Exploring the British Virgin Islands

In this video we finally make it out of Saint Martin and head over to the BVI on an overnight sail. The sail there was nice and fast and we arrived first thing in the morning in virgin gorda passing necker island on the way in . We learned later through Suzie that Obama was there the whole time we were in virgin gorda. We decided to head over to the anchorage by the bitter end and got the dinghy ready to head over to customs to clear in. Andrew from Caramba and I are typically the ones doing the clearing in and while he was still filling out paperwork I found myself at a loss when the immigration or customs person asked me for $1000. For a second I was at a loss for word but suddenly replied that if it was that expensive to clear in we would be leaving back to Saint Martin today as we did not have that kind of money. The guy waited a little bit then laughed and said he was joking all I had to pay was $11. Relieved I paid the amount (which I had to borrow from Andrew, who asked me what was the 1000$ was about) and headed out to find my dad, James and the kids. We spent two days at the bitter end enjoying the pretty hotel beach and the amazingly fast wifi before heading to Spanish town and The Baths. The anchorage there was a little rolly

The past 9 months part I

Wow it has been a while since we have updated this blog! A boat and two kids will do that to you. :) Well here are a few photos from the last nine months and little bits of what we have been up to. James went out to see all the boats we were considering buying. He even flew at the last minute to Lisbon instead of back home to see another potential boat. We ended up being very lucky to find two boats that we really liked and both were sold by the same broker, Michel Charpentier (he is pretty much the Amel specialist in Europe). Since we had found two boats and were happy either way we made a decent but low offer on the newer one saying that if they didn't accept it we would simply make an offer on the other one. Lucky for us the owners wanted to sell and although they weren't pleased (we figured that out during the survey) they accepted our offer. We went down to La Grande Motte in the south of France and had a survey and sea trial. While the boat was out of the water, Michel C. spent the whole hour cleaning off sea life from the hull (he is one dedicated broker). After a whole day of checking the boat out we asked our surveyor for his opinion and decided to buy the boat! SV SeaBean was born. :) Now came the waiting game. We had a boat and

Videos and where we're going next...

To make up for a complete lack of updating of this blog... Chloe has created a couple of videos covering the last few months. Please note, these are mainly for family so feature our kiddos heavily! At the end of this week we are planing to leave Corsica and head west to Gibraltar. Since they are on the way... we will stop in the Balearic Islands and probably the southern coast of Spain. It should take us a week or so, but we are in no rush. You should be able to follow along via MarineTraffic.

We have done it!

We have a boat and we are at anchor in Corsica. This morning I sat in my hammock and had a wonderfully peaceful cup of tea looking out at the beach and tiny islands surrounding us. The water is amazing. It's 5 meters deep, bottom is perfectly clear and we see cuttle fish gliding past... Arthur tries to "fish" off the side of the boat with a bit of old rope. He's copying "Papi" (ChloƩ's Dad). Actually... we have had a boat for a few months. As it turns out, boats have a way of keeping you extremely busy! To the complete and utter detriment of this blog. Anyway, to fill you in... We bought the "plain jane" Amel Super Maramu 2000, mentioned before. She is now called, "SeaBean"! As soon as we took possession the work started. So far we have: Deep cleaned the boat. A boat is a three dimensional space and there is always somewhere you forgot about or never even knew existed. This work is ongoing! Rinsed, re-rinsed, scrubbed and rinsed again the water tanks. This means removing both the fridge and the freezer from the boat to get to the access hatches. Haul out, in ten extremely tiring days (thanks to Jean-Paul for the immense help): Pressure washed the hull. Sand off a layer old antifouling. Re-caulk the keel joint. Clean the small corral reef off the bottom of the keel. Service the C-Drive Clean, sand and paint the prop. Apply 3 coats of (painfully

The boat search

What forms the perfect boat? Is it fast? Roomy? Safe? Sleek? Varnished wood toe rails and acres of teak? One hull, two or even three? The design. When looking for a sailing boat there are so many things to consider. I started narrowing the search by looking for well renowned yachts around 45-50 feet. Much smaller than that and we'd be a little cramped. Any bigger and the forces involved would be too much for Chloe or I to handle. Paramount was the ability for either of us to handle the boat ourselves. With two young children on the boat, one of us will be single handling while the other makes sure the kids are safe. I had noticed Amel's early on in my search. When I showed Chloe, "oh, that's ugly", was the reaction and she wrote them off! We then focused on the Hylas 47 and Hallberg-Rassy 46. It was only after we watched more of SV Delos' amazing youtube videos that Chloe started to come around. And once we managed to experience an Amel ourselves, we were convinced. It has (some!) space, but feels like home. The galley/saloon open plan so the cook (Chloe!) isn't down in some dark tunnel. The boat has an amazing reputation for being safe. And last but not least, there are a lot of them with prices within reach. The search Once we had narrowed down to a make/model of boat, I could start my research in earnest. The Amel

The good, the bad and the ugly

I have been wondering a lot about what our new life is going to look like. There is the obvious, being together all the time and discovering ourselves and each other while also discovering the world and new cultures. But so much proximity can also get ugly and I am trying to think of ways to minimize that possibility. I want our little family to work in harmony and happiness as much as possible, Now I didn't say calmness as I am not expecting much of that with two little kiddos:) I also want to avoid being those people trying to anchor and turning ugly on each other when everything starts to go wrong. We will definitely have to come up with a way to communicate while staying calm, Hand signals? walky talkies? or just practice practice practice while no one is around and we can scream at each other all we like until we figure it out! Hopefully my dad's friend, who has been a captain on Amel boats for most of his life will be available to teach us the ins and outs of our new home. And hopefully we make it through the first six month and still love it enough to keep going. I have my eyes on the South Pacific and I intend to make it!!

It's hitting home...

The irony is not lost on me, that leaving our home for the last 6 years is "hitting home". I had to say goodbye to the first of my close friends today. He is off on a wonderfully adventurous holiday to Vietnam and Myanmar. We will be gone by the time he gets back. If our trip is successful I will be saying goodbye to friends on a regular basis. Saying goodbye I've done before but after staying put for 6 years I had conveniently forgotten how hard it is. By the end of the month we'll have undertaken an epic longhaul flight with 8 massive suitcases, 2 child car seats, 2 strollers, 4 carry on bags, 2 children and 3 adults. We will have said goodbye to all of our close friends in the US. BUT... we will be back in Europe and the adventure can really begin.