Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Getting Safer with Smarter Cord Connections: Why We Chose Smart Plug

This is, literally and figuratively, *not* cool.
I'll never forget the boat fire that happened on our dock back in Chicago just before we left in 2010. We arrived at the marina to do some work in preparation for our departure just as we did every other day that summer, but this time things were different. Walking down the dock there was a distinct smell of burnt plastic, and as we made our way to our boat, we saw the carnage of the blaze that happened the night before. The ordeal was over and the crowds dispersed, but what was left was a power boat half submerged (thanks to floats that were keeping it from the bottom) - a total loss- and about four other neighboring boats seriously damaged by it's fiery wrath. Apparently a candle had been left burning and a gust of wind blew some canvas on top of it. Within minutes, we were told, the entire boat was aflame. Thankfully, the two people aboard escaped out of the front hatch and no one was hurt, but Scott and I walked away from that experience with two lessons seared into our brains: 1) candles have no place on a boat and 2) fiberglass boats burn hard and fast

Yes, we'd do everything we could to prevent a fire on our boat

Fast forward to five years and over ten thousand nautical miles later, we are living on the dock in beautiful Tortola, BVI. Ever since permanently relocating here (and being permanently plugged into shore power to run our boat's AC systems like refrigerator, freezer and air conditioning) I've been markedly more worried about the prospect of fire. That's a lot of load on a single cord and AC power freaks me out. Voltage irregularities, moisture intrusion, aging systems, shoddy wiring, and a damaged cord are all things that - in the perfect-storm scenario - can combine to cause a fire. One week I had such strong premonitions about our boat burning down and the fear weighed so heavily on my mind that I started Googling "how to prevent a boat fire at the dock" in earnest. Three days after this rather baseless (yet very driven) search we unplugged our shore power cord to find it charred and burnt. The connection to the boat was also deep-fried. Not cool. 
After talking to my seasoned marina-dwelling friends and professional boat workers about our issue, I learned that a) chord charring is not as dire as it seemed (most likely it would just fry the cord and that'd be the end of it) and b) fried and burnt shore power cords are far more common than I thought. "We replace our cords at least once a year" one fellow live-aboard friend told me, with several others agreeing. Even armed with this  knowledge, however, I felt uneasy. We have very precious cargo in the form of three adorably squishy little bodies on our boat and I want to ensure they are as safe as can be.


According to Boat US data about 17% of boat fires are due to the AC system and many of those are due to cord damage. Seaworthy Magazine has an exceptional article on the intricacies of shore power and cord care in "When Your Shore Power Looses it's Cool" and this article does a far better job at explaining the issues than I ever could. Long story short: cord damage happens, it's dangerous, and it's up to you to be diligent and monitor it. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

After some research and a whole bunch of suggestions from friends who have converted, I decided we'd upgrade to the SmartPlug*. I purchased two SmartPlug 30-Amp Inlet Connector Combo Kits to retrofit our two 30-Amp connection ports. This conversion is not cheap (at the time we spend $175 on each) but, to us, anything that will keep our family safe and (possibly) save our boat and all our worldly possessions, is worth it.

Why SmartPlug? Well, first and foremost it's simply a huge improvement on the old-style cords. The Smart Plug's design prevents overheating and provides "greater protection against loose connections and corrosion - the leading cause of shore power failure and fires." How do they do this?
  • Spring loaded multi-point push lock (much stronger connection to boat)
  • Weatherproof sealing (much better at keeping moisture out than older style cords)
  • Straight blades that offer much more surface contact (better connection which protects from overheating and arching)
  • Ease of installation and use (uses existing holes, easy conversion and no awkward "did it really connect?" twisting involved once in)

We converted two outlets and cords because we also figured that perhaps the reason for our charring might be that our single 30-Amp cord was overburdened by our systems and we decided (since we had the real-estate) to put our refrigerator and freezer on one cord, and our air conditioning on another. These measures, plus our new SmartPlugs mean we sleep a little better at the dock.

*We have no affiliation with SmartPlug

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Living Afloat with Littles: Is Raising Toddlers Harder on a Boat?

