The Coconuts at Le Grand Pavois Boat Show!

We have been invited to one of the biggest boat shows in Europe, as guests of honor!

Hello,

We are very pleased to welcome you in the Grand Pavois Boat Show in La Rochelle. Each year we present sailors who have extraordinary adventures and we put the focus on them for our visitors. Your story with all the family is very attractive.

The Grand Pavois has 800 international brands, 750 boats on show over 100,000 sq. metres of exhibition space, more than 250 new features presented each year and 90.000 visitors expected.

Best regards,

Floriane BOUILLARD

GRAND PAVOIS ORGANISATION
http://www.grand-pavois.com

Family-made Commercial Videos for .is

As our sailing season comes to an end this winter we settle into a berth in South Brittany, France and to continue promoting our sailing-sponsor we will be making short and witty commercials such as these two, enjoy and share them as you wish.

As we sailed between England and France Captain Jay had the idea of using this children’s rhyme for a witty video promoting .is, “I see London, I see France, I see .is underpants.”

This video came about when we actually returned one late night to the marina where we were keeping Messenger to find out that our card to enter the secure gates didn’t work. We were astounded when Luna said she could fit through the gates. We thought she would get her head stuck but she fit right through. This is where the story to this video came about.

Have you visited our new website?

www.coconuts.is

Subscribe to Coconuts.is

I have been thinking a lot about my WordPress blog and all the followers who have subscribed to receive an email whenever I post a new blog entry. Since we began this years sailing season I have written many stories but have only posted them in our new blog site and not here due to a lack of time. Sailing to a new place nearly every week with 4 small children where wifi is not easily accessible all the time makes it difficult to keep up with everything.

I will share links to the Coconuts.is new blog entries as much as possible on my WordPress blog page but you can also subscribe to receive an email whenever I post to our new Coconuts.is website blog.

Subscribe to Coconuts.is

It’s very easy just click on the photo and it will take you to the website page that is pictured above, then you simply enter your email address under the Subscribe block and click the red Sign Up button. That’s it! Then you will receive an automated email each time I post to that blog as well. Thankyou for following us!

Familia Coconut .is Sponsored

So we have ‘sold our souls to the devil’. Just kidding! It is actually with pride and joy that I announce that the vision that my husband Jay had, which by the way took me months to understand, has come true. When Jay first told me about his idea, he said he no longer wanted to work with his hands but rather with his head by convincing companies to sign on as sponsors and in return get exposure for their products through advertisement, using our boat and our personas as the conductors of such exposure. I remember thinking there is no way companies will pay us to sail around. Well, he proved me wrong, we now have a sponsor!

Jay created his company Unique Exposure and after a few grueling months designing a logo and a website for him I slowly started understanding and thinking that maybe his idea was possible. The idea was to offer the boat as a ‘mobile billboard’, the sail is like a 30 square meter canvas on which to advertise on. The boat can be equipped with products that a company is interested in either testing or showing them in use to fellow mariners. We offer attending boat shows, participating in regattas and visiting numerous ports where the boat can be seen and visited by many people. We also offer media coverage: photo and video documentation, social media publication, blogging and interest from newspapers, television and radio.

After a failed attempt to get a company to sign on, one that offered a product that Jay believed could be a total hit in the boating community, Jay had read that if you wanted to get a company to do something ‘outside the box’ you had to speak directly to the CEO, these are the visionaries of the companies. But it’s almost impossible to get a meeting with the CEO, usually the Marketing Director is as good as you can get. So on his first attempt, Jay’s vision was stalled there, at the marketing department. Therefore Jay was back to working with his hands, he was in Reykjavik this spring rigging up a boat that had been dismasted during a storm the previous winter when he befriended a man who was tinkering on his own boat next to the one Jay was working on. They hit it off and were hanging out, talking about boats, sharing meals and good times together for a week or so before Jay found out what he did for a living. It turns out that this ‘neighbor’, who’s name is Jens, is the CEO of the top-level domain .is, he understood Jay’s Unique Exposure idea, ceased the opportunity and jumped on it.

