5 Year anniversary on SW🎉🍾

It has surprised us that we have now been full time on our catamaran for 5 years. February 9, 2013 we arrived in Trinidad in the Eastern Caribbean to meet Johan and Marlene the previous owners who would be our mentors teaching us to sail and operate our new boat. WOW, how time flies. 5 years later and we are now in New Zealand with our boat and have learnt and experienced far more than we thought we would.
Initially we were planning on just cruising the Caribbean for 2-3 years but the lifestyle appealed to us what with the freedom to explore beautiful parts of the world so we just kept going.

With catching up with our friends and family in New Zealand and Australia it’s been difficult to explain the lifestyle. I think everyone thinks we are crazy and wonders what we do all day. The lifestyle is definitely not for all!
Highlights
– the amazing cruisers you meet along the way that you share a bond of this lifestyle with
– the variety of places you can travel to by boat and experience for as long as you want
– the underwater world with all sorts of creatures and colors
– freedom
Lowlights
– the amount of rubbish you find on some beaches
– saying goodbye to friends you have met along the way as you don’t always cross paths again
– for me being seasick but something I’ve been able to control with medication when needed, thank goodness

Our pace of life has definitely slowed down from the 8 to 5 grind but we keep active cycling, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and hiking on islands to see what’s around the next corner. Life’s an adventure and to me it’s what you do to make it fun. But it’s not all fun; there’s still plenty of work and planning to cross oceans and ensure we get places safely.

We enjoy the diving when we get the opportunity

Incredible close up encounters with fish life

The people you meet and interact with on the islands makes the experience even better. We have met some real characters and gone on some big adventures with some.

 

Fresh fish is always appreciated and we love catching our own.

On the islands you don’t always get food products you are used to. Not a bad thing as we’ve experienced foods we wouldn’t otherwise.

 

 

 

Brett has become a handyman who now knows every inch of our boat and with regular maintenance work we seem to be on top of things. Here’s hoping it stays like that. As one of our friends always says “you’re fixing things in Paradise how bad can that be”.
We have never treated the boat as a prison so when we need a break we take time out from the lifestyle and become land lovers again treating ourselves to long hot showers, more space and a car that gets us somewhere really fast! Afterwards we always appreciated getting back aboard to set the sails and see where we are off to next. The countries we have visited are all different but I think Ecuador and Peru was an amazing cultural experience we took by land.

Sailing into New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty on our own boat was definitely a highlight for us. New York was so different to the Caribbean Islands and we enjoyed getting out to the theatre and seeing the City on our bikes.

Transport, no car here! Our dinghy is our car to get to land and luckily we have not had any problems with it. Once on land we quite often use our Brompton folding bikes to get out and about to get groceries, see the sights and explore. The best thing we could have bought to help us get about and stay active. Locals from the island are intrigued with how it folds up so we have lots of dialogue with people about our strange looking bikes.

After traveling across the Pacific to New Zealand in 2017, over 9000nm we’ll be spending the next year in these waters and doing some work aboard Seismic Wave in the off season. I think we deserve a break. 😉

Here’s to more beautiful anchorages

 

 

We’re hoping we have continued success fishing in the Pacific. Yes I caught this one, Brett is not the only fisher person aboard.

Hope this provided an insight into our lifestyle.

Fun times ahead! Enjoy 2018 😊

 

15th anniversary

imageWe married in Fernie, Canada on March 24,2001 with lots of snow and family & great friends with us to celebrate and 15 yrs later are in the Cayman Islands, Caribbean. Life is good.

Had a fab day together as always, finishing up with a nice meal out at Morgan’s Resaurant in Governors Harbor. imageHere’s to more good times ahead!

Getting ready to head to Providencia, Columbia.

Christmas & New Year celebrations

Merry Christmas everyone. At Nana Juana marina in Guatemala we had a great group of people to enjoy Christmas eve and Christmas day.

