home from work we hopped on our bikes and rode 3 miles down an over grown dirt trail until we came upon two lakes; one on each side of the road. You can only get to this lake by foot or bike, so it does not seem a very popular spot to hang out. Kyle and I were the only ones there and it was a magical evening. We pulled our bikes up to a grassy area and went and stood on the edge of the smaller lake. Kyle went to the edge of the lake to get his hair wet, and what he thought was limestone was actually clay and the ground he was standing on broke and he slowly slid into the lake. I watched the whole thing happen and it happened in such slow motion that it almost looked like he meant to go swimming, but he did not. It was quite comical, but we also knew these were fresh water lakes in Florida, so quickly got him out before any alligators came along. Kyle dried off a bit in the sun and then we walked to the bigger lake. I found a small trail that led to this overlook of the lake (this time it was actual stone!). We laid out our towel and cracked open the cold drinks we had brought with us. There we spent the next couple hours, just lounging, chatting, and watching the numerous alligators and turtles that were moving slowly through the water’s surface. The alligator to our left was a baby alligator, and the one to our right was much larger. We giggled at the turtles as they poked their heads out of the water and would quickly dive back down. The nearest road was miles away and nearest development even further. We were surrounded by water, trees, grass, and sunshine. We would have stayed all night, but knew it was time to get back and make dinner as we get in bed quite early due to the early wake up. We made our way back the 3 miles and I cooked us dinner. I made chickpea pasta with red sauce and pan fried brussel sprouts. We set the table in the kitchen as there were too many mosquitos to eat outside. A candle was flickering in between us as we enjoyed our meal together. We sit down across from each other each evening and have a nice dinner together- taking our time to eat slowly and discuss a variety of topics. No phones or distractions, just the two of us and whatever yummy meal we made.  Kyle is my best friend and I feel so grateful I get to spend my afternoons and evenings with him every day.

My parents have come to visit us a couple times on Sunday mornings. They bring their two dogs and we hike, make breakfast, and just enjoy each other’s company. Last time they came we celebrated both of their birthdays. They brought a little pool for the dogs and Marley very much enjoyed it. I love when they come to visit and we always have a wonderful morning.

A couple weeks ago we bought a 17 ft. canoe because many of the places we stay have a river. It is either the Withlacoochee River or Hillsborough River depending on where we are. The last place we stayed had the Withlacoochee River running right by it. We canoed 5 of the 7 days we were there, and it was absolutely amazing. The river is small and shallow, so there aren’t any power boats and of all the times we canoed, we only saw one other boat. There are cypress trees surrounding the river and sometimes right in the middle of the river there is a big cypress tree. I love the roots of the cypress trees and Kyle and I are always fascinated by their reflection on the water. The water of the river is so calm and glass like that the reflection has a depth to it that I can’t articulate. I can see every tree, every leaf on the tree, every pattern on the leaves of the trees – all in the water’s surface. It’s almost as though you can look at the river’s surface and if you didn’t know it was the river, you would think it’s the actual thing. Kyle and I quickly found a rhythm together on the river. Spending so many months in Solvi rowing down the Mississippi has given us a connection with rivers and with being in a small boat together. We paddle well together, not needing to communicate with words, but navigating just fine through the sometimes very narrow passages of the river. One day we took the river as far North as we could, until we quite literally ran out of water. We reached a very narrow passage between tall grass and pushed our way through. We then pushed our way through another area of grass on the water’s surface, until we came to one last open area in the river. But then we couldn’t see an end to the grass in front of us, so we decided we had reached the end. The river is so quiet, so peaceful and we feel we have the entire thing to ourselves. Just us and all the alligators and catfish. There are alligators everywhere- ranging in size from baby to full grown. They are very scared of the canoe so the moment they spot us they slide off the shoreline or log or wherever they were basking. If we see one swimming in the water in front of us we will stop paddling to try and observe it because we know as soon as it sees us it will dive down. Sometimes we’ll be paddling along and an alligator we didn’t see will surprise us when it splashes into the water. Kyle and I are fascinated by these living dinosaurs and have a lot of respect for them. We also know what they are capable of so proceed with caution when navigating the river and if we ever get out of the boat, do so carefully. Two different nights I packed us a dinner and as soon as Kyle pulled up from work we loaded the canoe in the truck and headed to the canoe launch. We then paddled as far as we could the other direction, and eventually the river was blocked by large trees. So there we floated, surrounded by tall trees, dense overgrowth, and some random water plants floating on the river’s surface. I moved to the middle of the canoe where I laid out our dinner. Kyle sat in his seat and I sat cross legged in the floor of the canoe. We had a picnic and sat quietly, barely talking in order to preserve the tranquility of our surroundings. One night we had veggie sandwiches with carrots and hummus and another night we had veggie tacos with chips and salsa. Both nights the food was delicious, the setting incredible, and the energy was filled with love and gratitude.

Overall, we are amazed with the life we have created. Nothing is as we thought it was going to be right now, and nothing went according to the “plan”. But we kept on keeping on and allowed the universe to reveal its path and we followed it, trusting that everything was working out as it was supposed to. Our days are quiet, calm, and reflective. We spend so much time outdoors and even when we are inside the camper, all the windows and doors are always open, only screens separating us from the outside. I am breathing fresh air 24/7 and feeling that I live in nature. When we’re together we aren’t distracted, and we are fully present, often times just sitting quietly and listening and observing the natural world around us. Sometimes we will watch a movie before bed, but as soon as we turn it off, we can hear the coyotes singing in the distance, the frogs croaking, and the bugs chirping. It’s like a symphony of wildlife. Last night it was a downpour, so we just laid in bed next to each other holding hands, listening to the raindrops on the aluminum roof of the airstream and the thunder so loud that we could feel it in our chests. It’s cozy in KoKo and we are very thankful for her and all she’s provided thus far. Life is good!

And now it’s time for me to get back to my book, but first a quick update for those who have been asking about Sirocco.

Kyle and I had flights to Georgetown, Exuma, Bahamas for July 17th through July 20th. However, in order to be allowed into the Bahamas we needed a negative Covid test within 10 days of our flight. So we got the tests, and then waited and waited and waited for our results. They didn’t show up in time, so we cancelled those flights and bought me a ticket to go by myself on Monday, surely our test results would show up by then. But no, they did not. So we had to cancel that flight and now the 10 days had passed. So we scheduled another Covid test for me, and I was again going to try and go by myself the next week.. but then the Bahamas closed their borders to the United States. SO regardless of tests or flights, I would not be going to the Bahamas. This was extremely disappointing and difficult to deal with for the first hour after we found out. We had gone through so much logistical rigmarole by this point that finding out the borders closed was quite demoralizing. However, Kyle and I have a view on life that everything happens for a reason and that the universe has a plan, so we quickly changed our viewpoint, said our thank you’s because while it is not clear to us yet why we didn’t make it to the boat, we know it’s for a reason. But! That didn’t change the fact that Sirocco was still just sitting at anchor by herself and we are getting deeper and deeper into hurricane season. So yesterday I reached out to the person who we were going to rent a mooring ball from in hurricane hole 3. Within an hour two locals had picked up Sirocco’s anchor and towed her to her mooring ball using Skiffs. So she is now located in hurricane hole 3, the furthest hole in and the most protected. She is secured to a mooring ball that has been professionally installed and is checked every couple months. On top of this, we met someone via the Georgetown Cruisers Facebook page who is located in hurricane hole 2, right next to hole 3, and he will be staying on his boat for the rest of the season. He offered to keep an eye on Sirocco for us and to stay in touch. He even went and took pictures of her yesterday on her mooring ball for us so we could see her all secured. There are still a few logistics that we are working through because we are going to have her bottom cleaned and then are going to pay someone to go aboard and clean a few things up, remove her sails, triple her mooring ball lines, and double check that everything is battened down for any potential storms. As I’ve mentioned before, when we left Sirocco we thought she was only going to be alone for 13 DAYS. It has now been 5 MONTHS. So while we did a good job preparing her to be left alone, we didn’t do what we would have done had we known a pandemic was going to come through and separate us! So that’s why we want to have a few more things taken care of. Fortunately we already have someone lined up to clean the bottom, and to take care of the things onboard. We also have two different people looking after her, and feel that considering the circumstances, she is in the safest place there is to be. SO after a couple stressful days, we are feeling incredibly relieved and even more thankful for all the people in Georgetown who are helping us while we feel so helpless here in Florida. This has definitely been a situation filled with learning and growth, and mostly what I have learned is to let go. We have done everything in our power to keep our floating home safe. Kyle and I put so much time and money and love into that boat, and we were just starting to truly enjoy her when we got separated. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s also shown us that things always turn out as they should, and that people all over the world are good, and that asking for help from strangers is okay. So until we can be reunited with Sirocco, we will just keep on keeping on 😉

In the first photo the closest red circle shows where Sirocco was anchored and the furthest red circle shows where she was moved. The second photo is her safely at mooring in hurricane hole 3:

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” -Douglas Adams.

With love,


Meet Our New Home


The sun is shining down through the tall pine trees and rays of light are casting patterns on the floor. Music is playing quietly through our black speaker, and the bugs and birds are singing their mid-morning songs. I am sipping on what is now cool coffee out of a green mug I have grown to really like. I look above my computer screen and out the screen door. In front of me I see grass, a dirt road, and endless trees and palmettos. It’s just me here, alone in this open, but shaded field, surrounded by dense forest and so much greenery. There was a downpour last night, so things are slightly damp and the smell of sunshine on the leaves and grass is wafting in through all the open windows. I find myself stopping from time to time in various places throughout my new home as well as when i’m outside and just being still. Observing, feeling, being. It’s been a while since I have done that so often, and I feel refreshed. Every few minutes I find myself thinking “I can’t believe this is ours. I can’t believe this is our life.” And it fills my whole being with so much gratitude and joy. We worked so hard to get here, even though we had no idea this is where we were going. And it all paid off and it’s so incredible that I find myself bursting with happy emotions. And for some reason being here all alone makes everything more intense, and I love it. I feel so free and as though I am part of the nature that surrounds me. There is a small beetle crawling across the table made from recycled pallet wood. He’s black and curious about his surroundings. These little beetles seem to really like it in here, and for a while I was putting them back outside, but every once in a while I see one and just let him be. I like to think about what the world is like from his perspective. Everything must be so big. His life seems simpler- eat, drink.. I don’t know what else beetles think about? Or maybe they don’t think at all, and that’s why they seem so simple. Anyway, I say hi to him and watch as he heads to explore the flowers that are sitting in the window sill. The sun is shining on the flowers as well and I like to look at the intricate patterns within the leaves. Life is good. 


That is an exerpt from my journaling this morning. But I figured I should interject and get caught up to where it is I am 🙂 

So as I mentioned in my last post, we got stuck in Florida, and now it’s hurricane season so even when we do go back to the boat, we aren’t going to go sailing again until hurricane season is over. So when we go back to the boat we will just prepare it for being left for 6 months and put it in a “hurricane hole”. Which honestly is just a name for a place that might protect the boat if a hurricane comes through. We are fully prepared for what the reality of this hurricane hole is, and just have to hope for the best! So anyway, we were planning on heading up to Virginia to work on developing some family property, while both working remotely part-time, but weren’t quite sure what we would live in and where. That’s when we decided to buy a camper. Kyle was pretty set on an airstream, and I didn’t have much of an opinion, but knew that I didn’t want something too generic. But we also didn’t have a lot of money and airstreams are EXPENSIVE. So after hours of online searching and going to look at various airstreams, we found one in Orlando. We went and picked it up and that very night started work. This was May 9th and we worked for 6 weeks straight. Of course the airstream we purchased was 100% stripped, nothing in it at all. It had been painted but then half stripped so half of it was a greenish/silver and the other an ugly very old peeling paint job. We went to work and worked all day every day- towards the end we were working 16 hour days every day. 

Half-way through this airstream renovation, Kyle got a phone call and was offered what I call his “dream job.” He wasn’t at all looking for a job, and we had the next 6 months pretty planned out in terms of working remotely, finding some labor work up in Virginia, and working on the property. However, the job he was offered was something we instantly knew we couldn’t pass up. He was offered the job of Design and Prototype Specialist at Century Boats in Zephyrhills, Florida. This is exactly what he went to school for- he wants to work on boats and help design boats, without all the physical labor of grinding fiberglass everyday like he is used to. So we decided to say yes and within 12 hours all of our plans were changed! (That has been happening a lot this year- I think for a lot of people). The only downside of this new plan is that we now had a strict deadline to get the camper done- which we are pretty used to with projects like this, so on we went. During the couple days after he received his offer letter I spent a lot of time on the computer trying to figure out where to live. I was thrilled for Kyle with his job, but was also pretty bummed that we wouldn’t be living in the mountains of Virginia. I knew we didn’t want to rent an apartment, and I do not want to live at an RV/Motor Home Resort type place. So what we decided to do is just cruise around between campgrounds, free water management land, and state forests. In the 30 miles surrounding Zephyrhills there are thousands of acres of water management land that allows you to stay for free up to 7 days and then you have to leave for a day, but can come back the next day. So between paid campgrounds, free water management land, and state forests, we have the next 5-6 months pretty much booked out. We will move somewhere new about once a week all within a 20 minute drive from Kyle’s work. Our airstream is 100% solar powered, so we do not need to be plugged in, and we carry enough water to last over a week. 

