Monday, September 30, 2013

To our darling Isla...

Today you are eighteen months old.  While we haven't officially been "chronicling" your milestones or progress in any specific way, your wonderful life journey has been spattered in bits and pieces throughout this blog - something I treasure and hope you will too, one day.  Lately you have been blossoming into quite the little person and last night your daddy asked if I could write a little letter to you so we can try to capture this moment in time and preserve it.  Just a little something to let you know exactly how much we love you (though words really could not explain), and a way to remember all the funny and amazing little things you are doing these days because - even though we think we never will - we don't want to forget the little things like way you say "wruv you" when I kiss you goodnight or make funny faces on command to make us laugh.  So here goes nothing...

To put it simply, you are awesome.  Seriously, you are.  Your daddy and I talk about this fact as we're tucking ourselves into bed just about every night.  Believe it or not, we actually get in little "fights" over who gets to go and get you when you wake up in the morning...that is how excited we are to see your smiling face every day.  So you are the last thing we think about when we go to bed, and the very first thing we think about when we wake up.  You are loving, kind, funny, sweet, cuddly, intelligent, affectionate, inquisitive, thoughtful and goofy.  We are so incredibly proud of the little person you are becoming.

You love to make people laugh and you have become a veritable "funny face" making all sorts of hilarious expressions from "big eyes!" to "serious face" in order to make people laugh.  You absolutely LOVE other children and will go up to just about any child - older or younger - with a big smile on your face, ready to play.  Most of the time, you will even give that child a big hug and kiss - whether you know them or not.  You are going to be such a good big sister and already you excitedly reply "TWO!" when asked how many babies mommy is having.  You are incredibly coordinated - something we attribute to the fact that you have lived the bulk of your life on a sailboat - and climb like a monkey and balance precariously around the boat like a gymnast. You are fearless and one of your current favorite games is "timber" where you climb to the top of the companionway steps and fall into our arms on the count of "one, two, TIMBER!" It's quite impressive, actually.

You have also taken to running and jumping lately and on the command "ready, set...GO!" you will smile from ear to ear and take off running.  Dance parties continue to be a favorite past time and at the first sound of music you will raise your arms in the air and start bending your knees to the beat.  You have also recently incorporated the "spin" into your dance repertoire and love to turn in circles and make yourself dizzy. You've also learned to "slow dance" with daddy and put your arm around his neck and hold his hand when he holds you - it's adorable.  If we ask you to "dance like a ballerina" you walk around on your toes, like a ballerina, and twirl with joy.  Your favorite song is "Baby Body Moving" which is a Leapfrog music app on our iPad and you demand "body, body" at least once a day and delight us with your hilarious dance moves.

I mentioned before that your attention span for self-play has grown exponentially and you can happily entertain yourself for as much as 30 minutes at a time, playing with your blocks, reading books, or making tunes on your current favorite toy - the glockenspiel.  Speaking of toys, you have very little interest in them and much prefer to run around outside, swim off the back of our boat or go on adventures on the paddle board.  You love spoons and just about any kitchen utensil and have become quite the little helper around the boat.  You understand SO much it's incredible.  We can say almost anything to you and you "get it" which blows our minds.  You have so many words in your vocabulary and talk non-stop, something we attribute to the fact that you spend all day, every day with us and we are constantly giving you a running commentary on what is going on.  We feel so lucky and blessed to be able to spend so much time with you - and we are ALL are thriving because of this.

Your favorite word these days is "whoa!" and you exclaim it with wide eyed surprise anytime you see something you find neat or do something cool (particularly airplanes) and you are very good with your pleases (peas) and thank you's (sank youn).  Your excitement with the world around you is truly amazing to watch and such a gift to behold.  You give the best hugs and kisses, and nothing in this world brings me more joy than those spontaneous moments when you look at me, smile, and throw your arms around my neck to give me a big hug.  Your hugs are epic and your smile, wow, it still lights up a room.  You have the best smile I have ever seen, you literally smile with your whole heart and soul.  It is so awesome.  You are such a little beauty, inside and out.

What's best is the fact that you are a truly happy child.  There is no denying it.  You laugh easily and regularly and your giggles are music to our ears.  You wake up each morning with a grin, you smile all the time and you are a true joy to be around.  You have brought your daddy and I so much happiness that I could never find the words to truly express it.  I know everyone who has children says this, but it's so true:  I cannot imagine our lives without you.  We cherish every second we have with you.  You are a gift, and one that just keeps on giving.  It just keeps getting better and better.

We love you so very much baby girl, you are truly one amazing little person.  Thank you for showing us the world through your eyes and making us better people because of it.

Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Play Time: Let's Go Fly a (giant) Kite!

I've talked before about Scott's obsession with kiteboarding.  We both come from athletic backgrounds; he is a two-time Ironman, we both have run our fair share of marathons, are accomplished downhill skiers and prior to our lives afloat we were triathletes.  While physical activity for me was more about fitness, for Scott it's simply a way of life.  Sitting idle is not something he is used to so it was only a matter of time before he'd find a water sport to fill the athletic void in his life.  He found it in kiteboarding.  The man is obsessed.

The sport is not easy, by any means.  It's condition specific, gear intensive (we have several kites and two boards for various conditions, along with helmets, harnesses and pumps) and usually requires someone in a chase boat to help out....but despite all this effort - effort which looks incredibly tiresome to me (I'll stick with simple SUPing, thankyouverymuch) - Scott assures me that the rush of getting up on that board makes it totally worth it.  Just seeing how happy it makes him to have a few hours out on the water zooming around makes me happy, and when everyone on a relatively small boat is happy, well, life is good.

Yesterday's conditions were about as perfect as they can get; a cross shore wind of about 20-25 knots, flat seas and lots of space to play.  Scott immediately took all his gear to the beach and our buddy Luuck happily followed him in our dinghy to make sure he didn't get himself into trouble.  I must admit, as dangerous as this sport can be (and as nervous as that makes me), it's incredibly beautiful to watch and seeing how happy it makes my honey makes it all worth it, even if we do have a crap load of gear jamming up our aft head shower stall.  We never use it, anyway.  Much nicer to shower outside on the aft deck so storage space it is!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Jammin': Music on Board

Scott and I are by no means music snobs, but we do love our tunes.  Our iPods are full of mainstream pop hits (Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and, yes, Jimmy Buffett included), mixed with some international beats, a fair amount of reggae, a dash of country, a nice smattering of classic rock, a hint of techno and just about every musical genre in between.  We actually have three iPods full of tunes that we have accumulated over the years so even though some of it might be "dated", there's enough music on board to keep things interesting.  We listen to music regularly and it's almost always on in the background of our boat during wake-time hours.  We've always been this way, but now that Isla has grown a particular affinity for full-on dance parties (what can I say, she takes after her mama!), well, music is kind of a big deal around here.

