Herb & Spice Blends for Sailors

Introducing the Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends for sailors.

Use one tablespoon in stocks, stews, soups, sauces. Sprinkle on meats, fish, poultry and pasta. Blend in marinades and salad dressings or butter and cheese spreads. Professionally blended to take the guesswork out of what herbs and spices go best with what dishes, 1 Tablespoon will turn a mediocre meal into a gourmet one. (Skip reading and go straight to buying – purchase some Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends click link and a new window will open)

Britican Galley Herbs and Spices

Britican Galley Herbs and Spices

Here’s the reason why these herb and spice blends are a must for sailors:

  • The meals taste excellent! Instead of just making a bland meal, the Britican Galley herbs and spice blends help to add a great depth of flavor. The turn a mediocre meal into a gourmet one.
  • They take up very little space. Instead of having a limited range of several spices you can have a variety of blends that cover almost all types of meals.
  • The containers are plastic so there’s no risk of a glass breakage.
  • They stack easily.
  • Using the blends makes meal preparation faster (rather than try to measure out ¼ teaspoon of this and a ½ teaspoon of that, you just have to add 1 tablespoon of a blend and you’re done! Or, you can just sprinkle the amount you want right from the jar).
  • They’re healthy! Herbs and spices have a long history of providing numerous health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, easing digestion, and many more…
  • The blends have no salt, MSG, or any chemicals. They’re all 100% natural herbs and spices making them great for people, like us, that want to avoid nasties.

See the full range at here: Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends (click link and a new window will open)

So…aside for being easy to store, the blends make food preparation easier, meals tastier and eating healthier!

And they’re not just for boaters or novice cooks like me.

Anyone interested in the benefits from herb and spice blends can use them – whether you’re in a home, trailer, camping or sailing. I and several people all over the world have used and enjoyed them.

In our shop, you’ll find six individual blends and one ‘gift package’ offering the complete set at a reduced price.

Britican Galley Herbs Spices

Britican Galley Herbs Spices

So, in our online shop, you’ll find the following six Britican Galley Blends:

–       Italian Blend

–       Greek Blend

–       Chicken Blend

–       Herbs de Provence

–       Beef Blend

–       Seafood Blend

–       And…the Britican Galley Gift Set holding all 6 blends

Visit the shop here: Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends (click link and a new window will open)

But it’s not just blends that we’re offering!

In the Britican Galley section (menu item above), my family, guests and visitors have all helped to share recipes. Some of the recipes include the Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends and others, like Carole’s Eggless Cake, the Admirals Bruschetta and Simon’s Spaghetti Carbonara do not.

We set up Britican’s Galley to provide you with recipes, video’s, stories, and an insight as to what’s cooking, and going on, aboard Britican. Whenever possible, I pull out my iPhone video camera and record any guests while cooking in our Kitchen. On some occasions I even record myself!

Thus far we’ve had my cousin, husband, an Italian Admiral, an ex-special forces guy, my daughters friends and a variety of others helping or bringing food to our galley.

To view the blends, visit the Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends area and click on the blend of your choice. To view the recipes, scroll through our Britican Galley area of this website.

What’s the story behind these spices? Who makes them?

Britican's Galley

What is cooking in Britican’s Galley? Well…it’s more than just food!

In October 2013 my husband and I decided to sell all our possessions and purchase an eleven year old sailboat. I was fed up with ‘normal’ life. I wasn’t happy in so many ways – I worked too much, I ate fast processed foods, my time with my, then, 3 year old daughter was limited and when I did spend time with her it wasn’t quality time. Furthermore, I felt as if my health was declining.

I lived on stress and I could feel it eating away at me

Once we made our decision to sell up and sail away, I took quite a bit of time thinking about the new life I was about to create. Aside from wanting to spend quality time with my family, I wanted to start eating healthy home cooked meals using local produce. I was fed up with eating tomatoes that didn’t taste like anything and I knew the processed foods were taking a toll on all of us.

Before leaving, I asked a nutritionist to meet with my husband, daughter and me (Read this Oh crap – Are we healthy enough to sail around the world?). I was embarrassed about how unhealthy we were and ashamed at myself for the foods I was giving my daughter (pizza, pasta, fish fingers, kid’s ready meals).

Immediately after our nutritional meeting and several months before setting sail, I set out to change the way we ate

I threw away sugar filled cereals, reduced the amount of bread and pasta we were eating and focused on eating meat, fish and vegetables. Both my husband and I went from take-aways, restaurant meals and ready meals to a much healthier diet.

I knew that we couldn’t sustain a processed food lifestyle while at sea nor did I want to!

Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

As fate would have it, my cousin Loryn (pictured on the left above) decided to join us for the first several months of our adventure. Loryn not only loves to cook but she loves to eat homegrown and homemade food. In her hometown of Cassadaga, NY she has a substantial sized vegetable garden. When I told her about our diet change, she was eager to help us out. I sighed in relief.

Selling everything we own, purchasing a boat and dealing with all the courses we had to take (First Aid, Diesel engines, Freezers/Fridges/Air conditioning, VHF Radio, Sailing courses, etc.) in addition to getting my head around homeschooling was a heavy load.

With Loryn with us and helping out on the food side of things, I had one less thing to worry about!

Britican Galley

Britican Galley

Before Loryn flew over to join us on our adventure, I asked her to pick up some of my mom’s spice blends for the boat. My mom, Barb, has successfully sold herb and spice blends for the past 20 years. She sells them online and at Farmer’s Markets and food and wine exhibitions.

In the past, my grandmother, Loryn and I would all spend a weekend at exhibitions like the New York Food & Wine show helping my mom. The picture shows my Grandmother (no longer with us), my Mom and me at the NY State Wine and Food Festival several years ago.

Knowing that we had limited space on the boat, and my private supplies of mom’s blends were running low, I asked Loryn to bring 6 of my favorite blends over. I asked for Chicken Blend, Italian Blend, Beef Blend, Herbs de Provence Blend, Greek Blend and Seafood Blend.

Although my mom is the best cook I know, unfortunately, I didn’t take time to learn from the master. Other than knowing that rosemary goes good with lamb and oregano can be used in Italian dishes I have no clue what herbs and spices go with what dishes.

In the past, every time I attempted to cook from a recipe, I’d go out and buy all the necessary herbs and spices. Over time my cabinet was clogged with a wide range of spices I didn’t know how to use. Every few years, I went through and cleaned out all the barely used jars based on expiration dates.

When mom started her company I was saved!

Not only did I did I reduce the area needed in my spice cabinets but I finally didn’t have to worry about what herbs and spices went with what types of dishes. For example, to make chicken soup, all I have to do was throw in chicken, vegetables, some stock and 1 tablespoon of mom’s ‘Chicken Blend.’ Or, if I make a chicken casserole, or anything to do with chicken, I just sprinkle on my mom’s chicken blend.

Mom’s blends took the guesswork out of seasoning all my meals, but I didn’t realize the value of them until I gave up my habit of processed foods

I didn’t realize the value of them until I was more or less ‘forced’ to use them

Prior to leaving on our sailing adventure, I thought more and more about mom’s blends and realized that they’re absolutely perfect for sailboats! Furthermore, I thought they’d make an excellent addition to the shop so I’ve rebranded them Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends. Please buy your selection here: Britican Galley Herb & Spice Blends

About the Sailing Britican Store
In 2013, Kim Brown and her husband Simon sold the company, house, car and all their possessions and said ‘screw-it’ to the rat race. They decided to instead go in search for an alternative life upon the seas. Their mission was to find more fulfillment in life, get back to nature, eat good food and truly enjoy family life. The Brown’s put their money into a sailboat, learned how to become homeschoolers and took their, at the time 3 ½ year old daughter, on what has already become a trip of a lifetime. The Brown’s have not retired. They, like most people need to make an income so the family is providing free educational information about selling up and sailing away in addition to sourcing and selling nautical items in their online shop. If you’re happy with the abundance of free information provided on SailingBritican.com and know someone that would value one of the items for sale in their shop, please support their cause! If one family can say no to the rat race, find more fulfillment and earn an income, perhaps many more can do the same.

Visit the Sailing Britican Shop.

Furthermore, you can find Sailing Britican on Patreon, a website created to help content creators reward fans in return for financial support. Follow the link below.

Spaghetti Carbonara – the easiest and tastiest Carbonara you can make on a boat!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

After four months of having people around us and sailing around the Mediterranean on our 56’ Oyster yacht, my husband, Simon, my daughter, Sienna (Age 4 – pictured in the middle of the girls above), and I finally found ourselves alone.