When people find out that we live on a boat with our four year old and two year old twins, the overwhelming reaction is one of shock quickly followed by disbelief and then wonder. "You live on a boat with those girls? There is NO way I would be able to do that!" they say. "But, wow... Good for you!" Then they think for a second and an inquisitive look crosses their face as they finish with, "What's it like?" I am here to say that, yes, living on a boat is certainly different than raising kids on land, but it's not necessarily as demanding as you might imagine. In many ways it *is* harder, in some ways it's easier and in others it's exactly the same (i.e we still deal with tantrums and meltdowns, we are constantly operating at a base line of exhaustion, and the conundrum of what in the h*ll to cook for dinner is a daily struggle, to name a few.) Scott and I have lived aboard since 2010 and taken several substantial "land breaks" in the states during that time, so we have experienced each lifestyle with our family. Just like everything, there is a yin and yang balance of plusses and minuses to both so the answer to the title question isn't a simple "yes" or "no"...


The real differences lie not in the fact that we live on a sailboat, per se, but are a family of five living in a >>"tiny" home<<. There are definite challenges to this arrangement...

Lack of Space: Captain Obvious here! We live in a two "bedroom" boat that is slightly larger than an average sized RV. At forty-four feet, >>our boat<< is by no means "small" for a cruising monohull (in fact it is pretty average), but a) most cruisers are couples and not families and b) our livable square footage is actually less than an average home's living room. It's...cozy. Our twins share a room (and to call it a 'room' is laughable) and Isla sleeps in >>a make-shift bunk bed we created in our walk-thru<< to the aft cabin. We have almost zero privacy and no doors except for those on the twins' room and our bathrooms. Our communal living space is halved when we raise up our (folding) dining table and if we are all aboard, we are - quite literally - tripping over each other. Hosting out of town guests? Forget about it, we simply do not have the space.

This is where they play most of the time. Note that if I need to go to the bathroom, galley, nav station or cockpit I must step over children.
Fewer Amenities: We don't have a microwave, a dishwasher, or a washer/dryer. We have no television. Storage space is hugely truncated as well; we don't have a large pantry, closets or spacious cupboards to store food and gear and instead rely on awkward spaces behind cushions and under floorboards to squirrel things away. Our refrigerator is a glamorized cooler and the act of packing and unpacking it requires a zen level of patience and serious Tetris skills (neither of which I possess). We have no adequate indoor bathtub or shower, and thus must bathe and shower outside on deck or walk to the marina showers a few docks down (not always realistic or convenient with three little kids in tow!) All of these things make day to day living just a little bit harder.

No Dedicated Play Area: Most homes have a dedicated play space for their kids, it might be a basement, a child's bedroom, a playroom or a back yard. In this area toys rule the roost and kids are usually free to make a mess at their will, play safely, and - in most cases - out of their parent's way. We do not have this luxury. There is no dedicated area for the kids to play on our boat, they play in the salon which also is our dining room, living room, office and recreation room - meaning to get from point A to point B at any given time, I usually have to step over an array of play things and a child or two. There is literally no escape!
Our table which does duty as our craft area, stage, fort (underneath) and also happens to halve our salon space.
No Personal/Entertainment Space: Personal space? What's that? Pile on's aren't the exception, they are the rule on our boat! Joking aside, we are more or less a "one room" house and getting away from one another is pretty much impossible on our boat. It's very easy to get overwhelmed when the girls are fighting and there's only one place to put them - or me - in a time out, and our very close proximity (and the fact that we have two year old twins!) means things go from cool to crazy very quickly (and by "crazy" I mean bat-sh*t crazy!) We rarely host play dates because our three girls alone fill the space and any more kids just gets nuts, and having friends over for dinner is almost impossible with sleeping children around. We also run a >>very busy day charter business<< and Scott does all the admin for that...when he needs our boat to double as his 'office' during the day, the girls and I must make ourselves scarce because it's impossible, literally impossible, to work alongside three very active little girls in a small space.
Yeah, attempting to get work done with three toddlers in a communal living space is pretty futile.
Safety: Ah, the issue of safety. By nature I am not a helicopter mom, but a boat floats which means we are surrounded by potential hazard and I cannot give them the freedoms I would if we lived on land. Of course we have >>taken every precaution to keep our girls safe<<, just as any parent would, but, unlike a parent who can feel safe letting their kids run free in their fenced-in back yard, we do not have that luxury. If our girls are on deck, they must be monitored. Until >>they can all swim adequately<< this will be an ever-present issue and it just goes with the territory. And can we talk about getting all three of them on and off the boat?! Phew! It's like getting three kids in and out of carseats...but harder. Lifting three toddlers on and off a boat 3-4 times a day? That's a CrossFit workout right there!
She climbs up here by herself. She's two. Our adventurous kids keep us on our toes!
The list goes on.

