When we sail for longer than 24 hours, I like to have lunches, dinners and snacks prepared in advance. Considering that I suffer from seasickness, I feel that it’s my duty to at least prepare good food for the journey. I’d love to be able to cook as we sail as it’s something to do, but I plan for the worst…and the worst is me laying in bed not moving until we reach land again!
Through the use of drugs I am no longer confined to bed but that’s as long as the sea state doesn’t get too rough
At this very moment, I’m writing this as we’re motoring from Malta to Sicily (9 hour trip). I’ve had no drugs and I feel great. That being noted, look at how clam it is (see picture below!) I’m not sure what the trigger for my seasickness is – I think it’s the wallowing that affects me. It’s when the boat is going up and down AND side to side.
So…the best sailing snack for a long cruise needs to be easily accessible and yummy whether it’s hot or cold
Furthermore, I like our snacks to have nutritional value – meat and vegetables!
While visiting my family in North Carolina during our recent refit (watch our refit video here: What happens when a boat undergoes a refit) my daughter and I went to a birthday party at a park. The usual goodies were on offer – pizza, cake and sweets. I noticed my friend, Julia, pull out something from her backpack and give it to her children. Being nosy, I asked what it was and was offered one.
The snack was simple, tasty, easy to make and could be enjoyed hot or cold
When asking Julia how she made the snack, she explained that she used store-bought pizza dough, rolled out circles, filled them with spinach, onions and brown rice and then fried them up.
After hearing how easy the recipe was, and enjoying how yummy they were, I thought they’d be a perfect snack on the boat
While grocery shopping in Greece, I easily found Pillsbury Pizza Dough and then I thought up what other ingredients would be nice. Looking around a Greek store, I found some nice mushrooms, fresh red peppers, chicken and some frozen spinach (I think it was Spinach!!! Reading Greek is impossible so I’m restricted to the picture on the front of the package).
For these snacks you could use loads of different ingredients – the options are limitless. I’m thinking next time I’ll use some sausage meat.
Also, I used the Britican Galley Chicken Blend (click link to see blend at our online store) for the chicken and it seasoned the snack perfectly. I’m actually proud of myself – this is the first culinary invention that I’ve ever created.
If you’re laughing because I’m calling something made with Pillsbury Dough a culinary invention, that’s ‘okay’ – you can laugh at me. In the past I’d never be able to make anything unless I could follow very specific recipe. I never had the ability to just throw things together. Thanks to my cousin, Loryn, who spent the first six months with us on Britican, I now have much more confidence. Loryn taught me how to ‘wing-it’ with food and I’m very grateful for her help!
Furthermore, I’m often Skyping my mom who is always giving me great ideas
Anyway, during my work-a-holic life back on land, I never saw the value of cooking. I purchased everything processed. I thought, ‘who has the time to cook?’ Since leaving the rat-race, and freeing up time I now LOVE to cook. I’m excited to experiment and I’m eager to get my daughter involved.
Not only am I enjoying food more than ever before but I’m so much healthier too
They say that it’s the simple things in life that make people happy. In the past, I didn’t have time for simple stuff and my life was certainly not as fulfilling as it is now.
So…how were my yummy pockets rated by me and my family?
Personally, I thought they were incredible. I ate my first three cold and then I had hubby warm up three more later on in the evening. A couple times, I walked by the fridge and just grabbed a yummy pocket and ate it before anyone saw me.
My husband and daughter both enjoyed them and asked me to add them to future long cruise menus
And as mentioned in the video, I was preparing the yummy pockets for our trip from Preveza, Greece to Grand Harbor, Malta – 50 to 60 hour journey. Furthermore, it was the very first long cruise that only my husband and I would be on board (and Sienna too). Previously, we had another crewmember with us.
So, the trip started out with a Force 7 with very turbulent waters. The forecast did not match with the state of the sea. I was expecting an easy voyage ending up with very little to no wind.
Needless to say, the drugs I took for the trip (from New Zealand) worked very well for five hours. They were supposed to work for 24 hours. First, Sienna puked. Then Simon puked – a very rare occurrence.
And around 2am during my night watch I finally puked
But the sea did calm right down and we had to motor for most of the trip. Fortunately, we all felt fine after the turbulent start.
And boy, did I appreciate the yummy pockets. We couldn’t boil water for the spaghetti I planned on cooking due to the state of the sea – thankfully, we had some easy, nutritious, yummy snacks to grab! If you have some ideas of mixtures for the pockets please leave a comment below ?
A recent picture of hubby, Sienna and me while enjoying Malta!
The transition from living in the rat race to living full time on a sailboat has taught me some amazing lessons. One of the largest lessons I’ve noted, thus far, is my ability to consciously choose life’s course rather than live life on automatic pilot. In the past I thought I was making choices but after reflection I was simply being distracted by life rather than living it.
Let me explain how I came to this realization – first I have to back up a bit to show you were my line of thought started…
Recently, I’ve been debating, in my head, as to whether I have more options with my current lifestyle than I had in my previous ‘rat race’ life. And taking that a bit further, I’ve asked myself, ‘Self – are too many choices more apt to complicate life rather than simplify it?’
Since selling up and sailing away endless possibilities have opened up
And with those endless possibilities I’ve had to seriously increase my decision-making skills. My romantic notion of sailing into the sunset and doing nothing couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sailing around the world certainly isn’t simple – our new lifestyle of doing nothing is anything but ‘doing nothing!’
Not only do I have a multitude of destinations I can go to at almost any moment, there’s my choice on when I leave for the next destinations and what kind of weather I want to travel in (high wind, low wind, etc.). And what time should I leave – during the morning or how about late at night? At this very moment, I have the option to move our home to Greece, Malta, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, France, Portugal or Africa.
Two days ago I was in Malta, today I’m in Sicily and in the next week or so, depending on how the winds are blowing, I might just be in Greece or should I pop up to Croatia?
Then there is limitless choices on how to spend my days too – do I visit with friends, make new friends (that’s more spontaneous but you must be out and about to allow for that to happen!), explore my surrounding area, go for a bike ride, take a swim, try a new cuisine, go grocery shopping, read a book, work on my blog/shop, write an article, create a new product to sell, do a cooking video, for Britican Galley, work on my latest book, see an ancient ruin (in the Mediterranean you’re never far from some sort of old thing!), clean the boat, fix something on the boat (that list is endless), have alone time, have family time and on and on the list goes.
In my old life, I had a limited amount of choice on where I traveled for work (home or the office) and I had to work no matter what the weather was doing…and sadly, I worked almost every hour of the day – I seriously didn’t know how to do anything other than work.
And the way I spent my workday was dictated by whatever project was requiring the most attention. Yes, I had choice about what I did but it was almost always dictated by employees, clients or suppliers. In most cases, I don’t think I had to think much, but rather, I just reacted.
Was I reacting to life in my past rather than consciously choosing life’s path?
Yes…I think so.
And what about the weekends in my old life? Yes, I had the choice on what activities to do with family and friends – exploring, socializing, and spending time together. Making time to make a new friend – that almost never happened. My choice on friends was mostly a done deal – I had no reason to increase my circle. Furthermore, where would I find the time to deepen another friendship?
Home management forced many of my choices down the path of laundry, shopping, cleaning, and doing the yard/garden. My week was mainly broken up into my career with a tiny bit of extra activities in the evenings and then the weekends where I recovered from work, got the house in order and socialized a bit.
Sure, I had choice, but my choices seemed much more limited. My life seem unconscious…it just happened. Life was very routine. I didn’t stop to think.
My life now is totally different – actually, I should put, TOTALLY DIFFERENT
Now, I wake in the morning and think, ‘how do I feel?’ I scan my body to simply feel the sensations of having a body. I then take a look at my mood – am I happy to be alive? The answer, thankfully, is almost always a ‘yes.’
The old Kim would wake up, jump out of bed due to oversleeping, rush around the house like a manic and if I had time to pay attention to my mind, my thoughts would be, ‘life sucks!’
I never in a million years knew that I had the capability to check in with myself! Feelings? What were those?
Life was go, go, go…do, do, do.
‘So, what do I feeeeeeeeeeeeeel like doing now?’ I now ask myself
Back on the boat…after checking in with my body and mind, a routine I never had time for before, I ask myself, ‘And what do I feel like doing right now and what would I like to do today?’ I go through a checklist of a dozen or more things thinking, ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe.’
This morning I thought, ‘it’s 5:30am…should I go back to sleep? Or, should I watch the sun come up? Or, should I do some writing? Or, should I do some Yoga…Or, should I make a fresh pot of coffee? Or, should I read my book?’ That’s before I even started to consider what the plan for the day might be.
I now ask myself what feels like the best choice for me in the moment.
In my old life I never had time to think about options – life just happened and it was relentless
So – what’s the plan for today?
After thinking about various opportunities for the day, my husband usually wakes up and asks, ‘So what’s the plan for today?’ We then lay in bed discussing our endless possibilities.
The biggest question in our lives is ‘how do we want to spend our time moment by moment?’
At first sight this might seem like ‘living the dream.’ Who wouldn’t want to be able to “choose life’s course” (the motto of SailingBritican.com)?
Yes, it is a blessing but it can also be somewhat of a curse. With choice comes opportunity cost and opportunity cost can quite a demon to battle with.
Opportunity cost = the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen
We have so many choices and therefore we consequently have so many alternatives that we’re missing out on.
But this is where the importance of flowing with life comes in (that I talk about incessantly).
With this kind of way of living, we need to teach ourselves how to consciously, “choose life’s course.” We might have loads of choice, but perhaps there’s a limit to what we feeeeeeeeeeeel like doing.
As long as we check in with ourselves, get to grips with where we are emotionally, physically and mentally, survey the choices available and then choose what feels best at the time, I think we’re on the right path.
Could I have lived more consciously in my old life?
I think I could have paid more attention to how I felt before taking action…but the world I used to occupy was so busy. It was filled with distraction after distraction – drama, advertisements, other people’s problems, my problems, the world’s problems, not enough time in the day, work, work, work and on and on.
Looking back, I don’t know how I lived the way I use to live
Instead of analyzing my life, figuring out if I was in the right job or spending my time in a way that fulfilled me I just kept busy – I just made sure that I was distracted by life rather than living life. It’s as if I didn’t want to ask the questions, ‘Am I happy,’ because I knew if I did the answer would be ‘no’ and then I’d have to take responsibility for my unhappiness.
I might have a billion options now but my overall distractions have been massively reduced
There’s no TV, no news, no advertisements, no ‘keeping up with the Jones,’ no world problems…And more importantly, I’m not working for the sake of working. I now LOVE what I do to earn and income.
