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Hauling Lobbies with Where the Coconuts Grow!

Almost a year ago to the day, we spent one fun afternoon trolling for grouper with our cruising pals Jody + Peter from Where the Coconuts Grow. Somehow, one year feels like a lifetime ago.

Last December, we were both prepping to set sail, each on our own adventure of a lifetime. We were all newbie sailors/cruisers and both still living on the west coast of Florida just trying to figure it all out.

After almost a year of cruising, the timing finally worked out and s/v LAHO and s/v Mary Christine ended up in the same harbor here in St. Thomas, USVI. It was about freaking time. ;))

We all immediately jumped in the dinghy and headed out to check out some nearby reefs and let the boys get down to business. Aka find us some lobster for dinner!

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Luckily, the Coconuts are super skilled divers/hunters and gave us the lowdown on not only how to use their fancy air line hookah system, but also how to snag some lobbies while diving the rocks around St. Thomas. Peter showed Jereme how to work a hand snare and where to look for lobsters tucked in beneath the rocks. All of which we, of course, were clueless on so it was so so nice of them to show us the ropes.

Side note, thanks also to the Coconuts Jer found himself slabbing on some serious mustache vasoline to make his mask seal better. It’s a sight to see (and actually works!), so enjoy that little gem of a clip in the video below. ;))

Jody and I were both armed with our handy underwater GoPros to capture it all on film, along with videoing plenty of gorgeous coral and fish we happened to swim around. Honestly, Jer and I hadn’t seen coral this alive and colorful yet on our trip!

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Peter ended up finding only one huge lady lobster on day one, but unfortunately, she came with a sack full of eggs so we released her back into the wild.

On diving day two, the boys were MUCH more successful! They hauled in five large lobbies. I’m talking big bad lobstah boys! Three of which were bigger than any I’ve ever seen.

With our haul in tow, we made it back to the Coconut’s boat where we cleaned them all up and prepared for a feast of mega lobster proportions! Which was super delish by the way.

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Thanks guys for a few fab days of lobster hunting and some delicious dinners! Can’t wait to do it again. :)))

>>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.

Greetings from Christmas Cove!

I’m guessing many folks back home are busy baking holiday cookies, buying last minute gifts, or simply bundling up for the chilly temps as Christmas draws near. Meanwhile, Jer and I had to remind ourselves it was the holiday season by busting out my christmas tree scented air freshener. Lol. Sad, but true. Hey, at least we’re spending a good chunk of December right here in sunny Christmas Cove, St. Thomas.

I’m not sure how we found ourselves in the most appropriately named anchorage for this time of year, but hell it works.

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^^there’s LAHO on the right. on a mooring. hah!^^

I haven’t been doing too good of a job taking photos on the big camera as of late, but here’s what we’ve been up to…none of which is very festive I must admit. However, I will tell you I did spend a few hours one morning right here in Christmas Cove crafting up a storm and decorating our tiny faux Christmas tree with shells-turned-ornaments. :))

We’ve…

…Snorkeled some of the prettiest reefs around! Seriously gorgeous + full of underwater sea life.

…Learned how to use hookah air lines and lobster hunted with Where the Coconuts Grow.

…Enjoyed a week’s worth of the most amazing sunsets.

…Experienced about 500 mini boat earthquakes every time a huge ferry passes by our anchorage. Which happens about every 20 to 30 minutes during daylight hours. Surprisingly, we’ve gotten used to it.

…Chowed down on more than one delicious fresh-caught lobster dinner.

…Sipped a bunch of Rum Chata on ice. Nothing says “happy holidays” like Rum Chata. Am I right or am I right?!

…Took a taxi into town and provisioned at Cost-U-Less. Groceries are expectedly expensive here in the Caribbean, but Cost-U-Less was pretty decent for bulk buying.

….Found and bought (obviously) our first case (times 4) of Bud Light since we left the Bahamas!!! And, of course, now I’m sad we can’t buy Medallia.

…Invented a new recipe for our regular flatbread menu rotation. Think sweet thai chili sauce, chicken, red peppers, pineapple, + crushed peanuts. Delish!

…Broke one of our boat fans, but luckily found a replacement here at Budget Marine. Oh and that required one helluva long wet dinghy ride to Benner Bay, but we made it there and back.

…Purchased some serious looking stainless chain to protect our dinghy + outboard from theft. Yup, should’ve done this long before we left, but now’s really the time we’re needing to be more cautious.

