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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!!

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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)

DIRECTIONS:

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.

 

 

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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!!

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We are young...especially by cruising standards. I'm yet to have reach the big 3-0 and Luuck just turned 33- we've been doing this the last almost 4 years. We are younger than most- by a couple decades or so. Cruising is something you do when you retire. But for us cruising is something we did before we even got started... AND...we love it!!

Luuck and I moved to St Maarten after our travels and rented an apartment and we never owned anything more that wouldn't fit in 4 suit cases at most. Luuck and I had no problems "downsizing" to live on a boat because we didn't have anything to downsize!! I couldn't even imagine getting rid of a household and lifetime of memories...for the ones that do...good for you!! You're on a whole different level in my book!!

While living here in St Maarten we both worked at the 2 most busiest restaurants the island has to offer. Between the 2 of us we were making GOOD money (300-500usd a day)- that allowed us to pay off our debt from traveling and allowed us to save as well. When first looking for a boat it was important for us not to have a loan from the bank and so we looked in our budget-40k or less. Yolo was the start of the dream and as our dream evolved from a family of 3 to 4 so did the boat and the work money making aspect.

With kids I no longer worked and Luuck was and is the " bread runner". We made HUGE sacrifices- Luuck worked 3 months straight at a time, with 2 months off as a captain of a 101 ft schooner for over a year. He made a career change (restaurant management to boat captain) when we made the lifestyle change. Money was good and easy to save but he wasn't home to see stormer grow or for some of the pregnancy with Rio or even Rio's couple months of life. We, especially Luuck, worked extremely hard for a bigger boat and once again it was important to us not to have a loan so with budget restricting under 60k we found a boat to fit our family and budget. Light was always at the end of the tunnel. Positive thinking=positive outcome.

We don't have car payments, insurance payments,cable bill, phone bills, or Internet bills. We don't go shopping- unless it's for the boat or food. We don't have baby sitters and we sure as hell don't go out and party( I do miss dearly tho but let's face it is a big expense and you pay for it in more ways then one- hungover with kids- no thanks). We (Luuck I mean), fix and maintain the boat when/if broken, if possible. We are very conusious of the money we spend. It's not about wanting what you want- it's about wanting what you got. We are by no means wealthy -our bank account now a days is pathetic but we are rich in life people- we are happy, healthy and in nature.

Basically this lifestyle is full of sacrifices any lifestyle you chose can be...if you want something bad enough you CAN make it happen. For us, the pay off and freedom is HUGE!! We anchor outside of expensive hotels or better yet, places so beautiful you can't build hotels, we see exotic locations and our boys get to see a different upbringing on the sea. We've done a lot on our own but I'm not going to lie... We also had help along the way- especially from Nama Beach- buying the kids clothes, toys ( always toys) and even putting moola in our account to buy "special" snacks and such from the grocery. Thank you Nama- you"ll never let us starve!! We love you!! We are very lucky to have this life and to be together happily as a family.

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It's much like you would keep them at bay in a house. We have an abundance of toys- we have more toys than tools. We don't go with the less is more approach. Stormer's attention span is that of a Jack Russell on crack. Not to mention my mom, Nama Beach, Stormer calls her, doesn't understand we live on a boat with limited space- No joke- she takes Stormer shopping with her via Skype!!

So besides the array of toys this is how we do...

Arts and crafts: painting, coloring, drawing, making little creatures- Pinterest has become my how to for arts and crafts. Stormer loves this and I'm not going to lie I get into it too.

Board games: Stormer is at the age he can listen and follow instructions so we have fun with candy land, zings, old maid, paw patrol game, hoot owl hoot. It's fun family time as well.

Movies and books: Our movie collection has grown. Stormers all time favorite are The Octonauts- I love them too- they are educational and they live in the ocean so he can relate! We like 'Room on the broom' and "The gruffalo' by Julie Donaldson her books are wonderful and cute illustrations. And of course dr. Seuss rocks!

Baking: The past year we eased up on the no sweets rule. Stormer loves to sit on the counter to add ingredients and stir it all up like a magic potion. He of course loves to eat the finished product as well.

