• close family • small boat • big world •

Re-entry, A Retrospective

by Greg
Arlington, Virginia

Sailors use the term "burying the hook" to mean  
returning to land semi-permanently or permanently.
Upon returning, we intended to write a "return to land" post here and continue posting about our transition to land and our reflections on cruising and its end. Surprise - we suddenly found ourselves too busy. The tempo of life changed completely. The soundtrack went from a slow waltz to Flight of the Bumblebee, played double-tempo.  Our time was filled with searching for a house, straightening out school enrollment, moving off of the boat, spending time with friends we'd not seen in years, and rejuvenating cars that had spent three years idle on a Virginia farm (including repairing the effects of generations of mice that had called them home). After that - school and jobs, rowing and MMA for our daughter, several rock bands and a mandolin orchesta for our son, etc, etc. So those intended posts were left in the dusts of time.

However, it seems a fair number of people still discover and read this blog, and of course we still think lovingly of it. (We can't let go). So, this day, exactly five years after our departure, seems like the perfect time to reflect on our return to land.

Let's get one thing straight before we go further. For cruisers of our means, cruising is no picnic. It's not sitting on deck sipping icey margaritas. (Though it is for owners like this one.) It's more like backpacking where your pack is your boat. When you're moving and the seas are rough, the driver gets wet.
Son Cash and adopted crewmember Anna T.
off Guyana coast taking us to Suriname
When you're moving and it storms, the driver gets wet. When you're at anchor and it storms, you often sit awake making sure you don't drag and somebody doesn't drag into you. When you're at anchor (we never docked - we always anchored), all land excursions take place by dinghy, and all supplies come to the boat by dinghy. Real showers are infrequent. Laundry is infrequent. Passages require someone on watch at all times. That includes night time. That includes moonless night time. That includes pitch black stormy night time.

New Year's Memories: Les Saintes

by Cash
On Land, Arlington, Virginia

It's hard to believe that it's already the end of 2016. It seems like so long ago that we stepped foot onto land, though it has only been six months. What seems even more far away is last New Year's. We celebrated in the islands of Les Saintes, Guadeloupe with our friends on End Game and Neptune II. There was a big party in the park that involved a large stage and multiple bands.
I thought now was a fitting time to post a video I put together of the celebration.

I hope you have a happy New Year everyone - here's to a great 2017!

Boat Kid Puts on Shoes

by Cash 
On Land, Arlington, Virginia

Three years ago today (October 18), we left the marina where we were docked and traveled for 30 minutes to another marina. This short passage was the beginning of our cruising life.

Now, almost three years later, we have returned to land and have been living here for a couple of months.  I figured that our cruising anniversary was a good time to share the video I created of us making the actual transition to land: moving from our boat into our house.

I hope you enjoyed the video!
It's certainly a big change for us. We hope to post more about the back-to-land transition soon.

An Island is Coming

by Nicole and Paula
Tracy's Landing, Maryland

It was just another normal cruising day in Suriname. But it was Sunday, so the square in the normally sleepy little town of Domburg was filled with loud music and people.

We were moored in the Suriname river just off the Marina Suriname, and spending our Sunday getting caught up on schoolwork.
The River Breeze at Suriname Marina is fantastic!

A pool and floating docks - it was like a miracle after the places we had just been!
Cruising sailor Gaby spent some time
managing the Suriname Marina.

We were all down below in Daystar when we heard Gaby, the manager of the marina, calling to us from his dinghy outside our boat. Gaby, a hardworking and energetic Dutch guy, did a great job taking care of Marina Suriname. If he showed up outside Daystar, then it was important.

We all went up to the cockpit to see what he wanted, and he said, "An island is coming."


We were very confused, but we soon found out what he was talking about. Watch this video to find out:

Get a Haircut, and Get a Real Job

by Cash 
Herrington Harbour Marina, Tracy's Landing, Maryland

As one cruising season ends and another begins, we are not the only ones returning to land. We know many people that are ending their adventures at the same time we are. So I dedicate this song I recorded to those cruisers, the ones that have to leave their boats and return to work.

This is a cover of George Thorogood's "Get a Haircut". I recorded the vocals, guitar, and bass parts myself, and I used digital instruments for the drums and background instruments. My family helped me film the video on a dock in Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas.

The camera crew, along with two music stands functioning as tripods


by Paula
Herrington Harbour Marina, Tracy's Landing, Maryland

No creepy guy rowed up to our boat in the middle of the ocean (a la the film Dead Calm), but we did have a few hitchhikers join us for brief periods while underway.

This pelican settled comfortably on our mizzen-boom while we were coming down the ICW in January of 2014 and stayed for a while, enjoying the ride.

We were delighted with a lovely performance by this bird who perched high atop our mainmast spreader and sang all morning while we were in the Frederika River in Georgia.

Our memory is a bit foggy on this one, but we know this little shrimp appeared somewhere he was not supposed to be way back in April of 2014 while we were in Dinner Key in Miami.

The Long Haul

by Paula 
Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Cash is always looking forward to exploring the next destination.
We've all heard the maxim: it's not the destination, but the journey that counts. A great thought, yes, but sometimes you hope the journey is short and sweet so you can get to that destination. The Caribbean is such a popular place to sail for that reason exactly -- one can arrive at an amazing destination with a journey that is fairly painless. Most passages between anchorages or islands can be sailed in a day, some even in just a few hours.

Nothing but blue as far as the eye can see, sometimes for days.

There are some places out there, though, that are worth biting off a much longer sail. The countries of Guyana and Suriname were definitely two of them. Taking off from Tobago, it took three days to reach Guyana, and the trip from Guyana to Suriname was another three-day passage. Our return from Suriname all the way to Guadeloupe was a four-day sail, and the passage from BoquerĂ³n in Puerto Rico to Great Inagua in the Bahamas was also three full days of sailing. When we cruised in 1999, Greg and I made a seven-day passage from Antigua to Bermuda and then an eight-day passage from Bermuda to Nova Scotia.

Life on a moving sailboat is far, far different from life when sitting still in port. And even more so

Leaving Our Mark

by Paula
Nassau, Bahamas

Battling mosquitoes with each step past low shrubs and craggy limestone, we made our way up Boo Boo Hill. This well-known spot on Warderick Wells shares the cay with the small headquarters building of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. This low rise was named for the sailors who were shipwrecked here. Legend has it that their ghostly singing can be heard on a still night. At the crest of this small hill lies a large pile of driftwood and other objects, adorned with visiting boat names. Just like the first time we visited, we were ready to leave our mark.

In the beautiful scenery and pristine waters through which we've traveled, we have practiced the "take only photographs, leave only footprints" adage. However, in a few spots, we've had the chance to leave a little bit our ourselves behind.

At JR's Bistro in the Dominican Republic, Nicole drew our logo on the signing wall where we spent many an evening during the hurricane season.

When we sailed through in 2013, Greg carved Daystar’s name onto a piece of fan coral he found on the eastern side of the cay using a piece of sea-glass. We added it to the pile amidst the other mementos on Boo Boo Hill.