Settling In

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The days seem to melt away and already we have been here for a week and it is time for a blog update.  So far, the adjustment to living aboard has been really smooth.  The kids have adapted really well to the change and already look and act like cruising kids.  It is obviously an adjustment moving from a 2,500 sq foot house to a 40 foot sailboat and in our boat tour video you can see the space we now call home.  All three kids share the aft cabin and Paul and I sleep in the V-berth at the front of the boat.  The boys especially seem to think of the boat as one big climbing gym.

One of the biggest adjustments to life aboard is the need to conserve both water and electricity.  Water needs to be transported by dingy in jerry jugs from town (1 km+ away).  We probably use less than 4 gallons of water a day total.  Paul wants to point out that your toilet at home would use 1 gallon in 1 flush.  Water has to be conserved, which means no showers (just a simple sun-shower in the cockpit).  All our electricity has to be generated by 3 solar panels, a wind generator and the occasional running of a gasoline generator.  That means using lights sparsely, controlling the use of electronics, and endless watching of amps and constant adjustments to maximize the solar panels.  I really appreciate this aspect of cruising because it forces you to be much more self-sufficient and to conserve.

I love to cook and have to adjust to a teeny galley with a teeny fridge and limited shopping options.  The Bahamas imports most of their food and aren’t the lush, fertile islands that many expect.  Food is very expensive and although now it is much easier to find foods we are used to having available (compared to when we cruised here 20 years ago), we have certainly had to be more flexible in what we eat.  In Canada, we are particular about the food we eat (local, organic, no food dyes or preservatives, humanely raised meats, etc) and already in one week here we have eaten lots of canned food, Kraft dinner, processed hot dogs, Ramen noodles, and many things with ingredients I cannot pronounce.  We knew this would be the case on this trip and a necessary sacrifice for living in paradise.

We are currently on a mooring at Stocking Island, Gerogetown in the Exumas.  This is a harbour that will have up to 400 boats at its peak and is a major gathering spot for boats in the Bahamas and boats preparing to head further south.  There are great facilities here, a strong cruising community, a daily cruising net on the VHF radio, many activities to participate in (volleyball, daily yoga, beach church, etc, etc).  We will likely be in and around Georgetown for the next 5 weeks.  Since there are so many boats, it is a great place to meet other cruisers and for kids to connect with other kids.

You might be wondering what a typical day looks like for us.  The great thing is that we rarely make plans and just move through the day any way we choose.  We are all up pretty early – by 7 and have breakfast and listen to the daily radio net at 8.  After, the kids usually do some school work for 1-2 hours.  This usually consists of some workbooks (spelling, math), educational ipad apps, games, journals, reading in a very flexible format.  We might go for a walk on the oceanside beach and we have been spending lots of time with my parents.  After lunch, we head to Volleyball beach, which is the gathering space for cruisers.  The kids will play in the sand, find other kids to run around with, swim and we will chat with other cruisers, and play some volleyball ourselves.  Today, Paul worked for a bit in the afternoon, sent his email, jumped off the boat and swam to join us at the beach – now that is working!  My brother and his wife were visiting last week and that kept us busy with lots of evening gatherings.  The kids are usually so tired in the evening, they go right to sleep at 7:30.  Paul and I usually manage to stay up until 9, but then the darkness catches up to us.  The next day – repeat.  My parents have been teaching us a lot about the boat and sailing, navigating and anchoring and thankfully we have another 3 weeks with them to learn everything we can.  In the next few weeks we are hoping to add a few things to our days: snorkeling, fishing, more beach and island walks, sample some Bahamian culture at Fish Fry and Rake and Skrape (Bahamian music) and take a shakedown cruise to get our sealegs.  Georgetown also has an annual Cruising Regatta coming up in 2 weeks and there will be lots of events to participate during the Regatta.

We have had a great first week and are even more excited about the next 5 months.

At the airport ready to go




Really excited!


And we are in the Bahamas


Now we need to try to store all our stuff


School on the boat



Swimming back to the boat with Steve & Audrey


Math on the bow with Dad
Campfire on the beach


Can you tell we are pretty excited to use our GoPro!?!


Dad & Ella at Volleyball Beach


The kids “room”


Trying to catch rain water


A squall


Hammock time


The view of the harbour


Steve & Miles


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