So then was the question about what I will do during this time. Since we were not planning on Kyle getting a full time job, we don’t have to worry quite as much about income, so it was decided that I will spend the next 5-6 months focusing on my book. I will work remotely about 10 hours a week, but otherwise will focus on writing. I have tried to write my memoir about our Mississippi River trip multiple times and have a good start, but things kept coming up and I feel like I need some serious uninterrupted time to get it finished. Plus I can’t really think of a better place to write a book, than in our tiny home that I LOVE surrounded by nature and sunshine. Everything about the camper is so cozy and homey that just being in it motivates me to write. I have always wanted to write a book, for as long as I can remember, and I feel the river trip is worthy of a book, so I made the decision to just sit down and do it. My goal is to have the first draft finished by December. On my white board above my desk I wrote “I will write a book and it will be a success”. I read it every day and I am starting to internalize it. I feel SO incredibly grateful for this opportunity and plan to utilize it fully. 

Speaking of feeling grateful, I had a bit of a hard time sitting down to do these blog updates. There is so much happening in the world right now, and a lot of it not very positive. I found myself feeling a bit of guilt for writing about how wonderful everything is for us. Because for a lot of people, it isn’t. But I decided that I am doing my part as best I can and educating myself, having conversations, and helping in anyway I can/know. I have an open mind and I don’t take lightly all the opportunites we have.  I take time every single day to say my thank you’s, check-in on people close to me, and do my best to spread light and positivity. Gratitude feels like an understatement, and I want to do more. Be more. I hope that by putting it out there in the universe, opportunites to help will arise. 

Well, that’s the general update. I plan to update this blog about the places we visit and live in the airstream, as well as when we make our trip to the boat, Virginia, etc. I am also working on a time-lapse of the airstream renovation, but that will take some time. In the meantime, here is a bit more about the renovation and the photos!   

As I mentioned above, this is a 1965 Airstream Camper. It is 55 years old and we purchased it from some people our age that had hoped to renovate it, but it didn’t work out. When we got it, many of the windows were broken, the interior had a strange step-up that made the ceiling height low, and there was a big back door cut out of the back. We really liked the idea of the door, but there was a poorly built frame and piece of very thin plexi glass in it’s place. We knew we would have to build a new door and replace the windows, but other than those things, the skeleton of the camper was in pretty good shape for its age. The night we got it we stayed up until 4am stripping all the old paint off. It looked pretty bad and we didn’t want it sitting in my parent’s driveway looking like that for long, so we got it all done in one go. It was a pretty fun night because we would put on the stripper, then would have to wait 15-30 minutes before we could go scrape, so we’d go inside the camper and drink a beer and discuss our plans for the interior. By 4am all the paint was removed and we had an interior plan! The next day we started taping for primer and within 48 hours of purchasing the camper it had its first coat of primer and that evening we did the blue paint. 

Next it was time to start on the interior. I sanded the entire interior, and the next day Kyle used the paint sprayer and gave it a fresh coat of white. The painting really wasn’t that bad, it’s all the taping and prep that is so tedious and I really don’t like that part. We then did all the plumbing and electrical because we knew we would want to run all the wires and plumbing pipes before we started building. This job was again, very tedious. I had never used a “fish” before, but let me tell you, I got very familiar with a fish! We used it for every wire and pipe. It was one of the most important tools in the build. The next 5 weeks were spent designing and building out the interior and purchasing supplies. There were a couple days where all we did was run errands. We tried to do this on quite the budget and we used a lot of recycled or used materials. Pallet wood, second-hand plywood, water tanks and random parts from a marine salvage place, hinges, hardware and other random parts from a boat Kyle worked on a while ago that were being thrown away. However, I will not try to pretend that we didn’t spend a LOT of time (and money!) at Home Depot and Lowes. Kyle designed parts of the interior on Solidworks on his computer, and then we would build it as he designed it. We work very well together and were able to get a lot done in a very short period of time. We built every little thing from the curtain rods to the cabinet faces to the light fixtures to the trim and the walls. My parents helped paint, stain, and take apart pallets. They were very involved with this project and provided endless help and also always provided food which was AMAZING because it was one less thing we had to worry about taking up time in our already tight schedule.  THANK YOU! 

In trying to write about it, it almost feels like a blur. We just worked so hard and then all the sudden it all came together. There were so many little details and on the very last day (literally finished 1 hour before we left) everything came together so perfectly. The colors, the feel, the fit, just the whole thing. I haven’t even really processed it all yet! But when I look around I see something and think “oh yeah, I remember working on that in the garage before I even knew where it went in the camper!” 

So anyway, it was hard, but it was so much fun and we all had such a good time putting it together. And now that it’s done, we have a tiny house on wheels and knowing that we did it all ourselves makes it so much more rewarding and I love every inch of it. Plus, it feels SO much bigger than the boat and we have a separate shower with hot water, and a separate bathroom with a bathroom sink!  It feels so fancy 🙂 Enjoy the photos and video tour. Stay tuned for a time-lapse and a more in depth tour later on. 

P.S. We are still trying to name it.. we are having a hard time coming up with a name we both like that we feel fits. If you have any ideas please let us know! 

An Update

So much has happened and changed over the last 6 months that I didn’t know where to start with this blog update. So I finally decided to just start where we left off, and take my time getting caught up to the current time- which, by the way, I would have never believed someone if they told me where i’d be sitting right now. Life is full of twists and turns and I am thankful that I have just been able to sit back and enjoy the journey. Kyle left you guys off with his last post of amazing scuba diving. During all his posts, I was living at an Ashram in the Bahamas doing an intensive yoga teacher training. So I guess i’ll start there. That experience is a difficult thing to put into words and honestly, I am still processing everything I learned there. But i’ll give it a go. 

There were 36 of us in this particular 200hr TTC (teacher training course). There were only a few of us from the United States, everyone else was from various countries around the world. We quickly became very close as we spent from 6am-10pm 6 days a week together. The schedule of the training was very strict and very demanding. It went something like this: 

Wake up Bell: 5:30am 

Satsang: Silent Meditation and chanting: 6am-7:30am

Yoga Class: 8am-10am

Brunch 10am-11:30am

Philosophy/Lecture: 12-1:30pm

Bhagavad Gita/Chanting Class: 2:30-3:30pm

How to Teach Yoga Class: 4pm-6pm 

Dinner: 6pm-6:45pm

Karma Yoga: 6:45pm-7:45pm

Satsang: Silent Meditation and Chanting/Lecture: 8pm-10pm

We had Thursdays off, but still had to attend Satsangs and had to study and do homework as there was SO much homework and studying. The housing varied for each person depending on what they chose. I, of course, chose to camp. So my tent was set up in a nice shaded area and I lived out of my tent for 30 days. This particular Ashram is also a yoga vacation center, so there are many more people than just the teachers and TTC students. Sometimes there were over 300 people at the Ashram, other times half that. But basically it was a busy place filled with people from around the world all taking time to go inward and focus on themselves and disconnect from the outside world. This experience was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. I thought that hiking the Appalachian Trail or rowing down the Mississippi River would be more difficult, but I was wrong. This course challenged me so incredibly much both mentally and physically that it broke me down many times. There were days that I would find myself in tears all day. I was unable to understand why this was happening and it wasn’t just happening to me. It would happen to people randomly throughout the course. Through all this yoga and chanting and intense breathing exercises we were cleansing ourselves physically and emotionally, and with that, a lot of emotions and feelings that I didn’t even know existed were surfaced. We were forced to go within and find silence. Finding silence within is so incredibly difficult and a bit scary. The mind does not want to be silent, it just wants to keep going and going, but my teachers taught me how to silence the inner voice. How to sit and be completely present. I learned how to gain control of my mind and my thoughts and realized that I am separate from my thoughts. I can control my thoughts, they do not control me. All of this was very profound and has been impacting my life greatly the last 6 months. I left the Ashram after 30 days with the title of a Yoga Teacher, but really I left with some of the most amazing friends and a much deeper understanding of myself and the universe. And most of all, an extreme urge and need to delve deeper into the teachings and practice of yoga as a whole. Here are some photos from my time at the Ashram. I’ll leave it at that, but if anyone has any particular questions, please feel free to reach out.

Kyle was able to join me at the Ashram for about a week. He slept on the boat which was anchored right off the Ashram’s dock (you can only get to the ashram by boat) but otherwise spent his days at the Ashram partcipating in a meditation course and joining all the meals and yoga courses. I didn’t get to see him a lot during the day, but it was nice to share meals and I was so grateful he was able to meet all the friends I had made. The day after I graduated Kyle came and picked me up in the dinghy. It was a Sunday and we went to the grocery store in Nassau because we were leaving the following morning for the Exumas. I hadn’t left the little world of the Ashram for over a month, and going to the grocery store in Nassau was quite the shock. Cars, noises, colorful signs, bright lights, etc. It took me a minute to adjust, but we enjoyed the rest of our evening gathering supplies for our crossing the next morning. 

On Monday morning we motored out of the incredibly busy Nassau Harbor and turned South towards the Exuma Island Chain. Kyle had been stuck in the busy harbor on and off for a month, and was SO excited to be leaving. I was just excited to be back on the boat and continuing on with our journey. We had a perfect passage with the wind in our favor and calm seas. I had forgotten just how clear the water was, and found myself transfixed on watching as Sirocco surged through the subtle waves. That night we arrived at Highborne Cay just as the sun had set. The next day we went swimming and snorkeling and explored the area a bit. We had some friends from St. Petersburg who also had sailed to the Bahamas, and we finally met up. So when they arrived that night we all met at an inhabited little island and had a bonfire. We shared drinks and stories and experiences of our similar but also very different journeys from Florida to the Bahamas. It was awesome to spend time with some friends our age and we made plans to meet up later on in Georgetown, farther down the Exumas. 

At this point it was the beginning of February, we had to be in Georgetown by February 20th in order to catch a plane back to St. Petersburg. Right around Christmas time we received news that my dad had been diagnosed with late stage throat cancer. Obviously it was very difficult and scary news, and we knew that we would be flying back when his treatment started. So during my time at the Ashram I purchased plane tickets for Kyle and I to fly out of Georgetown on February 21st. Being that we were on a bit of a time crunch, we decided to choose places we were most interested in seeing, and island hop to those places. The Exumas consist of over 365 islands (most of which are uninhabited) and span over a hundred miles. Within the Exumas is the Exuma Land and Sea Park, which is 176 square miles and was the first land and sea park in the world. Many of the islands within the park have moorings that you can rent for a few nights, which Kyle and I did at a place called Waderick Wells. We enjoyed a 4-5 mile hike across the entire island that took the entire day. It was unreal. Cliffs (well the Bahamas version of cliffs) overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean and half a mile in the other direction crystal clear calm water of the Exuma Sound. It was by far my most favorite place in the Bahamas, and we enjoyed every moment of our time there. From there we continued South and stopped at various islands along the way. We found awesome snorkeling, ruins to explore, and lots of really great sailing and anchorages. I didn’t write much during our time in the Exumas, so will allow the pictures to speak for the rest of our journey there. 

Once we arrived in Georgetown we enjoyed a few days of going to the bar, checking out the town, and hanging with our friends who were also there. It was hot, so we spent a lot of time swimming. Georgetown is a huge meeting ground for sailors, and while we were there, there were over 300 cruising boats from around the world. 

So, then February 21st came along and it was time to fly out for what was supposed to be 2 weeks for Kyle and 4 weeks for me. So we secured the boat at anchor, battoned down the hatches, and had our friends keep an eye on it. We didn’t feel that 2 weeks was a very long time to leave the boat, so while we finished off all the perishable food, we didn’t empty our water tanks or pantries, we didn’t take down the sails, we didn’t do A LOT of things we would have done, had we known Covid19 was going to come and change everything. We had planned to sail for 3 more months this season and end in the Dominican Replublic. So anyway, we made our way to Florida to help my dad through his 7 week cancer treatment. When we arrived he was already in week 3. There is so much to say about his treatment and what it was like. But I am not sure if I want to share that yet, so I might save that for another day. I will say though, that he is a fighter, and I could have never imagined how awful it would be, but also how much learning and growing would be involved. (He is now 3 months post treatment and healing- slowly but surely! And we found out yesterday that his treatment WORKED!!) 

