LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Sold!

Today was the second best day in a boat owner’s life.

That’s right…today we sold our lovely LAHO. Sniff sniff. :((( It’s a bittersweet day to say the least.

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^^Just a few hours ago as we cleared out the last of our belongings. Our last day as official owners of LAHO.^^

It has literally only been 20 days since we sailed back into our home port…almost two years to the day that we sailed the boat from St. Pete to Naples…and LAHO is sold! To some really great blog followers no less! I still can’t really believe it.

The past (almost) three weeks have been spent cleaning the boat from top to bottom, moving all our crap off the boat and temporarily back to Jereme’s folks’ house (while we wait to move back into our own home), doing walk-thrus and a boat survey, and more! Basically, just the reverse of what we did two years ago!

Holy moly, have we grown, learned, changed, seen, experienced, etcetera etcetera so so so much in these past two years! And hopefully LAHO’s new owners will get to enjoy some of those same awesome experiences!

I know, I know…you must be thinking a.) you didn’t even know our boat was for sale or b.) how could we possibly sell our beloved boat? Or maybe even c.) what idiots we are. Hah! ;)) But the answer here is easy, for us at least.

#1 we luckily didn’t even need to list or promote the possible sale of our boat since we had a few interested blog followers who wanted a cruise-ready bluewater boat and expressed that interest early on. And #2, this definitely won’t be the last boat we ever own, but since we are re-entering the “real” world so to speak, we decided to forgo the extra carrying costs of keeping a boat at a dock (during hurricane season no less)…one that we wouldn’t be able to use all the time, and hence, the sale.

So there you have it. LAHO is sold. Can you freaking believe it?

Time to move onto new and exciting chapters in our lives…

Jeremiah and BrittanyMay 15, 2015 - 2:11 am

Boo! We don’t like this post at all!!! Lol…Congrats guys. What will you blog about now???

Daniel NeilanMay 15, 2015 - 4:20 pm

Are those Medalla Lights in that cart? I’m surprised 3 survived the trip back!

Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream PuffMay 15, 2015 - 10:03 pm

So sad to see Laho go. But happy for you that you did not have to endure the pain most boat sellers go through.

We are sailing up the east coast for the summer and will head south to the islands in the fall. Thanks for paving the way.

Best wishes,

Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff
http://www.creampuff.us

LAHOWINDMay 16, 2015 - 2:11 am

Lol Dan! I am so glad someone noticed those leftover Medallas! We had a few remaining stragglers and couldn’t just give those away to the new owner. ;) -Kim

BillMay 18, 2015 - 11:19 am

Congrats on the fast sale! We are in a similar situation now that we’ve moved off the boat, don’t want to pay for slip fees for a cruising boat and will be up for sale soon (unfortunately). Like you we’ll be out there cruising again, can’t wait for the next go around! Look forward to following along on where life takes you.

Scott and SheriMay 18, 2015 - 4:43 pm

Yay! It was a riot following your adventures. It was a great adventure to be sure. Congratulations you guys.
Now, like, one of my professors used to say “On to the next!”
I can only hope that writing a book is on one of your bucket lists someday as well :)

Boat Life Lately. According to my iPhone.

Holy moly, life lately has gone from basking in the bahamas sun to land life in Florida. It’s crazy where just a few short weeks can take you!

Our last month was a whirlwind of activity from our awesome stay at Cape Santa Maria Resort in Long Island, Bahamas, to island hopping back through the Exumas, shell picking in Bimini, another Gulf Stream crossing, harbor life in Marathon, Florida Keys, a road trip to Key West, and finally our last overnight sail home to Naples, where we’ve been adjusting to land life ever since! Phew! It’s exhausting to think about the past month of activity. Here are a few of my favorite Instagram photos from the past month…

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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.

Tuesday Tell-Tales.

I’ve got a little programming note for ya’ll today…

So, I kinda lost count of the number of people who, in the process of sending us very kind well wishes as we headed home to Naples, specifically mentioned how bummed they were that the blog was over. Ending. Finito.

Ummmmmm…not to burst anyone’s bubble, but who ever mentioned we were shutting down the blog? NOT the case at all. It’s the opposite in fact. I am most definitely going to continue documenting our everyday. It’s what I love doing. Photographing and documenting our experiences and keeping them digitally to look back on for years to come. It’s precisely why I started the blog in the first place. One chapter of our lives may be closing, but there are so many new ones waiting on the horizon. If you’re inclined to stick around and see what we’re up to, we’d sure love to have you.