On December 24th we enjoyed drinks and finger food with the sun setting and fireworks going off. Guatemalans celebrate Christmas on Xmas Eve and fireworks light up the skies when the sun sets through into the wee hour of the morning. We also had a gift exchange where a gift could be taken from someone else up to a maximum of 3 times. Lots of fun as you can imagine with some very imaginative gifts; the live chicken for one.

Our fireplace designed by Wendy

Our fireplace designed by Wendy

Wendy & Ken organizers of the gift exchange & Don with his new gift after his original was stolen.

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On Christmas Day we had a big feast with 47 cruisers and had a great day which started early (6am) by getting the spit ready for our 30lb lamb and continued through to sitting around a fire at night telling stories and singing carols.

 Finn, a kiwi delivering our lamb to the cooking area

Finn, a kiwi delivering our lamb to the cooking area

We had lots of helpers starting at 6am

Girls Prepping lamb for going on the spit

Girls Prepping lamb for going on the spit

 

Brett & Brian setting up a system to rotate the lamb on the spit

Brett & Brian setting up a system to rotate the lamb on the spit after building the fire

 

Lamb nearly ready and looking Tasty!

Lamb nearly ready and looking Tasty!

Belinda had competition for eating the bones of the lamb.

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Lots of food to eat…thanks to everyone bringing dishes to contribute to our amazing dinner.

Dave the carver & Chef Pat who cooked the turkey

Dave the carver & Chef Pat who cooked the turkey

 

Chef Wendy who did the ham

Chef Wendy who did the ham

April from Spirit of Argo had cooked a chicken for the feast too, so lots of food.

The Xmas gang sitting down to eat

The Xmas gang of 2015

 

The Marina staff joined us for dinner as well

The Marina staff joined us for dinner as well; Walter, Edgar, Mario, Marilyn, Riccardo & Juillo

New Years celebrations fast approached and Marilyn our Marina Manager organized an event at the restaurant where there was a good mix of cruisers and Guatemalans to enjoy the night.

Marilyn and David salsa danced most of the night for us, which was great to watch. She also organized a DJ so we could all dance the night away. Great night, thanks Marilyn!

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Elise the owner of the marina brought in horns, hats and masks to make for a fun night. Don’t the girls look great!

Me, Sue, Belinda & Anne

Happy New Years! Safe travels and enjoy 2016. Life’s what you make of it.

Sailing season arrives

We have met some great people here at Marina Nana Juana in the Rio Dulce, some of which are starting to head out for the upcoming sailing season.

Halloween arrived and was a perfect time to have some fun and say goodbyes to those leaving. Everyone made an effort to dress up for the occasion and good times were definitely had.
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Monica Marina Manager

Marilyn Marina Manager

Marina (Lucky 7) & Michelle (Jade)

Marina (Lucky 7) & Michelle (Jade)

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The Devil Sue from Sea Rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phil & Monica from Miss Molly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jen & Richard from Our Rose

Jen & Richard from Our Rose

April & Cain from Spirit of Argo

April & Cain from Spirit of Argo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane & Russell from Ta-B

Jane & Russell from Ta-B

Symone & Kim from Ramone

Symone & Kim from Ramone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy even set up a haunted house for everyone to take a tour and was the key feature in a gravestone in the house. The graveyard at Nana Juana had all sorts of surprises, sorry to the Wallabies…..
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We also had a party to say goodbye to S/Vs Our Rose and Ta-B who are both heading off to eventually go through to the Pacific. Who knows when we will cross paths again. The girls below looking a tad full and were.

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We had another going away over at Sundogs where the Nana Juana people had 3 big tables to say goodbye to S/V Jade, my recent travel companions to Tikal, and hear Phil, from S/V Miss Molly, play at the open Mik on his harmonica.

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Marina and Kevin from Lucky Seven were heading out so we had our final yoga class with Marina. She’s one tough woman I’ll give her that, no slacking in her class. We had a big gathering in the Palapa at the Marina where yes they finished the night with their favorite wine, Clos, hence their Halloween costumes.

