NOVEMBER 2019 KIDS4SAIL.COM
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A Kids4sail publication
Carolyn Shearlock offered up her special Ginger Snap recipe just in time for Thanksgiving!
by kimberly bizjak
Jessica Brand-Polazkowyj and her family had a grand adventure exploring Morocco.
Thanksgiving in Morocco
Meet the Bizjaks!
Read all about the Bizjak family and their life aboard sv Litha. Kim also recently wrote a book!
My husband Justin and I are high school sweethearts. We’ve always been pretty adventurous together, so we’re used to hearing, “You’re doing WHAT?!” From spending a summer camping around Europe with a toddler, to moving across the country without knowing where we’d live, to cycling over 200 miles in a day, to running a marathon. You get it, we’re crazy–– in the best way possible.
We had always talked about “someday” moving aboard and living the cruising life, but we didn’t even know how to sail. We used to visit every boat show, dreaming of our future home afloat. But because we had two young kids, we would wait to make that dream a reality for us after they grew up and moved out.
In the meantime, we purchased an old J24. We took ASA classes, and we had a blast on that little boat in the Seattle area. We called it our “floating camper” and would take the kids over to Blake Island for sailing, hiking, and swimming.
A few summers ago, we left the kids with grandma and sailed just the two of us on that little 24 ft boat for two weeks in the San Juan Islands. When we got back, the house seemed too big and life seemed too hectic.
So many existential thoughts started creeping in after that trip. Justin and I both lost a parent at a young age to cancer, and they never got a chance to retire from their 9 to 5 jobs and travel like they wanted.
Also, my “9 to 5” job: A Holistic Therapist & Intuitive Medium. I literally work between life and death everyday, so I have a unique understanding of how short life is. I help my clients find their true path in life with the help of their loved ones on the other side. Having no regrets is a huge theme in my sessions.
After coming across an interview by Delos of Behan and Jamie on Totem, we were inspired to not wait until “someday”. It was time to take the advice I give my clients and live life to the fullest...now.
The following is an excerpt from my new book, Ghost Stories & Hippie Sh*t, about our decision to sail away:
“Being out on the open water always feels so freeing, and my absolute favorite part of sailing is that moment when–– after motoring out of the marina and it’s hectic and chaotic trying to pull the sails up and they’re flapping around in the wind and the sound of the motor is vibrating into your brain–– you cut the engine.
You hear every crinkle of the sails and the water splashing against the boat as you slice through it, you smell the salty air, the sunshine, the wind. There, in the quiet that exists only when you remove every artificial noise possible, it’s just you; and the power of Mother Nature.
As I heed my own advice, I’m reminded of how important it is to our intuition to feel this force of nature that’s bigger than ourselves. It’s exactly like being out at sea, adrift and able to feel the wind shifting on your skin and simply knowing which direction you’re heading next. That knowing allows us to adjust our sails appropriately; you feel where you’re meant to go.
If you just listened, you’ll end up exactly where you are meant to be. So I listened. We listened, and we decided to let go, to turn off the motor. We’re letting go of the concept of the “normal life” we’re “supposed” to live, and we are letting go of all the things that society says we should own.
Sometimes it feels liberating. Sometimes it feels absolutely terrifying.
I have fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of not succeeding, fear of not having money to sustain our nomadic lifestyle, fear of what people think of us, fear of failure, and especially fear that we are going to “screw up” our children.
But then we think about how amazing this unusual life will be for them. We want our kids to be citizens of the world, and by changing our lives this way, we’re giving them that. We also want to connect and grow closer, and we’re excited to be spending real time as a family every single day as we sail, to really know each other in a way we never would living on land. Connect with each other as we connect with the sea. And, yes, we can’t predict that everything will turn out the way we plan, or hope, or that we’ll be able to avoid our fears coming true. But that’s part of the power of this move–– it’s one based in trust. It’s putting faith in ourselves. It’s the decision to change our sails because the wind of our souls changed direction.
It’s our choice now to go with the flow and not fight it.
To have no regrets of unsailed seas.
To find our home amid those glassy, choppy, uncertain waters.”
