Thunderbolts, lightning, very very frightening…

I remember when we sailed across the Atlantic ocean and had to get comfortable with seeing lightning out at sea. It’s a rather spooky feeling, seeing those dramatic forks and flashes and remaining calm, knowing that when the sky is clear you can...

Land ho!

Making landfall brings mixed feelings to even a seasoned sailor. That first sight of new terrain, the initial glimpse of green, a form taking shape above sea-level is significant. Perhaps it is accompanied by birds wheeling overhead and the...

Making friends

A smile can do a lot of things. In Nissan island, our first PNG stop, we have a canoe full of kids paddling up to the boat on our first morning there. They are grinning, gleaming white smiles from ear to ear but they have little to no words of...

Risky business

When embarking out on cruising life you will inevitably come across a certain amount of nervous questioning about your plans. Stepping from the safety of the land and onto the wildness of the sea tends to be perceived, quite rightly, as waving...

Radio ga-ga

James hates talking on the VHF. Whenever we need to do so he always shakes his head vehemently and thrusts the microphone in my direction. Without regular access to a mobile phone or your own personal wifi your boat’s radio systems become your...

S-l-o-w time

The nature of the experience of travel is hugely dependent on the speed at which you move. When we first told people that we had grand plans to sail around the world, those that didn’t simply blink back at us in disbelief would nod slowly, as if...

The outer islands

The country of Papua New Guinea is a place that’s always conjured up images of the exotic for me. From the treehouse-building Korowai tribe, to the unusual Vogelkop bower bird and birds of paradise native to this land, PNG is a place that most of...

Maiden voyage

One thing that I’ve learned is that sailors are suckers for ritual celebrations. Crossing the Equator, cutting over the International Date Line, transiting the Panama canal and “closing the circle” upon circumnavigation are all [...]

Like a fish to water

Living on a boat with kids means that you’re in and out of the water a lot. It’s a welcome way of cooling off from the heat of the day in the tropics or calming down if the children have got a bit wild. It’s our backyard, our swimming pool, our...

The sun has got his hat on

“Oooh, aren’t you lovely and brown!” our families cooed in awe soon after we started our sailing adventures. Funnily enough, their admiration actually made us turn rather pink with embarrassment as, in our books, that meant that [...]

The perfect wind

Sailors, true sailors, know how to grab their moments. A mere ten knots of wind guarantees them swiftly casting off the lines or, for the truly skilled, stylishly sailing off the anchor, to go out and play in the light breeze. Strengthening winds...

Going overboard

“Bagpuss is floating away!!!” Comes the fervent cry from our daughter. Every sailor has a plan for a man overboard situation. You consider how you’d manoeuvre the boat to recover someone from the water and the process for getting them safely...

Cabin fever

I know that one of the things it’s hard to get your head around if you don’t live on a boat is how a couple or even a family could be comfortable in so little space. The living area equates to far less than a tiny studio flat and yet we all seem...

Rub-a-dub-dub

Living aboard full-time means that sometimes even the simplest of tasks isn’t straightforward. Like having a shower. Unlike many other boats, we don’t have a water-maker on board so the fresh water that we carry is a precious, finite amount...

The uninvited guest

“Stop scratching!” I’m pleading with my 3 year-old daughter who has a cluster of red welts on both her calves. Yes, the cruising life is an extraordinary one, packed with fulfilling encounters and adventures. However, today [...]

A river runs through it

In our years at sea we’ve sometimes had a break from the ocean swell or bouncy anchorages and chosen to sail on a river. Yes, it is unlikely that you will get an easy sail but even motoring upriver is a lovely adventure in itself. Plus, you’re...

Back to reality

I wake to find that we are the only boat at anchor in this spot. Our yacht hangs in a mere 3 metres of clear turquoise water, nicely enclosed by an island to either side of us. There’s sand, pebble and shell, which appear [...]

Beneath the keel

The very fact that our sailboat enables us to live on the water never ceases to amaze me. This may sounds obvious but, like the landlubber homeowner who always wants to spend more time entertaining in their dining room, taking a luxurious soak in...

The family car

We once left a taxi driver in St. Kitts dumbfounded when we explained that after getting out of his cab we’d be hopping into our dinghy to get to our yacht, lying at anchor. “You got TWO boats?” was his astonished response, “You even got a...

Boat-themed-boat

I’ll never forget stepping on board our boat for the first time. Sure, I’d seen countless photos. It was me who found it online, added it to our list and urged my husband to visit it even though, at the time, it was out of our budget. The images...