One of the best "non-essential" systems we installed in our boat were our cockpit speakers.  I don't know what it is, but being able to sail along effortlessly on a beautiful day while listening to some well appointed tunes (think Jack Johnson, Zac Brown or if you're feeling particularly pensive, some nice downtempo) makes that sail even more enjoyable.  Furthermore, relaxing in some beautiful anchorage with a sundowner in hand just isn't the same if you don't have some nice background music to accompany it.  That's how we feel about it, anyway.  So cockpit speakers have always been, and will always be, a must for us in our boats.

We also installed a Fusion marine stereo receiver with built-in iPod Dock and absolutely love it.  Our iPods insert directly in the unit, keeping them safe, secure and free from any cumbersome chords, and unlimited music free of interruption is ours.  We took our music control a step further by installing the Fusion marine wired remote control which is mounted our steering pedestal so we don't have to run up and down the companionway to change a song or switch out iPods.  It comes in handy if that particular Brittany Spears song starts playing when we have company; we can quickly change it and pretend like we downloaded it only for Isla's dance parties (cough, cough).

One good thing about music, when it hits - you feel no pain. - Bob Marley

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Full Life

I cannot contain my joy.  Life is just so good right now.  Back on the water, moving along, getting into our groove and enjoying nature has me riding a pretty nutso high right now.  I just love being on the move in a sailboat.  In just a couple short months Isla has matured a bit and now sits pleasantly while we sail for four or five hours at a time, playing with a toy or just cuddling on my chest, chit-chatting (this child is a non-stop talker!) and singing songs.  She has also grown to love the water and each morning when she sees her little puddle jumper swim jacket, she says, "wim! wim!" (her version of 'swim') and how do you deny a little water dragon a dip in the ocean?  So in we go for a morning swim.  Another little routine we've fallen into?  Taking her on a spin on the inflatable paddle board each morning.  She loves it and will happily sit still between our legs while we paddle around an anchorage.  It's lovely.  Evenings are spent relaxing with our friends, listening to music and enjoying sundowners in our cockpit as we all unwind from the day while the babies slumber away.

Yesterday while our friends on YOLO were working on a fuel tank issue, we sailed from Ronde Island to Carriacou and anchored in our own private bay between White and Saline Islands.  Scott snorkeled while Isla and I strolled along a deserted beach looking for shells and other treasures.  It was such a simple afternoon yet so enjoyable and reminded us of our peaceful and solitary days exploring the Exumas.  Unfortunately there are plans to develop the uninhabited and pristine White Island, making yet another tiny corner of this beautiful planet a little less untouched.  I know it's par for the course, but it still makes me a little sad to imagine this little slice of paradise dotted in beach cabanas designed for tourists.

Anyway, we're now anchored in Tyrrel Bay with our friends and plan to move over to Sandy Island this afternoon.  Here's a bunch of pictures of what the past couple days have looked like from our perspective since sometimes words just don't cut it.  I hope you enjoy.  Full days have led to very full lives as of late.  We're pretty thankful over here.

Isla's attention span - whether she's playing with her toes or toys - has increased exponentially.
Her independence has also flourished - she likes to do everything on her own!
Sailing up the coast of Grenada.
Still loving our harness and bumbo seat underway.
She likes to explore the deck with mama (clipped in, of course).  This child is honestly part monkey.
Sunset off Ronde Island. 
Morning paddle sesh. 
Lots of play dates with this little cutie!
A bunch of besties right here!
16 weeks pregnant with our twinnies.  Must get it laying down, standing I just look "thicker" and not pregnant yet.
Beach time is a daily occurrence.  Sometimes two or three times a day. 
Drawing in the sand with sticks is fun. 
Boat babies.
More SUPing.  We love our inflatable paddle board.  Best boat toy ever, in our opinion.
Beach combing with mama on our own private beach.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Best Sunset Ever

Last night I experienced the best sunset ever.  Of course, this is quite a statement considering glorious sunsets are par for the course when it comes to living on a boat in the Caribbean.  But last night's was particularly spectacular; not because the incredible colors (they were incredible!), and not because it was our first full-blown sunset in months (the marina doesn't offer spectacular sunset views), but last night's sunset was my absolute favorite yet because I got to share it with a child who, for the first time, was literally "wowed" by the whole phenomenon.

Scott ran to shore with our buddy Luuck for a quick happy hour and Isla and I sat in the cockpit, chatting away, nibbling on dinner and enjoying the quiet peace around us.  Suddenly, she looked behind me and started pointing excitedly: "WHOA!!" she exclaimed in amazement.  She looked back at me with wide-eyes to be sure that I, too, was registering what she saw.  The palette of purples, pinks, blues and yellows on the horizon was indeed beautiful.  Isla couldn't get enough of it.  "Whoa! Whoa! WHOA!!" she would blurt out, over and over.  It was amazing and I don't think a thing in the world could have wiped the smile from my face at that moment.  She watched in awe as the sun transformed the sky, and I watched in awe at how much this mini person has enriched - and continues to enrich - our lives.  Watching a sunset in the Caribbean is quite a treat, but watching it through the eyes of an enchanted child?  Even better.

I have video proof of this, of course internet is too slow to upload, but I captured it.  Perhaps I'll find time to share it later on.  Anyway, we're raising anchor shortly and heading for Ronde Island.  It's uninhabited so it's unlikely that you'l be hearing for us from there.  I'll write more when I can!  In the meantime, try to live your day with a little more "whoa!"
Read her lips:  WHOA!! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Off the Dock

Today we got off the dock and left the marina that we have been calling "home" for two months.  Boy does it feel good.  Not only is it wonderful to not be sandwiched like sardines between two boats (even if those boats are our friends!) but it is infinitely more pleasant to be on our own anchor and finally out in some good old fashioned breeze.  We have finally turned off our air conditioning and our boat feels less like a dungeonous cavern all buttoned up and locked down (to keep in the cold) and more like the open, airy home it is.  Hatches are open, fans are a-buzzing and our cockpit is once again the place of choice to hang out.  All is right with our world again.