At first things felt exciting, scary and just downright weird

Up until that moment we had various friends and family join us on the journey. For the first time EVER we were all alone. How would we cope? What would we do with ourselves?

As fate would have it, the day after all our guests left us, we received an email from a sailboat, named ‘Why Knot.’ We met them not long ago – a wonderful family from South Africa. At the time the family had 2 other awesome guests with them – Paul and Dale.

Apparently, sailboat ‘Why Knot’ looked at our locator on our website and noticed that we were in the same area – they asked if we wanted to meet up.

Of course we wanted to meet up! We didn’t know how to be alone!

After one day of just the three of us, we headed over to Turkey to meet up with the awesome crew of ‘Why Knot.’ When we met, the crew consisted of Captain Garth, First Mate Elaine and two deck hands named Tanna (age 11) and Sienna (age 9). The Sienna from ‘Why Knot’ was aptly renamed, ‘Older Sienna’ and our Sienna was called ‘Little Sienna.’

The friends they had aboard previously, Paul and Dale, were back in South Africa and the crew were now expecting new friends to fly in.

As expected, we had a great time and decided to stick together for a while

As Garth and Elaine were expecting new guests, we offered to take ‘Older Sienna’ and Tanna with us overnight, making it easier to collect the new arrivals. One thing led to another and before we knew it, our family of three grew by two!

We left Garth and Elaine in Turkey to pick up their friends and the girls went with us back to Greece to settle in a quiet picturesque bay. When it came to making dinner, we needed to find something that would be liked by all. Hmmmm, what do a bunch of girls like?

Simon asked ‘Older Sienna’ and Tanna, ‘Do you two like spaghetti Carbonara?’ They responded, ‘What’s that?’

After a bit of discussion and explaining, the girls agreed that it would be something they’d like to try. ‘Older Sienna’ offered to help Simon in the galley and of course, ‘Little Sienna’ wanted to be with ‘Older Sienna.’

I yelled out, do you mind if I video you guys cooking? And Simon reluctantly agreed to do it! (Better him than me…but don’t tell him I said that.)

So…here is our special evening where we had Tanna and Sienna Zoutendyk from sailboat ‘Why Knot’ with us. The girls had so much fun together and the fun carried on – every night for 5 nights we had one or both of the girls sleep over. We’ve been so blessed to have met the Zoutendyk family and their friends. Having them moored up near us has made our travels through Greece not only fun but memorable too. I hope they’ll be friends for life!

And what about the Spaghetti Carbonara? Well…the girls from ‘Why Knot’ had two helpings!

As a side note…we’ve been able to find Philadelphia Cream Cheese everywhere in the Med, however bacon is impossible to find in Sicily. If you can’t find bacon, sometimes you can find something called ‘Lardons’ or bacon chunks. If all else fails, you can use ham!

[gmc_recipe 2143]

Sailing vacation – what is it like to sail around for a week or two?

Sailing Vacation

Sailing Vacation

Our ten days with friends aboard Britican came to an end recently. We were fortunate to have Steve, Becks and Megan Stubbs (age 11) with us for some Greek island hopping in the Dodecanese region (map below). For them it was a sailing vacation. For us, it was an opportunity to share our new lifestyle with loved ones.

Sailing Holiday Dodecanese

Sailing Holiday Dodecanese

The Stubbs family has been our first family aboard Britican for a sailing vacation

And for them, it’s the first time they’ve spent longer than a couple days aboard a boat. Previous vacations included camping, renting a French villa or staying at a hotel for a fortnight. If it wasn’t for us going on our grand adventure, I’m not sure if they’d ever consider a sailing vacation?

So, now that their time with us is over, I wonder what they’re thoughts are?

Was it what they expected? Did they like it better than other vacations and is it something they’ll want to do again? What did they like the most and what did they dislike? Or did any of them discover that 10 days aboard our floating home wasn’t for them?

Carry on reading to find out what we did over the 10 days and also discover the Stubbs family thoughts…

Before I get started – some background on taking a sailing vacation

Making the decision to enjoy a sailing holiday isn’t something that’s taken lightly. Several people worry about seasickness. Others worry about what is involved and how to go about planning a sailing excursion. And I’m sure several people happen onto sailing holidays simply because a friend or friends invite them to the experience, like we have invited the Stubbs family.

There are several options for anyone or family interested in a sailing holiday. On one extreme, you can personally hire a boat and sail it to wherever you want to go. Often very little training is required – it depends where in the world you want to go and your past experience. When we first chartered a boat my husband went on a weekend sailing course and that’s all that was needed for us to hire a 35’ sailboat in the Ionian Islands, Greece.

On the other hand, you can have a boat sailed for you by a professional or you can join other parties on larger boats. And there are options in between! Perhaps you want to sail but are less confident when it comes to leaving and entering a mooring. If you join a flotilla there’s a crew, on land, helping to slip lines and then showing you were to go and helping to get you tied down or your anchor set at your next destination.

To get an idea about boat rentals, the leading boat rental platform is Zizoo.com – check out the website to do a search on locations and dates. You can hire a boat only or order a skipper too!

Anyway, let me paint a picture for you as to what a sailing vacation can be like

I’ll walk you through the 10 days that the Stubbs family spent with us.

Day 1: Arriving in Kos, Greece

A few weeks before our friends booked flights, we told them to check the prices on two locations – Kos or Rhodes. The flights to Kos worked best, so they booked flights while we headed from Athens towards the Dodecanese islands. Having 3 weeks to get to Kos was plenty of time.

Two days before their arrival we entered Kos marina and spent our time cleaning the boat, doing laundry and preparing for our friends. Not before long it was hours before we’d be greeting them. After 4 months of not seeing our friends, we saw a taxi arrive at pontoon ‘B’ and I heard my husband, Simon, yell out, ‘I think they’re here!’ My daughter who stayed up late until 10:30 pm jumped off the boat and ran as fast as she could. Stopping 2 feet away from Megan, Sienna looked at her best friend with absolute happiness. Simon said, ‘Sienna, it’s okay – give Megs a hug!’ The two girls hugged and then there were loads of hugs and smiles going around.

Sailing Vacation

Sailing Vacation

As the sun was setting behind the marina, we walked the Stubbs’s onto the boat leaving their luggage on the aft deck. Sienna was so excited that she wanted to give everyone a tour. And there was a surprise in Megan’s room – Sienna put up streamers and a picture of her and Megs that was taken last summer.

Steve and Becks were shown their room and then we all sat in the cockpit enjoying some wine and beer chatting about all sorts. We couldn’t help but recount many of our sailing stories. Our desire to share our experiences with close friends was unstoppable.

The two girls went to bed and the adults stayed up until 1am. Tomorrow our sailing adventures would start, so we helped Steve and Becks get their bags into their room and we said goodnight.

Day 2: Palionisou (harbor), Kalymnos (island), Greece (country)

We all woke around 8am, ate some cereal and leisurely prepared the boat to leave Kos. We stowed things away, tidied up, closed windows and hatches, readied the lines and put the cushions in the cockpit.

Previous to our friends arrival we were experiencing the Malteme, a weather pattern in the Med that blows very windy from the north and northeast. Thankfully, the Malteme was over and calmer winds were on the cards.

Upon leaving the docks at Kos, attendants helped us remove our lines. We then exited the marina, coiled our warps (ropes), put our fenders away and then turned into wind to pull the mainsail up. I took Steve up to the mast with me and explained how to raise the mainsail – I pointed out the main halyard, hooked it to a winch and then started raising it. I indicated what I was watching out for – the sail needs to go up between two sets of guiding ropes and all the reefing lines needed to go up without getting tangled.

It wasn’t long before we pulled out the forward sail – the genoa. After a few minutes of work, the engine was turned off and we were sailing to our fist destination. On the way we chatted, enjoyed some fresh cut cucumber and carrot sticks and took in the sites. I was so happy to have my bestie (and her hubby) with me! And of course, Sienna was thrilled to have her bestie too!

By 11am, we were on our way to Palionisou on the island of Kalymnos. The winds were mild and the sail was easy going – a great way for our visitors to start off.

Our sail was so calm and peaceful so I decided to serve lunch as we slowly made our way forward. We enjoyed a Greek Salad, fresh Bread, Taziki, Hummus and lunchmeats. Everyone enjoyed the light lunch over more wonderful conversation.

