LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Turtle Diving Take Two.

Remember our insane swimming with sea turtles experience in the Spanish Virgin Islands back in December? It was so magical, so unbelievable, so perfect that we couldn’t possibly sail to Culebra again without visiting our turtle besties!

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And, of course, make another video ya’ll!!!  I know I know, I already made a turtle video here. But that first one was rejected from Vimeo, so I had to stash the file over on dropbox, making it much more difficult to watch and enjoy (for some reason, Vimeo allowed the turtles on their site this second time around). Plus, we just couldn’t leave Jer’s folks out of the video fun, and we had so many fab clips from our most recent turtle encounter.

I’ll tell ya, the cutest, friendliest family of green sea turts lives just off Tamarindo Beach in Culebra, PR.

Most turtles we’ve encountered throughout the Caribbean have been just as breathtaking, but certainly not nearly as tame as those here in Culebra. There’s really something special about these guys. Our frenzied snorkeling and GoPro toting antics didn’t seem to phase them at all. These turtles just continued munching on tasty seagrass without a care in the world as we (mostly just me) swam (over-) excitedly towards them trying to soak in as much turtle time as humanly possible.

Luckily, this time around we got to bring Jer’s parents along to share in the joy as we swam with the turtles!

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Jer’s folks were equally as delighted to take part in the turtle viewing festivities and even attempted some up close and personal turtle diving right alongside with us.

These friendly Culebra turtles will definitely go down in our memory banks as one of the best experiences we’ve had on this sailing adventure of ours!

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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.

Turnaround Time!

It was bound to happen sooner or later. The bittersweet time in which we would need to turn our cute little sailboat around and start making the sail back to Florida.

And that time has come for the three of us.

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Oliver is probably the most excited to return to his awesome backyard with countless lizards to hunt, along with endless unplanned potty breaks that definitely do NOT require the use of a dinghy.

Jer and I, however, are a bundle of mixed emotions.

All along, we knew we would be back in Florida by Hurricane Season 2015. That was the plan. This life afloat was never a forever for us.

Luckily, home is beautiful Naples, Florida. We can’t complain much, can we? I mean, lots of folks travel from far and wide to vacation in our very hometown. It really is paradise, and we would be fools not to think the same. We own a cute home near the beach. I have a beloved photography business. And, honestly, we enjoy land life just as much as this simple boat life we’ve been living for the past year.

We have lots of grand plans for our future and a family. What’s great about this sailing journey is that it’s really just one small notch in our grand adventure at life. And what a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.

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^^a big thanks to Jer’s dad for snapping these photos last month!^^

Of course, we are a little sad that our time floating around from island to island is winding down, yet totally excited to get back to our family and friends (and, let’s not lie, lots of life’s little luxuries like long hot showers, flush toilets, etcetera etcetera).

We’ve got a big haul ahead of us to get ourselves and this sailboat all the way back to Florida, and we still plan to spend some quality time in the Bahamas, where we will hopefully get to visit a few of our all-time favorite spots and maybe even some new ones too!

Wanna know the best news of all about having to turn around? After all this time, we finally get to sail DOWN WIND!! Halle-freaking-lujah! :)))

>>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.

CaitieMarch 13, 2015 - 12:44 pm

Hey Kim and Jereme! My fiancée and I have been following your blog for the past year or so as we prepped to take a similar trip (sailing from the Great Lakes to the Bahamas) and first I have to thank you for making such a beautiful, entertaining and super helpful blog! We often checked yours for tips as we made decisions along the way (“what did Laho do for solar panel mounts?!” etc) and had been hoping that our paths might cross at some point. We are still in the Bahamas and will be here for at least another 6-8 weeks then back to Florida and up from there. We’d love to meet up and have some drinks and finally feet you in person! We’ll keep an eye out for you, and hopefully see you later this spring. Safe sailing :)

Caitie and Mark
s/v TARA
http://Www.optrop.com

Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream PuffMarch 13, 2015 - 12:59 pm

Looks like we may pass each other in the Florida Straits. We are heading up the east coast to the Chesapeake Bay area for hurricane season. We’ll probably get underway in April/May and take our time getting there. In October/November we’ll head south the the Caribbean.

