Not even a fistful!


One dollar.
That’s how much clearing out of the BVIs cost.

… this time, at least. Last time I paid $15. Why the difference? Same port – different time of day, much quieter, with a much more laidback and smiley vibe.

Entering the BVIs cost less in Jost Van Dyke than it did in Virgin Gorda (about USD 10).
Any analysis is useless since the amounts siphoned off by port authority, immigration or customs respectively are incomparable, with no obvious pattern to it.
My conclusion is it may be a popularity contest – if we like you, one dollar, if we don’t, you can pay us more.

But I don’t want to appear to be picking on the BVIs. Even the least corrupt of customs organisations still treats some more equally than others – arrive in Puerto Rico from BVIs and pay less than half of what you’ll pay if you arrive from the USVIs – on the grounds that USVIs are tax-free (≠ cheap – see any airport duty-free) so taking something back for the Treasury?!

I don’t dwell on these discrepancies as a rule, but does this receipt justify the cost to produce it?

Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean, Destinations | Leave a comment

Khujada 2’s construction

Khujada 2 was built by Alubat, a French specialist in aluminium boats. We ordered the boat through North Sea Maritime, the UK agents for Alubat. We are delighted with all the help we got from them, from working through the initial specification, through the entire construction process and now on into after-sales (yes, they’re still there for us three years later), Stephen & Francine’s help, advice and friendship has been invaluable. They have high standards and make sure Alubat meets these from start to end.

We are very happy we ordered and prepared the boat with North Sea Maritime. So much so that we became friends over time and if you really want to know how well they look after their customers, Stephen even crossed the Atlantic with us! A very welcome addition, since he knows the boat like the back of his hand and his knowledge was priceless. We had a great time across the Atlantic – no surprise there, given we had a great boat and a great team.

Thank you Stephen for coming with us and a special thank you to Francine who let him go and Zoe & Thea who waited patiently for their Dad to come back for Christmas. An amazing experience.


P1080837   P1080832

Aluminium sheets                                                 Laser cut aluminium sheets


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Aluminium sheets being fitted & welded to the frame

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Once welding is complete (all the aluminium sheets and the internal structure)


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Then the hull is turned upside down to finish up and ensure water-tight throughout.


IMG_4358 Insulation

Back again the right way around to thread the electric cables and install insulation


P1080823      P1080773

The cockpit is built separately; the roof & deck make the third main piece of the puzzle



Everything is then welded together – aluminium throughout.


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The deck & the anchor locker

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The bow                                                                Et voila!

Château-d'Olonne-20120604-00401  IMG_0010

Time to paint the boat for a beautiful finish!



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The wood, for the inside (REAL wood!)               The carpenter hard at work.


IMG_0019  Khujada2 interior fitting 2

Khujada2 interior fitting 4 Khujada2 interior fitting 8

Work in progress


Time to see if Khujada 2 floats or sinks



She floats!!

Posted in l'equipement, le bateau | 1 Comment

Take that UAE / Qatar / Saudi expats!

Ever hotter here as spring melts into summer.

Weather station threw a wobbly this morning, claiming a whopping 38°C, but it’s now recovered to a tolerable 32°C.


Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, Caribbean, Life on board | 2 Comments

Terribly important people!

They don’t get fireworks out for just anyone here in Tortola … only for very special visitors. Someone must have heard we were in town.
(The display was nicely timed for us to enjoy from the cockpit over our bolognese.)

Starred Photos1


Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean, Destinations, Life on board | 1 Comment

Back to the BVIs

The urgency of reaching Puerto Rico to cross to the Bahamas meant we’d had to compromise on where we’d cruised in the BVIs.

Jost van Dyke and the north of Tortola encompassed most of the spots we’d missed.
Now that there’s no rush, it would have been remiss not to sample the vaunted delights of White Bay and the Soggy Dollar Bar.
White Bay is at its most attractive in the evening and the early morning, when the day-trippers from St. Thomas and the ferried landlubbers are at their most scarce.
Even when they invade, there’s still plenty of room on the beach, although it never quite achieves the ambience of Puerto Rico’s party beaches.

A second visit to Cooper Island’s Manchioneel Bay (which somehow seems to have it all) lasts several days.