Play dough and kentic sand- kentic sand is awesome! We have molds and a little tray to keep the mess contained. He can sit for a good 45-60min. Making shapes with play dough or making a sand castle in the sand with his diggers.

Swimming: This kid is in the water everyday. He's a fish!! We sometimes have to fight to get him out. Jumping off the back of the boat, paddle boarding, playing sea monster game- he's obsessed!

It's not much different to how it would be done on land. Just the small space of living on the boat, I feel, we are more involved no matter if Stormers playing alone or if we are actually playing with him. I love the closeness we have on the boat- the kids and hubby are never more than a few feet away!

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Right now we are anchored at White House Bay in St Kitts. We dropped anchor early yesterday evening. We noticed a rusty shack with tables and chairs on shore that wasn't there last time we were here and we decided to check it out. Not too often we have a sundowner away from the boat. It was far from a rusty shack- it was posh place that you could lounge around and hang out. We indulged in the super overly priced drinks and enjoyed the sunset. We talked of St Maarten...the mother of all Caribbean Islands (to us).

We are setting sail for an over night passage to St Maarten tonight. We can not begin to tell you how excited we are. Luuck and I lived there for 3 years prior to this sailing adventure- it's where our love blossomed-where we got married, and where Stormer was born. We have friends and family we can't wait to see. Restaurants we love and often crave food from, shopping to do and beaches to go.

St Maarten has a lot of the home comforts of the states. You can find most of the products and brands you have stateside. But if you want the European flair you can go to the French side to find. Both US and EU- pretty cool!! Not to mention St Maarten is ALOT cheaper than most islands. The beaches are beautiful with clear blue water. Great restaurants and popping night life(not that we'll see any of that). It's easy to get any boat work done. We basically can not wait!!

Every Caribbean island we've visited is different and we liked them all in different ways but st Maarten we LOVE. St Maarten holds a special place in our heart. Maybe it's because we know it, know the best places to shop, where to do laundry, good places to eat. While we love discovering new places and things we love familiarity as well. We are coming home!!

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Often when we sail we hug the coast which allows us to get a good view of the towns we are passing by. Often we comment-"ooooh that place looks cool- look at that...." or "wow what a nice looking beach- can we anchor there?" Sometimes the "ooo my can we go any faster?" Or " geeze look at that craphole" and that is what happened the day we pasted Anse Dufour.

We sailed up from St Anne- the south eastern tip of Martinique to Anse Noire. It was a decent sail - lots of sea weed, bad for trolling (we have yet to catch any fish this trip North) and HUNDREDS of fish pots...HUNDREDS!!! We were both shocked by the amount of pots-Stormer and I went out to foredeck to keep our eyes peeled for them. Hitting one and getting the line wrapped in the propeller would be no good.

Sun was close to setting and we were closing in on our final destination. We saw a little town between a cove. Fishing boats pulled up on the beach with their bright colors even the bay had quite a few anchored. The "houses" looked of shacks. Luuck said with enthuasim, and slightly turning the boat in that direction "alright we are here!" I looked at him and said, HA!! Real funny! What a craphole - we'd get robbed here!"

He was joking we anchored into the little bay next door. A bay with palm trees lining the black sand beach. Lots of good snorkeling- we saw a leather back sea turtle!! Very quite...very awesome! The next morning before the sun was too hot, even before breakfast we decided to go to shore and check it out, we walked along the beach where thousands of white sand crabs stuck out like sore thumbs on the black sand- stormer enjoyed chasing them all back into their holes!!!

We hiked up the hill and around and came upon this beautiful winding street with flowers all along- we took it down where we found a nicely manicured tree in the middle, a store, and a couple cute restaurants on the beach. And what to my wondering eyes- I recognized this place- but from where??? It was the "craphole" bay we past the night before! I slowly turned to Luuck, "This is that bay... but...it's so cute- we should've anchored here!" he looks at me," I know- it is nice...we can move....".

