The Liebster Award 2014

September 16, 2014 by SV Mary Christine | 3 Comments

The-Liebster-Award

“Tomorrow. I really want to write this tomorrow.” That’s what I kept telling myself after we got our first Liebster Award nomination from a super fun family we’ve been following at Diving Into Cruising. What the heck is a Liebster Award, you say? Well, it’s basically a Pay It Forward type of chain letter for bloggers all over the world. It’s been going around for years and gets passed on from one blog to another.

It’s more than just a “good luck” email chain letter, though, that you would forward on to the first 10 email addresses that pop into your head. The Liebster Award represents something more endearing. It’s recognition for fellow bloggers out there that genuinely deserve a mention. There are so many great blogs with amazing stories but it’s nice to share the love with blogs that are new, less known, or that haven’t received a nomination yet.  The rules have morphed over the years away from things like 11 questions for 11 nominees and only nominating blogs with less than 200 followers. We prefer to soften the edges a bit and take a more generalized rule set where we simply accept the award by writing a new blog post linking back to the blog that nominated us, publish our answers to their questions, nominate a handful of our favorite blogs that haven’t been nominated yet, and ask them some questions – either copied from others or created special for our new nominees.

We were honored to get a second nomination a few weeks later from our friends over at Cream Puff. This is getting serious now… I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer! “Two nominations have already been made and I still haven’t made the time to squeeze in this sweet little post.” Then, Genevieve from one of our favorite blogs, It’s A Necessity, finally got around to accepting her award (I’m not the only procrastinator!!) and gave us our third nomination. While punching out the answers to our questions, I happened to be chatting over email with our friend Jan from Commuter Cruiser. If you’ve been following our blog from the beginning, you know that Jan and David hold a special place in our hearts and we will be forever grateful for all that they taught us in our first four months aboard SV Mary Christine. We received our fourth and final nomination from Commuter Cruiser so now it’s time to show our appreciation and share the love. We’ve now got 40 questions on the table so we’ll do the best we can to answer them all ;)

 

Questions from Diving Into Cruising - Dieter, Britton and Brady… and the same set of questions from Commuter Cruiser - Jan and David:

1. Introduce us to your crew.  Who are they and what role do they play in your operation?

Our crew includes Peter (the Captain), Jody (the first mate) and our two large furry four-legged children, Betsy and Gunner (in charge of guarding us and the boat).

2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other adventurers hoping to live aboard? What do you like least about your choice?

We have a ketch rigged 1980 Whitby 42 monohull. She’s a good solid cruising boat that can take us across oceans. She’s slow, but solid, and is tougher than we are. We would definitely recommend a Whitby to any new liveaboard cruiser.

The part we like the least about this boat is the ventilation. In the tropics, it sometimes rains every hour. We run around like we’re doing a Chinese Fire Drill to shut all the hatches, ports and isinglass. There are so many different openings that are needed for ventilation, yet none of them can remain open while its raining without getting a ton of water inside the boat. When the rain stops, we have to go around and open them all back up before we pass out in this sweatbox.

3. Where are you now and what are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?

We’re in Grenada waiting out the rest of Hurricane Season. Tomorrow we head to the Tobago Cays for a little exploring, then we’ll come back to Grenada until the end of October. Then, we’ll make our way back through the Eastern Caribbean as far North as BVI. From there, we’ll head back South to see the ABC’s then to Panama for some big waves and big fish.

4. How do you support your lifestyle while sailing and cruising? 

We worked hard to pay off old debt, sold almost everything we had on land, and sailed away with a good savings. We’ll need to find work along the way to help keep us afloat, but for now we’re living as frugally as we can while still having a good time as we visit so many amazing countries.

5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while living aboard? 

We’ve had so many!! It’s hard to pick just one. If you haven’t been following our adventures from the beginning, you can find our first post HERE.

6. Name the most challenging experience you have had while living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?

The most challenging experience we have had was cutting the dock lines, taking a leap of faith and sailing away from safe harbor when we left Burnt Store Marina and made our way to the Bahamas. The list of projects is never-ending and there was always something left that we felt was keeping us from finally leaving. The push that we needed was having our good friends Josh and Leah fly in to set sail with us. They worked hard to help us get ready and with their motivation, we found the courage to GO FOR IT, despite our lack of experience. It has since proven to be one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had because it has allowed us to explore so many amazing places along this great journey.

7. Is living aboard and sailing an alternative way of life for you, an escape from the system, or is it just a temporary adventure?

It’s definitely not temporary for us. A new and better way of life is more accurate. There’s a lot of benefits to living in the US, but there’s a lot of things we wanted to get away from as well. There’s still rules in these little islands, but far less than back on land.