…Devoured the most amazing pizza from a legit pizza sailboat (think food truck, but floating). Pizza Pi’s “Sweet Home Indiana” pizza is one of the best pies we’ve ever eaten. On land or sea. Serious.

….Over-utilized the laundry, free wifi, and ice machine across the channel at the Elysian resort. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. ;))

And really, we’ve just been soaking up our time here in St. Thomas and plan to continue doing the same for the next month or two as we island hop our way around the USVI and BVI.

>>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.

MaryDecember 15, 2014 - 10:36 pm

Where is the picture of your tree? ;)

Let It BeDecember 16, 2014 - 4:27 am

This looks beautiful!
We are heading to the BVIs this week and I can hardly wait. We have spent all our time in the BVIs but this really makes me want to skip over to St. Thomas even if it means going through customs!
Maybe we will end up sharing an anchorage.
Merry Christmas to y’all!

Jennifer - s/v Luna SeaDecember 16, 2014 - 10:39 pm

Sounds amazing as always. Keep up the updates and the good times! And have one of those pizzas for us.

Quite possibly our best sail ever.

Okay, if I’m being honest, we’ve spent the majority, scratch that, 100 freaking percent of our time straight up motoring (not even motor-sailing, just motoring) in order to travel east along the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Yes, conditions sucked, we sucked at trying to do more, but whatever, motoring was done out of total necessity (okay fine, and a teensy bit of laziness) in order to forge our way east and make the necessary miles while conditions allowed us to do so.

That being said, we were insanely pumped to see some amazing sailing conditions forecasted as we prepared to leave Culebrita in the Spanish Virgins to make the easy 20 or so mile trip over to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

And better yet, the forecast turned out to be spot on as we sailed away from Puerto Rico! It was hands down, one of, if not “THE” best sailing passages to date!!!!!! Which is probably why I even went the extra mile and made a little video. :)))

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Thankfully, we even actually remembered how to hoist the main and let out the head sail and quickly did so to take advantage of the killer sailing conditions. After a few months of non-sailing passages, I would’ve expected our skills to be tad bit more rusty. But they weren’t! Surprise, surprise, it’s like riding a bike!

After trimming everything until it felt comfortable, we turned off our trusty perkins and legitimately sailed the entire way to St. Thomas.

And let me just tell ya, it was a perfect day of sailing! Amazing weather, perfect wind from the perfect direction, no real waves to speak of…I mean downright perfect. Did I say perfect? Because I meant it. ;)) So much so that even though we could’ve and, really, should’ve turned on the engine just to charge our batteries, we didn’t. We sat back and soaked in every second of that trip!

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We were bursting with excitement to “officially” leave Puerto Rico and make our way to the US Virgin Islands! We’ve been waiting for this day for what seems like forever.

We rolled into pretty little Christmas Cove (just off the coast of the main island) and, luckily, found ourselves another free mooring ball. Lol. We’re getting pretty freaking good at scooping out those moorings. ;))

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After one hilarious attempt at gracefully popping a bottle of chilled champagne to celebrate, but instead blowing the cork nearly through our bimini, we lowered our puerto rican courtesy flag and hoisted our new USVI flag, and sat back and enjoyed one of the prettiest sunsets around.

It feels absolutely amazing to be in the USVI on our own little sailboat!

We made it ya’ll!!!

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^^make sure to watch the video until the very end because we snuck in some outtakes of our hilarious champagne uncorking episode!^^

>>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.

JanDecember 14, 2014 - 10:08 pm

Can’t open video :(

joeyDecember 15, 2014 - 12:24 pm

Congrats!!!!

LAHOWINDDecember 15, 2014 - 6:17 pm

It should work now Jan. :-)

More moorings…yes, please!

After our awesome week-long stay in Culebra, it was a nice little change of pace to disconnect from everything and spend a few days off the grid, enjoying only what nature has to offer.

We did just that by making a stop over in pretty little Culebrita!

Following our fab stay in Culebra, we weighed anchor late one Thursday afternoon and made the seriously quick 3-mile motor sail over to Isla Culebrita. Still technically part of Puerto Rico and the so-called Spanish Virgin Islands, Culebrita is just the uninhabited kid sister island directly next door to Culebra.

And oh so pretty!

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^^hello Culebrita!^^

We initially attempted to sail around to the north coast of Culebrita and tuck ourselves into the northern Culebrita beach anchorage, but after hilariously surfing some pretty intimidating waves coming through the reef on our way in, we opted for the smarter and, I’m sure, much safer option at the time, which was to turn our little butts around and head back to the much calmer spot on the southwest coast.

