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California Dreamin’



After a short layover in Miami, we arrived at LAX airport in the very wee hours of August 6th. Peter’s dad was waiting for us at the baggage claim area with arms wide open. He’d visited us in the islands a few times but it felt like forever ago. Until this moment, we were California Dreamin’ about what it would be like to be back in the states. After years of living in the islands, it becomes quite clear that the U.S. is the land of milk and honey – the land of plenty – where everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips.

What did we do first? We went to the closest In-n-Out burger drive-through of course!! We fed our starving faces after a very long day of traveling and then proceeded to take a nice long, real, hot shower back at Peter’s dad’s house, before completely crashing out.

The very next day we made it a priority to find some real authentic Mexican food! Three years without it is just wrong.


Over the next few weeks we accumulated some new clothes and some running shoes. We went into a Costco probably a little sooner than we should have – I think I almost had a panic attack from sensory overload in there. The carts were four times bigger than the ones in Soper’s Hole and it was like a frickin freeway in every isle! We went into a normal sized grocery store, a CVS pharmacy and even the movie theaters. It was exhausting.


I stared in awe at things like water fountains in the mall where they just keep dumping water out all day long and people even throw money into it!!! Mind blowing!!! Its things like this that I never would have noticed before. Now, it’s incredibly disturbing how wasteful our society is. I thought California was in a draught. (I know its probably recirculating water but still… )


We also took care of some real-world responsibilities like renewing our driver’s licenses, buying and registering a new-to-us car, obtaining car insurance, and sorting through mail. We even stood in line outside the DMV before it opened. What a nightmare.


We found a great deal on a 2006 Tahoe on Craigslist that would serve many purposes for us, most importantly getting us around to all the family we were going to visit. We wanted something comfortable, reliable, something we could potentially sleep in while driving from California to Washington, something with 4wd and something that would easily tow the motorcycle trailer we had left our stuff in three years before. We had plans to tow the trailer up to WA then empty it at my dad’s, then sell the truck and trailer before flying back to our boat.


When we saw the trailer again for the first time, we were surprisingly pleased with the condition! Fear of water damage, heat damage, rats and insects had us scared to even open it. A huge sigh of relief came from both of us though as we saw that everything inside was perfectly safe. The plastic hatch/vent on top of the trailer had long since disintegrated in the hot California sun but luckily nothing was damaged by the little bit of water that did come in. There were a few spiders but not enough to gross me out.


The first order of business was to take everything out and decide what we wanted to get rid of, and what we really wanted to haul up to Washington to store with my family. Some sentimental items like an old rocking chair, photographs and Christmas decorations were definitely being saved.  There were other items inside like camping gear and yard tools that would be very expensive to replace if we ever moved back to land but just not realistic to hold onto anymore. Honestly, we have no plans for becoming landlubbers anytime in the foreseeable future. We gave away a lot of things to Peters family and carefully repacked the trailer with the remaining items – about half of what was there before.


After getting the trailer prepped for our journey north, we continued to enjoy our time in sunny southern California. We visited SO many people, both young and old. Peter and I learned about Pokemon-Go and Uber. So much had changed since we had been there last!


One of my favorite moments was visiting a nail salon with Peter’s step-mom Monica!! I picked out a Caribbean Blue nail polish (to match my ring of course) and tried to explain to the poor ladies why my hands and feet were so calloused :S


While staying at Wiley and Monica’s house in LA, we ended up doing a little ‘Cesar Milan’ work with their dog Little Man. He had this complex where he would “claim” their entire dining room table and every chair around it! Apparently he had been doing it for years and they couldn’t even have guests over. After watching a very short Cesar video on YouTube I set to work to claim back the table and chairs :) The picture below was taken by Peter while Monica was at work one day. She could not believe it!! Not only was Little Man allowing me to sit in ‘his’ chair, he was sharing his new bed with Betsy :)

I am SO proud of Monica for how fast she learned how to do what I did. She couldn’t believe how easy it was to change her energy and her actions, which in turn allowed Little Man  to be less stressed and calm and submissive! Monica has happily reported that after we left, she is still able to sit at the table whenever she wishes. Yay!!!


With lots more family to see, we drove all over southern California.


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I’m SO happy we got to see my friends Jen and Mark one afternoon as we passed through Orange County. Before we left three years ago, Peter and I had attended their baby shower for their first child, Isabella. I was heartbroken I couldn’t be there when she was born, and even more heartbroken I wasn’t there when she had her second baby, Jamison. Jen and Mark were very good friends of mine since the time I first moved to California back in 2008. Even though we only had a few hours with them, it was definitely a highlight of my trip. Their babies are so beautiful, so very sweet, and so lucky to have such good parents!