Speaking of an income, it’s important to note that I’m not retired. I don’t want to be put in the ‘lucky for some,’ category. I’m still working…I still have to do activities to create an income so that we can carry on with this lifestyle.
The difference now is that I’m consciously choosing life’s course
I’m consciously choosing when I feel like working and what ‘working’ means. I’m checking in with myself and determining if this moment is the right moment to write an article OR go for a swim. And because I’m doing the kind of work that I love (writing, blogging, growing my nautical themed shop) I actually WANT to work…I enjoy working. I also enjoy all my other options too.
I seriously never thought life could be so amazing. I count my blessings every day that I had the courage to step out, take responsibility for my fulfillment and make a change in my life. If it wasn’t for my decision to say ‘screw-it’ to my old life and change it for a new one I don’t think I would have ever learned this new and improved way to live.
So… that’s how sailing full time has taught me how to take my life off automatic pilot and consciously choose life’s course.
If you’re a full time cruiser, I’d be interested to know if you’ve experienced the same?
When one sets out to change the course of their life, they don’t know what’s in store for them. I’m coming around to the belief that as long as you want to find more fulfillment and are willing to step out into the unknown, the world can truly become a heaven on Earth.
My husband and I borrowed a car and went into town to grab some groceries. We ran into another boat owner at the local Greek AB Grocery store. He asked us if we’d be moving on soon and we replied enthusiastically, ‘YES’! We’ve just finished a six-week period on the hard with our boat, Britican, undergoing a major refit. Now that we’re finally back in the water, we’re super excited to get going.
The boat owner didn’t reply to the same question so enthusiastically
He responded by saying, ‘when I purchased the boat I thought it was in better shape than I was led to believe. Now that I own it and have scratched below the surface I’ve realized that it might be quite some time before I can get in the water.’
Interestingly, I felt as if we could have said the same thing a year earlier – we were definitely led to believe the boat was in much better shape than it actually was.
I wonder how many other used boat owners nod knowingly at this tale of woe?
The guy at the grocery store was starting his ‘refit’ journey whereas we’ve just finished ours (I hope)! Watch the video below showcasing the final stages of our refit. Afterwards, continue reading below to finish the article ?
So, what is a refit and what happens when a boat undergoes a refit?
I thought it was the process of taking a boat into a shed, stripping it down and replacing everything. What I’ve come to learn, however, is a refit can include processes such as major engine servicing, rigging replacement, rewiring, new fixtures/furnishings, or servicing of the various components. It can be one item or several.
Over the course of three separate periods we’ve endured a serious refit process
Before the autumn of our first year sailing, we unexpectedly spent three weeks in Preveza, Greece taking apart our engine and generator, servicing all the components and then rebuilding and painting the engines. Thanks to Andrea Blasi, one of the most amazing boat engineers I know, our engines work and look as if they’re brand spanking new.
Our repairs were unexpected – we thought our engines were in good shape! Boy, were we wrong.
Read my article, ‘We’re not idiots abroad – we’re idiots on a boat’ to fully understand the process we went through.
After our engines were glistening in the light we left Preveza, Greece and ‘wintered’ in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily. For the six months we were stationed in the marina, a company named Stella Maris (previously Andy Willet Services) helped us to do a variety of things.
The team from Stella Maris (bases located in Southampton, Sicily and Spain) fixed leaks, changed electrics, installed an exhaust fan for our massive battery bank, changed pumps, taught us how to maintain our teak deck and properly polish the boat, fixed our safety lines, had our cockpit table varnished, helped to remove and replace our sails and running rigging, sourced and delivered required parts and on and on.
The team at Stella Maris has been top-notch
I would recommend anyone sailing in England or the Med to get in touch with this company – they truly are a class act.
Speaking of sails, we ordered a new main and genoa from Sanders Sails in Lymington, UK
Our previous boat was a Moody 346, based in the UK, and having dealt with Saunders Sails in the past, we were once again delighted with the service and quality offered.
When we were in the UK during a Christmas visit with family we enjoyed a tour of the Sanders loft and witnessed first hand how our sails were being made. Every day I hear from cruisers disgruntled by a wide variety of sail makers, so it’s important to seek out good recommendations. My husband and I have been extremely pleased with Sanders. The quality of the sails is great. They were delivered on time. And the cost was sensible.
After our stay in Marina di Ragusa, my husband, a friend (Murray), my daughter and I all sailed 47 hours back over to Preveza, Greece. The plan was to have the boat pulled out of the water, placed on the hard and the final bits of our refit finished.
The ‘final’ bits were the scariest!
Within a day our boat was hauled out of the water. Watching our 33-ton house being moved made my stomach twist and turn. When the boat came out you could hear a variety of noises – creeks and groans. It’s as if the boat knows that it’s going to have to live in a foreign dry environment and isn’t happy.
Not long after Britican was propped up over scaffolding, the boom and mast came down. The cost to hire the crane for the mast removal made my eye’s water. You can only imagine how I felt when I saw the fees for new rigging (rigging is the wiring/metal ropes that hold the mast in place – there’s a backstay, forestay, shrouds and all those wires between the spreaders). Not cheap!
The main reasons for our rigging change came down to insurance and safety purposes
After ten years insurance companies get funny about rigging. They’ll insure you for a de-masting (mast breaks off) but after the 10 years the percentage they’ll cover starts dropping from 100%.
Our boat was made in 2003 so we were overdue for a rigging change. Furthermore, we felt it would be less expensive to do the big job in our own neighborhood rather than sourcing a reliable provider in the Caribbean or Pacific. And of course, we need to consider safety!
As a side note, if you ever buy a sailboat keep in mind that it’s a huge cost to have the rigging changed
Make sure to ask the previous owner when the rigging was last changed (or if it was ever changed) and figure the potential cost into your negotiations.
Aside from having our rigging renewed, we had our rudder serviced, the hull scrapped back and antifouling painted on. The prop was cleaned, the anchor repainted and marked with colors for depth indicators. We also had the material surrounding our engine and generator bays replaced – the old stuff was disintegrating and the dust was clogging up the engine! Our front saloon windows – the element that makes our boat a deck saloon – were taken off, stripped back, primed and repainted.
My husband sent our safety raft off for servicing, our steering wiring was replaced, a new watertight fuse box was installed, our windless was changed (we broke the last one by neglecting to loosen the winch when using it to tighten marina lazy lines!)
Sounds like quite a bit – yes? Well…it’s been a journey
The plan is to make our way to Grand Canaria by November this year and then sail across the Atlantic with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. And the…we’ll keep on sailing – perhaps we’ll make it around the world.
And the amazing guy that’s done our final refit is Vittorio Malingri – a very famous professional sailor. Vittorio has been around the world and crossed the various oceans many times. When he was 16 his family went around the world – since that trip he’s never left the sea. He’s competed in the famous Vendee Globe race – solo around the world non-stop with no assistance. If you want to read my story about how we found Vittorio at a chance meeting (in the middle of a bay), read: The trials of a new boat owner – a tale of coincidence, corruption and contempt for the marine industry
From our perspective, we’ve done everything we can to make our boat as safe and comfortable as possible for our trip. Is it overkill? Perhaps? I don’t know. I don’t think so. Between Andrea Blasi, Vittorio Malingri, Stella Maris and Saunders I think we’ve formed a pretty amazing team of people that truly want to see us enjoy a safe and successful voyage.
From a logical perspective, I think we’re covering everything that’s really important for a 3 – 5 year world circumnavigation
Ironically, we purchase this particular 56’ Oyster because the previous owner apparently spent a fortune getting the boat ready for the same trip – a world circumnavigation!!!!
So…coming back to the beginning of the article…Just like the man we met at the grocery store in Greece, when we purchased our boat we thought it was in better shape than we were led to believe!
At least the person who buys our boat when we’re finished will have a recorded history (on the Internet, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter…) about all the love, attention and money that’s been paid into Britican.
Me talking to my daughter – this was taken at her 5th birthday party in North Carolina, USA
Or…has our epic decision to sell up, escape the rat race and sail away provided opportunities for me to help my daughter develop strong character traits such as adaptability, Conscientiousness, cooperation, kindness and respectability?
More on that to come, but first let me tell you about my weird morning…
An engine started up but it wasn’t a car or a boat. I then felt the boat vibrate violently. Half asleep, I looked around our cabin trying to determine the time – it was gray and raining so it could be 7am or perhaps 10am.
The boat started to shake while making a terrible creaking sound…
…and then I heard lots of yelling – I could make out Greek, Italian and English all being banded about.
What the heck is going on? Where is my husband? Is my daughter okay? Why is our boat making such terrible sounds? Where am I?
I jumped out of bed, threw some day clothes on and popped my head out into the cockpit. The first thing I could see was loads of other boats but the boats were not in the water – they were on land hoisted above scaffolding!
That’s when I remembered that our boat is on the hard in Preveza, Greece and we’re having a major refit
The engine I heard was the crane and the movement was to replace the crane with scaffolding – our team temporarily put the boat in a crane so to antifoul the areas underneath the scaffolding holders and to install the serviced rudder.
The day before my dramatic wake-up alarm I arrived in Greece with my daughter after a five week visit to the States
Being back on the boat provided an instant feel of being at home, however the absence of water below the hull was weird. I’m not sure if you’ve ever stayed on a boat that’s not in the water?! It’s just not right.
Being exhausted after days of travel and a seven-hour time difference, I fell asleep and enjoyed the kind of rest you get only when you’re in your own bed. It was bliss.
In the morning, however, my husband wanted to give me as much opportunity to sleep as possible so he left me in bed rather than warning me about the crane. I’m still not sure if I’m happy about his decision or annoyed?!
Imagine living in a house for five weeks and then not only moving onto a boat, but moving onto a boat that’s not in it’s natural marine environment. And then imagine hearing and feeling noises/movements that are rarely associated with boating!
All that being noted, I must say that it’s great to be back on the boat – whether it’s in the water or not
The home for Britican in Preveza, Greece for a refit
It’s been a couple hours since my crazy awakening so I’m feeling less annoyed with hubby
Anyway, for over a month, my daughter and I spent time with my family in North Carolina. My mom, stepfather, brother and his family all live in the Raleigh –Durham area so while my husband managed the refit, us girlies spent time on land enjoying long hot showers, eating cheeseburgers and hot dogs in addition to spending as much quality time with our family as possible.
My daughter, Sienna, was offered a space at her six-year old cousins pre-school, so for a month she enjoyed her first taste of the American school system. The transition from her one-room 10-pupil class in Italy (Italian speaking only) to the massive school (hundreds of children) with state-of-art outdoor playground must have been an interesting one.