Thanks for doing the blog. We have made a list of places to visit with some of the postings.

Turn around is hard but, think of all the nice comforts you will enjoy once land life resumes. No doubt you’ll appreciate the little things that others take for granted.

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

Kelley - Sailing ChanceMarch 13, 2015 - 1:56 pm

If you can, go to the Abacos. Hope Town, Powell Cay and Double Breathed were amazing! May be too far north for you, but so beautiful :)

HeatherMarch 13, 2015 - 3:10 pm

i just found your blog a few weeks ago linked from another sailing blog and we have enjoyed following your journey and all of your incredible pictures. We are planning for a year long sail in about 5 years when our toddlers are a little older. My husband is Bahamian so if you need any help planning your stops in the Bahamas, shoot us an email and we’d be happy to help!

Jennifer BrickerMarch 13, 2015 - 8:35 pm

Say it isn’t so! 😉 …Is this move back to land a forever thing or will you be back to sailing after hurricane season?

My hubs & I have really enjoyed your blog & it has been such an inspiration to us! We will miss your updates & gorgeous photos, but wish you both the best of luck on your next endeavors!

JulieMarch 13, 2015 - 9:55 pm

I have been following your blog for awhile now because you are living my dream. I am sad to hear it is time to head home.
I see that you love the Bahamas and I just went there in November and am going back in July. I loved it. From reading your blog, I know that we have similar tastes in what we like in a beach. Quiet…hidden…secluded… Do you have any secret spots on Grand Bahama Island that you would be willing to tel me about?

Safe travels!

Breezy // wavetothewindMarch 14, 2015 - 2:12 am

Congrats on chasing down dreams wherever they lead! It’s been great getting to know the 3 of you on this awesome blog of yours. Keep sharing your adventures land or sea!

Lara SpragueMarch 14, 2015 - 11:01 pm

Congratulations on living your dream you two!
Now get cracking on those wedding plans:) Do I see a boat wedding on the water with the fam in the future? I can picture Oliver in a little doggie tux.

I have thoroughly enjoyed extending mine and Cole’s week in Long Island by following your blog.
Hopefully one day we’ll meet again on some awesome Bahamian beach!
Cheers-

[…] that we’ve turned around and are sailing back west, it’s back to making miles and sailing on the regular. And […]

[…] everyone’s sweet comments here on the blog and over on Facebook when we posted our little “turnaround” notice made us feel so so great! Seriously. You guys are the best. […]

Scott and SheriMarch 17, 2015 - 5:06 pm

What an amazing adventure you guys, enjoy the rest of your trip Northwardsish. I can’t wait for the book!!!

GregoryMarch 17, 2015 - 9:21 pm

I love this website and the photos are awesome! You guys have inspired me to buy an Endeavour as well. I plan to sell my MacGregor trailer sailer this summer and buy something similar to what you guys have. I like the 37 B plan layout with the enclosed quarter berth. Although I don’t see a lot of listings for them online…. Have fun on your trip.

It’s Video Time!!!

It’s video time!!! My favorite!

Real quick, before I get into the fun new video we made, I just have to mention that every time I say “It’s Video Time!” in my head, I am instantly transported back to 1990-something and, for some strange reason, really feel the need to sing the Troop Beverly Hills movie song “It’s Cookie Time.” Jereme, of course, is absolutely no help when I am desperate to reminisce scenes from this classic childhood movie. Come on, the Nefler house? “Beverly Hills, what a thrill!” Please tell me someone reading this blog loves this movie and watched it as many times as my sisters and I did growing up? Side note, if you want a little update on all the characters and locations from the movie, I stumbled upon this fun Glamour.com article. Just saying.

Back to the point of my post, our newest VIDEO!!! Yippee!!!

A montage of clips, if you will, from our three awesome sets of guests who graced us with their presence and hopped aboard lovely LAHO in February for some fun in the sun and a sailing vacay through the Virgin Islands!

I know I say this with every vid, but this might just be one of my most favorite ones yet. Hope you enjoy! PS – There’s some bonus footage at the end. ;))

>>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.

