LAHOWIND | Sailing Blog » Just you, me, + the dog. Sailing.

Boat Life Lately. According to my iPhone.

Life lately has been very colorful. Literally. Lol. Our Instagram feed is so pretty, I love it! ;)) Lots of vibrant fun times that I would not trade for the world.

This has definitely been a whirlwind of a month as we began the trek towards Florida. Be it slowly, I might add. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a blast seeing friends old and new in our favorite Puerto Rican fishing village, dealing with a few boat projects and chores, and now finally making the haul all the way back to the Bahamas! What a month!

For those of you not following on Instagram (but you should be!), here’s what we’ve been up to lately…

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Instagram >>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean.

Making (more) Miles. Puerto Rico to the Bahamas!

Four (and a half days) days and another four hundred and forty plus miles under our belt! Oh and a crap ton of photos. ;)) You gotta fight the passage boredom somehow, right?

This was our longest passage ever!!! If we weren’t real sailors before, I’d say we are now.

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It’s crazy to think that we literally sailed our floating home across a small slice of this huge blue marble, watching the sun rise and set for four days straight, totally disconnected from the real world and slowly making miles before eventually dropping hook back in the Bahamas.

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We are officially closer to Florida than to the Virgin Islands. Now, that’s a strange feeling!

This hefty passage was one for the record books for sure! We broke it into two long, uneventful (thankfully) legs with lots of shift work to boot. Jer and I took turns single-handing the boat…trimming, tacking, and taking in and out the head sail while the other napped below deck.

Leg 1 – 303.5 miles – Puerto Rico to Big Sand Cay, Turks and Caicos
Leg 2 – 140 miles – Big Sand Cay to Mayaguana, Bahamas

With fair winds and following seas, this made for one of our most comfortable passages ever! Long? Most definitely. But mostly comfortable no less. And when you are sailing 440ish miles, I would easily give up speed for comfort any day of the week. I guess that seems sorta backwards, but I prefer feeling great for almost five days rather than puking my guts out to get there in three. You know? Plus, we were able to maintain normal human activities without any real effort. Like cooking real meals and sleeping without being tossed onto the floor! And that makes me a happy camper.

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We left Puerto Real, Puerto Rico on Monday, March 23 and sailed across the Mona Passage and along the coast of the Dominican Republic for what felt like forever. Man, I thought the coast of the Dominican was never going to end. That is one long country lol.

The Mona Passage gave us no troubles whatsoever even though we found ourselves basically buddy boating a mile or so away from a Coast Guard cutter for a few hours. We heard them radio-ing other boats headed towards Puerto Rico, but obviously they didn’t care at all about little ol’ us since we were headed west. No radio calls to LAHO.

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Fortunately, we were able to sail without the motor for the entire second leg!!! Once again, yay for downwind sailing! It rocks! Woot woot!

Oh and Oliver…he did great! Considering. He honed his boat dog skills and actually “went” on deck this passage. Twice!

Well, the the first instance was a little peculiar considering he “went” on deck at hour -0.5. Yup, thirty minutes BEFORE we freaking even left the dock. What?????? He must’ve gotten the memo that we were leaving on a big sail and wanted to show us that he could in fact handle it. Lol. Thankfully, he went again at hour 46 after about six coercing attempts by yours truly. Phew! What a relief for Jer and I.

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Regardless of Oliver’s new skills, we still opted to make a quick overnight pitstop at Big Sand Cay (the south eastern most edge of Turks and Caicos). This was equal parts letting Oliver romp around on land and getting Jer and I a good night’s sleep. Not to mention, forgoing this detour wouldn’t have helped at all in the Mayaguana arrival time department. Not stopping would have basically just caused us to arrive in Mayaguana in the middle of the night. Not optimal for entering a reef-enclosed anchorage if you know what I’m saying.

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There was lots of fishing during the four days too. Although we hooked six or seven big boys, the only one that made it all the way into the boat, was the little flying fish that hopped aboard sometime during the night. ;))

Overall, it was another safe and successful passage…and that is all we can truly ask for!