We have almost finished our pre-departure errands:  laundry, provisioning, oil changes, rig checks and more - and tomorrow we set sail with our buddy boat, s/v YOLO, and point our bows North.  We plan to stop for a couple weeks in the Grenadines, staying south enough of the "hurricane zone" so that if something comes up, we can boogie out of the way in due course.  Once we feel it's safe to move further north, we will island hop our way to St. Maarten, which will be our end "destination" for this trip.  We still have lots of decisions to make - but Isla and I will fly home from there early December, and Scott will fly back to Grenada to do another month-long stint as Captain of s/v Diamant.

So much is still in flux at the moment, but suffice it to say:  we're going sailing.  For now, that is all that matters.  Our Facebook Page will be getting updated regularly with pictures and snippets that don't usually make this blog, so if you want more "to the minute" missives, check us out over there.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to (Really) Kill Cockroaches. Period.

Becoming an expert in pest control was not on my list of life aspirations.  Funny how things work.  Turns out, when you unknowingly buy a boat with an infestation, you have no choice but to rise to the occasion.

Our battle has been well documented on this blog.  We've been at this game for a good, long while (the saga begins here).  So while I might not have any formal training, I do consider myself a bit of an expert on this little issue.  So when I recently saw a thread on a sailing forum where someone asked about how to kill the cockroaches that were overrunning her boat, I had to chuckle at some of the responses:

"We've found the roach traps worked for us!"
"Sprinkle a little borax here and there, and they'll be gone."
"Direct contact with roach killing spray works best!"
"Boric acid tablets work!"
"Foggers will do the trick."

What these people had was not a cockroach infestation, because we tried ALL of these things (and more) and none of them worked.  They might have slowed their progress slightly, but completely eradicate they did not.  In case you are wondering, you know you have a bonafide problem when you become so utterly desensitized to roaches that any of the following scenarios occur:
  • You are on the computer, a roach climbs up your leg, you kill it immediately, wash your hands and resume typing - without uttering a sound so as not to wake your sleeping spouse.
  • You are preparing a meal and see a roach walk across the counter.  With your finely-tuned cat-like reflexes you squish it flat, grab a napkin, squish it some more (cockroaches can be half-squished and still get away...true story), wash your hands and resume cooking.  No big deal.
  • You are on the phone with your best friend, see a roach strolling leisurely across a surface and exclaim, " that a cockroach?  Dammit.  I gotta go.  Love you, bye!"
  • You are sleeping in bed when you suddenly feel something crawling on the small of your back. Having been crawled on before, you know immediately what it is and roll over to trap and stun in, at which point you flip over with the speed and precision of Jackie Chan, killing it dead with a lightning fast slap of your hand.  You throw it in the toilet and go back to sleep.  Again, you do not make a peep so as not to wake your sleeping spouse.
If any of the above occur - you have a legitimate problem and you need to deal with it STAT.  Becoming desensitized to roaches is not cool, though I am probably well-equipped to deal with a stint on "Fear Factor" should the producers feel like calling.

To be fair, not all roaches are created equal and some are easier to eradicate than others so perhaps the methods listed above work on the weaker varieties, but we have no experience with those.  The roaches we had were of the German persuasion, touted by pest control professionals as being the hardest to kill, an accusation that we agree with 100%.  These little bastards mean business, and they are survivors.

So how did we do it?  Well, after trying sprays, pills, home-made concoctions, foggers, powders, traps and every other toxic-to-roach thing under the sun, we finally waved the white flag and called in the big guns.  In St. Maarten, we paid a professional pest controller who, over the course of two days (the first day he got seasick and had to get back to land before hurling) went through our entire boat strategically placing tiny beads of cockroach killing gel in every single nook and cranny.  He told us - nay - promised us that our problem would soon be over.  I was skeptical.

Within 48 hours, dying roaches were - quite literally - coming out of the woodwork.  With each disoriented and twitching roach Scott and I would rejoice.  "It's working!" we exclaimed with beaming smiles while watching our unwelcome stowaways suffer.  Each day we saw fewer and fewer.  Two weeks later, they were gone.  To be safe - we bought some spare tubes of gel to apply sporadically in the coming weeks to get rid of any stragglers (dealing with a roach infestation rarely is done in one fell swoop, it usually takes several attempts to kill any left-over eggs).  We reapplied two more times over the course of two months and never saw a cockroach again.  The real test, of course, was leaving our boat for three weeks.  Twenty-plus days is ample time for roaches to repopulate and when we returned to a roach-free boat, we finally felt confident enough to declare victory.  It was a big moment for us and particularly for this boat, which has not been completely roach-free since the day we took possession of her.

So what finally did the trick? Dupont Advion Cockroach Gel Bait was what did it for us.  The application of the stuff is time-consuming, but easy.  It comes in convenient application syringes and are non-toxic to those not of the roach persuasion.  Just think like a roach and get to work.  Here is how it's done:
  • Put tiny beads (less than the size of a pea - this is important! You will be inclined to place it in much larger amounts - don't) in every single conceivable roach-roaming place.
  • Make sure to place the gel every two feet at the very least. 
  • Places to remember: 
    • Corners (of cupboards, lockers, drawers...etc)
    • Behind hinges (even those on the refrigerator)
    • Under floorboards
    • On the pull-out rails of every drawer
    • In small cracks and crevices
    • Near water sources
    • Under the sink
    • Around electrical outlets
    • In lazarettes, in engine room
  • Be prepared to re-apply every couple weeks for the next month or two in order to kill any new egg cycles that hadn't hatched previously. We bought four spare tubes and will probably continue to use them until they are gone, just to be safe.
  • Make sure the product you use is recent and not out of date (bait will go 'bad' after a year).
After 24 hours you will start seeing them dying in droves - and by a week you will see none.  It works.  Take it from us, we're experts (and if you don't believe me, just check the Amazon reviews).  And this post, by the way, was a total PLEASURE to has been a long time coming.  Live long and prosper my friends...cockroach free.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Home is Where the Boat Is

Well, it turns out I am not psychic.  I had a horrific dream the night before last that we would return to the boat, push open the companionway hatch and be greeted by a re-infestation of our German cockroaches.  I would see their wily antennae in every crack, they would scatter en-masse with each locker opened and every cushion raised.  It was going to be ugly.  I was dreading that our year-long battle with roaches, a battle we had all but won mind you, would be re-waged with a vengeance after three weeks of primo-breeding action and no line of defense.   My imagination has always been labeled as "active" and herein lies the downside to that:  I had worked myself into quite a tizzy about this imaginary roach debacle, which is pretty ridiculous considering we have plenty of other fish to fry at the moment.

