Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Bequia and beyond

We anchored up and stayed put in beautiful Bequia for the best part of a windless week.

Controversially it is one of 3 places in the world where whaling is still permitted. 4 whales a year can be killed. An aboriginal law is used that upholds the heritage of the island. It would seem to me that these days tourists provide a more sustainable income for the island & the container ships bring in food that can’t be grown on the lush island, but then I don’t sit on the whaling commission….

The model whaling boats at Sargeants model boat shop are a sight to behold. Harry was mildly disappointed the models don’t sail or hydrofoil like his Grandpa’s though.

Our neighbours in Port Elizabeth were friends from Grenada. “The red boat” Nomadica with gorgeous Cheryl and Morgan one side & the “SAGO” family the other side, which was perfect for Halloween action. A resident turtle also paid us daily visits and sprat flung themselves into our dinghy desperate to join the party.


Dinghy issues this week were sorted by a local legend & chaps made up at Grenada sails. Hopefully this will extend the life of our dinghy, assuming I don’t let it float away again!

I pulled myself out of slothsville and took on a few runs on some hilly terrain across to the other side of the Island (no it isn’t a big Island). I might have stalked a French couple and joined them for their run one morning…such a weirdo. I appreciated the company even if they didn’t.

Going ashore at Port Elizabeth we were met by a walkway full of vibrant colours. Laid back sellers on a small stretch don’t force their wares on you. A unique bunch of bars and cafes littered the waters edge. The kids were partial to the ice cream at the Gingerbread hotel & cafe, and were pretty taken with the parrot at the next door dive shop too..

If you continue on past the Beach hotel up & down streps on the side of a cliff you reach “Jacks bar” on princess Margaret beach. We were anchored just off here. Our true find was at the far end of the beach where “Len the Lion” will cook the meat you bring & seat you for $5EC a BBQ use. His beer somehow tastes even better! We had a great Friday afternoon here with fellow cruisers.

I took the whole school of Draper on 2 trips this week. The avid marine biologist took notes and asked Mr Orton King a million questions at the Turtle sanctuary. He was particularly confused as to why you’d take baby turtles from the beach if they weren’t ill. Mr.King explained that his aim was to increase dwindling Hawksbill numbers. 20% of his turtles survive to be released by 5years old or when he deems them large enough to survive. In the wild only 1 in 3000 survive to 40 yrs old. Not really comparable stats but Harry was satisfied this is a good thing to do. The larger turtles kept in small tanks were unable to fend for themselves in the wild and so would stay at the sanctuary and be scrubbed once a fortnight, be gawped at by the likes of us and continue on a diet of canned tuna for life.

The other trip was to the Firefly hotel and restaurant. Ok so the drinks were pretty good! I promise the kids learned a thing or 2!! The hotel is on the site of an old sugar plantation but now grows a variety of fruits etc. Our personal tour kept the kids interested for 45mins (better than I ever manage). We munched on whatever we could try from passion fruit to star fruits and a lot in between, but the best was pulverising our own sugar cane and drinking it- yum.

Humidity seems to have dropped a tad in the last few days. Yesterday we headed north in a very civilised 10-15knts passed St.Vincent and towards St.Lucia. The wind then crapped out repeatedly & unsurprisingly we ended up motoring upwind for a while. Our aim was to anchor at Rodney Bay in the north and explore. We had been keen to visit the reknowned Pitons in the South, but a spate of boats being boarded at night and robbed had put us off. What actually happened was that it got late and we decided to push onto Martinique as the wind picked up!

So we woke up this morning in St.Anne’s near Le Marin after a 16 hour crossing. We’ve made the most of the play equipment and paved area ideal for skateboarding just off the dock. There may have been a croissant or two consumed and a post carb slump has occurred. A pretty different day to running the New York marathon this time last year! Miss you Lorna.

It seems time is cranking on and we’ll be having a Christmas knees up in Antigua before we know it!

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Grenadine Fever

Last Sunday after a family surf at Prickly bay we headed off in another down pour towards Carriacou. Looking at the forecast a pit stop in Halifax harbour for the night seemed the sensible option…but then we changed our minds and headed up anyway.

