• close family • small boat • big world •

Las Fiestas de Boquerón

by Cash
At anchor, Matthew Town, Great Inagua, Bahamas

Boquerón is a party town. People come from all over, especially during spring break and summer, to enjoy themselves. When it comes to partying in Boquerón there are two things you need to do: listen to the music and eat the street food.
Anyone want to buy some "stainless teel"?

The thing about the parties in Boquerón is that they're mostly carried out on the street. Bands play out on the street, and many people eat street food from stalls lining the road. Even shops have tables outside to sell their goods.

The party starts on Thursday with a just a little bit of activity. It grows and grows until it climaxes on Sunday. People lie on the beach all day and then head to the streets at night. From Monday to Thursday afternoon, the town is completely dead. There is no one anywhere.
The park during the week. It's empty and the stands are not set up.
A view of the shopping stands as the evening is just starting
It gets much more crowded as the evening progresses

Lots more pics and videos of music, food, and dancing below:

Hen Lee

by Cash
At anchor, Boquerón, Puerto Rico

During our very long stay in St. Martin, we hauled out our boat to get her bottom redone.  One of our neighbors on the hard was Hen Lee, a big, beat-up, rusty, red cargo ship.

The very large propeller
Hen Lee was a large steel boat, well past her prime. She was covered in rusty metal, the bootstripe was uneven and the paint was coming off. The crew working on her was doing everything from repainting (the stripe was in a straight line this time - mostly) to welding a new piece of steel to patch a hole in her hull. We met one of the workers, Sam, a young, quiet Dominican man with a ball cap and a friendly manner. He is from Dominica, but he is not that fond of his country. One thing he does not like is that many Dominicans do not want to work hard. In addition to working on Hen Lee, he is a tour guide and taxi driver in Portsmouth, Dominica. We spent some time talking to him, and he invited us on board for a tour

Hen Lee, originally used to drag for scallops, was built in the 1970s in Mobile, Alabama, and she is now used for transporting mostly fruits and miscellaneous cargo. She stops on the islands of Martinique, St. Martin, St. Kitts, and her home port, Dominica. The boat is manned by eight crew both when she’s being fixed up and when she’s underway.

To get a tour of this big ol’ boat, watch the video:

Haul Out

by Cash
At anchor, Water Island, St. Thomas, USVIs

One of the things we did in St. Martin was to repaint Daystar's bottom. Our bottom paint, which prevents barnacle and algae growth on the hull, needed to be replaced. We can't paint the hull while it's in the water of course, so we needed to haul Daystar out onto land. And of course, a boat can’t just be placed straight down on its skinny keel. To take a boat out of the water and support it on land is a difficult and dangerous but relatively common process.

Pictured above is a Travel Lift, the power behind lifting a sailboat. Slings hang down between each side. The Travel Lift is designed so that it can drive over the slipway where the boat is situated, so it can lower the slings into the water under the boat. The slings are adjusted and then tightened so they are snug under the hull. Then, as every boat owner tenses, the boat is lifted out of the water by raising the slings. The Travel Lift slowly moves the boat into a spot on land where it will be supported. There are many tripod-like stands with big pads on the top that are placed in various spots under the hull so that the boat can be supported without the Travel Lift. The jackstands must be placed in the correct position so that the boat remains upright.

Daystar on jackstands when hauled out in Carriacou in 2015
All in all, it's a relatively simple process, but that doesn't mean it doesn't take skill. If the slings are off balance or adjusted incorrectly the boat could slide forward or back. If the jackstands aren't positioned properly the boat could fall over. So it's important to choose a boatyard that you trust to do the work correctly.

When we were in Luperon, Dominican Republic, some friends of ours told us the story of hauling their boat out in the shabby, understaffed marina there. The marina had no Travel Lift, so they had to make do with other vehicles. They backed a flatbed trailer into the water under the boat and attached stands to the flatbed to support the boat. They hauled the boat out using a tractor attached to the flatbed. They got the work done, but when the boat was ready to go back in the water the tractor was being used at a different job. They waited and waited, but the tractor was not released. Eventually the marina had to hire a dump-truck to back the boat into the water instead.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, think how many words a video is worth. Check out Daystar being hauled below:

Close Family Still on the Go

by Paula
At anchor, Boqueron, Puerto Rico

Back in the spring of 2014, as Daystar made her way down the US Intracoastal Waterway, we stopped for a bit in Vero Beach, Florida. Through happenstance, we were introduced to a larger-than-life personality, talk radio host Rhett Palmer. Fascinated with our family's adventure, he brought us in for an hour-long live interview. You can read more about it and listen to the audio of the show here.

I thought Rhett might be interested in an update on our travels, and he was! I submitted an article to Vero's Voice, the magazine associated with his show. Here's a link to the full article that came out on  May 1st: 

Kamals, Back-Staffs, and Octants, Oh My!

by Nicole
At anchor, French Lagoon, St. Martin

Do you think you could use a pointed, marked stick to navigate your boat? Well, the Vikings did. For art and history, I made a booklet about the different nautical devices throughout history, and I wanted to share it with you. Navigating is much easier these days with GPS, but before it was invented, navigating was much harder.