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PS – if anyone wants to see how we pass time while cruising non-stop for four days, here’s a little clip after we rigged the GoPro on our flag halyard…

LisaMarch 30, 2015 - 12:54 am

Your mama appreciated the message update. Love knowing you three are safe and sound!!!!!!!!!!

AllysonMarch 30, 2015 - 3:37 pm

We miss you guys already! Thank you for making out time in Puerto Real so much fun! We are currently in Boqueron with engine troubles. Hope to see you three again some day! —Allyson, Dan and Capt Bela

LAHOWINDMarch 30, 2015 - 4:12 pm

Miss you guys too!!! Get that engine fixed and hurry back to the Bahamas with us. ;) Or at least visit us in Naples! -Kim

Scott and SheriMarch 30, 2015 - 4:20 pm

Yay, you made it safe and sound. You can get bored and take that many pics all the time! Nice photos.

Bahamas Bound!

Sooooooo, if you are reading this, then we may actually be en route to the Bahamas right now!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHHHAAAAAATTTTTT? I know, crazytown! (I scheduled this post in advance, fyi.)

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^^That’s Jereme all cozy in the hammock at Cape Santa Maria Resort, Long Island, Bahamas!^^

We are making the hefty 300-mile sail from Puerto Rico to Big Sand Cay in the Turks and Caicos, taking a few hours to rest at Big Sand (but more importantly, let Oliver go potty), and then we will head right back out on the high (but hopefully low) seas and head straight for Mayaguana in the Bahamas…that’s another 120 miles or so. Combined, it will certainly make for our longest passage yet at well over 400 miles!

The boat has been stowed. Our tanks are full to the brim. Several meals have been prepped. All of our safety gear is out and ready. And our music playlist is waiting to get us through the long haul ahead. With a pitstop in Big Sand Cay, it’ll take us a few days to get all the way back to the Bahamas.

Don’t worry, we’ll post some sort of an update once we arrive (if we can track down a wifi connection that is).

See ya on the flip side! In the B-A-H-A-M-A-S mon!

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean.

Fred FishmanMarch 23, 2015 - 8:19 pm

Keep them coming. I enjoy each post. I am in Myrtle Beach.

One Year Later.

A few years ago, Jereme and I were sitting on the beach one beautiful Sunday afternoon, contemplating life and probably complaining about our jobs a little, when he turned to me and said, “what if we were to just quit our jobs to live on a sailboat in the Caribbean?” I literally laughed. Out loud. That’s quite the day dream, I thought.

One year ago today, we set sail on the adventure of a lifetime.

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^^This was just after Jer proposed on my birthday in Long Island, Bahamas! That’s our boat anchored behind us in Calabash Bay. What a year it has been!^^

One year. One boat. And countless memories made.

Honestly, this whole sailing idea kinda snuck up on us and stuck. We were both thirty at the time and part of the somewhat unfulfilled millennial generation (also known as Gen Y, but apparently “millennial” is way sexier). And honestly, we were no different than most. We stuck to the traditional course laid out for us…go to college, graduate, get a good job, etcetera etcetera. But after only ten years or so into the perpetual rat race, we veered off course. We decided to wake up and live while we’re still young.

79.8 years is simply not enough time.

Purposefully choosing a path less traveled and slowing down for a bit at this age is radical to many. No, we haven’t lost sight of where we want to go in life, and have quite a few lofty goals in mind for our future. We just chose to enjoy a little detour while we have the means and ability to do so.

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Although it feels like half a lifetime has passed since we untied our dock lines at the Naples City Dock and sailed out into the Gulf of Mexico headed for the Bahamas and beyond, it’s really been just one single year. Three hundred and sixty-five days of this floaty boaty island-hopping life.

It’s a bit unreal to think of how far we’ve actually come since that very first day as official cruisers aboard our lovely LAHO. I mean, I hate to admit this, but we had never even anchored. Not once. We had also never sailed with an actual “destination” in mind. Or tried living on the boat for any time at all. We just went.

(And no, we don’t think of ourselves as stupid or crazy.)

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Life aboard these past twelve months has been 90 percent amazing and 10 percent so-horrible-I-want-to-throw-in-the-towel-and-book-a-flight-back-home. But majority rules and we’ve persevered through those tough times.

