During our 10 years in the Caribbean, we spent a lot of time living and working in St.Maarten. We did various jobs there, and always worked hard saving up the next lot of money to go sailing again. For a year and a half I worked as Marketing Manager for St.Maarten's 12 Metre Regatta. This is a tour company that had 5 famous America's Cup yachts, and would take tourists out racing. They had the original Stars n Stripes boat that Dennis Conner had won the America's Cup with, as well as a couple of famous Canadian boats. They would stage actual races around stunning Great Bay. Here I am aboard Canada's True North IV.
After we had our baby girl and decided we would like to go sailing again, we bought a beautiful French yacht in a boatyard auction. She was so much bigger and roomier than the tiny boat we had crossed the Atlantic on. Here is photo of Justin and baby Maya in the dirty boat yard. Our little Miroba on the left (the boat we sail from South Africa to the Caribbean on) and our new boat Sahara on the right (the boat we went on to spend many years sailing the Caribbean on).
Here is our new boat Sahara all sanded back and ready to be re-sprayed.
We worked SO HARD that hurricane season with 2 boats in the boat yard, and its very dirty in the yard, its a hard life... and certainly no place for a baby. So after we launched it was cause for celebration. Here I am drinking Moet that someone had given us to congratulate us on the launch of our new boat.
So life on the dock was a whole lot easier.... Here are my two on the dock. YES Madam Maya has decided her and dad should swap sunglasses.
After a few months on the dock, we had the rest of the boat jobs done (well they are actually never ending). Here is Maya in her car seat in the dinghy, we had sold our car, and were leaving to sail South the next day.
One of our first trips was over to the island of St.Barths. This is only a short sail from St.Maarten, but it is into the wind, so it can be a bit of rough sail, and takes way longer than it should. So worth it though. Here we are on St.Barths Shelly Beach. The beach is made up entirely of shells.
Ouch those little shells look pretty, but they sure do hurt your feet.
Here is a close up of the shells.... see what I mean? They are pretty.
St.Barths has gorgeous shops, and endless quaint little streets to explore.
In what other life do you bake bread in your bikini? We didn't have an oven on our old boat, just a 2 burner stove, so I was excited to finally have an oven. Well this bread baking thing didn't happen often, I am not much of a baker.... that is why I look so proud of myself when it actually rose!
The next island we sailed to was Nevis..... Our first morning after we arrived, we went ashore in the dinghy and the local guys were throwing out their fishing nets, and pulling in their little bait fish. This old man gave Maya one of his tiny catches, she couldn't believe her eyes. Look at this photo of her holding the fish as she watched the old man wander up the beach laughing. Caribbean people LOVE babies.
While we were in Nevis, we actually house sat (and dog sat) for my friend Gillian in Nevis. Gillian is a fellow business woman and explorer, and we met at the Barbados Gift Show in about 2005. She has the most amazing little restaurant up in Hamilton Estate, called Bananas. Oh I just found a video of her restaurant.... click here to watch it.
So because we were house sitting for Gillian it was great, because we actually got to explore in the interior of the island, which can be difficult to do from your yacht. I just love old houses, and I have a hundred photos of cute little old Caribbean houses that are crumbling down.
I recently caught up with Gillian at Miami Swim Show. I said "remember that old car you had, the little yellow jeep?" She said, would you believe it, that car is still getting around the island. We laughed, that car was OLD back then, but it did have little banana's embroidered on the seats!
Look at this cute little fishing boat pulled up on the beach in Nevis.
Next we sailed to Montserrat, which is home to our planet's 10th most dangerous volcano. We had already visited Montserrat a few years previously, so we knew we wanted to go back. This is one of my favorite sailing photos of my baby Maya, pretending to pull on the ropes as we sailed towards the volcano.
So fascinating to see the power of Mother Nature as we sailed by.... in this photo you can actually see where the old coastline was (before the eruption) and how the mountain has spewed down into the sea.
Here I am up on the hill which is on the edge of the "no go zone". This was as close as we could get.
It was during this sailing adventure that my husband Justin nearly lost his fingers when he was down in the engine room.... Here he is sitting down in the claustrophobic engine room, underneath the cockpit seat.
Click here to watch a 2 minute video and find out what saved them!
One love x