8. Any big mistakes you have learned from that others may learn from too?

We haven’t made any big mistakes yet… knock on wood! We’ve avoided many potential disasters thanks to all the advice and help we’ve received from fellow cruisers and new friends we’ve met along the way. Little thing’s we’ve learned are to slow down and never be in a hurry, always check the weather, and to trust our gut.

9. What advice would you give to youngsters just finding their place in the world?  College, skill/trade, world travel on the graces of good luck?

Find your passion!!! Do whatever you need to do to find what makes you happy. Follow your dreams and don’t look back. Anything is possible, no matter how difficult it may seem, just have a little faith that it will all work out. If you’re not sure what your passion is yet, go to college, learn something new, and start networking. Talk to as many people as you can and find out what their passion is and why. Ask a lot of questions. We found that there are a lot of people who are happy to help you find your passion.

10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow bloggers?

It comes down to the fact that we really want to inspire others to follow their dreams and do whatever it takes. We are young – younger than most that are traveling the world by sailboat. Out of the ordinary? Sure. Crazy? Maybe. But do we regret it? NEVER! This is a truly amazing experience and more rewarding than we could have ever imagined. We’re following our dreams and sharing our adventures in hopes that even just a few people will be inspired enough to do whatever it takes to follow their dreams as well. We write from the heart and hope you feel like you’re right here with us every day.

Questions from Cream Puff - Mark and Cindy:

1. Meet the crew. Who are you? Each share something about the other (not on the blog)

Jody: She is the Sargent in Arms, making sure everything is in order and running smoothly. She’s tougher than epoxy and holds us all together.

Peter: His adventurous spirit keeps us moving forward and reminding us why we’re here, even in the difficult moments.

Betsy: The unconditional love this little dog has for everyone she meets is enough to melt icebergs. The world would be a much better place if everyone had a dog like her.

Gunner: This crotchety old dog teaches us patience and helps us practice love for those that make our life challenging. He’s been a good friend and has had a good life.

2. What advice would you give to a wannabe traveler just starting out?

Don’t give up! There will be some discouraging moments, but just remember that you’re doing something most people will either never have the opportunity to do or never have the courage to do. Be grateful for the opportunity you’ve been given, and enjoy every moment!

3. Can you roll your tongue or wiggle the end?

Yes, we both can!

4. What is your favorite restaurant in the whole world?

Love Boat Sushi back in San Diego. That was our favorite place to go on dates when we first met. Really, any good sushi restaurant will do the trick.

5. If you sail as a couple, who is really, and I mean really, the captain?

Ohhh shoot. Since you put it that way… well then it’s Peter. Yes, I said it. PETER IS THE CAPTAIN. As much as I would like to think we’re equally capable of handling this boat alone, there are still a few things I’m not comfortable doing. I’m learning that it’s not so bad letting someone else be in charge and it’s really not that important to have a say in every single decision we make. This is definitely worthy of a blog post all on its own though.

6. What are your favorite meals to cook while sailing?

Cook? While sailing?? Ha!  We prefer to cook at anchor, but on longer passages, a few meals must be made under way. We did enjoy barbecuing while crossing the Mona Passage though :)

Our staples at anchor are grilled steak, homemade spaghetti, fresh grilled fish, grilled lobster, English muffins with sausage and cheese, and French Toast!

7. Who’s idea was it to buy a boat and how did they convince the other person?

Peter always knew he would buy a boat one day and travel the world. He told me about it when we were camping in the Eastern Sierras only a few months after we met. From that moment on, I KNEW I was going to go with him. It was the best idea I had ever heard. So when our relationship got stronger and all right pieces fell into place, we both knew it was what we had to do.

8. Where is your dream destination?

We both really want to make it to the South Pacific someday. I’ve been to Tahiti before, and Peter has been to Indonesia. We would both love to experience island life in that part of the world with our boat.

9. Why did you pick sailing as a form of transportation or hobby (over an RV/camper for instance)?

We both love the water and wanted the freedom to travel to all places tropical – Where The Coconuts Grow :) If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to read our page on “What’s up with the coconuts.”

10. Would you please describe your best sailing day ever? (or a link to it)

Hands down, our Maiden Voyage! This is when we first realized our dreams were really coming true. Thank you Commuter Cruiser for all your support that day!

 

Questions from It’s A Necessity - Eben, Genevieve, Arias and Ellia:

1. Describe yourself in 5 words. No more, no less.

Peter:  Leader, hunter, provider, strong, funny

Jody: Organized, genuine, helpful, creative, inquisitive

2. What do you blog about? What do you NOT blog about?

We blog about the adventures we’ve had so far, what it’s like to live on a boat, how hard it is and how rewarding it is. We DON’T write about things that are TMI and we try to not share the bad moments. We want to keep it real and not sugar coat anything, but we also know that most people who read our blog are reading to hear about the cool and exciting things, not the Debbie-downer moments when nothing is going right. Sometimes we share the hard moments but we try to keep a positive focus.

