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7 Reasons To Love Turkish Towels

As I began packing my bags to head back to the islands and move onto our new home I started thinking of all my favorite basic necessities I once had on our old boat before the Hurricane. We really learned a lot over the last four years living aboard about what we truly needed and what we didn’t. There isn’t much space on a sailboat so every single item must be carefully chosen based on it’s value.

A little secret I learned from my good friends Genevieve and Brittany was that Turkish Towels are WAY better than regular towels! Not all brands are created equal though. I first tried out some cheapies from Amazon but they were too thin and wore out within the first year of Caribbean sun and daily use. I began my search for a better brand and the next ones I tried were from a non-profit organization called Education And More. They aim to reduce poverty in Guatemala by providing educational opportunities and supporting local Fair Trade artisans to create ethically made hand-crafted products. They sell several different types of products but I was specifically looking for Turkish Towels.

I’ve been using them for quite awhile now and I can honestly say they are still truly wonderful! Here’s why:

100% cotton

Call me crazy but nothing is better than wrapping yourself in 100% cotton, Natural fibers just feel so much softer than synthetic fabrics. It’s personal preference I guess, but if you are able to tell the difference, most people will choose 100% cotton every time.

Compact

These towels are easy to store, they take up very little space and they are super easy to stuff into a beach bag, backpack or purse. Our new boat is lacking in the storage department so the fact that I don’t need a full size linen closet to store our towels in is a huge plus. If we used regular terry towels they would literally be sitting in a pile up in our cockpit because they wouldn’t fit anywhere else.

Lightweight

Probably the best thing about Turkish Towels are how lightweight they are.  They are easier to wash than big heavy terry towels and they dry so much faster. We are in and out of the water all day long down here in the Caribbean and that means our towels are always wet. We hang them on the line to dry and the sun bakes them to a warm perfection in no time at all so they are always ready for the next swim. A regular terrycloth towel would take hours to fully dry. Granted, you get a better absorbency from terrycloth towels but because these are made of pure cotton they are more than sufficient for drying off.

Gorgeous colors

These towels come in the most gorgeous colors! Their soft hues look so inviting.  Every time I take mine to the beach I always get lots of ooohs and ahhhhhs asking where I got them. I got a soft brown (which I love) but all of the colors would look so nice!!

Versatility

These towels come in full size or hand towel size and can be used virtually anywhere. We take them to the beach, we use them as our bath towels, our dish towels, our hand towels in the bathroom, as a blanket, a diaper changing mat, and as a sunshade! You could use them as an upholstery cover or even as dog bed ;)

durability

What I love the most is that they last. The women that make these must put a LOT of love into them because the quality is fantastic!  They are slightly heavier and maybe not as soft as some other Turkish Towels but they are made to last. The sun and the wind have not worn them too thin like the first cheapie brand I tried, and they continue to get a little softer with each wash. Also, with a little heavier weight (relatively speaking – since they are still super lightweight) it makes Education and More towels a perfect choice for a beach towel because you can sit on it on the sand without all the sand going right through it. Most importantly the sand shakes off easily.

fair trade

Lastly, with each purchase you are helping others. Education and More is a non-profit organization that offers a Buy One, Give One, Help One program where “for every fouta towel that you buy from The Fair Line, we will give one to a Women’s Crisis Center here in the United States.  Additionally, each fouta sold provides a Guatemalan Woman a fair wage for her artistry, which in turn helps her provide for herself and her family.” It makes me happy to be able to support such a good cause and share these amazing towels with you.

 

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.

This post may contain information about a product sponsorship. 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.

Settling In

Brig, Betsy, my brother Brandon and I are settling in after arriving safe and sound in St Thomas a little more than two weeks ago. Peter had just arrived with our new boat from Antigua and everything was still in full on project mode. Day by day we’ve chipped away at the list and its just now starting to feel like home.