I was amazed to hear my daughter’s accent change from British to American so quickly!
Within days, instead of saying ‘water’ she was saying ‘waaader’ and rather than ‘lift’ it quickly became an ‘elevator.’
And instead of everything being ‘lovely’, life simply became ‘awesome’
As if Sienna had lived in America her whole life, she joined in with the neighbor kids running around the neighborhood, made new friends at school and acted like any other ‘normal’ child.
The biggest issue I faced was Sienna’s dislike for her baby cousin, Emma
Sienna’s beautiful cousin, Emma – 18 months old
For some reason, Sienna avoided my 18 month-old niece like the plague. Sienna announced, ‘I don’t like babies,’ and feeling embarrassed I didn’t know how to deal with such negativity. She ignored her cousin and at times I saw her push the baby aside. I couldn’t understand why she felt so strongly about babies – aren’t little girls suppose to love babies?!
Eventually I realized that Sienna was jealous
Instead of me being available all the time, there was someone else that took precedence over my little princess Sienna. Although I felt uncomfortable with her negativity I could see that Sienna and I were learning a massive lesson.
Through the course of our stay with my brother and family, Sienna had to learn how to not only share toys with her six year old and 18 month cousins but to also share me. There were times when she asked if I loved her more than her cousins and at one point, she threw a fit because I couldn’t leave the baby unattended to play with her.
At first I thought that all our time together on the boat had created a self-important, attention-seeking monster but then I realized that she’s just a child and it’s my job to help her learn a life lesson.
By the time our stay came to a conclusion, Sienna was a best friend with baby Emma
She learned how to share my time and enjoy baby playtime. The two girls took baths together, had tea parties and loved to chase each other around the house. Sienna also learned how to take responsibility for a younger child – too look out for the baby.
One of my worries about having an only child AND sailing around the world while homeschooling our daughter has been about socialabilty. When we started off I was terribly worried about my daughter making friends – or worse, even finding friends to play with in the first place.
My fear about Sienna’s socialabilty skills is gone
Sienna makes friends with everyone. She loves to take part in any activity and she eagerly goes up to children of any age and finds a way to get involved. Furthermore, since we started our epic sailing adventure over a year ago, we have yet to go more than a few days without finding new friends for Sienna to play with. (As a side note, before we left Sienna, at age 3 1/2 was very shy – that’s all changed now)
My fear about Sienna being an only child has reduced
No parent what’s their child to be a spoiled brat! Not only is Sienna an only child, but she’s with us all the time. I’ve been very concerned that she gets too much attention – when you live on a boat, you’re never very far if someone wants to find you!
Although I enforce ‘me-time’ by telling Sienna I can’t play and that it’s important for me to work, or take a nap or spend time with daddy, I’m still physically present if there’s ever an issue. Furthermore, she’s the only child – she’s the only one that get’s my undivided attention.
Our time at my brother’s house forced a great lesson upon us
Sienna learned that my love is always present even if I’m not. For me, the situation reinforced that children are quick learners – watching Sienna learn to share, reduce her expectations for me to physically be present all the time, and take responsibility for a younger family member was great to see unfold.
It’s been great to see Sienna make new friends so easily and now, after living through an episode with the green-eye’d monster, it’s been another fear reducer. Yes, I was horrified to see my daughter act so negatively towards her baby cousin but on the flip side I’m now very proud to see the transition that transpired.
So what does that have to do with my decision to say ‘screw-it’ to the rat-race in the hopes to find more fulfillment while sailing on the seas with my family? How is my plan to completely uproot my family in search of the most fulfilling life (for me and my family) going?
Hmmmm…let me start off with this…
I have loads of fears. I’m afraid of everything. Seriously, if you realized what a chicken I am about life you’d be very surprised. I’m scared of anything new – anything!
Concerning Sienna, aside from health and homeschooling I was very concerned about her socialabilty and overall character growth. Regarding socialabilty, as I’ve already mentioned, that fear is totally gone. My little 5 year old can talk to any person, any age, any race and in more languages than most – definitely in more languages than I can speak in!
I’m going to get a bit philosophical now
Regarding character traits such as kindness – well…I feel like life is providing me with opportunities to help mold Sienna’s character regardless as to our alternative lifestyle. I was worried about her becoming too dependent on me – becoming too accustomed to having all my attention. And what do you know, life throws up a blip (boat needing repairs and maintenance – hubby and I didn’t realize the amount of work needed), I arrange plans and “bam”, an opportunity comes along for me to teach Sienna about love, sharing, kindness, and so forth.
No, the lesson wasn’t learned on the boat, but it was learned nevertheless. By saying ‘screw-it,’ let’s go against the norm and live a life more in tune with what we think will bring us fulfillment we’re still traveling upon life’s path just as a ‘normal’ family would.
For some reason I thought our decision to sell up and sail away might provide problems for my daughter, but I’m now realising we’re going through the same things every other parent goes through.
Perhaps the key, whether you’re on land or water, is to be conscious of your fears – to be conscious of what you want to achieve – and then let life help you overcome them? Who knows?
All I can say is that I can scratch off one more fear on my fear board!
The more I look back upon our decision to take a massive risk and go out into the unknown, the more I feel that we get rewarded. Yes, life is scary for me…but life is also fulfilling. All my fears are right out in the open and although it’s hard to live through some things, like watching your child be mean to a baby, it’s allowing me to process and ultimately overcome my worries.
Because the world that I occupy is so unknown…because I am so far out of my comfort zone I feel as if my worries are thrown at me and I’m simply having to deal with them. I can’t hide from them at my 9 – 5 job like I did in the past.
I wonder if I’ll be fearless in ten years by the age of 50? (hehehehehe)
So, what’s next?
Well…the boat is on its final stages. The last update is that we’ll be in the water in two days! We still have new engine feet to install, some windows to be finished (the metal started to bubble up so it’s been sanded back and repainted) and the final adjustments to the rigging. But…the antifouling is done, both engines are completely in tip-top shape, new sails, new rigging, new running rigging, new engine bay insulation on all the walls, rudder serviced, bow thruster serviced, all the winches serviced…(the list goes on and on).
And it looks like we’ll be sailing to Sicily first to pick up some things we’ve had shipped there and then off to Malta. After that, we’re heading north and west…we have the Atlantic to cross this year – yikes!
Perhaps I can have a bit of a break from learning life’s lessons and just enjoy a nice long pleasant sail on the seas?!
The above is us sailing just outside Fiscardo, Cephalonia – Ionian Islands, Greece
Last week, the lovely Franz Amussen from MedSailor.com interviewed me – Franz came across the Zizoo.com article about the top ten sailing blogs, noticed I was one of them and then fired an email over to ask if I’d spend some time talking with him. (Read Zizoo’s article here: Top 10: Sailing and Travel Blogs)
My response to an interview was ‘of course,’ although I must admit I was a bit nervous
Why can I talk to anyone in a calm fashion but when it’s going to be recorded and available to hundreds or thousands to I feel nerves? (I’m such a scaredy cat!)
Anyway, there was nothing for me to be scared about – Franz is a great guy, And..
MedSailor.com is a great resource – especially if you prefer audio!
On the website you’ll find over 50 incredible interviews about the areas around the Mediterranean. You’ll find information on Greece, Italy, Spain Turkey, Croatia, French Canals and invaluable content on chartering a boat, anchoring, recommendations and lessons learned.
You’ll also find a variety of audio products that will help students prepare for the US qualification system: Bareboat Cruising Certificate (ASA 104), Basic Costal Cruising (ASA 103) and Basic Keelboat Certification (ASA 101). The products on offer are all audio based so if you like listening (rather than reading or watching), or perhaps have a long work commute AND want to gain more knowledge this might be the perfect learning option for you.
I don’t live in America anymore, but I believe you need the ASA 104 prior to chartering a bareboat (for a sailing vacation). A bareboat is a boat that you sail yourself to destinations of your choosing. Other sailing vacation options are to hire a boat and a skipper or doing a flotilla holiday. A flotilla holiday gives you the option to hire a boat, sail it by yourself however sail amongst several other boaters.
When my husband and I went on our first sailing vacation, my husband went on a 2-day sailing course in England offered by SunSail, a sailing vacation organization. After the 2-day course, we were able to join a flotilla. If we wanted to do a bareboat charter, there was another course we would have had to take.
We enjoyed flotilla vacations so much that we never tried the bareboat option!
Flotillas are a great way to see new places (the company organize the route), meet new like-minded people, and enjoy being a newbie sailor. Furthermore, flotilla companies often give the sailors one free night to go anywhere they want. It’s a great way to get started in sailing.
But I digress. Let me get back to the interview!
Franz asked me about all sorts. He enquired about how we got started, where we sailed last year (we did over 3300 miles!), where we’re going, what wintering in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily was like, information about mitigating the VAT sales tax, getting around the Med, cooking, homeschooling, the impact of our travels on my 5 year old daughter, my scariest sailing experience and MUCH MORE. The interview lasted almost an hour…
And talking to Franz was quite a lot of fun.
Before you link over to Medsailor.com’s website, a couple notes – the interview starts off with what sounds like a movie audio clip. At first, I wondered if I was listening to the right podcast, but after the clip, Franz talks about a leak in his cabin and an interest he has in angel investment. After about five minutes, the interview with me starts. If you want to fast forward five minutes, you’ll get right to the interview!
So…here’s the link to Franz’s website. When you arrive at the website, simply click the play button under the title, “Sailing in the Mediterranean Episode 55 Sailing Britican with Kim Brown” or click on Podcast: Play in new window. If you’d like to be notified of Franz’s latest interviews make sure to subscribe to his podcasts through iTunes.
This is part two of my top 12 day trips to take when visiting Sicily in the winter. If you haven’t read part 1, please start here: Top 12 day trips – Visiting Sicily in the Winter. In my previous article, I highlighted the first of five recommended day trips: Ragusa – Ibla, Punta Secca, Scicli, Catania and Mt Etna. Here are seven more:
6. Modica, Sicily, Italy
Modica is a great place to go for the day or night. We were fortunate to hit Modica during its annual winter chocolate festival. During December all the chocolatiers of the region get together and sell their delights. From one stand I purchased twenty different chocolate bars (Christmas gifts for friends back home) – my favorite being the chili chocolate.
As a whole, however, the chocolate isn’t that great
I’m comparing my chocolate experience to American and British chocolate so who am I to judge? Perhaps you can visit Modica and try the chocolate for yourself?
Aside from visiting chocolate vendors, you can watch chocolatiers create masterpieces! I was gob smacked to see what can be done with chocolate.
