I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Woke up at 6:30 but dozed till 8. I get up to see Alessandra on the couch on her iPhone and Rick at the computer and there is a sink full of two days worth of dirty dishes.  As it seems I am pretty much on my own for meals, this is the last straw... am I expected to do the dishes?  And I say exactly that. Rick mumbles something about them just having gotten up themselves. Whatever. They've been there since yesterday afternoon and they were both on board for well over an hour while I was at the pool and Alessandra was aboard alone for three hours while Rick and I videoed the girls singing last night.  I am getting the distinct impression that this is not a real charter so I guess I won't have to leave a real tip. I was prepared to leave 20% of the value of the prize but that is not going to happen.

Rick leaves to check in to customs and they charge him $140 EC and he isn't happy. He was checked in for 3 months already and I was checked in for the same at the airport when I arrived. I give him $100 EC as it is because of me, but I am not thrilled about it either. Seems like a money grab by the gov't aimed at sailors as I didn't have to pay anything to check in for three months at the airport.  And really, once you're checked in you should be able to come and go in that time without another fee.

At 11am we head off to Hog Island so that we can be there for the bbq later this afternoon. It's a nice motor all the way and I have a short nap. We get there at 1pm. We anchor close to the beach and, interestingly, Alessandra asks me if I am hungry and when I say that I am, she prepares herself a dish of avocado drizzled with olive oil and plops down in front of me and eats it, leaving me to myself. I eat the rest (4) of the gingersnaps.

We hop in the dinghy for a tour around and so I get to see Calvigny Island.  It is so cool to see so many of the places I've read about on Mike and Rebecca's blog.

Calvigny Island

Calvigny Island

We pass by the burnt out hull of a brand new yacht that caught fire a few months before I arrived in the islands, right in Prickly Bay. It burned everything but the aluminum hull. Such a shame. The guy who bought it has it tied alongside of a huge tug boat he owns and he has started to patch the hull with plates of steel riveted onto the outside of the shell. But the whole thing is so warped from the fire, I can't see what the point is nor how anything can ever be made of it.

It is an observation of mine that there is a great variety of people anchored in this place. Some of the boats are at least 50 feet, sleek and pristine. Then there are boats that are the water version of a gypsy caravan with all manner of 'junk' hanging from the lifelines and tied up anywhere else they found to stash stuff. The ropes are frayed, the hulls are small, faded, and some even rusty, with the sorriest looking excuse for a dingy floating behind and both the dingy and the boat needing some good old fashioned elbow grease. Some are obviously home to a lone sailor and some to young families and others to wealthy retirees. It's quite the mix.

We stop in at Clark's Court Marina, a tiny dive of a place, for a drink and watch the last 20 minutes of Hugo on the large TV over the bar, along with another half a dozen or so very worn-out looking customers.

We get over to Hog Island for the bbq dinner at Rogers Bar. The place is very rustic with a sand floor and cobbled together half walls and roof, open on the front to the beach. Strangely there is no music, not one note the whole night. The food is really good although the only chicken is all legs and I usually only eat white meat but I strip that leg down to the bone! At $25 EC it's a bit steep. Rick and Alessandra share one plate between them.

I meet a great guy named Bruce from a boat named 'Sold the Farm' and it turns out he is from Alberta (how is it that all Albertans are such lovely people?!) and he really did sell his farm to buy a boat and move to the Caribbean. His crew is a lovely girl from Switzerland, Regina, and I have a great night talking with them. He is so nice and someone I'd be happy to sail with. Wish I was more suited to it - read: young and fit! Oh to turn back the clock knowing what I know now!

Regina at Rogers Bar

There are a lot of full-time cruisers and a handful of locals at this bbq and what a motley bunch! And such drama! One lady comes over and starts talking about her ex boyfriend (who is also present somewhere here) with Rick and as I listen to both of them it dawns on me that as much as some people are here to escape life, they just bring all the drama with them. I get the distinct impression that most of these people never leave this anchorage. They're not really cruisers, they just happen to live on a boat in the water. And they have the usual gossip about those they live near. Looking around I, once again, get an overwhelming feeling of not belonging. As much as I dream about living full time on a boat in the Caribbean, hanging out with this crowd is not for me.... I have nothing in common with them and I despise gossiping. And although I don't think this trip is a great gage of how I'd do as a full time live-aboard, I am feeling like it isn't for me. But I never did want to live on a mono-hull sail boat. A cat (or a nice big luxury yacht - hahaha) is the only way I could go, if I could go for it at all.

Hog Island regulars

Just a half empty bottle of Ting between me and 
the parrot that likes to bite people

I need to figure out what it is I want.  At 55. HA! I say that as if I have choices as to how I will live out my retirement. I don't. Not at this point in my life and not unless there is a dramatic event that brightens my prospects; I will be working till I drop dead.



  1. Sandra one trip in one locale shouldn't be your only criteria on deciding if boat living is for you or not. Its true that its not for everyone but there are lots of boats, lots of people and lots of locations. You are going to find gossipy neighbors everywhere on this earth. You can decide to interact or not. I would really do some soul searching and looking into what that lifestyle really is though. Just that fact that you thought you could cook a pulled pork for 5 hours on a boat tells me you have a few things to learn LOL. I am not trying to be mean I promise! I read that though and cracked up Every skipper I have ever been on board with would have had the same freak out reaction as Rick. I think that may have been early on in your trip and I bet after a few days in the heat you realized heating up the cabin like that and using all those resources wasn't the best idea. So see you live on board for a few days and you learn and then you decide what in life is negotiable for you. It also is pretty clear from reading that the personalty differences between you and the other gal on board did not make for the company you had hoped. Don't let that skew your thinking either. You would not be living with her. And lastly for the love of God please stop acting like being in your 50's is the end of all good living. You are in the best years of your life. I know from reading your FB that you have made some great changes in 2013 on your eating habits etc. Just keep at it and enjoy your life on land or sea.

    1. You are correct, of course. And I did say that I don't think that trip was a good way to gauge whether or not I am suited to the lifestyle; I really did feel out of place. And when I thought about the pulled pork in the store, I asked Alessandra if it would be okay to cook on the boat because I had my doubts but she said it would so I took her word for it. I should have known better although I never thought about the heat factor! I actually really liked Alessandra and wished we had more interaction but she just was not into it at all. We are now friends on FB and she wrote to me to apologize for how she behaved saying she was not happy on the boat and unfortunately let it effect her to the point of being very withdrawn. I understand that and have some compassion for it but nevertheless it negatively impacted my experience on the boat, and that is unfortunate.

      And I will try to stop acting like being on the downhill slope between 50 and 60 isn't the end of all good living, although it certainly feels that way sometimes!! It's the impact on my mobility via bad knees that effects my attitude, when it comes to sailing.


All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

Search My Blog

Amazon Store

Here's my Amazon Store called Sandra's Selections, full of my favourite things and constantly updating it as I discover more fav's. It's more for fun than anything as I've never made a cent off of it.