At Peter’s Aunt Lucy and Uncle John’s house, his cousin Kayleigh found a way to sneak Betsy up on the only couch she wasn’t allowed on ;) She wasn’t deprived of cuddling, that’s for sure. This was our home-base in San Diego. We had the most amazing home-cooked meals thanks to Aunt Lucy, and we even started running in the evenings. During the days we bounced all around visiting friends and our favorite places in our home away from home – Sunny San Diego.


Another luxury I treated myself to was scheduling a visit to see Rob – the best hair stylist in San Diego – at The Park Salon! It was SO nice to walk in and be offered wine, soda, water, coffee or tea, then get shampooed in a special room that could also double as a meditation room, which ended with an amazing shoulder massage – just in case I wasn’t relaxed enough – followed by laughter and chit chat without ever having to describe what I want done because he’s that good. Even though I have a harder hairstyle to cut, Rob knows exactly what to do. Back in the islands I never ever got my hair cut because no one knows how to my cut the right way! Sigh. What a relief to pay for a service where someone actually knows what they are doing!! Maybe I can convince Rob to bring his family to Tortola to open a salon!! ;)


Speaking of the park… we visited a few real parks, with real green grass and open spaces. Peter played baseball with his little cousins at Kate Sessions park in San Diego and of course he learned how to hunt for Pokemon.



We visited my sister Annie and met her incredibly charming boyfriend Charlie! One of the items we found in the trailer was Peter’s old skateboard that Betsy used to tow him on. Annie loves skateboarding so we thought it was a very appropriate gift for her. When we brought it out to show her, I think Betsy was just as excited. She instantly remembered what to do and Peter took her for one final run. She went nuts!!!

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The beaches were just how we remembered them. A cool, crisp breeze with the warm sun kissing our faces… It’s a totally different kind of beach here.


Peter did manage to get in some surf while we were there. We stayed at the South Carlsbad campground – camping out in our awesome Tahoe – and had a bunch of friends come visit. While we didn’t get to see everyone, we both saw some of our closest friends. We did our best to not get too overwhelmed with scheduling all of our visits though it was a very daunting task to try to align schedules with so many different people in so many different places. For those that we missed, you’ll just have to come visit us in the islands!


Up next… how Peter was almost eaten by a Sumatran Tiger!!

West Coast Here We Come!


Another day is done as we inch closer to the end of the charter season. August 2nd will be our last charter before we take a much needed three month break. What will we do?

We’re hauling our boat out of the water for the remainder of Hurricane Season and Betsy, Peter and I will be flying back to the States for the first time in THREE YEARS!

We’ll visit family and friends in California for a few weeks first, then we’ll drive up to Washington to see more family and friends, then we’ll be finishing up our travels in Tampa, FL to see my sister. We’ve been talking about some exciting ideas for what to do with the time between CA and WA but I can’t tell you quite yet. If the timing happens to work out, we could be in store for an absolutely epic adventure ;)

In the meantime, we’re trying to prep our boat and do as much decommissioning now as we can so the actual haul out process goes quickly. We’ve got today off work and one more day off scheduled. Our timing is going to be very tight:

August 2 – Last Charter

August 3 – Take the boat up to Virgin Gorda and stage for hauling

August 4 – Haul the boat at 9:30am

August 5 – Be in St. Thomas by 10:45am, Vet appointment at 11:30, Airport arrival by 2:00, Depart by 5pm

August 6 – Arrive in LAX by 1:00am


We’ll return to our boat in Mid October for some TLC before diving into another busy charter season on Aristocat beginning November 1.

If you’ll be anywhere between San Diego and the greater Seattle Area from August to October… let us know!

Also, we’re looking to buy a truck or SUV in LA or San Diego, most importantly to have transportation to visit everyone, but also to haul a motorcycle trailer up to Washington in September, then sell both the truck and trailer before we fly home. Let us know if you’re selling a comfortable V6 truck or SUV with a tow package in LA or SD!

Follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for all the updates!

** Official Announcement **

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The suspense is finally over and we’re ecstatic to share the plans we’ve been cooking up!! We’ve been cruising around the Caribbean for the last two years living on savings and a little side income I’ve made from my blog, writing for Tiny House Blog, and working at Pizza Pi but the time has come to join the full-time working world again.

Have no fear – we are not saying goodbye to the cruising lifestyle and we aren’t even going to be working on land! An incredible opportunity has fallen into place that will allow us to be out on the water everyday doing what we love – sharing this amazing lifestyle with as many people as we can. We’ll be able to bring Betsy with us during the day and come home to our cozy boat every night, just a short dinghy ride away. The best part is that it’s all happening in some of our favorite places in the world!


Our friends from Windtraveler finally announced today that they have purchased Aristocat Charters, a daysail business here in the British Virgin Islands!! (Be sure to check out Brittany’s announcement HERE with all the details. It’s been a long process but we finally found our way through all the red tape!)

Scott and Brittany have asked us to run Aristocat, a 48′ Privilege Catamaran, out of West End, Tortola. We are taking guests sailing and snorkeling to either Jost Van Dyke or Norman Island.