The children are very happy to have beaches aplenty on their doorstep (or rather “jupe”, or “skirt”), quite literally in Jost Van Dyk where they can generally jump off the boat and swim to shore with ease.

So are the parents.


No outboard required – no horsepower, just swim ashore with your soggy dollars.

IMG_9600Row, row, row your boat, …


Sing?, sing?, sing in? your boat, …

Visiting a sister ship, Captain Do’Too … IMG_5492IMG_5511 IMG_5529 IMG_5530

… for a sundowner …IMG_5552 IMG_5587 IMG_5589 IMG_5597 IMG_5607 IMG_5609 IMG_5617

Kayak proving increasingly popularIMG_5638 IMG_5654 IMG_5659 IMG_5661 IMG_5664 IMG_5667 IMG_5668 IMG_5669

All our neighbours in Manchioneel Bay are friendly – everyone loves Cooper Island.IMG_5677 IMG_5678 IMG_5679 IMG_5680 IMG_5683

Worth celebrating our return.IMG_5685

Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean, Destinations, Life on board | 3 Comments


Not the boat itself, just our (almost new) tender.

IMG_5013IMG_5017Lifting it out in preparation for a return from Islas Palominos (&-minitos) to Culebra, Skipper (somehow) managed to allow one of the tender’s inflatable tubes to impact square on to the sharp corner of the life raft cradle.
Repair effected and consideration given to prevention of future reoccurrence – measures later introduced once immediate damage to tender remedied.

One more of life’s knocks to learn from.

Always a silver lining though – kayaking is great exercise, another beach & swimming day in the lovely Islas Palominas, and even a family Cluedo (which we managed to finish, a rare occasion indeed).
Life could be worse ….

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Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, Destinations, le bateau, Life on board, Other VIs | 2 Comments

Albane transat post


IMG_1913Avant le depart les enfants lavent les fruits et legumes.

IMG_1916Stephen, notre super equipier et Hugo qui ecoute les bons conseils.

IMG_1917James qui dort


IMG_1923 Stephen a la barre et Julian a l’hydrovane (le regulateur d’allure)

IMG_1939Le beau dessin de Daisy

IMG_1957Les dauphins

IMG_1985Julian remplit les cuves

IMG_1997Stephen & James prepare le materiel de peche

IMG_2006Albane et Stephen

IMG_2017on adore les tomates

IMG_2020La deco pour l’arbre de Noel est en route IMG_2032Nous sommes tres contents!

IMG_2051Petite partie de ping-pong

IMG_2066Il ne fait pas beau

IMG_2085 James peche

IMG_2093Un grain


IMG_2116 IMG_2117 Baignade dans l’immensite de l’Ocean

IMG_2120Les legos

IMG_2121Mon beau sapin, roi des forets…  IMG_2122Mon beau mari, roi desbateaux…

IMG_2127Courageux Stephen monte en haut du mat en pleine mer!

IMG_2137Il y est!

IMG_2151Avant la montee du mat

IMG_2156Coucher de soleil

CIMG_2192POisson volant mort

IMG_2199Je barre

IMG_2207La grosse houle de l’Atlantique.

IMG_2220Voiles en ciseaux tangonnees

IMG_2225Stephen nous montre tous les mecanismes et comment tout verifier.

IMG_2242les vagues

IMG_2269La vague arrive de derriere

IMG_2280Vague arrivant de derriere


IMG_2290Stephen pret pour son quart de nuit.


IMG_2376il a fallu de-twister le parasailor dans le bateau. Pas tres pratique!!

IMG_2387James fabrique le drapeau de courtoisie de Ste Lucie.

IMG_2417des caneles pour l’anniversaire d’Hugo.

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IMG_6573 Partying


tIMG_6574 IMG_6578 IMG_6603 IMG_6619 IMG_6644 IMG_6646   IMG_6716 IMG_6729 IMG_6750 IMG_6784 IMG_6796 IMG_6806 IMG_6822  IMG_6839 IMG_6889 IMG_6947 IMG_6980 IMG_7017 IMG_7174 IMG_7196 IMG_7200 IMG_7212

DSC_4237 DSC_4240 DSC_4251 DSC_4252 DSC_4256 DSC_4261 DSC_4277 DSC_4289 DSC_4306 DSC_4313 DSC_4324 DSC_4369 DSC_4372 DSC_4377

Baignade dans l’Atlantique.