We shot past the underwater volcano exclusion zone, past the natural arch of London Bridge, past the Sisters and Kick ‘em Jenny rock. The sails were up and down like a strippers knickers, but we arrived to a beautiful sunset in Carriacou. The kids convinced us to get off the bateau for dinner & the “Lazy Turtle” was a welcome treat.

After a lazy morning on the boat of yoga, fishing, fort building & hide & seek I went for a jog & we cleared customs. We had a little starboard hitch up to Sandy island which led into a tough beginning of the week…We snorkelled with sting rays, turtles, shoals of fish had a family beach run & beach clean followed by cocktails with the Garrett family.

Salinas was our next stop after a short sail back towards Tyrell Bay. More reef exploration meant the kids covered a lot of ground. The tucked away bay was full of charm, turtles & a great coral reef garden. The downside was the mozzies!!

We bid farewell to the Garrett’s with a lobster dinner as they leave the cruising world after 11 months and head home to Oz. We wish them safe travels & hope to see you there one day.

A night back in Union was called for. We hear that we narrowly missed a local stabbing incident in Clifton, right in the spot we had been with the kids for ice cream! Mild wake up call, but we’ve enjoyed our time on Union. These isolated local incidents that could happen anywhere wouldn’t stop us going back to the Island.

After nearly 4 months on the boat we got off for 2 nights…It felt weird with our home just outside!! Great timing though as I’ve been randomly suffering with vertigo this last week & it had got worse. The feeling took me back to my Uni days when I’d swear that I never got ill, only for the whole room to spin after a night out with predictable consequences. This is not a good feeling when you live on a boat or want to move your head. Must be the dizzy heights of 10 years marriage!!

Salt whistle bay was a gem of the Grenadines & a stunning spot to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! We were the only guests in one of a handful of cottages with a glamping tent outside for extra kid beds. Ralph the dog was a friendly security guard, as were the actual 24hr security that looked after us. Justin was a fab host & chef. The locals were super friendly & a trip to the small village got us acquainted with the reknowned Rasta Righteous Richard & his quirky bar. A epic clash of steel pans played over a backdrop of Celine Dion….The rum punch definitely was special too!

Lily & Harry adored their glamping experience in the tent. Lily unpacked pretty much all her possessions for the 2 night stay. She then set up a beach stall selling shells, rope, flowers & general tat. Fortunately she took leaves & sand for payment as we were all out of cash.

There were 10 boats anchored up in the small picture postcard bay. The charter season has started! Turns out there are some benefits of cruising in the summer- empty anchorage’s. Think we’ll need to do some adjusting.

We’re pleased to be back on our home. After a tight fetch to West Cay in Bequia (3 hours ish). Chris then short tacked up the shore against the Sunday dinghy racers in true competitive style! We’re now in Princess Margaret bay, one of the few anchorages on this little Island. Loving the vibe of this funky place and it’s been great to catch up with some fellow cruisers here, especially when they have us over for a fresh tuna feast!

We plan to head to St Lucia, then Martinique next, before trickling back to Antigua.


Dive in


Its been a while! My comms weren’t helped by sending my phone on a mission to the ocean floor and quite frankly I’ve been all out of chat for a while. Changing situations at home and within our cruising community here in Grenada have rocked us a little. Having your plans/goals or even life cut short by things out of your control seems so unfair. All the goings on have made us realise that truly the time is now and that tomorrow isn’t promised. Its time to bounce back from this survivors guilt and blog on….


Unlike in any other kind of sailing rainy days have curbed play here in Grenada! We’re anchored in Prickly Bay with wave access when the surf is on.  The good news is that the water monitor (Lily) is pretty pleased with how much rainwater she has got in the tank. Our plans to trickle back up to Carriacou, and the Grenadines for the rest of the hurricane season have been slightly delayed by crappy weather. Now we’re tinkering around and upping out battery bank in this down time.

Chris was recently away in Europe again and my Mum made a last minute decision to come and join the kids and I for a week! It flew by and we were all delighted to see her and show her our new home. As usual she came armed with plenty for the kids to do. Despite over 30 years experience as a science teacher, she admitted she’d rather teach a class of 32 kids over our 2 any day…. Nevertheless the kids loved the experiments, bread-making and art. Hopefully next time my Dad will join us too.