Today Messenger and it’s crew represent .is, our goal is to create awareness that .com is not the only and best option out there for a web domain. There are over 100 million registered .com while only around 50 thousand .is, which means you are most likely to find the name you want under a .is than a .com. A live example of this is us, it’s always been difficult to tell people our website and have them remember it. “So our website is http://www.familiacoconut.com”, “What was that?”, “It’s ‘familia’ which is family in Spanish ad is spelled f-a-m-i-l-i-a and then ‘coconut’ in English, we are known as the Coconut family or Familia Coconut to go hand-in-hand with our bilingual identity”. Now it’s as simple as “Our website is www.coconuts.is”. Not only has .is been consistently rated among the top five most secure domains in the world but it is also one of the few where you can buy the domain directly at the registry without going through a ‘middle-man’. The coolest thing about a .is is that it is a readable domain, this means that you can use your domain name in a slogan or phrase on your url. When on our homepage the url in the browser reads http://www.coconuts.is/your-internet-id, so our url incorporates our slogan, we’ve actually made everyone of our pages on our website have it’s own unique readable domain on the url browser window, check it out for yourselves.

So no, we have not ‘sold our souls to the devil’, our deal with our sponsor has not limited our freedom in any way, on the contrary it has given us a bit more freedom to sail to more places because we don’t have to worry so much about stopping to look for work. And yes, Jay doesn’t have to work with his hands, now he gets paid for doing what he loves most, sailing and converting others to ‘his religion’ along the way. On that note, when Jay told Jens that his family was up in the Westfjords of Iceland and that he would be returning there after his work in Reykjavik was done, Jens joked saying that maybe he would sail him up there on his 8 meter boat Maja, he didn’t know Jay would seriously take him up on it, anything to avoid traveling by car rather than by sea. But Jens being the spontaneous and ‘just do it’ kinda guy he is, got busy getting his boat ready for his first passage ever. Together they set sail on a two day journey up the west coast of Iceland, the partnership started as a friendship on an adventure. It couldn’t have started on a better note.

For this new partnership I have crated a new website that is more thorough than this blog on wordpress. It also has a blog I will be writing on more regularly, please subscribe to that blog as well if you would like to continue receiving updates about our adventures. You can also follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/coconuts.is. We are excited to share this new family project with you.

Ártico’s Birth Story

The Day You Were Born…

We had been invited to spend sometime in one of the farthest Vestfir∂ir (Westfjords) of the north of Iceland, Ísafjör∂ur meaning ice fjord, is the largest and most beautiful of all the fjords in the area. With a population of about 2,600 it is located on a spit of sand and despite its small size and historical isolation from the rest of the country, the town has a relatively urban atmosphere while still retaining a small town cozy feeling.