We sold our home and everything we owned to purchase our 1988 Irwin 54 in August of 2018. We spent 5 months in San Diego updating and preparing her for world travel. We named her Litha, which is the Celtic/Pagan celebration of the Summer Solstice (opposite of Yule). We began our never-ending summer of adventure when Tyler was 12 and Evie was 6 this past January as we set sail down the coast of Mexico. Our first season as cruisers, we have traveled 2750 nautical miles from California to El Salvador, and visited 5 countries.
I’m still able to help my clients tap into their own intuition from the sea by giving readings through email and video chat. Cruising has given me an even deeper understanding of how to live your best life–– by being crazy–– in the best way possible.
Business: Seeing from the Sea
Book: Ghost Stories & Hippie Sh*t
bizjak family details
Boat Name: sv Litha
Boat Details: 1998 Irwin 54
Home Port: Seattle, WA, USA
Current Location: Bahia Del Sol El Salvador
# of Kids: 2
It’s the decision to change our sails because the wind of our souls changed. direction
Find Them Online
Life Off The Deep End
Monthly Location Roll
170+ Kids4Sail families use NoForeignLand.com's map to track each other around the globe. Track automatically using many different options to keep your pin up to date and ready to play!
Flags or burgees are a great way to signal other boats that kids are aboard and can also tell friends that school is finished for the day! The more people that raise their flag, the greater the opportunity to find friends. We've sent them to all corners of the world, so get yours today!!
Cruising in the Western Caribbean with her family on their Taswell 43, SV Mahi.
K4S Founder & Admin
Kids4Sail Official Map
The monthly location roll is, perhaps, the most useful part of Kids4Sail. It gives families (over 200+) an opportunity to post their locations and kids' ages in the hopes of finding friends in their area. MANY families will find each other in this way - and remain life-long friends in all parts of the world.
We make podcasts interviewing families who are in the planning stages, are just about ready to leave, have left, and those that are returning fro their "sailbatical". Lots of information is discussed that could pertain to your situation, so listen it and subscribe! Search "Kids4Sail" on any listening resource or click on the image above.
In 2010 the Lelievre family threw off the dock lines and headed down the east coast of the US. With their 18 month old daughter, Lucie, in tow, they were on the hunt for other kid boats in their area. Kids4Sail was born. It has since grown into a world-wide community of cruising families. Kids4Sail provides support, connections, and inspiration for families that experience the world on our oceans.
If you find yourself in that category and are looking for a supportive group of like-minded families, come join us!
Erika, Charles, and Lucie (G10) live on their Lagoon 420 in Stamford, CT. This is their 10th year living aboard, with a pause for a bit to care for family. Kids4Sail is their way of giving back to a community who has helped them in so many ways!
Absolute Favorite Place in the World?
What do Full-time Travelers do for Work?
Sharks and Other Water Beasties
-Suwarrow Atoll in the Cook Islands
-Mopelia, French Polynesia (3)
-Solomon Islands (3)
-Swedish and Finnish archipelago
And so many more! It's so interesting to see the favorites and the different natural categories, ie: off the beaten path, cities, diving, culture.
Link to FB post here
Educational Apps for Offline Use?
One member is writing a blog post about educational apps that can be used offline. There are some great ones listed!
There are learn-to-read apps, math apps, apps to download books, coding apps, science apps, resource apps, language apps, and geography apps.
Add a few to your repertoire!
Link to FB post here
Who Knows Your Secret??
We live in a small space and often traveling - wherever we are in the world. Having family traditions brings in structure and familiarity - to be passed down from generation to generation.
Food for Thought: One member has a "Birthday Bag". Within the birthday bag you will find:
-a cloth birthday banner
-tie dyed silks for decorations and wrapping
-baby photos of family members
-candle holder and candles
Link to FB post here
Do you have family that think you're all going to drown the moment you leave the dock? Do you have friends that won't understand the itch to see the world from the water?
You are definitely not the only one! There are SO MANY of you that chose/are choosing very carefully when to spread the news of your plans. The different reactions of people are mind-boggling.
Scott had some news to share with us all, which in the end sparked stories of encouragement of when the "we're leaving to sail the world" secret was made public.
Link to FB post here
Do sharks and crocs and eels and poisonous critters keep you up at night??