Definitely its time for some half-term fun next week and a week away from the dry books that Harry is working through. I was thinking about our previous life and thinking how bazaar that the time the kids spend on “school”  is about equal to how much time they used to spend in the car each day. Without the car journeys there is a whole lot of time for reading, lego, playing, fishing, surfing, skirfing and generally being kids without so much structure. It’s also so nice to have time to say yes a whole lot more. Yes we can play dominoes/cards/chess/life or whatever, yes we can paint at some ridiculous hour of the morning, yes we can get up at 2AM to watch the meteor shower. Yes you can actually have some attention! Don’t worry we haven’t suddenly become the Brady bunch!! I am beginning to worry a little less over the “normal life” things they are missing out on though.


Harry has been delighted that some “bigger” kids have been “knocking” for him and taking him for adventures in the bay in their sailing dinghy. Lily has been beside herself that she can’t go and to add insult to injury the surf has been too big for her too…oh the injustice of being 4! We did let her do some kitesurfing with Daddy and throw herself off at the Annandale waterfalls though.



Other news of the last few weeks is that I fell off the boat at night whilst Chris was away! I don’t suppose the glass of vino or 2 helped my cat like reflexes whilst trying to sort the tender out but everyone survived to tell the tale and Harry is now up-skilled in mayday etiquette and location recording. Feeling left out a few days later, Harry lunged off the dinghy and not quite onto the boat in decent sized swell. Obviously this was entirely my fault and I have not forgotten it, a scare that did everyone good I think!! In general both the kids are doing incredibly well at managing themselves around the tender and boat but its never a bad thing to be reminded of the need to respect our surroundings.

Roll on getting cruising again and back to the Grenadines!!


Home sweet home


Wow has it really been 2 weeks since we arrived in the Caribbean cruisers hurricane hideout of Grenada??

In that time Chris left me flying solo and in charge of the boat baby for a week. In reality it was a soft start as he spent the 1st 2 days hanging out at Grenada airport with cancelled flights as hurricane Maria hurtled up the Caribbean.

The best part of this lush mountainous spice Island for Harry, has been the chance to catch up with Tom & the Garret family that we met in the BVIs. Lily also found a beautiful kindred spirit in Dasha (6), who’d just moved aboard from LA. Secret harbour provided a welcome sanctuary from swell and wind. The pool, volleyball courts and grounds were a great escape for the kids. Harry also went all swallows and amazons hanging out on an island with his buddies for a few hours.



School Draper organised a field trip around the Island with team Garret. The kids carried out some thorough research on what % cocoa they are prepared eat in their chocolate. The big hitter of the day was scaling the waterfalls. Pete did nearly fractured a few vertebrae sliding down the falls under heavy peer pressure of our guide. It was his own fault of course for not pushing off to miss the 4ft horizontal ledge at the bottom….A better H&S assessment needed for our next trip! However, everyone did come home with their shoes!


The local cruising community down in Secret a Harbour is very active. Everything going on can be heard on “The Net” each morning. For me, Janine & Pete were ace. Not sure I really made much headway with the rest of the cruising crowd down there this time, though I did make it out on a hike with the Grenada hashers in Etang national park. My local buddy JJ, swinging his cutlass, kept me entertained and safe from the odd sheer drop. Did I mention that I’m massively missing my running buddies??!!


We’ve also spent some time in Prickly Bay, just to the West. Some cheeky surf sessions a few hundred metres from the boat with perfect waves for the kids made everyone happy! The quiz at the Tiki bar really did up the academic anti- safe to say we weren’t much help this week.

Since Chris arrived back we snuck North to Carriacou. I’d just like to say I nailed my wind prediction that we’d have 35knts! A sneaky storm cell gave us an exhilarating ride, not so conducive to handwriting practice though. We spent 2 nights in Tyrells Bay, had some epic rotis from our bus lady and are looking forward to exploring more. We then nipped upto Union Island in the Grenadines. Despite some anxiety about Union, having read Noonsite, we received a super warm welcome as soon as we hit the shore at Anchorage Yacht Club. I swear you’d never go anywhere if you read every review on the Internet.