 

 

Ken from S/V Free Spirit, who had broken his foot, FINALLY left his hotel room, via a luggage cart kitted out with pillows for comfort, to join us in the palapa for farewells to Marina & Kevin.
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And so the socializing continues as there’s still plenty of boats here getting ready to depart…..

Bill & Brett arrived in Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas, stayed the one night after sorting a few things out and have already continued on. Here they are coming in to anchor under sail. Good job boys!
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Once Brett is back and our final boat jobs are finished we plan on making our way towards Panama where we will spend time cruising the San Blas and Bocas del Torro islands, including doing some inland travel. Well thats the plan and we know how that is always subject to change.

Maybe we will have visitors!! hint hint. Come visit our homeland!
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Aussie Aussie Aussie

Well it was birthday time for my family so we decided to meet everyone in Brisbane, Australia to enjoy the celebrations.

Louise, my sister, surprised Dad by making him a great golf birthday cake for his 70th and Ruben & Daniel couldn’t resist helping granddad blow out the candles. We had a great night out at The Stokehouse for dinner & drinks on the river. Had been a while since we’d all been together.
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Lou’s birthday was spent in Surfers Paradise(SP) where we enjoyed the abundance of beaches in this touristy area. What a busy place with lots of high rise apartments on the beach.

 Happy B Day Lou

Happy B Day Lou

The long coastline from the Spit before SP to Burleigh Heads

The long coastline from the Spit before SP to Burleigh Heads

view of SP from boat cruise; lots of apartment blocks

view of SP from boat cruise; lots of apartment blocks

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The barbie on the Surfers boardwalk was the best dinner ever, so Ruben said and of course a tourist attraction to the many Asians, who also got photos of us. The best dinner however was outdone when we all went out for Japanese Teppanyaki and enjoyed the performance by our chef.

The boys cooking up a storm on the boardwalk in Surfers

The boys cooking up a storm on the boardwalk in Surfers

 

lots of action to watch and keep the kids entertained

lots of action to watch and keep the kids entertained

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August is a busy month for birthdays in the family as In Canada Brett’s grandma Alice was having her 90th and had a party with 100+ guests. Wowsa!

While in Aus we spent time with Louise’s boys seeing what life entailed for those with kids. These 2 boys are very active so keep Lou & Stu jumping.

Ruben receiving a certificate at school assembly

Ruben receiving a certificate at school assembly

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Daniel liked to hang out with his new buddie, uncle Brett

Ruben with his Aussie Football league team members, "the gorillas"

Ruben with his Aussie Football league team members, “the gorillas”

Mini golf or is it playing in the tunnels? Oh well they are having fun!

Mini golf or is it playing in the tunnels? Oh well they are having fun!

We were both impressed with Brisbane and the coast. Whether it was cruising the boardwalks in Brisbane by bike, river cruises, or walking the many beaches in the area there was plenty to keep us entertained.

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The Brisbane wheel

The Brisbane wheel

Brisbane's downtown core is quite compact; view from Mt Coot-Ta lookout

Brisbane’s downtown core is quite compact; view from Mt Coot-Ta lookout

Enjoying music in the park on a Sunday

Enjoying music in the park on the Brisbane River on a Sunday

Great bars to sit back, relax and catch up

Great bars to sit back, relax and catch up

Made a trip up the Sunshine Coast as far as Noosa, which was a beautiful area with a great national park at the headland to enjoy. Noosa wasn’t as built up as Surfers but still a touristy place. Great beaches to wander from Mooloolaba north but a little on the cool side for us to swim in.

The glasshouse mountains looked majestic in the distance from Bribie Island

The glasshouse mountains looked majestic in the distance from Bribie Island

The views along the coast at Mooloolaba are nice

The views along the coast at Mooloolaba are nice

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A lot of swimmers but the water was too cold for us.

 

 

Overlooking Noosa a popular holiday destination

Overlooking Noosa a popular holiday destination

Hiking around the Noosa Heads National Park was very picturesque, even spotted a dolphin off the headland.
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We hired a pontoon boat for a day out on the Noosa River. Tried fishing but gave up after all our bait was taken and enjoyed a BBQ. The boys spotted lots of blue soldier crabs on a sand bar, which was great for entertaining them.