So while we were at my parents house for the treatment, the virus hit. It all seems a bit like a blur, between my dad’s treatment and Covid19 and lockdown and quarantine and finding out that the Bahamas had shut their borders. But basically what happened is in March the Bahamas shut their borders and our flights were cancelled and we have been stuck in Florida ever since. And Sirocco is still just sitting at anchor 4 months later. We had friends to look after her for the first couple months, but now all the boats have left and she’s one of the few left. It’s hurricane season and she isn’t in a safe spot. It’s been rough because it is so completley out of our control and there is nothing we can do except be patient. We didn’t pack very many clothes or personal belongings and as I mentioned above, did not prepare the boat for such a long separation. But after a few days of the reality of the situation setting in, we decided to just be grateful. Grateful that we even have a boat in the Bahamas to worry about. Grateful that we were able to stay with my parents through the entirety of the treatment all the way into the healing stage, grateful to have a house, food, and a garage to work on projects. Kyle and I try to plan and prepare for every situation we can think of to keep ourselves and our boat safe, but there was just no way to plan for a global pandemic- so instead of being hard on ourselves about being “unprepared”, we let it go and moved on. Sirocco is our home and we miss her greatly, but we just keep praying that she’ll be there waiting for us when we get to her. We currently have flights for July 17th for the weekend and plan to move her to a safer spot for hurricane season. Crossing our fingers this second wave of Covid doesn’t change that. 

And so being that Kyle and I seem to be incapable of sitting still.. we took on another, totally unexpected project. We felt a bit displaced when we were separated from the boat. We had my parent’s house which was awesome, but we didn’t like that we didn’t have a place of our own in the US if something ever did happen to the boat. We aren’t interested in buying a house (nor do we have the money to do so) or renting an apartment.. so instead we bought a 1965 airstream camper! And as is our style, it was completely gutted and had to be completely renovated. It took us 6 weeks of working 12-15 hours a day. It was a major project, but so much fun and turned out AMAZING. Stay tuned for my next post to see photos of the camper and a final update of what we are up to next (Kyle gets his dream job!) Cheers! 

Sunken Ships

Kyle Runs Solo: Post 3 of 3 

Written by: Kyle Hawkins

Now Max2 had never been sailing really. I had taken him out on the lake on a Buccaneer 18 once and he had since tried sailing a Sunfish on his own without much success. But we have known each other since we were young teens and had grown up together thick as thieves. We had lived together a couple of times while snow-bumming out West and we both consider each other brothers in the truest sense. Some of the adventures and mis-adventures we had and went through as kids certify this title as irrevocable and as it goes with good friends and some family, it never matters how long since you last spoke- you never missed a beat, maybe just a story or two. 

He arrived at the airport only slightly delayed due to weather; leaving behind sub-zero degree temperatures for the comfortable mid 70’s weather we were having in Nassau was easily done and he was in high spirits. I began to introduce him to some of the nuances of traveling here and we instantly were having a good time. His goals were diving. Him and I had shared a few diving and snorkeling adventures in the FL Keys and now that we were both actually certified, we had our sights on wreck diving. I had found us 5 wrecks that were under 65’, which is perfect diving in my opinion and only had a day to kill before the weather to move the 15 nm west to Cliftons Bay became available. We sight saw and toured downtown Nassau, Max2 actually wanted to see the forts, which I enjoy so the day was easily spent. We enjoyed some fresh Conch Salad, and this time I remembered to bring crackers to go with it- something more than one local commented they had never seen before, which I find a bit odd, since that is the way Ceviche is served all through Central America and at many restaurants. Conch salad is really just conch ceviche anyway it seems. 

This was to be his first adventure aboard a full size sailing yacht. His first offshore sail, and his first time sailing with me now that I had a little experience. We went to the fuel dock and filled up on water and bought 5 gallons of diesel. We had a great time with the guys selling fuel, who intimidated Max2 with shark stories concerning some of the wrecks we planned to dive. They knew me on sight by now and we have a good rep-or going. We cleared harbor control and motorsailed out past the cruise ships, everything for Max2 was so new, he had lots of questions and took lots of photos and we had a marvelous time talking about everything. Once we were out into the tongue of the ocean, the swell still a bit large for a first timer, at 3-5 ft with a few double ups thrown in of course, Max2 showed some uneasiness, but never faltered and kept plenty calm. He was a great help on the sail over and seemed to enjoy the trip after we settled in a bit.  Sirocco whisked us along and we even surfed a few times at over 9 knots, which Max2 seemed to enjoy the rushing of it all. Before we knew it, it was time to turn in towards the entrance. I had chosen to come into the first entrance to the bay, on the north side, as the swell was less intense on the lower NW edge of the island. I left the mainsail up thinking we could motor sail in, but it became quickly apparently that it needed to come down as all it was doing is flogging in 15-20 knots of wind. I left Max2 at the helm and went ahead to pull it down and although we swerved a bit on our course, once the main was down it was an easy run up to anchor. We both seem to feel good about the entire run down, me having grown confidence in my new shipmate and him some confidence in the boat on the sea. We really looked forward to our dive the next day. I needed to go over the side and look at the anchor and Max2 lost no time in joining me, we spent the next hour or more exploring the sandy bottom of the bay. Came up, boiled some water for our rinse, and enjoyed a warm shower/rinse off. 

Danielle and I have used a fresh water shower system devised by Hal & Margarette Roth for our entire boat life, its an all black (to block UV) commercial air pump pressurized chemical sprayer that we put a kitchen dish rinsing spray head on the end of its hose. We have had it 6+ years and it has only needed a little lube and a new hose thus far. Warm pressurized water makes you feel so much fresher than a sponge bath. The entire shower goes something like this: first attach the short stainless shower hose with valved (on/off) garden “shower” sprayer head to the electrically pressurized salt water outlet in cockpit footwell and tie the spray head up under the boom to form your endless pressured shower head. Next, either jump overboard (preferably off the bowsprit in a backflip motion) or simply turn on the garden shower and have a complete shower- soap, shave, rinse, whatever. Last, pour the boiling kettle of water into the 2/3 full chemical sprayer and pump until fully pressurized- enjoy a hot rinse in fresh water and maybe a second soaping if needed, depending upon how long you have sustained without washing. It leaves you feeling as clean as any shower I have ever had ashore. Agreeably not as convenient, but just as effective. 

We made a big dinner of lackeis. My Jewish friend Max1 taught me how to make them, they are a traditional food of the culture, essentially a fried potato pancake and typically eaten with applesauce and sour cream: amazing. We both are early to bed early risers, so turned in after dinner. We were up plenty early, but didn’t have anywhere to be until after 10am (when the sun is highest). So we just hung out at the boat catching up and made a huge breakfast of egg sandwiches. 

The first dive was called Tears of Allah and is an big tug boat sunk for a James Bond movie along with a plane in the same spot. We really enjoyed it. Stuarts Cove is a large dive charter outfit on the south western end of New Providence and they have sunk many wrecks and done huge amounts of work to keep this area clean and diver oriented. We went back to the bay and after putting down the anchor immediately went snorkeling nearby in the dink. Upon our return from snorkeling we decided to go on a mission to fill our two dive tanks at Stuarts Cove dive shop. We loaded up the dinghy with the tanks/cart and set off for the shore. We had not walked long with our thumbs up when a nice young couple stopped and picked us up. There is only one road on this end of the island, so hitching rides is very easy. They were headed right past Stuarts and so dropped us off. We got the tanks filled without an issue, but found that renting a second set of tanks for tomorrow was not really available. It was the typical situation of “some moron before you ruined it for everyone, sorry” these types of situations are very prevalent in the USA, as it seems everything must be idiot proof these days and cater to the lowest common IQ denominator, but it made me a bit sad to run into it here in the Bahamas. One of the things I loved about Central America was there was no warning labels anywhere for anything- so nice. Here in the Bahamas its a mixed bag, depending on the origin or intended market of the product. 

Now that our tanks were full, we were talking with the compressor technician about the idiots/jerks that ruined our chances of renting some tanks when a big tall Bahamian approached us asking if we were ready to leave- leave? “Yeah, the bus is leaving soon and I take you back”, “we are on a yacht at anchor in Cliftons Bay”, “no problem mun- I go right by there”. So we wheeled our tanks over to the bus and got aboard. It was a short ride and we told the driver (who had never in his life been diving as he was afraid of sharks) he could drop us off at on the side of the road, “no mun, I want to go see the water, I will bring you right down to the beach” and so he did. We barely walked 50’ on the entire way back. It was a great adventure filled with friendly people and laughter- as usual. 

The next morning we were discussing what to have for breakfast when I mentioned putting eggs in sweet pepper rings and since Max2 had never had that before, that’s what he cooked us, with the rings stuffed into sandwiches of buttered and mayo covered toast with cheese, epic. Our first dive was at a large and famous wreck called: Ray of Hope. They bait/feed sharks at the wreck site and there is a very health wall dive nearby as well, so this dive was full of anticipation and not only did it fulfill, it succeeded. By far the best dive I have ever had. Big sharks, big wrecked ship, lots of fish and sea life, super huge wall- falling almost 2,000’ and overall just an awesome experience. The Ray of Hope is about 300’ long and nerf sharks live under it, while Reef, Mako and Black Tip cruise around it in case of chumming/feeding. We only encountered Reef sharks of 6-8ft in size close in by us, but in the distance the big sharks estimated at 8-12’ were on patrol and clearly visible. We were careful to dive shoulder to shoulder or shoulder to hip in tight formation whenever we were out in the open in order to seem as large as possible. These sharks deal with divers every day the conditions allow diving and often multiple times a day, so they are very desensitized to our presence, and non aggressive, but this defensive diving technique also gives you and your dive buddy some confidence since we are just a team and not a group. We also had a pre-dive refresher on our hand signals and came up with a plan of action in case of aggressive behavior: essentially a back to back ascent to 20’ and then a side swim of locked elbows back to the boat allowing us to always keep our eyes open to all available approach angles and legs/arms in a subsequent defensive position for each other. Sharks, like any natural predator, want an easy lunch, not a fight, and while none of this was really necessary on this dive, sound thought and practice none the less. Lots of high fives after the dive. 

We sailed 2 miles over to Stuarts Cove private canal and anchored outside, rowed Lucy ashore and got our tanks filled. We were the talk of the town to say the least, rowing up in 7’ Lucy with dive tanks to fill. Everyone, especially the tourists were saying something. “That little boat is SO cute” is the most common thing I hear about that boat. But as usual it was a simple thing and off we went with another full set of tanks. We next dove the “Willaurrie” wreck, with is actually 3 wrecks right next to each other. One being an awesome classic tugboat laying slightly on its side so you can see the entire thing, like a model on display. There is also some very awesome reef striations all around, which were fun. Another great dive, even though we only found 2 of the 3 wrecks on the chart, we couldn’t have been happier. Our anchorage was only 10-15 minutes away and we were still riding high, to cheers a cold drink and watch the sunset. Dinner was good, but not memorable enough to know what we ate. We were able to put everything away dry before bed and sleep came easy. We were sailing early the next day, but into headwinds and so we had the boat buttoned up tight in preparation.

We were underway before 7 and had a somewhat slow, but comfortable sail back to Nassau. There is a tidal stream that runs all along the edge of the island in the tongue, bringing water from the deep (3,000’) “Tongue of the Ocean” on and off the banks which are very shallow (10-30’). Sirocco is also not a hull design that points well, her strengths are carrying capacity and motion comfort, but motoring is so lame on a sailing ship, so we took our time and enjoyed ourselves. Max2 also enjoyed the windvane “I don’t understand why every boat wouldn’t have one of these”.  He says to me, “so fricken great.” I heartily agree of course, Danielle and I being windvane worshippers ourselves. On our way south, Max2 and I hand steered, the conditions and length of the trip were so that we didn’t really need the windvane. But no human can steer so well into the wind as a proper windvane- every lift, every drop, perfectly accounted for, always sailing the ship as efficiently as the hull allows- endlessly without fatigue or a moments delay. A big thank you to the men who contributed so much to sailing and brought such a device into existence. 

After arriving into Nassau, Max2 and I anchored up right in front of the ashram, we actually had a time of it too. Which is unusual for Sirocco. But Nassau harbor is famous for being poor holding and full of debris. So over the side I went and picked us a nice spot, we set the anchor well since I would be laying to it for a couple weeks and the usual cold fronts were coming. Then we went to visit Danielle on her day off and spent time on the beach. Max2 and I had not spent any time on the beach yet and its a good beach. We enjoyed our time with Danielle, especially me as you may imagine. Toured the Ashram and laughed a lot with the three of us sharing stories of the things that have been happening in our lives. We enjoyed a vegan dinner together at a picnic table in the garden of the Ashram and afterwards said goodbye to Danielle so she could do her karma yoga. 