Catch up on the local wildlife situation and you're good to dip that toe in the water, say the experienced cruisers.
Your best defense is a good identification book, quick research and understanding of local sea life, and observing and talking with the locals about what's safe and what's not. Those three ingredients will ensure your safety in the water!
From land and without knowledge, sharks and poisonous beasties can seem overwhelming but most of them are really special and it's beautiful to respectfully share space with them.
Link to FB post here
There are many, many ways to work from the boat. Although some can be restrictive in geography, nothing's impossible! Here's a list of inspiration!
In each of these newsletters/magazines there is a section that goes in depth into one family's way of creating income to continue to travel full-time. Here are a few!
-Noom health consultant
-Selling at flea markets
-freelance with Upwork
-manage rental properties
Link to FB post here
Boat Name: sv Serendipity
Boat Details: 2011 Jeanneau 44i
Home Port: Scarborough, Maine, USA
Current Location: Grenada
# of Kids: 4
Homeschooling gives us a lot of freedom and depending on our environment for homeschool, that will help shape how we each set up our homeschool. Before we moved on a boat, we followed the traditional Monday through Friday approach. Now living on a boat, our schedule is constantly changing. There really isn’t a schedule and that can complicate things, making it harder to get into a good, solid routine.
I mentioned in previous posts that we were burnt out after 8 months of schooling on a boat, even though we’d been homeschooling for 7 years! We took a pause, reassessed, and then gradually worked together to come up with a plan we thought would work for everyone. Once we did that, we all voted to incorporate a mandatory holiday each month, “Day of Serendipity”, Siri chose a random number (27) and now on the 27th day of each month is a holiday. No school. No work. Just hanging out.
We elected to incorporate a 7 day rotating schedule since there’s really no difference in days when you’re traveling full time. Days 1 through 5 are school days, and 6 & 7 are make-up and/or free days. If we have a passage one day or have an off-boat activity, it’s just a missed day, and the next day will pick up where we left off. This has worked really, really well for us. It’s given us all flexibility, days for free-time and routine. The kids know exactly what is expected of them based on which day it is, and if they get all their work completed during the first 5 days, they’re free to roam!
If you’re worried about how much time your younger kids should actually be doing “school”, take a good look at them. Are they happy? Thriving? Enjoying learning? Getting plenty of time for creativity? Time outside? If the answer is yes, keep going. If you're getting push back, and school isn't fun, take a step back and reassess. Create the school that works for you.
I’ve found my kids in early elementary did schoolwork four days/week for about 2-3 hours. My middle elementary aged kids do school about 4/5 days/week for about 3 hours. Our oldest is now 13, and she does 5 days/week and works a solid 4 hours/day, sometimes more depending on her time management skills (that’s a topic for another day!).
With that being said, don’t look at my children, look at yours. Learning is supposed to be fun. The younger the child, the more time outdoors for creativity and exploration, 80% unstructured time, 20% structured learning. Follow their lead. They don’t have to read or be doing algebra by a certain age. I truly believe a young child can’t fall “behind” - unless of course, there’s a learning disability involved. Follow your gut. Like crawling and walking, reading is a developmental milestone with a very wide range for normal development. Encourage them, support them and read to them. You’ll know when they’re ready.
If you’re a parent of a middle elementary age kid, take a deep breath, learning is still supposed to be fun! What interests do they have? Take that interest and run with it - if it’s sports, make a unit study out of it - there’s your history, creative writing, reading, language arts, science and even math. Almost any interest can easily be made into a unit study and your kids won’t even realize they’re doing school work. There are plenty of unit studies out there, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, create one!
It’s important to remember why we all started homeschooling in the first place, and if homeschooling is just a part of your travel plan, but you hate it, try to figure out why you hate it, why your kids are miserable. I am pretty sure we have all agreed that our children can learn without sitting at a desk.
Sit down with your kids and create your school - what does your day look like? Subjects? Anything they are dying to read or learn about? This is your chance to give your kids the opportunity to have a voice and help be an active participant in their education. You may just find that by doing this, schooling will be less of a chore. Remember, you cannot teach your kids everything, you can only help teach them how to find the answers. Ensure they continue to have a love of learning.
