Getting Exercise on a Sailboat

It seems like it would be difficult to exercise on a confined, moving space. Good news: as long as you’re willing to be flexible and work within the limitations, getting exercise on a sailboat isn’t tough. In time for a new year of resolutions, here’s how to exercise on a sailboat, and stay fit and healthy on board.

We spend a lot of time onboard, with lockdowns, passage making, quarantines and illnesses keeping us on the boat for days at a time. We don’t always have the luxury of doing hashes, so I have to be creative to try to stay fit on a 46 foot monohull.

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Christmas in Curaçao

This is our third Christmas since we moved aboard Sava, and again we are in a new location, this time the biggest of the ABC islands, Curaçao. As an island with rich history and many cultural influences, of course it’s an interesting place to spend the holiday season! Curaçao got into the Christmas spirit early, with stores displaying holiday cheer in October, and early celebrations at the beginning of December. As we are enjoying Christmas in Curaçao and all the decorations that come with it, I thought I’d share some stories and photos of what the celebrations are like in the Leeward Antilles.

Interested in Christmas in other places? Read about spending Christmas in the Caribbean and in Florida

Christmas in Curaçao Starts Early

The decorations have been up since Halloween but that’s not even what I am talking about. One of the holidays has already happened.

St. Nicholas Day is the traditional day for presents from Santa and people get excited! Men dress in colorful costumes, paint their faces and jump into cars and drive around yelling out the windows and honking. At least that’s what we’ve seen. So many of them get into one car it’s like a clown car, more noticeable in the days of social distancing.

St Nicholas costumes
St Nicholas celebrations
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Two Years Living on a Boat

It’s sometimes hard to believe that we moved onto Sava two years ago! December 5, 2018. Which means we’ve spent two years living on a boat. Happily, we’ve survived and in some cases even thrived through all the crazy twists and turns that boat life – and life – have thrown in our way. We started out so ignorant and naive about life aboard, but we’ve done and learned a lot in two years.

Sava under sail
Sava under sail racing in Bonaire
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Curaçao Street Art

I love discovering street art when I travel, and I’m wowed by the street art in Curaçao! Downtown Willemstad is a treasure trove and since there is a lot, I’ve divided this post by neighborhood, so you can do your own walking tour when you go!

Want to see more posts about street art in The Caribbean? Check it out in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Bonaire.

The Top Curaçao Street Art is in Otrobanda

We stayed at an airbnb in Otrobanda, so this hip and growing neighborhood introduced us to the colorful street art of Curaçao. In our first days in the city, we wandered the streets taking photos and learning about the community. We also went on a Free Walking Tour and our guide showed off this trendy neighborhood and its street art.

  • Love Locks
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5 Curaçao Rainy Day Activities

It’s rainy season in Curaçao which means day after day of downpours. Want to know what to do on this Caribbean island when the weather is bad? Here are 5 Curaçao rainy day activities, so you can still have fun without the sun.

Curaçao rain
Rainy day view from our boat in Curaçao

Curaçao Museum

Housed in a pretty former hospital building, The Curaçao Museum‘s collection honors the island’s history.

Curaçao Museum
Curaçao Museum

Art, crafts and furniture fill up the main building, but the highlight of the museum is the old airplane in the hangar in the back. So either bring your umbrella for the run through the raindrops, or find a break in the rain because you want to see the tiny aircraft in the shed. The Snip carried 4 crew and Christmas mail from Europe to the Caribbean in the 1930s, marking the first KLM trans-Atlantic mail flight, which took 8 days. They had to take off the wings to fit it in the barn, but it’s a cool exhibit and story.

The Curaçao Museum is located in Otrabanda Willemsted.

Snip plane 5 Curaçao rainy day activities
The Snip at the Curaçao Museum
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We Made Our Boat Nicer To Live On

After almost two years sailing and anchoring in the Caribbean, Sava and her crew needed some TLC. Sava moved to Curaçao Marine for bottom paint and more while we moved into an apartment in town. We only took two weeks away from the boat, but it made a world of difference! During that time, we made our boat nicer to live on, which is good for all of us.