It was a sunny beautiful Saturday and we had been waiting to go on a hike in the snow for some time. Your father had been busy all week and the girls had been promised a family hike in the snow covered mountains surrounding the fjord. Your Grandmother Baba was visiting for the birth, so her, your father, your 3 sisters and I all got ready for the hike, we all bundled up with warm clothes and packed a lunch. We walked out of town toward the end of the fjord and once we got there we walked up the base of the mountain on the crest of a hill which led up to the ski lodge. At times it was difficult to continue on with snow up to our knees and the wind hauling by, nearly knocking us off the hill but as we ascended the view of the town was grand. We reached the old abandoned ski lodge and had walked for about a mile and a half, the new ski lodge lay still another mile up the mountain so we decided to have our lunch in the lee of the abandoned building and after begin our descent. On the way back I began having contractions and at times they were strong enough for me to have to stop walking until it passed, they were still far in between and didn’t last very long. I had already had a couple of false labors that week so I wasn’t sure if this was the day you would come. There are so many myths on things to do to make a woman go into labor and after 4 births, all in different countries and widely varied cultures, it is still a mystery to me. What has worked in one pregnancy hasn’t in the next and vice versa.  By the time we got back to the house and had walked about 3 miles in total contractions continued and we began getting things ready for your arrival. Your father made a delicious dinner while I put together the birth shrine on a table in the living room, there I placed candles, incense, photos of the family, drawings Sol and Luna had made for you and small objects that had a special significance. The birth shrine is a space I can go to during labor, a place that gives me peace and strength. After our usually late dinner, around 10pm labor continued to escalate and I became more sure that you were coming so your father began to set up the pool in the center of the living room, Baba prepared the bed and the girls and I lit candles. Then the girls began watching a movie and by midnight they had all fallen asleep in the bedroom and labor was at full swing. Your father tried to gage how long labor would be but even I wasn’t sure. Since my last 2 births were 6 hours long we thought this was my best time therefore we calculated that you would come sometime between 4 and 6am, so your father was filling the pool up systematically, that way it would be at the perfect right temperature and level at the time I would need it, he filled it slowly and with very warm water. Labor escalated faster than we thought, the rushes (contractions) got very strong and efficient. Labor with you was very different than with your sisters, I did not experience the distinct 3 stages of labor that I did with your sisters. Rushes never got closer than about 5 minutes apart but each one was very strong and I never experienced a clear moment of the “urge to push”, rather the rushes began bearing you down without me really knowing it, basically my body was pushing on its own. When you started crowning I told your father, it was only 2am and the pool was half filled and too warm so your father quickly began pouring buckets of cold water to get the temperature right. When he had it perfect I got into the pool. I had never broken water and as your head began to come out we saw it was covered by the caul: the amniotic membrane enclosing a fetus which looks like a semi-translucent bag like tissue, thought to bring good luck. You were coming out fast and I began to panic a bit, afraid I would tear as my body continued to push on it’s own, but your father calmed me down with his wise and calm disposition. I then toke a deep breath, went “inside of myself” and gently pushed with the next rush. I held your head between my legs while I felt your body turn inside of me, telling me it was now time for the rest of you to come out. On the next rush I gently pushed and your body gently flowed into the water as the sack broke dispersing the cloudy amniotic fluid. Your father had gotten into the pool with me at some point which I can not recall and we both reached for you at the same time slowly bringing you to the surface while taking away the caul which drooped from your limbs. We placed you on my chest as I began talking to you and welcoming you to this world, it was 2:30am on Sunday May 8th, 2015.

After a few minutes I remembered I didn’t know your sex but your cord was short so I couldn’t manage to turn you to see the secret you held between your legs. Your father helped me and even though it was dark in the room I was able to see, to my surprise, that you were a boy. I was delighted, I had finally gotten my boy but my celebration was interrupted by a contraction and my body wanting to expel the placenta. Your father helped me stand up, I held you in my arms as I stepped out of the pool and sat on a couple of stools with a bucket between my legs, a makeshift birthing stool to deliver the placenta. Baba wrapped us up in towels and blankets, you were comfortable in my arms and began to attempt figuring out how to latch on, this immediate instinctual behavior never ceases to amaze me. When the placenta detached from my uterus and dropped into the bucket it pulled you down since the cord was so short. I grabbed the cord near your belly and pulled it up while your father grabbed some nearby books and stacked them underneath the bucket to raise its level. Once this was all sorted and we felt no pulse on the cord, your father clamped and cut it after saying a few words: “I’m going to release you from the mamá and this placenta that has given you life for 41 weeks. Your big enough now that you can be on your own. You can breath and will learn how to suck and drink. We will all take care of you.” Baba then went to wake up your sisters so that they could meet you. After the cord clamping I walked over to the bed, all of the family surrounded us, we were all in awe looking at you and falling in love with you.

I was filled with joy to finally be holding you in my arms. Although your birth felt to both your father and I to have happened faster than we would had liked, it all went perfectly well and it went the way it was suppose to. It was an intimate and beautiful birth in a very special house, town and country. You were born in Albertshús (Albert’s House), a 200 year old house in the center of town where 25 babies had been born, the last in 1944. So in 2015 you were baby number 26 to be born in this house. Herdís Albertsdottir (Albert’s daughter) lived in the house nearly her entire life, she passed away four years ago at the age of 103 and her house has remained the way it was when she lived in it. All her belongings and her spirit are still there, I felt her wise and caring presence during the birth. The photos of her extended family still hang on the walls, we have met and befriended a lot of them who opened their doors and their hearts to us and made us feel welcomed and at home in Ísafjör∂ur.

