A quiet anchorage and a slice of heaven

August 20, 2014 by SV Mary Christine | 2 Comments

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May 27th we sailed over to a little anchorage between Little Jost Van Dyke and Sandy Spit. It’s a popular spot for charter boats but not many stay over night. We had the place all to ourselves in the morning and evening hours…

We snorkeled near the reefs in the crystal clear water spending the day in paradise. It was only a short walk around the whole island. The cool Caribbean Breeze felt so refreshing after our swim.

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Yes, this place is real. Our little slice of heaven. Would you like to go?

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Peter decided we should go on a romantic walk down the beach. And what did we find?

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A coconut of course! Another sign we are exactly where we are supposed to be :)

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Fragments of coral were scattered all over this tiny little island. Picture perfect and very secluded. It’s a magical feeling when you have an island all to yourself!

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I think the best part of Bean’s trip was getting to cuddle with Gunner again :)

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Next stop? Cane Garden Bay, Tortola!

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Stay tuned for more pictures during our stay in BVI!

We are currently working on boat projects and blog posts in Grenada for the remainder of Hurricane Season. If you’re in the Secret Harbor neighborhood, come say HI :)

I Wish I Was There Tonight… On Jost Van Dyke

August 17, 2014 by SV Mary Christine | 8 Comments

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In the evening hours of May 24th, Peter, my Mom and I sat in the cockpit watching the planes come in over St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. We had anchored in Brewer’s Bay, just a short distance from the airport near Charlotte Amalie. The next afternoon my Grandmother was scheduled to arrive to spend a little over a week with us on Mary Christine.

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By this time, Mom was beside herself with excitement to finally be back in the Virgin Islands. Her last visit was in 2006 when she left her heart and a piece of her soul on Jost Van Dyke. Jeanne, my Grandmother and Mom’s Mom, had never traveled this far before and was thrilled to earn her very first passport stamp!  With three generations aboard, it would surely be a trip to remember.

My 31st birthday was May 26th and what better way to celebrate than to spend it on Jost Van Dyke with family?!! After picking up Bean at the airport, we immediately set sail for an overnight stop in Hawksnest Bay, St. John. (I couldn’t say Jeanne when I was little and now everyone calls her Bean. The name has stuck through all these years!) The morning of my birthday we sailed north to Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke.  It was a gorgeous sail with perfect winds. The Virgin Islands are truly spectactular – unlike anything we’ve seen on our journey so far. The way the islands are nestled together, it makes for some pretty perfect cruising grounds.

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With little room to anchor, we picked up a mooring ball toward the back of the mooring field. All four of us could hear Kenny Chesney singing a little song called Somewhere In The Sun inside our heads,

“Oh I wish I was there tonight on Jost Van Dyke
Sipping on some Foxy’s Firewater rum
Or kickin’ back with Ivan
With all my friends down in the islands
Wouldn’t take much for me to up and run
To another life somewhere in the sun”

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We made dinner reservations at Foxy’s for later that night. Luckily, it was a Monday and fairly quiet. Foxy’s can definitely get rowdy!

Dinner was outstanding and the ambiance was perfect. Just a quiet night with a little Caribbean Breeze… My kind of birthday!! :)

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Tuesday 5.27 we took a short dinghy ride over to White Bay, BVI. Mom was absolutely GLOWING!!! Happiness was spilling out of her like I’ve never seen before. The second she got in the water, it was as if she was HOME. I felt like she was welcoming us to the place where she belongs… Can you feel it too?

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Kickin’ back with Ivan…

Enjoy these photos of Ivan’s White Bay Campground and Stress Free Bar before it was torn down this summer. This famous beach bar is currently being rebuilt due to foundation damage from a rain storm 10 years ago! Rumor has it, Ivan’s will be back up and running this November, just in time for our return to JVD!! While most of the memories will be put back up, we’re sure Ivan will need lots of help with new decorations of seashells, t-shirts and autographs from all his visitors.

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What’s your favorite spot in the Virgin Islands???

Stay tuned for lots more photos of the time we spent in BVI! We are currently relaxing down in Grenada for the remainder of Hurricane Season. If you’re near Mt. Hartman Bay/Secret Harbor, come say hi!!!

Best SUP For A Liveaboard Sailboat

August 6, 2014 by SV Mary Christine | 4 Comments

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Where The Coconuts Grow is sponsored by TOWER PADDLE BOARDS – A local San Diego company with a worldwide online store. We are proud to partner with this SUP manufacturer that you may have seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. They are based out of our hometown in sunny Southern California and we are happy to show some San Diego LOVE!

With a growing popularity among the cruising community, we saw pictures of the Tower iSUPs on several other blog sites during the months we spent outfitting our boat. It wasn’t until the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show last fall that we became interested in actually buying one. After seeing the boards up close and personal, we decided we needed not one, but TWO 9’10″ Adventurer iSUPs! It’s a good thing, because we use them all the time now that we’re out cruising around. Click here to read about our first adventure on the paddleboards in the Bahamas.

Now that we’ve had some time to play around with our iSUPs, we’d like to share our experiences with you about the PROS and CONS of buying an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (iSUP) while living on a sailboat. Check out our Tower Paddle Board review:

PROS

- Rigidity

There were two blocks placed underneath each end of an Adventurer 9’10″ inflatable SUP at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. Amazed at the rigidity, I called Peter over to test it out.  It’s designed to hold up to 300lbs when properly inflated and Peter had no trouble keeping his balance while bouncing up and down on the center of the board. In the water, the rigidity proves to be just as reliable.