The challenges are there and they are real.  There are times when an extra bedroom, an office, a comfy couch in front of a flat-screen t.v, a playroom, locking doors, a garage and a backyard would be positively lovely.


The world is our oyster (how many homes do you know >>can up and sail to another island<<?) and the challenges of living small also bring forth many benefits....


Family bonding: Our girls are never more than ten feet from my person, so I always know what is going on and simply being close to them means I am always there. This might not seem like a big deal, but our close proximity to each other day in and day out is fostering strong familial bonds as a direct result of this togetherness. So. Much. Snuggling! Our girls are sisters, playmates, and bunkmates and are leaning >>valuable lessons<< in side-by-side playing, personal space, cooperation, respect for another's space and conflict resolution because of this. Being so close in age means they often play with the same toys exacerbating these lessons and life skills. Of course this closeness also results in epic cat-fights, tantrums and ear-piercing meltdowns, but - hey - they are laying some pretty solid ground work and it is my belief that, in the long run, being physically close as a family will result in emotional close-ness later on (>>crosses fingers<<).

Grainy pic, but this is a pretty standard morning shot. We all pile into mommy and daddy's bed and cuddle. 
Less to Clean: It's true that messes are quick to be made in a very small space, but they are very quick to be tidied up as well. It literally takes me all of ten minutes, tops, to clean up our entire living space after a couple hours of play. Crumbs on the floor after lunch? My trusty dustbuster will clean up the whole floor in five minutes flat! The girls are learning the importance of playing with a few things at a time, putting those things away, and playing with something else. Of course they are kids and make a mess and have fun, but because every toy has a place, they know to clean up after themselves. Most of the time. ;)
This is a game they love to play. I'm not sure what it is, but they set up chairs with pillows and blankets, and sit there. 
Less stuff : The >>benefits of owning less stuff are vast<<. While we are by no means 'minimalists', the simple act of living on a forty-four foot boat means we have less than most because we simply have less room. This goes for toys as well. Having fewer toys means our girls are more imaginative with >>what they do have<<, and I believe that this has honed their self-entertainment skills and creative ability. They can quietly sit alongside each other and play - together or alone - for long stretches of time with the toys that they have and when those get old, their imaginations start to soar. Pillows, blankets and the most mundane things become forts, gowns and spaceships. Watching them play together is such a joy for me. And while we do watch the occasional movie on our computer, and I certainly see the value of utilizing the iPad from time to time, we do not have television and I strongly believe that limiting screen time has also helped foster their ability to self-entertain and be creative with play, and each other.

Their sisterly bond and friendship is something that is very important for me to help cultivate if I can.
Multicultural Experience: We live on a very small island where a multitude of nationalities reside. Every day our girls interact with Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Jamaicans, British, French, Guyanese...the list goes on. Living at a vibrant and very popular marina means they meet new people - and hear a litany of dialects and accents - every day. They greet the lawn workers with the same respect as the general manager and every week, they share the swimming pool with local islanders with mental and physical disabilities ranging from downs syndrome to autism. Our marina is a magnet for young people - local and expat - and our girls play with kids of all ages regardless of social class or skin color. This sort of exposure is helping shape their world view and, hopefully, helping to create more worldly, tolerant and compassionate people.
Our resident coconut man, we love him! Each time we see him we get water nuts, fruit and hugs!
Safety: I mentioned the fact that being surrounded by water is a safety concern, and it is. But in many ways I feel safer on our boat with our girls than I do in most homes. Boats, by nature, are actually pretty child-proof. All cupboards on a boat are self-locking which means our girls can rarely get into places they aren't supposed to, so the fear of them getting into cleaning supplies or medicines is highly unlikely. Furthermore, our girls are bonafide monkey's who love to climb and test their limits (a skill and curiosity I fully encourage and rarely dissuade), and - on a boat - there's no chance of a television, dresser or armoire toppling over on them. And, again, the fact that they are never more than ten feet from my person means whatever trouble they can get into, is often discovered very quickly.
She is our resident Denis the Menace. Her spirit is wild and her mind fearless. She is awesome.
Outside Everyday: Living in a (relatively) small sailboat forces us outdoors a lot more than we probably would be if we lived in a house and had more space. More time outdoors means more time in nature, more vitamin D, more interacting with the natural environment, socializing with our community and neighbors, and more time swimming, running, digging and playing. >>All good stuff<<, for sure! I never feel isolated as a "stay on boat" mom because all I need to do is get off the boat and walk the dock for a moment before I can talk to a fellow mom, vacationer, cruiser or friend. What we lack in organized structures like museums, play parks, and activity centers (because there are not many of those things here!) we get in nature. We have our choice of beaches to explore, islands to visit, and water activities to indulge in and we love that. We spend our days playing and not rushing from organized activity to organized activity. Instead of constantly being entertained, our girls are learning to entertain themselves.
Trying to find indoor pictures for this post was hard because 95% of our waking hours are spent OUTSIDE!
Community: This has more to do with where we live on our boat than the fact that we live on a boat, but - still - it's worth noting. As I mentioned above, living "small" means we get out a lot more. Our girls live in a "neighborhood" (marina) where we know just about everyone, by name, and each day our kids are hugged, greeted and held by a whole slew of familiar faces from the maintenance men to taxi drivers to the restaurant waitstaff. Everyone has an eye on our girls and we all help one another out. Islanders live and understand the "village mentality" which is really refreshing, particularly for parents like us who have >>"free rage" tendencies<<. The restaurant staff will tell my kids to behave and the dock assistant will grab a child that's run too far from me and bring her back with a smile. We have neighborhood kids as babysitters and to summon them all I need to do is walk around the docks and find them. Our girls join us at happy hour where they are greeted by all our friends and every Friday we enjoy a giant beach BBQ with fellow islanders and marina guests. It's awesome.


