Hi Friends and family, hope all is well with you and please keep me informed with whats happening at home. It may take me a while to respond but I will get there eventually when I find some internet and time. You may say time? Yes that’s what I thought too, oh I’ll have sooooooo much time to read my books, play board games with the kids, etc etc. It hasn’t been like that so far. The normal routine so far when we are not sailing is – we all wake and I sort out the kitchen, make breakfast while trying to get the kids to start school (this is much better when they have an early night obviously), I do the dishes while the kids start school (which I have prepped the day before hopefully, they all generally have different things to do except I can do some teaching with Sienna and Alex at the same time) and by this time Stu has generally started doing some boat job (there’s a long list which is hopefully reducing!). We don’t have Saturday and Sunday off or school holidays as such as when we sail Jake I can’t do school due to sea sickness, so we do school when we are able to. If we have loads of things to do we may have to miss school that day or just do a little. So I start Jake with maths as he “absolutely hates it”, it was war whenever I mentioned Saxon maths and it was mission impossible to get him started on it. So lately he has not been doing Saxon maths and I write up around 6 subtraction problems, 6 algebra problems and telling time problems at the moment. He is getting it now and we have much less stress from him lately (but still there) and I am working him up to start with his Saxon maths again. I start Alex and Sienna with reading and writing generally, Alex was hard work when it came to writing in his diary, now with a few tips from my friends (thanks Cindy from Trismic) he is much better and will generally do it without too much fuss. Alex’s reading has improved a lot and we are happy with his progress in this area, I’m so glad we purchased some readers pre trip. Sienna likes writing in her diary, is getting better with reading including her attitude towards it. She likes writing. Her maths is getting better too, hooray. She can now do basic addition, still gets confused with numbers at times.
Talking to other cruisers school is a common cause for stress in the family (which makes me feel better), a family of 5 we know have had big challenges and now both parents spend an hour each with their 3 children in the morning, the problem is the father feels like he is always working as he has to do boat jobs in the pm (boat maintenance and repairs are on going). I didn’t realise this pre Neverland, it’s much more intense than living in a house. I guess it’s because the boat is always moving and exposed to the elements and everything needs to be working for safety at sea and basic needs like water, electricity and gas (for stove and oven which we aren’t using as we think it stops the freezer from working). It’s not like you can just flick a switch and get shore power (unless you’re at the dock plugged in which we don’t really do, its too hot on the dock and in the marinas you can’t swim as the water is yuck), we need working solar panels, inverter and batteries fully charged everyday so we are always watching what power is being used and turning off lights etc so our fridge’s work. If our power supply is not working we have no lights, fridge’s and freezers stop working. We have a watermaker to fill our 2x400L tanks and so far it has been great (we use a generator which Stu has just serviced) to run the watermaker. We are super lucky thanks to Stu to have a washing machine which a luxury on a boat, we use it when we start the generator about every 2-4 days. We make water at the same time. We are also super blessed to have a really high flow water maker which makes 240 litres per hour, most people have water makers that make 50-60 litres an hour. We have an extra large one as it came with the boat and the toilets are fresh water flushing not sea water, most boats are sea water.
We often listen to the net in some mornings, depends on school though as it is not possible to do school and listen to the net. The net is on the VHF radio and is run by cruisers for cruisers with all the information for each island. Each island has their own net. The net has social activities, buy/ sell/ swap, information on services available etc.
We were boarded by the St Martin Coast Guard from the Dutch side, what an experience that was. I noticed a ship coming up behind us and it was getting too close, next minute a stealth like inflatable came up beside us with 4 uniformed men and boarded us very easily!!! Stating they were the coast guard and were coming aboard!! OK then up you come as you insist. They looked scary in their tough looking uniforms, guns and weapons dripping off belts. Alex was scared and I was a little unnerved thinking what have we done. Turns out they board loads of vessels entering their waters, but this was not known to us at the time. There was a serious one who did all the talking and asking of questions the others were more chatty and relaxed. We needed to pull our sails in, so we asked if they could wait until we did so, which we did and looked pretty professional doing so!!!!!! he he 🙂 Stu had to fill out some papers and answer questions while I went with another officer who looked through the boat and checked our flares. Then off they went as quickly as they arrived.
Anchored here in St Martins lagoon is pretty great. We have 30 minutely planes roaring over our heads as the airport is right next to the lagoon and they take off over the anchored boats, pretty cool. There is a famous beach here in Maho where you can stand at the end of the runway (fenced off with a wire fence) and as they take off (after the pilot has waved to the crowd on the beach), we all get jet blasted by the jets – wind and sand flying everywhere. Some people stand and hang onto the fence and get blown so their feet are flying while they hopefully hang on for dear life. Many people run down to the water to try to get away from the blast. It’s fun, we are still getting sand out of Siennas hair. This so would not be allowed due to health and safety reasons in OZ! The first time we went we went by dinghy but couldn’t beach it due to swell so watched the big jumbo jet from the blast off from the dingy, we weren’t sure how strong it would be so Stu pointed the boats engine towards the blast, we even got sand blasted out there at sea!
