Sunday, December 30
"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." - Edith Lovejoy Pierce
Happy New Year family and friends! May your "book" be filled with peace, love and happiness.
"A Strange Uneven Sort of Life"
Home sweet home, and those we have left behind us are constantly in our minds. Little do those on shore know a sailors feelings separated from all that they hold dear on earth with almost a certainty of being apart three or four long years is enough to make a mans hair grow gray at the thought of it.-Log entry by captain Charles Star Buck of the ship Peru 1851
Back in September, I was asked to write an update of our trip so far, for the local sailing club back home. They wrote about our story and trip in their monthly newsletter after we participated in the Leukemia Cup Regatta as Craig was their honored hero. As we reflect on 2012 and all that we are thankful for, I am reminded how strange and uneven this lifestyle really is. I will share with you our thoughts on the past 6 months of our trip, as I did for the Corinthian Sailing Club, good, bad or otherwise.
We have sailed approximately 3500 miles, from Florida to Maine, back to Virginia and into the Caribbean. We have spent 24/7 with each other, learned to sail offshore at night, heck, we sailed 1500 miles offshore from VA to the BVI's, navigated around a sea of lobster pot buoys, met some incredible people and visited some fantastic cities. Traveling by boat, our floating home, is an unbelievable experience. There is nothing better than sailing into a new harbor on your own vessel.
While the majority of our trip has been extraordinary, we have also dealt with the realization of owning, caring for and living on a boat. It’s not easy and it’s no vacation, not yet anyway. Though it has slowed down some since being in the islands. We still have to contend with homeschool, cleaning, finding a laundromat and grocery store within walking distance, constant maintanence and upkeep. We are all being enriched by these challenges. Even though the learning curve has been steep, we wouldn’t trade it for the world!
I would be lying if I said the transition from landlubber to cruiser was easy. Living with your family around the clock in a small space has its challenges. NOBODY has much privacy, anywhere on the boat, even with 2 hulls. However, we have settled into a routine and life seems as normal or dysfunctional as it was in Dallas. The (mostly) undivided attention we provide our kids, is good for their souls. Some things like sleeping on a boat and sailing a catamaran were easy to adapt to, while having parts or supplies shipped to us in random ports has been more trouble than we expected. Deciding where to go, when to go and what to do when you get there is almost a full time job. Especially when you have to deal with mother nature.
We have met some amazing people along the way. Some are solo, some are traveling in pairs and then there are the kid boats. The girls love the kid boats! It is a true joy to watch them spread their wings of independence and make new friends everywhere we go. From the very beginning in the boat yard in St. Augustine to this very day in St. Croix, there has been a sailor to wave to or someone to consult with. We have come to learn that the interactions and friendships we have made are what the cruising life is all about!
Thursday, December 27
We completed our BVI tour with s/v Patronus. What an amazing tour of the islands filled with the sun, sand and sea. We shamelessly savored the taste of painkillers at each and every stop. The kids had a ball playing on the many beaches and monkeying around on both boats. We parted ways with Patronus after The Baths and we sailed back to the Virgin Gorda Sound while they sailed away to Road Town. We reunited with 8 other Salty Dawg boats at the Bitter End Yacht Club.
We enjoyed a couple of relaxing days fulfilling some boat projects and getting school work done. Craig took the girls to beach one afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed my alone time to bake 2 loaves of bread, make yogurt and chocolate chip cookie dough.
Kate's sand man, instead of a snowman
The Bitter End Yacht Club
The outdoor theater that plays free movies nightly. The kids took advantage of this little perk even if they didn't play the movie that was printed on the activities sheet. They were only bothered when the DVD stopped playing half way through. This was a lesson in patience and resilience, right?
As I was walking by this tree near the front desk of the BEYC, my senses came alive once I realized it was real. I LOVE the smell of a live Christmas tree. I was immediately surrounded by warm and fuzzy feelings of Christmas. Aaahhhhhhh!
Some of the wooden statues in the open air front desk area of the BEYC
We made the trek up the very steep hill on Virgin Gorda to have lunch at Hog Heaven. Olga was our waitress, who is married to the owner of Hog Heaven. She is from Dominican Republic and he was born and raised in Virgin Gorda. She was so friendly and quite lively. She loved the girls and spoiled them rotten. As you can see, they are enjoying their strawberry, mango and banana smoothies!
It felt like we were perched on top of the world
View of the Bitter End Yacht Club. Our boat is down there somewhere.
View of the entire Virgin Gorda Sound. Prickley Pear Island to the left, Bitter End to the top and Leverick Bay on the right. What a gorgeous view!
The delicious BBQ pork ribs complete with a Carib beer
Olga took this great family shot!
We bumped into fellow Salty Dawgs, Ron and Leanne, eating a late lunch as well.
While checking out at the Gun Creek Customs and Immigration office, we were lamenting how expensive a taxi ride would be for the 5 of us ($50 each way!) to get up the hill for lunch. Nonsense, right? The customs officer then proceeded to offer us a ride in his personal car AND come back and pick us up. What a generous offer that we jumped at, of course. His name was George and he grew up in Virgin Gorda and has 2 children. He was delightful company and drove like a New York City taxi driving up the very steep island road to Hog Heaven - on the 'wrong' side of the road. I just can't get used to that. And, he was passing people around blind curves. All this in about the 3 mile jaunt straight up the side of the mountain - literally.
Coming back down, George pulled over so I could get this shot of Dove Bay, on the windward side of the island.
Back for yet another happy hour with our fellow salty dawgs, Olivia watches as the fish, eels and lobsters are fed their super.
She is holding a sea cucumber
This is an eel - this one's for you grandma Sandy. Do you think Gonzo would like him?
It's hard to see in this picture, but Kate is sitting at the bar, taking notes and chatting with the lively crowd (vacationing from Stanford!). She had a writing assignment where she had to observe a scene and describe it using all 5 senses. She fearlessly walked up to the bar and asked if she could sit and observe. Next thing we know, she is being served free fruit punch and making friends with everyone around her!
Monday, December 24
As promised, our annual poem awaits you, minus the greeting card. However, we did it in true cruiser fashion, made a video and put it to a tune....see if you recognize it (at least anyone born before the 80's)!
To view our video, please click here
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of an awesome trip
That started from a Florida port
Aboard a sailing ship
The mate is a fearless sailing mom
The skipper brave and sure
Five passengers set sail in June
For a year long tour, a year long tour
The summer season in the states,
The hurricane made us duck
If not for the 1500 miles
The crew would be stuck, the crew would be stuck
The boat set ground on the shore of this charted tropical isle
The Craigers too
The deck swab and her dog
The drama queen
The teenager on instagram
Here on Anything Goes
So this is the tale of the Boyer fam
They’re sailing tried and true
They’ve learned how to make the best of things
Even missing you
Even when the fish don’t bite
The skipper braves a smile
He knows the first mate has a plan
It’ll be ready in a while
The crew is responsible for their learning
Each and every day
The swimming’s always close behind
The water's never gray
So join us on our blog each week
You’re sure to see us smile
Wishing you the best this year
Here on tropical isle