Sailing Holiday

Sailing Holiday

After a few hours, we furled in the genoa, dropped the mainsail and entered the harbor of Palionisou. Our first mooring was ‘easy’ as there were several mooring buoys available to tie onto. Rather than having to back into a tight space along a quayside, we simply needed to run a warp from the bow of the boat to the buoy and then back to the boat. Mooring buoys are floating balls that are attached to cement blocks on the oceans floor that act like anchors.

Steve and I used the thing I call, ‘the pokey stick’ to reach down off the bow, pull the buoy upright and thread one of our warps through a metal hoop at the top. We then took the warp back onto the same side of the boat and repeated with another warp on the other side of the bow. By having two warps you can rest assured that if one rope fails another is holding the boat fastened.

Fastening ourselves took ten minutes or so and then we had a few jobs to do before jumping into the beautiful blue water. We put the sail cover on, tidied all the ropes and cleaned up the cockpit.

Sailing Holiday

Sailing Holiday

It didn’t take long for Steve, Becks, Megan and Sienna to jump off the back of the boat! With 10 meters below us, you could see the ocean floor as the water was crystal clear. Steve and Megan put goggles on and went exploring. I took the time to tidy up the saloon but it wasn’t long before I was jumping into the sea to reduce my core temperature!

That evening, we took our tender to Taverna Ilias and were greeted very kindly by a Greek husband and wife duo. When I heard that everything was home cooked and they had mousaka (traditional beef mince based dish), stuffed peppers and tomatoes and dolmades (mince and rice mixture wrapped with vine leaves) on the menu I had a difficult decision to make! Becks and I decided on mousaka and we were both very happy about our decision.

So we all sat on a balcony overlooking a beautiful bay dotted with about 10 yachts. Every one was full of smiles and eager to carry on with the trip.

Day 3: Alindas, Leros, Greece

The next morning, we took our time enjoying the morning. Steve did some exercises on the boat. Becks sat up in the cockpit enjoying a bit of reading and I made some bacon and eggs for everyone.

There’s nothing like bacon and eggs on a boat! They seem to taste more amazing than they do at home.

After dawdling around for a while, Steve and I pulled off our mooring lines from the buoy and we headed back out into the Sea. Our next destination was an island called Leros.

Sailing Holiday Reading

Sailing Holiday Reading

During our sail, we chatted, read our books, took naps and simply enjoyed the passing scenery. There’s very little to do while sailing but to take in the views surrounding you.

When we made it to Alindas on the island of Leros we looked for a space to tie a rope unto the rock face. The set-up was to anchor your boat, back up towards the rock face and then tie a rope from the stern of the boat to a fastener on the rocks. By doing so it prevents the boat from swinging and more boats can anchor in the same area.

After a quick look around we couldn’t find any places where we felt comfortable so we simply dropped our anchor a bit further out in the bay. The views were lovely. Along the side of us, we had a variety of sail and motorboats tied to the rock face. Above the rocks we discovered a little village dotted with tavernas, windmills and Greek homes. And at the very top of the mountain was a castle and several windmills. When I saw the view, I thought, ‘well, you don’t see that every day.’

Sailing Holiday

Sailing Holiday

After a swim, we ate a lovely fresh lunch: Greek salad, potato salad and a pasta salad in addition to some meats and cheeses. Of course, we also enjoyed some fresh bread.

Simon and Steve took the girls into the village by boat and Becks and I lazed about in the cockpit reading, chatting and even taking a bit of a nap. Normally, I would get off the boat and go for a walk around the village but I didn’t feel like doing much of anything and so I didn’t!

The great thing about sailing is that you can do as little or as much as you want. There are days when we don’t feel like going anywhere, so we don’t. On other days, we not only want to go somewhere, but we want to get off on land and go exploring, so we do.

Sailing Holiday

Sailing Holiday

Later that afternoon Simon and Steve had a little back flip competition off the side of the boat and everyone did some snorkel. There were several shells found – all added to the collection building up in a big white bowl.

Aside from swimming, the girls enjoyed doing crafts in the saloon and ended the day with a movie and cookies. No matter how hard we tried to slow down the days, they were over in a blink of an eye.

Sailing Holiday

Sailing Holiday

Holding tight on the anchor, we all went to bed and enjoyed a lovely night’s sleep. In the morning, I woke up just after 5am and wrote this article: Leaving the rat race to sail around the world…is enlightenment on the cards too?

The morning was so amazingly peaceful. I was awake before the sun came up and anticipated a beautiful ball of fire rising in the east – I wasn’t disappointed. To my delight, I noticed that Steve and Becks were also up. They too woke up to enjoy the delights of a morning sunrise.

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

And not before long, we off to yet another destination. Megan helped me get the anchor up and off went to the island of Leipsoi.

Day 4: Lera Leipsoi, Leipsoi, Greece

After a quick 3-hour sail we arrived in a cute little bay off the cost of Leipsoi. With quite a bit of wind blowing, we found a patch of sand to lay our anchor into. The wind was blowing hard so we quickly discovered whether our anchor was set or not – it was! We moored up next to a Turkish Gullet and enjoyed the view of several other boaters.

In the distance we could see a tiny harbor behind a rock wall and it looked as if there was at least one taverna. There wasn’t much on land. Perhaps a few homes and one restaurant? The rest was rocky land.

With the wind blowing so much, none of us wanted to go swimming. We all chilled out doing our own things for a while. Some of us laying in the sun. Others playing games. We ate some snacks, enjoyed some quiet time and really soaked up the experience.

Sailing Holiday Friends

Sailing Holiday Friends

I was so happy to have my friend Becks with me. It’s a funny thing with good friends – you can go months and even years without seeing them, but when you do, you automatically feel as if you’ve never been separated. Becks and I would chat about serious things and then we’d giggle about silly stuff. It was wonderful to have the time to just sit next to each other and not talk at all!

During the day, Simon and Steve took the girls ashore to explore. Once again, Becks and I opted on staying on the boat. We just didn’t feel like doing much! When the crew came back, I noticed a beautiful necklace made of volcanic stone around Megan’s neck. ‘Where did you get that beautiful piece,’ I asked?

Simon and Steve stopped off at a beautiful café bar/restaurant that had an adjoining jewelry shop. The guys were so impressed with the venue that they said we must go to dinner there in the evening.

Sailing Holiday Taverna

Sailing Holiday Taverna

It wasn’t long before all six of us were showered and boarding the dingy to enjoy a meal off the boat. The guys were right about the restaurant – it was definitely impressive. It wasn’t very Greek. In fact, I would have thought I was in the Caribbean if I didn’t know any better.

There was the white and blues common to Greece, but then there were thousands of colored pieces of fabric hanging from the open-air ceiling. And there were also thousands of dried bamboo handing too – the light clatter was a sweet music! Additionally, there were beautiful colors in the bushes and flowers. It was a little paradise tucked away on a quiet area of Leipsoi.

Sailing around the world journey

Sailing around the world journey

While at the restaurant we ordered salads for starters and then a variety of meals. I asked the friendly waiter what he recommended and ended up getting a fresh warm tuna salad with greens and herbs from the garden surrounding the estate. I wish I could explain what was in the salad is it was so tasty, but I honestly couldn’t make out anything other than Tuna! It was gorgeous.

We all enjoyed our meals, allowed the girls to play on the beach and then headed back to the boat to retire for the evening.

It was another perfect day.

Day 5: Skala, Patmos, Greece

Needing provisions, or groceries, we had to find a location with a supermarket. The closest big town was Patmos, so we enjoyed a lovely sail to the harbor of Skala. We put our anchor down and reversed into the town quay.

Sailing Holiday Boom

Sailing Holiday Boom

Hearing the loud scooters, trucks and beach go-ers pass by was a stark difference to the tranquil bays we’ve previously been mooring in. We tied off to the quayside, pulled out our passerel, or gangplank, and put our sail cover on. I was impressed to see that Becks offered to climb up on the boom and pack the sail in! How brave was she? When all was sorted, we headed to the beach. With a very quick walk, we were on a small little beach lined with a few café bars.

Sailing Holiday Beach

Sailing Holiday Beach

Simon stayed back on the boat to exercise our stopcocks – a monthly maintenance task, while my daughter and I joined our friends on the beach. After enjoying a cold coke and a chat we all took turns to swim and/or watch the girls enjoy themselves in the water or pouring sand all over themselves.

At one point, Steve looked at me and said, ‘I don’t like it here.’ Instantly, I knew what he was talking about. Skala is loud, dusty and filled with locals and tourists crowding the streets. It’s a nice place if you haven’t grown accustomed to quiet, natural harbors.