We might’ve wasted a good hour or so attempting that northern destination, but were much much happier when we ended up tucked along the calmer coast.

After skirting back around to the southern end of the island, we picked up the one open mooring ball (there are only two on that side) next to our friend Texas Larry’s Endeavour 32. Not having to mess with our anchor and grabbing a mooring instead is oftentimes a pretty nice option. Not always, but there are plenty of times and reasons why we would choose a mooring over dropping anchor. Not that we have any issues against anchoring, but seriously what’s easier…dropping 100+ feet of heavy chain, getting out the bridle and hooking it all on/setting it up, setting the anchor with the boat, diving the anchor to make sure it’s properly in, and then having to deal with weighing anchor and pulling all that crap back up and off when you’re ready to leave…OR…looping a little line through a hole, cleating it off, and simply un-cleating that line when you’re ready to leave. Hmmm…I think the obvious answer here is the latter, wouldn’t you agree?

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^^the only two sailboats around for miles and they’re both Endeavours!^^

Although, let’s be honest, the one remaining ball we grabbed in Culebrita was in a rather desperate looking state of affairs. We did in fact consider anchoring instead. The mooring was seriously on it’s way out and probably one of the worst ones we’ve seen to date. With this particular crummy mooring ball in play, we decided to try looping our two lines through separate spots on the mooring so as to hedge our bets if one area were to fail on us overnight. We also made sure to dive and check the status of the underlying mooring, which happened to look just fine.

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^^see what I mean about crappy condition? Those painters are all frayed and on their way out^^

Luckily, our mooring held without any problems for two solid nights in Culebrita where we spent our days scoping out all the small reefs in our anchorage and snorkeling with tons of colorful fish.

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^^a few GoPro shots of our snorkel party.^^

We also spent one morning hiking up to the old Culebrita lighthouse for a birds’ eye view of the surrounding islands. After making miles along both the Dominican and Puerto Rican coastlines, it’s so freaking awesome now to be able to see your next destination right from where you stand. You can easily see the USVI from both Culebra and Culebrita! And that’ll basically be the case as we head down island from here.

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^^the crumbling yet super gorgeous lighthouse in Culebrita!^^

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^^with insane vistas of the surrounding islands!^^

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^^we thought this little guy might be a baby iguana by the looks of his tail, but who knows he could just be a plain old everyday lizard that we see a million of on the regular back in Florida.^^

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^^who knew cacti were so prevalent in the Caribbean? Seriously, hermit crabs + cacti. Everywhere!^^

And that was pretty little Culebrita. We came, we saw, we conquered another free mooring ball. ;))

>>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.

DanDecember 15, 2014 - 2:47 pm

I have only recently started following your adventures. I’m living vicariously through you two and wishing I could do the same. Keep posting I love the pictures and the stories of your little mishaps with boat repairs,wind conditions,dog flee problems. Some of us are stuck in cold damp places like (Michigan). Here sailing is a short summer time fun time.

Good Luck
Dan

Swimming with Sea Turtles!

Um, so just when you think a chance baby sea turtle encounter is the best thing since sliced bread…along comes a full blown amazing “swim with the sea turtles” kind of once in a lifetime experience.

Talk about totally unreal and mind blowing. Or at least that’s the way I felt after we swam with a dozen or so turtles off Tamarindo Beach in Culebra.

We had heard the snorkeling was pretty spectacular off Tamarindo, but little did we know it was also home to a huge family of turtles! And sheesh, who cares about coral when you can swim with turtles?

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You can watch our >>sea turtle video here.<< I’m not gonna lie, it’s all kinds of awesome. ;)) PS – it’s linked to dropbox instead of vimeo or some other video sharing site because they all stink now with music copyright issues. Ugh. PPS – sorry for the crap quality…it’s especially difficult to upload a huge video file anywhere in the Caribbean I’ve decided.

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>>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.

Aubri GraybealDecember 10, 2014 - 9:39 pm

This is amazing! Miss you guys tons!!!!

Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream PuffDecember 10, 2014 - 10:39 pm

Very cool!

Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff

Sailing With Terrapin CrewDecember 11, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Our girls LOVE watching this video….gets them excited for us to finally be on our way.

Kristi ManganDecember 16, 2014 - 12:19 am

So amazing! Loved the video! Looks like such an amazing experience!