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Iceland, our winter berth and birth

“Visited by only the most intrepid yachts, a passage to Iceland offers an experience difficult to match anywhere else in the world.” 

Our passage to Iceland was epic, riddled with highs and lows.

Iceland feels like it is centrally isolated.

Sitting right between America and Europe it feels central, a stepping stone in our journey across the Atlantic ocean.

Hovering right bellow the Arctic circle it feels isolated, a vastly unpopulated island of stark beauty, an island of ice and fire, of mighty glaciers, live volcanoes, hissing geysers and boiling lakes and rivers.

Iceland feels uniquely isolated as well as centrally located in the globe.

We picked Iceland as the birthing grounds for our next crew member, the extreme contrast to our last birth in the Caribbean appealed to us. Extreme dualities have naturally played out through our lives, so it feels natural to be here in Iceland to traer a la luz our next crew member.

We sailed into Reykjavík harbor in mid-October of 2014. We spent the first four months there in Reykjavík and are now in the northwest smaller town of Ísafjör∂ur. So we have experienced Iceland’s capital city, it’s majestic and vast country side and it’s quaint small town life in the westfjords.

The European-like, fast-paced and modern city life of Reykjavík surprised us. The amount of wealth, new cars, well dressed shopping-craze citizens, expensive restaurants, and the two-hour limit children’s birthday parties were all a big surprise.

The beauty of its countryside was expected. The expansive open landscapes completely covered in white snow this time of the year. It’s grand towering mountains which look as if they have been painted onto the blue sky. It’s rivers partly frozen but still running due to the waters warmer temperature from geothermal activity. All these things we had envisioned but perhaps didn’t expect for it to be as breathtakingly beautiful as it is, truly majestic.

The quiet slow-paced and snow covered streets of the smaller town of Ísafjör∂ur are what we envisioned it being like in Iceland and I suppose the vast majority is this way.

The Icelander is an educated bilingual person. It’s surprising how nearly everyone speaks very good English and many speak Danish and many other languages as well. Family is very important to the Icelander, they have large families, having up to four children is not rare at all, therefore we feel pretty normal here, at least in that regard.

Our two eldest daughters, ages 9 and 8, have been attending public school here in Iceland and for unschooled (non-curriculum based) children they have loved the school here. The educational system in Iceland has been a nice surprise. It is not heavily academic but rather very hands-on allowing the children to learn practical real-life skills suca as cooking, carpentry, sowing/knitting, library/research, community behavior, social behavior, exercise/health/swimming and even chess.

And finally birth in Iceland. On this topic we had no idea what to expect but thankfully birth in Iceland is viewed as a natural physiological process for women to go through. Icelanders believe women’s bodies still work, natural birth is the norm and all births are attended by midwives. Obstetricians are only involved in births if there are complications needing medical intervention. Home births in Reykjavík are gaining in popularity and in numbers but outside of the capital there are less home births, non in Ísafjör∂ur for example. Water births are very common in home births and in hospitals maybe only 10% are in water but they do have pools in hospitals which is great. But of course unattended home births are rare but we have been allowed and supported by midwives to do it our way, which has been wonderful. We formed a lovely relationship with a midwife who specializes in home births in Reykjavík who has been helping us with the necessary paper work as well as loaning us a birthing pool and helping us acquire all the special things we will need for the birth. Now that we are about a 6 hour drive away from Reykjavík, she has put us in touch with another midwife in Ísafjör∂ur who will help us announce the birth to the system once the baby is born so that we can get a birth certificate. I was even fortunate enough to attend a lecture by the world renown Ina May Gaskin, the mother of midwifery, who happened to come to Reykjavík for a lecture.

So yes, we like Iceland, we like it very much, a great place for this nomadic family to stop at and have a birth, a great country with great people to share our lives with for a short time. No regrets on picking Iceland to winter with our boat and as a birthing place, no regrets at all.