Kristi ManganMarch 11, 2015 - 2:55 pm

I haven’t even watched the video yet because I got so sidetracked checking out all of the Troop Beverly Hills stuff you found….. AMAZING…… thanks for that trip down memory lane…. Now…. I’ll go watch your video!

Lara SpragueMarch 11, 2015 - 10:02 pm

Best movie ever! Watched it a ton!

Patches? We don’t need no stinkin patches!

Same as Kristi here, still need to watch your video :)

LAHOWINDMarch 11, 2015 - 10:08 pm

OMG Lara, best quote of all from the movie!!! Love it! I’m glad I got a few nods of approval on my Troop Beverly Hills blast from the past. Lol. :)

A SMarch 12, 2015 - 3:59 am

I totally forgot about that movie! I loved that one!!!

SV Gimme ShelterMarch 12, 2015 - 12:46 pm

I’ve never even heard of Troop Beverly Hills. Now I have to go look it up.

[…] buzzfeed published this article about the movie Troop Beverly Hills. You know, just two days after my own Troop Beverly Hills blog rant? Coincidence or not? I wonder. Lol. […]

Tuesday Tell-Tales.

Since I gave Culebra so much love yesterday, I’d be remiss not to at least give a teeny shout-out to pretty Vieques…you know, Culebra’s next door neighbor in the gorgeous Spanish Virgin Islands!

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^^Seriously, how gorgeous is this island???^^

After a downright perfect 22-mile sail from Culebra, we made an overnight pitstop at this beautiful beach anchorage just the other day. Surprisingly, we had the place all to ourselves for the night after a small mega yacht left us all by our lonesome that same afternoon.

What a nice change of pace that was following three months in the USVI and BVI where we constantly found ourselves in packed out anchorages amongst the hoards of charter boats and cruisers alike. We made the most of our short stay and enjoyed a late picnic sammie lunch on the beach with a few cold brewskies to go alongside. Oliver, of course, was thrilled to find himself able to run wild and free on yet another gorgeous golden sand beach.

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And in other randomness on this beautiful Tuesday…

We’re officially on a new yogurt+granola+berries kick! Thank you Culebra for giving us access to fresh groceries once again.

(And yes, fun new yogurt breakfasts qualify as news around here. Lol.)

We, however, accidentally made a gigantic mistake on our yogurt binge and picked up an extra large container of the much grosser and more boring plain jane yogurt instead of our usual yummy vanilla flavored variety. Oh man, what a disappointment that was when Jer and I awoke. Plain yogurt = inedible in my book. Don’t worry, we’ve since remedied the situation. ;)) It was a bowl of non-fat vanilla greek yogurt with granola and fresh raspberries and sliced banana this morning!

So yesterday, I actually busted out leggings and a long-sleeve for the first time in months! I know, shocking that it got down to 74 in the boat. That’s pretty much freezing in the Caribbean if you ask me. ;))

What else?

Jereme, being the super star handyman he is, fixed our semi-broken dinghy engine the other day. Our outboard motor had been in a bit of a funk for the past week or so, running basically at one slow-ish speed and cutting out if you tried any funny business. New spark plugs and a fuel filter (all of which we had in stock on the boat) and that baby is running like new! Yay for that!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Happy Tuesday!

>>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.

TimMarch 15, 2015 - 8:40 pm

I will really miss seeing your blog, It has given me hours of pleasure. Take care…

LAHOWINDMarch 16, 2015 - 2:18 am

Thanks Tim! It’s not disappearing, so keep on following! 😉 -Kim

Our Favorite! Isla de Culebra

Isla de Culebra, oh how I love thee so.

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I know I must sound like a super annoying broken record, but Culebra in the Spanish Virgin Islands (okay fine, technically Puerto Rico) is by far one of our favorite spots in the Caribbean!

I’m sure you’re thinking… Huh? Puerto Rico is really your favorite?

And YES!!!, that would be accurate.

We love this unspoiled Caribbean gem so very much the first time we visited the island in early December, and possibly even more the second and third times around!

