Monday, April 30, 2012


We had planned an leisurely route through the Bahamas, taking our time up along the main town of Nassau and heading up through the Great Island, and through Freeport, but after pulling up anchor at Little Halls Pond Cay, we had great wind and a good line to just make our way on to Florida. So we thought......hey..... why not?!
In fact, once we were clear of the shallows of Bahamas by 50-60 miles, we found ourselves in the Gulf Stream and made great time north. The gulf stream can add as as much as 3 knots to your speed, and we found Mehari cruising along at 8-9 knots all night! It certainly wasn't boring night watches! 

So, here are a few photos from our last weeks in the Bahamas, next post will be about the good 'ol USA!
Zoe, playing with a giant sting ray!

Monday, April 16, 2012

On the Horizon.......

Something we've been talking about as a family for over a year now, is…….what next?
Many of the cruising families we've met along the way have since sold their boats and/or returned to land life, and we've been thinking, praying, wondering and listening to which direction we are to take from this point forward ourselves.

A lot of families come to this point where as their kids get older, they are eager to start their own life. They want to make plans for college, relationships, careers, and the future. And while cruising is an absolute incomparable way to see the world and experience cultures and places most people only get to dream about, at what point is it unfair to the late teens that want and need to move on in their own life? We feel like the time has come for us to try and give them opportunities to make steps in those directions.

This is the part where I would love to have a pause button for life, and keep things just as they are and have been for these past 3 years on the boat, even though it's an extremely challenging lifestyle in a lot of ways, cramped quarters, totally dependent on the weather, missing family, seasickness, etc., there is no question for us that it had been an incredible experience for our family and we have all grown together because of it. There is also no way I as a father would have been able to spend this much quantity, and I like to think sometimes……quality :) time with my family without having made this decision.

Something that's also been incredible is the addition to our family during this adventure: Miles John. For our whole family to be able to spend two whole years non-stop with him has made him feel secure and bonded together in a way we haven't seen in any of our other children, and we feel extremely blessed. We can't deny this whole experience has been a gift and please don't think for a minute we take it for granted.

Another huge drawback we feel like we've missed from 'normal' life is family time from our extended family. We haven't set foot in the US in over 3 years, and that has been very difficult to miss out on that time from other family. It just was too difficult on our budget to be able to fly 8 people back and forth for visits, the cost of airfare alone being what we usually live on for up to 6 months!

So it's with a lot of mixed emotions: some apprehension, but at the same time, excitement, that we are moving back to the US, at least for now ;) We seem to have been steered by a lot of different things and through a LOT of prayer that we are supposed to be in North Carolina. We think we'll still be living aboard Mehari while we get settled and that's another great thing about boat living......we can move along with our home as we scout out different towns.

But first: We have a 'small' but very exciting detour over the coming summer months:

Levi and I have been invited by family friends to come up to Alaska for this summer to work as commercial salmon fishermen! As we near the end of our funds, the work cannot have come at a better time, and we thought Levi and I were going to go alone, while Rachel and the kids stayed with the boat in North Carolina. But they, not wanting our family to be separated all summer, invited all 8 of us up to stay in their house while Levi and I fish. So.......we're all very thrilled to have an opportunity to spend several weeks driving and camping across the US and Canada, and spending the summer in Alaska.

We also can't begin to thank all the people who we've met and others who have been praying for us, following us, and sending us notes of encouragement along the way. It's pitifully inadequate to try and put our gratitude into words on a silly blog what it's meant to us and I wish we could all sit down together, and have a lot of laughs catching up and sharing some of the stories we've collected along the way. Thank you sincerely for your support. It makes us sure we're on the right 'trail'

We plan to keep sending updates, from the road, campgrounds, and from Alaska and back so if you'd like to keep following us, we'd love to have you along!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas

We're in a 'civilization' called Georgetown, the main town of 900 people on a chain of islands called the Exumas. There are dozens and dozens of islands almost touching each other over a 120 mile stretch. Most of the islands are uninhabitaed, and several are owned by celebrities like David Copperfield, Shakira, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. In fact, you can rent David Copperfield's island and five bungalows for only $325,000 per week. Keep that option in mind for your next family vacation!
We've been doing a couple of civilization things in Georgetown like loads of laundry and picking up a few groceries. We often do laundry on the decks with buckets of fresh water if it's readily available, but every couple months, it's nice to take everything into a real laundry-mat and get the clothes "clean-clean". The lifestyle is just way too hard on clothes, drying in the salt air, sitting in bilges, stains, etc All of our clothes are pretty thrashed and all most cruisers who have been at this for a while, have a scraggly look somewhere between island castaways and homeless, which I guess is true! We are!
We also met another cruising family here in Georgetown. They had heard about our family and were waiting to meet us knowing we were coming this way. They are the first cruising family we've met with 6 kids! They are on a catamaran as well, and spend part of the year in the East Coast, make a trip back to their home in Canada, and spend most of their cruising in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, where they are able to do mission work as a family. It was really great to meet them and we had a couple of fun nights hanging out playing games, playing and singing some worship songs, and analyzing this boating life! They winter their boat in North Carolina, which is where we are heading in a little over a month, so we'll make sure our paths cross again. Thanks S/V"Ruakh"!!
Our plan now is to keep heading north, through the Exumas, and on to a group of islands called the Berry Islands, before we make the overnight jump to Florida's East coast. We are also trying to meet up with another family on S/V'Imagine' who we sailed off and on with through the Med, and haven't seen since the Canary Islands!
We are all very excited for a mini family reunion in Florida at the end of the month, with Erik's parents coming from Costa Rica, and his brother Aaron, his wife Darla, and their new addition, little Addy, coming to visit. Addy is only 5 months old, we've never met her……...and are all dying to give her a little squeeze!
See you soon!