BVI or Bust: Returning to Life Aboard

The crew of Asante prepares to move back aboard after a year in the suburbs, this time with three toddlers under the age of three.

Four days. That's how much longer we have until we uproot our life and kids and move back to our boat in the British Virgin Islands. I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating: this is no small feat. I mean, we are doing a packing "dry run" tomorrow night just to ensure we are prepared for our departure on Saturday. Never heard of a "packing dry run" before? Yeah. Us either. But we are learning that when you move your family of five from a suburban home in the Chicago-land area to a forty-four foot boat on the island of Tortola via airplane, you need to be sure you can handle the load. And what a load it is. Despite trying to be minimalists, we have no fewer than seven bags coming down with us. That is not including the three 15 x 15 x 15 inch boxes we shipped already. When it comes to babies on boats, you gotta have equipment.

So, how is this going to go down?

Lucky for us my mom is coming with us for the first two weeks to "escape" the polar vortex (and love up her grand-babies) which will be hugely helpful on the flights and once we are there (mom, you are the BEST.) We have rented a condo at the marina for the first two weeks because that is about how long we anticipate our boat will be an unlivable construction zone (fingers crossed it doesn't take any longer!) My mom will help me with the three kiddos on land while Scott works his butt off to get our boat re-commissioned and back in ship shape.

For a boat that has been sitting on the hard for a year, this is not a small job. Our water-maker needs to be revived, our engine given some TLC, our generator needs a new heat exchanger (this is in one of those seven bags mentioned earlier), our portholes need re-bedding, our forward hatch needs replacing, and then there's all the "little" stuff like general cleaning, re-running all the rigging, putting the sails back on, bringing our outboard back to life and making sure all our electronics and mechanical systems are still kicking. This obviously doesn't count the unforeseen things that will inevitably pop up, which is pretty much a given when it comes to boats. The past twelve months, however, a company has been doing checkups on Asante every couple weeks and sending pictures of our interior and exterior, so (in theory) there will be no "big" surprises when we return. We will not be met with mold and mildew (a humidifier has been running), dead batteries (a small solar panel has been trickle charging), or an infestation of bugs or critters (every morsel of food was removed and traps were set). The bottom of our boat has been repainted and the hull has been buffed. We know, more or less, what we are coming back to when we arrive. There is great relief in this.

Another great relief that will make this transition significantly easier is the fact that we have a good friend coming down with us who will a) act as a sherpa for one of our bags and b) be Scott's right hand man while getting the boat up and running. You might remember AJ as one of our trusty crew for the journey from the Bahamas to the BVIs and he's making a repeat performance as the best blog-follower-turned-friend EVER. He loves the BVIs (charters there yearly), has a very flexible work schedule and also happens to enjoy our company so he offered his assistance. He will, quite literally, be worth his weight in gold because so many boat projects, even the "simple" ones like putting the sails back on, require two able-bodied people. His presence will not only be wonderful as he is tons of fun and an all-around awesome guy, but he will be a humongous help to us as he is also an accomplished sailor who knows his way around boats.

We have so many other projects that will need to get done in our two-week window as well. I will be busing out my trusty Sailrite and am bringing down some great fabrics that will be used to make the twin's berth (they will be sleeping in the pointy end) and we are making our walk-through into a custom berth for Isla as well. There are lots of other sewing projects as well, and - if my schedule allows - I will post about them. I have no idea what sort of time I will have for detailed blogging, so if you'd like to keep up with what is going on in the next couple of weeks, by far the best place will be on our Facebook Page. It's much easier to post and engage with people "on the fly" over there.

Okay, back to packing and deep breathing. Wish us luck! We're gonna need it...

Preparing to Return to the BVI

Preparing to Return to the BVI

Brittany Meyers