Below [see above], I will post our weekly school schedule for the girls (13, almost 12 and 10) and for Callum (8).
Link to post and comments HERE.
Stephanie Colottie Ferrie addresses her boatschool routine and thoughts on her FB page, Live The Voyage. Go have a look and follow along!
Schedules & Routines
give your kids the opportunity to have a voice and help be an active participant
by Stephanie Colotti Ferrie ttieSttttephanie S Stephanie C s
Ferrie Family Details
Morocco is a feast for the senses. Cars veering in and out of traffic honking, vendors calling out, animals roaming freely and the open-air market with its lack of refrigeration can knock out some nose hairs. On the flip side, the modern amenities in the cities exceeds our expectation. The tram runs steps outside the marina and traverses from the large shopping market to the downtown train station. And, you have not seen a country celebrate the way this country celebrated their team qualifying for the World Cup Finals. Fireworks, horn honking and jubilations abound.
This African country was a place we were most excited to visit. The culture is very different from what we encountered so far on our sailing adventure, which was primarily Mediterranean Europe up that point. The history is varied, from many historic foreign invasions having shaping the culture. The native Berber roots are deep, the Arab-Muslim influence is strong and the French still have a strong presence as well. From the coastal towns, to the markets, to the historic buildings, to the people and religion. We were ready to absorb every detail.
Even the entry to Morocco was amazing. After a cold and eventful sail, we arrived to Sale’, Morocco. There are not many marinas on the Atlantic side of Morocco, so we arranged to berth in the Bouregreg Marina. This is more commonly called the Rabat Marina. Our sail from Cadiz, Spain to Sale’ Morocco was moderately difficult. The winds were shifting; going from 35 knots to 5 knots, not to mention navigating the traffic across the Atlantic side of Gibraltar. So, the reefing and traffic kept us on our toes.
The marina tender met us at the river mouth to the sea. This is necessary because the shallows are hidden, and can vary based on the tides. As we navigated Ventus up the river, the sea swell rocked us side to side and well up stream. As we arrived at the custom’s dock we saw families fishing along the shore with a contrast of modern high-rise apartments just beyond the water’s edge. After completing the required custom’s paperwork the drug dog did a quick walk around. Drugs coming into and out of Morocco is a serious problem. You also cannot bring a drone or gun into Morocco. The police will confiscate those items, however, they are returned to you upon your check out.
Before sailing to any country we prepare by studying the basics of language, history, religion and culture. In Morocco roles are well defined and we wanted to ensure our family showed the proper respect. This led to some great discussions about gender roles throughout the world. For instance, during our travels here Sophia and I were not allowed to use the restrooms in the smaller town cafes and we were not welcome to sit to order a coffee. As we were enjoying one drive we saw a group of women sitting on rocks in the empty field. Sophia, 12, inquired as to why those women did not go into the café. Our guide was taken aback and replied that the women had no money to spend at cafes, as the husband earns the income while the wife raises the family.
We planned a huge adventure for Morocco which started as soon as the boat was tied up at the dock. We took a train from Rabat to Marrakech. We enjoy more local interaction so we decided to travel second class. The five-hour journey with ten of your closest new friends set our expectations for the adventures to come, and the kids always find someone with which to play.
I booked a Riad (a traditional style of housing that many have converted into hotels) right off of the famed Jemaa el-Fnaa (city center open area). The Riad Radia was amazing! Mint tea is the local drink and the high pour is something the people are famous for perfecting. Our riad did not disappoint. We were greeted with the best cup of mint tea in Morocco. The riad was steps away from the market,but felt very quiet and cozy. There was an amazing rooftop terrace that allowed us quiet time to enjoy the overview of the city and brought in the melodious calls to prayer. There are so many Souks (bazaars) full of beautiful pieces gleaming around each corner. It was easy to become lost. We also visited the Bahia Palace and tannery. The tannery is a must visit. We learned so much about how the leather process works. The tannery is a slap in the face for smells and pushy tour guides/salesmen.
