January has been a month of anniversaries. Patrick and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary on the 8th – we even had a romantic night out thanks to our lovely friends on Bonaire having the kids for a sleepover!
We also celebrated six months of living onboard Blue Zulu and then six months since we left our lovely home town of Cowes on 21st July 2016. Everyone warned us that it takes at least six months to get into the cruising groove and I’d definitely have to agree – we’ve had plenty of adventures and have enjoyed some amazing people, places and experiences but it’s not always easy – some things are very hard and it has taken us all quite a bit of time to adjust to being together 24 hours a day in a 50ft space!
The most poignant anniversary is today – 25th January: one year since the Cowes fire that destroyed Patrick’s workshop, business, beautiful Fedoa and a whole lot of Blue Zulu’s essential equipment. We’d always planned to go cruising with the kids and the fire didn’t change that although at times it threatened to but it did challenge our timeline, our patience and our cruising kitty.
My husband is rather quiet today, ironically there is a new boat in the bay and it’s a beautiful Mylne classic (same designer as Fedoa) and I know he feels the loss as strongly as ever. He has worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months to make Blue Zulu into an amazing floating home and it never stops – that’s the thing about boats – there is always something to fix!
We’ve come a long way in six months – literally, emotionally, physically and as a family so I thought it would be fun to do a quick round up – the last time was when we celebrated 1000 miles!
Total nautical mileage: 5636
As the crow flies from Cowes: 3667
Total engine hours: 315
Top wind speed: 35 knots (NW force 7) off Cabo de Roca, Portugal. Force 7 also encountered on day 10 of our crossing. 3 reefs in the main, mizzen away and genoa 2/3 furled and poled out – lots of double figures on the speedo with Norman white knuckled behind the wheel guiding us down wind.
Total days: 187 days
Nights at sea: 30
Nights in marina: 38 + 2 on mooring buoys
Nights on anchor: 117 at anchor
Countries visited: 8
Favourite thing about living on a boat?
Patrick: Having time to stop and chat. Immediate common ground with almost everyone you meet
Anna: The skies – sunrise, sunset and incredible starry nights on passage
Stella: We have way more freedom than we do at home
Fin: You can swim whenever you want and get to see turtles when you go snorkelling
Favourite places you’ve visited so far?
Patrick: Englishman’s Bay, Tobago and Sal Rei, Boavista
Anna: Graciosa (for meeting our lovely boating family), Cape Verdes, Tobago and Tobago Cays (which are nowhere near each other!)
Stella: Graciosa, Tobago, Grenadines and O Grove Bay in Spain
Fin: Graciosa, Barbados, Tobago Cays
Patrick: Getting the bread to rise and fixing the bl***y generator.
Anna: Finding your own time when you are all together all the time!
Stella: Missing home
Fin: Swimming with sharks
We are still trying to decide what is next – cruising up the East Coast of the USA, crossing into the Pacific or probably more realistically spending the hurricane season in the Caribbean working to top up the cruising kitty. I guess it’s quite a nice decision to have to make…