The bottom line, and one that I have preached many times on this blog, is that little children are completely adaptable and as long as the parents can adjust (and this here is the tricker part!), living on a boat is very do-able with kids. Some things will be easier than you expect, some will be tougher - but one thing is certain, parenting is hard work no matter where you are.  You will need to find your own groove, develop your own systems and do what works for you. This lifestyle is most certainly not for everyone and while it works very well for us and our family (most of the time...), there are just as many people who wouldn't last a week living like we do. Some people thrive living in a city, some prefer suburbs, others find peace in rural areas and we happen to live on an island. There are families that live in busses, cars, tents and yurts...Whether or not a certain lifestyle 'works' and is 'easy' really depends on the person and, pun intended, what floats their boat.

Shirtless, dirty, and swinging fearlessly from a rope on a tree. As it should be!
Me? I wouldn't change how we live for the world. If I had a dime for each time I heard, "What a fantastic way to grow up!" I'd have that three cabin monohull we've been eyeing. And I completely agree! We thrive on the living with less and I believe our unconventional lifestyle is doing incredible things for our girls in these very formative years. We have less in many ways, but in others we have so much more. Each challenge is an incubator for thought, growth, and integrity. There are many >>side effects to the way we live<<, and most of them are positive.

Is is harder? A little. Is it worth it? Totally.

* Big thank you to Facebook follower, Chris Wick, for asking this question and inspiring this post!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Island Explorers: Perks of Fast Boats and Island Hopping

We recently purchased what I like to call a "fast boat." It took more than a little convincing for me to co-sign on the deal. I mean, we did just buy and take over a day charter business that will take a few years to pay off, and - call me conservative - but the idea of taking the proceeds of this successful season and dumping almost all of it into another boat was not exactly appealing to me. After explaining all the business advantages and a well-executed cost/benefit analysis full of numbers and technical terms, Scott went for the jugular and started speaking my language: "We can use it for our family, too" he persuaded, "...think of all the places we can go when we can't take out the big boat..." He saw my facial expression change and let this idea sink in. The wheels began to turn and suddenly this boat wasn't looking so daunting. Scott had a vision and I'm an easy sell, so a week later Aristocat Charters had a power boat in it's fleet. While the boat is technically for the business, it's also turned into another family car of sorts and has opened up a world of possibility and fun for us.

One of the reasons we love the BVI's so much is the fact that there are so many islands so close together to explore. No need for rough passages or overnight sails to make another landfall - islands are simply a few hours away....unless you have a fast boat. If you have a fast boat, they are fifteen to forty minutes away. This, my friends, is a game changer. Now, when Scott has a morning or afternoon to spare, we can zip on over to a neighboring island, enjoy the beach, perhaps some lunch or dinner, and be home for naps or bedtime. Island living is largely enjoyed on and from the water, so to have another mode of water transport ups the ante on the fun factor. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing like taking "the house" (aka our sailboat) out for a weekend at anchor, but that is not always feasible for us while running a business. The fast boat is the next best thing and the fact that it will hopefully pay for itself in a year makes it a win/win.

