Well 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!!
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 😜
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
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!
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!!
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!
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...
After months of cruising up from Grenada we made it to our final destination- Tortola!! It is awesome to be here- it's a new group of islands that we never explored AND (the best part) we are reunited with our long time cruising buddies and BFF's, windtraveler!!! OMG!!!
The sail up from st Maarten was a little rough- the kids barely slept and I was losing my mind-at one point I told Stormer through gritted teeth, "if you don't go to sleep I'm taking all your toys" which was then followed by crying and screams of "nooooo don't take my toys"-silly mommy for thinking I could"scare" him to sleep! Sleep deprevation does something to you...I tell ya!! We made it through the night-barely. We saw a beautiful sunrise- a sky full of gold, then orange, then pink and valllaaaaa we saw our new home in the distance, by the light of a new day-a new beginning for us- amazing!
We pulled into Roadtown after 16 hours sailing 91miles and anchored. We hurried off to meet Scott, Brittany and Isla where they were awaiting for our arrival on shore. This has been in the making for months! It's hard to believe we've been apart almost 2 years. It sure doesn't feel that way- we talk to them so often and probably talk about them daily it feels like no time has passed between us. But it has- they had beautiful twin girls - and we had a beautiful little boy in that time. A lot has changed! We have a lot of catching up and bottles of wine to drink!! It was a very quick reunion- having to get down to business but was so awesome to see Stormer and Isla hug and take off running holding hands chasing chickens!! Luuck and Scott ran off to immigration to do paper work! Luuck is a trooper- sailed all night and ran around all the next day on no sleep to take care of the work permit stuff- we are now residents of the bvi's!!
We are now getting use to life attached to the dock. The first few days I was in some sort of funk trying to find a routine,being on my own with 2 kids and missing my partner in crime, Luuck. But dock life is growing on me rather quickly- I don't have to worry about water/energy consumption, we have ac, good internet,hot showers, a nice pool, beach and beach bar. The kids like it as well - riding bikes, talking to Nama on skype daily and watching movies. It is so nice to have close friends to hang out with as well-awesome actually. We have yet to do any real exploring as Luuck has been busy making much needed mooola at his new job( more details on that to come soon) so all is good with us!!
We LOVE yogurt! Every morning it's the appetizer to our main breakfast- we are a little piggy-ish over here on Kalani. Down in the Islands yogurt is expensive- 6usd for a tub and that adds up if you are going through 3 a week. And throughout The Grendians most places it's non existent and if it is around it's also" homemade" and to me taste like dirty socks. Beware the homemade yogurt in Bequia!!!. So while home stateside I scoped out the best way for us to have yogi- introducing the Easiyo!!!
It's basically a thermo but first go around we love it!! Uses no electricity - which is important living on a boat. They do sell flavored sachets but are expensive being shipped to the good old' US of A as it's based out of New Zealand and I was concerned of weight in our luggage back to the islands. So after some research this recipe worked well...
4 cups milk
1/2 cup powdered milk (if you like it thicker yogurt add more- the more powdered milk )
STARTER (I used a packet of freeze dried powder they sold at a natural food store- may be hard to find in the islands)
1. Heat the 4 cups of milk in a pan until it hits 180 degrees ( a thermometer would be needed)
2. Put the milk in the fridge until it is COLD. Put half the milk in the Easiyo container with the starter and the powdered milk (if you want the thicker yogurt) Shake and then add the remaining milk and shake up again.
3. Boil the water stove top to pour into the thermo.
4. Then 5-10 hours later you take it out. Put it into the fridge to completely chill. This helps thicken it. I'm still trying to figure out the right amount of time...you just have to peek and see if it's thicken. Leaving in too long will cause very tart yogi.
And BAM- you have yogurt!! Sweeten it up with honey or liquid sugar or even add some coconut, lemon, strawberry, or vanilla extract for flavoring- but add only after made as it doesn't turn out right otherwise.
Luuck and I are with the boys 24/7- we have no "date nights" out on the town, no going to the movies, no sitting belly up to a bar without a care in the world getting a little tipsy planning a crazy adventure. Nope no babysitters for us- where we go our kids follow!! Our days getting sloppy are long gone- I'm not complaining-neither one of our bodies handles the alcohol as good as it once use to. We are getting old! But we still like to have a nice sundowner from time to time before the kids 7 o'clock bedtime. These are (dare I say) the best bars for kids we came upon thus far. In no particular order...
Sunshines beach bar- Nevis
This place has a swing set and trampolines right on the beach!! It's an awesome spot to have a relaxing drink,dig your toes in the sand, watch the sunset and your kids play all at the same time!!!
Buccaneers beach bar- st Maarten
Grown ups socializing kids riding little bikes, playing tag or soccer on the beach. Every Friday is kids movie night they put on a big projector- it's fun to watch under the stars and allows adults to have grown up conversations. They serve good pizza as well. It's a nice family night out!
Karacter- st Maarten
It's such a cool little bar- it's actually a bus!! This is a good day spot! They have awesome food and cheap buckets of our favorite beer, Amstel Bright. Free lounge chairs to sun bath on while listening to chill music and watching your kids play in the sand or run down into the ocean. You can't beat a day at karacter.
The last bar before the jungle- mayreaou
A beautiful bay with palm trees lining the beach. This little bar has a view of the whole beach if the kids wanted to play outside of the "enclosed dinning area" (sand beach with netting around) They also have a little "pool" with nurse sharks in to mesmerize the kiddos- or at least tell them if they are bad you'll throw them to the Sharks!!!
Couleurs Du Monde- Les Saintes
This bar has 15oz Leffe on tap, killer sunsets, and Legos to play with for the kids!! They even have a toddler potty training seat hanging on the bathroom wall!! The owners have a 3 and 6 year old so they know all about toddler tantrums!! It's a nice place to relax with little ones in tow!!!
I'm sure we have a lot more kid friendly bars to discover!!! And we'll let you know when we do!!