There you have it. It’s mid March and already I’m pretty sure we win the Understatement Of The Year Award!
OK, we admit it, we’ve been lousy at keeping up this blog for the last few months. No excuses. No looking back. We’ll just bring you up to date with some highlights since our last post and do our darnest to get better at this. (You have our friends on s/v Saralane to thank for this – the nudges to update our blog have been starting to get painful LOL!)
When we last updated, Ted had just got his captains license and we were hanging out in St. John awaiting approval of Ted’s work permit. We did some jumping around, but mostly stayed in Coral Bay, where we’ve all made some good friends.
The work permit process was…….shall we say, tedious. trips to and from St. Thomas for medical exams (including stool samples, TB tests and syphilis tests <- of all crazy things!). Ted got the call that the paperwork was ready and went to Tortola solo to get everything approved and finalized, which turned into a 4 day stay (he got to Immigration on a Thursday, they took his paperwork and said “great, come back on Tuesday” because their Carnival was starting). Luckily he had anticipated at least an overnight and had brought a clean pair of underwear! The whole process from start to finish was agonizingly slow, often confusing, many times ridiculous (syphilis but not HIV? really?), expensive (everyone needed to get paid, including BVI doctors – $100 to “approve” the medical paperwork we submitted x 4 of us!) and almost surreal, but finally we were all legal residents – Ted with a work permit and Claudia & the kids as dependents (which basically prohibits Claudia from seeking work for 1 year, lest she take a job from a “belonger” <- term for those born here).
August also brought Anya’s 8th birthday, celebrated on the beach with friends from Coral Bay and Tortola
The downtime gave us opportunity to get some boat work done
and get caught up on some sewing too.
We started homeschooling back up, much to the chagrin of Max and Anya. We’ve managed to keep the routine of Max working with Ted (going with him into the office at 7am-ish) and Anya and Claudia working together on Demeter. 5th and 3rd grades this year!
Once again, school books arrived in big boxes and were delivered via dock cart! These are a few of Anya’s 3rd grade books.
The highlight this month was a visit from Ted’s parents! They are going strong and we had a great visit with them, highlighted by a fabulous sail over to Peter Island and then out past Norman Island that got Ted’s dad whispering to the waves just like he always did.
Swimming in Little Harbor – Peter Island
Ted’s Dad enjoyed sailing for the first time in about 10 years!
Another set of visitors blessed us this month! This time it was our wonderful friends, the Parramore Family (sans corgi Joey & the mare Finley). Once again, one week was not long enough, but we were able to enjoy a few nights out with them (they chartered a boat and we tagged along behind for the weekend), swimming, snorkeling, diving & general hilarity.
Happy Happy Happy!
A shore excursion at Peter Island
Thanksgiving was spent with our friends Brian, Shakti, and Paul & Monica aboard s/v Moonshadow (who we’d met while cruising last year and reconnected with again when they sailed down with the Caribbean 1500). It was a fun evening with a delicious home cooked meal which included turkey & pumpkin pie!
Shakti & Brian – our Thanksgiving dinner hosts.
Also in November, Claudia picked up a few days work as the aforementioned Caribbean 1500 boats started to arrive in Nanny Cay from Portsmouth VA. It was great fun working with friends Andy Schell & Mia Kaarlson and even more fun being the one to hand salty sailors rum punches as they ended their epic journeys. We were able to make many new friends among them who we continue to stay in touch with!
The visitors keep on rolling! This month it was Claudia’s parents in for a week, then joined by her brother Eric & nephew Alex for the week of Christmas. The kids all had a blast together. We got all of them out sailing too – taking them to our favorite anchorage – Little Harbor, Peter Island to enjoy the next to nothingness that is there.
We did a hike at Sage Mountain (high point, Tortola) that was exceptionally muddy.
This years Christmas tree was am upgrade from last years. 100% homemade with ornament contributions from the kids & Oma & Grandpa!