 A great way to see the river inlet

A great way to see the river inlet

fishing kept everyone entertained

fishing kept everyone entertained

we parked up on a beach for a BBQ and energy release time

we parked up on a beach for a BBQ and energy release time

Ruben & Daniel found blue soldier crabs on a sand bar normally under water

Ruben & Daniel found blue soldier crabs on a sand bar normally under water

After seeing the glasshouse mountains in the distance we decided to stop on the way back from Noosa. The glasshouse Mountains were named by James Cook in 1770 supposedly because he thought the peaks resembled glass furnaces in his hometown in Yorkshire, England. They were once lava plugs within volcanic cones where the sandstone was eroded over millions of years to reveal the plugs that are there today.
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P1090659While in Australia we of course couldn’t resist watching a couple of the Bledisloe cup rugby games where the All Blacks whipped the Wallabies. Go All Blacks. The Rugby cup is coming up so should be interesting.
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And so you ask where are the photos of the kanga’s and the Cuddly koalas that are meant to be here. We searched all over the place but could not spot any out in the wild, soooo off we went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

There are three Koalas here, see all the paws

There are three Koalas here, see all the paws

lots of kanga's lazing about

lots of kanga’s lazing about

A Perentie lizard, which grows to 2.5m. Australia has all sorts of animals

A Perentie lizard, which grows to 2.5m. Australia has all sorts of animals

The birds of prey show at the Koala Sanctuary was a highlight as we got to see some amazing birds that we didn’t know were native to Australia.
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Before we knew it we were off to Los Angeles where we caught up with Laird & Cathi.

Brett's online shopping waiting to be packed into our luggage. Hmmmm...

Brett’s online shopping waiting to be packed into our luggage. Hmmmm…

Went to the outdoor theatre to see The Big Fish with Cathi, Laird, Morgan & Elizabeth. Great venue.
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couldn't resist the stop here to see the views of LA, which is huge

couldn’t resist the stop here to see the views of LA, which is huge

At Manhattan Beach

At Manhattan Beach

While walking the boardwalk at Manhattan Beach we saw one of Bertram Drillings trucks doing some geothermal work on a beachside ppty, reminding us of friends back in Canada.

Good Times, but we have to get back to the boat to prep for sailing this season.

Fun Times on the Rio Dulce

For hurricane season hundreds of boats arrive for protection and spread themselves out at the many marinas scattered along the river. Some people stay and work on various boats projects but the majority put their boats on the hard and head home. We have had a couple of projects our biggest being replacing the coach window roof, that had a crack in it in Trinidad and had run, with fibreglass.

Before - Whilst the window looks great once removed, it was always covered as it was too hot

Before – Whilst the window looks great once removed, it was always covered as it was too hot

After - Looks good so we are happy and has anti skid on the roof side

After – Looks good so we are happy and has anti skid on the outside roof side

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Brett repainting woodwork in the shower.

 

 

 

 

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Arney & his team have done a great job with all the fiberglass work we wanted inside

 

 

 

It’s not all work of course. Nana Juana this year has a good mix of people with lots of social activities and trips being organized. Friday night drinks, Sunday BBQs, exercise, games etc etc etc.

Ashtanga yoga at 7am is hot and very difficult

Ashtanga yoga at 7am is hot and very difficult

water aerobics at the pool early before it gets hot (yes we have men come too)

water aerobics at the pool early before it gets hot (yes we have men come too)

circuit training in the air conditioned gym (bliss!) for a change of pace

circuit training in the air conditioned gym (bliss!) for a change of pace

 Mexican train dominoes or is it catching up on the goss while the men work

Mexican train dominoes or is it catching up on the goss while the men work

Fronteras a 5 minute dinghy ride for groceries etc. The road being empty is NOT normal!

Fronteras a 5 minute dinghy ride for groceries etc. The road being empty is NOT normal!

Still NOT normal but getting close. The tuktuks are awesome, the huge trucks with cattle are not given the road size.