The other boat, Lionheart, (also a 48′ Privilege Catamaran) is run by Scott and our friend Luuck from Sunkissed Soeters. They depart from Village Cay Marina in Road Town, Tortola, visiting Norman Island or Salt, Peter and Cooper Islands.

If you’ve ever dreamed about sailing and snorkeling in a tropical paradise, come to Tortola and let us show you just how magical it can be!

Please show a little love and like the Aristocat Charters Facebook Page. If you’ve sailed with us already, please share any recommendations for us on Trip Advisor. We always need new reviews to stay at the Number 1 Daysail in Tortola!! :)

If you’re wondering what this means for our cruising plans, we’re going to be refilling our cruising fund as first priority. We don’t know what the future holds, but you can be sure that we’ll be having fun and of course continuing to share all of our adventures with you along the way!

The Holidays are Approaching


The holidays are approaching! Thanksgiving is just over a week away and we still don’t know where we will be. Most likely we’ll be in Christmas Cove gathering together with all of our friends in the neighborhood. We may or may not have turkey this year, but you can sure bet that I’ll be making my famous pumpkin pie wherever we are!

Ever since we moved onto the boat, holidays have been a little different. Instead of flying back to California or Washington to be with family, we usually celebrate with friends nearby. We focus less on presents, decorations and big to-do’s, and instead cherish the memories made and the time spent with those around us. As floating nomads, our fellow cruisers feel just as much like family to us as do our blood relatives.

It’s going to be my first Christmas without Gunner and I know I will be sad. He was always with me for every holiday whether I was with family, friends or alone.

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Last year my dad was here visiting us on the boat for Christmas. We were in Christmas Cove and invited a bunch of our closest friends over for dinner. We had 9 adults, two kids and two dogs – a full house :)

Genevieve, Eben and their two girls from Necesse, Kim and Jereme from Lahowind, my dad, Steve from Lunacy and Hoy from Goldilocks were all in the neighborhood. We feasted on a fresh caught lobster dinner and shared many laughs!


We’re looking forward to having Peter’s dad, Wiley, visiting over Christmas and New Years this year. It’s always nice to have family around during the holidays :)

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We’re Still Here! 6-month recap

Lately, I’ve done a terrible job at keeping up with the blog! I think it’s been a whole month since I posted something here last.

Please accept my apologies for the gap in publishing and please keep checking back for new stories. There is SO much I want to share with you all but life on a boat is actually quite busy on the Mary Christine. The dogs keep us busy and there are of course always projects to work on and things to fix.

When we left Grenada (pictured below) we bee-lined it up to the Virgin Islands in a 3 and a half day passage. Ever since, we’ve had guests on board for almost more time than we’ve been alone. We LOVE sharing this life of ours with family and friends but it leaves little time for me to write both here and over at Tiny House Blog. If you don’t hear from me or see new posts for awhile, just know that we are off doing something really cool ;)

Here’s a little glimpse of what our last six months have looked like:

November – Izzy – 10 days

December – Dad and Stacy – 3 weeks

January – Lucy (Peter’s aunt) and Julie (Cousin) – 8 days

January – Wiley (Peter’s step-dad) and his sister Emma – 8 days

February – Captain’s School – all month

March – I worked at Pizza Pi helping out for a week and photographed a wedding!

March – Michael and Stacie – 7 days

April – Michael and Stacie – 5 days

April – Mom and Kevin are here on the boat with us now for two weeks :)

I know some of you that read the blog do not use Facebook. Please know that even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still see what we’ve been up to! Our Facebook page is public and you can check it out anytime, just like you visit this site. www.facebook.com/wherethecoconutsgrow – Consider it as our ‘second’ website!  This is where I post most of our updates, random photos and current info about what is going on in our world. We’ve shared some crazy adventures recently ;) If you’re already following us there, THANK YOU for liking our page! We love to see your comments!


Just in case you missed some of the recent posts I’ve done on tinyhouseblog.com, here’s a recap of the posts published in February! 

Tiny Floating Homes: Necesse – A tiny house tour of SV Necesse, home to our good friends Eben, Genevieve, Arias and Ellia. >>Click here<< for the full article

Outside My Window: Grenada – Living in a tiny floating home and exploring new places all over the world. >>Click here<< for the full article.

Tiny Floating Homes: Chance – Kelley and Jason traded in their Brooklyn studio for a 34′ sailboat back in 2012. Chance has been the perfect boat for them and their two dogs, but the time has come to find something just a little bigger. >>Click here<< for the full article.

Pet Food Storage In Small Places – Creative storage solutions for a LOT of dry dog food in a tiny floating home >>Click here<< for the full article.

Hopefully this will give you some reading material until the next post here on Where The Coconuts Grow :) We’re currently on vacation with Mom and Kevin sailing around St. Thomas, St. John and the BVIs!