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DSC_4724Les p’tites culottes!

DSC_4775 DSC_4787 DSC_4797 DSC_4801 Notre yaourt fait maison.DSC_4812 DSC_4843 DSC_4847 DSC_4850 DSC_4860 DSC_4885 DSC_4904 DSC_4907 DSC_4942 DSC_4987  DSC_5008Julian se rase.


DSC_5033Des champs de sargasses

DSC_5145Releve de planctons

IMG_2121 IMG_2156 IMG_2207 IMG_2283



La transat.

A Las Palmas, beaucoup de jeunes demandent aux voiliers s’ils peuvent les embarquer pour traverser l’Atlantique. Ces jeunes sont à la recherche d’une expérience ou d’un rêve. Il y a une centaine d’annonces épinglées sur les murs de la laverie, de la capitainerie et un peu partout pour trouver une couchette. Il y en a même un, tellement désespéré qu’il voulait dormir dehors, en m’expliquant qu’il y avait assez de place à côté du mat pour lui et son sac de couchage. Il n’avait vraiment aucune idée de ce que cela impliquait de traverser l’Atlantique sur un voilier!!

Pour notre part, après avoir fait Lisbonne – Las Palmas (environ 700 miles nautique donc 5/6 jours de mer), nous avons décidé d’embarquer avec nous un équipier pour la Transat , ce qui nous permettrait d’alléger nos nuits mais aussi pour la sécurite, au cas ou Julian ou moi deviendrait invalide (on a quand même nos trois moussaillons à bord…)

Nos critères étaient ainsi:

1- Un ami et pas un étranger tiré au sort d’une crew list.

2 – Un ami qui connait le bateau et sait le gérer tout seul, de jour comme de nuit, sans nous, en qui on a entièrement confiance, donc, qui a une grande experience et avec qui on a navigué.

3 – Très important : qui arrive à nous supporter avec nos trois enfants!

Une seule personne remplissait tous ces critères: Stephen! S’il ne pouvait pas se libérer, nous avions décidé de partir tous les 5 car mieux vaut être seuls que mal accompagnés et c’est encore plus vrai sur un bateau!

Stephen a pu se libérer, c’est fait, nous l’embarquons.  Son aide a été précieuse du début à la fin et les nuits ont été beaucoup plus  agréables. Nous faisions des quarts de deux heures.

Tout d’abord, il a fallu penser à la nourriture. Faire les courses pour un mois pour 6 personnes et trouver des solutions pour garder les aliments le plus longtemps possible. Je ne vais pas vous donner ma liste de course (car j’ai un peu tout fait au hasard…ce qui a un peu stressé mon cher et tendre…)mais  pour vous donner une idée j’ai acheté 80 oeufs et nous les avons tous mangés!

Ensuite il a fallu ranger et maximiser l’espace pour stocker le tout (en faisant bien attention à centrer les poids).

Très important: faire une liste de stockage d’ingrédients pour savoir où ils sont. Il y a tellement de choses qu ‘on oublie ou elles sont, du genre où sont les boîtes de baked beans pour aller avec la baked potato? Et quand le bateau bouge, roule et tangue, ce n’est pas toujours drôle de commencer à tout soulever et tout sortir des coffres pour trouver LA nouvelle bouteille de ketchup. A vrai dire, pour être honnête, je n’ai pas fait de liste. En rétrospective, j’aurais du. Je le savais avant de partir mais c’est juste plus fort que moi!…(seuls les gens organisés font des listes et malheureusement, je ne suis pas de ceux-là). Heureusement que je n’ai pas le mal de mer car j’ai souvent passé la tête à l’envers pour chercher.

A part la nourriture, Il a fallu préparer le bateau. Le pont, le

Gréement, les voiles, l’accastillage, la sécurité, le grab bag (sac de secours si jamais on se retrouve dans le radeau de survie).Que tout soit clair et en place.

Une fois partie , il n’y a plus vraiment de retour  possible.

Nous avons mis 21 jours pour traverser. Nous avions prévu de la nourriture pour un mois, au cas ou nous ayons eu une grosse panne de vent.