Overzealous vendors are a fact of life around all of the Moroccan tourist zones. The Jemaa el-Fnaa would be ranked as a ten in respect to pushy people hawking their wares. Sophia was grabbed and a vendor began applying henna to her hand. All the while Sophia was pulling her hand away and shouting for the vender to stop. By the time we freed Sophia, the vendor wanted us to pay for the part she finished. Not three steps later another vendor walked up and put a snake around Nick’s neck. Big mistake. Nick does not care for snakes and began comically screaming to ‘get it off.’ That vendor wanted payment as well. The food merchants flash their menus like a score card as you walk through. Food options are generally the same at each hut, so our goal was to find the cleanest. Food is cooked as ordered over coal fired grills at table side. This can be an adventure, but not for the weak stomach as there are no fresh water sources for cleaning dishware, or servers’ hands, in the food areas.
Normally, we revel in independent travel. We like renting a car, or taking public transport and will figure the trip out for ourselves. But it was important to us to see the Sahara Desert. We knew that this would require a complicated, long trip in a country with very different customs. So, we hired a guide. The Sahara Desert Crew arranged a fabulous trip for us. Our guide was an amazing entrepreneur with self-taught English skills. He began his career as a camel guide working up to an independent tour guide. We went from Marrakech through the High Atlas Mountains. We rocked the Kasbah and went through the Dades Gorge. We hiked the Monkey Toe rock formation, and beneath the High Red Cliff. The third day of our visit began by visiting an old village of the Berber slaves to enjoy traditional dance and music. The kids are always ready to hike, climb, and dance, so being able to immerse ourselves into the natural beauty was like being in an amusement park.
We were fortunate enough to be invited into our guide’s home to enjoy lunch! The Berber pizza served is a spicy meat, sandwiched between two crusts. It is a must! We were able to meet our guide’s wife and young son. In Morocco extended families generally reside under the same roof. So, in our guide’s home lived our guide’s parents, two brothers, their wives and children, his sister and his wife and son. The housing was especially interesting because it was newly built, but unfinished. Much of the housing were open concrete walls and steps. While the combined-use family and dining room was beautifully decorated with lush fabrics and seating for 30 people. It was such a special addition to our adventure to visit with his family.
Finally…the camels!! We took an hour-long camel trek through the Sahara Desert to the campground. The camel ride was amazing, but after 20 minutes we were all pretty uncomfortable. When in doubt, ride sidesaddle on a camel! We watched the sunset over the sand dunes while the kids crawled their way up the highest dune in order to sled down. We then had dinner, campfire, and drum show. From the desert we traveled back via Fez, and then back to Sale’ by train, for our Thanksgiving adventure in Morocco!
Finding a turkey in the previously mentioned open-air, non-refrigerated market, that also fit into our boat oven, was a tall order. And we had a blast trying to make it happen.
The first step into a Moroccan market is like crossing through the wardrobe into Narnia. Beautiful cloth flies in the breeze, fried eggplant wafts and merchants call out to look at their treasures. The market has taken on a life of its own. In the center is the planned, permanent structure and all around that are various tents that merchants stake out for their own business. You can buy everything from underwear to toothpaste to washing machines.
The amount of vegetable options was incredible. But we went straight toward the butcher section.
Walking to our first stall set the tone. The transaction begins by selecting the live animal you would like to have prepared. The butcher chops off the head and throws it over the counter. Cats mill around hoping to be the lucky one to receive that leftover morsel. He then plucks and prepares the meat. Goat meat hung, pigs were laid out and the biggest turkeys were displayed.
Since these monster turkeys could not fit into our tiny boat oven, we selected a few turkey legs. From here we hopped from merchant to merchant selecting some of the most delicious vegetables we had seen in a long while. We also incorporated a few locally prepared Moroccan dishes to augment our traditional American Thanksgiving meal.
Thanksgiving Day dawned clear and crisp; November in Morocco is very chilly. We began the preparation of pies and cooking while Nick began his own adventure traveling to Casablanca to retrieve a part shipped from the UK to Morocco. As an aside, do not ship anything to Morocco without expecting to pay 100% of its value in taxes or bak-shesh (bribes).
It was a stroke of luck that we could watch the Macy’s Day Parade via ustvnow.com on the marina’s wi-fi.