At night its really pretty here, we are surrounded by billions of $$ in super yachts, the lights on the water look beautiful when its calm. We are right next to a swing bridge, where on scheduled times the boats go through the bridge when the bridge swings open, pretty cool to watch. The bridge is lit up at night with changing coloured lights, looks awesome. We are also right next to the bridge that is on the pics above, interesting watching super yachts navigate their way through the narrow opening.
Sienna – we went to the monuments and Alex touched the monuments head in the water. It was deep. I dived down and almost touched it but there was a sea urchin on it and I didn’t want to get spikes in my hand like dad, the sea urchin was red.
I was walking backwards on the deck playing a game with Alex, it was sunset time, I fell down the hatch. I fell 3 times my height. I got some scratches on my back. I got a fright.
Last night we went to a restaurant, played on the iPad, I had ting (it’s a fuzzy drink) and I played with my friend Millie (Millie is from another kid boat called Higgins, a family of 5 – 2 boys and 1 girl all our kids ages).
Alex – we went to a restaurant and we had ting. Ting is a fuzzy drink. and we played on our iPad with our friends and it was awesome. We played Pixel gun, we are supposed shoot zombies and other players. Robbie played pixel gun with me.
We are going to watch a lego batman movie today with our friends, from the boat next to us.We swung off a halyard (rope from the top of the mast) it was scary. I didn’t hurt myself. Sienna swung and hurt herself by swinging into the mast. There was no blood, she cried.We anchored in poo water, because everyone pooed in it. I think we have anchored in a sewer.
Jake – After doing some homework as a treat we lowered the dingy and drove to a fancy icecream place. It had at least 30 flavours and I picked chocolate it was soooooo yummy, and when I say yum I mean to die for. Dad even said that we might get another one, anyway it was so yum that I could not tell you blog, yes I think I need to fall into a hole…..I am talking to my blog that’s a bit weird.
Our friends came over and now we are playing hide and seek I am in a wardrobe (I hope they never read this blog), moving on I also am writing in it at the same time with a torch. They eventually found me and boy it was so hot in there, after we played hide and seek four times, I showed them how to swing on the spare halyard rope, it was really fun especially when Vasco(my friend) swung all the way over the front of the boat and all the way over the back of the boat and all the way around the mast around the daggerboard, then all the way around the other side of the back of the boat and other daggerboard. Then hit the mast!!!!! Then decided to go to the toilet.
We spent almost a month in St Martin finishing boat projects and school most days. Prior to that we were in the islands of St Kitts and Nevis. In Nevis we toured the small town by foot, and discovered the area where they believe the slaves were sold. These people have a heritage of such cruelty and inequality. Hard to believe the selling of people occurred in this place in such an open and socially acceptable arena.
When we arrived we decided to check into customs the following day as we were tired. So off we went to check in the next pm after school. The customs officer was quite a character! Luckily we were the first to arrive so did not have to wait. We knocked and walked in (as per instruction from the sign on the door), we were greeted with an expressionless sit down and arm wave to the seats. We were instructed exactly where each child can sit. The questioning was quite intense compared to any other customs check in procedure we had encountered. Generally we are asked the basics then they quickly check the forms we give them and off we go. We were asked the details of each child and adult, name, the official number of the ship, where the ship was registered etc etc. Items to declare was delt with most seriousness, as we were asked to listen carefully and respond where appropriate. During this entire process Alex was a little anstey, upon which the customs officer called him the naughty one and told them all off a little. To put the icing on the cake, Alex accidentally knocked a massive pile of papers that fell into a messy heap on the floor………..OH MAN, this is not good. We need to get out of here, so ONE HOUR LATER he let us go, with a telling off of how late we were to check in (we were a little cheeky). When we finally were released, there was a queue outside of people waiting to check in too!!! This process normally takes 15 minutes.
We anchored in a pretty little area with nice clear aqua water, in Nevis you have to take a mooring ball but this was the only anchorage a fair way off from the town centre (we prefer to anchor). Not many other boats were in this area, and I think we know why when Stu had a head on with a brown floater fish of the toilet variety!!!! Needless to say there was many exclamation’s coming from the water, our nice secluded and peaceful anchorage was down current of a sewerage outlet. Jake spotted 40 brown floater fish in 2 hours! Hhhhhhhm
St Kitts was just a very short sail across the inlet. Our aim was to visit the UNESCO heritage fort and move onto St Martin. We decided to take the bus to save money, its always an experience taking the local bus though it meant we had to walk from the road up the long road to the Fort. It was super hot and sticky, but we made it. Checked the fort out, very impressive. We had lunch in our bags and made it on the picnic tables by the mongooses hangout. There were two mongoose coming up to see what food they could scam, pretty cool. Stu and I had a nap on the tables. Readied ourselves for the long walk to the road, then Stu met up with the people we had met on the way and they offered us a lift down the to the road – YAY and YAY so happy as we were pretty tired by then.
Thanks for reading.