Sailing Holiday Patmos

Sailing Holiday Patmos

That being said, the village is super cute, there are several boutique shops and towering above the town is the monastery where St Paul wrote Revelations. Furthermore, within 5 km there are some spectacular beaches. We’ve previously been to Patmos and enjoyed the sites. It’s well worth a visit.

In the evening, we enjoyed a lovely meal on board and made plans to get up early, buy our groceries and then head to Xerokambos. We received a text from sailing friends that they were in the area.

A few weeks back, we met a lovely South African couple and their two children, Sienna (9) and Tanna (11). The girls played with our Sienna and had a great time. They also had two guests with them – their friends Paul and Dale. When we first met we had a great time chatting. And it was so nice to see the girls run around having fun with each other.

Day 6: Xerokambos, Leros, Greece

So in the morning, we did our shopping – got bread, meat, veggies and lots of snacks. We then prepared the boat, slipped our lines and headed for Xerokambos. It was a new bay for us so I was excited to see what we’d find.

Our sail was quite turbulent! The sea was rough and there was too much wind to allow our full sails out. We had to put a reef in and furl the front sail in. Nevertheless, Simon and Steve found someone they could race and the whole boat went flying ahead.

My little ‘to-do’ journey book was blow overboard but luckily Becks saved my book. We all sat up on deck holding on tight.

Sailing Holiday Why Knot

Sailing Holiday Why Knot

Soon, we were in Xerokambos where the bay protected us from the winds. We found several moorning buoys and Steve and I tied us on. We noticed our friends aboard ‘Why Knot’ quickly and were waving ‘hello’.

My daughter was excited to introduce Megan to her friends. Within a few minutes, the girls Tanna and Sienna were aboard our boat and to break the ice I invited them all to make crafts. Becks brought out some colored paper and a craft pack filled with feathers, charms, popsicle sticks and foam shapes.

Sailing Holiday Crafts

Sailing Holiday Crafts

The girls spent hours creating all sorts of pictures. Thereafter there was swimming and Simon rigged up the tube on back of our tender. All the girls had a go. You could hear laughter throughout the bay! In the end, all of us eventually ended up on ‘Why Knot’s’ beautiful Catamaran for dinner.

Sailing Holiday Tubing

Sailing Holiday Tubing

So the four adults from our boat got together with the four adults from ‘Why Knot’ to enjoy an evening of food, discussion and laughter. And the four kids played until they dropped – they went swimming, played in the canoe, played hide and seek and eventually became too tired to move anymore. In the end the girls all cuddled together to watch a DVD on a laptop.

Sailing Holiday Kids

Sailing Holiday Kids

The evening was precious! How often do you find yourself in a foreign country mixing with people from other nations while swinging around a mooring buoy in a quiet little bay? Everyone in the sailing community is so kind and making new friends – even if you have friends with you – is something that happens easily.

That evening, Megan slept over on ‘Why Knot’s’ boat with ‘Big Sienna’ and Tanna came over to sleep on our boat with ‘Little Sienna’. In such a short amount of time, we all felt like family.

Sailing Holiday Megs Sienna

Sailing Holiday Megs Sienna

Having such a lovely time with the crew on ‘Why Knot,’ we made plans to all meet up in the next bay together. We recommended the bay with a fantastic Taverna Ilias – the one we enjoyed on our first day out.

Day 7: Palionisou, Kalymnos

After a day of sailing, we picked up a mooring buoy and settled into the familiar bay. There was more crafts, swimming, tubing, snorkeling, shell-finding and back-flipping fun.

Sailing Holiday Taverna

Sailing Holiday Taverna

For dinner we all met up at Taverna Ilias – all 12 of us! The girls all sat at one end of the table and the crew of Britican and ‘Why Knot’ mixed in with each other. Within a few minutes of taking our seats, the ‘Why Knot’ crew fell to the floor shouting ‘Dead Ant’ while kicking their arms and legs.

We just looked at them like they were nuts. After they picked themselves off the floor, I asked, ‘what the heck was that for?’

Garth, ‘Why Knots’ captain explained that ‘Dead Ant’ is a game. Whoever is last to drop to the floor and do the ‘Dead Ant’ motion is ‘on’ meaning that they have to be the person that calls ‘Dead Ant’ next. When you’re ‘on’ you need to find the most inopportune time to make the call and everyone needs to drop down, yelling ‘Dead Ant’ while flailing around on the floor.

What a great game! We all laughed and the restaurant owner had a sign of relief after she realized that it wasn’t her restaurant that freaked everyone out. We ordered beers, wine and homemade Greek meals like mousaka, dolmades, pork in the oven and stuffed tomatoes.

We shared stories about all sorts. Paul, a ‘Why Knot’ crewmember told a funny story about a skit done over the VHF radio. It was all about saying ‘over’ over and over again. Normally, you say your message and then end with ‘over’ to allow the other person to respond. Paul was retelling the skit saying things like, ‘I just fell over, over.’ And then the response was ‘did you fall over, over, over?’ We laughed into the evening and finally made it home only to crash on our beds.

Day 8: Pserimos, Pserimos

We spent the morning watching a crazy boat leaving their mooring buoy, almost hit us, run aground and then back into Tavern Ilias dock. Watching the incompetence of other boaters usually has high entertainment value. As long as we don’t get hit in the process, there’s always something to keep you entertained.

Sailing Holiday

Sailing Holiday

We sailed to the next bay – one recommended by ‘Why Knot’ and anchored outside the quayside. After 4pm when all the day boats had come and gone we would be allowed to dock.

While waiting to moor on the dock we watched three of the day boats pull up other boat anchors. It became quite stressful as boats started to come into the harbor wanting to moor on the quayside. There were only 4 spaces and already 3 boats were lining up to back in.

Imagine all these day boats trying to leave and getting stuck and then all these sailboats vying for a spot on the dock. After an hour, all the day boats were gone and the sailboats were safely secured. ‘Why Knot’ came in and got a space after the ferry left.

Sailing Holiday Moored Up

Sailing Holiday Moored Up

Wanting to return the favor for ‘Why Knot’ having us over for dinner, I invited the crew onto our boat for a range of salads and snacks. It would be the last night that Steve, Becks and Megan would see ‘Why Knot’ so we enjoyed our time together. Megan slept on ‘Why Knots’ boat and Tanna slept on ours. It was great to see the kids have so much fun together.

Day 9: Kos, Kos

That morning, we all gathered on quayside and said our ‘good bye’s’. We took a group shot and then hugs and kisses went around to everyone.

Sailing Holiday Friends

Sailing Holiday Friends

Our plan was to head back to Kos to spend the rest of the time exploring the island before the Stubbs’s had to fly home to England.

After leaving Pserimos we hit a bay not far for a swim and a spot of lunch. While everyone was swimming, I made a potato salad with bacon, pasta ribbons with pesto and a fruit salad. The food was greatly appreciated after so much swimming.

Sailing Holiday Kos

Sailing Holiday Kos

Sadly, we arrived back in Kos Marina where we moored the boat until the Stubbs family left us. We had time to walk around Kos Town, grab an ice cream, and find Hippocrates 2000 year old tree. It was nice walking around for a while but I found the area to be very crowded. None of us were use to seeing so many people!

Day 10: Kos, Kos

For the Stubbs family last day, we all went to the see the Castle and walk around the many ruins – click on the pictures to see an enlarged image. We went for a swim in the sea and enjoyed foods from the bakery. It was nice to see the sights but knowing that our time was coming to an end I couldn’t help but feel teary eyed.

The 10 days that the Stubbs family spent with us were precious. We had time to enjoy each others company, time to appreciate simple things – good food, good friends, good swimming.

I will hold onto the memories of our time together forever. And hopefully, we can do it all again next year. Same people, same boat – different location!

Sailing Holiday Stubbs

Sailing Holiday Stubbs

But what did the Stubbs family think about their holiday? Good question… Read below to see comments left by Becks.

And hopefully, this sailing holiday example gives you an indication about how incredible awesome sailing can be. Are you ready to book a sailing vacation now?!

How I’m homeschooling my daughter while sailing around the world – an example

How I'm homeschooling my daughter

How I'm homeschooling my daughter

On May 3rd 2014 my daughter turned 4 years old. If we were back in England, she’d be starting school in September. I think it’s far too young for children to start school but nonetheless it plays on my mind that Sienna won’t be following the same path as her friends.

As a mother, I don’t want her to be labeled as ‘one of those kids.’