IMG_7282The anchorage really does look like the real idyllic deal. A massive ray greeted us as we dived the anchor and there are reefs and stunning islands a plenty. Whilst many places are closed until 1st Nov, the “snack shack” and fruit & veg sellers on the Main Street have us well sorted. The kids have also resisted any dognapping so far, but heaven help the mutts if they don’t have a collar…

This weekend has been a gem. Stoked to have finally got the kiting toys out of the bag in Union and at the stunning Tobago Cays. We explored random deserted islands, in search of whatever natural phenomena we could find and dined on lobster. Sunsets a plenty. Loving our home right now…


Kid stuff these last few weeks-
Molluscum contagiousum
(Time for a few showers???!)

Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Uncategorized

Back to the plan with a southern charge

Look at those lovely lazy bones bean bags!

When even the laundry lady at “Sam & Dave’s” is giving you local rates and doesn’t believe you’re ever going to leave…. its time to go. We finally left Antigua on monday afternoon after hauling the boat in at Antigua slipway first thing. We’d been a great source of irritation there as we were last out and in the way, BUT we were pleased they accommodated us for Irma and the threat of Jose.

We were so grateful for 2 nights in the Antigua Marina hotel with Carlo Falcone and it gave the Greensmith’s a break from family Draper after an extended hurricane party of 5 nights (The kids couldn’t believe their luck with that mega sleepover!). Carlo was one of the first to take a private boat to Barbuda to help with the relief effort and subsequent evacuation as hurricane Jose threatened. Chris went to help and the realisation of the situation there and many other islands is sobering, read his thoughts here. Shannon Falcone flew straight in after winning the maxi worlds and took his boat straight to the BVIs, again doing everything to offer some relief and supplies to the people there. There is something very special about these great Islanders and the show of solidarity. These selfless acts restore your faith in our crazy species.

Antigua Yacht Club Hotel

We truly did weather the storm together with some of those families in Antigua and it’s a time we will never forget. We spent days recovering from the adrenalin at Papa’s restaurant with the kids fishing off the dock, swimming, scooting, rip surfing and having too much tech time before returning to “normality” once Jose headed north.

Before we left the kids were also treated to a pottery demo by the very talented Nancy Nicholson ( whose work I love. Visiting the stunning location she works from was enough. The view across Falmouth harbour was panoramic and her creativity is almost catching.

Yesterday morning we arrived in Grenada. It was a 300 mile dash with a pit stop for a stroll on the beach and sleep on anchor in Martinique.



It was a varied trip. Not exactly run of the mill trade winds. Some really lovely sailing but the first night was nasty with a fair old sea between Guadeloupe and Martinique. The next morning we had some lovely breeze and covered some mileage. We were then treated to an unexpected tropical wave and wind on the nose for 12 hours passing St.Vincent. The last 18 hours were stunning with Fille de Joie charging along at 8-9 knots eating up the miles.


The usual shizzle occurred, this time an aerial fell off the mast etc etc. Probably a hangover from Irma (I think it’s best to blame that witch for everything). So we hugged the coast of the Islands as we went down to stay in mobile range.

The trip was quick and no time to explore this Islands as Chris heads to an event in Europe on Sunday and we re keen to be set up before that.

Turns out we’re turning into storm chasers (funny not funny). There are two more systems brewing way out East. Lets be honest no one said we were in the clear down here… If everyone could stop heating up the ocean that would be great!

Any top tips to explore in Grenada most welcome….


