Monthly Archives: December 2012

Maya’s Very Own Post

My mother told me it was a good idea to write in the blog myself, and I think so too, so let’s get this started.

I cry every day, so I made my own calendar where I mark the days I cry with red and the days I don’t cry with green. Yellow, if I cry only a little. I put the seven days of the week and the dates, the holidays and the month. This month so far I have 13 greens, only one full yellow and little red. This calendar helps me to stop crying.

I love drawing pictures of my family and me, and of my favorite videogame, Animal Jam. It is a very cool game. I played it for about three years. My friend Catherine told me about it. Me and Cathy, which is how I call her for short, we are “sisters from another mother”. I miss her very much. We see each other on AJ (Animal Jam).

Maya and Catherine BFF

Maya and Catherine BFF

Anyway, I read this book called La Cité Secrète that my friend Catherine gave me for my birthday. It is in French. In it I learn about Peru, Mach Pichu, the dangerous condor, all kinds of lamas, and the quipu, which is like a book made out of strings. It can indicate numbers and very important things that I forgot; it can even say I love you. And Mach Pichu is an old place with lots of golden treasures. In Quechua language Machu Pichu means Old Great Mountain. Huayna Pichu means New Mountain. Kuntur in Quechua means caution or condor. The condor is very dangerous. I don’t remember why. I know that they are silent and they are extinct.

Another game I like is LPS (Littlest Pet Shops). They are small fake plastic animals. I have houses for them and accessories as well. One of my newest PetShops is a yellow firefly. She is a girl named Catalina. This is a name of a sailboat, but I like it because it is nice. I will never tell anyone how I got her. It’s a secret. She is one of my favorite pet shops. My second favorite is Catherine. I called her Catherine because I miss my good old friend. Cathy is purple bunny. She is very cute. This Christmas I got a brown polar bear PetShop named Cookie. I name them myself. A PetShop can be any color, there are even pink raccoons! So yea, Cookie is a brown polar bear and I am glad to have her because polar bears are almost extinct. I also have a purple Dalmatian. I have forty four PetShops and that is a lot. Some are twins, some are married, some are bullies, some are losers, and I remember all their names. I have boys, but mostly girls PetShops. This is all I have to say about my toys and books.

Catalina, Bone, and Cookie (the brown polar bear)

Catalina, Bone, and Cookie (the brown polar bear)

By the way, I would like you, guys and girls, to meet Bubba- my exploring teddy bear. He is old, very old, I got him right when I was born, and he goes everywhere with me. I cannot sleep without him; I like how he smells. But he is ugly. He also lost most of his leg and can only walk on one foot. He got damaged and repaired many times, and one of his eyes is almost broken. He lost his butt, poor him.

I fell in love with a sailboat and I have names for boats in my head: Ship Happens, The Not for Sail, Bubba, Nomad Life, and finally Diado Ghanoush (means Grandpa Ghanoush in Bulgarian). Most of the names are funny. I just can’t wait to get our boat. I love exploring the world! I really want to go to Fiji. It would be a dream-come-true. And I wish to go to China and learn Chinese and martial arts from Master IP. His style is the best. It is called Wing Chung. He is very old but still alive. He thought Bruce Lee IP style and Bruce Lee was able to do three hits per second!!! And I can’t believe that at all…

Ops, I’m sorry I forgot to introduce myself. Well, my name is Maya Georgiev, and I love making new friends and writing in the blog. I make new friends at a playground in Saint Petersburg. There I also develop my muscles by hanging upside-down on the monkey bars and pulling myself up without arms. I am like a wild monkey. I even got big blisters from too much playing at the playground.

At the playground

At the playground

Maya's blisters from too much playing at the playground

Maya’s blisters from too much playing at the playground

I hate showers and I love staying dirty. For me clean is dirty and dirty is clean and my hair is sticking out like a devil’s. It feels nice having short hair and the best thing is that it doesn’t take long to wash, and I don’t even need to brush it or tie it into a ponytail. But the worst thing about having short hair is that everyone thinks I am a boy. They even say I sound like a boy, but I really don’t sound like one.

My favorite color is the blue of the most clearest water.