So when our good friends and neighbors suggested a little zip over to Peter Island to do a little hike and check out some ruins, we jumped at the chance. We packed a cooler full of drinks and beer, grabbed some snacks and away we went. Twenty minutes later we were tied up in beautiful Little Harbor and started exploring...
Our view once we tied up. It's summer now, and HOT, so sometimes the cloud cover is a welcome change!
Claudia and Ted (and their two kids) are our neighbors, we love them and love that they love our girls. Yes, we "hike" in flip flops and with beer.
These ruins were so beautiful, apparently it used to be a plantation and then a hotel, but it's not very clear...
We even found a goat skull up there, the girls were fascinated. And skeptical...
Yeah, sometimes we wear our jammies all day long. 
Our three little monkeys looking at what we figure was an old dining room. Love this image.
How beautiful is this old tile work? 
My favorite pic of the day. What we all guessed was the old dining room.
So many beautiful flowers blooming right now. 
The porch area
More tile work and - what's that? A real PIRATE TREASURE! The highlight for sure. It's a Geocache ;) 
Claudia and Isla sorting through the treasures of pirates before us.
The girls loved it - and the best treasure? Bug spray!! There were SO many mosquitos up there!
An old bathroom. 
The old kitchen
These strange little bugs are EVERYWHERE. The girls love to watch them. They are usually attached to each other. 
Sometimes you just gotta tuck and run with them. Hiking with us is not efficient, but...interesting!
Thanks for a great day Little Harbor! We'll be back!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Maho Bay, Where Magic Happens and Serendipity Rules

Magic happens in Maho Bay, St. John. Maybe it’s the turquoise water, the pristine stretch of white sand beach, or perhaps it's the fact the famously calm bay is situated on one of the Caribbean’s most beloved islands and smack-dab in national park... but every time we come here - something extraordinary occurs.

Last year Maho played host to the >>>twin’s first birthday party<<< , as well as one of my >>>best friend's birthday parties<<<, which also happened to serendipitously coincide with the meeting of a couple of blog followers who were in the area on charter. Before the aforementioned festivities went off, Lauren and Brian dinghied up to our boat, introduced themselves, and a friendship was very quickly born. We talked all things boats and cruising; they were keen to check out of the rat race and join the cruiser set, but still apprehensive on some fronts. After the weekend with us and our friends from It's a Necessity and Where the Coconuts Grow, they put their plan into high gear.


Just over a year later, we are back at Maho bay. But this time, Brian and Lauren are on their own boat, a beautiful Whitby 42 (a sister ship of ours, no less) and are now full-time cruisers with some serious street cred (and a blog!) of their own. One year. In one single year they completely changed their land-lubbing New Yorker lives and became un-tethered cruisers of the sea. Magic. (...and a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and - most likely - tears too, but for the sake of the post - we're gonna call it "magic"). Either way, that's a pretty incredible timeline.

But it's doesn't stop there...We are also in the company of a whole slew of fellow bloggers and friends who happened to descend upon this little slice of paradise at precisely the same time. While it might seem that a multiple-day blogger-rally like this was the result of lots of email and planning, this weekend gathering occurred rather haphazardly and with very little preparation. As our friend Bo of Sailing B+ A so aptly wrote on his blog post of our incredible weekend, “this kind of epic cannot be planned or anticipated”. It just sort of...happened.

It all started when our friends, the Sunkissed Soeters, mentioned they were going to go to St. John for the weekend and that we should come with. I jumped at the chance and immediately alerted, Genevieve of It’s a Neccesity, knowing that this little jaunt would be easy for them being based just across the channel in St. Thomas. When that plan materialized, we knew that Jody and Peter of Where the Coconuts Grow would want "in" as well...And so it went down the coconut telegraph with every boat contacting another and another...and before we knew it, in less than 24 hours of "planning", six boats, twelve live-aboards, and seven boat kids converged on Maho Bay for one fateful weekend of fun in the sun. 