The boys also had a blast riding the waves as they crashed in between the boulders at The Baths on Virgin Gorda.
Max and Alex with their catch – Little Harbor, Peter Island
And right before they arrived, we got access to a vehicle! It belongs to CYM, but thus far we’ve had access to it on weekends and for whatever errands we need, so that’s given us a bit of a new lease on life :)
We spent a relatively quiet New Years Eve here at Nanny Cay and have settled into 2014. Ted continues to work hard, and unfortunately it’s taking its toll on his back/siatic nerve again. The last few weeks he’s been hobbling around, trying to work through the pain and rest when he can (which is not nearly as much as he should). He’s been getting medical help and we’re hoping that things start healing soon.
One weekend we went to St. Thomas with Brian, Shakti and Rayne for a regatta at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. We rode over in style (its all relative, right?) on a catamaran that Brian has use of this season and stayed aboard at the yacht club dock. While Rayne and Max went out and kicked buttowski in their respective fleets (2nd places for both of them!!), the rest of us did what BVI people normally do in STT – shop! Home Depot, KMart (THE place the shop for us down here) and PriceMart (akin to Sam’s Club or Costco) benefited from our excursion. We also were able to have a too brief get together with Claudia’s cousin Roy & his fiance, Theresa who happened to be in St. Thomas for vacation.
Sunrise on the way to St. Thomas (yes, we got an early start that morning so we could make it to the yacht club in time for the skippers meeting – plus we had to stop in St. John to clear customs on the way!)
While waiting to clear customs on the way home, the kids had a huge waterfight off the back to the two team catamarans – hilarious!
We spent a day as support crew for Brian as he and a team of 2 others did a paddle board relay race from Trellis Bay (Tortola) to White Bay (Jost van Dyke) – a total of 14 miles. We ran the support boat, kept track of time and helped with getting paddlers in/out of the water. The event ended at the famous Soggy Dollar bar and the highlight (for Ted and Max) was meeting Jimmy Spithill who was there participating in the event with his Oracle teammate Shannon Falconne.
February included a lot of work for Ted as owners came and went and came back again, but we managed a weekend to Coral Bay in St. John, which is always a wonderful escape for us.
With my friends Reina and Colleen – mid way through my favorite hike – St. John
Mail pickup in Coral Bay!
Christmas in Feb!
Another highlight this month was a surprise (for Anya) visit to Ft. Lauderdale to visit with her BFF, Julia. It was a great 4 day weekend just playing and enjoying time with her friends that she’s missed so much since we left. And Bonus: I got to spend time with her awesome mom, Lisa, who I love to bits!!
We also did some boat chores (they never end) this month.
Starting the wiring for the planned A/C.
Boat chore: Cleaning all the floorboards.
Yup – More weekends in paradise. This time we discovered a new favorite anchorage, South Sound in Virgin Gorda. The entrance is a narrow cut between a long reef that opens into a huge anchorage that we had completely to ourselves. The kids (including Ted) all played with a borrowed Zup board and we all enjoyed the solitude.
Demeter enjoying South Sound, Virgin Gorda
Conch shells galore – both on the shore and in the water.
Grandpa Pelican oversees his domain
Ted on Zup.
Local. South Sound Virgin Gorda
Just now we are in Great Harbor Peter Island, for a quick night out of the marina. We had a gorgeous sail last night with a nearly full moon. It’s funny – we used to sail so much at night in Annapolis and down here we haven’t done it in a long time. Last night it was perfect breeze and NO other boat out.
local fisherman casting a hand net. Great Harbor, Peter Island
Anya tries to check out the cabins in a cruise ship passing us by
Nearly full moon during out sail last night.
In other big news this month, we’ve booked tickets to visit Annapolis for 2 weeks in May. The occasion is a friends wedding, but we are super excited to see everyone, but know that the visit will go by far to quickly…
In any event – this is our update – we will do are darndest to post more frequently from here in the BVI!