We dodged a bullet

hurricaneToday as I sit in our hurricane house kindly provided by the Greensmith family I’m thinking about it a all…like everything. Probably best not to ponder on what ifs. We’ve been seriously lucky. We are delighted to be able to sail another day on our adventure & intend to appreciate every second. We came very close to another reality entirely at the hands of hurricane Irma, the worst atlantic hurricane ever.
The community here have been amazing. Rachel and Ollie took in 4 extra families and 7 extra kids, 2 extra dogs & 2 more cats and us. We were in a new build house on the first floor with storage underneath. Chris and I had made a plan should the roof have come off & were looking at ways to protect our 2 young children who we’d exposed to this risk. The trouble was we would have needed to go outside down an external staircase to reach shelter. The windows were apparently hurricane proof & double thickness with a cat 5 storm with winds sustained of over 185mph heading towards us, we were nervous.
Mild hysteria built across the 2 houses over the day. Part of me was thinking it was going to be nothing but the other half realised we were at risk of loosing everything. We prepped the boat as much as we could and the reality was we needed to keep our family physically safe. We were anticipating devastation.
Some great thoughts from friends at home. Offers of local contacts & tips on chaining ourselves to underground pipes! It shaped up to be a long night and all the while I hoped the worry was for nothing but the media was painting a different picture.
The kids didn’t realise the magnitude of the storm given that they have been through 2 hurricanes in Bermuda. Harry understood the need for prep and the risks of a hurricane but he was definitely more interested in the hurricane party with friends.
The family pretty much slept through the whole thing. Rum definitely helped Chris out! I do wonder how they slept as the rain sounded like a football crowd at Wembley stadium. It was wet, wild and annoyingly dark outside so It was hard to see what was going on. The gusts were big & made you flinch as they hit. The worry was losing the roof, but that happened to a handful of houses in Antigua. Other bits of some properties have flown. The power went out at 2000 but we had a generator from the main house next door. To our knowledge there was minimal flooding on the south of the Island despite storm surges.
So an unprecedented storm in the Atlantic….not sure I signed up for that. We seriously dodged a bullet. The boat was the least of our worries once we realised what a beast Irma was. We were fortunate that despite a mess in the yard & damage to the dock, Fille de Joie looks in one piece at first glance.
We got through & very luckily were a little to the south of Irma. The same cannot be said for Barbuda. The low lying sister island of Antigua is only maximum height of 150m above sea level 90% of the buildings have been utterly destroyed. There was 1 fatality reported- horrendous but we were fearing much higher numbers. St Barts, St Martins and the BVIS are also feeling the full force from the northern wall of the eye. We are thinking of friends there and anyone else in Irma’s path.
St Martin near where we based
Hurricane bolt hole in the BVIs
Normal life will not resume until tropical storm Jose passes Antigua, which should be sometime on Friday or Saturday. The track looks well north but we aren’t going to take any chances and will keep the boat on the hard until after that.
Our world
I might have said it once or twice before but it really is well past the time we should head south towards Grenada. We ll have 5 days before Chris heads to Europe for a regatta, so let’s hope for some decent weather so we can get a shifty on and get down there.
Thank you for all the kind messages of support, we appreciated everyone & are feeling the love. Much love from the Drapers xx

Hurricane Irma



I had hoped Chris would fill you in on his last week but he’s a tad busy and mildly stressed right now so you get my perspective again!




Chris and the kids seem to have a great time while I’ve been away. Harry has been at the Antigua Sailing Academy most days sailing, fishing, tug-o-wars and all day fun. The sailing academy is an amazing non profit facility and Elizabeth and her team have been so great with Harry. Chris and Lily seem to have been mission in it on boat work, buoyancy aidless swimming it would seem and perfecting her backflips. Sadly most of that boat work has now been pulled apart.

After a whistle stop tour of Europe attending the wedding of my Bermuda bestie Lorna in stunning Sorrento, I headed to Dorset still on Carribbean time. House sorting was the order as our container was back from Bermuda. A massive clear out and fitting our landlife into 1 room somehow happened. The clear out wasn’t big enough and the reality is what we have on the boat is enough. A clutter of possessions and memories doesn’t fulfil anyone, but it is useful to have the odd bed to sleep in! Seeing family and friends that mean the world to me did make me a happy lady. Those meetings with girls I’ve known forever are precious & seeing my parents, brother and is family was priceless.


The downside of a necessary trip was so much time away from the boat and my people! I returned only to wish we were further South. The reality of hurricane Irma is upon us. We are preparing as best we can. We’re staging some kind of sit in on the dock at Antigua slipway & hoping they will find space in the yard to haul us out this morning. Chris insists this is not the time for blogging!

