LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Sponge-Worthy?

Like most normal cruisers, we prefer a dry dinghy. Even more so when we are wearing clean (dry) clothes or transporting fresh goodies from the grocery store back to the boat.

Unfortunately, mother nature oftentimes has other plans in mind and we find ourselves randomly getting hit by a rogue wave when motoring to and fro, or stepping into a couple inches worth of water stacked in the dink after a quick downpour. It’s inevitable, really, to see water accumulate in the dink one way or another, and thus leads me to our very favorite dinghy maintenance trick-a-roo.

Enter the $2 tile sponge!!!

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Yup, a sponge! You probably think I’m joking, right?

No seriously, we picked up this great little tile sponge made specifically for cleaning grout back when we were sailing through Georgetown in the Bahamas (although we really should’ve just grabbed one at Home Depot before we left Naples). And, let me tell ya, this little sponge has really been a gem to keep in our dinghy.

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Since we don’t own a fancy manual dinghy pump, we use our handy dandy tile sponge instead to remove any water that accumulates when it rains or when we happen to take a wave. The sponge soaks up standing water so freaking quickly you might be shocked to see it in action! And it even manages to snag the tiny pools of water that tend to stack up in the back corners and middle of the dink.

It’s also our go-to cleaner-upper for all that sand/dirt that tends to find its way into the dinghy as well. Since this is a grout sponge (and grout is sanded), it really does a phenomenal job of picking up the even the smallest morsels.

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The tile sponge is easy to keep in the dinghy, easy to replace if necessary (i.e super cheap), and best of all easy to use! Win, win, and win!

:)))))))))

And there you have it…our favorite dinghy tile sponge tip!

>>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.

Skelton CrewJanuary 22, 2015 - 1:48 pm

Great idea!

PaigeJanuary 23, 2015 - 2:52 am

Love the Seinfeld reference Kim. Haaaa!

LAHOWINDJanuary 23, 2015 - 7:30 pm

Haha, thanks! I’m glad someone got it. 😉 -Kim

Kelley - Sailing ChanceJanuary 24, 2015 - 1:53 am

Your dinghy is so clean!

Tuesday Tell-Tales.

Okay, get this.

Jer and I were kicking back at the Willy T’s on Norman Island the other day, just drinking a cold beer and minding our business when some old fart on a charter boat came up behind Jereme, said “hold still!” and then proceeded to whack Jer on the back of his head totally ripping apart and ruining Jer’s sunglass strap in the process. Um, WTF?!?!?!

Seriously, who does that?

Apparently, this dude thought there was a bug on Jer’s back. But still? Even if there was a bug (and there wasn’t, it was probably the little black piece in the middle of Jer’s sunglass strap he saw) you wouldn’t actually hit someone, you might just shoe the bug away or better yet, say “hey there’s a bug on you man.” When we told the guy he actually broke the $20 strap, he simply mumbled sorry and walked away. Really? I mean, you think he would at least offer up a free drink or something, right? Crazy town.

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^^Jer’s best “stink face” with his broken sunglass strap lol.^^

So, I’ve been keeping score on our BVI anchor to mooring ratio…and I’m proud to report that we’ve only picked up one mooring ball since entering the BVI’s! That’s 10 nights at anchor, 1 night on a ball. And for those of you who have sailed these parts, you know what we’re up against. Most anchorages here are lined with $30/night moorings for all the charter biz in the area. It can be a little tough sometimes to carve out a good spot to anchor at reasonable depths. Oh, and our one night on a ball was technically at Saba Rock where you get 250 gallons of free water and a free bag of ice with the purchase of a mooring — so it was really a good excuse to take a ball and fill our tank.

Let’s see, what else is new in our world? Oh yeah, we are super stoked that our calendar is now chock full of visitors starting later this week and running through the month of February! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have a few family members escape the frigid temps up north and come visit us in the Virgins and check out what cruising life is all about! …Just wait until they find out how we shower and pump the toilet. ;))

Speaking of life afloat…what I would give for a real mani/pedi right now! I tell ya, the sacrifices being made around here to live this simple sailing life are downright brutal. ;))

Happy Tuesday, ya’ll!

>>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.

KevinJanuary 20, 2015 - 7:07 pm

That sucks about the sunglasses strap. Tell Jer to “Kick his ass, seabass!”

BoJanuary 21, 2015 - 3:42 am

Noooo! Were they Cablez? I can send you a replacement if you’d like…they sent me a care package as a sponsor deal a while back…

Controlled JibeJanuary 21, 2015 - 6:12 pm

Hi Kim and Jereme (and Oliver!),
We’ve been following you guys since about the beginning and living vicariously through you. We sailed a year in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico (with our dog as well!) and are now starting a small homestead in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been boat-less for almost two years, but I’m happy to say, we’ve just bought a (wee little) trailer-able sailboat! Amazing blogs such as yours have continued to provide the inspiration for us sailors whom are between boats. Thanks for posting the gorgeous photos and great stories and keep up the great work!