3. You have $10 US to spend, what is the first thing you buy?

Something cold. Like Ice cream, a smoothie, or a cold pop!

4. What is the worst travel spot you have been to?

No where has really been terrible. We’ve disliked some places and we’d steer away from others but we haven’t been anywhere so horrible that we wouldn’t return if we had to. The nice thing about living on a boat is that we can pick up the anchor and go somewhere else at any time.

5. What is your favorite saying/slang/term you have picked up through your travels?

Peter’s favorite sayings are not appropriate for this blog :)

6. If you were invited to a dress up party what costume would you wear?

A beach bum. We love being able to wear shorts/bikinis and flipflops everywhere we go!

7. What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or not)?

Fresh blended every morning in our galley – A Banana/Mango/Guava smoothie!!

8. How much wine is too much?

Peter hates it when anyone whines ;)

9. What are you afraid of?

Us dragging anchor or someone in front of us dragging anchor, damaging our boat or someone else’s. Stay tuned for our scary “nightmare come true” experience in St. Kitts. We’ll just tell you now, it involves a FERRY!

10. If you could have one wish granted, what would you ask for?

 To be able to cruise around the world on a sailboat for as long as we want!

 

OUR NOMINEES:

To keep the Liebster Love alive, we would like to nominate a handful of our favorite blogs in hopes that they will carry the torch. We took great care to select blogs that haven’t already been nominated yet, but if we’re behind the times, feel free to disregard this nomination. Our intention is to share the love and let our readers know about some other awesome blogs out there that they might not have seen before. Oh, and we REALLY want to hear what kind of answers you come up with :)

Sailing Terrapin

Take To The Sea

Stories From A Boat

Something Wagging This Way Comes

Masts and Mastiffs

Couch Sailors

Sailing Dee

Wright Away Sails Away

Sail Far Live Free

The Coconut Mama

Fearful Adventurer

This American Girl

More Hands On Deck

Sailing, Simplicity and the Pursuit of Happiness

 

NEW QUESTIONS FOR OUR NOMINEES:

1. Why did you start a blog?

2. Why do you still blog?

3. Who do you know that SHOULD have a blog, but doesn’t?

4. What is the first blog you can remember reading and how did you find it?

5. What are three things you are grateful for today?

6. Do you actually read other blog posts, or just look for the pretty pictures?

7. What advice would you give to your past self, 10 years ago?

8. What or who inspires you to follow your dreams?

9. On your boat, who is really, and I mean really, the captain? (Figuratively or metaphorically, if you don’t have a boat)

10. Where would you live if you had an unlimited amount of money?

 

In case you’re interested in reading a few more fun questions and answers, here are some other blogs that have already accepted the Liebster Award:

Homeschool Ahoy

Windtraveler

Sailing Totem

The Life Nomadik

Diving Into Cruising

This Rat Sailed

Catchin Rays

Cream Puff

MJ Sailing

Vacilando

Astrolabe

It’s A Necessity

The Red Thread

The Spray Logs

Little Cunning Plan

Cynical Sailor

Mid Life Cruising

Cygnus III

Things We Did Today

Banyan

Noel & Jackie’s Journeys

D&G Sail

Sail Away Girl

Wandering Star

Love and Rum

Storyville

 

We also look forward to seeing the responses from all the other blogs out there that have been nominated but haven’t yet published their answers :)

Thanks for reading!

 

Cruising BVI: Spelunking at The Bight

September 12, 2014 by SV Mary Christine | 0 comments

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The Bight was our next stop after leaving Tortola. An anchorage that’s also home to the famous Willy T’s floating bar. Peter and I skipped the bar scene shenanigans but took the opportunity to visit the three caves located just a quick paddle to the West.

Only accessed by water, it proved to be another fun adventure that we were lucky to experience. Norman Island is said to have inspired the writing found in Treasure Island with tales of pirates, hidden bays and shipwrecks.

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By taking the paddle boards, we got a little exercise on the way over to the caves and we didn’t have to bother with dropping the dinghy. We only planned on staying one night at Norman Island before continuing our island hop East so we preferred to leave the dinghy and motor secured on deck.

Our Tower iSUP’s also allowed us to explore these caves without having to SWIM into the dark unknown. Peter is practically a fish and has no fear so it didn’t matter much to him if we were snorkeling or paddling. If you’re like me, swimming at night or in water too murky to see around you is a sure-fire way to get the heebie-jeebies! There’s just something unnerving about DARK water. Even worse, dark water in a dark cave! I was shocked at just how dark it really got when we got way in there.

On the way home, the wind had picked up considerably and the current coming around the point made it quite challenging to remain standing. We had been forewarned about the current there but chose to take the challenge anyway. Paddling back around the point to The Bight is only recommended at slack tide, or be prepared for a serious workout!