Whether the chocolate festival is going on or not, Modica is a great place to visit. There’s loads of history, amazing architecture and the surrounding landscape is amazing. Furthermore, there are several little boutiques, cafes and shops to enjoy during a stroll around the town.
10. Roman Villa, Sicily, Italy
The Roman Villa was always on our list of things to go visit but we wanted to wait until visitors from home joined us. We felt that it was one of those things that you’d only want to go to once so we waited for the right moment.
Just a few weeks ago, we had some visitors! We rented a car and took the two-hour trip from Marina di Ragusa to the Roman Villa – It’s listed on the map as the Villa Romana del Casale.
The villa was supposedly the hunting lodge of an important Roman official. It’s decorated with the world’s best-preserved and most extensive set of Roman mosaics in the world. (I always feel honored when I discover something that’s the worlds best, first or oldest).
Apparently, the mosaics were buried in a mudslide in the 12th century keeping them in tact.
So – if you like mosaics this is sightseeing destination not to be missed
My pictures will not do the mosaics justice but you’ll, at the very least, get an indication as to how preserved they are. The mosaic of the women in bikinis was not only in perfect condition but helped me to realize just how long bikinis have been in fashion!
And just a few last details: there is a tourist area that looks like a settlement camp, offering souvenirs and snack foods before entry. Once you’re in the villa, there is a cafeteria type offering. The cost of entry was 10 euros each with children going free. And although most children won’t find mosaics terribly amusing, the layout of the complex keeps everyone interested. There are several stair cases to go up and down, little nooks and see-through glass so small children can see everything.
11. Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
While living amongst 60 other liveaboard boaties at Marina di Ragusa, word spreads quickly regarding new restaurants, upcoming festivals and worthwhile day-trips.
Agrigento seemed to be a must-see destination for most boaties
Week after week I’d see photos of the Valley of Temples on my marina Facebook posts and at the marina bar, I’d overhear groups of people talk about the ruins and beautiful views.
Finally, the time came for us to join forces with another boat, the family on Cygnus III, rent a van and see the temples for ourselves.
Eleven of us clambered into a van and with my husband, Simon, at the steering wheel we set off for Agrigento. During the long trip (2.5 hrs) we sang songs (my daughter practiced the song, ‘Let it go,’ from Frozen), told jokes (most of which I didn’t get – I’m American and the rest of the car was British), and took a pit stop at McDonalds.
Yes, while touring Sicily we stopped at McDonalds
Heck, when you live in Sicily, it’s difficult to get anything other than pasta, bread, steak, etc. so when an opportunity comes up to sample the taste of ‘home,’ we sometimes take it.
We stopped in Gela at McDonalds, ate some grub and then I let my daughter play in the outdoor playground. She hadn’t finished her drink or fries so I kept them on the outdoor table with me. Having the need for the bathroom, I asked my friends to look after Sienna and I should have said, ‘look after her fries and orange juice too!’ As soon as I left the table a homeless man grab her food and started eating it. I wasn’t expecting that but at least the food when to a needy stomach.
After many side roads, crazy driving incidents and loads of laughs we barreled out of the car and started our sightseeing adventure.
The ruined temples are set on a rugged landscape backed by views of the sea
If you’re into temples, this day trip is well worth the car journey. We all spent hours walking around the Greek temples, old roads, gates and walls. Although you can’t go inside any of the temples, you can get very close.
To whet your appetite for Agrigento, here are a few photos:
12. Olive Picking
If someone forced me to choose my most favorite Sicily day-trip, I’d have to say that my olive picking experience topped all others. When my dear friend, Angelina, asked me to join six others for an olive picking day-trip, my immediate responded ‘Yes – Definitely count me in.’
Seven of us left Marina di Ragusa early on a November morning. With my American buddy and fellow cruiser, Kenny, at the wheel I was his copilot as we weaved ourselves through the curvy, narrow, hilly roads of southeast Sicily.
Our journey took less than two hours and was full of great conversation and anticipation for the day’s events. When we arrived at our destination, our hosts Paolo, Mila, and their two children graciously greeted us. Within seconds, I felt very welcomed.
After a quick tour of the country home and a bathroom break, Paolo led us towards the back of the house, down a path, along an orchard of nut trees (I think they were almonds) and through to the olive grove.
The air was fresh, the views were green and the mood amongst the cruisers was light and open. We were all excited to learn about the process of olive picking AND support a local farm by volunteering our time and energy.
As we approached the grove Paolo explained the history of his family and the land. He also described his philosophy about nature.
I wish I recorded his speech as it made my heart smile
Paolo explained that he likes to believe that each tree has a soul and needs to be taken care of accordingly. Giant olive farmers use machines that shake and bruise the olives during harvests whereas Paolo’s traditional methods call for hand picking.
From what I learned, bruised olives cause the fermentation process to start creating a less authentic and tasty end result. During our full day of olive picking, the cruisers and I used our hands to pick or pull the olives off allowing them to softy fall on green netting surrounding the tree. Four of us would work one tree at a time, carefully allowing the green olives to drop below.
Paolo taught us to always look before we took a step to avoid crushing an olive!
Once the olives were removed carefully from the tree we’d slowly pull the netting away allowing all the pickings to congregate in the center. We then slowly poured them into crates that would go to the olive oil press (within 36 hours).
After a few hours of picking, Paolo disappeared and then reappeared with one of the most amazing lunches I’ve ever had. On top of a couple crates, he laid out slices of fresh homemade bread covered in olive oil and fresh herbs in addition to cheese and meat. There was also a bottle of homemade red wine.
When I told my husband, Simon, about the experience I said that it felt as if I was eating nature. He laughed at me and called me a ‘dork,’ but I honestly felt as if I was experiencing a bit of history, evolution, authenticity, love and nature while eating the most simple foods.
Perhaps it was the glass of red wine after expending quite a bit of manual labor, but for a moment I felt so close to the people and land around me. I felt in love with life…in love with the simplicity of living.
It was a magical moment
After our lovely lunch, we all went back to picking olives. Each one of us shared stories, listened to each other talk and kept our ears open for anything Paolo had to say. His voice conveyed a sense of calmness and wisdom…Perhaps if he was speaking an unknown language I’d still want to listen to the sound of Paolo speaking?!
When bringing olives to the press there’s an optimal amount needed – too little won’t work and too much isn’t good either. My co-pickers and I strived to achieve the optimal picking amount. We couldn’t let Paolo down – could we?
The olive picking soon came to an end and we all helped to clean up and transport the olives to a vehicle. We were shepherded back to the farmhouse where Mila greeted us with a table set for a traditional Sicilian feast.
As we ate more fresh bread, olive oil, cheese and meats we were also served an amazingly tasty bowl of lentils. We also enjoyed some wine while Paolo and Mila answered questions, shared the details of their lives and discussed their plans for the future.
I felt so honored to be amongst my fellow cruisers and to have such an authentic experience – the day was bliss…the day was REAL…I felt so alive and so happy to be alive.
After dinner we all purchased some of the olive oil previously pressed from the grove and then headed to the press. I pictured a traditional stone wheel for the pressing but we arrived at a warehouse that had several connecting pieces of machinery. I notice the olive cleaning stations, and then I followed along to the press and mulcher thing…my eye followed further along until I could see a steal container with a tap allowing the fresh olive oil to finally be extracted.
Paolo took us around the machines and explained the process. We eagerly absorbed the experience and enjoyed gaining closure to the olive oil process. Picking olives was great but seeing the olives turn into olive oil made the whole event spectacular.
Night had arrived and it was time to head back to Marina di Ragusa. With Kenny at the wheel, we headed home. The car was full of energy even though we all felt slightly exhausted. A couple people sang for us, some told jokes and we all participated in fun conversation.
For €10, to cover the food served to us, and my time for one day I experienced an truly memorable event. If you ever find yourself in Sicily, please, please, please visit Paolo and Mila. The have a working farm and invite guests throughout the year to stay with them and experience traditional Sicilian life. I cannot recommend a visit more.
There website is: www.phantalica.org
Here are some photo’s from our special day:
Finally…the final day trips I suggest when visiting Sicily in the winter include Marzamemi, Noto and Syracuse.
But, let’s not just take my word about them. My cousin, Loryn, was able to join us when we first arrived in Sicily so read what she thought of these amazing places in her article: Exploring Noto and Syracuse
Side note: I just wanted to say ‘thank you,’ for reading my articles. I hope you gain something from them. If you have a question or are interested to learn more, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
These past couple weeks have been emotionally turbulent – overall I’d label my experiences as bittersweet. I thought that sailing around the world, and becoming a full-time cruiser, would present me with new friends, new experience and new memories.
Little did I know that I’d feel strong emotions such as sadness, loss and heartache during our around-the-world sailing adventure
Often, people reflect on sailing cruisers as people that sail into the sunset, drink gin and tonics on the deck and enjoy the good things in life. Those things do happen, but not nearly as most people think.
What I’ve discovered over this past year is that living a life on the sea is full of welcoming ‘hellos’ and many very sad heartbreaking ‘goodbyes’
Sure, I speculated that I’d make several new friends as we sail around the world. What I didn’t realize is that the friends I’d make would be so close. I didn’t understand that new relationships could provide such depth, warmth and love. And furthermore, I didn’t comprehend how hard it would be to leave my new friends.
From October to April, we lived on our boat in the Marina di Ragusa in Sicily, Italy. For six months I made new friends and many amazing memories with many of the liveaboards in the marina. (For more information read Marina di Ragusa Sicily Marina Review – Winter Season)
My family attended several marina events (happy-hour, parties, bus trips, excursions). My daughter went to an Italian pre-school. I made friends with several women – we would walk to town together, meet for coffees, make dinners, enjoy a meal out or simply sit at the beach and chat.
During my stay, I learned how to cook a variety of amazing meals. I gained a deeper insight on the life of a cruiser (from my veteran friends) and I felt a very strong connection to everyone in my environment. I felt safe…and even loved. I knew that if there was any sort of problem, I had a network of people at my doorstep (or shall I say passerel) that would help me with anything.
While the days leading up to our departure transpired, I had a ball in my throat, felt a constant level of anxiety and feared the future.
I wondered if I’ll ever be able to accept change with a totally open and brave heart?
Previous to leaving Marina di Ragusa after our six-month stay, I felt a variety of emotions. Even within the space of an hour I felt sadness, anger and even a tinge of excitement. And a whole bunch of other things too.
Reflecting back, outlined below is the range of feelings and emotions I went through prior to, during and after leaving our winter home. I created this article in the hopes that it might help you to be more prepared than I was.