Luckily, all this mental anguish was for naught.  Being an expert worry wart I have become accustomed the reality that worry, like most things in life, follow a sort of Pareto principle - better known as the 80/20 rule.  What I mean is this:  80% of the things we worry about do not come to pass, and a mere 20% do.  You'd think that knowing this would make me worry less - but no, it just makes me wonder if what I am worrying about falls into the lesser or greater category.  Ho hum.   And so when I stepped down into the belly of our beautiful boat and found her just as pretty and perfect as we left her, I almost shed a tear of joy.  I lifted cushions, looked in cupboards and under floorboards and there was not a single roach to be found.  What's more is the fact that the second I walked into our boat, the fog that I have been in for the past week completely lifted and my spirits started to soar.  It was almost instantaneous and no matter how much I can complain about the heat (because it's really hot here), the projects and the hassles of living afloat - it just goes to show that sometimes all you need to do is step away to get a little perspective.  Sometimes, we need a little time apart from the things we take for granted in order to appreciate them.  We're lucky that we can do this from time to time.

But enough waxing poetic for now...I'm back.  I feel great.  I have new energy.  I have new inspiration and what's best is that I have two healthy babies (allegedly the size of apples) thickening my midsection.  I'm not going to lie, I was in a pretty dark place for a week or two there - feeling overwhelmed, wonky and just plain blah.  But, lucky for me, it turns out that a boat floating in the Caribbean is my Prozac and coming back made one thing very clear to me:  cruising will be a part of our lives forever, it's vital to my happiness.  This realization - while I always knew it in my heart of hearts - was like a breath of fresh air and lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.  Not only am I not clinically depressed (just majorly hormonal), but we'll get on the water with our toddlers in tow in no time.  My worry, like my fear of infestation, was for naught.

Coming back last night felt like coming home...and while home is most certainly where the heart is, right now, my heart is with the boat.  Though I wouldn't mind if the temperature dropped a few degrees...just sayin'.  We're planning on shoving off this week with our friends and pointing our bow for islands North! Cannot wait.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Feeling Out of Sorts

I'm feeling out of sorts lately.  As our visit home nears and end, and - being the procrastinator I am - the pace gets a little too 'frenetic' for my liking, I am feeling a little...for lack of a better word...funky.  I have things I want to say, experiences I want to write about but I'm either being edited by folks around me (one such experience involves a very negative/judgmental encounter with a family member - hence the silence) or I simply just can't find my groove.  I am feeling overwhelmed on both the macro level (twin pregnancy, our life getting turned up-side down, where will we store our boat?) and micro level (have to get my license renewed, last minute errands, packing) and when I tend to get overwhelmed, I go into shut-down mode.  It's not the trait I am proudest of, that is for sure.  But here I am, doing nothing, and zoning out to HGTV like a home-improvement junkie.  I just don't have the energy for anything else at the moment.

All of this is compounded by the feeling that I don't feel right neither here nor there.  While there is a huge part of me that is excited to get back to the boat, there's also a part of me that is kind of dreading it as well:  the extreme heat, the fact that we will be literally greeted by a boat-load of projects, the realization that we have to make a lot of hard decisions in the coming months.  Then there are the minor "issues" that are nagging at me:  will we return to a resurrection of our former cockroach "issue"?  Will our boat be overtaken by mold and mildew?  Did I prep her for our hiatus well enough?  We'll find out soon.  Coming back to a boat that's been sitting in the water for weeks always feels like a bit of a crap shoot to me, despite our strict standards of procedure.

On the flip side, as sad as I am to leave after what feels like another whirl-wind visit where we only got to see three quarters of the people we wanted, I don't feel exactly "home" here either.  For the past three years this has been a great place to swoop in, see friends, and stock up on supplies we can't get down island.  Now - with the realization that this is going to be a bit more "permanent" than originally planned - I am feeling strange.  I like to visit.  I like the impermanence of it.  I like living on a boat.  I like that our life is always just one wind shift away from taking a completely different course.  The fact that I'll be returning in December - in the dead of winter, no less - for what will be a much longer visit than ever expected, I am feeling sad.  I know, I know...file this under "first world problems" because coming home is going to come with an abundance of awesomeness as well.   No matter how you slice the pie that is our life Scott and I are incredibly blessed and lucky, so I should just buck up and get over it.  But I am also human.  And sometimes we humans get in funks, regardless of how wonderful our lives are.

So that's where I am at right now.  I feel a bit stymied on the blogging front, despite feeling like I have a lot to say.  I am totally hopped up on pregnancy hormones.  I am feeling tremendously overwhelmed by all the decisions we have to make and the incredible life changes that are on the horizon and I'm trying to navigate my way through it.  So, sorry to be a Debby Downer but this is where I am at right now.  Maybe a dose of Caribbean sunshine is just what the doctor ordered?  Or maybe I just need to marinate in this for a hot minute and let it roll...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Giving up on the Dream? Hardly.

Apparently some of you are utterly devastated that we will be taking a pause from cruising.  A couple of you have even sent emails with calculated pleas aimed at changing our minds, complete with scenarios and action plans.  "Please don't give up on the dream!" you say... "Do you really want to be frustrated landlubbers?" you ask.  While your devotion to our blog, lifestyle and dream is completely heartwarming and flattering, I want to reassure you all:  we will be cruising again!  Please, do not despair, we are absolutely not "giving up on our dream" - we're simply putting it on hold for what will ultimately be a small wrinkle of time in the grand scheme of life.

Here's the thing:  sometimes we have to make decisions that we never expected we'd have to make.  Sometimes, life hands us something we never saw coming and we have to change tacks.  We are forced to "sail the wind we're in" and head into waters we weren't planning on in order to best accommodate.  You've all been here; college rejection letters, breakups, illness, layoffs, job offers, family obligations, relocations....and yes, babies.  We've all faced forks in the road and had to make a choice - sometimes easy, sometimes not - on which path to take.  Lucky for us, our "something" is a gift, and not a tragedy.  Our "something" is a tremendous blessing that will ultimately enrich our lives more than any cruising stint ever will.  Our "something" is new life that will, one day, make cruising even more fun and fulfilling.