Every new boat comes with a few hiccups – a few surprises we couldn’t have anticipated. As soon as I got there the refrigerator and freezer keel coolers stopped working.  Peter only had the boat in the water for about a week at that point so many of the systems were being put to the test for the first time.  The good news is that Reefco, the local marine refrigeration company, was able to diagnose and supply the parts we needed. The bad news is how much the parts and labor cost us :( We began to work on getting on the schedule to haul the boat out to do the repairs.

We were on the dock at Crown Bay Marina for the first few days after arriving back in the islands, then moved to a nearby mooring that our friends Jesse and Stacey on SV Smitty helped us arrange.  When we tried to leave, our alternator and oil alarm were both giving us issues. Eventually we got it resolved enough just to get us up to Christmas Cove a short sail away but as we approached the mooring field that afternoon, our troubles continued.  The engine wouldn’t start! We calmly thought about what could be wrong and continued to try starting it a few more times. Suddenly it turned over… Our engine started and we anchored toward the back of the pack. We could have come in under sail but it’s always nicer to be able to back down on your anchor. A ton of boats were there already in anticipation for a regatta so there weren’t many spots to choose from. After we got settled Peter determined it was pure luck that we got the engine started just then and that it would NOT be starting again.

We had to wait almost a week to get Offshore Marine out with a replacement Electronic Control Unit, so not only did we have no way to start the engine, we still had no refrigeration. Our plans for hauling out to fix the keel coolers would have to wait until we had an engine to get us into the haulout slip. I’ve got towing on our new insurance but it wasn’t worth the hassle of filing a claim.  We resorted to eating soup, mac n cheese and pb&j.

Eventually we got it all fixed. We sailed back out to Christmas Cove now and we can finally relax! There will always be boat projects but we hope the major stuff is all done now.  Peter’s birthday was March 30 and luckily we got to spend it in paradise.

We’re all adjusting pretty well. Brandon is getting used to boat life. Betsy is so happy to be able to lay in the sun all afternoon again, and Brig is busy as ever. At 9 months he can walk around the whole inside of the boat using the walls for stability, he loves eating goldfish and he’s learning to like swimming at the beach! Peter and I are just happy to be back to where we belong <3

Our New Home

Almost exactly 6 months after Hurricane Irma flipped our world upside down, we finally have a new home!

She’s a beautiful 1981 Stevens 47, bigger than our last boat with three staterooms instead of just two. You may recognize the Stevens/Hylas 47 design as it’s the same kind that our friends on Totem have sailed around the world over the last 10 years. A true bluewater boat perfect for anywhere our next adventures take us. We will do a renaming ceremony soon to keep the same name we had before, Mary Christine. It’s only fitting as our last boat was named after Peter’s mom, and she will continue to keep us safe. Our order from DIY Lettering is in the mail now!

***

You’d think that buying a boat would be so much fun. It definitely was fun to search online for awhile, until we’d seen literally every boat on the market and still weren’t sure if we’d found the right one. We weren’t just looking for fun. We needed a home. We could sit around searching every day for something else to get listed, but instead we made a shortlist of five possibilities that fit our criteria and then started booking plane flights to get us closer to the East Coast.

The last blog update was when we were visiting friends in Georgia over New Years. From there we drove to go see a boat for sale in Alabama that ended up having some undisclosed issues we couldn’t look past. Then we flew to Florida where we got to spend a lot more time with family and friends.

We saw another two boats in Florida, one of which Peter really liked. I really did NOT like it but it was affordable and it would get us back on a boat, in our very own home, right away. We already had flights booked to go look at a boat in Antigua and one in Grenada, both of which were our top two choices after months of scouring YachtWorld, so we continued on our way.

The stop in Antigua was brief, just two days, but we got to catch up with our friends Rob and Deb from Cosmos Mariner. That’s where we first saw what is now our new home ;) We took a good look at the boat and I actually liked it more in person than on paper. At that point it was a definite possibility but we had one more stop to make to know for sure.