Okay, PSA now over. Back to regularly scheduled programming. ;))

What else what else?

So I know this is old news to some since I blasted it out on Facebook, but I totally want to remember that crazy time we were featured in Florida Weekly so I snapped these photos for the blog…

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Well, technically Jereme snapped them since I was holding the newspaper, but whatev.

This happened back in the beginning of April, and now that we’re home, I was finally able to read a copy Jereme’s mom kindly saved for us and also snap a few photos.

You can read the full article >>here.<<

Have I mentioned that the boat is the cleanest it’s ever been? Crazy clean. We went a little overboard cleaning it out as soon as we got home. Maybe we should just move right back on it and set sail again now that it feels so fresh and so clean clean? Kidding.

And now that we’re home, I’ve continued our cleaning frenzy and thrown out tons more of our “stored stuff”. Seriously. Who would’ve thought I’d be throwing away more of our personal belongings? I literally cleaned out our entire walk-in storage closet at Jer’s folks’ house and donated several huge garbage bags worth of clothes. Spring cleaning at it’s finest. By the time we move back into our own house, we will literally be down to a couple of boxes.

This is funny. As much as Oliver is loving being home and having regular access to a back yard, he probably didn’t expect to get dive-bombed by some angry birds who have nested in the orange tree out back. Those suckers are fierce and immediately swoop in to bomb him seconds after he runs out back. Oliver still doesn’t quite understand why he keeps getting bopped on the back. ;)) I’m guessing there must be baby birds in the nest right now, but once Spring is over hopefully the dive-bombing will stop.

And that’s Tuesday. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

>>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.

JordanMay 5, 2015 - 1:59 pm

Awesome to see you guys were published! Must have been very thrilling to see that when opening up the paper. Hope your Cinco de Mayo is bueno!

AlyseMay 5, 2015 - 2:28 pm

Woah, awesome! I’m gonna go read your article. I’m so glad your blog is sticking around. I’ll definitely be here blog-stalking you.

We had some baby birds in our yard last year, and our little Pomeranian pounced on one, we locked him up pretty fast, but for that one at least it was a little too late. So I get that your bird friends are a little paranoid.

Personally I would love to hear and see more about Naples and what you guys do for fun there. :)

Karen CookMay 5, 2015 - 3:47 pm

My husband and I were amongst all your other followers in being bummed about your blog ending. We started following you because of your sailing adventures but continued to read your updates cause we love your uplifting, light hearted but also sincere and informative writing style! And your pics are gorgeous! You can even make a picture of a couple of beer cans look artsy :))

I’m thrilled you’ll still be writing and I’ll keep following in hopes to absorb some of your technique :)

We are at the beginning of a 3 year plan to sail off. We’re in the process of getting our house on the market this summer. Sounds like a long plan time but we’ve got lots of loose ends to take care. We’re celebrating 32 wonderful years of marriage this week! We’ve gotten big into skiing, golf, mountain biking and home renovations over the years as well as having 2 great kids and all their activities. We’re really looking forward to a new adventure on the water!! I have some limited experience sailing as a teen on the Great Lakes and my husband, John, is retired Navy, and has experience with small boat handling ( the captains rig) and charts. But other than that we are totally new to this “floaty boaty” kind of life and really looking forward to the challenges and rewards! You guys were a great inspiration!
Thanks for inviting us all into your adventure and keep your good vibes coming!!

PhillipMay 5, 2015 - 8:39 pm

Welcome back! Annie and I really enjoyed following your adventure. Isn’t it funny how people think returning home means the adventure is over? We received similar comments when returning from our brief adventure last year to the Keys and back. It seems people have stuck around to see where we are going next. We tend to find adventure and something interesting every day no matter where we might be. We look forward to continuing to follow yours too! Enjoy those long hot showers.

Phillip & Annie
s/v Plaintiff’s Rest

LAHO’s Last Voyage.

This is really a strange post for me to write. Our last “official” sail aboard LAHO as liveaboard cruisers. Weird. But in a good way.

What’s even stranger were the emotions running through Jer and I as we sat in the cockpit soaking up the magnitude of this final leg of our journey. Emotion-packed, bittersweet thoughts to say the least, with the sense of “coming home” stronger than anything you could imagine.

It’s really quite difficult to explain that extraordinary “coming home” feeling we had. It’s an emotion like no other. Excitement, warmth, nostalgia, anticipation, and so much more mixed into one really awesome feeling. And that is precisely what I want to remember from this last leg of our whirlwind journey. One that took us to so many exciting, beautiful places and allowed us to meet so many wonderful people along the way.