The languages I know are: Bulgarian, French, and English. The languages I know a few words of are: Spanish, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, and Russian (because there are many Bulgarian words in Russian). That’s a lot of languages and I am proud of myself. I can pretty much go around the world and talk to a lot of people.

My favorite action is laughing. I just love laughing at my brother’s funny jokes.

Since we live in Baba Ghanoush, our motor home, there are things I like and don’t like. I love sleeping here in the motor home. It is like sleeping in a cozy quiet bear cave. It just knocks me off… It brings me on a hook (figure of speech that I invented. It’s like if a fish who is sleeping gets caught on a hook without realizing it).

Maya and Viktor in the morning. Rise and shine!

Maya and Viktor in the morning. Rise and shine!

I love eating at the table because we have tasty food and I am always hungry. But I hate eating healthy things, like vegetables, except tomatoes with salt, cucumbers with lemon, corn, and carrots.  I like the most sweet stuff and chocolate.

The next thing I am about to say is: I am very annoying when it comes to milk. All I drink is milk or juice. I hate water, it’s gross and tasteless.

I also hate crying, because when I cry everyone hates me and wants me to go outside in the crazy world.

I used to suck my thumb a lot, all night and all day, I could never stop. But the dentist told me to stop. So we bought fake nails for four dollars and my mom glued one with crazy glue to my thumb. And just like that I stopped sucking it (but the first three days was very hard).

Thank you, and I am sorry if you don’t like reading, and if you think my post is boring, but it took me a long time to compose it. Thank you anyway!

More drawings by Maya:

Maya with long hair. Self portrait

Maya with long hair. Self portrait

Maya with short hair. Self Portrait

Maya with short hair. Self Portrait

Daddy Ivo

Daddy Ivo

Viktor Sleeping

Viktor Sleeping

Mama Mira

Mama Mira

Self Portrait from a photograph

Self Portrait from a photograph

Categories: adventure, family, parks, RV, travel | 13 Comments

Our Life in the City Park. Part 1: Overview

Demens Landing Park St Petersburg Florida.Photo by Bill Cobb,

Demens Landing Park St Petersburg Florida.
Photo by Bill Cobb,

Demens Landing is the name of the city park in Saint Petersburg, Florida where we live since a month now. Baba Ghanoush, our motor home (the name in Bulgarian actually means Granny Ghanoush, I forgot to mention this earlier) showed up one day in late November with all her majestic glory of a barbaric matron, provoking a mixture of admiration and suspicion, and stopped next to the playground, at parking A, which is the park parking, and all citizens are allowed to park there for free “from half an hour before sunrise until 11 p.m.. No overnight parking.” (a sign explains)

The park is located in the hearth of downtown Saint Pete, between the municipal Marina and the Sailing Center (that is why there is also a parking B which is only for boat owners from the marina). The way Baba Ghanoush is parked, she is facing the Gulf of Mexico and all beautiful sunrises to the East, the Municipal Marina to her left (port), the Sailing Center to her right (starboard), and Down Town St Pete with its museums and galleries, cafes and restaurants, and souvenir shops behind her, strewn on Bayshore Drive and Beach Drive. If you walk out of the park and onto Bayshore Drive, you will see the extravagant shape of the Dali Museum building to your left (south) and the Museum of Fine Arts to your right (north). In between is the luxurious Yacht club building, and further north is the pink Renaissance Resort and Golf Club, next to Vinoy park.

We signed up for sailing lessons and for the One Year Unlimited Sailing program at the Sailing Center, which means 6 days of sailing per week, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a 18-feet keel boat, the four of us, for a total of $500, showers included! Unlimited sailing+ unlimited showers, how cool is this! (For us the access to showers is of great importance right now, as we are not in a campground and we are not plugged to water, and so we are not using the shower and toilet in the motor home.)

Since we became members of the Sailing Center, we go out sailing every day, except Mondays, when the Center is closed, and except all those days when the wind is over 20-25 knots and they don’t allow us to take the boat out. (Thanks goodness they don’t allow us, because if you ask Ivo, he would try his skills even in such powerful winds, no matter how rookie we are.)