We never did move but seeing that bay up close and personal was a solemn reminder when traveling never to judge at first glance. That "craphole" town from the sea had a lot to offer and we were pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the "craphole" town from the sea is really just a craphole you can't wait to get out of. You won't know until you explore. Keep an open mind...Often the best memories, best food you'll eat and best stories to tell are from places you didnt even know existed- that you just stumbled upon.

*This town will be in our upcoming video!

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Here she is...Kalani...in all her glory! We bought Kalani after she was on the hard for 3 years. She needed a lot of work and TLC. We did a lot to her in the short year that we've had her. We changed all light fixtures to LED, changed all facets, painted bathrooms, tin tiled galley, tore out walk thru storage to make a "baby bunk", ripped out starboard side nav station to make a couch, new headliners to grass cloth (very zen), new fans, counter re done, and a bunch of other stuff mechanical as well but really....I just care about the cosmetics.... Luucks domain is everything  engine. All our knickknacks are held down by museum putty called Quake Tack- it's not moving on these shortish island hops- on an ocean crossing our decor will have to change! I'm not sure if we have a theme throughout the boat- all our artwork is stuff we picked up when we backpacked around the world. I love seeing those pictures up on our walls- it all has a story behind them. Kalani is homey and a very much comfortable boat for our family right now! Here's our home...our boat...a forever work in progress ..Kalani...

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We will post a walk thru video as well but in the meantime enjoy the pics!!

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Sitting here on night watch on our sail from Martinique to Guadeloupe watching lightingbolts light up the night sky above Dominica, even a dolphin peeking its head out of nowhere to get a breath of air I ask myself how many cruisers out there motor sail or just purely sail? So as we "motor sail" our way north through the night I will explain why this is our preferred way to get around.

First of all I want make sure it is all clear that I love just sailing, nothing can beat listening to the sound of the water crashing off the hull as the boat ploughs its way threw the sea. Knowing that you are just using Mother Nature to take you from a to b is just totally amazing. There are times when we have just purely sailed and that is usually due to problems with the mechanical propulsion devise (don't want to say the word as our baby is hard at work right now), or such great wind coming from the perfect direction.

On one occasion we found ourselves in Bequia with a mechanical problem which needed a part to be shipped from states ( in our array of spare parts we did not have) so we had to sail back to Grenada purely under sail. We waited for a weather window NE winds 15-20knots and we were leaving. We lifted anchor with main sail up in busy Admiralty bay anchorage in Nov, and it caused allot of nervous boat owners around us to get out and watch, they where probably thinking "What the hell are they doing!? They're not even French". But under all that pressure of a crowd eye balling our every move we got out of there safe and sound, we had a perfect sail all the way down doing no less then 6knots until we headed to the dreaded lee of the island. Usually we love the lee of the islands, nice, calm and scenic, but not this time. When we got to Guave the wind just died, we tried to stay a few miles off in hope of wind but nothing. We bobbed and drifted for 5 hours until we reached St. George. If the engine was working it would of been switched on right away but to be honest we had fun in those 5 hours, we bathed off the back of the boat, played games, and just enjoyed the ride. At least it was calm. Usually when the wind is a nice 15-20knots means that the swell is also 5feet and up, making for great sailing but also a rough ride, especially in the channels between the islands, where it always seems to be stronger winds and bigger waves then ever forecasted.

As you all know we sail with two kids, and so we have to think what is the easiest way to get from place to place. When I say easy way I mean stress free, safe and enjoyable. So our rule one is to do all long passages at night(5 hours or more). This is the greatest as the kids and Darcy go to sleep and I sail the boat with my trusty friend, the auto helm, and lots of coffee. This for one is usually stress free as the kids are asleep and so don't lose interest before we even put the sails up and then drive mom and dad crazy. Stormer asking us this evening when we slowed down to put the main sail up if we have arrived, as he believed us slowing down meant arrival, we haven't even left the bay yet!!!!!! Only down side is obviously sailing at night visibility is impaired and so fish pots and even fishing boats can be very hard to see. You have to pay attention and we stay a good distance from land in deep water. Squalls at night too can be a little stressful, if you get caught in one. The key to sailing at night is being prepared, having coffee ready, sail with a reef in all night, harness on with PLB (personal life beacon) and get a good night sleep the night before (easier said then done with a baby onboard). Sailing at night is safe for our little ones as they are all cozy in the aft cabin with mommy, a little slumber party. It is also enjoyable, peace and quiet for daddy which does not happen to often.

