Home » BLOG » Archives for September 2014

Month: September 2014

Cruising BVI: The Baths at Virgin Gorda

the baths-16

The Baths at Virgin Gorda are one of the most spectacular attractions in all of the Virgin Islands. Giant natural rock formations have created caves and tunnels at the shore’s edge with incredible tide pools hidden inside.

Over the years, dozens of mooring balls have been installed near the entrance to the caves as well as outside Devil’s Bay. They are free for day use only on a first come, first served basis. During the high season it will seem as though every charter boat in the BVI is there. They start showing up from around 7am and rotate out like bees from a hive until sunset.

the baths-46

If you prefer to tour the baths privately without crowds of people on your tail, be sure to get there just after the sun comes up. If you want to take any pictures without a bunch of strangers in your way, definitely get there at 6am! The caves are significantly more majestic when no other voices or sounds can be heard. It’s also recommended to not enter the caves after 4:30 pm because it takes a good 20 minutes each way through the caves. When the sun sets, the caves get dark and the tide rises, making for a potentially dangerous passage back out.

An alternative to fighting for a mooring ball is to anchor just East of all the mooring balls near the reefs at Little Trunk Bay. It was a bit rolly for us, but not too bad to stay overnight. The view is spectacular with a gorgeous palm-tree-lined beach just ahead, crystal clear water and up to 100′ visibility. From there it’s just a short dinghy ride over to the main entrance to the baths.

the baths-1the baths-2

A designated swimming area has been roped off at both the entrance to the caves, as well as at Devil’s Bay to keep the swimmers safe from the dinghy traffic. There is very little shore access and it’s recommended to swim in instead of being dropped off by dinghy. For those that don’t want to swim in, The Baths can also be accessed by land. Any taxi on Virgin Gorda can bring you there. Swimming in requires careful consideration of the weather conditions. If there is a Northerly swell, entrance to the baths is extremely dangerous and dinghies are not allowed to approach. Take care, especially those that are not strong swimmers.

the baths-5

To access the caves just follow the signs and be prepared to duck down, crawl, squeeze and climb over these boulders. A series of wooden staircases and climbing ropes and have been installed to aid in the journey through these caves, yet they are quite steep.

the baths-29the baths-67

Peter and I tied our dinghy to the perimeter of the swimming area and swam in with our snorkel gear. We aimed for a gap in the rocks and made our way up onto the sand. Since it was still early, there were maybe only 4 other boats tied up to moorings already, yet we were the only ones entering the caves. We left our snorkel gear stashed behind a boulder and proceeded in barefoot, armed with only our iPhone and waterproof case.

the baths-64

The Baths were warm and clear. The colors etched into the rocks were fascinating. These immense boulders formed windows to the sky as we looked upward. We waded and swam through passages in the rocks to the next set of hidden pools. Just beyond the caves we could see the waves crashing in around us, only to slow to a trickle of flow inside. Tiny little fish swam around in the pools with us. Shadows in the early morning cast upon the walls and golden rays of sunshine poured in through the cracks.

Each new cave led to another secret passage way as we climbed up the old wooden ladders and crawled through holes in the rocks. We slid over crevices in the rocks marked by the sand left behind from those that have gone before us. Some areas on the sandy floor had been washed smooth from the incoming tide the night before, making our footprints the first tracks to appear.

the baths-13 the baths-15  the baths-18 the baths-19 the baths-20 the baths-22 the baths-24 the baths-25 the baths-26 the baths-27 the baths-28the baths-31 the baths-32

The caves gave way to a trail leading to Devil’s Bay. The tree branches opened up to the crisp blue sky and a pristine sandy beach lay ahead. The water inside the bay was as clear as the water we saw in the Bahamas.

the baths-68the baths-54the baths-35 the baths-37 the baths-38 the baths-40 the baths-41 the baths-42 the baths-44 the baths-45the baths-47 the baths-48the baths-55 the baths-56 the baths-59

We went for a swim and took a short walk on the beach just before a large family appeared behind us singing songs as they made their way out of the caves. We did it! Our whole journey through The Baths and Caves was done alone! Proud we had woken up early, we returned back the way we came and swam back out to our dinghy just in time to see dozens of families arriving on shore.