Another great day and Max2 was leaving the next one. So we he packed up most things and got kinda ready. He was trying not to forget anything, a curse it seems all humans suffer from. The next morning we cleaned the boat out and I went ashore with him and we had lunch at a local restaurant, it had the most peculiar decor, all done in neo-modern black and white, everything black and white. But the food was good and I got him on his bus with a full stomach and snacks in his bag for the plane ride back to freezing cold WI. He missed his daughter terribly and was very excited to see her, so the cold didn’t seem to phase him in the least. We exchanged a big hug and off he went. I went into a shop I was familiar with and bought a couple of little ginger buns made locally that I am quite partial to and started my walk home to the empty boat. 

The next few days I did all sorts of projects around the boat, stuff I had wanted to do before we left FL, but had been to busy living and loving the moment to deal with. I reached out to a few friends on the phone and generally just enjoyed some quiet time. Years ago, time alone was hard for me, I would put myself into dark and brooding moods and languish around in a mild depression. These days I enjoy it, I like me and my life and I get myself into all sorts of wonderful tangents, allowing my mind freedom to explore and be creative. Unfortunately my design computer is not in working order right now, it has suffered some sort of BIOS (basic input/output settings) malfunction and so I took to sketching on paper and making notes- something I have been doing for many years. 99% of the time these ideas never make it past this stage, sketching/notes finds all sorts of holes and unusable parts in them, but I find this free thinking and problem solving so enjoyable and positive that I always encourage myself. For example, one million seconds is 12 days and one billion seconds is 31 years- the lottery is 5 billion to one and while I have no doubt I may spend my entire life on the these ideas and never get an idea of monetary success, that is not the point for me and I’m happy just thinking my way through them. 

I then spent 5 days at the ashram, living in a way very close to how Danielle had been for weeks. It was great fun to share meals together, meet her friends, and learn about her journey a little. I then came back to the boat 3 days before her return and spent a lot of time cleaning. Max1 and Max2 had quite graciously helped me clean the boat thoroughly before each of them had left, but this was bigger than that. I got everything ready for Danielles return and our departure. I was very ready to leave Nassau harbor for good. It had treated me as well as it could, but my patience for the place was used up. We were to sail very soon after she came back to the boat. 

I picked her up on a Sunday, we came home and laughed and talked as she unpacked, we went grocery shopping and get the boat ready to leave. The next morning we got water/fuel and sailed for the Exumas! Off on another adventure. 





Kyle continues from last post..

A staging anchorage is one of my favorite cruising tricks. Topping off our tanks and moving the 5-6 miles to Rose Island were the only things we had to do that day, nothing rushed- lots of time to talk and laugh with the locals at the fuel dock. This move saves (stages) us at least an hour ahead on our passage and prevents any harbor or traffic delays in getting underway the next morning; as well as getting the boat and crew into “Passage Mode” on the sail over. We also took a specific route into the anchorage that made for a longer trip into it, but gave us the opportunity to lay a GPS track and get our eyes on the path through the reefs we would be taking in the dark the next morning.

We went ashore for some fresh coconuts, came back to the boat and dined on a big meal. Set up everything for our breakfast, and turned in early.

Danielle and I were first introduced to Max1 at the Municipal Marina in Downtown St. Peterburg. Danielle had valiantly helped me get our first boat and home together down to FL from WI. A 1972 C&C 27 MK2 (tall rig). I had spent over 2 years revitalizing her in WI and thanks in no small part to the help and support of loved ones she had arrived in FL and was eventually launched at Salt Creek and motored into her slip right across the alley from Max1’s 1970 C&C 27 MK1. We never really spoke until Danielle left to hike the Appalachian trail and I dinghied over one afternoon with a couple beers in my hand, across the alley to make his acquaintance. Although he admired my choice to row over rather than walk and enjoyed the beers, our first meeting put him on edge slightly due to my incessant questioning, a habit that is no better today than it was then, but after some reassurance from a mutual friend, we quickly became close friends, sharing a passion for self sufficient exploration of the earth under sail. For those of you who have been following Danielle’s writing faithfully over the years (thank you) but you will remember our adventure aboard his 40’ Dufour A9000 through the western Caribbean, Panama Canal and up to Costa Rica. So Max1 and I were no strangers to sailing together and we split no hairs about our goals for his trip.

We woke at 4:30, much to Max1’s chagrin, but he was a good sport and we had eaten a big meal of oats and GORP (good old raisins and peanut butter) and with coffee in our mugs, we upped anchor at 5 and were headed out in a nice breeze. We motorsailed through the reef (1 mile travel) before turning east and pointing for Eleuthera- 45 miles to go. We were pinched up right from the beginning, but not so hard that we couldn’t sail happily along. We had good conditions and made good time arriving off the coast without trouble in less than 9.5 hours. We had aimed high on purpose, it gave us faster sailing and the 5 miles north of our intended anchorage of Hatchet Bay allowed us to survey the entire “climbing zone”.

During our survey Max1 set his sights on a large spire standing alone and about 60’ tall. Despite the fading afternoon light (we had a lovely sunset view by the way), we anchored up in the open sea and dinghied in under oars. Max stood upon the back of the boat and grabbed the wall “Let me know when” I said as we moved in the swell, he said “Ready” and lifted off the dinghy and I quickly paddled out from the wall and took up position as amateur photographer. He was delighted and climbed 30-40 ft and stood to one side on a big ledge, proud of the climb and nervous of the jump. It took him some time to get ready to leap off the ledge, but landed safely enough. I personally found it funny that the climb was of so little effort but the jump gave him such pause. For me it would have been the opposite.

After such an unexpected early success we motor to our anchorage sighting new climbing lines along the way for tomorrow and feeling quite happy with the trip already. The next day we climbed in the morning, Max1 finding another 2-3 routes up the walls on the coast. Then snorkeled some off lying boulders, having forgotten his mask, Max1 and I took turns sharing mine. I sighted a big ray, which he missed, but he got the best sunlight, while I found lots of cloud cover each time I descended.

We then came into anchor and decided to make a shore excursion and see if we could get a look at a popular big cave near the anchorage aptly named Hatchet Bay Cave. We dinghied in towards a rocky shore and threw our anchor astern as we came near, we then tied the anchor line so the boat was just in reach of the dock, after unloading both of us and backpack (we carried lots of flashlights, water, some snacks), we then walked the bow line of the dinghy up the shore. This walking up the shore puts the anchor rode at an ever increasing angle and subsequently makes the line to short for the boat to reach the shore. You then tie the line off on a tree/rock/whatever and the boat is safely out of reach of the shore and left to float serenely on its own, the anchor keeping your dinghy out of reach of the rocks, jetty, and whatever other floatsam you might wish to avoid.. Or curious walker by’s as well.

We walked out to the main highway “Queens Highway” and stuck up our thumb as we walked and not long after a nice lady stopped and offered to take us to the road. She shared some local advice and lively conversation with us for the 5min ride and then we said our goodbyes and walked down the dirt road. There is a sign on the highway that says “CAVE”. We had read the entrance was not easy to find, with some people complaining rather loudly, but that turned out to be laughable. There is a culdasac of mowed grass/brush and the cave entrance is the only path leading off the circle, it made me think that those who did not find it, should not have found it. Admittedly, the path is not big and a bit obscured by grass and brush, but it seemed pretty obvious to us.

The cave is vast, far larger than we would have ever guessed. It’s absolutely beautiful with some very large formations and interesting creatures. Like hermit crabs feeding on guano and some tiny little bats chittering. Few roaches, but not too many, I imagine the hermit crabs keep their population under control. Sadly the entire place is covered in spray paint signature graffiti, not the incredible art of an inner city, but just poorly done names and scribbles- zero talent vandalism. Many of the signatures were from visiting yachts and that particularly broke my heart. It is my opinion that every human has a responsibility to the next generation, but we vagabonding sailors especially have a responsibility to our cruising community to always be on good behavior because like it or not, we are all judged together. They say the US is the land of the free and in a business sense, we certainly are beyond compare, but due to our population density and subsequent number of visitors to these types of special places, as well as our entrepreneurial spirit, a cave of this caliber would certainly require a fee and be restricted in the US. You would have to come during specific hours and if you didn’t need a reservation, you would certainly need to pay for a guide and only be allowed to see a small portion of what Max1 and I enjoyed. But in the Bahamas as with so many of these developing counties, true freedom is at hand! We showed up just before dark, and were free to roam through every nook and cranny, touch (carefully/lightly with one finger) anything we like and generally had no-one and nothing to stand in our way of experiencing the full glory of this natural wonder. An amazing experience. After we made our way through the entire cave, you end up standing below a large hole in the ground with a random and somewhat untrustworthy looking rope ladder as your only way out. Unless you want to walk all the way back.. So we did a riggers safety check, chugging our weight down upon the lines individually, testing their strength and feeling satisfied, we climbed to the trail above to enjoy second sunset over the ocean and descending farm fields before us.

After hitching our way back to town, I had a beer at a local bar while Max1 smoked the local hand rolled cigars and watch the basketball game. Everyone is incredibly friendly and genuinely curious of us and we subsequently enjoyed ourselves fully. Before leaving we enquired around about where to have dinner and set off with some vague and seemingly random instructions. Based upon passed experience we knew we were most likely looking for someone’s house with some extra tables/chairs in the front room. We asked a couple other folks, stopped in at someone’s personal front yard BBQ, which they have all set up right against the road on impressively large double length drum grills and finally found our destination. We both had fish, but of different types and the helpings were generous and very tasty for a modest amount. The food is not as inexpensive and Central America, being that so much of the Bahamas is comparable or even more expensive than typical US prices, but once you get away from the cruise ships, it at least becomes reasonable again. We carried the table and chairs back inside the house, as we had brought them onto the porch for our dinner, said our thank you’s and headed back to the bar for a football game Max1 wanted to see “at least one quarter”. As we came in we were offered our old pair of seats and it looked like someone was sitting in one them, but we were encouraged and not 5 minutes later someone came to get the can of soda from the spot- it certainly was were he was sitting! We got up to move and he would hear nothing of it, in one sip, he finished his can of soda and walked over to a new seat. The prodominant way of drinking at this establiment was to spend $6 dollars on a small bottle of your choice and then simply buy cans of soda as you need them. This man said “I am finished! I am finished! (Holding his empty bottle) sit, sit, sit!” So we sat and enjoyed the game, me with my beer and Max1 with his cigar. The lines of loyalty to the football teams was of course a great discussion amongst the watchers and people were a bit surprised I had none. But while I played the sport quite a bit when I was young, I have no interest in watching it and consider most of it a bit over the top and dramatic. A little to “Reality TV” for me. Amazing athletes to be sure- but the game is presented in a way I can’t handle. So many breaks, so much dead time and the ads- ugh. But the reality is that I don’t really follow any sports at all. I sometimes follow a few offshore sailboat races online, I like the solo sailing speed record attempts of ocean crossings, or any of the solo round the world racing, especially their machines. Unless you’re a sailor its hard to understand or even really guess at the mental stamina and discipline to race a sailboat for 40-60 days straight, alone, in one of the harshest environments on earth. Feeding yourself, sleeping, weather routing, repairs, sail changes and of course keeping the machine moving as fast as you can at all times. I also still like snowboarding comps, or trials bikes, some of the off-road racing, things where the majority of the participants are underpaid, overworked and generally speaking entrepreneurs of their own creation- you know, real sports of passion and sacrifice- no whiners and very little glamour. Worthy of admiration in my book.

Anyways, sitting at the bar with (for me) not much to do, we were soon approached by a believer of the good book who wanted to have an in-depth discussion on the spot about our creation belief mythology. He had had a couple drinks and I expected this to go badly in a hurry, but on the contrary he was very open to listening and took what we had to say seriously and so we in turn gave him the same respect and a fun and engaging discussion was had by all.

Max1 felt as though he had seen enough of the game and was so we hiked back to the dinghy in order to go to our floating home. We both agreed it had been a complete success of a day!