Our rule two is to make the passage in favorable conditions. this makes the trip enjoyable and easy on everyone, from daddy behind the wheel to mommy and the kiddos tucked in bed. This would not be possible if you had to be somewhere on a certain date, and so we always try and leave super early so we can always wait for a good weather windows. Usually when you find your self rushing and you head out in conditions you normally would not go out in you could get yourself in a pickle. Everyone's favorable conditions can be a little different, for us it's 10knots or under, smallest waves possible and wind direction giving us a beam to broad reach. We don't ask for much!!! Those conditions don't happen very often and especially not from Nov-Feb, that's why we love sailing in the low season, when the winds usually are very calm.

Our final rule is to get there as fast as possible. Which means in light winds the engine will give us extra speed, so we turn it on and motor sail!!!!! If it was just me and Darcy sailing around I wouldn't care if this sail from St. pierre to the Saints took 30hours as we would just sit back and enjoy the ride, but for this sail to take that long with our two boys I would arrive in the Saints with no hair and Darcy and I would probably give the boat away.

So right now the wind is a measly 5knots off our beam and engine is purring and we are making a nice 5.8 knots in very calm seas, we should arrive at around 7am when the kids wake up. It's about enjoying what we do, so we have to make it that way, we have an engine and we will use it to make our sailing experience as a whole enjoyable. We got our boat to travel with our kids and so use it as our home and transport. We love to purely sail and I always look forward to the heading west, sails between Guadalupe and St. Maarten as I put the whisker pole in and preventers on and engine off, but when it comes to it, it's about comfort and getting places. If it was about purely sailing we would do it once the kids are older.

by: Captain Daddy Luuck ...continue reading To motor sail…or not??

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We made it to Martinique!! And it is popping here! We have not seen this many boats in a long time. We motored into Marin for the first time ever and unsure of the bay and the amount of boats took extra concentration anchoring- thank goodness Rio was napping! This is one of the largest yacht centers in the Caribbean. Anything you need to get done to your boat this is the place! Especially with the usd and euro almost 1:1. We found our spot and went to check in. We love the excitement of a new place, of what we'll see, do or try-that is why we sail. I love the uncertainty of coming to shore and not having a clue as to where to go- and we didn't! We walked over an hour in midday sun with babies in tow to find the captainarie which we could've just dinged too...Ah the adventure!

The sail from st Lucia was sweet- took about 4 hours going 5.5-6kts the whole way. We never stopped in this part of Martinique before as the wind was never favorable but yesterday the south easterly winds made it a nice easy sail. Sailing with 2 kids these days has been pretty good. All of our sailing so far has been calm and easy- we only go in nice weather or night sails for longer passages. Sailing with Stormer is so different this time around. He entertains himself a good bit of the time and he knows how to walk around the boat while under way. He plays in his room, snacks, watches movies- it's great! Rio has been a great little sailor as well. He naps,hangs out and watches our craziness. Once Rio get more mobile though that's when it'll get interesting.

We moved over to st Anne- a cute sleepy seaside town. Everyplace we've seen on this island has such character. You see the store owners sweeping their steps, the bakery wiping down their windows, everything is taken care of and clean here. Stormer passes people in the street and says, "bonjour" to everyone- when they respond back he continues on in a voice as if they were hard on hearing,"I dont understand you- I'm Dutch and American!" That's our boy! Luuck watched his first Rugby World Cup game at a little snackette, with a few Lorraine beers- Luuck was a happy camper. The next day we went to Grand Anse de St Anne beach which was amazing! Clam clear water- great for the kids. The white sand beach lined with French restaurants and the back drop of Martinique and diamond rock was picture perfect. I would be happy to live in this little European paradise- if only we spoke French- Martinique rocks!