As I explained in a previous post, one of the earliest navigation devices was the compass. However, the compass is only used to know which direction you are pointing, not where you are. All the devices in my project were used to determine the latitude of one's current location.

The early navigation tools most sailors used were pretty primitive, sometimes nothing more than a marked stick. Through the ages, these devices have grown more complex, which makes them more accurate and effective. Now, we have leaped ahead with GPS that uses modern technology. We are very lucky we have modern devices that make navigation much easier, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not hard.

So this is the booklet I made below. I did all the drawings and text. Check it out!


by Cash
At anchor, French Lagoon, St. Martin

Always being on the move, it can be tough for me to have opportunities to play music with other people. I have had a few of those opportunities, namely playing with Colin in the DR, and with Kate at Lagoonies, not once but twice. I just recently had another chance, this time recording a song with Kate (from Discovery) and Emma (from Day Dreamer).

We didn't focus much on neatening the cables
We were allowed to use an upstairs office in the Port de Plaisance Marina, and this is where we lugged all of our gear, including three guitars (two acoustics and an electric), a bass guitar, a couple of ukuleles, a couple of keyboards, three mics, a couple mic stands, a computer, a audio mixing board, a couple of amps, a speaker, a couple cameras, and lots and lots of cables. This was the combined gear of three boats.

Keyboard stands included plastic boxes, chairs, and big Styrofoam blocks
Apart from for the mics and the speaker, we had no stands. But being the resourceful cruisers we are, we found a solution. You see, Kate's family was in the process of moving off of their boat, and so they had a lot of boxes full of stuff. We took several of these boxes and used them, along with some chairs, to prop up our gear.

Then we could get straight to recording. We ended up doing a cover of "Creep", by Radiohead. I played guitar and bass guitar, Kate did the lead vocals, and Emma played the piano and did backup vocals. The drums were added in on the computer.

We also did a one-track recording of Hero, by Bonnie Tyler. We hadn't practiced this song at all; when Kate started playing it on the piano, Emma and I joined it, and we recorded it right there. Emma played the ukulele, I played the bass, and Kate sang and played the piano.

We set up two stationary cameras to capture us playing, one attached to a ceiling beam.

This recording studio almost became a second home for the five days we were in it. We, including my sister and also Anna and Sara (from Day Dreamer), were in it for most of each day, messing around, drawing, talking, playing different songs, or recording. We even had dinner in it!

...and even had  dinner
Not only did we play music, we hung out, drew...

We had a blast doing this, and I'm sure we'd all do it again. Thanks to Kate and Emma for playing with me, and thanks for Anna, Sara, and Nicole for supporting us.

Now, without further ado, the finished product: Creep!

More great pics below!

Just Can't Stop Looking

by Greg
At Anchor, French Lagoon, St. Martin

We've spent plenty of time in the past living on our boat on the hard (on land in a boatyard). It ain't that much fun. At anchor, the boat has a pleasant motion, cool breezes blow through, your neighbors are hundreds of yards away, life is good. Boatyards however are hot, dirty, dusty, toxic places. After only hours in the yard, your boat will be covered with grit. Getting off and on the boat requires climbing a ladder between the deck and the ground. Falling overboard at anchor just gets you wet - on the hard it could kill you.

A view of Cole Bay, Sint Maarten, from our balcony at Port de Plaisance.

So this time (hauling the boat to repaint the bottom with anti-fouling) we treated ourselves to a room on land. The Port de Plaisance resort is definitely past its heyday. They are attempting to renovate it, so most of the rooms are either boarded up or are being gutted. Our room was a nice enough place (state of the art in the early eighties). but the room next door was being gutted, so we had jackhammer noises all day, and every morning I'd head out to the balcony to find it blanketed with a fresh coat of destruction dust. The casino was still open, but all the restaurants are closed. But we got a great rate, and the bed Paula and I shared was at least three times bigger than what we share on Daystar. Living on a boat has made us appreciate even the most basic pleasures of land.

And we had a great view. I spent an hour every morning on our balcony at Port de Plaisance drinking coffee and watching boats in Cole Bay on the Dutch side of the St. Martin lagoon. Even when I'm not on a boat at anchor, I still just can't stop looking at boats.

Here's a short video of some yachts in St. Martin from the balcony of Port de Plaisance with some notes:
  • At 0: 37, you'll see Yalla, a 240' motor yacht owned by the richest family in Egypt. (Each member of

Cipher Bunny

by Greg
At anchor, French Lagoon, St. Martin

I don't really think our kids ever believed in the Easter Bunny. If they did, it wasn't for long. It didn't make sense to them from the beginning, and we certainly didn't lie to them when they asked directly about it. But of course they still loved Easter egg hunts.

As they've gotten older, Paula has modified the tradition to keep it interesting. Now each egg contains one or more paper scraps, each with a letter written on it. The letters fit into a word scramble that it usually a combination of rhyme and puzzle or riddle. The answer to the puzzle or riddle leads to the Easter treats.

Finished puzzle is below!