We flew to Grenada and stayed with our friend Steve on Lunacy, a Whitby 42 just like our old boat. It felt really good to be back in a familiar place on a boat that almost felt like home, but kind of strange at the same time. We were still homeless. I loved the boat for sale in Grenada but there were yet again some previously undisclosed concerns that we didn’t learn about until we saw the boat in person.  So, we made an offer on the Stevens, but it was rejected. Based on the work it needed we just couldn’t justify or afford to go any higher. With that, we flew back to Florida to regroup.

After a lot of soul searching and settling, I agreed to make an offer on the boat in Florida that Peter liked. Long story short the seller wanted more than we were willing to offer and the deal eventually fell through.

With our heads hanging low once again, I remembered there had been a tentative offer on the Stevens after ours. Just for kicks I emailed the broker asking if the boat was still pending or if it fell through. Turns out it was still available. The guy that came to see her just didn’t want to take on as many projects as it needed. With some serious number crunching, we made another offer and we were absolutely thrilled it was accepted!

I booked a ticket for me and Brig to go back to Washington State and pack up our things. It’s unreal the kind of stuff you can accumulate in such a very short period of time while living on land. Most of it is for Brig but there are a lot of things I needed to buy to replace the rest of what we couldn’t recover. Peter got a one way ticket back to Antigua and began preparing our new home.

It will be 5 weeks apart by the time we see Peter again… we fly out on TOMORROW!! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Far too much time apart over the last six months. Our baby is almost walking on his own and he turns 9 months old the day we leave. It’s all a blur.

Just how am I going to manage carrying all of our luggage, baby and dog by myself on two airplane rides? My brother, Brandon, is coming with me! There’s no way I could manage alone with both Brig AND Betsy. It’s an overnight flight out of Seattle so we fly into St Thomas on Wednesday afternoon where Peter will be waiting for us.

He hired our friend Rob to help him get the long list of repairs done faster and to help him deliver it from Antigua to USVI.  They both worked so hard to make it all come together. The first photo above is them leaving Jolly Harbour Saturday morning. Waiting for that next phone call was almost as bad as waiting for the call after Irma. I knew he would be fine but of course I was still worried. They made it safe and sound after a great passage!

Still wondering what happened to our old boat? The insurance claim was processed and paid relatively easily, it just took a little longer than it should have. We bought the boat back from the insurance company as part of the settlement and months ago Peter went back to BVI to get her all cleaned up. It was a monumental effort but worth it in the end. He was able to salvage and clean some of our personal belongings but some of it was either destroyed by the rats, water damage and mold, or impact from during the storm.

The most serendipitous part is how we met the guy that bought her. YEP, we sold her!!! At first we thought we would just clean her up and live aboard at our mooring ball until we could find our forever boat instead of buying a replacement that doesn’t really suit our needs. Then, Peter met Trent. His boat sunk in Irma and he just needed a place to live so he could continue working in St. John. There was still some serious damage that needed to be repaired, and the boat will never be as seaworthy as it was before, but it was doable. The thing is, Peter wouldn’t have felt comfortable selling her to anyone at all, but Trent does fiberglass, teak and finishwork by trade! And he has done many boat refits before. If there is anyone that could make this boat beautiful again it’s him.

Trent and his brother Tracy made fast work of getting the mizzenmast detached and basic systems functioning, then they delivered her down to Coral Bay St. John where she will get a little R&R ;) She’s in good hands and for that I’m thankful.

It’s Monday now and by Wednesday afternoon we will finally all be back where we belong: on a boat down where the coconuts grow 🌴

So what’s next?

We will be heading to St. John USVI where Peter hopes to find some work. The repairs our new boat needed didn’t leave us with much savings but we now have an amazing fully functional home.

This year we are choosing to be south of 12 degrees 40 minutes (Grenada) for Hurricane Season like we did the first two years. It was much easier to get insurance for “outside the box” and it’s statistically better odds for staying out of the path of another hurricane. We are required to be down there from July 1 – November 1 so we’ll probably start heading south in May or June. Until then you can find us in the Virgin Islands!