We come and park in Demens Landing usually before sunrise, around 6 a.m. The kids still sleeping, I make myself a sweet coffee boiling it in a small coffee-pot on the stove, the old-fashion fay, and watch the sunrises, all of them inexplicably anticipated and surprising. We go out, me and Ivo, sometimes only Ivo, sometimes the kids come too, whoever feels like it, and we do some sit-ups, squats, pull-ups and push-ups, as well as 15-20 min jogging. We greet people walking their dogs, jogging, older couples taking a walk: every day the same people. There is the fat bold guy and his trainer exercising near the bench; the very short latino woman doing some  bizarre dance movements while walking fast around listening to her music, suddenly shouting some cheerful words in Spanish; a couple who lives on a boat and their two dogs, one of which thinks is a bird, and probably has hollow bones, as she can jump so high after a Frisbee, she looks like she has been catapulted when you watch from a distance. There is  also a sleepy blue heron and an white egret greeting the sun on the shore or the piers, lots and lots of skinny hyper-exciter squirrels running up and down the palm trees or checking the garbage cans for leftover french fries, and Ringo,the cat, curled up in the middle of the sidewalk, finishing his unfinished slumber. Ringo also lives on a boat at the marina and I don’t know if he takes any drugs or it is just his character, but you can literally walk over him, or if you are a dog, you can bark all you want at him, he doesn’t care; he will not even look at you. He is now OUR CAT, as the park is OUR PARK, the herons are OUR HERONS, the park toilets are OUR TOILETS, and the playground is MAYA’S PLAYGROUND, where she plays for hours, waiting like a spider for little kids to arrive and a chance to play with them.

We also have a place: a small Police Memorial granite statue near the waterfront illuminated at night with benches around that have electrical plugs on them, where we sometimes go to charge and mode our i-phones, or plug our lap tops and write for the blog, because, guess what, we don’t have plenty of electricity in the motor home, as well. This place is OUR OFFICE. I brought from Canada my bread-making machine and one of these days I might bake some bread in the office, then it will become a bakery as well. But we don’t want to abuse the park hospitality too much. We now know all the park staff, we told them who we are and why we are in the park almost every day, and they are all friendly and nice with us, greeting us every time they see us. We offered them to volunteer and help them with the cleaning and maintenance of the park, as we now have a strong feeling of responsibility towards it, but they declined politely. Still, Maya went out yesterday and collected all palm leafs fallen after a windy night, piling them on the corners near the garbage cans.

Our morning rituals over, we gear up and we go sailing for two to four hours in different directions, practicing tacking, jibing, docking, man overboard, anchoring, as well as just going in a straight line towards a fixed point, trying to have a perfect sail’s position to wind. Every time the sea and the wind is different and every time we have a different experience, this is why we don’t want to miss a day of sailing.

After sailing we do all kinds of other activities: studying, reading, going to the public library not far away to use internet, fishing, cooking, playing tennis, taking walks on the beach or in Vinoy park, or around the city, enjoying life. I will write more detailed accounts of our activities later on.

A bird's view perspective of the park with points of interest.

A bird’s view perspective of the park with points of interest.

1- the usual parking spot of Baba Ghanoush

2- our restrooms

3- Maya’s playground

4- our fishing pier

5- our office (this is an older picture and here the Police Memorial is not build yet)

6- the Sailing Center&showers

7- our new friend Jackie’s 60 feet long houseboat

8- Gulf of Mexico- we sail through here

9- the Municipal Marina office

Categories: adventure, family, motor home, off grid, parks, RV, the city, travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Saving Fish from Drowning

A pious man explained to his followers: “It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. ‘Don’t be scared,’ I tell those fishes. ‘I am saving you from drowning.’ Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire.  And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.” – Anonymous

Fishermen Waiting

Fishermen Waiting

A hundred small fishing boats closely followed by pelicans, install themselves on the waves at the mouth of the harbor. Their appetite as great as wale’s, they wait in the morning light like a pack of hungry beasts, creeping low next to the pier, motors off, men up on deck, nets clutched between teeth, eyes skimming the dark surface of the sea.

