2016, I am so torn. On the one hand, you were a year of great personal victories. We completed our first year outside of the United States, pushed the limits of our sailing experience, explored a ton of beautiful places, and made some interesting and wonderful new friends. It was a good year for sailing and for Brian and me personally.
It was a good year for our family, which expanded when we welcomed my new sister-in-law, Maia, and her clan into the fold with open arms.
But, it was also a scary year, watching all the shit that’s unfolded at home and abroad. The “real world” seems more unstable, greedy, and hate-filled than when we left it. Part of me wants to stick my head in the sand (of the nearest beach), but a bigger part of me wants to fight.
In short, 2016 was a good year to be out sailing. Here’s the highlight reel to prove it.
After weeks of waiting for a window to cross the Gulf Stream, we kicked off the first day of 2016 by completing a 27 hour passage from Miami FL to Nassau, Bahamas. We rang in the New Year with an uncomfortable night of motoring into the wind – an appropriate start. This lighthouse in Nassau was one of the first things we saw in the Bahamas on New Years Day.
Lots of stuff broke this year. This is me using our new winch for the first time, once we had it shipped to the Bahamas from an American eBay seller. I look pretty happy in this photo, because the new winch is THE BOMB.
First lobstering session was a success thanks to our seasoned friends on s/v Basta showing us the ropes! Too bad we took this totally blurry selfie to remember a super fun day of catching and cooking lobsters.
We spent at least 30% of our time in the Bahamas seeking protection from cold fronts. This is the view from one of our favorite hidey-holes for when these frequent storms blew through the Exhumas.
The stupefyingly beautiful Bahama Bank
The 5F ( First Friday in February Little Farmer’s Cay Festival) regatta.
Rachel’s Bath, Compass Cay
Shearing the Georgetown beard! He’d been growing it for over three months.
Homemade boat bagels for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day
At the monument to monuments in Georgetown with Deb, and Pete of s/v Delancey, and Allison.
Pile of kittys at the bar in Volleyball Beach, Georgetown
Brian’s first mahi mahi!
This sailfish (possibly swordfish?) that we caught en route to Rum Cay was more than we could handle.
There was no food to be purchased in the Out Islands so I made a lot of bread that month
Easter aboard s/v Delancey with Deb and Pete. Deb’s got serious skills and turned a canned ham into a culinary masterpiece!
We waited 2 whole weeks for a weather window to cross to Turks & Caicos. We left on April 1, the same day that our 3 month clearances into the Bahamas expired.
Reunion in Turks & Caicos – Nightingale Tune, Delancey, and Selah crews, together again!
This shabby marina felt downright luxurious – first land showers in over three months! That’s Delancey, Selah, and Nightingale Tune all lined up at the dock.
Dumbfounded by the bounty of choices in T&C
Homemade ice cream and lots of good creature comforts in Turks & Caicos
View from the top of the mast in T&C – getting ready for passage to Puerto Rico
Cook-a-thon to refill the freezer with homemade meals
One last game of bocce before heading to Puerto Rico
After 72 hours, we arrive in Puerto Rico at dawn.
Brian and Bo, exploring the mangroves
Amo a OSJ
The Longboard in Cruz Bay – my favorite cocktail bar in the Caribbean
Snorkeling Waterlemon Cay, USVI
Visiting Peter and Jody of Mary Christine near where they live in Tortola
Lobstering with our friend Peter from Mary Christine is a real treat
Multitasking sundowners and free wi-fi
Sandy Spit, BVI
Lunch in Red Hook, St. Thomas, USVI
It was hard parting ways with these two as we moved on south and they returned to Puerto Rico to put their boat on the hard for a while.
St. Martin is all about the food for us, in case you couldn’t tell.
View of Marigot bay from the fort
Beach bumming in St. Martin
Down at the lolo
My favorite beach in the Leewards – Colombier Bay, St. Barts. This is where we first met Corpse Pounder, but we didn’t take any photos.
Learning how to rig a stern anchor – a critical tool for surviving the swell in these Leeward Island anchorages
Favorite beach bar in the Caribbean. Boom.
Jacques Cousteau underwater park
Brian, holding down the fort in Fort de France, Martinique
Introduction to Rhum Agricole and Ti Punch
I don’t care that every other sailor hates this anchorage – I <3 Fort de France
The pier in Petit Anse, Martinique
Homemade buns for our Forth of July burgers
Fishing boats in Anse de Arlet, Martinique
The Pitons at dawn – St. Lucia
Carnival – kicking it off with the pre-dawn party, Jouvert
Just as Carnival was ending, I flew home to the States. Brian joined me two weeks later.
Boston – throwing my sister and her soon-to-be wife a bachelorette
Hanging out with my parents in Maine. They still take me out for ice cream like I’m five.
Working on one of the four cakes I made for the wedding – everybody played a role in making the big day happen.
Tory and Maia with my family on their wedding day. My sister, Tory, is the redhead.
Tory and Brian, cutting a rug
After the wedding, we bounced to New York for visits with Brian’s family on Long Island and our friends in the city. I didn’t take a lot of photos, unfortunately. I guess it was nice not feeling like a tourist in a place where we belonged. The one below is of the place I miss most in the whole city.
Union Square Farmer’s Market – NYC
Back in Grenada, waiting for a bus outside Port Louis Marina
St. Georges, Grenada at sunset
In Whisper Cove, Grenada
Rivers Rum Plantation
Diving Annandale Falls
Lulu watching over Corpse Pounder at Le Phare Bleu Marina. I am in love with her – luckily Jen and John let me smother her whenever we’re together.
Daily soak in the Le Phare Bleu pool
Tons of prep to get the boat ready for season 2
Nico + vinyl piping
the dinghy chaps project
Season 2 begins!
Birthday watercolor of Nightingale Tune, painted by Beth
With the crew of Vidorra, plus Beth
It rained a lot while we were in Mustique, but we still had a really good time with our friends on Corpse Pounder
Lunch at Firefly
Two weeks of rain, mostly in Bequia. And the election. These were not happy days.
The night we said, “fuck it, let’s go hang out in St. Lucia!” Oh hey, the sun came out for a second.
We ate a LOT of Indian food at the marina in Marigot Bay.
Thanksgiving morning in Marigot Bay.
First day of learning the ukulele
Boat spa weekend in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Leaving St. Lucia to begin a week long sailing marathon to avoid getting stuck too far south in the Christmas Winds.
Anchored in St. Pierre, Martinique
A fun rest stop in Iles Des Saintes
Watching turtles under our boat in Guadeloupe
On day 5 of 6 days of sailing – “can we please take a break?”
Nightingale Tune, under sail en route to Iles Des Saintes (photo: Jennifer Millard)
A zesty upwind sail to Antigua
I’m smiling like this sail was fun, but it was truly not my fave.
The view from Shirley Heights
Mary and Pete of s/v Neko – we ate an embarrassing amount of Italian food with these two in Antigua.
2017 on the horizon…