We knew when we moved on board last January that our transition into a cruising lifestyle would be temporary. The cruising kitty we built up after selling our house in Denver would eventually run dry and we would need to find employment again. I think that knowing this adventure is finite has helped us overlook the negatives (there are a couple) and really appreciate every incredible moment of this journey. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been an adventure and that is exactly what we set out to find when we left the dock last February.
Only about 2 hours into our 16 hour passage to St. Martin, our cooling water high temperature alarm started shining bright red. We were heading directly into the wind, so we only had our main sail up and we were running our engine at full cruising speed. Our autopilot was on and we were admiring the super moon when it happened. I jumped behind the wheel and quickly throttled down, while Rob rushed downstairs to inspect the engine. I glanced at our transom and saw that we had plenty of water flow coming out of our exhaust. Perhaps the sensor had just failed and there wasn’t really an issue. However, when Rob opened the engine compartment door our galley transformed into a steam room. It was clear that we had a severe leak in our cooling system, so I immediately fell off from the wind and shut the engine down.
We had a great time living in San Juan, PR over hurricane season, but we were itching to get back on the boat and continue our journey south. Last season, we quickly learned that cruising can be like a roller coaster ride with amazing highs and frustrating lows. And this season has started off the exact same way.
Before starting this adventure, we were a little nervous about sailing with our two pooches. It wasn’t living in a small space or on water that worried us. We knew our pups would adapt to their new home with us by their sides. It was navigating the pet import process in each country that made me uneasy. We researched and worked with our vet prior to setting sail to ensure we had our ducks in a row. We gathered the following paper work:
After 5 months at sea, our first season sailing is winding down. As we finish prepping Kairos for storage on the hard in Puerto Rico, we reflect on all of the gorgeous places we’ve visited. We’ve loved almost all of the 50 plus anchorages that we have visited over the last 150 days. We’ve seen pristine sandy beaches, inviting turquoise water, breathtaking mountains, and lush forests. We’ve met some crazy cruisers and some incredibly sweet locals. We’ve hiked, swam, fished, lobstered, and snorkeled our hearts out. We’ve experienced a lot, but for one reason or another these locations stand out as our top five favorite anchorages. They are listed below in chronological order.
The Thorny Path to Windward is well behind us and we are in the British Virgin Islands. We did it! We sailed here from the Tampa Bay area, covering 1600 miles. We battled lightning storms, repaired boat issues, gathered paperwork for importing the dogs, withstood our fair share of high seas, and spent several sleepless nights behind the helm on overnight passages. We are no longer the greenhorns who had trouble setting the anchor and who laid awake all night checking every 15 minutes to make sure it was holding. Nor are we the newbie sailors that didn’t realize that 20-25 kt winds on the nose in open water is near suicidal. We are no longer intimidated by docking in tight slips. We are now intimately familiar with our boat’s systems. We now have a good understanding of Kairos’s and, more importantly, our own limits. We have learned a lot over the last 130 days at sea. We’ve learned about our boat, about sailing, about liveaboard life, about ourselves, and about each other.
We only spent 5 short days in USVI, but they were fabulous. Now that we are in the Virgin Islands, everything is so close. We are no longer tackling 140 mile overnight passages. We aren’t island leaping anymore, we are truly island hopping. We stayed in three mooring fields in USVI: Christmas Cove, Maho Bay, and Leinster Bay.