Rio supervising...one moment of rest he stomps on daddy's head😜
Rio supervising...Not a moment of rest or he stomps on daddy's head!

While in St Maarten we took advantage of the time off and duty free shipping to install our new Cruise RO water maker. Luuck and our good buddy picked up 5 boxes from the shipping port and then off to the boat we went to rip open the boxes like Christmas morning and marvel at the beautiful new life changing equipment we just received.

The hoses, connections- (it comes with everything you need...a cool tube cutter too I'm sure we'll use one other projects as well!), filters, pumps and membrane...wow... we looked at the pile of stuff in disbelief while wondering if we were going to be able and pull off the installation ourselves. It was discouraging at first...not going to lie. We unpacked and turned our aft head in to a water maker storage area while Luuck went down to work studying the manual. Over a course of a few days when the water maker seemed to take permanent resident in our aft head, Luuck continued to read the manual front to back numerous times gaining the courage to actually begin this project- once he did it was very straight forward and very easy.

We spent the most time....days actually(after the days spent reading about what to do) ...trying to figure out where we were going to put the unit itself. We had a location measured out under the galley sink before hand ...we have an unused thru hull so we thought easy peasy...NOT... Some how that space shrunk from the time we measured it and actually gotten the water maker itself...very strange...I will not take credit for the measuring. It was back to the drawing board. We came up with some pretty great ideas to tear the boat apart to put this bad boy in...Stormer too..."what if we just put it here...." pointing to his brothers bed...

Finding a spot was the hard part after that it was smooth sailing of installation and was easy...especially for me...I supervise while Luuck did all the hard sweaty labor. We chose the engine room we have a unused thru hull in there as well and space was not a issue...our engine room is massive. It took us 3 days to install. Keep in mind we have kids and didn't work all day on it. People could totally get this done in a long hard working day after getting all the extra bits and bobs and studying the manual.

All the extra bits and bobs...

8 and 10 gauge wire
Shurflow raw water strainer
Stainless steel nuts, bolts and zip ties

DAY 1
Luuck put everything in place and bolted everything down
DAY 2
Ran the wire from the high pressure pump and boost pump to the electrical panel
Day 3
Was connecting all the hoses together and running the plumbing to the tanks

Putting everything in place and bolting down
Putting everything in place and bolting down
Wiring up the boost pump...
Wiring up the high pressure pump...
High pressure pump in place
High pressure pump in place
Sweaty ...wiring the high pressure pump and boost pump to the ac and dc panels.
Sweaty ...wiring the high pressure pump and boost pump to the ac and dc panels.
Filters and hoses in place.
Filters and hoses in place.
Ta daaaaaa.....our Cruise RO water maker ready to make some fresh water!!!
Ta daaaaaa.....our Cruise RO water maker ready to make some fresh water!!!

 

We totally love our Cruise RO water maker and Rich with his customer service has made it a total breeze. We now have been using the washer daily...the money we will save on doing laundry and not having to pay for water at the dock will pay off the cost of this water maker in no time. Now that we have it I'm wondering why we didn't get one sooner...we highly recommend Cruise RO...its da bomb!!

Setting sail to St Maarten...
Setting sail to St Maarten...

St Maarten....glorious St Maarten! We had an awesome month there...We lived there before our crazy sailboat story and truth be told I couldn't wait to leave and see what the other Caribbean islands had to offer. Tisk-tisk... My naiveness had no idea how awesome St Maarten really was/is and now a days we look forward to visiting and even yearn to go back...normally for food....but yearn nonetheless.

So what did our action packed month consist of....well... Stormer's 5th birthday party...great friends...Opa...boat work...beach days...beer...boat trips...more boat work...ice cream...a zoo excursion...parrot farm...water maker installation...airplanes...horse back riding...and just hanging out as a family. Here are some pictures of our nonstop fun...

Rio loving the zoo...
Rio loving the zoo...
Beautiful Anguilla
Beautiful Anguilla
Stormer's birthday boat paaaaarty...
Stormer's birthday boat paaaaarty...
A dentist visit with opa!
A dentist visit with opa!
Rio absolutely loved the horse back riding...look at that smile!
Rio absolutely loved the horse back riding...look at that smile!
Stormer loved it too but wanted to 'go fast'
Stormer loved it too but wanted to 'go fast'
Amazed at baby pig feeding...
Amazed at baby pig feeding...
Icecream goodness...
Icecream goodness...
Cruise RO water maker installation...Good thing daddy had Rio to help!!
Cruise RO water maker installation...Good thing daddy had Rio to help!!
The parrot farm..so fun!
The parrot farm..so fun!
We love birds!!!
We love birds!!!