And I am slightly worried that she’ll either be too smart or not smart enough, if and when, we eventually introduce her to the school system. However, on the flip side, I’ve grown so comfortable about the idea that I’m eager to get started. I love the whole idea of teaching her many subjects based on her current interests.

I’m happy to say that in the four short months we’ve been sailing around the Mediterranean, I’ve seen Sienna’s skill-set explode

Not only can she count to 10 easily but she can do it in three languages. She’s no longer shy about meeting new kids or joining in with others regardless as to whether they speak English or not. Her vocabulary astounds me – just yesterday she asked me to explain ‘photosythesis’ and told me that we’re on earth because ‘gravity’ keeps us here. And her desire to learn and ask questions is amazing.

But until recently, I haven’t put too much thought into homeschooling

In fact, the question of how I’m homeschooling my daughter hasn’t even come up. My husband and I encountered a massive learning curve – we sold our house, purchased a 56’ sailboat and handed our land-based life in for one on the sea. Aside from figuring out how to sail the boat, we’ve had to learn about engines, repairs, moving between countries, and dealing with massive change. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done…and we’ve only just started.

It’s August now, four months after we started on our epic around the world voyage, and one month before Sienna would be joining her peers at school.  We’re moored up in Kos, a Greek island very close to Turkey and the idea of schooling keeps niggling at me. I put a post up on my Facebook thread asking friends from my hometown (NY) and England about the curriculum I should be looking at. Within minutes I had loads of resources, great ideas and fantastic support.

Coming from New York State, I was told to look up the NYS Common Core Learning Standards from P – 12 and several of my British friends outlined the key components in England. Fortunately I also had some teacher friends offer to send me worksheets and guidelines.

Thus far on our journey, I’ve simply offered explanations to Sienna when she enquired about something

We already read books and I’ve downloaded several educational iPad apps. She’ll work on letters, numbers, reading, math and I have a few great sciences apps – they allow here to mix, freeze, spin, and burn things to create new elements or potions. Further, I found several apps about ocean conservation as I felt the topic was apt for what we’re doing.

Aside from that, if I see a book on Greek gods or something kid friendly helping her to learn more from the area we’re in, I’ll grab it. In Malta I found a couple great coloring story books (about Malta) and in Greece we have a mythology sticker books and a fantastic ancient Greek encyclopedia that we flip through ever week.

Today, however, I decided to make a concerted effort to test out the whole concept of theme-based education

Rather than separate learning elements into subjects the goal is to combine a variety of subjects using one theme. Let me explain what I did to give you and idea.

A big of background first…

As my husband, Sienna and I were walking around Kos Town yesterday, Sienna tried to pull a leaf off a tree. I quickly said to her that “trees have feelings! They can’t talk, but if they did they’d say, ‘hey – don’t pull my leaves off!’” I then asked Sienna how she would feel if I came up to her and pulled her finger off. After a long giggle Sienna started asking questions about trees.

Her first question was, ‘why do we have trees?’

Like a game of tennis, my husband, Simon, and I went back and forth explaining the benefit of trees. I explained that they help keep our air clean and Simon mentioned all the creatures that use trees as a home. And on we went.

Knowing that Sienna was interested in trees, I went online and found this great 3 page write-up on trees for young kids

How I'm homeschooling my daughter

How I'm homeschooling my daughter

The write-up also came with a worksheet allowing us to fill in the blanks to describe the parts of a tree (roots, trunk, branches, twigs, leaves, crown). View the write-up here: Teaching children about Trees 

So, I read the write-up as Sienna coloured the tree on the worksheet. So far we already have had quite a few subjects coming in – reading, colors, nature, ecosystems, writing, science. I was actually surprised when Sienna was able to name all the parts of the tree without my help! While she told me what they were, I filled in their names. And when I said that the paper we were writing on was made from tree pulp, she said, “I already know that mom!’

After reading about the benefits of trees and their parts, I then copied her arm and fingers making a tree trunk and branches. We cut out the outline, pasted it onto a sheet of paper and then I found a template of small leaves that Sienna could cut out and paste onto the branches. (This is where I got the idea from – Homeschooling Tree Craft)

While she was cutting the leaves and using the glue stick to fasten them on the paper, I pulled out our jar of Maple Syrup and said, ‘Sienna – this is maple syrup. It’s made from the sap or the juice of a tree!’

Excitedly, she wanted to try it. I then gave her a little spoonful and said, once you’re done adding the leaves to your tree, lets make some pancakes and you can put the syrup on them and enjoy one of the most amazing delights of a tree!

Not knowing how to make pancakes, but having an idea, I mixed some flour, eggs, milk and oil. This goes to show how pathetic my cooking skills are! My intention was to make a crepe but it ended up being slightly thicker than a crepe and much smaller than an American pancake. Regardless, it tasted great and Sienna had a little lesson on cooking too.

Once we were filled up on pancakes with syrup from a tree, Simon asked Sienna to walk around Kos with him finding as many different leaves as they could. The leaves had to be on the ground and each one had to be different – that was the challenge.

The duo are out on their walk now freeing me up to write this article!

I’m sure I’ll get better at theme based education over time, however I feel that it was a great first attempt. Not only did I have fun doing it, but it seems like we all have a greater appreciation for trees now.

Sailboat Nepenthe Eggless Cake

Sailboat Nepenthe Eggless Cake

Sailboat Nepenthe Eggless Cake

One thing I’ve discovered quite quickly on our travels is that using our oven has a few setbacks. It’s so funny because you just don’t know what you don’t know. As our travels unfold I’m learning so many things on the go. Let me explain the setbacks to using an oven and then tell you why Sailboat Nepenthe eggless cake helps to eliminate not only eggs…but the use of the oven!

The setbacks to using an oven aboard a sailboat

1. It’s too hot! I’m sure this sounds like common sense but it’s often hard to realise how hot a boat galley can get. When the temperatures are soaring and you feel like a lovely moist cake be aware that the whole boat heats up even more than it already is. If you have air conditioning, thats a solution, but what I’ve discovered is that using the oven in hot climates makes the temperature even more unbearable.

2. It uses a lot of energy! We have an electric cooker rather than gas and boy does it suck the juice. The oven drains our batteries very quickly. In fact, I rarely use the oven without the generator running.

3. It’s loud. To use the oven, I need to run the generator. While running the generator everyone has to listen to an annoying engine running. Imagine being in a beautiful bay looking out over the sea, while the smell of a fresh cake bakes, only to have the humming of the generator sounding in the background? It kind of ruins the moment.

The solution? Bake a cake on the stovetop in a frying pan!

Thanks to our lucky stars, we met the most wonderful couple outside Corfu Town aboard Sailboat Nepenthe – Jim and Carole. We’ve been so fortunate to see them several times over the past couple months and have learned an incredible amount from them. Read my article, Couple sets off for a 3 year around the world sailing trip – 15 years later they’re still going!

One of the many things that Carole taught me was to avoid using the oven. She never uses hers. And she also explained that it can be tricky getting fresh eggs while in the Pacific so she’s had to learn how to make due without them. One of her signature dishes is an Eggless Cake! My family have been fortunate to test it out three times now… We’ve had an upside-down fruit cake with guava, another with peaches and a chocolate version.  The picture at the top of the page is Carole cutting one of her cakes on our table. Sailboat Nepenthe and Sailboat Horizons joined us on Britican to celebrate the 4th of July. We were all anchored right outside the East side of the Corinth Canal in Greece.

There are never any left overs when we get a Sailboat Nepenthe’s Eggless Cake

So…whether you’re sailing in a hot climate, don’t like eggs, or want to try baking a cake in a frying pan, this is the recipe to use…

[gmc_recipe 1970]

Give it a go and let me know what you think. Every time we make it, we try something new. Last time it was chocolate chips!

Sailing around the world journey – one chapter ends and another starts (again, and again…)


Sailing around the world journey

My life, since starting our around-the-world sailing adventure, seems to be playing out in very definitive chapters. Looking back, I have a chapter on saying ‘screw it to my life and trading it in for a new one,’ a chapter on how we managed to sell up and sail away (video), another chapter on sailing our new boat on an epic voyage from Gibraltar to Malta (Our first sailing adventure). Then there’s the Sicily chapters – containing several amazing experiences. And Greece will be broken into a few chapters. There’s the Ionian Sea, Corinth Bay/Canal and Aegean mixed with our new American friends, new South African friends and visitors from England.