CocoNuts on TV in Iceland

RUV TV did such a good job, check it out on Landinn

Love the animation they did of “Messenger on a map”, especially with the sails during the calm underneath Greenland, have to see it to know what I mean. The filmmakers and interviewers were very professional and talented. It was a pleasure to work with them and glad to see such good quality shows being made in Iceland. RUV is a government funded channel. I hope funding for shows like these are never cut now that there is a lot of funding for arts and culture being cut in the country.

Unique Exposure in Iceland

Today the Coconuts appeared in 2 of the largest newspapers in Iceland. All of a sudden on the same day we were contacted by reporters who wanted to write an article about us. They initially heard of us from a story that was written in the Faxaflóahafnir Associated Icelandic Ports website.

The first paper to contact us was Fréttabladid who put us on the front page and Morgunbladid wrote about us as well, we appeared on page 4 of their paper. There aren’t many cruisers who venture this far north and especially not to winter here therefore our story and life style is sort of a novel idea to Icelanders.

Tomorrow we will be filmed by the National Broadcasting Service in Iceland for a weekly news and culture program that they produce called Landinn.

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Esperanza’s Stillborn Story

This November 9th, 2014 will have been a year since Esperanza was stillborn. About 24 hrs after she was stillborn, our family had the chance to say a proper farewell, Coconut style. We were fortunate enough to find a loophole in the hospital rules, Esperanza was a week short of being considered a baby, at her 19 weeks she was still considered a specimen, and since she wasn’t born with a heart beat a proper funeral was not required. So the social worker at the Rhode Island Hospital, Woman and Infant division was able to get a lawyer out of bed on a Sunday morning to come in and sign the release or our precious baby. She was handed over inside of a beautiful box covered with handmade white paper tied with a green silk ribbon, inside she lay on a pink hand-knitted blanket with the smallest hand-knitted pink hat I have ever seen and wearing the smallest white gown, the box then was covered with a handmade small quilt and off we were. As soon as we arrived home sometime after noon the girls were eager to see her, they were full of smiles and excitement, perhaps only a single tear escaped their eyes. What a real life experience for them, they were in awe to see how small her hands, fingers, feet and toes were, she was perfect!
So late that night Papito Jay cut holes into a thick white plastic bag with a black zipper they gave us at the hospital, the girls had gone for a walk earlier that afternoon to collect some special rocks and seashells. Jay, Baba, Sol, Luna, Caribe and I all walked down the dock to where our home Messenger was berthed, it was a beautiful clear and silent night with glass-like water and a sliver of moon, all you could hear as we walked were little Caribe’s words “barco, agua…” We placed the rocks inside the bag, then the placenta and on top of her life bed we placed Esperanza in her white gown, she looked like an Angel! Baba said a prayer, we read a prayer on G-Ma’s behalf, Papi Jay said some beautiful words, we all said our goodbyes and cried our tears as we placed her in the water, she sunk down to the debts of the ocean, illuminated with a flash light the bag looked as if it was flying through the dark water, then Luna through her sea shells one by one…
Most of my nearly 5 month pregnancy was complicated. At week 8 I had what seamed to be a typical miscarriage, a gush of amniotic fluid and a little bleeding. I phoned Uva, our mid-wife a distancia in Costa Rica and she explained that a miscarriage is what it seamed to be, she suggested I allow my body to go through the purging naturally and in a few weeks go get an ultrasound to make sure all is out, this way the uterus can recover and be healthy again. My body didn’t purge much else other than some spotting and I continued to feel pregnant but Uva had already explained how it takes the body sometime to level out the hormones and go back to it’s previous state. So around week 14 I went in for an ultrasound and voilà there was a healthy big baby in there, we were all very surprised so we deduced that perhaps I was caring twins and in the “survival of the fittest” one didn’t make it. But after this ultrasound I began passing small blood clots and having strong scrams every few days. I though maybe finally my body was releasing the lost twin but wasn’t sure so I began seeing a group of mid-wives who also couldn’t figure it out so around week 19 they sent me to a placenta specialist to determine what the problem was. By then Jay and I had already done our own online search and with my symptoms deduced I had placenta abruption which means separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus. The specialist after a long ultrasound (which by the way I am completely against during pregnancy) could only tell that the existing baby’s placenta was attached close to the cervix which could mean that perhaps there was placenta previa at the very beginning of the pregnancy. Placenta previa is when the placenta is blocking the neck of the uterus. This specialist also noticed that on the other side of my cervix was accumulated a lot of old blood clots which where causing my bleeding and spotting. So perhaps a combination of placenta previa and a twin were the cause for my complicated pregnancy but he assured me that the existing baby and it’s placenta were fine and that once all of those blood clots came out I should be able to have a normal birth.