 

We are now back in Tortola after an easy...rolly...super moon sail. We are now getting back into the swing of things with Luuck already back to work filling up that kitty. The kids and I getting back on track more or less with life in Tortola. And we are gearing up for the holidays!!!

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Water...yes we are surrounded by it...yes it is beautiful....but it's salt water and is unusable to us....not for long😜

Our boat, Kalani, carries a whopping 250 gallons of fresh water and that is awesome for us- cruising up we were water conscience but not too extreme. Our first boat, Yolo, was only 60 gallons so that was a different story- salt water baths were the norm! I even carried soap, shampoo and conditioner with me where ever we went for the odd chance we'd find a shower or hose we could use so we could save our precious water! Our tanks now tho can last us a month- that's not bad for cooking, drinking and showering. However, with life more at a stand still and more water consumption for my bad ass washer and the kids...Man these sweet little creatures are dirty- has got us singing a different tune. We need to be fully self suffient! Putting dock lines on, fenders on, engine running, pull mooring lines in to make our way to the dock to fill up on some water... Is a lot of work! It's pretty time consuming and with the kids although we are at home it takes concentration and both sets of hands to make the whole process easier.

Having a water maker now being out on the hook would make a world of a difference to us! Luuck is working hard and sometime doesn't have a single day off for weeks at a time(he's worked 32 days straight at one point)! That leaves me conserving more water not knowing when he'll be off to fill and doing a dock run with the kids alone will never EVER happen. I did attempt to do Jerry jugs once on my own...never EVER again....those 5 gallon jugs are heavy....5 gallons of water weighs about 40lbs!! Imagine the back breaking work it is to carry, to lift, to hold and pour all the while with a 27lb monkey baby climbing up your legs demanding attention and to be held while a 4 year old talks your ear off about dinosaurs....it's for the birds I tell you...the birds!!! The sound of the water pump continuing on is one of my worse reoccurring nightmares and every time I switch over to the next tank it hurts a little knowing soon a dreaded dock run is approaching or worse late night Jerry jug run- which has happened! My beloved wash machine is still getting used but not as often as I'd like- we normally do a power wash of laundry of 4 or 5 loads as we are simlotanisuly at the dock filling up on water. With a water maker I'd use the washer every single day....we have the dirty clothes for it that's for sure.

With all that said we finally after 5 years of cruising decided to bite the bullet and get a water maker to change our cruising lives for the better! This. Will. Be. Life. Changing. Now deciding on a water maker is no small feet- how much water to make, engine driven, 12v, generator, size, threw hulls, control panels, where to put the actual unit is enough to make your head spin. I still don't fully understand all of it- I probably never will- all I know is it takes the salt out of salt water!

We decided to go with CruiseRO Water- Rich, a fellow cruiser himself and the genius brains behind the making of the awesome water maker, is...wait for it....a cruiser- I know I already said that but he knows what it's like being out as a full time live aboard/cruiser. He's lived the life we are living...he knowsHaving to be power conscience, space awareness and the fact most full time cruisers are struggling to keep the dream alive, so more economically friendly than most units out there. All that and the fact that his units are module as well-'meaning you can interchange parts of need and will most likely be able to find them at any hardware store is a huge bonus! Also his customer service is to par- emails back within the hour people! That's huge- gotta question- email Rich- gotta problem? Email Rich- wanna just chit chat - email rich and he answers them all personally! It's amazingly great! His units are high out-put water makers that range from 20 gallons per hour to 40 gallons per hour! Surely he has one for you to fit your budget and need!

CruiseRO water maker design and philosophy is simple:
Build a water maker that is easy to install, operate, service and repair, but most importantly do it without a “Marine” or “Cruising Gear” price premium. Designing a low cost water maker with no proprietary parts, that lock you into an overpriced relationship for consumables or replacement parts, doesn’t just result in a cheaper water maker, but in a better water maker.

Beautifully said...beautiful idea... We can't wait to get our paws on one of these babies!!

We are simple folk. We are some cheap folk as well! So we chose the sm20 simple water maker. 20 gallons an hour! Luuck will be putting it in himself and anything with simple in the name we are sold! The big reason behind why we chose the simple is the control panel. We don't need a control panel to show us what's getting put in our tanks- and its less wiring... one less hole in our boat... one less thing for the kids to play with...one less thing for me to yell to leave alone. So we will be excited to share with you how simple installation will be and documenting the whole thing!! Stay tuned for the installment!!

imageWell Folks...Its safe to say I'm the world's most terrible blogger/vlogger around. I haven't written or signed on in so long that I actually forgot my username and password...again! When I do get around to write or edit a video...its always rushed... With 2 kids running around on our tiny floating home I'm half crazed and get side tracked easily. I do apologize! I am going to try and get more involved in this again...no promises tho!