Note: To read through my journey from the beginning, start on the first page of my Journey Archives

When looking at my life in its entirety, I certainly had chapters all along. Perhaps every year was a different chapter or every job or boyfriend. Each university I went to was a chapter (I went to 3!) and being pregnant was, of course, a chapter. Overall, however the chapters in my life were long and often had blank pages between new chapters.

Life now is on a serious adrenaline rush

Literally, one chapter finishes and I spend 5 minutes wondering ‘what’s next,’ only to discover the start of the next chapter unfolding right before my eyes.

A couple weeks ago, a chapter ended when my cousin Loryn left Britican

She was with us from the very start. She flew to London and then headed to Gibraltar with us. She was a part of every experience, voyage and learning lesson. Loryn was there for every laugh, every tear and every amazing adventure. When she left I felt a bit lost and afraid of change. I couldn’t stop crying for a while – I was crying because I was happy for all that we shared and crying for the fact that she wouldn’t be with us anymore.

The day Loryn left, my best friend and her family, flew in from England for ten days

What perfect timing! We spent our time travelling around the Dodecanese Islands relaxing, swimming and eating lovely food. It was yet another chapter although it was very short. I had a brilliant time with my friend and enjoyed seeing both of our families enjoy each other.

My visitors helped me to transition from Loryn leaving to my family and I being alone on the boat.

It’s hard to explain but I felt as if I wanted time to stop for a bit

Everything seemed to be changing and I didn’t like how quickly the chapters were ending. I was, and am still, slightly afraid of what’s next.

One hour after our friends left for the airport, and I was still teary eyed, we found ourselves sitting with an Israeli family. We sat up late chatting about sailing, the troubles in Israel, and life in general. We explained how we said, ‘Screw-it,’ to our lives and traded it in for a new life on the seas. The family expressed their interest to do the same. Currently, they sail through the summer season (cruising and racing) and work during the winter…

…but I get the feeling it won’t be long before they’re on their own sailing around the world journey

Our new friends run a business in Israel making sailboat sails. In fact, they work for the largest international sail maker in the world. Ironically, we need new sails. One thing led to another and we start talking about sails. We’ve been in the process of remotely getting quotes from a variety of sail makers but having the ability to chat with someone that personally designs them has been such a treat!

Over the last couple days, I’ve spent time with Easy (isn’t that a brilliant name!?) as he’s shown me designs he’s made up for our genoa (front sail). I’ve seen the 3D specs and looked at the sails from every perspective.

I’ve also learned about using the sails properly and what works best in various wind conditions and why

Furthermore, we’ve discussed crossing the Atlantic and what’s involved in the journey. Easy has crossed before so he pulled out his photos to share his journey with me. Furthermore, I received a lesson on how to fillet a fish! Apparently, Easy and his crewmembers ate fish the whole way across the Atlantic.

Easy and his wife, both life-long sailors and racers, offered to take us out on our boat to show us how to use our other sails. We have 6 sails stuffed in our haul and have no idea how to use any of them. I’d really like to pull out our genica and spinnaker to see what they look like, but haven’t a clue as to how we set them up.

We were fortunate to spend an evening dining at a tavern with Easy and his family. My daughter played with his daughter while his wife, son and Simon and I chatted about all sorts.

There seems to be a kinship that I keep finding, again and again, with other sailors

We discussed how there are no walls, no boundaries, in the sailing community. Everyone is out to help every other sailor. Yes, we’re from American or from Isreal but there’s something larger that we belong to. It’s as if we belong to the world – just as everyone else does. Perhaps, however, when out on the sea, you realize it more? You realize that we’re all Earthlings and we’re all the same. Read more on this here: There are no walls in the sailing community

Easy, his wife and two of his children will be leaving Kos soon heading for Santorini and Crete. We’ll be heading in the same direction so we’ve already discussed meeting up in various places.

And then it dawned on me that another chapter has opened

Life is flowing in such a wonderful way. I’m not sure why I ever worry as it’s totally unnecessary. The message of living in the moment keeps ringing clear. And knowing to trust that as one chapter closes another begins – my job is to just let life happen. Just go with the flow and the flow will carry me along this most amazing journey.

Of course, I’ll fall off the ‘living in the now’ wagon time and time again but sailing is definitely helping me to be more present and to trust life

I can’t control anything so all that’s left is for me to just trust.

It’s rather exiting knowing that I have so many exciting chapters ahead! What’s next?

The next article is: What is cooking in Britican’s Galley?

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world…is enlightenment on the cards too?!


Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

It’s 5:54 am and I’m sat in the cockpit of my sailboat. The roosters are crowing and there are a few dogs barking. There’s a low murmur of the crickets. I can hear waves hit the shore and the boat rattle slightly as the calm waters cause tiny movements. The halyards slightly caress the mast and a passing ferry can be heard in the far distance. Soft snores come from two of the bedrooms below.

The smells of the Mediterranean permeate the boat

The scents of local trees, the herb, sage, and last nights grill at the taverna lace the air. Although the temperature is mild, the smell and feel of the air indicate that it’s going to be another hot day.

My family and our guests are anchored off a wonderful Greek island near Turkey

There’s a castle high on the hill with an adjacent hill lined with very old windmills. Lower down the hills is a village with more windmills. Around ten sail and motorboats are near us all lined up with an anchor in the sea and a landline tying them to the shore. There are boats anchored and islands further out dotting the sea.

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

We are slowly swinging on our anchor

I’m getting a 60-degree view without turning my head waiting for the sun’s rays to hit a hillside or for the sun to make an appearance. Early mornings are so precious. They’re so special and I’m not sure why I’ve spent all these years sleeping through them? As I look around, I think to myself, ‘Perhaps it’s time to start a routine of waking early and going to bed early?’

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

As I ponder this new sleep and waking routine my thoughts open up to all sorts of options

Heck, I can do anything I want to do. If I want to wake at 5am, take 5 naps a day and sleep for 3 hours a night I could give it a go. And if and when that no longer suits me, I can change again. I suppose that I’ve always had the freedom to choose my sleep habits, or anything for that matter, but the pressure of working, general life and exhaustion seemed to require a daily 12-hour respite.

I then expanded my thoughts even more

Changing my sleeping hours is something I can alter allowing me to enjoy the peacefulness and serenity of the mornings…and what else? What else can I choose to change? Hmmmmm?

Selling up and sailing away has not only taking me out of the rat race but it’s also removed me from what is considered ‘normal’ living distractions. I no longer have access to the news nor am I able to get caught up in my previous social-circle dramas. My mind isn’t flooded with advertisements or over stimulating television programs and movies. I no longer experience traffic jams, road-rage or people failing to cope with life. And for the most part, the weather can’t give me cause to complain; the daily forecast is usually warm and sunny. From a work perspective, I’m so far removed from office politics and what a relief that is!

I no longer feel as if I need to fit into ‘normal’ life

I have this newfound freedom that has cleared my mind and allowed me to choose different ways to think and live. It’s as if I’ve cleared some space where I can be free of day-to-day stimulus and think about the more meaningful things in my life. Waking up to a magical dawn and sleeping routines is just one example.

Just yesterday we were sailing from one island to another. The waves were a bit rough and I knew that if I went below decks or tried to read I wouldn’t cope for very long. I’ve gotten much better with managing my seasickness but I don’t ever push my luck!

I sat on one of the very back seats on the boat and simply looked out at the water

My thoughts didn’t stop but they slowed way down and seemed to be very simple. On further reflection, my thoughts don’t seem to spiral as much anymore. A thought comes in, I look at it and then it goes. Another thought comes in, I look at it and it goes.

Previously, I’d think a charged thought like, ‘I wonder if the article I wrote for XYZ magazine was good enough,’ ‘or, I wonder if I am a good enough mom right now,’ or ‘I can’t believe the crisis in X country – why isn’t anyone doing anything?’ and then I’d be off thinking of past failures and possible future disappointments or even world destruction.

My past and future thinking mechanism seems to be working correctly for the first time ever

Of course I think of my past. Often, I reflect on summer holidays with my family. I compare where I was to where I am now. Reminders of past events pop in all the time, however, instead of getting stuck into a thought they seem to pass through me. Same with thinking of my future. I’ll consider what we’re going to do for, lets say, Christmas, ponder a few options and then let the thought go. I don’t spiral into a thought and get caught up in it. There’s very little worry or fear present. I don’t worry about where we’re going or when we’ll get there. My fears and worries about life are not completely gone, but they’re not the way the used to be. Heck, I was afraid of everything.

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

Leaving the rat race to sail around the world

I wonder if this all makes sense?