Between holding mint to our noses while we toured the tanneries, to negotiating prices at the Souk, to seeing the Hollywood of Morocco, to hiking the trails, to negotiating the removal of scaly animals from around our necks, to basting turkey legs; this was a Thanksgiving none of us will ever forget.
by Jessica Brand-Polazkowyj
A Feast for the Senses
Before sailing to any country we prepare by studying the basics of language, history, religion and culture.
Since these monster turkeys could not fit into our tiny boat oven, we selected a few turkey legs.
Boat Name: sv Ventus
Boat Details: 2008 Fountaine Pajot Orana
Home Port: Midwest, USA
Current Location: Grenada
# of Kids: 3 teens
Polazkowyj Family Details
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 mins./batch + cool down
Makes: 3-4 dozen
cup canola oil or vegetable oil
cup white sugar
cup brown sugar or additional white sugar
cups flour—can use up to half whole wheat flour
teaspoons baking soda
teaspoon ground cloves
Extra sugar to sprinkle over top
sv Barefoot Gal
As a kid, I spent summers on a small lake near our home in Michigan. And when the local sailing club offered a class for kids when I was 12, I quickly signed up. At the end of the six-week session, our instructor handed out certificates . . . and these wonderful cookies.
While I’ve long since forgotten his name, both the sailing lessons and the explanation of why these are “boat cookies” have stuck with me. His mother, he said, would make these cookies when they took their bigger boat out on Lake Michigan – ginger was a natural remedy for queasy tummies, the cookies were easy to make without an electric mixer and everybody loved them.
A few years later, when my Explorer Scout Post spent a weekend aboard a sailboat on Lake Huron, I suggested these cookies as an afternoon snack. It was my first experience baking in a moving kitchen and I quickly appreciated how easy they were to mix up. They were an instant hit!
Fast forward twenty years to our first charter trip, in the British Virgin Islands with our best friends. Once again, these cookies made an appearance – and having made them once, I had to make them several more times over the course of the week.
Four years later, it was our first night anchored out on our own boat. Want to guess what we munched on as we watched the most amazing display of stars?
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Mix oil, sugars, molasses, egg and vanilla.
3. Mix dry ingredients separately in small bowl so that soda and spices are evenly distributed, then mix dry ingredients into sugar mix.
4. Make into 1” balls (mixture will be soft) and place 3” apart on greased cookie sheet (as they bake, cookies will become 3” flat circles). Sprinkle sugar over each cookie.
5. Bake 9 minutes at 375° F. Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack or plate.
by Carolyn Shearlock
2019 Kids4Sail Annapolis Meetup at the Annapolis Boat Show! This was taken in the middle of the gathering - some families had to leave and others came after. This is a yearly event, so if you couldn't make it this year, we'll see you next year!
I feel that Kids4Sail's transparency is really important. Traveling and raising a family on board a boat is not "normal" within our societies. And although deviating from the norm is AOK - and even encouraged here - it can still feel daunting and lonely at times. Do not fear! You are not the only ones out there. Take a look at the numbers and breathe a sigh of relief. There are SO MANY of us out there!
Behind the Scenes
Add yourself by clicking on the map to take you to Noforeignland.com!
40-50 families took part in the 2019 Annapolis Sailboat Show Kids4Sail Meetup! It was amazing to see so many kids of all ages and their parents all gathered together. This meetup is held every year on the Saturday of the boat show.
80 kids in Grenada 14+ kids in Puerto Penasco, MX 30+ kids in Rio Dulce
While our communications configuration allows us to be very remote, we do still have to be within 24 hours, by land or sea, to an airport.direction
by Caroline Spott
Six years ago, we decided we were going to go cruising. Four years ago, we bought Waponi Woo, a 40’ Fountaine Pajot Lavezzi, and moved aboard in Tacoma, Washington with the idea we would leave the dock in two to three years. Three years ago, Ryan, my husband, was offered the opportunity to work remote as long as he was twenty-four hours away from an airport which enabled us to leave the dock and Puget Sound the summer of 2016. Between then and now we sailed Waponi Woo down the Pacific Coast of the United States and on to Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, the Panama Canal, San Andrés, Colombia, Grand Cayman, Isla Mujeres, and the Bahamas, ending in Jacksonville, Florida last spring.