So 3 days later on Saturday November 9, 2013 at 10am when I began having strong cramps and passing blood clots I was positive that I would get rid of these and be done with it. Cramps turned into contractions that got closer and closer together. I was already nearly 19 weeks and had been feeling the baby’s movements for a few weeks but some time that afternoon I stopped feeling the baby. My body was going into full labor so Jay and I decided to go to the hospital, our first hospital birth experience. My previous 3 births had been at a natural birthing center, a home birth and a boat birth. All of the staff at the hospital were very respectful in letting us do things our way and birth naturally without any intervention. I gave birth to Esperanza at 9pm, she came out along with her placenta and still inside her sack, which I nearly tore open with my teeth in a spontaneous and natural reaction if it weren’t for a prepared and attentive nurse that rushed over with a pair of scissors before I gave into my cave woman instincts. I took her out of her sack and looked her all over, she was perfect, she had everything and all her parts were proportional but she didn’t have a heart beat. The nurse wrapped her up in a pink hand-knitted blanket and put on that miniature hat. I could not believe I would have had yet another girl and wondered if I could make a boy at all. If it weren’t for Jay pouring all his energy into me I could have not been able to give birth that night. It was by far my hardest birth experience physically as well as emotionally. I had no big strong baby wanting to come out and helping me birth it, during my contractions I would try grabbing her with whatever muscles we women have in our bellies and uterus to grab babies and push them out but it was like hugging the air rather than a person, I felt nothing to grab to push out, she was only 9 oz. When I was close to giving up Jay whispered in my ear “you can do this”, I am so lucky to have such a strong, supportive and wise man in my life.
I am thankful for the family I have been given, for the health we all enjoy and I surrender to nature and acknowledge that it knows best. For placenta abruption doctors request bed rest or bed arrest, were woman lay in bed for their entire pregnancy to ensure the baby comes to term. Are those babies healthy? Were they really suppose to be born? Or is it modern medicine and desperate parents going against nature? Esperanza perhaps would have never been a healthy person, it was not her time to come to this world, she knew it, or perhaps she wanted to be with her twin sibling. Our entire family accepted her short time in our lives as she grew in my belly. The girls always include her when speaking about our family members, they believe she has become a mermaid and lives in Atlantis.
We knew we wanted another child, an accomplice for Caribe. Sol and Luna being only a year and 7 months apart have each other and are always together, they will be off in their teenage years and Caribe then would be alone so the plan has always been to have another. During our travel plans we always envisioned having a child in Iceland, the extreme opposite of the Caribbean were Caribe was born, just like Sol and Luna are opposites in their own way. So when we got pregnant in Rhode Island a whole new birth plan had started to unravel in our heads. But as it is destiny toke it’s course and here we are in Iceland expecting the child we are suppose to have. I am 22 weeks pregnant, due in mid-March. This pregnancy as opposed to the last one has been a very healthy one, actually the easiest of all my pregnancies so far. I am glad that I allowed my body to do what it knows to do naturally without any unnecessary medical intervention and I believe it is because I have the support and the knowledge to do so that I am so healthy and pregnant again. We do not know the sex of the baby and do not care if it’s another girl (which it probably will be) or a boy or a mongolit@, we will be happy no matter what. Needless to say I feel blessed!

Liebster Blog Award, discover new blogs!

We have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by A Family Afloat http://wp.me/p4yiUK-4e

The Leibster award is passed from blogger to blogger.  Liebster is a German word for beloved, and this peer-to-peer recognition got started on the web in 2010. You are nominated by a blogger who enjoys reading your blog and they ask you a series of questions. It helps connect bloggers in a fun way!