– Katie and Mark (and Wylie!)

Perma Vacation

Looking at our photos from the past week or so, it has really started to feel like we are living a groundhog’s day version of a typical charter vacation.

Wake up, enjoy an easy picture perfect sail to the next pretty little island you can see from across the waterway, soak up the gorgeous scenery and whatever excitement that new destination has to offer, eat, drink, repeat.

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I guess the main difference is that most normal folks jet down here for only one week and quickly buzz around the BVI’s in hopes of taking in as much as humanly possible in a very little amount of time…and on a pretty strict schedule no less. We, on the other hand, might be the smallest and oldest boat in any given anchorage out here, but we get to live this awesome life at a very leisurely pace again and again, and again.

It’s not too bad of a gig, I suppose. ;))

But as gorgeous as the BVI’s admittedly are, they are also very expensive (for us budget-minded cruisers) and very busy with boat traffic. It’s like a freaking regatta every time we leave an anchorage. And with less-than-seasoned-have-no-clue-what-the-hell-they-are-doing-non-boaters at the helm.

Hey, but that’s okay. We take it all with a grain of salt (on the rim of a cold margarita obviously) and have been soaking up our own fabulous experiences here in the BVI’s.

I have a few blog posts and videos in the works on some of our most recent outings, but in the meantime here are a couple fav photos from the past few days of LAHO floating around the BVI’s!

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^^Snorkeling the caves at Norman’s Island.^^

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^^More cave underwater action.^^

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^^We also LOVED The Baths on Virgin Gorda!^^

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^^The huge boulder rock formations at The Baths are just unreal!^^

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^^Can’t wait to take all our visitors here.^^

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^^Sailing lately has been pure perfection.^^

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^^Cruising down the Sir Francis Drake channel.^^

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^^We met Christina, Jeff, + Magnus on s/v Altera! Thanks for the awesome dinner guys!^^

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^^Crazy hair don’t care! About to dive our anchor.^^

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^^The famous Willy T’s floating party barge.^^

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^^Pretty nights in the BVI’s.^^

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^^The Bitter End in Virgin Gorda is super cute! We loved it here.^^

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^^And Saba Rock is the cutest!^^

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^^Hi.^^

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^^More gorgeous views from Saba Rock.^^

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^^Love this place!^^

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^^Prickly Pear Island had one of the prettiest beaches yet!^^

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^^These boys.^^

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^^Just look at him soaking it all in. Love it!^^

>>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.

Kelley - Sailing ChanceJanuary 19, 2015 - 3:16 am

LOVE that picture of the rocks framing Laho – gorgeous!

AlyseJanuary 19, 2015 - 9:09 pm

I just love love love your blog! It has to be my favorite right now, I literally just sit and day dream while looking through your photos every time you post. I am most definitely living vicariously through your blog. LOL
My husband and I have only done one set of sailing lessons and only on the big lake by our house (not the ocean). We hope to buy a boat in the next couple of years, this scares me but is also exciting. Can I ask you what you looked for in your own boat? Is there a particular blog post that you’ve already done talking about your boat and specs like that?
Thanks in advance!

Hello Twenty-Fifteen!!!

Hello 20-15! So good to see you! As truly awesome as 2014 was, I have a funny feeling 2015 will be even sweeter.

I suppose I’m a little late on a New Year’s style blog post being halfway through the month and all, but we’ve been busy enjoying boat life in the Caribbean. I mean, island hopping around the Virgin Islands isn’t too terrible of a way to kick off 2015, is it?

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^^how could we get sick of these gorgeous views?!^^

And fortunately, our down time in the islands has given us/me plenty of time to brainstorm and plan for our future.

We have lots of dreams, plans, goals, etcetera etcetera but in the immediate future I suppose we may need to start wedding planning. ;)) Or at the very least, make a few key decisions on said wedding. I mean, it’s only been like eightish months since we freaking got engaged and I’ve, sadly, only worn my ring a handful of times. I’m a major scaredy cat who’s too afraid to lose it while living this crazy life on the water.

We are also SUPER excited to welcome a new niece AND a nephew later this year!!!!!!!!!! Both Jereme’s sister and my sister are expecting new babies this Spring. I still think there must’ve been a secret plan hatched to get us back home to Florida as quickly as possible. ;))

And all that’s just scratching the surface.

I am sure there will be new gorgeous islands visited, hopefully a few fun visitors aboard, more boat projects completed, and lots of photos (of course) to document it all!

We can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us. Bring it on!!!

>>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.

Skelton CrewJanuary 15, 2015 - 4:58 pm

I was just assuming you were waiting to meet up with us to get married! But seriously, we should work on this… 😉

MoniqueJanuary 16, 2015 - 12:51 am

So the sister secret plan didn’t work?

BreezyJanuary 18, 2015 - 3:37 am

Swept Away with the Christmas Winds!

Life lately has been a whirlwind of holiday celebrations, sailing, and extra gusty Christmas winds.

