Five Years Living On a Sailboat

Five years flies by faster than you realize. Since moving aboard in December 2018, we’ve logged a lot of miles and anchored in many bays. We’ve also spoken – or tried to speak – several languages, and met countless people in the last five years living on a sailboat. As many of you know, we’ve also made changes and mistakes. This year we visited countries we hadn’t visited or even heard of before moving onto a boat. We’re happy to spend the rest of 2024 in New Zealand, over 8000 miles from where we started in 2018. Here’s a small recap of what we learned this year, after five years living on a sailboat.

sailing in Fiji
One of our last sails on board Sava in Fiji

Wind and Weather

We finished our year in French Polynesia this May, and looked forward to heading west to other South Pacific islands. After French Polynesia, we skipped the Cook Islands because of limited anchorages and strong winds. In fact, the weather this winter all throughout the South Pacific was bad. We got battered by storms en route to Niue, shivered through record-breaking cold in Tonga, and were poured on in Fiji. Our friends in French Polynesia dealt with the same conditions. Fortunately, we left Fiji before a cyclone, and are supposedly safe in New Zealand as long as last summer’s storms don’t repeat.

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Four Years Living on a Sailboat

This may be hard to believe, even to us, but we are commemorating four years living on a sailboat. On December 5th, 2018, Brian, Domino and I moved onboard Sava in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and now we are in French Polynesia, on the same boat!

Four years ago Sava sailboat Florida
Sava when we first saw her in Florida. She’s come a long way

High Highs and Low Lows

We’ve had some high highs and low lows living on a sailboat. I’ve learned that in nature everything is more extreme. I have felt more awe and joy on the ocean and at anchor than I ever imagined, mostly when interacting with wildlife.

This year alone we experienced noteworthy nature shows. One of the most memorable was being surrounded by hundreds of eagle rays leaping out of the water in Las Perlas, Panama.

One of the highlights of our life on Sava: watching eagle rays leap out of the water all around us in Las Perlas
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Bocas del Toro Favorites

We spent longer than expected in Panama’s Bocas del Toro archipelago, mostly because of the community and activities. Also because we waited to get new lithium batteries. In all we stayed in Bocas for three months because there’s a lot to enjoy, so here are our Bocas del Toro favorites.

Beaches

With a lot of different islands in the Bocas, there are also a lot of beaches. Not 365 beaches like in Antigua, but a good assortment with options for all different beach goals. There are more remote beaches with fewer people, like Wizard Beach on Bastimentos, busy party beaches like at Red Frog, lots of surfer beaches across the islands, and Starfish has a whole row of beach bars. Bocas del Toro will satisfy anyone’s beach day requirements.

Bocas Drago Beach Panama
Bocas Drago Beach, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro
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What to Eat in Curaçao

An island populated by citizens from multiple cultures, the food in Curaçao reflects that diversity. After years in the Eastern Caribbean, we were almost overwhelmed by the choices in Bonaire and Curaçao, and spent four months on the island sampling the cuisine. Read on for my tips, favorite restaurants and what to eat in Curaçao.

Farm to Table Brunch at Hofi Cas Cora

One of our favorite restaurants in Curaçao is Hofi Cas Cora, a farmhouse which serves brunch only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The space is charming, the food is delicious, and you can walk around the working farm before or after your meal.

waffles at Hofi Cas Cora
Pumpkin Waffles at Hofi Cas Cora

Not surprisingly, this is a popular place for families, whose kids love to feed and interact with the animals, which range from chickens, ducks and peacocks to horses, goats and pigs.

goat at Hofi Cas Cora
One of the goats at the Hofi Cas Cora!

It’s a great place for anyone. The menu is extensive and delicious and includes vegan and vegetarian dishes, fresh from the farm.

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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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