Rushing in, they come, a heard of fishes drunken with love and excitement, blinded by lust. Like sleepwalkers and opium-eaters, like pigeons flying home, they know the way. They have almost completed their return. Slipping beneath the silky sheets of the waves, their slimy cold bodies covered in fish oils and ancient sweat, they bump ungraciously into one another, their gaping ungodly mouths gasping for air. So many they are.

Not far away, a foolish careless fish, probably very inexperienced and stupid as well, has lifted his curious head above the water. In his liquid joy, just for a moment, he wanted to see the world.

They have been spotted, a signal has been given. In the infernal manner of a pack of wolves, all boats simultaneously leap and charge, the motors roar, the men, the beasts, savagely devour the silence. The race is on. “It’s ON!” I scream from my earthbound place on the shore, my heart thrashing inside me. I am an involuntary spectator, a witness to a battlefield.

A hundred small fishing boats closely followed by pelicans, attack, full speed ahead: a hundred leaping jaguars barely touching the waves: and jump, and fly, and jump and fly, the water boiling beneath them. Who will get their first? Who will catch the fish? And who will go home defeated tonight, unable to sleep with infernal visions of flapping tales, keels opening and closing, and round paranoid eyes slipping away in thick liquid darkness? It is a great competition. It is a matter of life and death. Legend has it, that gun shots have been fired and fishermen’s blood has been spilled in this race with no rules, no respect, no honor.

As the first boats surround the school, nets start flying in the air like extravagant flamenco dancers, triumphantly spreading their spider skirts above a sea alive with fish. With a monstrous appetite, the fishermen start gutting out the contents of the sea. Fish rains down from their nets, the boats now with their bellies full, purr softly towards Lily Anne, the big ship perched at the pier with a sign on top WE BUY FISH.

They will put the fish in black containers, measure her and ship her as far as Tailand, where her eggs, her unborn babies, will be gobbled up with great delight.


Fishermen Charging

Fishermen Charging


I probably went too far, didn’t I, in my poetic interpretation of a simple event- the fishing of the Mullet who comes to spawn every December near the Shores of Saint Petersburg, Florida. My excuse is the fact that I have never before seen anything like that, and that I truly enjoyed it.


The title, as well as the quote at the beginning of this post are from a book with the same title by Amy Tan I found in a Goodwill store a few days after witnessing this fishing scene. I still haven’t started reading the book and I don’t know if it is good or not. I bought it for $1, 25 (along with two other books and some clothes) because I loved the quote on the back cover.

Categories: fishing, poetry | 1 Comment


Before coming to Saint Petersburg, Florida, we spent a few days in Palmetto fishing in a remote park. We bought our fishing gear in a store called Outdoors Living not far from Naples, $250 for two fishing poles, pliers, a knife, hooks, and a book telling us all about Florida’s fishes. The store is an impressive two-storey building full of fishing and hunting gear, ornamented with ponds and huge fish tanks full of live fish, all sorts of stuffed animals and wonderful archival black-and-white photographs of hunters and fishermen showing off their catch. There is also a restaurant with heavy wooden tables and the same kind of old photographs decorating the walls, where fish and game are served. The whole place is like a museum or a gallery; there is even a signed first edition Hemingway book. One can spend a full week and lots of cash shopping here.

At the park, we catch couple of small sheep’s heads, a grouper, and four catfishes (according to the book). Maya is a natural fishergirl, she has lots of fun catching her first fish ever! So does Viktor too. I don’t catch any, because I don’t fish. I photograph the birds instead. The same evening, Ivo and Viktor clean the fish, I cook it, and we have a pretty decent meal.

We learn how to cast, catch, clean, fillet, and cook each type of fish  from the fishermen we meet every time we go near a shore or on the pier. They are more than happy to show us which bait and hooks to use for which fish. We got our first bait from a guy who gave us a bag of leftover shrimp as he was done fishing and ready to go home. After that we started using cut fish from our catch. So far, we haven’t bought any bait and we have more than enough in the freezer. We also learned that to catch small bait-fishes or shrimps with a long-handle fishing net is harder than fishing with a fishing poll; maybe even impossible. People do that with cast nets. We didn’t have a cast net until yesterday, when a new friend, Jackie, who lives on a house boat in the Municipal Marina in St Pete, gave us one. Thank you Jackie!!! We will try it today or tomorrow!

