We spent the last week getting into a routine – a routine that is pretty familiar to just about everyone these days – home school in the morning, following by a list of activities in and on the water around us.
We do boat school 7 days a week. That helps keep school days a little shorter, and it also helps cover for all the days missed due to long passages (when we are moving from one anchor to another) and special events.
I’ve been surprised that the boys want to get school started immediately in the morning. What a difference from the days when we would have to drag them through the morning ritual to get them to school. They jump right into their reading as soon as they are awake, usually knocking out some portion of that section before I’ve even finished a cup of coffee. The sooner they get through school, the sooner they are able to get out and play with the kids on our buddy boat. The kids dread that moment when we aren’t quite done school and the call comes in on the VHF radio that our buddy boat is done school and headed to the beach. It’s a great motivator to get started bright and early!
We do have the occasional distraction during school, like this event the other day (these visits have become frequent enough that we now have our bathing suits and dinghy ready to go in the morning):
We have also started reading longer books aloud as a family after lunch (a habit we stole from our buddy boat). We are reading the Hobbit right now, which brings back memories of my parents reading me the same book as we traveled through Central America on our way to El Salvador when I was 7 or 8.
We spend the rest of the day doing boat maintenance and repairs (the never ending boat maintenance projects) and playing in the water. There’s a fair amount of snorkeling and swimming with some kayaking and SUPing to get around. There are some other kid boats near us that we know, but we’ve been practicing social distancing and keeping the kids away from each other. The parents will occasionally check in and have conversations across dinghies (and whatsapp communication). And we stay off the shore – the kids haven’t set foot on land in weeks and Amanda and I have extremely limited engagements on land.
I just collected groceries from a beach nearby where a delivery person left our order on the shore. It felt like some sort of clandestine exchange that should have been done in the middle of the night. I think the kids are getting plenty of exercise in the water, but it is strange not to walk at all during the day – I worry that we aren’t getting enough daily motion and exercise while we are here and the parents are making an effort to move as much as possible during the day.
There is a fishing boat that swings through the bay occasionally and picks up garbage so we don’t have to go to shore to deal with eliminating that resource, and we’ve agreed with all the neighboring boats that we would use our holding tanks to keep our little bay as clean as possible – which means that every 3 days or so we pull up anchor and take a little jaunt out to 3 or 4 miles off shore to fertilize the ocean depths.
At the end of the day, Justin says farewell to the sun every afternoon on his conch and usually gets some responses and support from the boats nearby.
As highlights, we did catch a few ‘coconuts’ for dinner while snorkeling on a reef (there is an old superstition that you should not say the name of
that which you are hunting for fear that they will hear you and run away, hence the use of code words).
During one of her workouts, Amanda was able to swim with sea turtles – there are several that call this little bay home – checking off an item on her bucket list for this trip.
For Easter, we had to get a bit creative for our egg hunts, as we have no eggs and did not bring any plastic eggs aboard (no room for extra stuff like that). The boys made origami boxes as egg placeholders, and we hid them around the boat for them to find on Sunday morning. We were so fortunate for the generosity of another boat in the anchorage that shared their Easter candy with us. The boys were pleasantly surprised to find jelly beans in their eggs! The other kid boats also painted rocks and then hid them in 5 to 10 feet of water for other kids to find. The boys had a great time snorkeling around, scooping up rocks and comparing their discoveries with what the others found.
We will likely stay here in this Bay until we make our decision on which way we are going from the USVI. All the anchorages are pretty full and getting more crowded every day as the USVI are the only islands where US flagged boats can be in the Caribbean/Bahamas right now (outside the US). That applies to not only all us cruisers but also all the charter boats that would usually be out and about escorting guests to remote locations. That makes us leery of bouncing around too much across anchorages since we don’t want to be caught with no (good) place to drop our anchor for a day or 2.
We still have no idea where we’ll spend the summer. We are hoping to hear this weekend if Grenada will open up to cruisers. If not, we’ll be formulating a plan B, or is it C or D at this point? There are plenty of bays and rivers to explore between the Chesapeake and Maine, and if we head that way, we can even figure out a way to visit friends along the way in some social distanced fashion.