Anchored

*** SPOILER ALERT: Jump to the bottom of this post to find out what happened to our Mantus Anchor in 240+ mph winds during Hurricane Irma!! ***

 

Without a doubt, our most important piece of equipment that we rely on to keep our boat safe is our anchor. When we first started cruising four years ago, it was a hot topic in our home for quite awhile. There were lots of other cruisers discussing what kind of anchor they trust and why.  We did our research and eventually Peter and I decided that the Mantus and Rocna anchors had the best design on the market. Both having a relatively new-school design, not many of the old salts were really talking much about them yet. Rocna was a hot name but we had some first hand experience of several Rocna’s dragging near us – one time where Peter had to jump on board and help rescue a boat when their Rocna didn’t hold.

After talking extensively with Mantus Marine, watching videos of their product in action, and reviewing all the info they had on their website, we were sold.  Our previous anchor was a 45lb Delta and we upgraded to a galvanized 65lb Mantus – a decision that made us feel way safer knowing we were moving up to not only a storm anchor rated for greater than 50 knots, but an anchor that could be trusted in all kinds of seabeds.

The anchor itself came in three pieces that got bolted together. The installation was a little messy with all the special bolt grease but it was fairly easy.

Swapping out the old anchor for the new anchor was the hardest part about it since we needed three people. I drove the boat, Peter was on the bow operating the windlass and our friend Mike was in our dinghy ready to guide in the very muddy old anchor and chain and then feed Peter up the new chain through the bow roller. The new anchor fit perfectly and we admired it for a little while before lowering it into some seriously thick mangrove mud.

Literally within two days of installing our new Mantus, a nasty 45 knot squall came through our anchorage. Of course it held like a charm but I couldn’t believe how much better sleep we both got that night knowing we were totally secure.

***

You must know that this all happened two years ago. Yes, you read that right, two years ago. It’s taken me that long to actually write about it. Shortly after Mantus shipped our new anchor to us down in Grenada, our sweet boy Gunner took a turn for the worse. We knew the end was near but it was around this time that things were getting especially difficult to care for him. Simultaneously, we literally ran out of money and were making plans to sail back up to the Virgin Islands and begin working for Aristocat Charters. The relaxed life we had known for the past two years was starting to turn upside down.

Before we made our journey North, we stopped at the Tobago Cays in the Grenadines one last time and got some REALLY cool underwater video of Peter repeatedly lifted our new Mantus Anchor out of its holding while I then gently backed down on the engine and he recorded how quickly it reset itself in both sand and turtle grass. The water was so clear and the footage turned out amazing. I was SO excited to post it!!

I went to transfer the footage from the Go-Pro to my laptop and after the import was complete the program was set to automatically delete the files from the device. (I know, stupid, right?) For some awful reason, the files were not actually imported, and yet they got deleted anyway. I spent countless hours researching how to recover them since I also had video on there from Gunner’s very last beach day ever in Carriacou :( I was unsuccessful and totally crushed. Since then we immediately started working in BVI with few days off which meant our boat did not leave our mooring ball for almost all of the last two years. Needless to say that didn’t give me any opportunities to replace our amazing video proof of just how much we love that Mantus anchor.

You really do have to see it to believe it. Peter was blown away the first time he saw it in action. Anytime the water visibility is even remotely clear enough to see our anchor, he ALWAYS dives it to make sure it’s dug in really well. If he’s not sure, he will either dive down and manually dig it in by hand, or he’ll signal for me to back down on the engine a little more until it grabs. A good anchor bite is one thing Peter does NOT take lightly.

With our previous Delta we frequently had to make adjustments before getting a good bite but with the new Mantus it was completely buried on the first try – every time. After watching the Mantus dig in from just the weight of our boat alone, Peter knew we made the right decision.

Even though we weren’t able to use our own anchor very much, Scott decided to put their 65lb Mantus onto their daysail catamaran, Aristocat, at the same time we began running that boat! We now literally have two years of experience with a Mantus from anchoring between one to three times EVERY SINGLE DAY on a much larger vessel.