It’s feels like just yesterday that I was blogging about our maiden voyage. You know, the crazy one we made from St. Petersburg to Naples where we were surfing 10-foot waves and I was puking my guts out. Now, that trip was one for the record books. Sheesh! But to think we’ve come this far (literally and figuratively) over the past 13 months, and are now officially home in comfy cozy Naples. It’s mind boggling, really.

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After weighing our options, we decided to make our final sail another overnight one. And here I was thinking our Gulf Stream Crossing the week prior was our final overnight sail.

An uneventful 110-mile sail brought us from Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, Florida Keys all the way home to beautiful Naples, otherwise known as square one of our 57-week journey.

And boy am I glad this final leg was uneventful seeing as we were once again dodging our way around a crap-trap laced mine field in the Gulf of Mexico. We figured we could make it through the majority of the traps before nightfall and continue sailing through the night to make it to Naples at a reasonable morning hour, instead of anchoring overnight at Shark River and eventually making our way to Naples by the afternoon or evening.

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^^Headed back under the seven-mile bridge in Marathon.^^

We also heard it was nearly the end of crab season, and a few folks even told us there shouldn’t be as many crab pots out there since the trappers were bringing them in with season ending. I honestly can’t say I believe ^^that^^ logic after our experience last week. It was certainly another crab trap filled, trap-dodging sail, but the good news is, we didn’t hit any!

The sail was probably the hottest one we’ve had to date. Brutally hot. With zero wind at the beginning. It was so uncomfortable that I literally grabbed one of our portable fans, plugged it in, and sat hugging it in the cockpit. Sad, but true. We eventually got some much-needed wind a little later on, but those first few hours were rough.

We might’ve been lacking in the wind department, but we certainly weren’t missing out in the dolphin department.

Oh my gosh! We must’ve seen a minimum of 50 dolphin! Probably more like 75. It was crazy! Definitely the most dolphin we’ve ever seen on a sail. It’s like they were leading us home. At one point, a pod of four stuck with us for about 45 minutes. My guess is they thought we were some huge injured sea creature at the gruelingly slow pace we were making.

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Oliver, of course, loved the dolphin action and ran around like the crazy poodle dolphin whisperer he is. We have lots of awesome video footage that I really need to take some time and piece together (hopefully soon!).

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^^Jer capturing the action on video using our little Canon Powershot G12.^^

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^^And Oliver having a mini heart attack every time we spotted more dolphin.^^

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As usual, Jereme and I took shifts during the night. He had the first few four hours from 10PM to 2AM. And I took the 2AM to 6AM shift. We didn’t luck out with any sort of moon this go round. Totally moonless. Bummer. Unfortunately, with no moon on our last overnight, we had to whip out our trusty spotlight to continuously scan the dark waters ahead and check for crap pots.

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Jer’s first shift was still chock full of traps so he was on guard for four hours straight, constantly scanning ahead and altering course as to not run over a trap in the dark. By the time I took the helm, we must’ve cleared the main crab pot area because I never saw a single pot, even though I scanned the water on the regular.

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^^Our last sunset at sea was gorgeous!^^

By 8AM, we were motorsailing along the coast of Marco Island, anxious and excited to pull into the Naples City Dock. I’m certain we were also very very exhausted, but you would never have known since the adrenaline was pumping hard through our veins as we sailed the last few miles into Gordons Pass.  It was such an odd yet awesome feeling to be in our hometown waters…seeing all of our usual landmarks and knowing we were only a short distance from home.

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^^There’s Naples in the foggy distance.^^

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^^All the pretty houses on the sail through Gordons Pass.^^

Once we were in the channel, we radioed the Naples City Dock and were greeted by familiar voices who were just as excited to hear us on the radio as we were to announce our arrival! Gosh, we really do love it here! And our friends on the Sweet Liberty tour boat lovingly blew their conch horn for us as we passed by.

We dropped our main sail just outside of the Naples City Dock and slowly motored into our new slip. Our awesome friends, Lisa + Wally along with Wally’s folks Cindy + Bob, were waiting at the end of our slip to surprise us with champagne, balloons, and lots of other fun gifts and goodies! We were honestly shocked to see anyone waiting for us at the dock, but it sure was the best feeling in the world!

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^^They even framed our article from Florida Weekly! And gave us the coolest sail bag. How insanely thoughtful.^^

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^^You guys rock!!!^^

And after all of that, we were home. Home sweet home.