I will be totally honest:  in our experience, cruising with one baby was a piece of cake.  I know that is not the case for many folks cruising with infants - but for us, one infant was easy to manage on a boat.  But now we'll have two infants at once in addition to a very active toddler.  We are not delusional, we are realistic.  Anyone who has twins will tell you that two babies is not twice, but four times the work.  Anyone with twins will tell you that raising two at once is a huge challenge for even the most equipped couples.   Our self-imposed hiatus from cruising is going to allow us the time we need to adjust to this new life, find our groove and enable us to give our babies the best start possible.  It will provide us with the means to refill our cruising kitty and give us time to make plans for phase two (or would it be three?) of cruising.  The fact that we'll be living next door to my semi-retired parents, rent free, will be a huge, huge help.  We are incredibly lucky.

While there is, of course, a large part of us that mourns the fact that we are taking a break from the ocean and lifestyle we love, there is also a large part that is excited for this change.  I've said it before, many times in fact... living on a boat is not without it's challenges and while it might look beautiful, glamorous and ideal from the outside, I assure you, it has it's difficulties.  We are looking forward to being able to revel in the advantages of a semi-stable life on terra firma: enjoying family, friends, and the innumerable conveniences that most of us take for granted every single day.  Because we have been (gratefully) spared the need to buy or rent a house, we will also be saving money - which means we'll be able to get back to cruising faster than most faced with a similar situation.

So please, do not look at this change in plans as an abandonment of our dreams and for the love of all things holy, do not pity us (and, if you could also refrain from sending things about the "horrors" of raising twins, we would appreciate that as well).  We will hardly be "suffering" and we are actually looking forward to this new adventure.  I will still be writing, I will still be me and I can promise you this:  you'll see us sail off again.  I might not be able to give you an exact departure date but one thing I know for sure is that this is not a "death" to be mourned, but a new life - and adventure - to be celebrated.  If you care to join in on the ride, we'd love to have you with us.  If not - that's okay too - maybe we'll catch you when we head out again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Ten Questions About our Exciting "Twincident"

I'm no mind reader, but judging from the very overwhelming response to the news that we are pregnant with twins (wow - thank you all SO much for your support, it means so much to us!!), we want to answer a few questions right out of the gates that we have either already been asked - or we think you might ask.  You see, I am not only a very efficient baby-maker (as it turns out), but multi-tasker as well!  I think this might help me manage my inbox while simultaneously quenching your curiosity (wink).  So here goes nothin'...

  1. Did you use fertility treatments?  Fertility treatments are amazing.  We have several friends who have struggled and ultimately conceived beautiful babies because of them and some who, sadly, have not.  We feel very grateful and lucky that we have not had issues in this department.  These twins were of the "spontaneous" variety.  However, having friends who have gone the fertility treatment route and hearing how incredibly painful this can be, I would caution anyone from ever asking this very personal question to a mother, let alone a mother of twins - as this can be very offensive and insensitive to some.
  2. Do twins run in one of your families?  Fun factoid:  the "gene" for twins can ONLY be passed through the woman, meaning a man has absolutely no say in whether or not a couple will conceive twins - even if he is a twin himself.  Another fun fact:  identical twins are always a "fluke" and not genetic at all.  Chances of conceiving twins naturally go up for a woman in her thirties because ovaries that are starting to wind down sometimes begin to "double drop" eggs.  Our twins are fraternal and, yes, they run on my side of the family.  Regardless, we never saw this coming!
  3. How far along are you and do you know the genders?  I am 14 weeks right now and no, we don't know the genders yet, but you better believe we're going to find out.  Originally I had promised Scott that #2 would be a surprise (because we found out with Isla) - but Scott and I both agree wholeheartedly that we got our "It's a boy!!/It's a girl!!" surprise moment the second we found out there were TWO in there.  We want to find out to prepare as best we can.  And, to be honest, coming up with one name was borderline impossible for us.  Coming up with four?  No way, Jose.
  4. Are you going to give birth in the islands?  No.  Twins are a different ball game right from the get-go and because of the many risks and potential issues involved with carrying two babies, we are going to play it safe and deliver stateside with a practice that is very experienced with multiples in a first-rate hospital equipped with the best medical care and a top rated NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) just in case.
  5. How does this affect your short-term cruising plans?  This effects our plans hugely.  I am due March 13 and when we thought it was one baby the plan was to cruise north until February - ending in St. Maarten whence we would store the boat, come home, have the baby, live with my parents for 4-5 months (much like we did with Isla) and move back on the boat and continue life as "normal".  Because twins tend to arrive at least three weeks early and because there are a slew of risks and complications associated with a twin pregnancy, we will be fast-tracking all this and plan to cruise north beginning in October and flying me home from St. Maarten in early December before my third trimester so I can be closely monitored and be around the best medical care possible.  Twins are a challenge if you live in a four bedroom home with a minivan and a night nurse, twins on a boat with no help?  No thank you.  We will be moving home full-time and plan to pause our cruising plans until the twins are a year and a half or older (of course all of this is subject to change).  We're going to need all the help we can get, which means being close to friends and family.  We feel very lucky that we have so much support on the home front.
  6. What can we expect from the blog?  I have no idea right now.  I know that I want to chronicle this next adventure, and I also know that our "future" plans include more cruising so I'm not sure how I'll do this.  I might just shift the focus of this blog for a while, or perhaps I'll start another blog.  There is already some interest from a popular "mommy site" for me to do some blogging for them, and there is no way I'll just stop writing (though I will have a LOT less time and posts will most certainly be more sporadic).  But I'm still figuring out what this all means.  If you have any ideas, I'm open to your suggestions!
  7. Where are you going to live?  We are going to move back home to the Chicago 'burbs and live with my parents, much like we did with Isla.  Eventually, we will be moving into their small rental property next door that they have very generously offered to us.  That way we have our own space in which to find our groove and figure out our next steps.  We have no plans to root ourselves anywhere "permanently" anytime soon, but we do plan to live at home for the foreseeable future while we figure out life as a family of five.
  8. Are you going to buy a bigger boat?  Not going to lie - there has been talk of a slightly bigger boat with three cabins at some point.  But we're not making any decisions right now.  And yes, our resolve has even begun to weaken and we've hypothetically considered catamarans - though buying a new boat anytime soon is not happening.  We've got enough fish to fry right now!
  9. How does this affect your long-term cruising plans? Our long-term cruising plans have been all over the place since day 1.  Scott and I decided not too long ago that we would start to cruise part-time because neither of us (but mostly Scott) can stand sitting still in one place during hurricane season.  We envision cruising in the winters and taking summers off to visit friends and family.  And we definitely plan to hit the Bahamas again when we start cruising as a family of five.  All this, of course, is totally subject to change - but for now, we plan to resume a life afloat - but not for a good long while.
  10. How are you doing? I have good days and bad, to be completely honest.  Twins is a huge shock to anyone, and not only did we get the twin news - but now our life and life plans are going to change dramatically for a considerable while.  I know this is what has to be and it's all for the right reasons and what is best for our family, but moving back to land for such a long time really has me in a funk.  I really loved giving Isla the life we have been able to give her and she is seriously one awesome kid, in part, because of it.  Not being able to do this for these babies really tugs at my heart and makes me sad.  I love living on a boat with our baby and I was really excited to do it with two.  Like I said yesterday, this is a major game-changer and even though we know this is a huge blessing that will enrich our lives in more ways than we can imagine, so many huge life changes at once is a hard pill to swallow sometimes.  But if there is one mantra I live by and find terrific comfort in, it's this line from the incredibly powerful poem "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann: 
"...whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should."