We spent a solid week or so in total celebratory mode over at Christmas Cove, St. Thomas. …First there was a laid back Christmas, followed by Jereme’s birthday where we packed 11 bodies onto our tiny sailboat for a fun birthday bash, and then one seriously hilarious New Year’s Eve celebration complete with lighting expired flares and inflating old life rafts a la Survivorman style. You can read our bloggy friends recounts here and here. Good times!

And after all of ^^that^^ holiday craziness, our plans were to spend a day getting down to business with a few regular boat chores before sailing on to a safe harbor in St. John where we planned to wait out the blow over the next few days.

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Well, you know what they say? A sailor’s plans are written in the sand. On a windy day. Lol.

Our plans started out just fine. We left Christmas Cove and moseyed our way over to Red Hook, St. Thomas to fill our tanks and grab a few groceries.

Unfortunately, that routine stop in Red Hook took a turn for the worse when we popped a hole in our dink at the fuel dock just as we were about to fill our jerry cans. Just dandy! We had to drop everything, fly back to the boat, put a temporary patch on the dinghy, and wait it out while the emergency patch dried before we could even finish up lugging water and supplies back to the boat.

Instead of it being just a quick trip in and out of Red Hook with enough daylight hours left to sail on to St. John, our delayed boat chores had us motoring back to Christmas Cove just before the sun set.

With our original plans now screwed, we decided to mix it up a bit more and, instead of heading to St. John, we figured it might make more sense to head in the opposite direction, downwind, and sail over to the big cruise ship harbor of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. We (ignorantly) assumed this would be a really great anchorage to wait out the heavy winds over the next few days.

So that next morning with winds already beginning to pick up, we woke up early and set out to make the casual 7-mile trip west to Charlotte Amalie. By 11am, we were rolling into the cruise ship harbor and were underwhelmed to say the least as we pulled in. We expected much better wind protection and were really quite surprised to find it wasn’t nearly as protected as we would’ve thought. We also weren’t overly thrilled with the idea of having to hang in this crowded, kinda dirty, and somewhat noisy anchorage with ferries and cruise ships running in and out of there on the regular.

So we did what any not-so-sane person would do and decided to backtrack our route and head back upwind PLUS tack on an additional 15 miles or so to make it all the way to the very east end of St. John — to an anchorage we had visited a few weeks prior and one we loved and knew for sure would be perfect to wait out the strong winds blowing through. We quickly dropped anchor in Charlotte Amalie just so we could better prep our boat for a more serious passage east (move the dinghy from the davits onto the deck, that sort of thing) and just as quickly weighed anchor to head back east.

Although we knew conditions were worsening by the hour and we’d be beating into the wind and waves for the rest of the day, this decision turned out to be the best one yet!!!

Conditions weren’t amazing that’s for sure, but they really weren’t uncomfortable either…and that, my friends, makes all the difference in the world. It was surprisingly a rather enjoyable sail over to Princess Bay (part of Coral Bay) St. John. We made the total 30-mile sail that day without issue and did it quickly no less! Yay us. :)))

We grabbed a mooring in the super secluded Princess Bay, where we were the only boat (minus our friends on SeaRah who joined us there for one night). We spent the next few days doing a whole lot of nothing. We put a legit patch on the dinghy, we gave Jereme a much-needed hair and beard cut, I organized some of my photo files on my external hard drives, Jer completed some required continuing education (online) for his professional engineer’s license renewal (fun times, lol), we dined on our good friends Chloe + Stefan’s boat, and we did lots of swimming, beach-combing, reading, photo editing, and music listening that we do on the regular!

We ended up splitting our time between Princess and Hansen Bays, two totally different scenes when it comes to anchorages and both fabulous for different reasons. After a few days in the SUPER secluded Princess Bay, we wanted a change of pace and sailed around the corner to Hansen Bay, which is a bit more beachy if that makes any sense at all. We spent the rest of our time enjoying Hansen Bay, the cute turtles that were everywhere, along with good swimming, and nice beaches that surrounded us.

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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.

Jennifer - s/v Luna SeaJanuary 14, 2015 - 12:29 pm

While it sounds like it was a bit of an ordeal to get there – it also sounds like it was well worth it! Everything always works out. Also sounds like a heavenly few days, particularly in comparison to December in the States. (even this southern “warm” part of the South…)

Paul amd Patty BeukemaJanuary 17, 2015 - 11:51 am

we have enjoyed following your blog through the past year. It gibes us the oppurtunity to libe vicariously through your pictures and stories. We have two sets of personal friends who arem oir home marina on Lake Ontario (just outside Toronto) that are sailing the Caribean now. So if you happen to run into SV Slow Waltz and Sv Mythago stop by and say hi, some really good people.
The pictures you post are refreshing as we sit inside with the fireplace on and -20c this morning.
If our plans come to reality we will hopefully be out there in pur Catalina 380 in 4 years or so.
Keep posting as it is enjoyable to read and experience through your blog