I seem to be in the present and when past and future thoughts come, they simply come and go. When I lived in my old life, I spent most of my energy thinking of my past or worrying about my future. I’m not sure if I knew what the present was!

I used to be so caught up with being successful, looking pretty and being a ‘good’ mom/wife/friend/employer/etc.

Now, none of those thoughts entertain my mind. None of those things apply to who I am anymore. Now, I look out at the blue water and feel gratitude, think about what I’ll make for lunch or what activity Sienna, hubby and I can do when we moor up. We never know where we’ll be in a couple days. Things change often and we all just go with the flow.

Wise people often suggest that silent meditation is used to quiet the mind and find enlightenment

I’ve tried for years, to both meditate and find enlightenment, and sitting alone with my thoughts caused me to think even more…and to get sucked more into whatever was bothering me.

I suppose, however, I’ve now found my form of meditation. It’s not by sitting cross-legged, chanting OMMMM and watching my thoughts bubble to the surface. It’s by sailing on the seas and living the lifestyle of a somewhat simple traveller – it’s by living the life of my dreams. I feel so removed from the things I didn’t like (gossip, news, politics, broken systems – banks, healthcare, education, bad food, depressing weather, etc.) and so close to the things I love (family, friends, local fresh non-processed foods, days spent sailing, nights spent star-gazing, new people, new sights and amazing memories).

Some people might say I’m escaping or hiding from life yet I feel like I’m, for the first time, really living life

By removing myself from what most people call ‘normalcy’ I can look back at it and realize how caught up I was by things that didn’t make me happy.

Success no longer equates to making loads of money – rather, the word ‘success’ means that I’m fulfilled

And for me to be fulfilled, I don’t need a car, loads of designer clothes, expensive haircuts or the largest TV screen. I don’t even need a 6-bedroom house! For me to be successful, I actually don’t need much money at all.

What I do need is room to think my own thoughts, time to contemplate what I really enjoy and don’t and then the balls to say, ‘I’m going to go after what makes my heart sing.’ With this attitude it makes both my journey and destination remarkable.

One final remark: I’m not advocating that everyone sells their house, buys a boat and sails around the world. I am however, suggesting that if you’re not currently fulfilled with life, you don’t have to keep living the life you’re living. It’s possible that the ‘normal’ life doesn’t necessarily suit you and it’s time to find out what does. I’ve made massive changes in my life and yes it scared the crap out of me…but WOW, it was worth it.

Enough said. Time to pull up the anchor and head for our next destination. I wonder what new experiences will greet us today?

Next article: Sailing around the world journey – one chapter ends and another starts (again, and again…)

Visiting Delos Greece – a must see if you’re into ancient archeological sites


“Once you’ve seen one Greek ruin, you’ve seen them all” Or have you? What about visiting Delos Greece?

We’ve been in Greece for over a month now and thus far we’ve hit the ancient archeological sites of Olympia, Delphi, Athens/Acropolis and most recently, the uninhabited island of Delos. Furthermore, we anchored below the beautiful ruin on top of the cliff in Sounion (see picture below).

Sounion Greece

Sounion Greece

Thus far, my favorite still stands at Olympia but every archeological site has been magnificent – and for different reasons. I enjoyed Olympia because we were able to run across the original Olympic stadium. To me, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read Running the stadium track at Olympia Greece, where the Olympics first started in the 10th century BC

Delphi was fantastic as the ancient site stood on the side of a mountain containing some incredible ruins and views. Furthermore, we went with two other boatloads of friends, making the trip truly memorable. Read Visiting Delphi – We made it to the center of the ancient World

Athens Greece

Athens Greece

As for the ruins in Athens…I’ve been privileged enough to have seen them a few years ago, so the impact this time wasn’t as strong. Actually, I found the ruins at the base of the Acropolis, like the Agoras to be far more interesting. That aside, my visit to Athens was with my cousin Loryn and her friend Christine which made the day very special. For the first time I was able to go through a museum and archeological site without my daughter. It was nice to look at what I wanted to look at and spend time absorbing things slowly rather than racing around!

But what about visiting Delos Greece? Is it worth the effort to get there?

No one lives on the island of Delos and it’s not a destination you’ll come across by accident. Dating back to 2500 BC, Delos is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. It’s the birthplace of the mythological sun god, Apollo, and his twin, Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt. The island was the most sacred place of worship in ancient Greece.

Interestingly, in 426 BC, the Athenians decided to ‘cleanse’ Delos and it’s thousands of inhabitants were told to leave. No one was allowed to be born, die or be buried on the Holy island. Since then it’s been uninhabited. Currently there are a handful of people that live on the island but that’s to maintain the archeological site.

Delos being an island, you have to make specific plans to visit it. Close to the Greek island of Mikonos, you can take a ferry to the island for 18 euros or I did notice that you can anchor nearby and take a tender to the little port. The anchorage didn’t look very safe but we had friends that anchored and visited the site successfully. I’m told that you can’t anchor overnight. Once on the island, the entrance fee is 5 euros and another 5 for an optional person-led guided tour.

We moored up just outside the town of Mikonos in a marina and then took a 5-minute waterbus to the main town center. Five of us then boarded the ferry with anticipation. My husband, cousin, cousin’s friend and my daughter entered the ancient site and thought, WOW – look at all the stuff.

Literally, there were columns, building footings, bricks, walls and roads all over the place. As far as the eye could see, there were ruins. A few modern houses and a museum were easily identifiable but otherwise, it looked like a junkyard of rock, marble and old stuff.

One of these days I’ll have to find out why archeologists don’t put the ruins back in place. Perhaps you know the answer to that?

Each building was surrounded by stones, pieces and parts that must belong to the building – or one close by. Maybe it’s just too expensive? I just couldn’t help wanting to see something in it’s original state.

That being said, some of the ruins had walls up to the ceiling, mosaic floors and columns within the building. It wasn’t too difficult to imagine what they looked like back in the day. We also came across a few statues. Furthermore, the descriptive plaques dotted around the site offered an example of what the ruin looked like in it’s heyday.

What I find remarkable is that most buildings and statues were painted vibrant colors in ancient Greece. Even the Parthanon was very colorful. In my mind I always reflected on Greece as everything being white marble but that was not the case.

Anyway, Delos sprawled along the coast with a path leading up to the highest point on the island. Of course we had to go to the top! My 4-year old daughter and I ran ahead of the rest of our crew to make it to the top first. To my surprise, we not only made it to the top but we also managed to stand without blowing over. The winds were seriously blowy.

Once the rest of the crew joined us, we took pictures and kept yelling out, ‘wow – look at these views!’ There’s something magical about making it to the top of a hill or mountain. There is the effort put in to achieve the feat and then the reward of such beautiful scenery. My daughter and I placed a rock on top of the highest person-made rock tower and made a wish.

I’m not sure what those rock towers are for – any ideas?

You find them all over the place when you get to the tops of mountains. I just told my daughter that it’s a way to pay our respect to the mythological Gods and make a wish. We’ve been focusing on Mythology lately so she accepted my answer.

After several hours of walking around, we made it back to our ferry to Mikonos. The crew and I were unanimous – Delos is a must see for anyone interested in Greek ruins. Below are some of my pictures and then scroll down for my top 5 tips for visiting the ancient Greek island of Delos.

Delos Greece Pictures (click to see larger image)

My top 5 tips for visiting Delos Greece

It’s far cheaper to take your boat and anchor across from the entrance to the old port. When we arrived I saw 3 boats anchored with 2 of them tied onto land with a landline to avoid swinging. Once moored up, it’s only a very short tender ride over to the ferry docks.

There is a tiny restaurant and a place to get water and drinks. We brought our own water but I can imagine the prices were steep – there’s no completion.

Definitely wear sneakers/trainers or good hiking shoes. The area is rocking and unsettled. Furthermore, if you got to the top of the hill, you’ll want strong shoes. A day of hiking around Delos in flip-flops would be terrible.

Get a guide! We didn’t get one but upon reflection it would have made the site much more manageable. It’s a bit overwhelming and to have someone take us to the most important areas leaving us to wander later would have been better.

This goes without saying – wear sunscreen! There is absolutely no shade on the island so it’s difficult to take some time out from the sun. Your best bet is to bring a hat or wear some sort of head covering. By the end of our tour I was ready to sit in the shade for a couple days.