Outlined below are the feeling and emotions I went through prior to departure:
– Sadness. Due to leaving so many great people and a place that I learned to feel ‘at home’. – Heartbreak. Leaving a few amazingly good friends pulled at my heartstrings. I know it might sound unlikely in such a short time, but I made a few friends at the marina that I know will be friends for life. We laughed together, cried together…shared our problems. In those short months I felt closer to my girlfriends than I did with friends I’ve had all my life. – Connection. During the lead up to leaving, I experienced more hugs over a couple days than I’ve had all year and they were all great hugs! In many cases I initiated the hugs, as I’m a hugger and not a kisser. Many people make fun of Americans for a whole range of valid reasons but I must say that we are a nation of great huggers (and hug initiators). I’ll take a hug any day over the European two-cheek air kiss! – Guilt. I couldn’t help feel like I should have made more of an effort to have spent more time with my marina friends. When I was hugging several people either I or the other person would say, we should have got together more! – Anger. Part of me felt angry about our lifestyle decision. At one point I became irritated that I choose a sailboat cruising life…I didn’t know how painful it would be to say goodbye. I didn’t realize how much my heart would hurt. At times I thought, I don’t want to make more friends if I’ll have to say goodbye! – Emotional. Watching my daughter’s Italian pre-school teachers visit us on the boat to say goodbye was tough. One of the teachers had so many tears that you couldn’t find dry spot on her face. It was so emotional! – Anxious. It’s our first sailing trip of the season – 40+ hours non-stop from Sicily to Greece. I thought…Will we actually be able to leave? Will the boat be okay? Will we get out of the marina? Will the weather be okay? Am I saying goodbye to all these people thinking we’re going to leave, but in actuality, we won’t be able to leave for another week or two (due to weather)? – Worried. Worried about how my daughter will adjust from going to having loads of very close friends around to none. At school she had friends, but she also made friends with a few English speaking children whom she became very close to. – Apprehensive. What about my seasickness? Will it come back in full force or will I pick up where I was last year… I was managing to get by without seasickness pills? – Overwhelmed. A massive workload of getting the boat prepared – clean up, stow away everything that’s been out for six months, prepare two home-cooked dinners (Chili con carne and chicken pie), buy provisions for the trip, and get meals/snacks ready for my daughter. Hubby had to get the running rigging on, put the new sails up, service the winches and make sure everything was ready to go. – Excited. We were moving on. We were heading to the next open door. Our Marina di Ragusa door was closing and it was sad, but when one door closes…
While the boat was leaving the marina…I felt:
– Relief. The heartache of knowing I was leaving started to lift as I didn’t have to think about it anymore. I was still sad but there was a sense of closure. I had spent a couple weeks knowing we might leave and it was hard to live in that space. Our departure provided me with the opportunity to know that I didn’t have to say goodbye anymore. – Nervous. I couldn’t help but wonder how my seasickness would play out (yes, I know I shouldn’t think that way, but it’s hard not to worry about it when you have a serious track record) – Free. Whenever I’m on the sea I feel a sense of freedom. There’s no Internet connection, no phones, no noise – other than waves hitting the hull, sails flapping in the wind and the bow breaking on the water. When we finally got our new sails up and the engine went off, I felt totally free.
To see the video I took as we left Marina di Ragusa, watch in on my Facebook page: Facebook/SailingBritican
Between leaving Sicily and arriving in Greece I felt:
– Sick. Sick. Sick. I couldn’t lift my head up off the bed despite taking an anti-seasickness pill. Fortunately, I didn’t puke, but I didn’t feel good either. The whole trip sucked. I definitely believe that stress makes seasickness come on faster and stronger. – Pleasure. Enjoyment found in eating the food I cooked and snacks. Out of the whole 40+ hours, I only felt a glimmer of happiness when I ate food. I’m now wondering how I’ll ever make it across the Atlantic (planned for this November)? I have noticed that as the season advances I get better at handling my seasickness. I still have hope. – Numbness. You’d think you’d have time to think when you’re seasick – right? You’re just laying in bed, often trying to drift off to sleep, thinking of things that might make you feel better. For me, I’d think of food. Otherwise, I’d think about what a sissy I am. I’m on an around-the-world sailing adventure and I turn green so freaking easily. How am I going to cope? Otherwise, I just felt numb.
While arriving in Greece, I felt:
– Excited. I was very happy to see the sight of land AND friends waiting for us on the jetty! The sights made my heart and body smile. (Read We’re not idiot’s abroad – we’re idiots on a boat! to discover how we made friends in Preveza, Greece) – Comforted. The view of a place I knew well made me feel comfortable. We’ve returned to Preveza, Greece, to have our rigging, antifouling, and other bits and pieces done. Our friends were on the jetty to meet us and my heart expanded with even more smiles. – Joy and relief. Our friend doing our rigging had his daughter with him! Mila, from Italy, has just turned 5 years old and looks just like Sienna (about to turn 5). Mila was on our boat within seconds of tying up. Since then, the girls have played on our boat twice, gone to the park and as I write this, Sienna is now playing on Mila’s boat. Last time we were in this area I had to take our dingy over to the town of Preveza and find friends for Sienna at the playground. It didn’t go so well…the children were sparse and the homeless person napping on the park bench didn’t want to play! My worries of Sienna being stranded in a marina without a friend was totally unfounded! – Forward looking. I’m not at Marina di Ragusa anymore so I’m not being reminded of the people that are no longer with me. Yes, I miss everyone, but on the flip side there are other things for me to focus on.
So, the moral to my story…Cruising life is full of ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’. And at times, the ‘goodbyes’ can be heart wrenching, HOWEVER, it’s well worth the pain. I spent six months developing wonderful relationships and the pain of leaving only lasted a few days. Furthermore, I’ll see many of my Marina di Ragusa friends again.
Over the past several days I’ve been crafting this article and it has taken quite a bit of time to pull out photos, write descriptions and relate personal stories. At first, I thought that my top 12 day-trips to take when visiting Sicily in the winter, would be quick and easy but it’s turned into quite a long piece.
I’ve broken the article down into two separate posts so the following information contains the first five day-trips
And before I begin, I must admit that it would be impossible for me to list the following day trips on some sort of scale. Every day trip is special in its own right so realize that each destination is special and deserves equal consideration.
Right…let’s begin – Visiting Sicily in the winter
If you’ve never been to Sicily before you might assume that it’s a small island. The most common comment we hear from friends visiting is, ‘Wow – I didn’t realize Sicily was so big!’
So…if you think you can see Sicily in a day, a week or even a month, you’re wrong
Being the largest island in the Mediterranean, the island stretches 160 miles east to west and 110 miles north to south
There are a few motorways however the bulk of the road system is country roads – filled with some of the 5 million crazy Italian drivers!
During our around-the-world sailing tour, been fortunate to stay in anchorages and moorings along the southeast and east coast of Sicily, with a six-month winter stay in Marina di Ragusa. Read Marina di Ragusa Sicily Marina Review – Winter Season
During our amazing time in Sicily, we’ve enjoyed the following top day-trips. Once again, please note that there is no order to this list.
1. Ragusa – Ibla, Sicily, Italy
For months I drove within close proximity to Ragusa Ibla visiting the ‘new town’ of Ragusa missing out on Ibla or the ‘old town.’ The new town has Lidl (discount grocery store), Decathalon (sports shop), Brico (Hardware store), some shopping malls and a small shopping area, or high street.
Along the high street there’s a tiny Asian supermarket. I mention this tid-bit as it’s impossible to get curry paste, noodles or Asian spices in the regular grocery stores in Italy. If you’re in need of a curry fix, the high street in Ragusa is the place to stop! The store is the size of a postage stamp but it provides many of the Patak curry pastes, noodles, coconut milk and dry herbs.
Moving on…from a distance, the old town stands out on a hilltop peninsula offering the common sight of Baroque styled buildings found in the region. Week after week, I’d say to hubby, ‘we really need to visit Ibla as it’s only 20km away!’
Finally, the day came for a family outing to Ragusa. My husband, Simon, my 4-year old daughter, Sienna, and I caught a bus from Marina di Ragusa and headed into Ragusa. To our delight, an Australian man, who lived in the area since the 70’s, gave us the in’s and out’s about the land, crops, history and interesting facts during our half-hour journey.
We had our own bus tour guide!
Upon arrival to Ragusa, we had to do our errands and get some passport photo’s taken. Afterwards, we could explore.
Walking from Ragusa to Ibla seemed impossible
Not feeling confident, neither Simon nor I would ask anyone how to get to the ‘old town.’ We walked around aimlessly looking for the ‘old town,’ but couldn’t figure it out. And we couldn’t find a bus to get there either!
After a mini-shouting match, and a meltdown from my daughter (yelling, ‘my feet are tired’) we finally went to a fruit stand and asked for directions. In sincere Sicilian fashion, the fruit stand owner closed up his shop, told us (with hand motions) to get in his car, and drove us to Ibla – the old town.
Through windy roads and massive inclines we arrived at a breathtakingly beautiful piazza
Later I was told that there’s a walk-way/stair-way from the new to the old down. Perhaps before you visit you can get a map?!
And as usual for us, we entered the town center during siesta time – everything was shut. That being noted, it was brilliant to explore the town alone. Aside from a few people walking with purpose we had a wonderfully quiet and peaceful bumble around.
There were no tourists, no open shops and no noise
My family and I breathed in the sights, smelled amazing aromas wafting from restaurant back doors and absorbed the damp, ancient, unsettled feeling from the narrow cobblestone streets. After the famous earthquake of 1693, half the population chose to rebuild on the ridge above (Ragusa) and the other half chose to renovate the old village (Ibla).
While walking around we noticed terracotta roof-tiled buildings, the Duomo at the heart of the town and a few Baroque facades. There’s also the portal to a pre-quake cathedral that still remains.
Eventually we ducked into the one open café and enjoyed some Italian delights – pizza and cannoli’s. We wanted to trial Ibla’s famous wine ice cream from a nearby parlor however our stomachs were too full. Perhaps next time?
Click on a photo and you can see an enlarged view. You can also hit the arrow on the right, once enlarged, to scroll through all the photos.
2. Punta Secca, Sicily, Italy
Just a bicycle ride down from Marina di Ragusa, you’ll find Punta Secca. If you’re an Inspector Monteblano fan (popular Sicilian TV drama), this is a definite costal spot to visit. Apparently, you’ll find the Inspectors home in addition to his coffee shop in Punta Secca.
When we first arrived to Marina di Ragusa I purchased the Inspector Monteblano DVD box set (ordered it in the UK and had it sent down to Italy) but I’m sad to say that our social life at the marina has kept us from watching any of the series.