Still NOT normal but getting close. The tuktuks are awesome, the huge trucks with cattle are not given the road size.

Jennifer from Our Rose arrived in time to celebrate her BIG birthday with us all. We had lots of surprises organized for her. As you can see a good time was had by all. Happy Birthday Jen….

A river boat ride to our restaurant of choice "the Kangaroo" for Mexican 1099 /448 Swinging out over the river at the restaurant

A river boat ride for the birthday dinner to our restaurant of choice “the Kangaroo” for Mexican

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Swinging out over the river at the restaurant

 

 

 

a ballet performance from Fern and Molly back at the Marina

a ballet performance from Fern and Molly back at the Marina

The kiwi Haka; intro to the piñata event

The kiwi Haka; intro to the piñata event

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The kids helped Jen blow the candles out

The kids helped Jen blow the candles out

Belinda singing the Belinda revised edition of "The Lady is a Tramp"

Belinda singing the Belinda revised edition of “The Lady is a Tramp”. Awesome!

Phil & Stuart here entertaining us with great tunes & Jen with her air guitar soon to move to a real one?

Phil & Stuart here entertaining us with great tunes & Jen with her air guitar soon to move to a real one?

Brett & Shannon                                                      Bill, Richard and Dean

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I think the Birthday girl had a great night. Bill grew hair care of Jen.

And then suddenly Bill from Out of The Bag has hair! Nice look Bill

And then suddenly Bill from Out of The Bag has hair! Nice look Bill

Good times and more to come.

Happy Birthday Brett

Brett “celebrated” his birthday in Little Harbour on Long Island. Secretly I think Brett loves the attention and he should, its his b-day! P1050615 Jen started the day out with making Brett’s fav, home made Cinnamon Buns. Yummo! Jen & Richard came bearing gifts; some cedar fishing plugs to help improve the fishing stats as we have not been too successful of late. Here’s hoping they help. P1050618 The day was a tad windy, so difficult to get from boat to boat but luckily did not deter Jen & Richard from joining us for dinner along with Brett’s choice of b-day cake. Thanks Jen.

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We enjoyed scallop salad followed by ribs & rice and then Carrot cake. All in all a great day.
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Here’s to another year bud!

It’s my birthday

Well I had my birthday again and enjoyed spending it in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos at the beach.

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For dinner we went to Jen & Richards restaurant on Our Rose for lobster and chocolate cake, yummo!
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Good day that’s for sure.

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Farewells again

Well we had a great month traveling with my parents from Grenada through to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The winds treated us well and we had some great sailing days and nights. No one chucked their cookies! Yeah.

We went for an awesome dinner and drinks out at the Mafolie overlooking the bay and the glowing Xmas lights of Seismic Wave and the St Thomas boat light parade.

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As we sped off down the road to get a taxi I got a quick photo of them saying goodbye till next time.P1040587

Thanks for dinner Mum and Dad and thanks for all your help aboard. They arrived back in NZ safe and sound after flying through Miami and LAX. Quite the flight. Who planned that long trip with no break…..

Happy Canada Day

July 1st , its Canada day and yes we think half of Canada is down here, given the number of Canada flags we see behind boats. I noticed the Canada flag painted on a wall along with the Grenada and Trinidad flags near Gouyave this past weekend, great timing. Canada Flag A

There were a few parties going on in the various bays and given we had been out every night for a while we wanted to stay close to home. Mike and Jules from The Flying Buzzard are here in Prickly Bay working on the yacht that had recently been destroyed by fire and invited Canadians over to celebrate Canada Day. Love the Canada flag flying off the crane.   P1020961a

We had read an article in the June 2013 Caribbean Compass Mag back issues about The Flying Buzzard so were interested to meet them and hear their story.

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Mike cooked up freshly made Canadian burgers and we sat up on top of the 105 ft tug looking out over the bay. Their hospitality was appreciated.

 

 

 

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To all our Canadian family and friends, Happy Canada Day. Hope you had a great day.