Even in high winds and coral rubble, if you can get a good bite, that sucker isn’t going to budge. Someday when we start cruising again I will be 100% confident that a Mantus anchor will keep our little family safe.

***

On a side note, Mantus has some really cool accessories that also help to get the most out of our anchoring experience. We installed their Chain Hook for use on our snubber to prevent it from slipping off the chain and it works great!

We also tried out the Anchor Mate that prevents the anchor from swinging around while it’s stored up on the bow roller. This was something especially exciting for us because of the damage that our Delta had already done in some rough weather. It was easy to install and fits perfectly. We did measure to make sure both this piece and the anchor itself would fit onto our very old existing setup and we even had Mantus review some photos of the area around our windlass just to make sure. Now it doesn’t clank around or slam against the hull. Our anchor fits nice and snug when it’s not in use. I can’t even begin to express how impressed we are with their customer service.

All in all, Mantus Marine is an amazing company with the highest quality marine products and it’s run by amazing people that truly understand what their customers want. Highly recommended!! If you’re in the market for any anchoring equipment, do yourself a favor and reach out to Mantus Marine.

 

**HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE**

Okay, so everything above was written BEFORE the largest Hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin took a direct hit over BVI and our boat. I never got around to publishing the above post.

Fast forward to the days just before our boat saw winds of 240+ mph, I’ve got to tell you what happened to our Mantus…

Our Hurricane plan was approved by our insurance company as a written description of the preparation Peter would take to secure our vessel along with a visual diagram of where she would be inside a very protected corner of Manuel Reef Marina, Sea Cows Bay, Tortola BVI. It was a known hurricane hole and one of the best chances we had to protect our boat. Peter had tied up Mary Christine the best he possibly could with all the lines he could get his hands on, spidering them off to the concrete dock, surrounding boats, and had a total of three anchors set to hold her away from the dock. She sat parallel on the concrete wall separated by wood boards, tires and fenders. The “dock” where we were tied up was actually more of the edge of the parking lot for Gene’s Restaurant where we could literally drive our car up to our boat.

Since this wasn’t a typical anchoring scenario, Peter used a dinghy to distribute the anchors around the boat while it was tied to the dock. He set a Danforth style anchor off the port stern and another Danforth anchor from the starboard stern. He then placed the Mantus off the starboard bow. Now, when there is an approaching hurricane, all the boats inside this area have to wait until tropical storm force winds are present to pull their anchors tight because all of the local ferries drive through this channel at the very last minute and they have no regard for anyone’s anchor chains or rode that will ultimately be crossing the channel.  They simply drive right over them, destroying hours of prep work by all the other boats already tied up. It’s awful, but it’s just the way it is here. Sure enough, many of the boats you see in the photo below on the mangrove island had their stern anchors ripped out after tropical storm force winds arrived when all the ferries drove in.  What I’m getting at is that Peter had to literally stay at our boat until the final hour before he could pull our anchors tight and get to a safe place during the worst of the storm.  I can’t even begin to describe to you what kind of sickening feeling this created, both for me watching the news from afar, and for Peter having to live through this nightmare.

The Mantus was our best anchor and to get a really good bite he actually tied the rode to the frame of our SUV and set it with the car!!

We knew Irma was going to be big, but no one could have known just how intense or destructive she would be. The first hit from Irma’s eyewall completely stripped the bolts out from inside the cleats on our boat, ripping the cleats and the winches completely off of the port side.

There was nothing left holding her to the dock so she went drifting out into the area between the dock and the small mangrove island inside Sea Cows Bay. The mizzenmast snapped in half along with several stanchions and the whole bow roller was ripped off. She must have taken some heavy blows because the hull to deck joint had a sizeable crack. The most amazing part is that when Peter finally got back down to check on her several days after the hurricane, the only thing holding her in place alongside the other boats on the mangrove island was that Mantus Anchor! Its almost funny because everyone told us no anchors would hold in this mangrove mud during a hurricane. They all said we’d never get a good bite.