When it comes to anchoring, Danielle and I have taken on the style of the high latitude sailors: we carry a our “storm” sized anchor as our main bower and use it every time we anchor and so do not carry a second bow anchor nor an anchor stored in the bilge. Our main anchor is a true “storm size” about 2-3 steps above the manufacturer recommended size for our boat. It’s always ready to roll as we never remove it, as is our kedge anchor(stern anchor), also kept ready to throw into the dinghy anytime we need to point our bow into the swell or pull ourselves off the dirt. Both anchors have 300’ of rode, the bower all 3/8” chain, the kedge some small chain and 300’ 3/4” nylon. So if we needed it, say to anchor offshore of a challenging entrance for the tide, we could easily rig 600’ for our bower or disconnect the kedge and run the line ashore for a med-moore. The stern rode is kept figure-eighted in our starboard cockpit bench and the bow anchor has a dedicated anchor locker. The point of this digression is to help you understand that with this configuration it free’s up one entire anchor locker and Sirocco being a classic design has spacious anchor lockers, so we keep a pair of folding bikes in the spare one. Since the oracle (weather app) said it was blowing 20+ knots all day and our morning coffee in the cockpit agreed with the oracle, Max1 and I got the bikes out and went ashore to explore. We planned to bike all the way to the glass bridge, about 8 miles each way. Before we left we made veggie sandwiches for lunch and stocked up heavily on snacks/water. We anchored the dink in the same style described above, but this time off the commercial stone crab peer, were we met Ralph. Ralph took us to the refrigeration building, gave us tour of the facility and sold us some fresh stone crab claws at a generous price. He was proud of the sustainability of Stone crab and the safety and efficiency of their current process. We immediately put a couple in our sandwich cooler and with a large amount of anticipation regarding lunch, peddled off. About 4 miles into our trip we stopped at “Surfers Beach” for lunch. It was a very enjoyable and beautiful spot, a wonderful offshore bar break and a small point break were the Atlantic Ocean swell could curl and blow off its endless energy. There are some hardcore “leatherback” locals who have assembled basic huts on the beach from floatsam garbage with plenty of good seating. At lunch I began to notice, I was very fatigued and had a strong general malaise. Max1 had arrived with some sort of cold brought down from the north land, but had felt he was not contagious. This proved unlikely as what followed for me was easily predicted by him based on his recent experience. We turned back and biked homeward due to my fatigue. We made a nice long rest stop primarily for me to pull myself together, at a “7 to 11” gas station/general store for Klondike bars and local people watching. By the time we got back to the boat I was basically delirious with fever and fatigue, completely overtaken and wiped out. I bundled up against the 75f degree (freezing!) temperatures and laid upon the settee moaning my agony between naps while Max1 cooked us a dinner of Annies Mac-n-cheese. After napping for a few hours before, I pulled myself together to joyously fight my way through some claws and then collapsed again while Max1 did all the dishes and cleaning up as well- a real trooper! I told him “ Thank you so much my friend!” His response “ahh, only fair for bringing this plague upon your house” -cracked me up.. Although, that may have been true, its hard to know the gestation period of an cold. The Mayo Clinic says “1-3 days” and it had been two since his arrival, but I would have encouraged him to come cold or not anyway and so did not cast blame or complain to him for it.

The next day we went on a dinghy mission, Max1 climbed 3 new routes and even snorkeled a bit. I was dinghy support man in my pants, long sleeve and sun hat – mid 80’s temps. We then went back and moved Sirocco north along the coast, stopping along the way for climbs, keeping the dink lifted up along side while underway. We sailed the entire way, sailing on and off the anchor as we went along. I made one climb up a short and simple ledge to gain the top and sat down to enjoy the view. We also discovered a sea cave and this was the first time in my life that I caught the fire and wonder of treasure hunting. The near vertical limestone coast of Eleuthera has been hollowed out right at tide level to make a nice undercut, as you might have seen in some of our photos. Well there must have been a cavity of very soft rock, or perhaps at one time a descending rain stream, because as we laid low in the dinghy to push ourselves under this ledge it opened up into a magnificent cave! 15-20ft in height with multiple caverns in front of us and beautiful color variations in the rock and even a little lagoon for the dinghy. I tell you it was straight out of the books of movies about pirate treasure and made the discovery very exciting. As we walked the 20 yards down the large cavern, there was the usual collection of roaches enjoying a life of infinite guano and while that part is certainly not pretty, it did not dull our ardor to push on to the end of it- just to make sure there was not a pile of silver to be found out of site.. haha I would imagine there are more caves located along their coast. It would certainly not be a summer wasted spent swimming along it each calm day and exploring them.

We ended our day at Pittman’s Cove. Is a very cool little bite out of the limestone coast and has a nice waterfront access to a small town (same one we had stopped for Klondikes at the 7 to 11 previously). We set two anchors to hold us in the proper position, a maneuver Max1 had never performed and enjoyed. We covered the sails and discussed dinner options. Max1 rowing ashore for his favorite Sour Patch Kids candy and soda. We made a Duff for dinner based on a recipe from a Honduran grandmothers “famous” Duff. It was honestly pretty terrible. The steamed dumpling though which is the true core of any “duff” was quite good. I am great admirer of William H. Tilman and having recently finished a collection of his 8 sailing/mountain exploration stories and hearing endless praise for the “true belly timber of a good duff” I had dreamed of this duff for a long time and so was a bit sourly disappointed.

If anyone knows of a British Duff recipe PLEASE post it in the comments. My search has been fruitless. It seems that at one time this sort of dish was so common and variable that no one seems to have written it down for todays age.

The next day we were off on the bikes again, this time it was only 3 miles each way to Glass Bridge and we would not be denied! It was a great mission with a stop at “The Queens Baths” and some seemingly risky climbing all over the Glass Bridge ravine. Quite enjoyable though and we made it back to the boat for a relaxing lunch of veggie sandwiches and fried plantains. We then went on a dinghy climbing mission and exploration of the nearby area farther north. There is a rather fancy golf club that looks hilariously out of place on the coast up past Annies Bite. We also say a little raccoon sleeping in the face of a high sea cave enjoying the sun, he never paid us any mind and seemed quite content. I was led to believe that raccoons experience a rare respect here in the Bahamas.

Back at the boat, we readied the ship for passage. Putting up lee cloths and stretching sheets on the beds, while putting everything in its home along the way. It was time to head back to Nassau and we had decided the best weather for doing so was a night passage and the moon being nearly full, we were very excited! Few things have the romance of sailing fast at night under a full moon and the weather app made it look like it would be a wonderful passage. We put together a great hearty soup for dinner and added the rest of our steamed dumpling (duff) into the soup for the last two minutes of boiling. It was really a treat and made our soup something powerful. We then took disco naps and started picking up anchors at 11pm. We were motorsailing on a nice reach in a light breeze when I went down for some sleep about 23:30 with Max1 on first watch. When I came up at just before 2am to find we were making 6+ knots I began to laugh a little and quickly shut down the engine. By the end of my watch we were sailing in the mid 6’s and surfing to mid 7’s under all plain sail over a calm sea with the moon making it seem a magical type of mood lit daylight. The wind vain doing all the work and the boat practically leaping with joy as she rushed through the water, bouncing merrily along to her song of wind and wave. When I came up at about 6am, Max1 was thoroughly enjoying himself and we romanticized about sailing in the cockpit a minute before he went below, him commenting Moitessier’s famous quote “People who do not know that a sailboat is a living creature will never understand anything about boats and sea.” He felt the wind vain and the movement and motion of the boat because of it was the pure definition of this quote and greatly enjoyed our sail. We made great time. We arrived just off Rose Island harbor in less than 7 hours, an average of over 6 knots.

After we anchored up and caught some sleep, we got out the hookah hoses and put everything into the dinghy for a dive excursion. There was a mark on the chart saying “Landing craft” and we wanted to go see if we could find it. We searched and searched and covered lots of ground, but never found it. We ended up snorkeling around the same area. During our snorkeling the wind continued to build and when we decided we were cold and ready to head back to the mother ship, it was blowing a nice 20-25 kn against the tide, which is exactly why we made our passage during the night. Opening my mouth too soon,  without realizing we were being protected by the reef, I said “Lucy is going a great job out here as a dive boat- totally viable!”. As these words left my mouth we left the protection of the reef and were immediately taking large quantities of water on board and climbing 3-5’ seas in 7’ Lucy. Max1 looked at me and said “Oh yeah- totally viable”… I died with laughter. Asked him to get out the bailing bucket and scoot forward as we pounded along to windward. For the next 1.5 miles we were soaked at every crest with water and bailed Lucy for the entire ride, I was laughing hysterically “totally viable” was said 20 times or more and Max1, although not quite as entertained as I, was none the less laughing and shaking his head as we went along in good spirits. Nelly the Nissan 3.5 outboard never flinched and motored us home without trouble. Thankfully, we were wearing full wetsuits anyway and so being wet didn’t bother us. I had shuttered a bit at the thought of rowing us in those conditions, but honestly think, though slow, would have been possible- but for me, rowing hard for an hour or two holds little intimidation and I’m not sure how many others would quite agree.

Max1 and I brought the boat into Nassau harbor in a hurry with the strong wind being fair under engine and genoa. Settled into a good spot, put everything away and after dinner, went to sleep. Next morning we cleaned the boat stem to stern down below, and did our best to make her as clean as when he came aboard. Then in rather fresh conditions I dropped him off at a commercial pier, just a short distance from downtown. Max1 had by then bought himself a ticket to ride a cruise ship back to Ft. Lauderdale and would fly on from there.

It had been a great trip with a great friend! Many awesome discussion and good times with nothing to complain about (hopefully on both sides). It had been a pleasure to have him come and it was, as it should be, a bit sad to see him go. My passionate interest in all things boats and sailing is hard to handle for most folk and as such one of the great things I like about our friendship is that he is very excepting and even dare say usually interested in my constant discussion of them. A wonderful change over my average company, which finds me trying to be polite and restrain myself.. haha

I took Lucy over to spend the afternoon with Danielle and share a dinner with her on her day off. It was my first time exploring the Ashram and its a very beautiful and peaceful place. She was in high spirits and I could tell even then, she reveled in the challenge of the schedule and work to be done. They are essentially busy from 5:30 to 22:00 and its no small task what they are asked to learn and understand. We gave our hugs goodbye and snuck a soft kiss and I went back to Sirocco to get some sleep. Max2 arrived the next day. More next time!

Guest blog post: Kyle Runs Solo

*Hello All! I have been living at an Ashram completing a 30 day intensive yoga teacher training course. During that time Kyle has been on the boat and has had friends come visit. Since I have not had any time to write, he has taken over and the next few posts will be from him 🙂 Enjoy!*

We arrived in Nassau after a few days anchored at Rose Island. It had been 3 weeks since we had been anywhere “civilized” although that’s arguably a strange term of identification for cities. The hustle and bustle of the harbor, the constant noise of traffic, trash, smog and general decrepit nature of it all was well, a bit of a change. The anchorage we needed to be in for a multitude of reasons lies between an island that is dedicated to local commercial use and the docks/mooring jetties for the cruise ships. The outside edge of the anchorage is a commercial/main harbor channel, the inside being a small channel for the access to the 5 or 6 marinas and mega yacht docks. So the anchorage is a very strictly defined space.

We came into the harbor a few days early due to weather, a descending cold front and its low pressure were bringing 25-30 knot winds that were to last for conceivably the next couple weeks- according to our satellite forecasts which we prayed were wrong. Once we came into harbor in slightly milder conditions than forecasted at 15, gusting 20. We found a spot to anchor and spent the afternoon in the boat to make sure we didn’t move the anchor as this harbor is pretty notorious for poor holding. I had dived and inspected our anchor and its set- the bottom being grass (which is fairly unreliable on its own) and lightly covered in debris and garbage. We then went for a trip ashore and upon returning a few hours later found that our boat had bumped into our neighbor. Very, not good. So now in the dark and the wind we upped anchor and looked around for a new place. Nothing was available really, but we carefully found a compromise and anchored down. This worked until morning, when the tide changed again and we ended up literally 10ft from our new neighbor. Not good again. But we knew what was available in the packed anchorage and that there was no where to go, so we had a conversation with the neighbor and decided to stay. In the meantime we spent the day aboard anxiously watching out the windows during the gusts to make sure we didn’t get any closer to our neighbor. I decided to try my hand baking fresh cookies and we shared the yummy (though slightly bottom burned) results with our now new friends 10’ away- the kids loved them.

See the problem is that Sirocco in much more boat below the water than above. Like the noble iceberg, she is much more than what appears to the eye, or in this case wind. This means she generally ignores the wind and does whatever the water does, if the tide runs in one directions- that’s where Siroccos lays. Even in these conditions of 20-30kn of wind, she lies to the tide. Modern sailboats do what they can to reduce wetted surface of the hull (the area below the water) in order to encourage faster speeds in the light winds that modern sailors prefer to sail in. The rustling of that being that modern boats tend to ignore the tide and lie to the wind, subsequently creating a conflict between Sirocco and the boats around her.

In the middle of the night we very gently bumped into our neighbors and needed to move. At this point Danielle and I were VERY tired of the anchorage. We ended up after circling the entire anchorage anchoring nearby in the same place. The next day we tried moving to a completely different anchorage- it was way worse conditions there than where we had been and turned back. We tried the other side of the commercial channel, failure. Tried near a beach, failure.