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After spending almost three months island-hopping our way around USVI and BVI, and seeing a bit too much of the same crowded charter-boat-packed-anchorages and honestly not enough gorgeous beaches for all the hype these islands are given, we made the executive decision to sail Jereme’s parents back to Culebra for a chunk of their week-long stay.

And boy oh boy what a good decision that was!

Culebra is where it’s at.

You won’t find any mega charter boat businesses or fancy resorts, or anything that screams luxury Caribbean vacay. But what you will find is an island full of friendly locals, gorgeous hill-top vistas, top-notch reefs and snorkeling spots, and honestly some of the most pristine white sand meets turquoise water beaches around!

A hidden gem, I tell ya.

After our second and now third trips to Culebra (we’ve also visited Culebrita as well), here’s what we’ve found are some of the highlights…

Zoni Beach. Hands down one of the prettiest beaches ever. I’m talking it totally rivals the best pristine Bahamas beaches we’ve seen. Flamenco Beach gets most of the hype on Culebra (and it’s gorg too), but Zoni is amazing in the perfect, secluded, paradise kind of way. I seriously want to win the lottery and build a house on this beach. It’s that good.

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Swimming with sea turtles at Tamarindo Beach. Okay, I’m not going to lie…at first glance this beach won’t win any beauty awards (it’s your typical rocky caribbean shoreline), but dive a little deeper (pun intended) and you’ll find a family of majestic sea turtles living right off the beach! These gorgeous creatures are some of the tamest around as they casually munch on seagrass in about ten to 20 feet of water. We’ve gone swimming with our sea turtle friends three times now (yup, we actually did this twice on our first visit to Culebra and made a VIDEO) and each and every time we’ve found them right where we left them.

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PS – I am saving a ton of sea turtle photos for another post altogether, but ^^these^^ shots were some of the highlights.

Zaco’s Tacos. Seriously legit taco fare! And, even better, cheap (relative to the Caribbean that is). I ate four, yes FOUR, tasty tacos — Carnitas, Ahi Tuna, Fish, and Carne Asada. Can anyone say food coma? If you don’t believe me, it was so good Jereme even bought a t-shirt. Lol.

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Renting a golf cart and touring the hilltop vistas. To get around and see the entire 15-mile island, we’ve rented carts from Carlos Jeep Rentals on two separate occasions. Meandering your way through the streets of town isn’t anything to get too excited about, but we really enjoyed going off the beaten path and finding a few amazing views to soak in. Our favorite was up the hill by Melone’s Beach where you can drool over some gorgeous properties and even more breathtaking vistas.

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^^Looks like someone just cleared this lot for a home to be built. Someone sure is about to have one of the best views on the island.^^

Flamenco Beach. Even though Zoni Beach wins my heart, you can’t come to Culebra without seeing one of the world’s Top 10 beaches. I’m not sure who actually ranks these things, but Flamenco is definitely pretty awesome. We’ve enjoyed two lunch picnics on this Caribbean beach hotspot and certainly can’t complain. The wave breaking shoreline and beautiful views are pretty darn great!

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Dinghy Dock Restaurant. The best dinghy dock around. As in a secure, easy spot to tie up your dink. Plus they have a great happy hour and just as tasty food! My favorite here is the Churasco steak with tostones (and the bean salad when it happens to be their “salad of the day” choice).

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Groceries from Colmado Milka. Looks can be deceiving my friends. I’m not even joking when I say this is one of the best grocery stores we’ve found on all of our travels through the Caribbean (Bahamas included). It’s small and “rustic” to say the least, but they really do have everything…and at reasonable prices. Oh and I almost forgot you can freaking dinghy up to the back of the store! Major bonus points for that!

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And that’s Culebra ya’ll! If you want to read more about this awesome island, you can find our first trip/post here.

>>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.

[…] It was so magical, so unbelievable, so perfect that we, not surprisingly, couldn’t sail to Culebra again without visiting our turtle […]

SofiJune 13, 2015 - 1:30 pm

Hi Guys,
Great post! We are now here in beautiful Culebra, and next week we will start going back to Florida!
I cant believe you just sold your boat, congrats!!
We will post ours soon and cannot imagine how hard was to see her go…

All the best :)