These are the questions we were asked by A Family Afloat:

1. What inspired you to start your blog?

All the people we met along the way who where fascinated by our life style and adventures and asked if there was a way to follow us and read our stories, they inspired me to finally find the time to start a blog. We have been cruising and living aboard for years (4 myself and 9 my husband) and I finally started a blog only 3 months ago. I never could find the time to start one, just adjusting to the new life style afloat and traveling as much as we where the first few years I never could find the time. Finally when we did stop long enough in one place to do a refit on our boat I had time to start one.

2. Who is your target audience?

Families who live aboard and those who wish to live off the grid, be self sufficient and give their children experienced based learning. Un-schoolers, homeschoolers, hippies, tree-huggers, sailors, cruisers, sea lovers, adventure lovers, natural birth advocates, entrepreneurs, free-loving people, etc…

3. How or why did you end up with the boat you are currently sailing on?

Messenger had been abandoned at anchor up the Stuart river in Florida for 5 years when we rescued her. We were living in my home country of Costa Rica where we had my husband Jay’s boat Carrizalilla, the one he had left San Francisco 5 years prior. We sold Carrizalilla and flew to Florida to get Messenger, who has a special history. She is an IOR one-toner custom built boat designed by German Frers in 1982. She raced all over the east coast for her first few years and later was sold from hand to hand until it was forgotten. In the 4 years we have had her we have been restoring her to her original beauty while living on her and sailing her some 8,500 nautical miles.

4. What has been the hardest part of boatschooling your kids?

We are considered un-schoolers where experiences and life itself have been the lessons, we follow no curriculum. And the hardest thing about it as a mother has been being confident that I am doing the right thing by my children.

5. What has been the most enjoyable/satisfying part of boatschooling?

Watching them develop their own interests, pursuing them and becoming quite good at them on their own. Watching them empowering themselves and teaching their younger sibling how to draw, color, the alphabet, and numbers. Watching them learn how to read, which they did in a shorter span of time than I can remember learning myself, regardless of the fact that they learned a bit later than schooled children.

6. Do you plan on traditional schooling at any point? If so, when?

They have already experienced schooling, it has been important for us as parents to give them those experiences as well so they know “how the other half lives”, so to speak. They went to public French school in Martinique for 3 months where they learned enough French to play with the majority of the kids they have encountered cruising. They also went to public school in Rhode Island, USA for 6 months and now they are in public school in Iceland and will attend for 7 months. It will be their decision if they want to attend high school full time and if so we will stop traveling and settle in one place for them to do so but so far they say they won’t want to, so we will see once those teenage years kick in and all they want is to be with their peers and no longer stuck in a sailboat with their parents.

7. What sea creature do you most identify with (what would you want to be?) and why? And how about the rest of the family?

Jay an albatross, “because they are as free as a bird”. I argued it is not a sea creature so we looked it up and it is an oceanic bird so I guess it counts.

Sol a dolphin, “because they are so peaceful and smart”.

Luna a dolphin, “because they have the most fun”.

Caribe a dolphin as well, because she loves the water and swimming, she said in her own toddler words and probably just because she is always copying her older sisters.

Natasha (myself) an orca to rule the sea.

8. How do you divide your watch hours? Do any of the kids help if you have kids?

Jay, the Captain, is the sailor so he drives the boat, I am the chef and take care of the kids and the kids just have to be kids. For the first 4 years on Messenger we had no autopilot so I would drive a couple to a few hours in the morning and another couple to a few in the evening but for the most part Jay has been a slave to the tiller. Only for the last 2 months have we had an autopilot and since we have been sailing in the northern latitudes only Jay and the autopilot have driven, I’m from the tropics so I have stayed down bellow.

9. What is your favorite recipe for your first 3 days of a passage?

Ramen noodles.

10. What is your favorite Ice Cream?

Jay, Caribe, and Luna chocolate.

Sol coffee.

Natasha (myself) strawberry Häagen-Dazs.