Improving S/V Sava

We’ve done a lot of work on Sava over the years, but we didn’t focus on cosmetics. Fixing the engine, batteries, watermaker and everything else was more important, but since we know how that stuff works now, we can make life on Sava better! While in the yard at the marina, we prettied her up inside and out! Since we made our boat nicer to live on, she’s like a new boat to us and we love her all over again.

S/v Sava
Sava didn’t look terrible when we took her out of the water
But the new bottom paint on S/V Sava is an improvement!

Cleaning Sava

We rented a one-bedroom apartment while Sava was in the yard, which meant a thorough boat clean. First on our list was emptying the boat: we took out all the food, defrosted the fridge and freezer, and scrubbed all the cupboards and storage lockers. We vacuumed the boat multiple times since we had shore power and did such a good job cleaning Sava I was almost sad to restock her!

Staying in An Airbnb

While Domino took a few days to get used to living on land, she eventually made herself comfortable.

Domino liked the bed in our Airbnb
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Eating and Drinking in Bonaire

For such a small island, Bonaire has more dining options than you would expect. Once we were free from quarantine and could roam the island, we satisfied our cravings for barbecue, sandwiches, seafood, satays, cheese and chocolate! We did have 3 months, after all! With all that experience, here are my recommendations for eating and drinking in Bonaire.

About Eating and Drinking in Bonaire

Though we were there during the pandemic, most restaurants served take-out, and many had dine-in options with social distancing and other restrictions. Many times, we provided names and emails for contact tracing. Prices are in US dollars, and costs are comparable to what you would pay in the U.S. or Canada, but some items are less expensive. Most places are in or near downtown Kralendjik, but a few are further afield. This map lays out all the places mentioned in the post.

map Eating and Drinking in Bonaire
Eating and Drinking in Bonaire map

Gio’s and Luciano Ice Cream

Ice cream is a luxury to most cruisers! Many cruisers don’t even have space for it on board. We are lucky to have a full freezer but we don’t often have ice cream in it because markets are rarely close to transport ice cream from bus to dinghy to boat fast enough to keep it from melting. So when there’s a gelato shop – or two – on land – we sample the flavors.

gelato eating and drinking in Bonaire
Some of the gelato choices in Bonaire

Eating and drinking in Bonaire should include at least one stop for ice cream. When we were in downtown Kralendjik, we bopped back and forth between two main spots but the tiny town has multiple places for ice cream, way more than we ever saw on the entire island of Antigua.

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My Most Recent Failure

When it comes to physical activities, I am a slow learner. I need lots of practice to get adequate at most sports. On the plus side, I am game to try most anything and willing to practice. I am at least adequate at skiing, paddleboarding, cycling and more than adequate at a few other sports, but it all took work! This is a post about my most recent failure, but don’t worry. I won’t be depressing, because I agree with the genius quoted below.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

Regular readers of this blog know I am used to failure. Whoops. I did it again. Here’s my story about how trying to be a freediver was my most recent failure.

Let’s Freedive!

I love to scuba dive. I love the water. In fact, I used to be a pretty good swimmer but it’s so much easier with fins and a snorkel that I don’t swim without them much anymore. When I was in Utila I first noted the availability of freediving classes for the public. And that sport is growing, at least from what we’ve seen in the Caribbean. In Bonaire, you can take freediving classes from one of the world champions, and he is the real deal. In September, Brian and I signed up for the class.

The Freediving Course

We took the AIDA2 freediving course and it is amazing!

I loved the breathing exercises and worked my way from a static breath-hold of 1:20 to over 2 minutes. Once we got moving in the water, it was even more rewarding. Using the long fins made me feel so powerful and aided my 40 meter dynamic swim in the shallows! The technique wasn’t easy or natural for me, but I picked it up after a few tries and thought I was golden.

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