Thank you again for the tremendous outpouring of love and kind words - you have no idea how happy it makes me to have you all as a huge, loving, extended "family" of sorts.  Having you with us this whole way has been such a blessing and we thank you for your continued support!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Our Family is Growing by Four Feet

If you read that and thought, "They are getting a bigger boat!" you would be wrong.  If you read that and thought "They are getting a crew member of the canine variety!" you would also be wrong.  If you read the title of this post, however, and thought, "They are pregnant!" DING DING DING! You would be correct.

But then, what's that about FOUR feet??

Well, there's a catch.  We are pregnant with not one, but two babies.

That's right.  TWINS.

I assure you, no one is more shocked at this news than we are.  No one.

Let me back up a little...

We've known I was pregnant for a while.  Since St. Lucia, in fact, when - being the impatient person I am - I took a pregnancy test while at a fuel dock at Rodney Bay Marina.  It was positive.  Isla brought the stick to Scott after he came back from paying for said fuel, and we celebrated with the fuel dock attendants.  High fives all around.  It was really romantic in a fuel dock kind of way.

Anyway, ten weeks later in Grenada I still hadn't gone to the doctor to "confirm" things.  But I knew for certain I was pregnant, there was no mistaking that.  I was sick as as a dog.  Like, so miserably sick it was hard to function and do normal things like get out of bed or go to the bathroom.  A few of you read between the lines, picked up on this and guessed my state... but suffice it to say, I had a VERY rough few weeks and it was VERY hard to contain that fact.  You might remember this post, or perhaps this post - and maybe this rant?  Well, chalk those puppies up to the pregnancy and associated hormones.  I was moody, I was irritable and I was really, really sick.  Times two, as it were, though I didn't know it at the time.

So anyway, Scott's like "shouldn't you go to the doctor?" and I thought, "yeah, I guess I should."  We were over 10 weeks pregnant and I figured it was time.  So off we went to one of two OBGYNs on the island.  They don't take appointments at the office we went to here in Grenada because too many people skipped them or were late ("island time") so now the doctor sees patients on a strict first come/first serve basis.  This is highly inconvenient for someone from the incredibly efficient US of A.  Add some pregnancy hormones to the mix, some ninety-something degree heat and a toddler who skipped her nap (because of said waiting) and it is REALLY annoying.  Anyway, we waited for four hours to be seen by the doctor.  Got there at 7am, walked into his office at noon.  Kinda nuts.

He decided to give me an ultrasound to check things out.  He squeezed the clear jelly stuff on my belly, put the wand on my abdomen and that's when I saw them... two babies in two sacks.  Clear as day.  The doctor didn't even have to say anything.  I gasped.  My mouth went agape.  I let out a slow and purposeful "holy s**t" and then... I started crying.  Tears of fear.  Before you say "you are so blessed how could you possibly curse/cry at such a joyful moment?" I want to ask you: have YOU ever been told you have two spontaneous fetuses in your womb?  If not, please save it.  It is incredibly shocking and surprisingly scary.

So I cried.  Then I laughed.  Then I gasped.  And laughed.  And cried some more.  This is how it went for the next twenty minutes or so while the doctor tried to tell a zombified saucer-eyed me about twin pregnancies.  By the end of the twenty minutes, I was mostly laughing.  Scott, of course, was totally ecstatic with a small side of shell-shocked.

Long story short, we are thrilled.  It IS a blessing.  A huge one.  We have been selected to have twins.  We've been reading every book on the subject of raising twins and we're preparing ourselves as best we can.  This is an insane and totally unexpected turn of events, and we're still trying to digest it - but isn't this what life is all about?  A series of plans we make combined with plans the Universe has for us?  Isn't it stuff like this that makes life really, really interesting?  I think so.  Just when you make a plan and think you've got it all figured out... BLAMO!  Life throws you a "guess again" curve ball.  It's exciting, life-altering and, to be honest, a little scary.  You know what else makes life a little scary?  Three kids under two.  Yeah.  We've got our work cut out for us for the next decade or so.

I will write more about our plans and what is going to happen in the coming weeks because we're still trying to figure things out and there is a lot up in the air - but suffice it to say, this is a game-changer.  The adventure isn't going to end, it's just going to look a little different (okay, a lot different) for a while and include one hell of a lot of diapers.

