Saturday, July 19, 2014



After 2 years on land... wow, has it been that long!

Slowly getting reacclimatized to life on land has been a painful process. We now have 15 monthly bills, two cars, a house and three kids in high school. If you had told me that this would be the case three years ago I would have called you mad.

How did this happen?... I'm not really sure. We may have succumbed to peer pressure or maybe the kids just wanted a normal life (they regret it now though), or maybe being human we just wanted what we didn't have. I think it was simply the 3 year itch... I curse my humanness.

Having come to my senses though Odessa is beginning her second major refit... in preparation for a new adventure. When we purchased Odessa we did the mechanical refit and now I'm doing her pretty stuff and more livability luxuries.

We spent a few days this month cleaning her up and offloading all of the stuff that you collect while traveling... she's looking really swanky. But the paint is very old and she's in need of some updates.

I think that one year will be long enough to get everything done... that depends on how crazy we go. Looking at all of the luxury multi million dollar yachts of today, there are some really cool styling updates that we can do.

An indoor shower - for the girls.
Air conditioning when at a dock - for the girls.
Hot water - for everyone.
Steps down the transom - I'll miss the slide but we'll be able to land fish more easily.
Custom paint job - now she's going to be load with big graphics.
New hatches all round
New Bimini
New Dodger
New cushions everywhere

The schedule is to launch Odessa next spring, do some sailing around the US east coast, and then run down to St Maarten in the fall.

Now the difficult work begins again... shedding all of the stuff we've collected living on land, rebuilding freelance work, and the most difficult is escaping all of the trappings of living in a modern society.

Wish us luck... wait, didn't we do this once before!

Monday, May 20, 2013

BIG BUGS ON LAND

First we had Japanese scientists knock on our door... very nice chaps who wanted to collect Cicada bugs from our garden. Jin Yoshimura, Ph.D. from the Shizuoka University. Then I caught Blu playing with a Cicada and shot a quick video.



I must admit... I'm not used to all of the bugs after being bug free on a boat for 3 years. But watching our crazy dog amuse himself is a lot of fun.



Saturday, May 4, 2013

OUTRAGEOUS FUN IN BOCA FLORIDA

In keeping with our WILD theme, I think you might like this video that we just edited. OK... it's not exactly off the grid, but it is a bit of outrageous fun. We're still feeling the general malaise in the people around us in the US, so I hope that our US friends get a bit of wow from this boat because you'll only find this crazy stuff in the good ol' US of A.




Sunday, April 7, 2013

TIME TO MOTIVATE



It's been a winter of hibernation and now the sun is shining. Birds are singing, trees budding and Blu is sunbathing on the deck... so what are we going to do about it?

Motivation is key... and we've received so many messages from people supporting our efforts to live off the grid, that I feel both saddened that we moved ashore for the winter and motivated that the future holds great adventures for our family. But, do we stay on the grid or jump off without considering the consiquences?

Odessa is "on the hard" and sitting in Deltaville, but the weather is improving and bringing our mobile home to mind. For those reading who don't know us, we purchased an older boat to recycle into a modern day home and sailed from South America to NY. This great adventure was achieved on very little money (working as we traveled) and provided us with an incredible adventure, an amazing lifestyle and happiness, all within the reach of anyone willing to make some effort.

So, that said we're frequently asked why we don't just continue... ok, there's nothing I'd like better, however we have three teenage kids to consider. Doreen (my wife) did an incredible job home schooling Devon, Isabel and Simon in their younger years, so no that they're teenagers we put them in school here in Maryland to see how they measured up.



18 months ago our kids we wide eyed, yet still full of teenage angst,.. living off the grid is much easier than bringing up kids.



Now we have kids that know-it-all as well as the angst. Parenting off-the-grid is much easier than in modern day society... that's for sure.


Now the kids scored high on their school entry exams, and with a lot of work they're slowly improving further. But, which life is better for our family? that's the big question. The distractions of growing up and influence of neighborhood friends concerns us as parents. Sure the kids always complained that they were bored on Odessa, but they seem to complain more on land.



Therefor, I'm asking our friends, blog readers... in fact anyone, for advice and motivation. Given the situation... should we get off the grid?








Saturday, September 29, 2012

SOLOMONS DELIGHT


It's been a while and a lot has happened over the summer. I'm still not really sure why we're back in the US, but life flows with the wind and currents, and we're in an eddy. The good news is that it's absolutely beautiful in the Chesapeake Bay and Solomons is a perfect spot to consider our next adventure.

Devon, Simon and Izzy are in school... ouch. Simon likes the routine and knowing what's next, Izzy is attracting boyfriends like flies, and Devon just wishes he was back in the islands living the dream.

Doreen is in limbo too... transitioning back to "dry land" after 3 years on the ocean is proving to be very difficult. The complexity of mainland society, the rules, the BS... it's overwhelming and frustrating. There's an urge to turn south and follow the flocks of geese passing overhead, it's almost a feral sense, driven by nature. But the new anchors that we've attached like a car and school are pulling at the chain, so I think we're safe from a spontaneous move... well for now at least.