Perhaps when we’re sailing in the Pacific I’ll have more free time?
Anyway, the bicycle ride along the coast is spectacular! There’s rugged rocks, wonderful sea views and interesting bushes, shrubs and flowers. Upon arrival to the small town, we found a lighthouse, coffee shop and several small little cafes and restaurants. The town also offers views of a tiny fishing marina.
Ironically, we ran into the our French neighbor
After four months of being next-door (or shall I say ‘next-boat’) neighbors, we sat down and enjoyed a cup of coffee together. Never before had we spent time actually getting to know each other. Up until then we’d always say ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’ but due to language differences we never had much of a conversation.
It’s funny how things happen like that – isn’t it? We all enjoyed our drinks, had light conversation and then we went back to our explorations. During the winter the coast road was quiet, the town was calm and the views (on a sunny day) are spectacular.
3. Scicli, Sicily, Italy
Similar to Ragusa, Ibla we drove past Scicli (pronounced, Shickley) several times. When driving to the town you can see it from the roadside and the view is spectacular. There are churches dotted around and a massive cemetery with mausoleum after mausoleum (the Sicilian’s don’t bury their dead in the ground).
My husband, a dear friend, and I took the morning off and did a bit of walking around Scicli one day. While my daughter was in school we played hooky! After a coffee, Italian pastries and a pleasant chat, the three of us walked around the back streets, climbed a hilltop trail and enjoyed the views.
While walking around, my friend, Angelina, said, “I must show you the storm drain – it’s the largest drain I’ve ever seen.”
We walked some more and when we came upon the drain I was in awe. I did take a picture, but I’ll let you find it for yourself. After seeing the drain I assumed that some serious water must filter through the town during storms.
During a second visit, we managed to get caught in a rainstorm!
The streets filled with water and there was no way you could walk or even drive through the flash flood. I wasn’t near the drain to see how high the water rose but I’m sure it looked like a raging river!
Check out some of the snaps I took in Scicli – obviously, there’s much more to see than the storm drain! It’s well worth a visit – there are some nice restaurants, bars, coffee and sweet’s shops! On my Facebook page, you can watch a video of Scicli (new window will pop up) too!
4. Catania, Sicily, Italy
Of the cities I’ve been fortunate to explore, my favorites include San Francisco, London and Catania – yes, Catania is on my list of most loved cities! When we first arrived in Sicily, a year ago, we spent a couple weeks getting repairs done in Catania.
And since our long stay we’ve been back to Catania (by car) more than ten times!
Fortunate for us, we made friends with some lovely Italians/Sicilians that live in Catania so we were able to enjoy non-touristy eateries, local ‘tours.’
For example, I know about the man-hole cover that can be removed and fished from – apparently, a fresh water river runs under the city and locals know how to catch fish from it! My family and I have had the opportunity to try horsemeat – marinated in a traditional sauce and grilled over an open flame (It was amazing). We’ve also enjoyed ducking into old buildings and have been given a personal guided tour on the architecture, uses and current standing of a variety of places!
But regardless as to whether or not you get a local tour of Catania, the city is amazingly beautiful
The churches are ornate, the university buildings are seeped in history and the main road leading up to Mount Etna is special.
When I first walked around the city I saw quite a bit of graffiti, grim and dirt but after several days my first observations changed. The graffiti and dirt seemed to fade away and I saw the city with new eyes. Catania is like nothing I’ve seen before – it has a special feel to it…a feel I enjoyed feeling over and over!
Here are some of my photo’s from Catania:
5. Mount Etna
You can see Catania and Mount Etna in the same day however it’s a LONG day. I would suggest a couple day trips to Catania or a weekend stay. We’ve been up the volcano a few times now and each time has been a different experience.
The first time we ventured to the lookout point was in April and there was no snow. It was numbing cold and extremely windy but no sign of the white stuff. At the lookout point you can opt to take a gondola to a higher lookout point or walk around and spend time in a massive crater.
The gondola ride was around 80 euros each so we decided the view we had was good enough. There’s no way to get to the actual summit so the need to be higher with a lighter wallet didn’t appeal to us.
The key to seeing Etna is getting a day when the sun is out and there are limited clouds. More times than not, Catania is covered in clouds, so if you take the curvy road up, you’ll get out and view clouds rather than the city, sea and awesome valley.
One time during February, we went up and couldn’t get to the lookout point – the road was covered in snow. We couldn’t see anything either. That being noted, we had a great snowball fight and enjo
After spending six months in Marina di Ragusa Sicily living aboard our boat, I have quite a bit of feedback about the marina and surrounding area. Please note, however, that this marina review is about ‘wintering’, or staying put in the marina for the full winter season (October to April). More about Marina die Ragusa Sicily review winter season…
It’s not about Marina di Ragusa during the summer, which from what I’ve been told, is a whole different kettle of fish
Apparently, during the summer months, the prices go up, the beaches are jam-packed and there’s lines at every café, restaurant and bar. During the winter, MdR is inexpensive, the beaches are calm and there is never a queue at the café’s!
That being noted, my overall experience of Marina di Ragusa will most definitely be remembered as one of my life-time highlights
I’ve never met such a wonderful community of caring, kind, open-minded and helpful people EVER. I’ve never spent six months in such a lovely surrounding – with beautiful beaches, amazing food and memorable experiences.
Our friend, Admiral Stefano, made a new leather wheel cover for our boat while at Marina di Ragusa
Usually, on my marina reviews I go through a similar format detailing customer service, facilities, noise levels, community, surrounding area and so forth but for this review I felt compelled to do a brain dump about the positives and negatives of Marina di Ragusa. There’s so much to say…that I had to just let it dump from my head (and heart) onto the page.
And speaking of ‘negatives’ – the positives far outweighed them!
So…if you’re surveying all the possible ‘wintering’ spots in the Mediterranean – perhaps you’re considering Malta, Crete, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal… Well, here’s my account of Marina di Ragusa Sicily. Maybe this will help you make a decision?!
The positives of Marina di Ragusa
– Safe, secure, sheltered mooring. The pontoon and lazy-lines are well maintained. There is very little surge within the harbor and only when the wind is seriously blowing does the boat move around.
– Great facilities: clean modern bathrooms with hot showers, meeting rooms, café, restaurant, office/services (car hire, etc.), laundry, gym, chandlery, shops.
The restaurant within the marina at Marina di Ragusa, Sicily
– Excellent customer service – office attendants were very kind, courteous, and quick to help with any matter. Marina technicians were fast to act when issues arise. For example, when the power went off on our pontoon, a technician would arrive in minutes to find a solution.
– Clean and tidy pontoons, boardwalks and common areas – flowers, palm tree’s and well maintained walkways.
– Cost for ‘wintering’ was very competitive with the rest of the Mediterranean.
The view of the marina from the back of our boat
– The weather during the winter in Sicily – well…that’s a difficult one. We just lived through what’s been noted as the worst winter in 50 years. We’ve had a lot of rain and wind. And from time to time we get the winds from the Sahara desert that drop red sand all over the boat. That being said, when the sun does come out and the wind stops, people are often in t-shirts. It seems like the weather is good up to December and then January through March it’s cold, wet and windy more so than sunny and calm.
– The social opportunities within the live-aboard community were amazing. Every morning at 9am a VHF radio broadcast went out announcing weather reports, social activities, items wanted or for sale and any other business. And if there were any medical or safety emergencies they were discussed and dealt with quickly.
A funny sign along one of the side streets in Marina di Ragusa
– Social activities, all arranged by the live-aboards, included two weekly happy hours (starting at 6pm at the Stellar Bar and/or Marina Bar), happy hookers (knitting, crochet, craft morning), writers circle, coffee afternoons, Tai Chi on the beach, Yoga, fitness instructors, running, planned trips (to Ragusa, Catania, festivals), olive picking trips, pot luck, pizza and movie nights in addition to weekly talks on photography, diesel engine maintenance, cruising around Turkey and more. Furthermore, Christmas and New Years parties were a blast! (Read about my top 12 day trips to take in Sicily during the winter here)
Live-aboard at Marina di Ragusa enjoying one of many open-mic nights at Stellar Bar
– An eclectic mix of nationalities all interested in sharing customs and traditions. We had over 15 different nationalities and celebrated American, Dutch, Irish, English, German holidays/festivities.
– An abundance of help, knowledge and know-how was always available. If we had an issue or needed a special tool we’d just put out a radio message and within minutes help or the tool would arrive. Never in my life have I felt so connected and close with a community.
The view from the boardwalk next to the marina
– The town of Marina di Ragusa is lovely – a car-free boardwalk along the beach and town square made walks and bicycle rides very pleasurable. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see and is dotted with fresh water showers, restaurants and café’s (not all open for the full winter season).
– Several great restaurants and café’s remain open all winter long.
– There is one large supermarket (EuroSpar) and two discount supermarkets (ARD and MD), a market every Tuesday with fresh fish, roasted chickens, veggies, meat and housewares offerings. There is a butcher in the square and several bakeries dotted throughout the town.
My daughter, Sienna, enjoying some food and the sun in March
– For children, aside from the beach, there is a large playground, a small indoor play gym with an arts and crafts room (3 euros/hour) and the whole square to mix and mingle with boatie and local children. Every late afternoon families and parents sit around the square and the children run around playing for hours. Furthermore, there’s a pre-school that takes boat kids in addition to standard schools with openings.
– The local’s are AMAZING. Horatio, the fisherman, took me and a friend out so we could see what it’s like to go fishing (see Come fishing with me on a traditional Sicilian fishing boat – VIDEO). A family welcomed a group of us into their home and olive farm to teach us about olive picking and the authentic life of Sicilians. The family at the Stella Marina Bar constantly fed us snacks during happy hours, Rugby games and events…in addition to helping with airport pick-ups and arranging open-mic nights. The servers at the bakeries always greeted us with big happy ‘Ciao’s’ and remembered how we wanted our coffee’s made. The attendants at the supermarket went out of their way to help us figure out the code system for weighing veggies… and much more. We also had a local farmer bring us organic produce every Monday – the veggies were out of this world! If we ever forgot our money, we were always told to ‘just pay us later… ‘ Furthermore, during holidays the community have a variety of events that take place. As foreigners, we were always invited to take part in any event.
The Sicilians took us in with open arms and always made us feel welcome
– The Comiso airport is only 25km away from the marina and Catania Airport is only 1 ½ hours away making the marina a great place to come and go from.
A video of a spectacular sunset over Marina di Ragusa
– The town of Ragusa, 20km away, has everything you could ask for – a massive hardware store, malls, grocery stores, Lidl’s and more. And in Catania, you’ll find an Ikea and anything else that you can’t get in Ragusa. (Buses take you from MdR to Ragusa and from time to time the live-aboards plan day-trips to the town).