In the meantime, we'd love your support.  We're elated that our family is getting super-sized and we hope you are too.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

A Simple Hello From Sweet Home Chicago

Just a little update to let you know we're still here.  We're back in sweet home Chicago now which basically means a whirlwind of BBQ's, dinners, lunches and play dates with friends and loved ones.  It's been a breath of fresh air (literally, it's about 20 degrees cooler here thank God!) and, unlike some folks who sever ties to the mainland, we always love coming home for visits.  While the pace definitely gets 'kicked up a notch' with all the dates and appointments, it is completely worth it because - truth be told - we have some pretty awesome friends in this neck of the woods.  They're the kinds of friends who are timeless and constant.  No matter how many months or years have passed since we last saw each other, picking up right where we left off is easy, natural, and laughter abounds.  Sometimes when we're home, it feels as if we never even left.  Sure, we might have the best tans of the bunch, but coming back feels totally effortless.  There might be new babies, new addresses and new jobs; but, say what you will about social networking, it is almost entirely thanks to Facebook that we never feel completely out of the loop and for that, I am thankful.  Coming home is fun, refreshing and a wonderful break from the life aquatic.  We recharge our batteries, catch up with loved ones and enjoy the little things like laundry machines, unlimited water, hot showers, space to sprawl, giant refrigerators and the magnificence that is the American grocery store.

Update on recent giveaway:  It was a very hard decision, but I selected "Stella and Snugs" to win the Distant Shores cruising DVD's.  Not only did they lose their home in hurricane Sandy, but they are a real-life Partridge family that is taking their act to the water via sailboat!  It was a very tough decision and I honestly wish I could give a little something to ALL of you who entered, but I could only select one.  Thank you all for playing - and reading - along.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Monsoon on the Pontoon

The pontoon boat doesn't have the most, how shall I say, 'esteemed' reputation amongst it's fellow water-dwelling vessels.  They resemble tin cans, travel at a snail's pace and require almost zero skill to operate.  They are synonymous with lakeside indulgence, red necks and beer bellies but no matter what, an afternoon on a pontoon boat is sure to bring you some brat slinging, beer swilling, music thumping fun in the sun.  Enjoyable as they are, they are by no means considered "seaworthy" and never in a million years would I have guessed that I would experience my worst squall to date on one.  But that is exactly what happened this past weekend in Northern Michigan.  Guess there's a first for everything...

The day began with threats of storms and rain, but we decided to risk it and head out on the lake anyway.  The sun was starting to peek through the clouds, the air was warm and we all wanted to have fun together since it's not often we get to spend time with Scott's bro and sis and their respective families.  We decided on a little 'river tour' through the various lakes and rivers up here and off we went at a respectable five miles per hour.  We put-putted along; listening to music, entertaining the kiddos, snacking on junk food and, in general, just enjoying the peaceful scenery and good company around us.

Around 5pm the sky was looking pretty ominous.  So much so that Scott and his brother decided to check the radar of the area and see what was in store.  Apparently, there was a big red blob around our whole county with several thunderstorm warnings thrown in for good measure.  We decided to make our way home.  As we more or less drifted along the river, the sky grew darker still and lightning began striking around us, but despite this we all felt pretty confident that we could out run the worst of it (note: have Scott and I learned NOTHING?!?).  Just to be on the safe side we decided to prepare for a downpour, so Scott - being the experienced 'captain' among us - took the helm while the rest of us frantically started packing things away, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.  I believe we deserve a few points for our (vain) attempts to be prudent...

About 5:30 pm we were cruising along when all of a sudden Scott yelled, "Here it comes!!" and just as we looked up, a literal wall of white approached us.  I am talking a WALL OF WATER, people.  The likes of which I have only ever seen in a Caribbean squall and even then, only once.  Lots of screaming and scrambling ensued - there were four kids aboard that needed cover - and before we knew it: WHAM!  It hit us.  And it wasn't just water, but wind.  Lots of it (reports clocked the gusts in our area at 60 mph - the highest wind we have ever seen sailing is 39 knots, fyi).  Instantly we were drenched.  The rain was so dense and strong it looked like someone was taking a machine gun to the water around us.  Suddenly, a humongous gust raced down the river and broke our bimini (the only thing that offered a *little* protection from the elements) suddenly exposing all of us to the cold, driving rain which left us shaking like leaves.

I yelled to Scott (since yelling was the only way you could communicate over the ruckus) to make sure he was okay, he had his arm over his eyes and was struggling to keep the boat moving forward against the wind and rain, and confirmed he was fine.  Peering through the soaked towel that Isla and I were hiding under, I saw our life ring take air and fly away, then a pair of sandals, then a bucket.  The scene around us was utter mayhem, which was kind of hilarious because - again - we were in a pontoon boat.  Scott, realizing that forward momentum was both unsafe and futile, docked the boat along a riverside dock and we hunkered down to wait for the worst to pass.  I kept chucking to myself at how insane the whole scenario was.  I can't wait to sit around some yacht club somewhere with a bunch of sailors spinning yarns and recall "...that one time I went pontoon boating in Northern Michigan..." Good grief.

Eventually, it subsided.  The boat was FULL of water.  All of us - as well as our belongings - needed a complete ringing out.  We were all chattering cold, covered in goosebumps and looked like drowned rats.  This, of course, left only one thing to do which was to laugh.  REALLY hard.  Scott put the boat back in gear and we limped back home, in belly-holding hysterics the entire time.  We even got some cheers from shore-side folks who'd enjoyed the mayhem from their homes but really, only the other pontoon boaters will ever know what it was like out there.  Solidarity, people (tongue is in cheek here).

The lesson here:  don't ever try to outrun a monsoon on a pontoon, because it ain't gonna work.
...after.  It does the wrath no justice!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Awesome Sailing People: Ten Questions for Paul and Sheryl Shard of Distant Shores

Paul and Sheryl Shard have "been there, done that and bought the tee-shirt", so to speak.  In fact, they even have video to prove it.  This couple - refreshingly humble despite their incredible breadth of experience - have been cruising for twenty-three years and are the husband/wife team behind the Distant Shores Sailing Adventure television series.  This ambitious and award winning duo have been making high-quality, professional documentaries since 1989, have logged over 90,000 nautical miles under their keels, completed 5 ocean crossings and have visited over 60 countries.  In other words, this cruising couple is the real deal and in a word, they are the shiz-nit.

After having the pleasure to meet them both here in Grenada (seriously, they are so nice and ooze humility), Paul gave us a couple of DVD's to check out and after having viewed them, I can say that without a doubt these videos should find a place the library of any cruiser or wanna-be water gypsy.  Not only do the Shards offer practical tips on cruising and sailing, but they give great insight into the who's and what's of the places and cultures they visit.  Their videos educate, entertain and inspire...the triumvirate of good television.  Whether you use these videos to prepare yourself for a cruise or simply to ease the minds of worried (but well-meaning) loved ones, they are sure to whet your whistle for living life less ordinary...on the water, of course.