Here’s the kicker.  When our friend Trent dove underwater after the hurricane to try to dislodge the Mantus anchor, he followed the chain with his hands and stuck his whole arm into the mud as far as he could, up to his shoulder, and HE STILL COULDN’T EVEN FEEL THE ROLLBAR!!! I remember reading comments from several people when we first researched the Mantus anchor years ago where they were skeptical of the design and how the roll bar was bolted onto the fluke. Clearly this is not an issue.

Peter and Trent had tried to drive the boat back and forth over the top of it and even had a dinghy wake them a few times in an attempt to wiggle the anchor loose but all it did was begin to grind the windlass motor and skip links of the chain on the gypsy. Nothing they could’ve done was going to dislodge it.  In summary, our 65lb galvanized Mantus Anchor performed flawlessly in excess of 240 mph winds during the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin! I’m confident that this is the only reason our boat is still floating to this day.

So what kind of primary anchor will we choose on our next boat? You better believe we will have a Mantus Marine anchor keeping our family safe.

 

 

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.

This post may contain information about a product sponsorship. 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.

A New Year, A New Beginning

Sunday night we rang in the New Year with high hopes for 2018. We are at a point in our lives where the only way to go is forward and we couldn’t be more ready.

I apologize for the recent silence here yet again. Whenever I go silent on the blog it is definitely not because I don’t have anything to write about. Usually I have so much to share that I don’t even know where to begin. (Not to mention how hard it is to find time to write when your baby doesn’t take very good naps!)

The time passes by and the days go on and I feel like there are no words for what is going through my head. This past year has given us some extreme highs and some extreme lows and the shock that comes with each of those moments has been more than overwhelming.

June 13th 2017 was the birth of our first child.

September 6th 2017 ripped our lives apart as Hurricane Irma destroyed our home, our jobs and many of our belongings.

December 16, 2017 marked our first wonderful year of marriage.

We’ve been so fortunate to be able to stay with family and friends during the past four months while we sort everything out and try to figure out where to go from here. It’s been a blessing to be able to let everyone back in the states meet Brig, even under these unfortunate circumstances. A blessing in disguise indeed.

So what have we been up to?? Well…

For the first two weeks after Irma, Peter was still stuck on Tortola. I was going out of my mind with worry and could barely take care of myself while trying to coordinate things for him from afar. Time stood still for me and it felt like we were in a vacuum. I’m so thankful my mom was able to help so much with Brig because I was a total mess.

We finally got Peter out of there and it took awhile to let it all sink in that we had no home to go back to. At 34, I had officially moved back in with with my parents bringing with me my husband, my 3 month old baby, and my dog. I never thought in a million years that I would ever have to move back home. I SO wasn’t prepared for that. I had a family, success and a good life, and it had just never crossed my mind that it could all be flipped upside down in the blink of an eye. The eye of Irma to be exact.

Within a few short weeks we ended up buying a Chevy Tahoe off Craigslist and took off on a road trip for a wedding – and to see Peter’s family (and some friends) – down in Arizona and sunny California. It was a good distraction from the hurricane craziness but it was three more weeks that we weren’t really able to focus on a plan for our future. We headed back up Washington to regroup and come up with a plan.

Luckily our boat was insured. Two years ago I spent a significant amount of time researching the intimidating world of marine insurance and I couldn’t be more relieved that we ended up with some really good coverage. Although insurance is one of those things you hope you never need. we absolutely did end up needing every insurable penny.

A few days after the Hurricane, I got word from Peter that the damage was beyond what he could repair himself and I filed our insurance claim for a total loss. They sent a surveyor out who ended up totaling the boat with exterior damage alone. Damage to the mizzenmast and cracks in the fiberglass were enough to max out the value we had insured so we signed the paperwork and began waiting for the payout.