The Greek island of Hydra – A swim ashore to enjoy an uphill mountainous hike


Greek Island of Hydra

The Greek island of Hydra

Imagine a cove with beautiful light and dark blue waters surrounded by etched hills and a beach with thatched umbrellas and sunbeds. And further visualize the beach full of day-trippers all leaving the yachties to absolute solitude by nightfall. No roads, no lights, no electricity and no mobile or Wifi connection. No sign of any life in the bay. (The bay we were in was called Ay Nikolos, if you’d like to find it during your travels.)

Finding a beautiful, quiet peaceful bay isn’t always easy

So, when we anchored off the Greek island of Hydra we were very pleased. By 8pm we were joined with only a few other yachts. For the most part, we had the bay to ourselves. Not long after setting the hook, my cousin, Loryn, and I looked over to the mountainous island and thought, ‘we need to climb to the top!’ As the day was coming to an end we decided to wake early, swim ashore and hike as far as we could get. After a lovely nights sleep, we threw on our bathing suits, packed a bag with sneakers, socks, water and our cameras and headed to the aft of the boat. Once there, Loryn and I surveyed the distance between the boat and land. There was a small stretch of water we had to swim across to get to the island. Fortunately, we had a ship to shore line preventing our boat from swinging on the anchor.

The challenge, however, was to slide our bag across the line without it hitting the water!

After a bit of discussion, we fastened Lorry’s backpack onto the landline. We then tied a sail tie onto the bag so that we could swim and pull the bag along. To increase the challenge we also decided to bring our coffee’s with us. Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

The swim to land was full of laughter

Fortunately, the bag made it across dry and we were able to put our socks and sneakers on. We couldn’t bring shorts and a t-shirt and it was hot anyway, so we opted on scaling the hill in our bathing suits. No one was around to see us anyway. Rather than follow the main path to the beach, we instead went ‘off-road’ immediately and encountered some huge spiders. Perhaps keeping to a path might be a better idea?   We eventually picked up a path and headed up the hillside. Our first stop was an abandoned house that may have doubled for a church. From there, we picked up a trail winding up the hillside towards an olive grove.

Then our climb went from easy going to hard work – we went off-road heading for the top

At a certain height the hillside went from shrubs, thorns and grass and turned to rocks and boulders. Having to slightly scale the mountain, we kept going up and up and up. Greek Island of Hydra

Greek Island of Hydra

Finally, we hit the top of the mountain and WOW, the view was incredible. The hike was well worth the effort. We surveyed the surrounding area, took photo’s and even a couple videos. And feeling like a kid I yelled out, ‘Echo, Echo’ and to my delight, I heard it come back to me – ‘Echo, Echo!’ Loryn and I played with our echo’s for a while and laughed like little kids.

Eventually, we realized that we had to go down, but where did the trail go? Yikes!

We had a little chat and decided to just go straight down. It was steep and we had to really concentrate on our footing. A few times we had to alter course as there was a sheer rock face drop. While descending, I yelled over to Loryn, “I feel like a kid again! I used to love climbing up hills, mountains, rocks or anything I could find” And then it dawned on me that I’m acting more and more like a kid every day. It’s as if I lost the concept of playing and now I’m getting it back. Not only am I enjoying playing with my daughter, but I’m also playing just for the sake of playing. Surely over the past land-based years I’ve had the opportunity to climb a hill or jump along some boulders but I either didn’t see the opportunity or failed to consider ‘play-time’ as a legitimate option? I had emails to send, work to do, a house to clean and important things to see to!

Heading back to the coast was more difficult than going up

We found ourselves trapped in thorns or shrubs a few times. We worked together raising branches, checking out potential passages and inching our way back to the boat. All scratched up and at long last, we made it to the beach.

Greek Island of Hydra

My husband, Simon, welcomed us on board and said, ‘let’s release the land line, lift the anchor and head out!’ Fortunately, we got all our work done (lifting the anchor, stowing the lines, securing the fenders and setting the sails) and then Loryn and I collapsed in the cockpit enjoying a nice, slow sail to the next island. I wonder what our next off-road adventure will be?

How to conserve water on a sailboat – bathing with 6 cups of water


“Bathing with six cups of water?! That’s just not possible!”

That’s how I responded when my friend Carole, a world cruising veteran, said that she could bathe/shower with only 6 cups of water. Talk about how to conserve water on a sailboat.

Reflecting back upon my land-based life, I remembered taking 15 or 20 minute long, hot showers. I must have used a whole tank of hot water often! Now that we’re living on a boat, I’ve drastically curtailed my water usage. With a tank holding 1000 litres and an average crew of 6 it doesn’t last long.

Anyway, now that we have a limited amount of water I’ve changed my showering behaviors. Instead of standing in the shower, enjoying the hot water comfortably hit my body for several minutes; I now have the following procedure:

  • Turn water on and quickly get wet
  • Turn water off
  • Put shampoo on and soap up
  • Water on and rinse
  • Water off
  • Put conditioner on and shave (when required)
  • Water on and rinse

Showers are no longer a luxury. Rather, they’re a quick necessity. Looking back, I now realized that I wasted a lot of water. Feeling proud of my new water conservation efforts, I mentioned my routine to Carole, from the sailboat Nepenthe. She indicated that her conservation efforts allow her to shower with 6 cups of water.

Carole upped the game and a new challenge was set!

I just couldn’t fathom how it would be possible to shower with six cups of water so I asked Carole to come aboard Britican and do a demonstration. Not only did we get a demonstration, but also my daughter and I were active participants!

Was it possible for my daughter and I to bath with 6 cups of water?

Well…I’ll get to that but before I do let me sidestep to life onboard a boat. When you’re cruising around the world there are a few ways to get water. One is to fill up your tanks at marinas. That being said, getting good water can often be difficult. Many marinas supply water, but it’s not good enough to drink and at times it can smell really bad.

The second way is by using a water maker. We’re privileged to have a reverse-osmosis water maker – it turns seawater into drinkable clean water. To make water, we need to run our generator. For every hour we run it, it makes 100 litres of water. So, for 1000 litres we would need to run our generator for 10 hours. Usually, we just keep our water topped up – whether by marina water supply or by water maker. We don’t let it get too low so we only ever run our water maker for a couple hours.

And the final way to get water is to catch rain! Currently, while we’re in the Mediterranean we haven’t seen any rain, but surely there will be places we get to where the rain falls. Perhaps when that happens we’ll sort out a rain catcher?

Back to the 6 cups of water to shower with…

While in Patras, Greece, Carole came over to us on Britican with her bucket and a cup. At first, I thought, ‘Are we really going to do this?’

I yelled down to Sienna, who was playing with her Barbies, that it was time to play with a bucket of water. If I told her it was a shower I’m not so sure she’d want to participate.

Carole asked us if we wanted to do the demonstration in our bathing suites or naked. I thought it was great that she asked as that consideration never crossed my mind! What a question! Hehehehe. I quickly, replied, ‘Yes – with our bathing suits!’

‘I’m happy you said that!’ was Carole’s response!

The three of us then found a space on the deck – all of us in our bathing suits with bucket and cup at hand. Carole instructed us to sit with our legs crossed and up so that our knees where near our armpits.

The first cup of water was poured over our bodies starting from one shoulder going across to the next and working down the body – to my surprise, one cup managed to get most of our body wet. By pouring the water while sitting cross-legged it had the opportunity to flow from the top to the bottom. The second cup was for our hair.

It actually took me a couple cups of water to get my hair wet but that’s because I have long hair. Carole remarked that she keeps her hair short as it’s easier to maintain and clean. I’m not sure if I’ll chop mine off yet but I’m sure it’s on the cards.

After we were soaked, we all put our shampoo in and soaped up

Sienna had ball. She thought the whole experience was fun. We used a few cups to rinse off and our bath was over.

I then asked Carole if she only uses 6 cups of water to shower every time she bathes. Carole laughed and explained that she doesn’t pay attention to how much she uses. At a push, however, she could bathe with 6 cups.

Before the exercise I thought there was no way I’d be able to shower with such a little amount of water. Now I know better. The lessons I’m learning are amazing. For me, the action of bathing with 6 cups of water wasn’t a part of my reality. And previous to that, it wasn’t possible to shower using the on and off system!

Conserve water on a sailboat

Conserve water on a sailboat

How to conserve water on a sailboat

How to conserve water on a sailboat

How to conserve water on a sailboat

How to conserve water on a sailboat

As for my next step, perhaps I’ll really enter the world of a salty sea dog and stop showering full stop!

To read more amazing things that Carole (and Jim) aboard Nepenthe have taught us, check out the article: Couple sets off for a 3 year around the world sailing trip – 15 years later they’re still going!