About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section


Richard and June

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Bajan style - the concluding part

One of the must do tourist trips is to view the coral through a glass bottom boat and then swim with turtles. Hum. The captain is allergic to being in the water - being on it is truly wonderful, being in it is for fish. The crew has a totally different view and loved being in the water with these guys:

Of course, the health and safety police haven't quite got around to Barbados yet. Here is the kill cord for the engine on our trip boat which remained tied up to the ignition key, not the helmsman, for the entire time. Luckily he didn't fall in:

On the way back, we passed this nice little pad which, it seems, is Simon Cowell's rental abode on the island. Just enough space there for his ego we reckon. No idea where the guests would stay:

We were told that you often find a church and rum shop (bar) together on the island (maybe the women go to church and the men to the rum shop?) Also that KFC is the biggest and most popular fast food chain. So, the proximity of these three in Speightstown seemed optimal for the locals:

and just down the road, alcohol:

What more could anyone want? Certainly not the food on offer in this place for Independence day, even if it was quite cheap:

We tried to find something that captured the lovely laid back yet friendly atmosphere of the island and the approach of the people we met. One of the best examples is the sign outside this fishcake restaurant come fast food joint:

The crew was of course, not as impressed with this homily as the captain.

Finally, an image that really sums up the remarkable island:

Just chillin man , just chillin.....

Sadly we returned to a boat that had nice black streaks on it from the UK's rain hence we spent today doing a little more than the Bajan guy above.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Bajan style - part 2

Bridgetown was a bit disappointing to be honest. Probably because it was a hot day and the place was full of cruise ship visitors although that seems the norm anyway. We did enjoy the Careenage area where the Bajan love of colour was evident in the yachts too:

However, the east coast more than made up for it! A trip around the sights (and sounds) there was a fascinating mix of experiences. First of all, Nigel Benn (a UK boxer) has an Aunt who runs a rum shop (ie bar) on the island. When he got famous and successful, she renamed her place as the "Nigel Benn Aunty Bar" and she merrily waves at passers by:

Beats the average UK pub on both welcome and colour scheme.

The favourite tourist spot of Bathsheba was simply stunning with the waves coming in across the Atlantic. A video rather than a picture to give you a flavour of it so turn the sound on - oh for a proper experience, please also increase your central heating thermostat to 28 degrees and RELAX:

Could have stood there for hours. In fact, it is the ideal place to wait for a bus - ever seen a bus stop with this kind of view before?

Of course, every "tourist trap" spot has a few souvenir salesmen around with varying degrees of sales ability. Some get quite animated when in negotiation to sell some of their junk and start to look quite constipated:

Would love to see the hair that he has hidden away under that hat when it is unleashed. Must be quite a sight. In the church at St Johns, it seems that they had a strange rector a few years ago. Dudley Moore has been described as many things (eg "The sex Thimble" as he was pretty short) and had quite a reputation, especially when he starred in "Arthur". "A faithful and wise steward" is, perhaps, a new phrase for him:

Our east coast trip was on a "Golden Dragon" bus. This one was developed by the Chinese company themselves and boy, did it show. The antique leaf spring suspension, agricultural drivetrain and dodgy chinese engine (apparently a Cummins rip-off) combined to give an "interesting" ride. For us, it was living proof that not everything built in Xiamen is as well assembled as our Nordhavn. They couldn't even put the badge on properly:

We hope that the golden Dragon quality manager doesn't move to the nearby Nordhavn factory. Please.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Bajan style

Although life is one long holiday really (apart from the little maintenance tasks we have to undertake of course), we had another one to get some "winter sun". This time it involved flying to Barbados, the home of  Bob (trolley shopper, cross Atlantic sailor) and Lin (the same but much better looking). Of course, they knew about this and timed their return to Antigua to re-launch their yacht perfectly. 2 Brits in, 2 out. One could get a complex.

However, John (the knees) and Tina were around for a while so that saved us from having to talk to each other all the time. Of course, the 28 centigrade temperatures brought out those famous knees girls:

We don't think that John is all that wild, and certainly not reserved though.

Never having been to the island before, we enjoyed all the typical tourist "things" and will repeat them for the benefit of those who also haven't seen the place and to bore those that have (or live here, Bob and Lin). Firstly, after an unseasonal wildly rainy day that invoked local flood warnings, the stunning sunset that followed:

We loved the evening temperatures, chilled approach and friendliness of the place. Relaxing and "liming" (the local word - see liming video for the tourist board's view on it) seemed the thing to do. Firstly, having seen the "Berghaus triplets" on the Ben Nevis mountain range in Scotland (see earlier post this year), the crew and Tina decided to be the "Butterfly hair grip twins":

Not quite as impressive as some of the locals attire or hair-dos. Brading and beading are of course the norm. We saw far too many pasty white, overweight tourists with beaded hair to know just how unappealing it is. On the locals, it is rather different :

The local chattel houses were designed to be moveable, as people changed jobs around the plantations they could move their wooden house around with them. Some are still stunningly maintained and painted. Some need a little TLC (for the non English speakers TLC = tender loving care). Of course, if you are a jet-ski freak, maintaining the house comes second to having fun:

The locals love colour - sometimes they go a little overboard (for our taste) and we really think this guy either has to change his car or house colour to avoid the clash:

Actually, the car (up close) looked like it wasn't capable of moving too far under its own power. Mind you, there are plenty of local cars like that.....

For the boating folks, there are some pretty fishing boats and some even get painted too!

Of course, the approach to authority and rules is interesting - the "do not litter or dump" sign seems to be a waste of time for example:

On the other hand, the island also has a fair share of the super-rich folks. No, we are not amongst them and we didn't stay in Sandy Lane. For the wealthy boating types, there is a new facility being built called Port Ferdinand:

As you can see, nothing too posh compared to the average chattel house. The guttering and downpipes on the buildings are made out of copper. Gives you an idea of the money being spent here and hence the cost of an apartment. We are not planning to sell our house in Hythe Marina to try and buy something here. The annual maintenance charges alone are as much as we spend on boat diesel, maintenance and moorings!

Transport - well, we were suitably brave and took the reggae buses into Bridgetown and Holetown. In case you've never experienced one, dip in and out of this video Reggae bus video and they are truly an experience. Seeing the buses racing each other to get to the passengers first is quite something. Less so if you happen to be on board of course! Still, for $2 Barbados flat fare ($1 US) they are a very cheap way of getting about.

We will share a little about the east coast of the island and Bridgetown in our next post. Just to keep you checking back for updates.....