Our first few months were spent cruising the Bahamas, some of the very best “beginner” cruising grounds in the world. I’m so glad we gained our sea legs there first. After leaving the Bahamas, we made our way to the Turks and Caicos, followed by the Dominican Republic, then onto Puerto Rico, and finally the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Along the way, we’ve snorkeled in the clearest turquoise blue waters I could ever imagine, found and harvested live conch, fed beach pigs in the Exumas, swam with stingrays in the Berry Islands and sea turtles in Culebra, hiked breathtaking waterfalls, motor-biked through sugarcane fields and gorgeous Dominican countryside, rode horses on the beach, met so many amazingly kind people, caught lots of delicious fish along the way, enjoyed some of the best sunsets of our lives, and have taken about a million photos and video to document it all! And all of this was from the comfort of our little floating home.

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But it hasn’t been all cocktails and dreams while living aboard. There have been plenty of insane boat projectslessons learned, and hard times too.

We almost crushed our cruising dreams on day two as official cruisers after we hit a crab pot while en route to the Florida Keys. We have also experienced our fair share of total meltdowns when everything feels like it is going awry on a big passage. And after retrieving a certain wet poodle on one too many occasions, we have definitely learned how to keep the dog from falling out of the dinghy on rides to shore. Somehow though, we have yet to master the fine art of keeping valuables high and dry. Too many items, including the dinghy itself, cell phones, sunglasses, beach towels, tools, and plenty of Oliver’s dog toys have been lost at sea (some recovered, others not) during the past year aboard.

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We have definitely learned a great deal about ourselves and one another.

Oh what an amazing, fulfilling year it has been! Happy one year to us!

I’m so so glad we didn’t quit that original day dream. xo.

KateMarch 21, 2015 - 1:33 am

Love, love, love this post. And I’m also so glad you didn’t quit! We’re in the same place – young, day jobs, bills and mortgage and car payments, but we’re about 2 years away from our Caribbean sailboat and island hopping, and I’m so excited for a simpler, slower lifestyle. Thanks for all your posts!

LAHOWINDMarch 21, 2015 - 4:39 am

Thanks so much Kate!!! Best of luck on your Caribbean escape. :) -Kim

AlyseMarch 21, 2015 - 2:35 pm

What amazing memories you two have created! I’m so glad that I found your blog when I did. You’ve given me the courage as well to say “hey I think I might like to do that” and then go for it! You are so inspiring to just LIVE life to it’s fullest.
Thanks for sharing your journey and gorgeous photos!
Happy Sailing guys!

NicoleMarch 22, 2015 - 2:12 am

How long do you plan to keep sailing for? I have loved following your blog. It is a nice distraction from work. We hope to be doing the same thing later this year or early next year at the latest.

BethMarch 22, 2015 - 1:59 pm

Simply exquisite everything. :) What a treat to tune in to your blog each day. :)

Kelley - Sailing ChanceMarch 22, 2015 - 6:23 pm

That picture of you on the palm tree is gorgeous!

jackieMarch 30, 2015 - 3:47 pm

I love your pictures! What camera do you use? Just stumbled upon your blog today…can’t wait to read every word.
Thanks for sharing!!!!

LAHOWINDMarch 30, 2015 - 4:13 pm

Thanks Jackie! Here’s a link to all my photo gear… http://lahowind.com/2014/08/01/photo-friday-take-a-peek-inside-my-camera-bag/ -Kim

Puerto Real-ities.

Oh you know, life wouldn’t be the least bit interesting if we weren’t greeted every so often with some kind of surprise boat project.

That is the life of a boat owner.

What makes life even more fun is when that surprise project turns out to be a pretty scary diesel fuel tank leak. Ugh. Fun times.

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After making our way back to Marina Pescaderia in Puerto Real, we pulled into their fuel dock to refill our tanks before taking a slip for a few days while we provisioned and waited on the perfect weather window to make the leap from Puerto Rico to the Bahamas. Our 55-gallon fuel tank was completely full when we tied up to our slip and continued on with our usual boat life business. It wasn’t until the next morning that we began smelling the dreaded and slightly nauseating diesel smell…and suspected the worst.

