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I am officially a 'seasoned' sea dog now!

I am officially a ‘seasoned’ sea dog now!

BACKGROUND

Well can you believe it?  We have been travelling now for exactly a year.

We left our ‘home port’ of Brighton, U.K. on the 6th of July 2012.

It was 9 years in the planning, saving and repairing!

We would like to thank all our family and friends that supported us all those years as we dreamed of selling up and sailing off.  Many did question if we were actually going to ever ‘detach’ from the dock….but we proved them wrong.

Now one year on we have travelled:

*Down the south coast of Britain.

*Crossed the English Channel to France.

*Crossed the Bay of Biscay to Spain.

*Travelled down the west coasts of Spain and Portugal.

*We sailed on to the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira.

*Then sailed south to the Canary Islands.

*We finally took the plunge in January and crossed the Atlantic ocean in 3 weeks to arrive in the Caribbean Windward Island of Martinique.

*We spent the remainder of the year leisurely sailing south, visiting islands along the way, arriving in Grenada for the hurricane season.

 

WHAT WE LEARNED

*That we have a lot more to learn

*Ignorance is bliss

*That it is not as hard as everyone made it out to be

*Do not follow the crowd

*Go when the weather tells you ‘to go’.

*If there is something you ‘can not live without’ buy lots of it before you leave

*You can never pack enough spares

*You meet the most lovely people

*The humans have not found it hard at all to travel with me.  It was good that I was young, when they started, and adapted well.  I have been allowed ashore on most islands, but bulk buy dog food when you see it.

*If you are going to get sick, do so in the EU or on a French island (assuming you are a EU citizen).  You will have to way the pros and cons of health insurance based on your own health needs.

*Make sure you have your EU health card before you go (again assuming you are a EU citizen).

 

Remember, it is all good fun

Remember, it is all good fun

THINGS WE WISH WE HAD OF KNOWN

*How to speak French or Spanish, or both

*Wish we had of made a more comprehensive spares list and bought doubles of everything including ropes

*Wish we bought more bathing suits before we left

*Wish we had know how expensive instant coffee is and how impossible it is to get good tea.  We would have brought more.

*Wish we had fitted a dual fuel filter system, or at least a fuel filter bypass switch, for emergencies.

*Wish we had of bought good quality water canisters before we left, to bring water to the boat.

*When fishing in the Atlantic we found silver spoons and squid lures worked best.  We never had any luck with any of the other lures we wasted money buying.

*Stock up on all the medications, antiseptics and vitamines you can.  Especially the basics like paracetamol and antihistamine.  Do not forget rarer ailments that dehydration or stress might set off.  Do expect to get some sort of food poisoning at some time.

*Mosquitoes show up in the most unexpected places.  When the wind drops off you will have a sleepless night being eaten alive.  Get mosquito screens fitted, in at least your sleeping compartments, before you go.  We even got attacked in Portugal.

*Cockpit lights.  It gets dark early in the Caribbean and you will entertain in the cockpit most of the time.

 

THINGS WE HAVE FOUND VERY USEFUL

*Spares.  Saved us more than enough times.  Murphy’s law applies to all break downs.

*Tools.  No good having the spare, but can’t fix it.

*Water maker.  We have a tiny simple one, but we can always have fresh water to drink at least.

*Water catcher.  Great for collecting free water.  You pay for it over here in the Caribbean.

*Shade canopy.  Your brains will fry without some shade, especially when you are out sailing.

*Kayaks.  Freedom.  The freedom to explore, free from noise, free from  the stress of hitting coral, free exercise and free fuel costs.  Inflatables are a waste of money and plastic ones are really expensive in the Caribbean.

*Solar panels and wind generator.  Solar panels are maintenance free but do not charge at night.  It is almost always windy in the Caribbean.

*WiFi aerial or boaster on the boat.  Internet cafes can start to get expensive and sometimes there is a free site if you have a booster of some type.

*Fridge.  It is really hot out here and few things will last long.  If you want to visit smaller islands, on a budget, there may not be fresh food available to buy.  We fitted a keel cooled system, as it is most energy-efficient.

*Fishing gear if you like to eat fish.  And good knives to clean the fish.  Try to buy the heaviest, strongest rod, reel and line you can afford.  Remember, what ever you catch is also being dragged at what ever speed you are sailing at.

*12V vacuum sealer.  Maybe a bit of a luxury, but we are able to vacuum seal meat, vegetables, spices….almost anything…including spares, to protect them.  Get the rolls, rather than individual bags, so you have less wastage.

*Pressure cooker.  Just get a small one.  Uses a lot less gas.

*Cockroach motels.  Sticky backed cockroach traps filled with insecticide.  Fit these under your floor boards in the galley, in food cupboards or any dark corners you think they would love to hang out.  One or two ‘stow aways’ caught early will avoid an infestation.  Stock up on them and change regularly.   We are still clear.

*Remove all paper labels and packaging on food before stowing.  We bag this up, and put it in the dingy to be disposed of ashore.  Have lots of permanent markers and zip-lock bags.  This is to avoid bringing cockroach eggs aboard.


If you want a recap of our adventures each year see the Happy New Year page


 

 

5 Comments

  1. Excellent! Thank you.

  2. red flamboyant tree Deborah (Belize, Placencia)

    LOL! Love your dog. I will certainly keep track of his adventures and yours.

  3. Charlene and I are following you. Boat looks great! Keep those humans working 😉. Miss you guys. Green Cove isn’t the same and mowing the greens isn’t as much fun. Be well and safe. Jay

    • Dear Jay,
      Great to hear from you mate. Give my love and wet kisses to Charlene.
      Hurricane season in the jungle is even hotter and steamer then Florida was. At least I can have a dip here with out worrying about being eaten by crocodiles. Do miss my golf ball searches though. I have to be content with chasing the local chickens and turkeys when they stray off the owners property…..maybe not the best idea, but that is another story for another day.
      Lots of love,
      Quinnster
      Take care and great to hear from you.

  4. Hey there!!!!

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