Gabri (weirdly from Sorrento) gave up a day of his holiday to help us while his gorgeous wife Shana took the kids. We stripped the boat of sails, cushions, biminis, pulleys, sheets and basically anything which may blow around in a potential cat 4 storm. Chris pulled all the halyards up the mast and had a crack at getting the wind gear off. We’ve packed the inside of the boat imagining everything may be soaked and damaged from a broken window or similar. The advice of our insurance company (Pantaeneus) is that we re insured 100% on the hard but 85% in the mangroves. In many ways I feel we’d be safer tucked away in the mangroves. On the hard we ‘re going to be sitting ducks for flying objects and debris but there it is.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, calm and flat. Perfect conditions for swimming what felt like miles after an escapee flamingo! The kids had a great afternoon at the beach skim boarding with friends. Not your typical pre-hurricane conditions but then it’s a long way off yet.


Irma seems to be as decisive as me with PMT trying to decide what to wear. The models were conflicting but now they seem to be in agreement that the leeward islands (including Antigua) are under threat. From my understanding the high around Bermuda is stopping the normal northern curve of such storms away from this area. But here’s hoping it does head off away from us and our to sea in the coming days.

It’s funny but a threat to your material possessions, life savings and family is daunting but we did put ourselves in this position! We did choose to cruise the Carribbean in hurricane season. Believe it or not there are some positives, particularly if you like surfing! Other than that you realise how kind people are. They offer their help and open their homes – thanks Rachel, Shannon, Louis and many others you guys have all been diamonds. Realising how fragile our existence is does make you feel grateful and more alive and ready to drink rum!


As we prepare to haul the boat in the humid muggy pit that is currently our players keep home, all I hope is that we are safe and that we can continue living this extremely selfish dream. Do I wish we weren’t exposing our children to this danger? Yes, but I do want them to have all the experiences this journey is brings.

Let’s hope Irma heads north and we’ve all worried for nothing. “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best” as my Dad would say. We’ve controlled what is now controllable and when they turn the power out we’ll be ready for the hurricane party. Oh and there is a second storm in the wings too!



Antigua Daze


The last week has been spent in Antigua dodging tropical depressions & storms. Sadly that has meant no trip to Barbuda as we aired on the side of caution over the weekend. It also means that the boat isn’t in Guadelope and I flew to get my Paris connection. Ironically Tuesday would have been a glamour day for sailing across to Guadelope.

We’ve filled out week with some exploration of Antigua. We ventured to the “Florida of Antigua” in the form of Jolly Harbour. I wasn’t quite prepared for how different it is to Falmouth harbour! Not as rustic by far, more resorts and cruise ship heaven apparently.


Chris made the most of the unsettled weather and got out surfing with Harry at Turtle Bay and Rendezvous whilst Lily a I did some serious beach combing. Not the day for her to ride waves, but the little fashionista is very proud of her new necklace and earrings. She also gave us a heart attack by upping her diving anti and randomly pulling out a back dive in a swimming pool!! No idea where it came from and even Harry couldn’t follow suit.

We also made it to Jabberwocky beach for some kiting. Once you got past the few feet of sargasso it was a glamour spot to kite in. I kind of forgot no kite instructor was there to massage my ego and pick up my board, so I left the board upwind for a wee while! It’s all part of the process I’m sure.

Harry’s been doing laps of Falmouth harbour surfing behind the tender at every given opportunity. This is proving a useful bargaining tool for school work & no hour is too early it would seem…light is preferable. I particularly love his need to sing as he does it. Chris tells me singing was an oppie sailing must for him, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The kids were delighted to head to the flicks in St.John and watch the Nut Job 2. It was a big novelty after 2 months without TV. I was sadly nearly as excited by a trip to the Epicurean supermarket (in “normal” life I am not obsessed by food shopping I promise). However, I’d still rate the local food and fruit & veg stalls as the top draw on the Island.

Harry’s been trying his luck at fishing. He can pretty much recite all the fish (400) we shouldn’t eat in the Caribbean for risk of ciguatera: A rather mean food poisoning which is accompanied by neurological symptoms which can last weeks or even years. Generally purported by locals not to effect smaller reef fish, eating them is probably not worth the risk! At 7 Harry’s taken it upon himself to try to provide for the family- a bit much to take on, but you can’t tell him. On one fishing jaunt up the dock Lily joined him. She evidently got a bit peckish so got stuck into the bait of raw bacon!! Following misguided old wives tales that makes Chris & I feel psychologically better when we’ve eaten something dodgey we fed our 4 year old coke….have you seen what that stuff does to old coins & rusty tools? Surely it can sort out some raw bacon. *i have no evidence this works at all *


With more time on land the kids have been playing with their new friends and haring around on scooters & skateboards. There has been a lot of tolerance around the marina-hooray for the low season!