– Day trips out are plentiful. Just to name some within a two hour car journey from the marina are: Noto, Syracuse, Catania (Mount Etna), Villa Romana del Casle (Roman Villa), Agrigento (Valley of the Temples), Modica (where Chocolate was invented in Italy), and loads of beach stops, castles, agritourism (eat or buy farm products from the farm), hikes, horse riding and much more.
Beef fillet at Marina di Ragusa
– Have I mentioned food yet? It’s Italy and I haven’t mentioned food! All the food you eat at restaurants and buy in the stores is often local. You can often get everything you need from local farmers. Everything that’s in season is very inexpensive and plentiful. The beef fillet is special in the Ragusa area – give it a try for yourself. I found it to be exquisite. And, of course, there’s loads of fresh fish.
– Cost of living in the area – if you don’t eat out, it’s very inexpensive.
– Public transport is great. There are buses that go to anywhere you’d want to go. They, however, don’t operate on a Sunday.
The negatives of Marina di Ragusa
– The walk to the bathroom from the furthest pontoon can take about 15 minutes (25 minutes with a child).
– The chandlery has a very limited stock and we found it far quicker and less expensive to order pieces/parts from other parts of Europe and have them shipped to us at the marina. For some reason the staff don’t seem interested in making any money (and I wouldn’t make that statement from my own experiences only – it seems a consensus amongst the whole community!)
– The cost for having a lift-out or any work done on the boat (out of water) is extremely high in comparison to other areas in close proximity. For example, a lift-out for our boat in MdR was quoted in the 1.000’s, whereas a lift-out in Preveza, Greece cost less than half of that.
– The electricity went out often. In many cases, the whole down of Marina di Ragusa went out. In other cases, it was just our pontoon. Every time it rained pontoon M lost electricity. Mostly, the electricity was often on within a few minutes to a few hours so although it was an inconvenience if we were in the midst of cooking (with electric), in most instances it didn’t bother us.
– The weather did get quite extreme. We had warnings of water spouts/tornados and when the rains came there was quite a bit of flooding. And when I say flooding I mean water rushing down from the higher grounds along the roads and causing serious waterfalls into the sea. You wouldn’t want to be walking, riding a bike or even driving a car during some of the floods we witnessed.
– Getting around – you really need a bike or scooter. To get to the main grocery store, it’s quite a hike up a hill. Most live-aboards have bikes with attachment baskets to collect groceries and supplies. This really isn’t a negative unless you don’t have a bike or don’t want to get one! Note: There’s a Decathalon sports shop in Ragusa (20km away) and they sell the fold-away bikes for 100 – 300 euros.
– It’s impossible to buy a car in Italy and leasing costs too much. Most live-aboard’s simply rent a car when they need it – either from the Marina or from the local airport. Rental’s from the airport are far cheaper but you have to take a bus to get there.
So, as I mentioned at the beginning, wintering at Marina di Ragusa has been an incredible experience for my husband, 4-year-old daughter and I.
We will hold the time we spent here dear to our hearts
The friends we made will last the test of time. The memories will be etched in our minds forever – My daughter, Sienna, singing Frozens, ‘Let it go,’ at the open-mic night, trick or treating on the pontoon, playing Rummykub on our friends boat, enjoying a snow-ball fight wearing t-shirts up on Mount Etna, doing runs to Lidl to get cheap wine and cheddar cheese, picking olives and then watching the process of turning them into olive oil, fishing with nets, watching my daughter run free along the beach with all the other children, having visitors join us on the boat from home, the amazing conversations had at the Stella Marina Bar…and even the tears some of us shed. Tears of missing ‘home’ and family. Tears about not knowing ‘what’s next.’
My daughter, Sienna, singing Frozen’s ‘Let it go,’ with help from Samantha
Through the good and the not-so-good, our time at Marina di Ragusa has certainly been fulfilling
It hasn’t always been easy – we’ve had many repairs, I’ve felt lost and ‘stuck’ at times and I still go through phases where I’m scared about how our daughter will adjust to moving again… HOWEVER, I’ve never felt so alive in my life.
In summary, I highly recommend Marina di Ragusa for wintering. The facilities, attendants, community and surrounding area are fantastic. I, however, at this time, suggest you consider alternative locations for out-of-water work (such as antifouling). Several boaties winter in MdR and then sail to another destination at the beginning of the season, get their work done and then carry on.
Perhaps in years to come, MdR will become more reasonable with boat maintenance?! If they do, it will certainly be an even more amazing place.
Let me leave you with some photo’s I took over the winter season… Click on them to see a larger view. I hope you enjoy ?
Finally, for more information about our time spent in Marina di Ragusa, please read the following articles. All of them were written during our stay at the marina and will provide you with even more information on our time spent in Sicily:
Living aboard a boat in the Mediterranean during the winter – what’s the scoop?
My journey of living full-time aboard a sailboat has hit the 7th month – how does it feel?
Live-aboard boat communities – when you return home for the holidays you’ll realize just how special the live-aboard lifestyle really is
Briticans Captain Simon Brown – A Video Interview from Marina di Ragusa
Ten months of living on our sailboat full time – Do I have tears of joy or tears of sadness?
Has the decision to sell up and sail away impacted my quality of life or not?
First of all – is it possible to make money while sailing around the world?
Yes – it’s definitely possible to make money while living and traveling around the world on a boat. But the question is, just how much can you make and how can you make it?
At the time of writing this, I’ve been living on our sailboat in the Mediterranean full time for the last year. I’ve met a variety of people doing an assortment of things to make money (and find ways to minimize the amount of money that’s spent).
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR 2017: This article has been updated since originally posted in 2015. At the time of writing I had only one year of experience making money while sailing. The article below is still worth reading but if you want more more in-depth information and ideas to get your brain ticking, please request my Free Guide, ‘How to make money while sailing around the world’ (another window will open).
Before talking about making money, many readers first ask me how much it actually costs to maintain and live on a boat
And there’s really no quick answer to that question. Some boat ‘experts’ quote that the cost of living is around 20% of the value of the boat (per year) but we will never come close to spending that figure.
The cost of food, boat repairs/maintenance and living expenses vary greatly depending on where you are and how you do things. For example, in Thailand you can have your teak deck replaced at a fraction of the cost of what it costs in Europe. In the Med you can get your boat hauled out of the water and antifouled for 250 euros in Tunisia versus 2000+ euros in Sicily (they’re only 160 miles apart).
Once you start sailing around for a bit, you’ll start to learn the tricks of the trade
You’ll discover how to avoid the tourist super markets and find the one’s that the locals use. You’ll learn what country to sort out your VAT bill. You will also gain information about what marina to hit for out-of-water jobs and how to find boat service people for inexpensive prices.
In the Med the first thing that any boater asks upon arrive to a new port is, ‘where is the closest Lidl’? If you haven’t heard of Lidl, it’s a discount grocery store. Lidl is, by far, the least expensive shop to get your groceries and all us boaters rejoice when there’s one nearby. (Yes, I know that’s sad!)
But this article isn’t about the cost of living full time aboard a boat
This article is how to generate an income while enjoying the live-aboard lifestyle, so let me get into the make money while sailing information.
But before I list all the ways you can sail around the world let me give you an indication of the type of boaters I’ve met. There are the millionaire’s on one side of the spectrum. Then there are the very low budget sailors on the other.
The millionaires don’t seem interested in making money for obvious reasons
And the low budget sailors focus on saving money and living within their budget rather than making money. The millionaires have crew, often stay in marina’s and for food you’ll see a helicopter fly in to deliver the fresh Main lobster.
The low-income sailors tend to do everything themselves and I mean everything from sailing to maintenance to repairs. They always anchor. They often eat canned meat, fish they’ve caught and anything found on the clearance section of the supermarket. Low-income sailors are often not interested in making money – they seem to thrive on not spending money. This is not a bad thing…
And then there’s us folk in the middle
We’re not necessarily on a low budget; rather we have a bit of savings to help us out for a while. And perhaps we have an income through pensions, rental income or investments. But the cash flow isn’t always guaranteed OR it’s not necessarily enough to keep us feeling secure for the long term.
For me, personally, I have a bit of money in the bank and some pensions that won’t come into effect for another 15 to 20 years. I think we can last for five to ten years but towards the end we’ll really have to watch the pennies.
And that’s of course if we don’t have any major disasters!
I’d rather not have to watch the pennies – I’d rather have a way to generate and build up a variety of cash flow sources. A little bit of money from a lot of sources sounds like a good plan to me.
That being said, here are some ways that I make money while sailing around the world and how I’ve learned about others who are doing the same.
We have to find a way to afford the upkeep on our expensive teak deck!
1. Work for six months and then sail for six months
Now that I know about this option I wish I knew about it before we left for our world adventure! I had no idea that people worked during the winter months and then took six months off to sail around the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Looking back, I think that would have been a better way to ease into the live-aboard lifestyle.
While sailing around the Ionian Islands we met a few men, aged between 24 and 54, that had consultancy type jobs in England for the winter. They’d work November to April and then fly down to the Mediterranean, put their sailboat in the water and sail from May to October. Their consultancy job paid for their work/sail lifestyle. One guy I met rented out his house while he was gone. Ultimately, he actually made money while he was sunning himself in the Greek Islands.
I also met a guy that with three other friends are all sailing around the world season by season. They work during the winter and then they sail as far as they can get every summer. When the summer is over, they find a marina, pull the boat out of the water and return the following season. Isn’t that a great idea?!?!
2. Find a work-from-‘home’ job
The work-from-home trend is still on the increase. I imagine it will exponentially increase. More and more companies see the value in having employee’s work from home. There are a couple of people in the marina, that I’m in now, that appear to work from home but they’re really working from their boat.
I have to say that having an Internet and/or a good phone connection can often be hit or miss, Technology, however, is getting better and better every day. If you can find a home-based job, and there are loads out there, there’s nothing stopping you from working and sailing.
3. Consultancy – on land
If you have the skills to do consultancy – perhaps a past record of success in a particular field – you can potentially pimp yourself out (infrequently) to do some consultancy projects.
There is a woman eight boats down from me that jets up to England every few months. She does some consultancy work and earns a bit of cash. The woman then flies back to the boat to enjoy the live-aboard community. It’s not something I would want to do, but heck, it works for some.
4. Consultancy – on the sea
Again, if you have a set of skills that do allow for consultancy, the possibility exists to set up an online consultancy service. There’s a photographer in Greece I stumbled upon that teaches other photographers how to make money online.