Since that first time, we now fish regularly, once or twice a week, whenever we feel like it. We have a spot in St Pete where we go out at dusk and we catch grunts, about 15-20 for a nice family meal. The grunt is a small greyish fish, who tastes pretty good and is not too bony. When we pull him out of the water, he starts complaining, making these heartbreaking snorting noises like small burps that sound just like his name repeated fast a few times: grunt, grunt, grunt, grunt, and that is why he is called a Grunt. I wonder what he is trying to tell us in his last moments of panic. I wish I could speak grunt language so that I could understand his plaintive moans, but he remains mysterious, as fish always do. I’am pretty sure he is swearing, calling us bad names, screaming unspeakable insults at us as he realises how fatal his cannibalistic gluttony is. Last time, Viktor and me were catching grunt after grunt, a whole burping chorus, and Ivo was trying to gut them and clean them on spot but he couldn’t keep up with us pulling a fish every few seconds, and so finally we had to stop fishing and wait for him to finish the dirty job before we go home. We had a decent meal that evening, and even Maya who has been reluctant to eat fish until then, liked it! I cooked it in the oven  with some oil, salt and garlic for 30 minutes, as Jackie instructed me, and sprayed it with lemon juice once it was ready. Thanks again Jackie, I wonder what would happen if I had baked it for one hour and a half as I planned to…

I hope you don’t think that we are cruel heartless people killing innocent fishes… We only take what we need for supper, as we are trying to learn “to live off the land”. You should see what happens to the romantic mullets who gather in great orgies and come in St Pete each year to make love near the shores blissfully unaware of the pack of fishermen awaiting them. This year the school arrived in the harbour just in front of the park where we are staying and we accidentally became first-row spectators of the greatest fishing-drama ever witnessed in our lives. I will tell you all about this in my next post.

Ivo trying to catch small bait-fish with a long-handle fishing net in a crocodile-infested pond. Impossible...

Ivo trying to catch small bait-fish with a long-handle fishing net in a crocodile-infested pond. Impossible…

Maya fishing for a first time

Maya fishing for a first time

Best fishing spot on our way to St Petersburg

Best fishing spot on our way to St Petersburg. Baba Ghanoush is in a romantic mood, basking in the sun. 

A Great Blue Heron looking paranoid, about to break the law.

A Great Blue Heron looking paranoid, about to break the law.

A Yellow-Crowned Night Heron looking melancholic

A Yellow-Crowned Night Heron looking melancholic

An Osprey with his catch.

An Osprey with his catch.

Categories: adventure, birds, family, fishing, motor home, wildlife | 4 Comments

Saint Petersburg Boat Show 2012

We are in Saint Petersburg, Florida and we will be staying here for a while. We came to check out a boat our broker found for us: a 42 Tatoosh 1982. It is not a bad boat, but it doesn’t click, as we are told it should. It is a bit small for our needs; has only two cabins and we need three. But as we got here, we discovered that it is a perfect place to learn to sail and stay for couple of months. The city is beautiful and friendly and every weekend there is some event going on.

The first one is a four-day boat show starting Thursday, November 29th and we decide to check it out. We buy half-price discount tickets $5 per adult per day, free admission for the kids, and we spend two days, from 10 am to 5 pm, looking at all kinds of marine technologies and collecting brochures  visiting sailboats, and listening to seminars given by all sorts of sailing experts with hundreds of years of sailing and cruising experience. Each seminar lasts about 45 minutes and we go to five each day. Three seminars go on at the same time in three different tents and sometimes it is hard to choose which one to attend, so we split. Ivo and Viktor go to tent A and learn about Solar and Wind Power Technologies, or Marine Plumbing- Modern Solutions, or Marine Air Conditioning, while Maya and I sit in tent B listening to Corinne Kantor telling us all about Galley Secrets A-Z. We go together to Cruising for Couples, Caribbean Cruising, On Board Emergencies, Getting Started- Is Cruising for You?, Preparations for Offshore Cruising, How to Use a Chart, Novice to Medalist: How to Develop your Sailing Skills given by Jen French, a silver medallist from the US sailing team at the 2012 Paralympics Games in London. Before her lecture starts, she asks us if we know the difference between the Olympic Games and the Paralympics Games. She explains that the Olympic athletes are so called “able bodied” or people without any disability, while the Paralympics athletes all have some sort of a disability. Jen survived a spinal injury while snowboarding in France and is in a wheelchair. Her story, determination and victory make all our problems, our daily struggles seam insignificant. Long after her seminar, I am still thinking about the role of the body, how it is perceived in professional sports, and the great challenge it presents for disabled athletes. For “able-bodied” athletes, the main goal is training and developing the body as perfectly as possible in order to use it as a tool for achieving success, setting records, and winning medals, while for “disabled-bodied” athletes the imperfect body becomes the main challenge, the first obstacle to overcome.