I hope it will pass, but as long as we have Odessa, we have an exit. I was joking that we are the ultimate survivalists, not an underground bunker full of food, but a vessel that can go anywhere and take care of us if needed.

The next step is a house... I'm shuddering at the thought of that anchor. It'll get cold here in a month or so, and Odessa isn't designed for living in freezing conditions. I'm not fancying running up the dock to the bathhouse in the snow either. We'll rent a place for 6 months and see if we have found the next adventure in the spring.

Adventure list:
1. Buy some cheap land in Maryland and build a sustainable house (if it's possible with all of the rules)
2. Move to the mountains, buy some land and build a sustainable house
3. Turn south and sail to Panama
4. Go to China

It's going to be an interesting winter.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

STUCK IN JACKSONVILLE

We're stuck again... while sailing up from Palm Beach and during the night, the radio was buzzing with other boats caught in storms off the north Florida coast. Fortunately, we only had one squall off Cape Canaveral and tacked back and forth between shallower water and a freighter for an hour or so until it moved out easterly across the ocean. 30 nautical miles to our north east we could see a huge storm constantly flashing with lightning and with so much energy it wasn't going to dissipate in the same way as the smaller squalls. We had lucked out by staying on the western edge of the gulf stream as opposed to the conventional thinking of getting into it to gain the speed of the north flowing currents.

Entering a new and unknown port is always nerve racking, but Jacksonville is several miles up a very wide river with lot's of deep water and well marked channels. We motored up three miles and turned into Clapboard Anchorage. We found it with Google Earth (our new tool to find out where everyone anchors). To our surprise Periplous (a sailboat that we briefly met in Palm Beach) was anchored and we felt confident again. Gordon and Pam live on Periplous and have sailed further than most have dreamed, they are in their 70's and have more life and spirit than many landlubbers we know who are half their age.

There aren't any facilities near the anchorage, but we did find Clapboard Creek Fish Camp just under the bridge and David the manager. It's so nice to be in the real south... David could provide ice and immediately offered to drive us up to the supermarket a few miles away.

The anchorage was lovely... quiet and serene, I can recommend it as a safe, deep and secure place to stop for a day or two.

We have become very good friends with Gordon and Pam aboard Periplous, learn't a lot and when they suggested that we come with them up river to downtown Jacksonville for a few days while we waited for the bad weather to pass. we jumped at the opportunity. We can take on fuel and water and of course food and services are readily available downtown, the kids might actually find something to do and it provides some good shelter.


The bridges are spectacular and we enjoyed a night of calm water and a barrage of questions from the tourists enjoying their time on River Walk.

The forecasted storms and wind arrived this morning, so the once calm dock is now pitching and it's a bit sloppy onboard. It's a mad dash to do laundry and get supplies so that we can move back down river a couple of miles to a small protected anchorage or back to Clapboard Creek to wait until the weekend when the weather is forecast to turn in our favor allowing us to run up to Charleston, South Carolina.

NY seems a long way with over 1000 nautical miles left to go, but the allure of Long Island Sound, the big city and a home for the summer is compelling. Sailing and living aboard in the USA is very different than the Caribbean Islands... far more difficult and lonely with very few cruisers attempting to run the full length of the east coast. Ah... but if it wasn't a challenge then it wouldn't be worth doing.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ST LUCIA DREAM

It really does feel like a dream... 12 months ago we were enjoying life to its fullest sailing amongst the beautiful islands of the windwards. This is the sail from Rodney Bay. St Lucia to the Deux Pitons in the south of the island.



Isabel hooking in to a spanish mackerel. 




This fish gave Isabel a good fight, but in the end he made an excellent fish curry thanks to Devon's cooking skills.






Our first look at the Pitons.




After grabbing a mooring ball. It was all fun and games.


Just beautiful. Captain Allan relaxes. 




A nice shower after our snorkel feels wonderful. 


So lovely. 


The colors. 






I would go again.








St. Lucia, I Miss You

On all of our travels I have to say, the Wild Wrights never go back to a place a second time. But St. Lucia was just one of those magical places that we had to return to.
The genuine kindness of the people and their love for outdoor adventure is what made this island a two time visit for us.


Sailing from Dominica to St. Lucia was a little sloppy.




The kids felt every wave and sea sickness came over them.




Land, Our first look from sea.




Big ships like this are scary when they get to close.




Our first islander came as soon as we anchored.
The fruit man.




Nice fresh fruit.




Our first morning was a delight with fresh banana pancakes.




Simon spends his day fishing.






We take a hike on Pigeon Island.





Fort Rodney







This is one island that you wouldn't mind being stuck on.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AGROUND AGAIN... & AGAIN... & AGAIN

We're getting tired of Florida... It's too hot and way too shallow, so much so, that we can't fit on any dock. We did finally get a spot at The Circle Yacht Club but again,we can't fit into the slip and have to tie stern-too at the end of the fixed dock. This puts us in a precarious position right on the very edge of the channel and the deeper water that we need.