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Stay tuned for more adventures from BVI! We’re currently in Grenada waiting out the rest of Hurricane Season :) Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Cruising BVI: Surprises at Sopers Hole

September 9, 2014 by SV Mary Christine | 12 Comments

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Soper’s Hole is a quaint little Marina tucked inside the West End of Tortola. It is also a regular ferry stop between USVI and BVI. We brought Mom and Bean to the ferry dock where they caught a ride back to the airport on St. Thomas during the first week of June.

It was a sad day filled with many tears. I didn’t want them to leave, and they didn’t want to go home. We are all grateful, however, that we had the opportunity to spend so much time together in paradise and it will be a trip remembered forever.

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We pulled into the marina shortly after the ferry left to make some minor repairs, fill up our water and fuel tanks, and get a little rest. It amazes me more and more how lucky we are to be living this lifestyle. There’s nowhere we need to be at any particular time. We can stay up late watching movies on the laptop and sleep in as long as we want. There is always work to be done, but its on our schedule.

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One morning Peter noticed a younger guy arriving at shore in his dinghy with a surfboard. He asked where he had just come from and we learned that just around the point is a surf spot called Apple Bay. It just so happened to be 3-5′ that day so Peter quickly grabbed the foam board off the deck and we hopped in our dinghy to go check it out.

Nothing spectacular, but Peter sure had fun checking out the local point break. He’s been itching for some big waves ever since we left San Diego. The conditions haven’t been right to break out one of his SIX epoxy boards in any of the places we’ve been so far. We’re hoping to find some good surf in Tobago or maybe even Barbados in the next few months!

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Our next surprise was finding out that our slip was right next to some of the coolest guys we’ve met on our whole trip!

Tied up next to us was Indigo, a 61′ Fishing Charter boat owned and operated by Ocean Surfari out of USVI. The charter business is top notch and the crew members were incredibly friendly. Despite their busy preparations, we made fast friends with the crew talking about all-things-fishing into the late hours of the evening.

After all chores were done several days later, we had checked out of the Marina and prepared the boat for leaving. We had only intended on staying in Soper’s Hole for about a week but when we tried to leave, Peter discovered a major problem. We turned on the engine and Peter did a quick inspection in the engine room only to discover that our muffler had a significant leak. This was very discouraging since we thought our exhaust hose woes were behind us.

Realizing we were stuck, we let the Marina office know we would be there for at least a few more days. We picked up more shower tokens and a new WIFI password.

The Co-Founder of Ocean Surfari, Curt Richardson, happened to be visiting BVI with his family at the same time we were visiting Soper’s Hole Marina. His two sons, JC and Josh, arrived to stay aboard Indigo for a week and invited us out fishing with them several times. What a magnificent boat! Such a different feel to be out on the water on a boat like that after so many months of sailing around on our little boat that can only go 6 knots. Josh and JC are some of the kindest, most genuine, respectful, generous and fun people we have ever met. Despite the fact that we were stuck at the marina, we made some incredible memories that week!

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Josh even hooked a 300lb shark on one of the fishing trips!

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The enormous engines on Indigo made it easy for them to buzz over to the USVI to go lobster hunting. The guys returned with a monster catch…

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We spent hours watching the bait fish swim by the bright Indigo-colored lights. Dozens of huge tarpon would circle around pushing the bait back and forth under the docks.

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Mr. Richardson is also the Founder and Chairman of Otterbox. JC and Josh introduced us to one of their newest products – The Preserver. When Otterbox bought out Lifeproof, the technology was combined to create an unbelievably waterproof design.  After sharing our Lifeproof success story and subsequent failures, we were thrilled to be able to sample these new cases that were so generously donated to our cause! The new Preserver case has allowed us to take some pretty great underwater pictures with our last remaining iPhone. We are looking forward to putting more Otterbox products to the test as we continue our adventures in the harsh marine environment.

During our stay in Soper’s Hole we took several trips over to St. John to experience some of the exceptional snorkeling on the North Coast. Watermelon Cay was one of our favorite spots and proved to be a great place to take some underwater photos with our new Otterbox iPhone cases!

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Tarpon lurking in the distance…

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After a bit of research, a new muffler was on order from Parts and Power on Tortola. When it arrived, Peter had to saw off the old exhaust hose to get the old muffler out. The old hose was completely disintegrated from the inside out. Apparently this is what 35 year old exhaust hose looks like… YUK!

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Within an hour, we were back up and running good as new. We prepared the boat for leaving the dock and set off for Peter Island just in time for Fathers Day :)

 

Stay tuned for more adventures in the BVI’s! We are currently enjoying Island Time in Grenada while we wait out the rest of Hurricane Season. Leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!!

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