(our boat shown below still floating, lower left)

During the last four months we’ve talked about a lot of options for what we want to do next. It’s what everyone wants to know. Will we get another boat or will we move back to land? The only thing we can be sure of is that we DEFINITELY want to get another boat and get back down to Where The Coconuts Grow. The islands are where our hearts belong and even though the islands we called home are no where near what they used to be like, it’s where we both want to be.

(It didn’t take long for the hills to start turning green again!)

The next priority was to get Peter back down to our boat and try to salvage any equipment and belongings he could. BVI is slightly more functional (and green) than it was when he left the last time so it wasn’t a totally impossible mission to send him back. The longer we waited the more mold damage there would be so upon returning to Washington after our road trip, we bought him a plane ticket back down to the Virgin Islands. This time, he had a solid plan for what to do with the rest of our belongings, and our boat! More on this later ;)

Two weeks turned into three and Peter still wasn’t back yet. I was basically waiting for more local intel before we could make anymore plans so the waiting game continued. Part of me was hoping he’d return with some super exciting news about a business opportunity in the islands. A few possibilities popped up but nothing in the works yet. Then, I got a call with news that Peter’s step-dad’s father had passed away. Peter flew back up to Washington right away and the three of us made an impromptu flight down to LA and San Diego for a week to be able to attend the memorial service.

Peter had already spent Thanksgiving alone, in the islands and away from us, and Christmas was just around the corner. We got busy again with family so our ideas about the future stalled out again. Brig’s first Christmas was one we will never forget though. It snowed on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, altering our plans yet again. We were literally snowed in because the roads got dangerously icy up at my Dad’s house on Camano Island. We ended up having a slumber party with 10 adults, 1 baby and 3 dogs AND we all had matching Christmas jammies!! So much fun and so in line with how much our plans have been changing.

Time felt like it was standing still yet it was flying by so fast my head is spinning! We have been so busy visiting family and friends all over the place that it’s really kept our minds off of how Irma changed our lives forever.

Our travels don’t end there. Believe it or not, we are now in Georgia! We are visiting our good friends Jack and Nikki and family for the New Year and we’ve been working really hard to finally come up with a plan for the future.

There are a couple of boats we really want to go look at now that our insurance claim is finally settled and we can actually move forward if we find the right one.  There’s one boat I really love, but part of me thinks the one we will end up buying hasn’t even presented itself yet.

From the very start of all of this, all I wanted to do was go home – and I couldn’t. I got on that plane in St Thomas just two days before the hurricane hit thinking I was leaving just in case… and that I’d be back in two weeks. I left with a backpack, a diaper bag and my baby and four months later I still can’t go home.

One thing I know for sure is how grateful we are for all the love and support from ALL OF YOU. As soon as we arrived in the states back in September we started receiving messages of encouragement, emails, cards, baby clothes and toys, clothes for me and Peter, treats and toys for Betsy, food, shelter, gift cards and paypal donations to help get us back on our feet. It’s amazing how much “stuff” you need for just the basic necessities. For those of you that helped us out when we needed it most, you know who you are and we can’t thank you enough. We hope to be able to pay it forward some day in a way as equally profound as was done for us.

I know that many of you also donated to various relief funds and organizations that are helping the people of the islands directly as they also struggle to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our friends Jen and Mike friends from Three Sheets spent countless hours coordinating relief efforts on the ground between St Croix and Tortola. Our friends Brittany and Scott from Windtraveler and Aristocat Charters raised nearly $170k on their fundraiser in coordination with many other organizations at the same time. You can see how those funds were utilized in the updates published on the site here: BVI Immediate Relief. Scott personally distributed supplies on Tortola to families that needed help and the amount of work they both did to help the locals is immeasurable. If you contributed to these efforts or others, even the smallest amount helped in such a huge way.

For now we are taking things one day at a time. We are so thankful for everyone that has taken us in and opened their homes to us. Our family is safe and that’s always all that really matters. ❤️

Stay tuned as we book even more travel plans within the next few days and get one step closer to finding our new home!