The EXO isn't happy... we had a tug and barge go by pushing against the 7kt outgoing tide and it's wake nudged us just enough to get Odessa's keel stuck on top of the edge of the channel. Ten minutes later I heard "why are we leaning"... it took a little investigation (the rain had finally abated) and from outside it looked quite dramatic. Well... the tide was going out in a big way, as it had for a couple of days with a full moon, and we have a couple of feet left to go and about 8 hrs before we'd be floated back on the rising tide.


It took two dinks and the boom swung way out to port to nudge the keel about 12 inches and off the ledge. It was a relief to see Odessa slide back to vertical and settle in her normal position, even if she does look odd sort of sticking out into the channel, with her butt tied to the last post of the dock.

Unfortunately, if it happens once, so it can happen again. As a sailor you must act in these situations and the next hour was spent rigging a third anchor to go off the bow and restrict it from going to starboard and sliding our keel back up on the ledge.


Blu had the right idea, lay as low as possible and hope know body tells you to pull a line.


We're sitting as pretty as we can for now and dreaming of heading north to cooler weather and deeper water. The trip north may be more harrowing than sailing out in the open Caribbean. Longer runs because we can't get into most of the ports up the eastern seaboard, dealing with bad weather shooting off the mainland as we realize how unpredictable coastal sailing can be. And of course there's the gulf stream with it tendency to amplify the weathers effect on the ocean.

All of these factors are unpredictable... and that's what makes it challenging and exciting, and much more fun than driving up the I95 to New York.

Monday, April 23, 2012

HAITI... WHAT CAN YOU SAY

Looking back on our sailing adventure to Haiti and not knowing how to describe this amazing and different place, I find it hard for me to form the correct words to express our love and adoration for these people.

I thought that all hope of me writing a blog about Haiti was lost, because I found myself with no photos to show this unique place. It was too dangerous for us to pull out our cameras and film or photograph our time there. But, I was surprised when I came across a few pictures on one of the cameras memory cards. There were only a few shots that Allan had taken on our first days there and before we were told very firmly that it was not a good idea. I hope that the photos will show you this beautiful small island off the southern coast of Haiti called Isle a Vache.


Isle a Vache in the red circle. This is the only safe place to bring a boat in Haiti. We were accosted by pirates a few days before when we touched the mainland... that's another story. But the bottom line is that any boat, no matter how small, is a floating palace to the local people. They see running water, electricity pulled from the sun and wind, people with sun glasses and diving gear... this is unreal to them and the stuff of legend.


Odessa in Captain Morgan Harbor. Completely protected from weather and surrounded by a small village. This lagoon was the base for the Pirate Morgan and is a jewel compared to the squaller of Les Ceyes a few miles across the water on the mainland.


Fisherman brave the rough seas to provide for their families and villagers. Haitians are the best sailors we've seen... probably the best in the world and their methods haven't change in hundreds of years.


These boats are handmade with skills past down from father to son. We would wake just before sunrise to the sound of men singing to the chopping beat of axes.


Local children sit in hand made fishing boats that are beached on the shore. 
There are no docks or marinas here.


The locals not only craft their own boats, they have to make the planks of wood with no electricity and only rough metal tools. Nothing is shipped to the island, there is no money... just trade. Wood and power tools bought off the shelf is just a dream told to the villagers by those lucky enough to come to the US and go shopping at Home Depot. It all sounds like fantasy to the villagers.


If you look close you can see the the sail powered
 fishing boats, no engine because it is a rare item. 


A mother and father wait as Allan stitches a gash on their young son from an accident. Basic first aid doesn't exist here. We found ourselves becoming the local doctors for small wounds, it was overwhelming and we had to divert many to Sister Flora and her clinic two hours hard hike to the other end of the island.


Ashtun, a fantastic teen fishes under our boat for lunch. The young people are the future of Haiti, it'll take time for them to become powerful enough in their society to make a difference. The most devastating hurdle to the young is the culture of corruption created by the aid cycle and perpetuated by their peers... we hope that they make it.



Ashtun, Colbe and Castro work hard to provide for themselves. School serves a purpose beyond education... it keeps kids busy and out of trouble. We were surprised at the lack of trouble here with so many kids having nothing to do all day. They're ingenious, they have aspirations, and just frustrated with the situation that they're born into.



The relaxed life style here is quickly embraced by Simon. Spot the difference between our US bred kids and the local children. Our youth are a reflection of our society and in general we see more singing, smiling, proactivity and general lust for life from Haitian children then any of their counterparts in the US and 1st world countries.

The last few things I would say about our time in Haiti is that the people are warm and friendly. The locals have a resilience that I have never experienced before. They can make something from nothing and are very tough,.. but on the inside is a heart of kindness when you take the time to open it.

We have met many people who have opinions about Haiti, easy solutions and a complete misunderstanding of life there and the challenges it faces. It's a country that is continually disappointed by their goverment and has becoming a country of welfare and hand outs by other nations that naively want to help. You must remember one thing... you have to live there to understand and never ever let your guard down, keep your street smarts on high alert at all times... it is a very different world.