We spent the rest of that first day back in Naples cleaning up the boat a tiny bit and squaring away our dock lines before Jereme’s mom met us at the dock and drove us back to their home in Naples…and also surprised us with even more fun “welcome home” goodies! We feel very spoiled to say the least. After some long hot showers with unlimited water, we spent our first night in Naples celebrating with our friends and family out on the town before cozying up in a big comfy regular-sized bed for an extra long sleep! …I’m pretty sure we didn’t wake up until noon the next day. Lol.

I have lots of thoughts on our transition back to land life, so hopefully I’ll get those cranked out on the blog soon, but for now we are still enjoying those hot showers, flush toilets, unlimited ice and water, and lots of quality time with all of our amazing friends and family.

PS – Oliver is also loving his unlimited access to a yard. ;))

>>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.

Lara SpragueMay 4, 2015 - 4:20 am

Welcome home guys!!!

AlyseMay 4, 2015 - 2:15 pm

Wow how thoughtful!! That is certainly a welcome home indeed. I hope you guys are transitioning well. It’s not a secret that I vicariously live through your photos. Going to go bug the hubs now to move down to the coast ;)

laurenMay 4, 2015 - 3:23 pm

it has been so awesome to follow along with your journey via your blog! thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs and stories with us! i hope that you will continue to blog in this space even though this journey is complete. :)

JessicaMay 4, 2015 - 6:30 pm

I can’t believe you’re home already!, how bittersweet. I’m so thankful we had the chance to meet up a few times while cruising, and now that we’re also Florida residents for the next few months we’ll definitely have to hook up again. I’ll miss your travel photos, but at least there’s 13 months for me to archive through. :)

Mark straubMay 4, 2015 - 7:53 pm

Congratulations! I will surely miss you sailing blog. Looking to do something similar in the next two years.. Thanks for sharing you magnificent journey!!

Kevin WilsonMay 13, 2015 - 10:07 pm

Welcome home!

Sold! | LAHOWINDMay 14, 2015 - 11:15 pm

[…] has literally only been 20 days since we sailed back into our home port…almost two years to the day that we sailed the boat from St. Pete to Naples…and LAHO […]

Gulf Stream Crossing, Take Two.

Well, we did it. Our very last overnight sail. Our trip was complete with a pod of pilot whales, lots of dolphin, a few close cargo and cruise ships, and our slowest sailing speed to date! Um, that last little tidbit is my least favorite.

Last Friday, we weighed anchor and waved goodbye to Bimini before crossing the Gulf Stream and making the 120-mile trek all the way to Marathon in the Florida Keys. We still have a two-leg trip to make it home to Naples, but it sure feels good to be back in the U.S.A.

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^^love love love my new anklet from our friend Laurie at Salt Run Designs^^

We tried, and I mean tried, our hardest to soak up every second of this milestone trip. Because, let’s face it, it got a little tough to savor the monumental experience as we were gruelingly bobbing along at very slow 2 to 2.5 knots for the entire first day. There were a few times I glanced down at our chart plotter on day 1 and sighed when I saw our speed hitting a whopping 0.7 knots. Point seven! I could probably swim home faster. ;)) …We usually average about 4.5 to 5.5 knots to give you an idea of the lag here.

Our slow speed and delayed arrival time (stretching a 24-hour sail into a much longer 34-hour one) was due to the crappy combination of us fighting a strong northerly moving Gulf Stream current as we headed south, and much too calm wind conditions that left our sails luffing here and there for a good chunk of that first day.

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^^a final glimpse of that Bahamas water!^^

Thankfully, our wind-less passage was met by a wave-less sea which is a-okay in my book!

If we have to sail slow, I’d definitely prefer to be doing so in pool-like conditions. It was so utterly calm out there in the Gulf Stream that you could have easily jet skied from Miami to Bimini and been there in an hour. You know what the top of a water-bed looks like when you sit on it? Well, that’s basically what the ocean looked like. Teeny tiny swell and no real waves at all!

Regardless of how calm and comfortable it was, Oliver somehow still managed to get sick on this passage. Twice. Poor guy. He hasn’t experienced any real sea sickness since our first Gulf Stream crossing last April, where both he and I were out for the count during the initial 4 or 5 hours. I’m not sure what did him in this time, but he definitely wasn’t feeling so hot.

Oh, and hello…we saw WHALES!!!

Towards the end of the first day, I was lounging in the cockpit keeping watch, auto-pilot on, with Jer taking a quick cat nap on the other side of the cockpit when I gazed out towards port and noticed a few dark fins on the horizon. Dolphin, perhaps? My excited screams jolted Jer awake while I quickly grabbed the camera to try and snap a few photos.