What have we been up to that past couple months?? Well Luuck has been busy with work. It is hurricane season so it has slowed down some. The horrible "H" season is almost over and we got out untouched...thank God. This was our first season outside of the "safe zone".  We have had a few sailing excursions to neighboring islands during the down time. This time of year everything is so quite, a lot of stuff is closed but that means we get the whole beautiful anchorages to ourselves. What experience we lose in not seeing the lively-ness in season hustle we gain in actually seeing the raw beauty of the island itself. I can't complain!

The kids and I had a quick trip home to the states to see my mom...Which was great! Stormer has been involved in soccer, tennis and started kindergarten(homeschool). Rio has been growing up so fast and at the stage where he wants to be naked all the time..Whoo hooo for cleaning up baby pee daily! I myself have been busy trying to be a teacher/mommy/wife/planner/chef/cleaner...the list is never ending! Never a dull moment here on kalani...never!

What are our plans....well we just had an amazing, beautiful and most importantly comfortable sail to St Maarten. The Anegada passages is one of the most dreaded in these parts....beating into the waves and wind. We picked an awesome calm 5-10kts of wind outta the South and it was amazing- we made it in just about 18 hours. The moon was full and was amazingly big rising- it was beautiful! We have some stuff that we need to do here, boat work projects included and of course seeing friends, family, and eat a ton of French cheese!! So we are kicking it in the land of greatness for the next month or so before Luuck has to go back to work for another busy season of charters!!


 

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It's no secret I've always wanted a wash machine. On our first boat, Yolo, a 32 ft 60 gallon fresh water tank boat with no water maker I told Luuck " I bet we could fit a wash machine in the lazeratte...." He just gave me a wtf look followed by a little chuckle and didn't even bother to humor me. We ended up with a wonder washer... Better than nothing, I guess. It saved us a few trips to the laundry mat. All the cruisers that we came in contact with that did have a washer...I was envious...and had a million questions. So when we got a bigger boat...I was ready and well researched!

With a bigger boat(7 extra feet) I was determined to find a wash machine! I know they aren't the most logical on the boat-but then again neither are having babies on a boat! The spit ups, blow outs, and time and money it takes to do laundry at a laundry mat with kids...no thanks! Babies are mighty cute but mighty dirty...don't let their sweet coos and innocent baby smiles fool you! I was on a mission... I needed a small, 110v, power and water conservative   machine. I've found that all in the Golden mini full automatic wash machine!

This baby is compact- 16.1x16.5x25.2(inch)- it fit through our bathroom door!! That was a huge concern...we didn't want to have to take the whole door frame off for a couple more inches...or worse take some of the washer apart to fit it in. It's very light weight- 39.7lbs- Luuck was at work and I could not wait to get it on the boat so i did it myself with rio in the ergo carrier on my back- that was a sight! Luuck built a base to make it level- it does have an adjustable leg but we needed more...our bathroom floor has a slant to it and the base helps it stay in place too. We also strapped it into the wall to make sure when we are sailing it can't move around. It's an easy hook up you just screw the hose into the faucet and turn on the water. We took the shower out of the bathroom... we like washing our goods for all to see outside on the back of the boat... So we had the existing shower drain we now use for the washer drain. And you are now ready to get your clothes so fresh and so clean!!

Water intake: it has 3 different water levels and the capacity to wash a max of 6.2lbs of dirty clothes.
High: 7 gallons
Medium: 5 gallons
Low: 4 gallons

Not too much water and the rated power input is 235w
It has a wide variety of options for you washing needs 😜
Wash&Rinse&Spin 30min
Wash&Rinse 25min
Rinse&Spin 20min
Spin 5 min
Gentle 17 min

or you have the option to do any cycle separate.

I've been using it everyday and I absolutely LOVE It!! We use the gentle cycle mostly. It's super quite, clothes get clean and the spin dry is amazing- an hour for the clothes to dry in the Caribbean sunshine!! If you are like me and dream of a wash machine on a boat- I can highly recommend this one.

*Note: I'm not affiliated with this product in anyway

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Beep beep- watch out!! We bought a car!! This island beauty is 26 years old and purrs like a kitten. I'm not going to lie this is the best island car we have ever had to date! I love the vintage look of her- we just need some surf boards on top and we'd really look cool! I am so so so happy we finally have a car! With no public transport on this island (except expensive taxis) we were limited to what we could do. Now we've been out and about and going on adventures almost daily!