Finally something miraculous happened: a big boat left! This opened up a gloriously large and spacious spot and as we raced towards it, light beaming upon it from the heavens, angels singing, even the first boat we had bumped into was pointing right at our destination encouraging us to grab it. Once anchored down, the relief we felt is difficult to convey. This experience had been the most frustrating anchoring/harbor experience we have ever had, Danielle and I have sailed about 10,000 miles together and this was by FAR the worst. But now that we had a space, the world was much brighter and our time here much happier. It’s not Nassau’s fault really, it’s Christmas, New Years, the weather and the only dinghy dock in the area..

We then reserved a rental car online and took bets whether it would actually be there when we showed up to the rental car shop. To pick it up we walked through a very impoverished part of town, the man singing in the middle of the street double fisted with beer at 10am was our first sign. Our second sign was a women in a nice car coming home from church pulling over to say “I hope you know where your going in this neighborhood”.. But in typical Bahamian style we arrived in safety with nothing but laughter from our walk. The car was not there, the door was locked, but we found a nice man “fixing up the old cars” and he called a women in charge, who quickly organized a car to arrive for us and off we went- only 25 minutes later than planned- wonderful!

Now being from the US, we drive on the right side of the road with the drivers seat on the left. The Bahamas has a long British history and they drive on the left with our rental car having the steering wheel on the right. I was nominated driver. Signed the paper, put in my license number on another form and we were ready to go. We had nothing to prove we had rented the car and when we asked the representative what to do if we are pulled over his response was “You wont be pulled over”… Okay. Off we go. It took us 15 minutes and 9 roundabouts to make it to the airport where we picked up Danielle’s parents Nina and Fred. They were in great spirits and surprisingly they happily climed into our tiny compact tin can without a word or sign of apprehension. As I pulled out onto the street without waiting for a spot to enter traffic and of course driving on the wrong side of the road: it hit them. “Oh my god” Nina says with a giggle. Fred was just openly laughing out loud and by the third roundabout Nina was laughing regularly saying: “I am so happy your diving Kyle!” Here in the Bahamas as in many developing countries, rules of the road are more akin to suggestions and the horn is not used to chastise, its a communication device of the highest order delivering an incredible amount of conversation. Everyone, although driving with haste in a seemingly erratic manner has infinite patience and generally carries on fine no matter the offense committed. Pretty much every car you see in the Bahamas is full of dents, except the new shiny ones, but I have come to understand that its fairly rare for major deadly accidents as the roads/traffic naturally limit the speeds to somewhere near 35mph or less.

The next day we ran errands all day and had a marvelous time laughing at the nonsensical nature of the stores and people. Why not sell machetes in the toy section of the store? Kids love machetes! And you would certainly need to gaze over some new bedding if you were shopping the shovels and garden tools because after a day of shoveling, you would be ready to lie in your bed right? We found a lovely couple of gals that do commercial laundry for the mega yachts and dropped off our modest bag of sheets. We came back to pick them up at the end of the day and gladly took a discount for them not being folded instead of waiting. We then parked the car, said thank you’s to the universe for surviving the day driving around and went to dinner. Fred and Nina spoiled us to dinner every night and they gave us some wonderful Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve (my families tradition is to give gifts on the eve anyway) as they flew out Christmas morning. Great time was had by all.

Personally one of my favorite reasons to visit other places is the food! People who go to a new country or even a new region of the US and eat at a chain restaurant baffle me. A chain restaurant is so homogenous and predictable,  where as the small local places run by families and passionate restauranteurs can give you the chance to experience something completely unexpected. Heirloom recipes of old favorites, new twists on ingredients you know or sometimes completely new dishes with ingredients you have never heard of. Some of my favorite foods to cook lately are not dishes I grew up with, but new foods I have picked up in the last decade along the way. Of the places we went with Fred and Nina, my favorite was a Phillipanese place, right when we walked in I knew it was going to be good as no one in the room eating spoke English. Everyone in the group loved their food and my squid was perfectly cooked, which can be very hard to do. I took both my visitors to this place and we always enjoyed it.

Now Danielle was scheduled to go to her yoga teacher training course on the 2nd. So we were able to celebrate New Year’s Eve together, which is very special here in the Bahamas because its Junkanoo night! Or morning? It’s a party so good they don’t even start until Midnight.  My friend Max (#1) came in early to celebrate the New Year with us and experience Junkanoo. We were out on the streets by 1am, after our “Disco Nap” as Max calls them (a saying I have taken up) and we stayed out until after 4am!! So wild of us. Haha Danielle and I have the habit of sleeping and waking with the sun (Circadian rhythm) so for us to stay out so late seemed the very essence of extravagance.

Junkanoo is a cultural event of the Bahamas that is spreading because of its fun loving and incredibly enjoyable nature. Large teams (some well over a hundred) and small teams alike are assigned a theme and they create a parade around this theme. It encompasses choreographed dancing, a band, individual headdress competitions “off the shoulder” individual float competitions and group versions of all the above. Danielle and I attended both competitions this year, although did not have the stamina to stay for the entire event or either. The costumes are one time use. They literally make a lap of two streets: the paid bleachers on Main Street, and then the “free standing” upper street. We chose the free standing upper street both times and were all the better for it. Surrounded by passionate locals we were let in on how the costumes, dancing, and performances are judged. It deeply enriched our experience to understand the competition side of the event and we truly thank the nice folks we stood with for teaching us.

Nassau has been inundated with Haitians since hurricane Dorian. On our second Junkanoo experience we stood with a large group of them and enjoyed their company, some small children found us white folk quite curious and we had some color based discussion that hopefully resulted in a change of perspective on both sides, especially with one particular young girl. We really enjoyed the opportunity to speak openly about some of our differences and laugh about it, in a honesty that sometimes only children can have. During our first Junkanoo a young Bahamian girl had questions for me about my missing ear (lost in a violent car accident for those who do not know), her father was embarrassed and I took time to dispel his anxiety over her questions and encouraged her open and honest curiosity. These experiences, discussing cultural differences and having close conversations while getting to know some of the residents on a first name level were the true joys of Junkanoo for me. I loved the dancing and costumes, but the opportunity to laugh and have fun with those that are unfamiliar with my culture and to spend some hours getting a glimpse of an important part of theirs was incredible. Being a cruise ship based tourism here in Nassau, I think the impression left by these 5-10 hour visitors/visits can be a little unfair on both sides. Patience is a virtue easily fatigued by exercise and the endless trampling of these single serving guests is exceedingly tiring.

Danielle was all packed up, Max1 and I had all our groceries and where ready to go. So I dropped her off at the Ashram with soft eyes and big hugs, wishing her the best. Max1 and I upped anchor and moved over to the fuel dock to fill up on water and take on 5 gallons of diesel before shoving off to Rose Island anchorage to state us for our passage to Eleuthera…

More on Eleuthera next time!

Rose Island


About a week or so before Christmas, Kyle and I left the Berry Islands and sailed the 40 miles towards Nassau. We had plans to meet my parents in Nassau on the 22nd for Christmas, but since we were a week early, we decided to avoid the city for just a few more days and anchor at an island called Rose Island, just 5 miles East of Nassau. The morning we left the Berry Islands, the alarm sounded at 4am and by 4:45 we had hot coffee, sails ready to go, and everything secured down below and on deck. The moon was providing just enough light that we didn’t need the spot light and we quietly lifted our anchor and navigated around our neighbors out the inlet. A couple minutes later we were in deep water and Kyle raised the sails while I set our course towards Rose Island. Even in the lull of the early morning we were able to shut down the engine and with the spinnaker set were able to travel at 6 knots.

We set the wind vane so we didn’t have to steer and then sat on deck sipping our hot coffee as the sun began to rise. First the sky changed from a dark deep blue, to a more gentle blue with the slightest tint of light. As the moments passed our surroundings became more vivid and I could make out the surface of the water. It was obvious where the sun was going to pop up over the horizon because there was a subtle glow where the water and the horizon meet. We watched as the glowing ball of fire began rising above the horizon line. That moment when the sun seems to be suspended half way up and half way down- it could be rising or setting. I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe. Whenever I close my eyes and focus, the movement and sounds of the boat are much more vivid. The surging of the boat through the water, that feeling when Sirocco catches a gust of wind and I know that our speed increased and I can hear the hull push through the water’s surface. Those are the moments I feel most connected with the boat and the water holding us.

As the morning continued I went down below and took a nap while Kyle stayed on watch. I got some pretty good sleep because the motion of the boat was calm and consistent. By the time I woke up it was close 10am and I got out some snacks and made some more coffee. We took the spinnaker down because we were making over 7 knots and the boat was over powered. Under the genoa, stay sail, and main sail we continued on at a consistent 5.5-6.5 knots. Kyle took a nap soon after and I had the most spectacular watch. I grabbed the speaker, my coffee, some crackers, the binoculars, the iPad (for the navigation chart) and headed to the foredeck. The sun was shining and began to warm up my body so I could take off layers. I found a comfortable seat on the forward edge of the cabin top and put the speaker on loud. It blasted all my favorite songs while I sipped on hot coffee and we sailed along. The waves were growing in size as we made our way towards Rose Island, but not in a threatening way. I found myself transfixed, just watching as each rolling wave moved under Sirocco. Or maybe we moved over each wave? Either way, the waves rolled by and I sat and observed. With my favorite songs playing, dark hot coffee flowing, the sunshine warming me, and Sirocco sailing herself along so nicely, I found myself with a grin affixed to my face. I felt so happy. So free. I really wanted Kyle to wake up to share it with me, but also enjoyed the solitude. Soon he did wake up and he came and joined me on deck. We sang, laughed, and checked our progress from time to time.

Soon we could begin to see land again, it was around noon that we could see the inlet leading into the protection of Nassau and Rose Island. As we began to approach the inlet, we disengaged the wind vane, dropped the main sail and the stay sail and ran under the big genoa in the front. We were making good speed as it was, and the inlet was a bit tight. I was on the helm and since the tide was coming out of the inlet and the wind was pushing through the inlet, the wind and the tide were against each other, thus creating very large waves. Easily 6 feet. This was a big difference from just 20 minutes prior and I had to put all my focus and attention on keeping Sirocco on course as we were surrounded by reef and rocks on each side. The waves were so large that I chose to stop looking back at them as Sirocco surfed down each one. Never once did I feel any fear or anxiety, instead I was overcome by intense focus and adrenaline. Kyle encouraged me saying that I was doing a great job and to keep our heading. He was ready to start the engine in case of an emergency, but it was clear that the boat was under control. And just like that, 5 minutes later we were in the calm protected waters. “Wow. That was intense and fun!” I said to Kyle, finally letting my breath out. He gave me a high five and said that I did a great job navigating. I felt pretty proud of myself 🙂 We turned left and made our way towards the Rose Island anchorage. It took a few tries, but we got the anchor down securely and Kyle dove it to make sure it was set correctly as we knew some heavy winds were coming in the following day.

The next few days were spent exploring the nearby islands. Something that I have really grown to love: exploration. For the past 6 years Kyle and I have spent a vast majority of that exploring. Whether backpacking, taking a boat down the river, sailing, or road tripping we often find ourselves in places we have never been before. And each time this happens, we get to explore. One of the dictionary definitions of explore is: “to traverse or range over (a region, area, etc.) for the purpose of discovery.” I like this definition because I find it relatable. All these new places we explore and we discover. I never know what is going to be around the next bend. What is down that road. Over the hill. On the other side of the island. Across the beach. Below the water’s surface. Each place is new and each horizon is new. It provides so much discovery and always keeps me guessing and wondering. Sometimes I get home sick for family and friends and community. But more often I feel grateful to get to truly explore. One day while at Rose Island we went to the small island across from it and walked around. We knew nothing about the island or what we would find. It was a small island and there was nothing on it, or so we thought. We were walking the rocky outer shoreline and came to some dock pilings. “Someone tried to build something here,” Kyle said as he walked closer. And then we found a sidewalk- the most random sidewalk. Surrounded by rocks, sand, and trees, a sidewalk formed and followed the edge of the island. We followed it and I found myself laughing. Where were we going? Does this lead to something? It can’t lead to something, I can see the end of the island and there is nothing there! But we had no idea. The anticipation caused us to walk a bit faster and then… it ended. This nice, rather long, sidewalk that someone obviously spent time and money making just ended at some rocks and trees. “Well that was interesting,” I remarked to Kyle. The sidewalk, for whatever reason, really put this thought of exploration and discovery in my mind. It was a reminder of why we are out here. Life is short and uncertain, and I want to spend it discovering places, things, and people that I didn’t know before. Soak up all the experiences and opportunities I can so that when it is my time to go, I feel fulfilled that I was able to see the world.