- Inflatable

The best part about buying an inflatable SUP is that they roll up nicely. While aware of the long passages we had planned, it was impractical to purchase more gear that would need to be strapped on deck so the fact that these iSUPs can be deflated and stowed neatly in our forward cabin while under way was a major selling point for us. If we are at anchor for awhile, we leave the boards inflated in the water or on deck. On short day sails, the boards are fine on deck, but when we are passagemaking, the boards are deflated and stowed in our forward cabin.

- Size

Tower offers two different sizes of inflatable SUPs and several other options for their fiberglass boards. Even at 6′ tall Peter felt comfortable with the 9’10″ board instead of the larger 14′ inflatable board. The 9’10″ Adventurer iSUP is just small enough for me to carry on shore and to lift up and over the lifelines while deploying or bringing it back on board our boat. It’s also big enough to remain stable on the water even while carrying a bunch of gear.

- Accessories

Tower offers a ton of accessories designed specifically to fit their boards. We have attached a Safari Pak to one of our boards for carrying our snorkel and fishing gear. The other board has plenty of room left for Betsy to ride along for an afternoon paddle. All the essentials are available, like a pump, adjustable paddle, leashes, extra D-ring hooks, spare fins, fin bolts and traction pads.

Boards can be purchased individually or in packages that include the pump and an adjustable paddle. While we purchased the board only, not the package, we still recommend getting the package if you want to be ready to paddle right out of the box. Our inflatable dinghy pump had the same attachment fitting as Tower’s so we thought we didn’t need to spend the extra money on a second pump. Now we wish we had bought Tower’s pump made especially for their boards because our pump lets out too much air as it is being disconnected.

We ended up purchasing paddles with fiberglass handles from another company during a Cyber Monday sale but Tower does offer very nice fiberglass paddles on their site for those interested in upgrading their paddle.

- Convenience

Our favorite part about having two iSUPs on board is that they are so much easier to deploy than our dinghy. We can easily drop a paddle board in the water to go visit a neighboring boat in an anchorage, or take a walk on the beach, or check out a snorkel spot that is farther away than we want to swim.

- Exercise

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a fantastic way to get in shape. It uses core muscles for balance, upper body as well as leg strength. Access to land may not always be available but in a calm anchorage we can always paddle around for a little exercise. For the more adventurous types, some people enjoy SUP yoga and surfing!!

-Price

A Tower inflatable SUP costs several hundred dollars less than a regular board, and often much less than competitor inflatable boards. Tower frequently offers online sale pricing so be sure to check back often! **

-Shipping

Domestic orders over $250 or that include a paddle board qualify for free shipping! Shipping is fast and their customer service is exceptional. Shipping is also available worldwide for a fee.

 

CONS

- Fins

Two of the fins remain fixed. The larger center fin must be removed in order to roll the iSUP back up into a nice space-saving bundle. The bolt that holds the fin in place will begin to rust after just a few months in salt water, even after rinsing with fresh water after every use. The head on the bolt has very shallow grooves making it extremely difficult to tighten or loosen the bolt. The bolt is also easily dropped and may bounce off the deck going overboard – OOPS! A redesign of this bolt is desperately needed.

- Lack of D-Rings

The board only comes with one D-ring on each end. Additional D-rings or a Safari Pak must be purchased if  you want to attach a bungee cord to the front of the board for carrying gear.

- Discoloration

The glue that binds the PVC seems together begins to turn yellow after just a short while of sun exposure.  This isn’t a Tower-exclusive issue though… any glue used on PVC, such as our dinghy, will become discolored with UV exposure. It’s only a cosmetic flaw but it sure was nice when the board was sparkling white :)

 

After factoring in all of the Pros and Cons, we think the Tower Adventurer iSUP is the best paddle board for a living on a sailboat!

**If you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing products from Tower Paddle Boards, PLEASE consider using one of our affiliate links above. Just like many other bloggers, we are part of Tower’s Affiliate Program which tracks where their sales are referred from. Simply access Tower Paddle Boards by clicking through from the links above or the Tower button on the right side of our website first. Any subsequent products you search for on Tower’s website during that same internet session will help us out when you complete your purchase. It’s no additional cost to you and it will add a very nice chunk of commission into our cruising fund keeping us afloat for just a little longer. We truly appreciate your support!

 

Take a look at some of the amazing adventures we’ve had so far:

We go fishing…

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We take Betsy for ‘doggie paddle’ sessions…

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We play bumper boards seeing who can stay on their board the longest…

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We explore caves…

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We paddle to secluded beaches…

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We race…

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We paddle to the best snorkeling spots…

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And we cool off…

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A special thanks to MOM for capturing some great photos of us playing on our Tower Paddle Boards!!

If you’re interested in further reading, our friend Carolyn has a couple great articles about SUP Paddle Maintenance and how to introduce your dog to SUPing!

 

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…
We are PROUD to share these awesome products and services with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use.

We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.

**If you’re in the market for any of our favorite products, please consider using one of our Tower or Amazon Affiliate links!

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