Posing with Jen French, silver medallist from the 2012 London Paralympic Games. I am holding the medal after a seminar she gave at St Petersburg boat show, November 30, 2012

Posing with Jen French, silver medallist from the 2012 London Paralympic Games. I am holding the medal after a seminar she gave at St Petersburg boat show, November 30, 2012

At the end of the second day, we walk out of the boat show full of new information and invaluable knowledge. We are more determined to find the boat for us and live the life we have already chosen, but before we continue our search, we will be staying in St Pete, learning to sail on small 18 feet keel boats at the Sailing Centre, living in one of down town Saint Pete’s Public Parks.

Categories: adventure, family, sailing, travel | 1 Comment

Johnny and the Birds

On wet mornings when people are still sleeping in their beds in their bedrooms breathing rhythmically slowly approaching the end of their nightmares, only birds scavenge the city. Birds don’t waste their lives lost in dreams as much as humans do. They even sleep with only one eye open.

An absent-minded bird is standing at the edge of an empty street looking undecided, his three pink fingers clutching the cold concrete.


And then more birds start to arrive marching in military formation to inaudible commands: Left, Left, Left Right Left!, carrying the blades of their beaks like pink bayonets, oblivious to the vacuum of the empty city.

They take their post up on a strategic wall, their silk uniforms emanating nuclear white light. Balancing on one leg, one eye locked towards the imaginary slaughterfield, they wait.


As more birds join the ranks of the bird army each minute appearing out of nowhere like puffs of breath on a cold mirror, the anxiety swells.

One Hundred and Nine.

Suddenly, an old man on a bicycle gracefully skimming between the impenetrable green and the wide-open unprotected grey glides in like a ghost. From all directions, alarmed, the birds lift their weightless bloodless bodies pirouetting through the air like puffy clouds chased by winds and gather around the man on the bicycle.

Oh my God!, they have been expecting him, I just realised! They knew where and when, and they knew why (or so they thought) the man was arriving. All this marching and waiting and gathering has been meticulously planned many days in advance. The arrival has been inevitable.

Again suddenly, the man stops in the midst of white feathers and pink beaks. His name is Johnny, but the birds don’t know that. All they know is that Johnny has been arriving on his bicycle every early morning for the past four years gently throwing dog food in the air.

When Johnny goes away the birds become disoriented. The air is void again. The city awakens, the birds disappear. Only scattered droppings remain.

Are you a good guy, Johnny? White feathery hair.

One soldier is going to be missing tomorrow, only his feet to be found.

He has been the bravest but also a bit foolish.

His flesh tastes just like chicken, so he won’t  be remembered.

One Hundred and Eight.

Categories: Collection of Stories, My Lyrical Writings | Tags: , | 1 Comment

The Shark Tank

After spending some time looking for more information on which boat is best for the cruising family and reading other people’s posts in a sailing forum, I too posted a small question hoping to get some advice from the more experienced “old salts” about which boat would be best for us. What followed, along with welcoming and kind encouragements, was a storm of criticism. The forum folks basically told us that “this is not the way to do it.” Here are some favorite excerpts:

“Shear insanity as are all the posts offering encouragement to these totally unrealistic, unprepared Daydreamers; no experience, no knowledge, limited funds, no real plans [children’s long term educational, destinations etc etc].
The best part is that they will, in all likelihood, end up on some other Nation’s welfare rolls other than Canada’s.”- duanecatman