The following day we went to Rose Island and went on a coconut hunt. A few hours later we were rowing back to the boat with 1 opened coconut and 2 unopened coconuts. Finally! After all that talk in the Berry Islands about coconuts, we were both craving one and we finally found plentiful coconut trees. We were so excited about the coconuts that even though we didn’t have any tools, Kyle smashed the coconut on some rocks to get it open. We were able to drink fresh coconut water and eat fresh coconut meat while standing on the shoreline, listening to the waves crash on the sandy and rocky shore. It was a beautiful shore too, vast and the water so clear.

After a couple days we left Rose Island and motor sailed to Nassau Harbor. And my goodness what a change of world that was. We had been sailing around these mostly deserted and inhabited islands for weeks and hadn’t seen many other people or boats. As soon as we were within 2 miles of Nassau Harbor we were on our toes. Boats of all shapes, sizes, and speeds were going in every which direction. We had to call Nassau Harbor Control and state our intention for entering the harbor and let them know we were already checked into the country. Once we got the OK to enter the harbor, we dropped the sail and motored under the bridges. Huge mail boats, barges, and ferries motored past us. Fancy houses and condos lined the shoreline on one side and marinas and more run down buildings on the other side. Atlantis Resort towered over us as we motored by and entered the anchorage area. Six huge cruise ships docked right in front of us. I felt so small! We laughed at the change of pace and felt huge relief once the anchor was dropped.

The following few days were spent in Nassau Harbor at the same anchorage. Our days consisted of exploring Nassau, hiding from the rain and high winds in the boat, watching movies, baking cookies, listening to Christmas music, and doing boat projects. We were both really looking forward to my parent’s arrival and even rented a car to pick them up at the airport which was an adventure in itself, but I’ll save that for next time!

I hope everyone had a happy happy New Year!! 🙂

High Highs and Low Lows


The Lows

The rest of our time in the Berry Islands continued to provide us with surprises and exploration. We needed to move the boat one morning to a different anchorage in order to get over a shallow patch and set ourselves up for leaving for Nassau. We chose to leave around 6:30am and move the short 3 miles to an anchorage near the inlet we would use to leave the Berry Islands. We chose 6:30am because that is when high tide was and we needed the tide in order to move Sirocco over some shallow patches. The anchorage we were leaving was pristine. The water was calm, the wind subtle due to the high islands around us, the current minimum so we didn’t move around much. We had no idea how good our anchorage was… until we left. We arrived at the anchorage near Hoffman’s Cay just 20-30 minutes after picking up the anchor. Going over the shallow areas was no problem, so we motored towards the anchorage. However, it was very soon clear that this anchorage was very crowded and windy and wavy! We were both very surprised because had checked the weather and where we had just come from 3 miles away was a different world. We instantly had a hard time finding a spot to anchor with all the other boats. “Let’s try behind that catamaran.” “The depth is dropping! Turn around!” “What about over there?” “No that’s too close to that motor yacht.” “Kyle the current is pushing us towards that island.” “I’m aware of that, doing the best I can. Let’s try up here.” This is how it was going and it was not fun. The grey skies, howling wind, and confused seas did not help the situation. I became tense and this, of course, did not add anything positive to the situation. I am not sure why, but I soon felt as though we didn’t have control of the situation. I was stressed out, felt like we were drifting towards and island, didn’t know what to do, and just had to wait at the anchor until Kyle told me to drop it. “Okay now!” He yelled from the cockpit. I released the handle on the windlass and nothing. “Damn it! It won’t go!” Why wasn’t it working? I have done this before, what did I do wrong? I am thinking all these things while also feeling that we are getting pushed by wind and current towards another boat. Trying again, I was able to release the anchor, realizing I left the lock on before. But then the anchor was going and going and I couldn’t get it to stop! It all felt so intense and Kyle came walking calmly up the side deck to meet me on the foredeck. “Righty tighty, lefty loosy,” he said patiently and kindly, as he twisted the lock to stop the chain from running out of the anchor locker. We were secure. The anchor set quickly due to the wind. We weren’t too close to any boats and far from the island. However, I felt so shook up. The grey skies caused the water to have a steel look to them and I felt like I could taste metal in my mouth. I stood at the bow of boat, shaking a bit, feeling numb and confused. Why had that been so intense? Was it actually that intense or was it all in my head? Kyle hugged me and we went and sat in the cockpit to have a debrief about the situation. Turns out that yes, it was intense due to the conditions and proximity of the other boats, but that at no point did he not have control of the boat. That my mistake on the anchor wasn’t a big deal and that he barely even noticed it from where he was in the cockpit. To Kyle it was a pretty simple situation and at no point did he feel stressed or overwhelmed. I had to really contemplate this for a while because I felt like a wreck. And then the rolling started. The tide switched and the wind was against the tide and the anchorage, which was a bit wavy before, turned into a rolly mess. The seas were confused, the boat rolled from one side to another. Drastic movements to the point where things that weren’t secured down below were falling over and had to be secured. This piled on top of the stress from trying to anchor in those conditions was really difficult for me. I refused to move again, I wasn’t ready, and plus we couldn’t go back to our pristine anchorage because the tide was now going out. Why did we ever move?! At this moment our neighbor was swimming around his boat for some exercise and came swimming over to us. Seeing him in the water, laughing and joking with Kyle, made me feel a bit better, but the rolling of the boat was driving me insane. I just wanted to stop moving for one minute. I just wanted to be able to fully relax. This lifestyle is amazing and I am so thankful to be able to live it, but it comes with a price. These thoughts are constant and necessary in order to be successful while cruising, but they get exhausting: Will the anchor drag? What was the noise? Do I need to get up and check? Will our neighbor’s anchor drag and hit us in the middle of the night? Did I remember to shut that vent in case it rains? When is the wind changing, are we still protected by this island if the wind shifts? How big is the tidal change? Do we have enough room under the keel if the tide goes out? Did I turn the anchor light on? How much fresh water do we have left? Should I put on my rain gear so I can get in our dinghy and motor ashore, or just stay on the boat today? It’s been really cloudy lately, do our batteries have enough power? I could keep going, but you get the point. And then this mixed with the constant moving. Moving from island to island, country to country, new place to new place. Moving while in bed. Moving while cooking. Moving while reading. Moving while going to the bathroom. Moving while writing. Moving while sleeping. So much moving. Anyway, the rolling didn’t stop until we left the anchorage two days later. But as usual, I slowly adjusted and calmed down and by that evening Kyle and I were in the dinghy motoring over to an island with a big beach and running up and down the beach as fast as we could for some exercise. And the next day, the day after the low lows, was a day filled with high highs.


The Highs

“Is it this one?” Kyle asks while motoring Lucy in between rolling waves that seem rather large when in a 7ft dinghy. “No, not this one. I think it’s the next one,” I respond while looking down at the IPhone, trying to check the chart which is proving difficult in the sun and spray and movement. We come around a small point in the land and are greeted with a small cove that ends with waves lapping on a white beach with palm trees overhanging the water. “There it is!” Kyle turns Lucy towards the beach and is now motoring with the waves behind us. I prepare to get out of the boat quickly as the waves are crashing on the shore a bit bigger than we are used to. But within a few seconds we are both in the water, waves lapping on our knees as we haul Lucy to the protection of the beach. We empty her of our gear and haul her up the beach a ways in order to tie her to some trees and keep her away from the water while we are gone. “This must be the trail!” We are both feeling excited about what we might find at the end of the trail. Having heard of a blue hole on Hoffman’s Cay we set out to find it. I secure my hat to the backpack, retie my sarong which is now wet with salt water, and put the backpack on my shoulders. Kyle goes first and we enter a narrow trail surrounded by dense growth. We leave the confused seas behind and are engulfed into a world of green. The earth below our feet is soft, dead leaves creating a fluffy layer on the earth’s surface. Tree roots protrude at random from the dead leaves and I follow their snake like trail back into the dense woods around us. There are some palm trees, but mostly what surrounds us seems to be a mixture of mangroves and brush. Whatever it is, it comforts me as we incline up a small hill. A large rock lays on the side of the trail and Kyle sits down a minute. I take a big inhale and then comment on the smell. “It smells so sweet and earthy. I have missed this smell!” Being on the boat for so long surrounded by nothing but low lying sandy beaches has caused my senses to become rather intense. The colors are so vibrant that I can almost feel the greenness that surrounds us. The smells so strong that they fill my nostrils and invoke memories of backpacking the mountains. The sounds.. so quiet! So quiet that I stop and listen. Listen to the faint rustle of trees and leaves, but otherwise there is nothing. The earth below my feet is so still and sturdy. It isn’t moving. I remove my sandals and continue the rest of the way barefoot. Less than 10 minutes after entering this tunnel of a trail, we can see an opening in the trees. The trail begins to get a bit rocky and the sun is shining down, causing the leaves to glisten. Kyle stops just a couple feet outside of the enclosed trail and I walk up next to him and stop as well. We are standing on a cliff. It might only be 20ft, but it is a cliff and here we are. Standing on this cliff over looking a big blue hole. Literally, just a big hole in the earth, filled with water. I had never seen anything like it. The hole was surrounded by mangroves, trees, and brush, on all sides but the one we were standing on. “My goodness, it is incredible!” We stand there for a few moments observing. Everything is so still. No one is on this entire island but us, and the water below is shimmering in the sunlight which has finally come out after two days of clouds. There is another small trail to our right which we follow. It is a rocky trail that takes us on a switch back down towards the water. Now we have arrived at the shore of the water, a light sand sprinkled over the rock of the shoreline. We are standing in a cave of sorts. From the ground to the top of the cave is probably about 8-10 ft. There are random rock formations hanging down and I am in awe of their texture and patterns. The water looks so inviting. We set up our blanket and find a spot for our bag. I quickly remove my sarong and sun shirt and wade into the water in my black swim suit. The water is cool and my body feels more and more refreshed as I allow the water to envelope me. I dive down and let the cool water hold me. All the frustrations, tiredness, and ill feelings from the previous day are removed and I feel renewed. The water is invigorating and I let it invoke all my senses. I poke my head up and laugh at Kyle who is still standing on the shore, waste deep, debating about how cold the water is. He finally goes for it and swims over to me. We swim around our private swimming pool. Surrounded by cliffs, rocks, and trees, the sun shines down on us as we float easily in the salty water. Making our way back towards our towel we lay down and let the sunshine dry the water off our skin. We decide to walk back up to the cliff, where the original trail led us, to jump off the cliff into the water below. We had read that this was okay to do, and also checked to make sure it was plenty deep below the cliff. While only 20ft tall, Kyle thought nothing of this “cliff”. He has jumped from 80ft and was giggling at me for saying “its so high!” But being the kind and patient guy he is, he took a good 5 minutes and went over all the protocols for jumping off a cliff. I was ready and we counted to 3 and jumped together. It all happened so fast and as I emerged from the water’s surface I was coughing and sputtering and choking on water. “It hurts. It hurts. It hurts!!!” I was holding my ears and my jaw and doubled over in pain. Kyle rushed over to me and helped me clamor out of the to our tie dye blanket. “Oh my god it hurts. My jaw. My ears. It hurts,” was all I could say to Kyle’s questions. Thankfully it only took a few seconds for the pain to start subsiding, but behind my ears and my jaw still ached. Once it was clear that I had not broken my jaw or ruptured an ear drum, I began to feel better and Kyle and I went to work trying to figure out what happened. The jump wasn’t even that far! I felt like a baby and laughed at myself for not being able to handle such a small jump. After a 10 minute discussion we figured out what happened. When I jumped, I was staring down at the water. So when I landed in the water my face pretty much did a “face flop” and salt water shot up through my nose and mouth and felt like into my brain. It was awful. “I am so sorry I didn’t mention to look out. I can’t believe I didn’t tell you to look forward.” Kyle felt bad, but it wasn’t his fault. I was scared now and the idea of jumping again really frightened me- but I knew that I HAD to do it again or else I would leave being scared of jumping and wouldn’t jump the next time the opportunity presented itself. So once the pain subsided we climbed back up to the cliff. I made sure to stare straight ahead at some palm trees on the shore across the water. With my nose plugged and my eyes looking straight I jumped. Kyle was waiting anxiously as I surfaced. “Yeah!” I cheered as I swam towards the shore. Much better. The rest of the afternoon we spent jumping, swimming, napping, eating lunch, taking photos and videos, reading books, and exploring some other trails. When we decided to start heading back to the boat we took our time on the hike back. I stopped at one particular spot that had the sweetest smell. I made a note to remember that moment: Here I am. Standing on the side of this trail, taking in the earthy sweet smell of the plants around me. My hair is dripping salt water onto my white sun shirt and my colorful flower sarong is slightly damp with salt water. My hat is providing shade over my face and the backpack feels sturdy on my shoulders. Kyle is standing a few feet behind me, his face pointing up into the sun. We just had an incredibly romantic and marvelous day swimming in this blue hole. There are fairly large crabs that scurry across the trail in front of me. The earth is soft below my feet and the sun is warm on my shoulders. Life is good. Thank you Universe.