The question is will family Draper ever leave Antigua? We’ll be hopping South for sure from the 2nd September, but definitely haven’t ruled out a return. Harry has requested a geography field trip to explore the volcano on Monserrat and we’d love to fit that in too.

*Daddy diving services were required off the dock.


*They have some furry friends here


*Lily is a bait eating monster.

*Picking up AC parts and hull filters in UK, barnacles don’t seem to filter things too well.






Drinking Carribbean Gatorade in Antigua


Living in paradise was frustrating at the top end of the week. Arriving in Antigua for carnival was great idea in principal but we wanted to get some chandlery supplies, fix a few things, restock on food and get washing done in English Harbour. Buuuuttt everything was shut for 3 days. I admit it sounds ridiculous that this could actually be a real life issue, but everyone got a little antsy, stir crazy & forgot just how lucky they were! On the upside Lily can now bum wiggle with the best of them (clearly at 4 this is an important skill).


History lessons, meeting stow away cats and collecting new instruments was the order of the day in Nelsons dockyard. We met a lovely boat with Stan & Jenny in tow. Having sold them our kayaks, the kids proceeded to swim over and play with them for the first time! They were rewarded with instruments including a recorder or “Satan’s flute” as Jenny put it. Looks like music is an addition to the curriculum too….



All moods were lifted by the Haywards & the gallons of Carribbean gatorade (rose) we accidentally drank over the course of a few days. Anchoring in beautiful Carlisle Bay was spectacular & we had a pod of dolphins lead us in. The Hayward boys were equally as playful & perfect entertainment for the kids. What a stunning resort that place is. We are eternally grateful to Chris & Sarah. We topped off our meet up by stealing Sarah for the day & lunching at “Boom” while the kids swam in the pool there.

Escaping to Green Island was the perfect tonic for the family. A top spot for some kiting and generally living on the East Coast of Antigua near Non-Such Bay. We made it up there on 2nd attempt having called off in 30knts & some big sea a few days prior. The best find, aside from the hermit crabs, tortoise, racer snakes and deserted Island was a 10 year old child named Marlin & his friends Patrick, Henry & Arthur!! This was epic news for the Hazman. Whilst all other cruisers are generally South, we stumbled across a local family hanging out on their ex-RNLI boat for the weekend. This place & meeting changed our week and led us to more friends in Falmouth harbour. The boys skurfed, trainer kited, swam, fished, explored & shared tech knowledge.


Us olds were happy to dabble in some kiting & sit in the best bean bags in Antigua courtesy of “Lazybones”. Chris made a new friend too- the security guard at Bernasconi’s house. He took a trip 2 miles downwind to meet him as the breeze dropped & the rescue crew were pre-occupied with extra kids & beach exploration!

We’re now in Falmouth Harbour at Antigua Yacht Club Marina. The kids are rampaging the dock and fishing with their new friends. Harry has also spent 2 days in sailing camp to join said friends at the National Sailing Academy for amazing value. It’s a great non-profit set up that trains local kids to become instructors and beyond.

Antigua in the summer is a far cry from what the season looks to be. The great news for us is the locals have time & a lot of kindness for those passing through. Seeing Shannon Falcone, Chris sailing around to North Sound on the Falcon F4 with a great crew including Louis & Alex Sinclair was another highlight this week. He’s definitely missing the foiling & the smile hasn’t left. It’s a pretty cool boat and is an evolution of the original foiling gun boat.


Harry was particularly jealous of Louis’s fishing capabilities & proceeded to show off his new spear-Thanks Shannon.

As ever our “plans” are changing on a daily basis. It looks like Barbuda trip this week is on hold as the tropical depressions are lining up to the east between us & Cape Verde. We need to do a little hop to Guadelope for a planned airport drop by next Tuesday. I head home for a week to see my family, meet my not so new niece, sort out our house annnnddd hit up my stunning friends Lorna & Neil’s wedding in Italy! Busy week and going to miss my people like crazy, but spoke to my Mum today for the first time & I cannot wait to see her.