It was an amazing time with wonderful friends, new and old. The weekend has been well documented on social media and has been dubbed "Lobsterfest 2016" thanks to a bounty of seven "bugs" the men (and Lauren!) caught one day that turned into - quite possibly - the most logistically complicated yet perfectly executed cruiser pot-luck meal in history (See >>>Lauren's post<<< for full details of the amazingness!) The lobsters were cleaned on one boat, parboiled on another, grilled on yet another, all while Lauren (a bonafide chef and self-proclaimed foodie - ohmygodsheissogood!) prepped pizza dough and fixings for seven - COUNT THAT SEVEN - lobster pizzas. Once assembled, Eben collected and dispersed the pizza's to every boat where we cooked them ourselves and brought the finished products - along with some delicious sides - aboard a beautiful power boat who's caretakers, Amanda and Justin, we had met (again serendipitously) on the beach that afternoon. After meeting all of us and getting to talking, they generously offered to play host to our massive pot luck which was a good thing because no monohull cockpit is comfy for twelve adults and seven kiddos!  

I'm missing steps of how the meal materialized for sure, but let me tell you - it all somehow went off without a hitch.

The weekend was amazing, and most certainly the highlight of this season for us. Laughs, day drinking, hiking, swimming, paddle-boarding, kiteboarding (Eben and Scott), laughing, late nights, early mornings and - in general - all the goodness we love about the cruising lifestyle in the highest, most concentrated dose ever. While weekends like this are no longer the norm for us as full-time marina dwellers in the British Virgin Islands, it's serendipitous rarity made it that much more special to us. 


And that couple we met on the beach? The one's who so graciously hosted our motley crew and fit right in like they've been our friends forever? We've been writing back and forth because now they are "seriously looking and talking about buying a boat and cruising the islands" just like Brian and Lauren before them. "Maho Bay, the place where dreams are discovered...." Wonder what this next year will bring? 


Want to read/see more about the weekend? Check out these videos and blog posts by our friends:

And now for a photo dump of our weekend...
Sailing from Tortola to St. John is almost always a pleasure, down wind and smooth. Perfect for the littles.
Isla taking it all in. She's always been a very zen little sailor chick.
Ritz crackers were the snack du jour. 
Under full sail. St. John in our sights.

This is a typical moment underway for us.

When you make the Virgin Islands your home, these sort of sailing scenes are normal. #lucky
The girls having fun and getting excited to see all their friends.
This is what Haven does when you ask for a "thumbs up". I find it hysterical. 
Maho Bay, full steam ahead! 
As soon as we got our mooring ball, friends started to show up. Here is Bo and Allie of s/v Selah. 
And Eben, Genevieve, Arias and Ellia of s/v Necesse.

Our view of Maho Bay. It's bliss, not gonna lie. 
Lauren and Allison promptly came over during nap time for a little gab fest and some day drinking. Love these two. 
When Genevieve's girls woke up, they headed over too!
Darcy, Luuck, Stormer and Rio arrived too...
And there's the stern of s/v Nightengale Tune, Brian and Lauren's boat.

A gathering of friends and a little day drinking in our cockpit. Our garbage bag was FULL after this day! haha!
Luuck of Sunkissed Soeters took all the kids tubing, SO MUCH FUN! Here's Isla and Stormer. So many smiles!
Our good friends Jody and Peter of Where the Coconuts grow were there too!
Because, twins. They are just the cutest;
Lauren learned very quickly that giving a toddler a phone is an easy and quick way into their good graces! 
"Oh, yeah. You're going to find a few selfies of Mira and I on your camera" - Allison. Love her.
Snorkeling with daddy.

Scott taking the kids for a little spin around the neighborhood. 
Sunset in Maho.
Party boat! Or are those Pirates!?!?
The collecting and dropping off of lobsters and supplies for the epic Lobsterfest dinner.
Breakfast time at anchor is our fave. We are up and out with the sunshine! 
Oh, Haven!

Little Mira-belle and her sneaky grin.

Again, twins. The best thing ever.
Steely eyed wild child.
Our little mermaid. Sweet as pie.

Maho is full of sea turtles, all you need to do is watch for a while and you're sure to spot them.

Watching the sea life and bird life is standard practice when at anchor.

Beach time before we shoved off.
Homeward bound full of great memories from an incredible weekend.
My little sea gypsy. Love her so much.
Upwind sailing with three toddlers is a different ball game! More challenging for sure!

Girls were over tacking at this point, but man - Scott was thrilled we got to sail the whole way back. 
Captain of our ship.
Haven, thoughtful.
Family photo of our boat from B+A's drone.
Thanks for an amazing weekend, friends! Cannot wait to do it again! xoxo
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