Sadly, our fears were confirmed when we removed our boat’s floorboards to peak inside the bilge and saw yellowy-green diesel fluid staring right back at us!

When your boat is slowly leaking 55 gallons of diesel, it is NOT a good thing folks. :(((

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The last thing we ever wanted to deal with on this trip was a fuel issue. But, hey that’s life I suppose and another notch in our boat owner belt.

Jereme immediately jumped into action and made a beeline to the marina for some recommendations on local companies that could pump out our fuel. We thought it would take a few hours (at a minimum) to get someone here to remove all of our diesel, but turns out one of the companies that is stationed out of the marina, Twin Electronics, had the necessary fuel pump equipment on premises. What are the odds of that? We are so lucky! Ten minutes later and we had the pump on the boat, a fuel barrel on the dock, our fuel tank open, and Jereme and the guys from Twin Electronics were pumping out all of our diesel.

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^^This definitely wins as my favorite photo from the project. Jereme and the dude from Twin Electronics dealing with the pump, plus our buddy + dock neighbor friend Liam just chilling in the background. Lol.^^
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With 400 lbs. of diesel off the boat, we now had the awesome job of removing our fuel tank, cleaning the bilge and any remaining diesel, and finding a welder to pressure test and repair our tank.

Jereme went to work removing all of the hoses, fittings, and the different parts and pieces connected to the tank, and we were able to gently weasel it out of the bilge with no issues at all. Luckily, our boat has a very accessible tank. We’ve heard horror stories of other boat designs (other Endeavours in particular) that require a total engine removal to access the fuel tank, or worse yet, having to literally cut a hole in the keel to remove the tank. Holy crap, can you imagine if we would’ve had to deal with that nonsense? Scary! (Thank goodness that was one of the key items we looked at when researching boats to buy way back when.)

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With the tank out and sitting in our living room, we both got to work cleaning the outside of the tank with industrial grade degreaser, along with scrubbing the bilge. After an hour or two, we were pleased with our cleaning job and carried the empty fuel tank off the boat. We couldn’t spot any obvious holes in the tank, and knew all along that a professional was needed to test the tank and repair whatever necessary.

Once again, our Puerto Rican friends here at the marina came to our rescue. Our buddy Milton served as middle man for us and contacted the very best welder in the area. Fifteen minutes later, that welder was waiting in the marina parking lot to pick up our tank, take it back to his shop, pressure test the tank and diagnose any weak areas, and make all necessary repairs.

Our fixed tank was returned the very next afternoon! Talk about efficient. Sheesh!

Two of the seams on the long side of the tank were heavily re-welded. Jereme and I brought the tank back on the boat, slipped it back down into it’s cozy spot in the bilge, and Jer got to work reattaching all the necessary hoses. The next morning, Twin Electronics wheeled the fuel pump back out to our boat and we pumped in all of our diesel.

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And guess what? We’re back up and running my friend. Just like that!

I still can’t even comprehend how this project went so insanely smooth. In Florida, I can only imagine that this sort of fuel leak issue would have taken weeks to rectify, and cost a ton more. We were petrified to think we might be sitting at the dock again for weeks on end repairing our tank. Fortunately, Puerto Rico is awesome (as we already knew) and everyone sprang into action to remedy our leaky situation, help us find the right people to fix the problem, and get us moving in less than three days total. Insane.

Luv ya PR!

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean.

Deborah wrightMarch 19, 2015 - 11:52 am

Talk about good timing! That could have been a real mess, glad it worked out so easily. The hammock pic is great-I love the look on the workers face.
By the way, I have made a note that we need to add Puerto Real to our list of “must go”. Thanks for all the information. I’ve noted the cheap laundry and tasty doughnuts (you know, important details).
Deborah (SV Wrightaway)

BenMarch 19, 2015 - 1:27 pm

Did you ever find out how the leak happened?
Great blog by the way.

LAHOWINDMarch 19, 2015 - 5:08 pm

Thanks Ben! No, we don’t necessarily know “how” it happened, but the tank was leaking through some of the welds. -Kim