I got Paul and Sheryl to take some time out of their busy editing schedule to answer a few questions because when you meet people that are a) this awesome and b) this experienced, there is only one thing to do: pick their brains.  (SPOILER ALERT:  GIVE AWAY DETAILS AT THE END!)
Ten Questions for Paul and Sheryl Shard

1) What inspired you to start cruising?

Paul and I grew up in families that loved boating and both of us dreamed of doing a long-term voyage in our own boat one day. 

Paul and his family did a lot of serious canoeing expeditions and later houseboating when Paul and his brothers were growing up. My family had a cottage on Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada, and we had boats of all shapes and sizes throughout my childhood but no sailboats. Sailing came later for me. So both of us learned to handle boats, navigation, anchoring, route planning and weather forecasting while growing up.

We got seriously interested in sailing and joined the Port Credit Yacht Club on Lake Ontario near Toronto and started crewing for Wednesday night races learning from many different skippers and trying out boats of all sizes to determine what size boat we were comfortable handling together. We did "Cruise and Learn" CYA courses in the North Channel on Georgian Bay, attended every boat show and cruising seminar offered within driving distance of Toronto, chartered in the BVI once we had our qualifications, all the while polishing our navigation skills taking Canadian Power and Sail Squadron courses. We now instruct those courses which is fun when we're home and helped design the CPS "Extended Cruising" course.

2) Why did you decide to start making cruising videos, did you fall into it accidentally or did you see a niche opportunity there?

Our background and training is in film, photo-journalism and theater so it just made sense to us to document our cruising/travel experiences to share with others who might be dreaming of doing the same thing. There were no other shows of this nature at the time and still very few. Sheryl has a Fine Arts degree in Theatre and before cruising she worked as an actress, choreographer, artistic director and Arts & Entertainment reporter for our city paper  Paul's degree is in Computer Science but he worked in film and photography since he was 16. We had an established freelance career when we set sail.

3) Making and editing videos - especially professional quality as yours are - must take a tremendous amount of time and energy.  How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Our life basically is our work since we film and document the cruising life. So I am not sure we have a work/life balance! Just 100% work :-)  But they say "choose a job you love and never work a day in your life". We are very lucky to get to see all that we do as cruising sailors, we like helping others achieve their cruising dreams as well - through our films.

4) You two not only cruise together, you run your business together and share responsibility in making/editing your videos!  You've obviously found a way to work well together despite close quarters and limited "me" time.  What's your advice on how to be a successful husband/wife cruising/business team?

I think the main thing in our favour is that we both absolutely love cruising and the television work we do together so there is no conflict there. Neither of us is sacrificing anything to do what we do, so that helps a lot. We meet a lot of couples cruising where one is living their dream and the other is reluctantly along for the ride which can lead to trouble. 

We do spend a lot of time together but we've known each other a long time (since we were 7 years old) and know when each other needs space or to stop talking or a change of scene or activity, or to blow off steam. We respect that in each other. We both have a very good sense of humour so if things get tense we know how to make each other laugh to diffuse things. We're proud of doing that so are always looking for ways to keep things fun. 

Over the years we've learned how to give each other "me" time even at sea when confined to the boat for long periods - wearing headphones, reading in another part of the boat, getting focused on a project that's of interest to only one of us while the other does something else, that kind of thing.

5) What are three pieces of video equipment the average person could get ahold of that you could not possibly do without?
  1. Keeping the camera steady is very important, especially with smaller video cameras - I recommend a medium size tripod or a monopod for quicker shooting. We use ours all the time. 
  2. Don't forget sound. Capturing good audio is often challenging on a boat, but an external microphone with a windscreen can help. 
  3. Editing is VERY important with video, so I also recommend a nice simple editing program for the computer. We use Final Cut Pro (which is not simple) on the Mac but iMovie is easier to learn and also great, and there are many options for the PC as well.
What three tips would you offer to the beginning videographer?
  1. Look at your shot - keep checking the shot as you shoot making sure its in focus, composed nicely and lighting/exposure is good too. nothing worse than getting back home to find your beautiful shot isn't what you thought 
  2. Keep the shot steady - tripod and monopod see above. 
  3. Plan the edit - we shoot 5 hours of footage to make a 24 minute program. The edit usually takes as long as the shooting for us.
You've cruised for 23 years. That is a long time! What's your secret for not getting burned out on boating?

Our secret for not getting burned out on boating is to take "time out". Our first cruise was a full-time 3-year Atlantic Circle and by the end of it we were travel-weary. We weren't appreciating things the way we had at the beginning. Language barriers became frustrating instead of exciting and challenging. We knew it was time to go home. After a year back in Canada with family and friends our enthusiasm was restored and we headed out again. 

We find being on the move constantly for 2-3 years is hard on people. People usually need a break at that point. Some people worry, that when they feel that way, they are giving up on the dream and lifestyle. But it's not that. You just need to stop in a place for a while, for a season usually, to be in one place and know how it works and where things are and just "belong" for a while. You can get things done. Cruisers do this by "wintering" in the Med or "summering" in Grenada during hurricane season or going home for a few months each year. Or even longer if they need a real break or circumstances change. But you've got the bug. You head out again re-charged and happy once more. 

8) What's once piece of advice you wish you got before you started cruising?

That cruising can become an unbreakable habit :-)

9) What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of living a nomadic lifestyle?

Initially the most challenging aspect of living a nomadic lifestyle was the difficulty in communicating with home and work while cruising. But we started cruising in 1989 when there were no cell phones, e-mail or internet. We had to rely on coin-operated phone booths or phone centres. At that time, we were thrilled when we could send someone a fax from a post office! We spent hundreds of dollars mailing out printed newsletters several times a year. Now with internet access, skype, satellite phones, etc. that's no longer a problem. And with cheap airfare it's easy to get home or have people come to you if you're missing each other.

10) What's your "dream destination" or have you already been there?

We have been to so many great places - making the television show means we need to keep moving on to new places, but that has helped us to find the best in every place we cruise! The Bahamas are probably our top spot, but Greece and Turkey are right up there!

For more from Distant Shores, please visit their website, "like" their Facebook Page, and listen to them "tweet" on Twitter.
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