My husband, Ryan, is a full-time software architect with a large tech company and I am a telecommunications contractor specializing in large-scale WiFi installation and management. (Don’t get me started on the problems with marina WiFi… I have a fix for it; tell your marina manager to contact me.) While this has afforded us the opportunity to go cruising now, while our daughter is still a teenager, it does come with some limitations. We must have Internet connectivity, we have to either be near an airport or have the ability to get to one, and as Ryan’s job involves a lot of travel, there are many times it is just myself and our daughter, India, aboard.
Communications are crucial to our livelihood. Ryan’s Monday through Friday work week requires clear, consistent telephone connectivity, and adequate bandwidth for e-mail, video- conferencing, and to remotely connect to computers around the globe. My communications needs aren’t quite as stringent, but I need to be able to receive e-mail to notify me of support and sales requests which require my attention. India also requires connectivity for school. (She uses the BYU Independent High School program. When we started it there was the option for all paper courses but that option has been phased out.) After much trial and error and a season spent in La Paz, Mexico, we finally figured out a combination of systems which enable us to spend time in remote areas and still be connected.
What we use to stay connected:
1. Local SIM cards: Throughout Mexico, Central America and the Bahamas, cellular data is inexpensive and, in many cases, quite speedy. After we check into a new country, our first order of business is to get four local SIM cards. We get one for each of our phones and a fourth for our LTE/3G cellular router. Each of us then has the ability to tether our laptops to our phone and have WiFi available for the boat.
2. KVH IPv3: This is expensive data. There is a large upfront cost and the monthly cost for 2GB of data is .50 cents per megabyte. My husband’s laptop is the only device on board authorized to connect to the KVH. This is also real high-speed Internet and crystal-clear phone calls with a USA phone number which others can call at no charge. Our parents really appreciate this.
We tried the IridiumGo! (It is great for PredictWind and emergencies but did not have the level of connectivity we required) and priced out other satellite data providers and KVH came out on top spreading the cost over three years. This system also uses a lot of power. When it is turned on, it uses 170watts of continuous AC. Without the KVH, we would not have been able to spend weeks in the Sea of Cortez or make long passages.
3. Garmin InReach: This is our tracking, two-way text messaging, and mapping device. It automatically updates a map which our friends and family can look at to see where we are. For my business, my network monitoring systems are configured to send alerts for any issues to this device with a text message.
4. Bandwidth Limiting Software: We use bandwidth limiting software (Little Snitch) on our computers and wait for coffee shop WiFi to perform any software updates. My husband also travels with a portable hard drive and will download large updates while he is in the US and bring them back for us.
While our communications configuration allows us to be very remote, we do still have to be within 24 hours, by land or sea, to an airport. This has led to some very creative transportation scenarios including rides from locals through the jungle, over-crowded chicken buses, and surf landings with luggage and laptops. India is a master at landing and launching a dinghy in the surf. India and I have dropped Ryan off at one airport and moved Waponi Woo 100+nm to retrieve him from another. Waponi Woo was specifically configured for myself and my daughter, two petite women, to handle as it is often just the two of us. I am the captain of Waponi Woo; Ryan can lift heavy things.
Each summer, we hauled out and stored Waponi Woo for two months while we returned to Puget Sound to visit family and friends and do jobs for my business which required my physical presence. Our summers are usually packed with work and appointments.
This summer, we sold Waponi Woo. We are currently in the process of looking for a new boat, with a little more room, to continue cruising next summer after India finishes a year of land school. Before we left the dock in Puget Sound, we promised her she would get to go to “real school” for a year. So far, her best friends are still the ones she has met through cruising.
We don’t have a YouTube channel and our blog is horribly out of date, but we are happy to answer questions about how we make working and cruising work for us. The new boat name is a secret.
Spott Family Details
Interested in writing?
Boat Name: Looking for a new one! (previously sv Waponi Woo)
Boat Details: Perhaps a Catana catamaran?
Home Port: Tacoma, WA, USA
Current Location: Wilmington, NC, USA
# of Kids: 1 teen
Waponi Woo was specifically configured for myself and my daughter, two petite women, to handle as it is often just the two of us.