Island cars are always expensive...ALWAYS! The roads are always in need of repair...pot holes galore. Speed bumps are very very frequent and some unmarked...."oops sorry kids!!" Caribbean drivers are crazy...when it comes to driving no one is on island time...rush rush rush it is! The cars in the islands take a beating and we figured it's best to buy island Junkers we really don't care about not only because a junker is all we can really afford, they are going to get dented, smashed, sandy, abused and cost you money to fx in the garage anyway.

One of our first island vehicles we bought living in St Maarten was a white 50cc scooter (I named Roma) and Luuck got a matching silver 50cc scooter- I liked to call ourselves the Soeters Scooter Gang! Once we found out we were with child we traded our kickass scooters in for a 2 door Jimney that the air didn't work...no big deal...until....the window motors decided to quit- no ac and no windows...in the hot Caribbean heat...their was a lot of cursing! That car was chucked after we had Stormer...he would've otherwise died of a heat stroke... And got Hyundai Accent that only had 2 working door handles...but hey...the ac and all 4 Windows worked-who cares the passenger had to climb thru the window- it was a step up! Luuck eventually fixed the handles! Grenada we also purchased a car for the birth of Rio- once again an old junker, that literally broke down on the way to the hospital to give birth leaving Luuck to run 3 miles uphill at 1am to the hospital...we have a drama filled birth story- I'll save for another time tho. We ended up having to rent a car to come home from the hospital- nice, new  rental and guess what...that broke down too! Ahhh our island cars....you never know what you are going to get!

So this beast has been good to us so far! I even braved a road called the elevator, which in a "normal" first world country it would be illegal to build, I'm sure! It's a 90 degree incline: on the way up I feared of falling backwards and once I started to smell something funny...of burning... My palms sweating- I kept say, "please God, please God please..." Stormer talking of something in the backseat about fish I mumbled back, "Be quite please, I'm concentrating!" he flowed back sounding like his dad, "Why because of the car? Don't worry mommy, its f$@&ing powerful...just step on it!" Laughing, I listen to my 4 year old backseat driver and put the peddle to the metal. Our 4 year old hears everything we say...even when we think he's not listening!! We made it up but I dreaded going back down. Going down was more scary than going up- Needless to say even though our car can handle that road I will avoid the elevator at all costs. Most of the roads here are in decent condition and are all very scenic. The main road wraps around the island like a snake following the sea and the roads leading up in the hills you have a gorgeous view of the surrounding island. That's one thing for sure- their is beauty always around!

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Dock life is great! Run outta water??? No problem... Let me just step off the boat to land, grab the hose and fill up the tank! I pad dead??? No worries let me plug it in next to the other iPads and cell phones already charging! Is it hotter than hairy monkey balls out there??? Who cares the ac is blowing and it's an Arctic Tundra inside our boat...hop aboard! Yup, there are major major bonuses being on the dock.

I've written before about how awesome Nanny Cay is...the marina of all marinas- it is awesome and we do love it! We could comfortable stay here...pretty much forever. The thought of leaving is kinda scary...why leave a good thing, right?? And that is exactly why we have decided to leave...to get off the dock and go onto a mooring ball in a new location. We got into a comfort zone here(which that's good, comfort zones can be great) but here's the thing about a comfort zone....it's a magical place where nothing ever grows! Why bother going out trying a new restaurant or grocery store or anything when the convenience is right here...we need new, we need to explore!

That including with we are paying an arm and a leg every month in "rent"- this awesomeness comes with a price and rightfully so. It hurts every month to hand over our hard earned cash to pay for a slip that is enough to be renting a 2 bed house. We bought a boat to have the freedom, to live "off the grid" so to speak, to not be a slave to bills. We are working just to live and that's not for us. We have dreams of doing other things else where in this world so we have to start saving to achieve that. And while here was a great spot to get accustomed to the new island we get to call home and get on our feet- I am truly thankful for this spot  because...well...it was great! It's time for us to find greatness else where and save some cash! To get back on the water, hatches open, swimming off the back, showering- shaving my legs and armpits off the back in the sunshine for all to see!! Goodbye dock life- hello beautiful openness!!

Our backyard...
Our backyard...

 

Well we've been here in Tortola now for just over 2 months. While some things aren't as we expected others are better than we imagined. We have adjusted well to life attached to the dock! The marina is one of the best we stayed in- Nanny Cay has got it going on. A nice beach full of great shells for Stormer to find "treasure", a nice pool, the best coffee shop ever( my lady, Rose, sees us daily) grocery store, and restaurants.