La traversée fut très interessante sur plusieurs plans. La gestion de la nourriture, des enfants, et la navigation assez variable avec des paysages plus au moins excitants. Sur toute la transat nous avons eu des vents allant de 3 noeuds à 34 noeuds avec un alizé pas toujours très bien établi. Nous avons eu 2 jours et 2 nuits

de squalls. Des squalls sont de très gros nuages  noirs porteurs de vents forts et de pluie battante. Ils arrivent très vite et dès qu’on en voit un, il faut être prêt pour le ride….sensation excitante, geniale et aussi flippante. De nuit, comme on ne voit rien, on les traque sur le radar. La grosseur de la tache sur l’écran et la vitesse à laquelle elle se déplace nous donnent une idée de ce qu’on va se prendre et si on peut l’éviter ou non. Ça rajoute du piment à la traversée!!

Les couchers, levers du soleil sont tous  plus beaux les uns que les autres.

Mes paysages préférés sur toute la traversée:

Les nuits sans lune, sans nuages, avec des milliers d’étoiles sont les plus belles.  On a vraiment l’impression d’être dans l’espace, dans un autre monde.

Les journées avec la haute et longue houle de l’Atlantique. Un coup on est en haut de la montagne puis un coup dans le creux avec un mur d’eau devant (la vague qu’on vient de descendre) et un mur d’eau derrière (la vague qui nous arrive dessus). C’est assez impressionnant mais tant que la houle reste longue et régulière, on se sent en sécurité.


Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, L'équipage, Life on board | 3 Comments

Puerto R-r-r-r-r-r-r-riiiicooooo!

GOPR2058-003Friendly and welcoming party people. Louder than loud music.
Just a great place to visit, whether miles away from it all in ‘hippie’ Culebra, or amongst the crowds on (the main) Escambron Beach in San Juan.

Weekends on any (usually isolated paradise of a) beach see gatherings of dozens of small motorboats lined up in a rank like a Victorian thin red gauntlet, groups rafted together all along the beach with blaring Latin music blasting out of massive stereos all day long, the occupants either socialising on board or half immersed with a drink in one hand.

Everywhere we’ve been we’ve been welcomed, and the first thing they want to know is if we’re enjoying their country – so proud to be Puerto Rican.

Laid back, party people.
We’re fans.

Viva la vida!


Body-surfing Flamego BeachIMG_9363 IMG_9337IMG_9335

Golf cart in CulebraIMG_9308 IMG_9307

Feeding time at the Dinghy DockIMG_9299

Colourful Culebra IMG_9288

Wild north of CulebraIMG_8928 IMG_8925 IMG_8922 IMG_8876 IMG_8830

Ready for our rideIMG_8817

Palominitos (desert island) and Las Palominas IMG_8773 IMG_8684 IMG_8650IMG_8630IMG_8655IMG_8627 IMG_8612IMG_8607 IMG_8524IMG_8522

San Juan beach & anchorageIMG_8307 IMG_8150

El Morro & old San Juan004 Other VIs Puerto Rico1IMG_8102 IMG_8099 IMG_8087 IMG_8066 IMG_8053 IMG_8033 IMG_7964 IMG_7924 IMG_7912 IMG_7901 IMG_7877 IMG_7862 IMG_7822 IMG_7814 IMG_7795 IMG_7723 IMG_7522 IMG_7502

Culebra & Culebrita – cool!IMG_7292 IMG_7233 IMG_7187 IMG_7183 IMG_7129 IMG_7099

Tamarindo Beach with Cygnus PenaGOPR2064 GOPR2063-004 GOPR2058-013 GOPR2058-012 GOPR2058-011  GOPR2058-002 GOPR2058-001 GOPR2058 GOPR2057-007 DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO GOPR2017-001 GOPR2015-017 GOPR2010-005 DCIM100GOPRO GOPR1955 GOPR1952-004 GOPR1948 GOPR1916-005 GOPR1907-004 GOPR1905

Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, Destinations, Other VIs, Puerto Rico | Leave a comment

Eenie-meenie-minie-mo! Shall we to-the-Bahamas go?

Shall we to-the-Ba-HA-mas go?
If she squeals (and changes her mind then back again, and again, and again …)
Let it go,

Easy decision, surely? Who wouldn’t want to cruise the Bahamas? Wide open endless white sand beaches, undeveloped low-lying islands surrounded by idyllic turquoise waters abundant with fish, coral and reef habitats. We would want to spend at least a month there. What decision?