Team Draper have been drawn in by Antigua and we will be back very soon.



-More stuff needed fixing – yawn. Can’t even remember what.
-Harry cut his own leg with an axe when prepping a BBQ….when I say “cut” it was more of a scratch with blood…
-Lily still hasn’t realised she can’t free dive wearing a swim vest. Watching her get to legs overhead and pop back up is too funny….




French Heaven

imageFille de Joie arrived in St Barts last week after a 3hour trip from St.maarten. We had 6 nights sleeping well on anchor in the harbour. Despite a minor faux pas when we first anchored in 40ft of water & I tried to grab the anchor chain as it jumped out the windlass all was well & I still have my hand. What was I thinking???!! Pleased we fitted the big anchor in the very early stages.

Upon checking in with customs we discovered we’d died & ended up in a French heaven. Full of beautiful people, stunning views, beaches, waves & food, St. Barths sucked us in for longer than the planned 36hrs.


Slightly cross that my 13year old self rebelled against my former French teacher Father & took German. All that comes to my mind when I try to speak is Italian. The kids enjoyed putting Madame Carde & Madame Lee’s work into practice & Harry’s little accent was very cool to hear.

St.Barths is stunning & just the kind of place that draws you in. The quaint streets of Gustavia with all the chic you’d expect from the French. There are way to many beautiful people for 1 place. The mild draw back is the price tag. Fortunately my accompanying social hand grenades made it impossible to even window shop. Though I did “run” around the town bright & early one morning just to gawp in a few windows. The things I now do for some alone time!


We met a fantastic couple & their daughter Hayley at “Le Plage” near the airport as we dodged the planes coming into land. We headed back to their stunning rented villa for dinner. I was inspired by the 102 marathons John had completed- this was not music to Chris’s ears!!! However, getting any exercise in is proving to be a challenge. Definitely a downside for me at the moment.

Taking our first sailing guests out was also an experience. I felt awful for 2 of our guests who were not appreciating the considerable waves. The 25-30knts with big swell on the way home from “Isle de Forchue” wasn’t the best for non sailors! However, the octopus whisperer did his thing again & I think that, swimming 100s of metres with turtles & stingray helped offset the seasickness! We were thrilled to meet such a great family.


Harry’s been getting his surf on at a local spot called Toiny. Bit of trespassing to access the beach & the exit was only possible after holding up a few bulldozers. Super cool to see our 7 year old paddling himself into 3-4ft open faces. He wasn’t that impressed by snapping his leash on a decent sized set & was pretty devastated that his beloved board “Stump” ended up on the rocks. But Daddy saved the day & even the board survived to surf another day. The surf has been perfect for Harry, he’s riding waves on reefs and generally seems to have very little fear. Some amazing time together with Daddy.




Glamour eats at Black Ginger, Bazbar, Tamarin, Quarter. Don’t think you can go far wrong anywhere in St. Barts though. The French just rock this eating thing-as our waistlines will attest!


We arrived in Antigua yesterday afternoon. The sea state was pretty bumpy but not enough to put Harry off his Harry Potter obsession. Not much brekkie to keep down as our spare gas tank seemed  to have a faulty regulator. Have no fear there was caffeine at 0430 though.


I’m pretty excited at the prospect of seeing Sarah Hayward & family from Bermuda. Possibly one of the funniest ladies on the planet & I’m sure she might share a glass or 2 of vino with me-yay!

Nearly forgot to mention there was potential for a tropical storm setting up in the Atlantic. We were planning to hide in English Harbour, if it was good enough for Nelson it’s good enough for us. Fortunately though it looks like it’s fizzled out.

Things we’ve learned in the 1st month:

-Homeschooling is do-able. Harry’s maths will be better than mine soon.


-Clean clothes & showers are overrated.


-Remora fish are epic if your boat bum needs a clean. I’m hoping they ll hang out with us for the foreseeable.


-Fridge tetras is an actual game. I’ve been known to weigh up access to ingredient vs actual taste value. Sod it sometimes it’s not worth it!

-We’re mastering the wedge, which is outwitting the seastate by fixing oneself into a corner of the galley or anywhere else whilst sailing.

-Never did I think I’d dream of owning a household appliance!! Hand held dyson I think you’d change our world.