As we stood in the cockpit watching the dark fins swim around, we began to realize that what we suspected were dolphin weren’t actually “rolling” like they normally would. They were kinda just floating at the surface, much much longer than normal. As a few of them swam closer to the boat, Jer and I kept questioning…dolphin? No whales? Huge Atlantic dolphin maybe? No, whales?

After a few of the pack swam right next to the boat, we concluded that these guys were much bigger than any dolphin we’re used to seeing, had a totally different shaped head, and were a bit darker than normal too. They must be whales!!! Pilot whales (thank you Google)! The group of about 20 swam around the boat for a few minutes before we headed in opposite directions. And I’ll tell you what, encountering a pod of pilot whales mid-Gulf Stream definitely boosts the energy level like nothing else. :)))

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^^See what I mean? Totally different shaped head and overall darker color.^^

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^^But almost looks like a dolphin which is why we weren’t sure at first.^^

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^^And they were all around the boat. It was crazy!^^

We also ended up seeing the biggest sea turtle I’ve ever seen in my entire life and quite a few friendly dolphin who swam and jumped alongside the boat as we sailed down the coast of the Florida Keys towards Marathon.

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^^This little guy flew out of the water and totally surprised us with a three massive jumps!^^

As usual with blue water passages, we encountered a handful of large cargo and cruise ships, along with a heaping handful of other fishing and recreational boats. Since we don’t have AIS or radar, it’s sometimes a bit of a guessing game on the routes of other boaters (especially at night before you can “really” see any navigational lights). Luckily, we only had one or two passings that felt a little too close for comfort, but always safe nonetheless.

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^^The closest call on our passage came from this massive container ship. Luckily, he diverted just as we were about to tack.^^

With this trip and our last two overnights in the Bahamas (Norman Island to Nassau and then Nassau to Bimini), I made a point to try and soak in some of what makes sailing (particularly on long overnight passages) so special. Sometimes, it’s cruising along at night and smelling rain an hour before it even hits. Or watching a huge blood moon rise in the quiet of the early morning hours. And the color of the water out there. Blue blue blue. So deep blue it seems unreal. And that sparkling star-filled sky. One of my favorites. I could gaze up a a clear starry night for hours on end. Do I even dare mention the amazing sunsets? Sunsets at sea have consistently been some of our very best!

And since I took a ton of photos on our last three overnight passages, here are some of my favs…

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^^Another amazing sunset on our overnight from the Exumas to Nassau.^^

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^^More dolphin sightings. This time in the Exumas.^^

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^^Always on guard when we see something cool.^^

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^^Oliver’s been preferring to hang below deck for the majority of our sails ever since Puerto Rico. But he makes an occasional appearance in the cockpit to say hello.^^

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^^Soaking it all in.^^

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^^Shift work. My turn.^^

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^^And my assistant.^^

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^^Oliver’s exit route = through the zippered dodger.^^

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^^Our reward after a successful passage.^^

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^^And one for Oliver too. Jk, he gets water whenever.^^

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^^Back in the land of the free, home of the brave.^^

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^^I think Oliver is always the happiest when we arrive. And this time, it’s back in FLORIDA!!!^^

So, we finally made it to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon nearly 34 hours after leaving Bimini. We secured a mooring ball in the infamous city mooring field just before the office closed, launched our dinghy in record-breaking time, had Oliver to shore minutes later, and were enjoying hot showers and cold beers shortly thereafter.

Now, I haven’t been grocery-shopping at Publix yet or gotten a much-needed mani/pedi, but those little luxuries are in my very near future. :)))

>>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.

MickeyApril 20, 2015 - 12:30 pm

love all the pictures they are a treasure. Please pt them in a book!!!!!

Cassandra BreedenApril 20, 2015 - 9:35 pm

Although we are sad to hear that your adventures are coming to an end, we would like to thank you for sharing your experiences and inspiring us to follow our dreams. In March, me and my husband and our Pug, Dexter, sold our stuff and moved aboard a 30′ Morgan Out Island S/V Norm’l Sailing. We had one sailing lesson prior to moving aboard!! Most people think we are crazy, but the seas called us. We are on a mooring in Boot Key, learning to sail and plan to venture to the Bahamas next year. We have enjoyed following your blog and wish you both and Oliver the very best.

JanApril 21, 2015 - 2:00 am

I saw the article in the news press of your upcoming year long sailing adventure last year! I have been following your posts since you left Naples and I can say I am really going to miss following your daily adventure! It has been awesome!