It was a spectacular morning indeed, and a place we want to visit again. The only thing we would do differently is get there even earlier, and bring a better waterproof camera :)

the baths-4

We are currently reminiscing about our journeys this summer as we wait out the rest of hurricane season in Grenada…

Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

Cruising BVI: Peter Island

peter island-1

June 15th: Father’s Day 2014

What a perfect place to spend Father’s day! Although we are technically on Peter Island every day, this was our first time visiting the REAL Peter Island. With not many anchorages to choose from, we tucked into the less popular Little Harbour in an effort to distance ourselves from the giant fields of mooring balls and charter boats.

Almost no breeze enhanced the peacefulness of this quiet little bay where everything lay still. The lush hills reflected down into the green water.

We went for a swim and set off to explore.

peter island-4

Setting foot on Peter Island makes it official! We have arrived!

peter island-5peter island-6

The water wasn’t as clear as we thought it would be, though it was cleaner than most bays and felt extremely refreshing. Just a few little fish shared their home with us that day since there wasn’t anywhere for them to hide on the East side of the bay.

peter island-10peter island-7

We swam back to the boat and grabbed the paddle boards to explore a bit further.

peter island-14

A small structure sat at the shoreline. Inside, it was clearly built to be an outhouse some time ago. Behind the structure was a stairway leading up the hill. Peter and I pulled the iSUPs up on shore and began climbing, wearing only our thin water booties we had brought to help protect our feet from anything dangerous we might encounter.

peter island-2peter island-3peter island-16

The stairway took us about half way up the hillside where it looked like we had come to a dead end. Just then, Peter noticed a faint trail in the dirt that was carved out underneath a clearing in the branches. We kept climbing.

peter island-17

At the top of the hill we discovered an old deserted house. Grafitti covered the walls and roofing materials lay scattered on the ground. We took a quick look around and got out of there before the mosquitos could find us.

peter island-19peter island-20peter island-21peter island-22peter island-23

Back on the boat, we showered off, made some dinner and had a lovely evening relaxing and looking at up at the stars as we cuddled with Betsy and Gunner to celebrate Father’s Day. One he’ll never forget, we’re sure.

The next morning the resident barracuda came by the boat to introduce himself. They always look scarier up close.

peter island-12

Later in the morning we took our snorkel gear and paddle boards over to the Southwest side of the anchorage to see if the reefs were livelier, and that they were. Our underwater phone case wasn’t sealing properly that day so unfortunately the pictures didn’t turn out. We did see a few tarpon and just as we got back to the boat we saw a huge turtle swim away from her nest. Attached to her back was a remora, who also made the picture.

peter island-15peter island-8peter island-11

We had a beautiful time on Peter Island, but The Baths were calling our name. Next up: Photos from the famous Baths on Virgin Gorda!peter island-9peter island-18

We’re currently exploring the Grenadines as we wait out the rest of Hurricane season in the Southern end of the Caribbean. Send us a message…we’d love to hear from you!

Celebrating ONE YEAR aboard Mary Christine

tobago cays-1

Today marks ONE WHOLE YEAR living aboard Mary Christine!

From San Diego to Grenada and 3,000 nautical miles at sea, we’ve had some amazing adventures in our first year. We’re grateful for the opportunity we’ve been given to experience such a beautiful way to travel and we look forward to many more years to come!

For those new to our site, visit our first post to catch up on all the awesome memories we’ve made so far :)


We’ve just arrived back into the land of WIFI after an amazing week in the Tobago Cays! Stay tuned for some more great pictures.





The Liebster Award 2014


“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!



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



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


Sailing Totem

The Life Nomadik

Diving Into Cruising

This Rat Sailed

Catchin Rays

Cream Puff

MJ Sailing



It’s A Necessity

The Red Thread

The Spray Logs

Little Cunning Plan

Cynical Sailor

Mid Life Cruising

Cygnus III

Things We Did Today


Noel & Jackie’s Journeys

D&G Sail

Sail Away Girl

Wandering Star

Love and Rum



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

The Bight_Norman Island-13

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.

The Bight_Norman Island-4 The Bight_Norman Island-5 The Bight_Norman Island-7 The Bight_Norman Island-10 The Bight_Norman Island-11 The Bight_Norman Island-12The Bight_Norman Island-14 The Bight_Norman Island-1 The Bight_Norman Island-3 The Bight_Norman Island-6 The Bight_Norman Island-2

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!

The Bight_Norman Island-15

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!