“ Since you haven’t had a boat or sailing experience, and are mobile, perhaps a cartopper sailingdinghy would be a useful addition to your belongings. Buy or build, there are plenty of options that won’t break the budget. Your mobility is an asset, and with the mobile home your first vessel doesn’t have to do it all….beach cruising is the topic to research. The small boat can then serve as dinghy for the liveaboard if you decide to keep going. For fitout, repairs and maintenance, spend only about half your kitty on the actual purchase…and be very careful about the purchase.” –micah719

“ The notion that a family of 4 with two small kids and absolutely no sailing experience are going to buy a 40 footer and sail off is nonsense. You might as well , suggest buying a 737 and fly off. Did you buy your camper van and just ” drive off” of course not you have driving licenses and. Suspect some experience in driving cars too.
Get some sailing experience in first , crew , see of you can handle the environment. Make sure the kids can handle it. Otherwise the sea does not suffer fools gladly.
Put a toe in the water not your whole body.
Given that you are most welcome to CF of course.” – Dave

“I think ,making such a huge step into an area you have no personal experience at all in is foolish!”- foggysail

Not all sharks in the tank bite though, some understand the notion of ‘difference’ and ‘individuality’ better than others and allow for an alternative way of doing the same thing; a bit of foolishness is permitted.

“maybe these folks should try the cruising life first before diving right in”

“This is said over and over in various forms in various threads. What makes this true? It is different from the reasonable advice not to buy a boat and sail across an ocean the next day – but really why shouldn’t people dive right in?
Some people live life by diving in, that is their personality. I really don’t see anything wrong with making a major life decision, assuming you have full awareness and support from your spouse and kids, and just going for it.
Will they get the best boat this way? Of course not. Will they make tons of mistakes? Of course.
Who cares, this is what they are choosing to do. They seem smart enough not to do something foolish so lets offer more advice on what boat to buy and advice on how to manage your systems, repair sails and deal with the strange new world of marine toilets instead of wasting everyone’s time saying that same worn out mantra over and over again about how if it took you 20 years to be able to make the right decisions it should take everyone else the same time and the same path.” – foolishsailor

Here are the rest of the posts in the forum

Everyone we met on our journey so far has been much supportive of our endeavor, telling us we are doing the right thing. But you know, people, when you talk to them face to face, especially when you meet them for a first time, are generally nice and careful not to offend you. Sometimes, out of much practiced politeness, they wouldn’t tell you their true opinion.  In forums, however, the opposite phenomenon can be observed. There, hidden behind their screens and nicknames, people feel free to write what they truly think, sometimes forgetting about such things as politeness and courtesy. I guess I prefer an honest insult to a dishonest compliment.

The result of this forum-experience so far is:
1. We took everyone’s advice and signed up for a sailing school in Saint Petersburg, Florida. We will learn to sail on basic 18-feet keel boats for 75$ for me and Ivo + 350$ for a full year of unlimited sailing on these same keel boats. This means that we will be able to sail every day from 0800 to 1700 except on Mondays for a full year exploring the St Pete bay area and the kids are welcome onboard with us. They too will learn to sail. How cool is this!!! So we will be staying in St Pete for a while, couple of months probably, until we feel comfortable with the small boats.

2. We will sign up for crewing bigger boats and hopefully someone will take us on board as free helpers later on.

3. We will not spend money and time chartering boats, we just cannot do this.

4. We will keep looking to buy a boat hopefully by the end of the winter.

Mira and Maya infront of Saint Petersburg municipal marina

Mira and Maya infront of Saint Petersburg municipal marina

18-feet keel boat number 2 at the sailing school

18-feet keel boat number 2 at the sailing school

Posing with Jen French, silver medallist from the 2012 London Paralympic Games. I am holding the medal after a seminar she gave at St Petersburg boat show, November 30, 2012

Posing with Jen French, silver medallist from the 2012 London Paralympic Games, sailing. I am holding the medal after a seminar she gave at St Petersburg boat show, November 30, 2012


Categories: adventure, family, off grid, sailing, travel | 12 Comments

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