If you have a skillset and are happy to offer your experience it’s definitely not rocket science to create an online service offering. Yes, it might be time consuming and it might be a steep learning curve, but loads of people offer consultancy services online so why can’t you?
5. On-line project based work
If you can write, edit, design, program, transcribe, research, and any other work that can be done online, you can find thousands of opportunities on the Net. Check out websites like elance.com (now called Upwork.com) just to get an idea on online projects. For this particular website ‘clients’ post a job that they want completed and you can bid on the job. If you win, you fulfill the requirements and then get paid.
A great online work opportunity for designers is Design Crowd. A ‘client’ posts an outline of what they want. You can decide to create a design and if you ‘win’ the project you get the money on offer.
Elance.com (Upwork.com) and DesignCrowd.com are just two of hundreds of online project based work opportunities. As long as your work can be completed over the Net you’ll be sure to find opportunities to serve people and companies around the world.
6. Services aboard or near the boat
I’m often amazed at boaties that come to me asking for advice on how to make money. Usually they know some sort of trade and don’t consider offering it to the boating community.
For example, I met a lovely live-aboard named Pam. She was desperate to make a little extra cash so she could enjoy a night out with her hubby every now and again. When I asked her about her past work engagements she said she was a hairdresser.
Within a couple hours I convinced her to offer her hairdresser service. We made flyers for her to hand out while at anchor and in marinas. She’d send around flyers, give out a VHF channel that she monitored and make boat calls when requested.
Since I last spoke to her she was earning over 250 euros a week and enjoying a couple nights out with her hubby.
The list of things you can offer on and from a boating environment are limitless, but just to name a few:
Taxi driver (while holed up at a marina for the winter, you can make money by renting a car and taxiing marina guests and friends to and from the marina)
IT Geek (Every marina has one of these around and they’re invaluable!)
7. Services within the world of boating
Over the year I’ve met several boat people that are always happy to help out with boat maintenance and repairs. Some people want a nice home cooked dinner and others want a bit of cash for beer. The cool thing about being a live-aboard is that the longer you live aboard the more you learn how to do things that other people will pay you for! Here are just a few examples:
Boat handling (teaching)
I think a good point to make is that no boatie seems to be out to make money. Everyone is out to fill their time doing things they like AND perhaps get something of value in return. For one boatie it might be a home cooked lasagna and for another it might be 20 euros to spend at the happy hour.
Living the boating lifestyle has nothing to do with making loads of money. I does, however, have everything to do with enjoying the fulfillment that living aboard a boat brings.
8. Charter the boat out
This is an interesting area. Hubby and I looked into this and setting a boat up legally for charter is not cheap. You need to have the boat ‘coded’ – that means that you have to have X amount of in-date fire extinguisher’s, bungs on ever stopcock, massive amounts of safety systems and on and on.
That being said, we were told that we could charge over 40k euros to charter our anchored boat in Monaco for a weekend during the Grand Prix (so, perhaps, in some cases, it might be worth getting the boat coded?)
From what I’ve discovered, however, many boat owners charter their boat in an under-the-radar fashion. In other words, they offer some sort of charter service illegally. This is not something I’m necessarily suggesting…I’m just saying that quite a few people do it. Some options include:
Sort out a charter company to rent your boat out
Allow others to take your boat out privately
Take others out yourself
Do day-trips for tourists
9. Products from the boat
So…are you a crafty creative person? I’d like to think I am but everything I make looks like something my daughter came up with (she’s 4 years old). Me aside, there are loads of amazingly talented knitters, jewelry designers, bakers and craft creators out there on boats.
Several of the crafty boaties make things for themselves, or family members, but there are a few that create goods to sell.
Jewelry is a great option. With limited space on a boat, jewelry doesn’t take up a huge area and as long as you’re making quality goods, sales can really add up.
And I have a personal tale on this option
I make and sell Britican Galley Herb & Spice blends on our boat and online. I get the raw bulk ingredients from ‘local’ herb and spice manufacturers – mostly organic. Then, I mix the spice blends, package them (using bags and printed card labels from my printer), and create recipes and galley recipe videos for the blends for boaties to enjoy.
Note: my YouTube Britican Galley recipes channel is different from my main SailingBritican channel. If you want to catch a glimpse into what it’s like to live on Britican, check out some of our 70+ videos here: YouTube.com/SailingBritican
When I first started sailing I realized that there’s a massive lack of space in the galley. On land I had cupboards filled with different spices. When I moved onto the boat I had to be picky. Instead of having all the spices necessary for chicken soup, a chicken roast, chicken salad, etc. I simply combined several spices to make a chicken blend. Instead of having jars of basil, oregano, parsley, sage, garlic, lovage, turmeric and bay leaf (all the spices that work perfect with chicken) I combined them all into one jar.
Reflecting on the type of food we eat, I then had a blend made for beef, seafood (obviously), Italian dishes and Greek dishes.
My sales force (hubby and my daughter) take the dingy out or walk around the marina asking if there’s any interest and we get loads of sales. And once someone tries one of my blends, they come back for others and the word quickly gets out!
Note: I shouldn’t say ‘my blends,’ as they’re my mom’s blends! Back in NY she started an amazing company over fifteen years ago and I’ve just taken her blend recipes and rebranded her product as mine (‘Thank you mom!’)
I just wanted to include this idea as it’s not rocket science to come up with something of value that people will want to buy. As long as you create a product that adds value people will be interested. In my case, I help people to quickly and easily add amazing flavor to their galley dishes ☺
10. Products online
Okay…this is a big area – so big that I could write a book on it, so watch this space! This is the area where I’m focusing most of my efforts on and hopefully I can share some practical ideas with you.
When you’re sailing around the world, it’s a great idea to either create products or discover local products to sell back on the homeland HOWEVER there’s a serious shipping issue. Shipping anything from one country to another costs so much that often the buyer fails to buy when they see the shipping fees. Furthermore, if you’re like me and in Greece or Italy, it’s questionable if the recipient will ever get a shipment!
That being said, I’ve decided to sell items from various bases in my two ‘homelands’ – America and England.
Let me explain
First, there are my mother’s spices that I’ve rebranded as ‘Britican Galley.’ Not only do I make and sell them from the boat, I also have my mom make and sell them from America on my behalf. And I also have a friend in England blend, package and ship them in the UK.
I sell my herb & spice blends on a website called Etsy. Etsy is a marketplace for homemade and handmade goods. Click here to see my spice blends on Etsy here: Britican Galley.
Click on the picture to visit my shop and view my herb and spice range ?
So, I’ve essentially found a product that I’ve ‘white labeled’ as my own and have the manufacturer (my mom) take the order and fulfill it from the States (and my friend from the UK).
I’ve also utilized a really cool thing called ‘Dropshipping’
There’s all sorts of dropshipping companies. These companies offer products for you and I to sell on our websites. We collect the money, the dropship companies stock the product and do the fulfillment. Dropshipping is a dream come true if you can find good products!
If you look at my online store, you’ll see that I offer a line of sexy sailing t-shirts for women. I had the designs created on Elance.com (now called Upwork.com) and then found a t-shirt printer/fulfillment company that fulfills in the US and UK. When someone buys a t-shirt from one of my stores, I simply forward the order to the t-shirt company, they print the t-shirt and then ship it to the end client.
Click on the picture to view my latest designs
I take the money for the t-shirt and then pay the t-shirt company for the order
It’s a great system. I’d like to say that I make a big profit from the t-shirts, but I don’t. I’m lucky to make a few dollars, euros, pounds. These t-shirt fulfillment companies are not cheap, however, I have no stock, no delivery headache and…if the t-shirts do start to sell (in a big way) I can get more printed in bulk and reduce my costs.
Check out my Etsy shop to find out the other products I sell online. Aside from herbs & spice blends and t-shirts, I have nautical jewelry, marine pillow cushions, sexy sailing sarongs, trendy adjustable sailing belts and more. Visit: Etsy.com/shop/SailingBritican
Now…let me take about books
I didn’t intend to publish a book at first. Heck, I simply started to collate a little booklet of VHF templates so that I had a reference manual for our nav station. In fact, I went to Amazon to see if I could by a VHF template book – something that had the MAYDAY, Pan-Pan, Securite, requesting medical advice, etc. wording – and I couldn’t find anything.
So…I created a book of what to say if X happened. And X was anything from a MAYDAY to how to deal with a situation when a child accidentally pushes the MOB button! I wrote my little book and then when visitors saw it, they asked for a copy.
One thing led to another and I decided to publish it on Amazon
I got my cover done on Design Crowd, I created the content and within a couple days the hard copy and Kindle version were up for sale. To my amazement, I’ve had several sales and I haven’t actively promoted the book yet!
If you click on the picture you can view the book for sale at Amazon.com
Note: Aside from this book, I also have one titled, ‘Checklists for Sailors – Passage Planning, Sailboat Maintenance, Cleaning, Medical and More: Making it easier to enjoy sailing your sailboat‘ (Link to Amazon.com will open)
So…books are a GREAT opportunity to create on a boat that you can then sell to the world. There’s no stock and there’s no need to fulfill the product – Amazon does everything for you.
There are also opportunities to create partnerships with people that sell products you want to promote or you can become an affiliate. You promote the product and a company will pay you a percentage of all sales. Furthermore there are fulfillment houses that will hold your products and ship them for you.
Perhaps you’re massively creative, have some great ideas for products and want the world to know about them. Yes – you can create a product, get it manufactured, find a place that will stock and ship it for you.
Just because you’re sailing around the world doesn’t mean that you can’t use your brain to create an empire! Right?!
Anyway, this article is getting way long.
What’s my point?
Well…if you’ve decided to not live your dream of sailing around the world (or anything for that matter) because you can’t figure out how to make an income, SHAME ON YOU!
No…I don’t really mean ‘shame on you.’ It’s not easy to know what you don’t know. My point is…don’t sit back and let life pass you by because you can’t afford to do what you want to do.
There are always ways and means to ‘live the dream’ – make money while sailing
You just have to have a vision and believe in yourself. Take little steps every day to get what you deserve. And you know what? We all deserve a good life!
I’ll stop there. If you want any further information, please email me. If you find value in my articles, please support me by purchasing a produce from my online shop.
And if you’re very serious about buying, owning, and maintaining a sailboat checkout my shop here. It’s an ever growing online shop of quick, hard-hitting, no-nonsense, no salty sea-dog sailing terminology, results-driven guides.
Finally, as mentioned at the top of this article, I have an updated version of this article. The update accounts for three years of making money while I sail rather than just my first year. I know far more now than I knew when I wrote this. Get the free report, ‘Make money while sailing around the world.’