The following day we picked up the anchor around 5:00am and said goodbye to our rolly anchorage. We left the protection of the island and headed out of the inlet into the Atlantic Ocean. Within minutes the motor was off and the sails were up. Off towards Nassau we went.

The Berry Islands Continued


Last week after we spent the day exploring Frazer’s Hog Cay we decided to make our way North to some other Berry Islands. We were both feeling quite ready to leave our anchorage as we had been there for quite some time and were starting to get a bit stir crazy. It was a Monday and we did our usual weather and routing checking and planning and decided to leave the following morning. But first, we had one more island to explore! Kyle had been eyeing this outlying island since we arrived and kept checking it out through the binoculars. It was unique in that it looked completed surrounded by white sandy beaches- no breaks in the shore of rocks or mangroves. We loaded up the dinghy and headed towards the island. It turned out to be a further dinghy ride than we had thought, but still only took about 30 minutes. As we approached the island it was clear that Kyle’s thoughts were correct, white sandy beach surrounding the entire island with a large wooded area in the middle. We jumped out of Lucy and lifted her up onto the beach. I went to setting up our blanket and books and other gear we brought for our afternoon on the sand bar. It was a nice change to have such a large area of sand. The other islands we had been exploring were either very small, or only had a few patches of sand and otherwise were porous sharp rock. Choosing a direction we headed down the beach with the goal of circling the island. An hour or so later we had circled the island 3 times and had quite a bit of fun along the way. There was a tiny little sandbar a couple hundred feet from the beach on the opposite side of where we landed and we waded out to it. Running isn’t something we get to do very often, so we took advantage of the long sandbar and ran back and forth- chasing each other, racing, and giggling. There were star fish scattered all around the edge of the sandbar and I stopped to observe them from time to time. We stretched and took deep breathes. We talked about how grateful we were and how hard we worked to get there. We discussed the ups and downs that led us to that moment and looked around in awe at our surroundings. We felt like we were the only ones in the world at that moment and that we were free. It was clear that the tide was starting to come in as our sand bar began shrinking, so we waded back to the beach and continued our walk- checking out all the rubbish that is scattered on the edge of where the sand ends the woods begin. That’s something we do a lot on these deserted islands- look at all the garbage and plastic that has made its way to these desolate places. Anything you can think of we find the remnants of. Balloons, glass, plastic jugs, oil jugs, fuel jugs, milk crates, pieces of doors, houses, boats, TV’s, ropes, plastic pieces of any size and color imaginable- plastic and more plastic. We go through this stuff and look for things useful to us. The other day Kyle found a large net made from polyethylene that was wrapped around some mangroves. He took the net and cleaned it and fixed it up and it is now our bow sprit net! So we can lounge next to the bow sprit on calm days at sea. At first all this rubbish made me sad, but now after seeing it on every beach in every country I have visited, it has just become what it is. It’s just how it is. We clean up what we can, take what we think is most dangerous to sea life and birds, and dream about one day coming back in a huge boat and cleaning up all the beaches. But for now, as to not let it ruin our adventures, we include it in our exploring and see if we can find any treasures within the plastic.

The rest of the day was spent lounging on the tie dye blanket, reading our books, napping, and chatting. Around 3pm we headed back to Sirocco to get the boat ready for leaving the next day. But unfortunately as the night went on and we checked the weather, it was looking like the wind was picking up tomorrow and that Wednesday would be a better day to leave. Neither of us wanted to do this- we were both ready to move on and had just spent the evening getting Sirocco all secured and ready to sail. We held out hope that we could leave in the morning and went to bed early. I awoke around 4am to see Kyle checking the weather and a couple seconds later heard the wind howling outside. “Tomorrow is way better. Today will be rough,” he said rather glumly. For some reason both of us were rather disheartened by this news, but knew for our comfort waiting one more day was the thing to do. I know it probably seems like waiting one more day isn’t a big deal- which it really isn’t. It’s hard to explain, but living on this little boat surrounded by nothing but water and uninhabited islands is incredible, but it’s also very isolated. And after one week we had explored every island in sight and were really ready for a change of scenery. Kyle quickly settled down to do some work on his computer, but I felt anxious and antsy. Should I go through the hassle of untying the dinghy, launching it, getting out the oars, etc, just to have to do it again later that evening? No, didn’t feel like that. There were plenty of things I could be doing- boat projects, writing projects, cleaning, cooking. Didn’t feel like any of it. So instead by 1pm I found myself running up and down the side decks. I just felt like I needed to MOVE. So despite only having about 20ft of space on each side, I ran, jumped, jogged, and skipped up one side of the boat, across the foredeck, and down the other side. I did this for 20 minutes until I was out of breath and exhausted. Then I moved onto jumping jacks and other random exercises on my yoga mat. Finally I was hot and jumped in the water. Kyle got up and came swimming with me and we snorkeled around for a good half hour or so. By the end of all this is was 3pm and I was thoroughly tired. I felt much better and after showering and cleaning up I settled down to a movie in the v-berth on my iPad. Later that night I did yoga on the foredeck and reflected on what it was that was causing me to feel so unsettled earlier in the day.

By 6am the following morning we were pulling up the anchor and talking about how thankful we were that we waited a day because the conditions had lightened considerably and the wind was in the perfect direction for sailing the 22 miles North. The sail took about 4.5 hours and we were able to sail the entire way, only turning on the engine in the last 10 minutes to position ourselves and secure down on the anchor. The day was beautiful and it was a unique sail for us as we were able to skirt pretty close to shore, which we usually don’t do. So while sailing we could see the beaches of the outer Berry Islands and the rocky cliffs covered in grass and a random house or two. The seas were rather rolly and even though they were fairly calm, the rolling waves made me a bit seasick. It was mild, but I napped in the cockpit and towards the end of the passage found myself rather excited to be coming into the inlet. We arrived to Little Harbor Cay around noon and dropped the anchor behind some rocks, protecting us a bit from the rolly seas. We knew we wanted to move to a different anchorage, but in order to do so had to go over some shallow areas so wanted to wait until high tide and to sound the area in the dinghy to create a path for Sirocco. We launched the dinghy and took our lead line and rowed through the shallow pass, dropping pins on the deep spots on the navigation chart on the iPad. Having found a way through, we waited until high tide around 5pm and motored Sirocco to a more protected anchorage. We only hit the sand twice while motoring through the shallow pass, and both times were able to quickly motor off and move over a couple feet to find “deeper” water. The next anchorage was pristine and the water was so calm. The moon, being almost full, illuminated the sky long before it was dark and continued to do so for the rest of the night.

The next morning we filled our coffee mugs with hot coffee and hopped in the dinghy to go explore the area. We both found ourselves pleasantly surprised by this area. The islands were tall, at least 40 feet and had some rocky cliffs overhanging us. It was a nice change from the flat sandy islands. We motored the dinghy through some narrow channels and found a sandy beach to land on. Kyle suddenly became determined to have a coconut for breakfast and went on a mad hunt for coconuts. We motored all around these little islands and in and out of little inlets looking for coconuts. I’d drop him off on a shore and he would try to bush whack himself towards the palm trees in the middle of the island. Finally he decided he would have to abandon the mission of fresh coconuts as we were both getting very hungry for breakfast. I will say though, that for the next 4 days he talked constantly of fresh coconuts to the point where all I wanted was a fresh coconut too!

The following day was similar to this, checking out the islands, and finding beaches to enjoy a beautiful sunset. So while we were doing similar things as we had been doing before we moved the 22 miles North, it was new and refreshing and the islands had a completely different feel. We found one particular spot that I absolutely loved and we went back multiple times to enjoy it. Here is a little journal entry I wrote about that particular spot:


Motoring the dinghy close to the shore, we could see all the rock formations that lined the shoreline. Under the rocks had been hallowed out by water over time, leaving an overhanging ledge. The subtle waves would crash under the ledge causing water to spew out between the rocks and creating a hallow sound that Kyle and I both enjoyed listening to. Coming to a point on the island, we turned the dinghy right and followed the point into a little cove, also surrounded by rocky shore. Because we were in our hard sided dinghy, Lucy, we were able to pull up to the rocks and not worry about them being too sharp. Kyle maneuvered skillfully towards an opening in the rocks as I grabbed my green rubber Birkenstock’s and jumped off the bow of Lucy, carefully placing my feet among the rocks. The warm clear water engulfed my ankles and I wiggled my toes, letting the water cool my feet. With the motor off and lifted, Kyle joined me on the rocks as we balanced vicariously while also trying to pick up Lucy and lift her well out of the water. With Lucy secured we grabbed the backpack and found a little path leading from the inner calm waters of the cove to the crashing waves of the exposed beach on the other side of the small island. The path was surrounded by mangroves and covered in vines and some brambles so we weeded our way carefully through the narrow path towards the sound of the waves. Coming out from the mangroves we were greeted with the most magnificent view. The Atlantic Ocean was angry today and the waves crashed hard on the shoreline. It made me thankful that Sirocco lay to her anchor in the protection of island in clam water. Half the shoreline was white sand, while the other half was the same rocks as the inner cove. Due to the size and momentum of the waves, the water spewed 20 feet in the air through the porous rocks. Walking further out from the protection of the mangroves the wind gusted strongly in our faces and brought the smell of salt and sand with it. We combed the shoreline, staying as close to the mangroves as possible as to avoid the spray coming from the rocks. Kyle spotted something on the rocks so walked closer to the water and just as he was bent over to pick up what he found, the rocks spewed the salt water and the droplets came raining down all over him. I giggled and jumped backwards as to avoid as much of the droplets as I could, thoroughly enjoying the salty mist that covered my body. I laughed as I used my shirt to wipe my glasses clean. Finding a sandy spot, away from spraying rocks, we attempted to set up our chairs and blanket to have a picnic. I set my chair up and had to very quickly sit down before it blew away. Kyle did the same and we sat in the gusty wind enjoying the show the waves and rocks were putting on down the shoreline. We passed a tupperware of pasta salad back and forth between us while also sipping on a glass of wine. The sun was shining so despite the strong wind, it was a beautiful day and I felt really cozy in my chair wrapped in my shawl. Lunch was over so we stuffed our chairs and tupperware back in the backpack and took off to explore further, stainless steel wine cups in hand. Heading down the beach back towards the rocks we followed the shoreline around a bend and hiked along the rocks, as far from the water as we could. I use the word rocks, because I am unsure how else to describe them. Kyle and I thought that maybe it was hardened and very old coral, but we can’t be sure. Either way, these were not smooth large rocks. They were porous and sharp and many times I could feel the sharpness through the rubber on my sandals. It provided for interesting hiking as we were careful to avoid the gaps and particular sharp areas. At one point the path, which I think we created ourselves, got very narrow and I looked down at the crashing waves and sharp rocks 20ft below me. Choosing to pay a bit more attention through the narrow section I used might right hand to steady me while also trying not to spill any wine in my left hand 😉 Kyle followed behind me and once clear of the narrow spot we came to a point on the shoreline and could see the Atlantic Ocean from both sides. The waves crashed even harder here and the thunderous noise made it difficult for us to hear each other. We each went different directions and combed the rocky beach as we usually did- looking for anything interesting, gathering garbage and trying to condense it, and looking for treasures at the same time. I found a miniature cove within the rocks, only about 20ft by 20ft and jumped down the 4ft to land in the sand below. I was able to climb under the rocks and squat in the sand below. It was a neat little cove and I checked it out for a few minutes before climbing out to find Kyle. We decided to head back, and stood on the point for a moment, enjoying the sound and smell of the Atlantic Ocean. The water was a deep blue color, so vivid – and the white of the crashing waves created such a contrast to the deep blue- amazing! I took the last sip of my wine and turned back towards the shoreline where our backpack lay. We were quiet on the way back, each lost in our own minds, both observing our surroundings and taking deep breathes. While it wasn’t spoken, I think both of us were taking breathes of gratitude, feeling thankful to be able to explore these islands.

As I write this post we are no longer in the Berry Islands and have moved to an island outside of Nassau called Rose Island. But I will get to all of that later- for now it’s time to start my day and possibly go scuba dive a ship wreck nearby. Write soon! -D

P.S. It has come to my attention that there might be some issues with enlarging photos on the blog. Unfortunately I don’t know how to fix this, but have found that if rather than going to the blog from the e-mail that is sent and instead typing in: www.skipperandflipper.com in your internet browser, you should be able to enlarge the pictures there. I am posting all of these posts and pictures on a small iPhone screen so please bear with me through typos, autocorrect mistakes, and odd formatting issues. Doing the best I can for being in some pretty isolated areas with limited connectivity 🙂 Thanks.