This proved to be our toughest decision of the trip by far. Let me explain ….

Plan A
Our original intent was to sail the trade winds westerly until the money ran out, provided the family adjusted well to life on board, and if not, then just enjoy a year on a family adventure away from rain, cold, school, mortgage, job ….
Said proviso inferred a milestone set for “a few months” into cruising the Caribbean – the idea being that the children would have recovered from the trauma of the transatlantic, and settled into the rhythm of sandy beaches, snorkeling, swimming and exploring.
It proved an easy decision not to sail on this year through the Panama Canal. Sailing long distances, schooling three children in three different academic years with their three different respective syllabuses, day-to-day survival was tough, regardless of how well-adjusted we feel as a family on board, and if this trip is anything it should be enjoyable.
This meant either 1) hanging around like some of the other sailing gypsy families in the Caribbean, and possibly heading on to the Pacific next year (or possibly not), or 2) coming home after a 1-year sabbatical.

We chose the latter, Plan B, intending to finish on a high with the Bahamas and then Florida, a stretching but attainable target.
As we explored the cruising wonderland that is the British Virgin Islands, time was running short on the 1-year, and most sailing to the US were weeks ahead of us (or also running out of time): hurricane season starts 1st June.
If we didn’t want to sail back across the Atlantic – we don’t! (Or at least, most of us do not), then we had to organise shipping back to the UK (or the Med). Most of said ships leave in April / May (see hurricane season above!). So, as I said, time running out.

Our choices:

Option 1 – stick with Plan B
Sail hard for Turks & Caicos from San Juan, Puerto Rico (we’ve more or less missed whale migration season in Dom Rep).
Then on to the main attraction, the Bahamas, for a fortnight or so, weather allowing.
Then Florida, mothball the boat for shipping, enjoy a couple of weeks in Orlando and perhaps New York to finish our trip off in style, and then fly home to the UK to pick up the boat.

Option 2 – extend Plan B by a month
Take our time with Option 1 and have the boat shipped back to Holland – no schedule for ships returning to Southampton later than May.
Giving us the time to explore the Bahamas but complicated for insurance (see hurricanes, above), queering our return to the UK, where housing / work considerations don’t fit well with a trip to pick up the boat in the Netherlands in July.

Option 3 – Plan C
Stay in current latitudes, return to the Virgin Islands and explore destinations as yet unvisited (Vieques, White Bay, … there’s plenty for us still to discover).
Easy, safe, friendly, most sailing is line of sight or relatively short, so plenty of time for schooling AND beach / other activities, and convenient with scheduled ships from St. Thomas to Southampton.

We weighed up our options accordingly:Options

If the children had had a vote – which they do NOT – it would have been a 3-2 split. As it is it’s been 1-1, with the admiral’s deciding (of course!) vote going back and forth like a metronome as decision deadline day approached. We have chosen (to change to) Plan C.

Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, Destinations, Latest position | 1 Comment

How well can you do on Khujada 2’s Easter 2015 egg hunt?

Six locations of chocolate treasure to find ….

1. Aye-aye me hearties I say you – Avast! I’m high but look down at my base at the last.

2. The hub of the boat where the skipper is able, to talk from his very own Tower of Babel.

3. For this place you will think of a locker of leisure, But today it’s a place of all that AND great treasure!

4. In the skippette’s abode is a very big berth, Of riches like this you will find there’s no dearth.

5. In a place of repose you will be at your ease, Your head so well-cushioned, look beneath if you please!

6. Hens will all want to be near to this, In my centre no eggs but for sure you’ll like this.


The crew had little trouble knocking these off in minutes. Some clues below ….


IMG_6975 IMG_6982 IMG_6984 IMG_6986 IMG_6988 IMG_6995 IMG_6997 IMG_6999 IMG_7007 IMG_7009 IMG_7012 IMG_7021 IMG_7024 IMG_7025 IMG_7027 IMG_7029 IMG_7031 IMG_7035 IMG_7038 IMG_7039 IMG_7042 IMG_7046 IMG_7062

Posted in 2014-2015 a family adventure, Daisy, Hugo, James, Les enfants, Life on board | Leave a comment