We have our daily "structure" when Luuck is at work! While I love to have some structure to our days a routine day in and day out...I can't do- sure Rio has scheduled nap times but I can "wear" him in his ergo carrier- so I try and change it up as much as possible. The first couple weeks was hard to find a groove...it was tough not having Luuck around- he hadn't worked in months so we were together 24/7 with the kids. Coming here we knew it'd be full on and back to work...which is good. I just wasn't prepared for the 2 kid juggle. Putting Rio down for naps/bedtime on his own was a big issue and still is-haha! The kid is stubborn! At the moment we have given into him- so he's back to sleeping on or with us- I will break this habit one day...until then I will totally enjoy the sweet baby cuddles- they won't last forever. He's getting so big- he has a set of chompers on him now and taking steps- he'll be full blown walking soon. Stormer, I started "homeschooling" (for now) and he goes to art tots and tumble tots on wednesday and Friday. We are keeping busy.

Luuck has been busting his butt working and he is loving his new gig with Scott on Aristocat doing day charters. He's home every night to tuck Stormer in and to bounce Rio back to sleep in the middle of the night- he has the night shift! This job is A LOT better than his last where we only saw him 1 day a week for 3 months straight. While he is off making us the money I turned into miss Susie homemaker. I take care of the kids, boat, do laundry(with 3 guys-it's never ending) and make sure dinner is ready when daddy Luuck comes home...who would've ever thought?! Not I...but here I am doing it- Stormer helps me a lot and has become the little chef as well- we make dinner together. I am in love with the wonderbag- it makes my life so much easier!! I use it daily making dinner in the after noon- so it's ready in time. Less fuss later when the kids are on the breaking point after a long day! We are a total team,Luuck and I, to make this lifestyle work for us and that's what I love- we couldn't do it without one another. Our "jobs" while being very different are both equally important. Appreciation...we have for one another...

We are currently shopping for a car as much as I love the marina, I still need off the "compound"with the kids. And with Stormer getting more into activities it's needed. Luuck has gotten back into rugby and I back into yoga. We have done some island exploring on luucks days off and I must say every single beach we have seen has been beautiful here! Clear water, white sand, palms- very picturesque! I can get use to it here, I think. We have yet to go out cruising the area but just seeing Tortola I see why this is such a popular destination with bareboat charters and cruisers alike. We have just recently made a trip to St Thomas, (I wouldn't call the quick sail there cruising) as our tourist extensions were denied. We had to leave with less than 24 hour notice and get medicals done for Stormer and myself to come back in as dependents. While busy getting the doctor stuff done there we got a chance to see some of the island...I LOVE IT!! St Thomas is awesome! I haven't lived in the states over 7 years and in that time I've been home for a total of 8 months....so I was crazed, happy and excited to see "home comforts" only a short sail away. It totally makes me love where we are at even more!! A video of our trip is in the making!! We will get out cruising this summer when the crowds have thinned out and work isn't so busy. Until then we are just living the island life!

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The little Caribbean island at the bottom of the chain- the one I called home for 2 years- Grenada- has been rocked this past week by the disappearance of a Canadian National- a wife and mother of 2 boys. She went missing while out jogging with her dog Sunday morning in the Lance Au Pines area. An area I know well and walked around often when anchored in Mt Hartman or Prickly Bay.

Grenada- the spice island-it's raw, natural, not as built up as other Caribbean islands and beautiful. The locals are friendly, helpful and are proud of their island. I personally can say I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable there- we totally enjoyed all Grenada had to offer.

So I was shocked when I heard the story of Linnea Veinotte-While yes bad things happen every single second of the day around the world, I personally had never had anything like this hit so close to home nor could I imagine it happening in a place like Grenada. I checked into her Facebook page a few times a day to see the new developments. I followed friends of hers, that are also friends of mine that went to SGU(the American medical school there) to see if they heard something sooner than the press release. I didn't know her personally but we knew her husband, Matt. It is such a terrible, unthinkable thing that has happened. And I for one am still unsure of what exactly happened. Did she get hit by a car and the driver panic and took her? Did he abduct her? Murder? Accident? While we do know though her body was found shortly after the local suspected man turned himself in.

My heart is broken for that family and to the children that no longer have their mommy physically present. To the husband that lost his partner- my deepest condolences. Couldn't even imagine...

Hug your loved ones a little tighter and be thankful for the people in your life and the life you are living right now...