The Sailing Adventures of the Parks'  Family

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    Updated: 25-Apr-2006


Living Aboard

Welcome to our "Living Aboard" section.  This section will be where we share our experiences of living aboard Charbonneau.  Information like storage, cooking in a small galley, hosting guests, sailing offshore, and adjusting to living in close proximity will be discussed here. Click on the topics below for the full text.

Taking Your Pets To The Bahamas
(previously published in Blue Water Sailing)

You know how the daydream begins. It starts with a vision of your dogs running free along crescent-shaped beaches as you walk hand-in-hand with that someone special on a deserted tropical island. Palm trees sway in the breeze, reaching up to meet the day's last glimmer of sunshine. Your toes dig into the soft white sand, waves lap against the shore and crystal-clear waters wash over your feet. Out in the harbor, the sailboat that's carried you across oceans to be here waits patiently for your return. When the sun starts its decline into the distant horizon, you're bathed in the warm glow of red, orange, and yellow light. And then just as it disappears, you see your first 'green flash.' This is no daydream. This is the Bahamas.

Refrigeration Repair Underway
(previously published in Blue Water Sailing)

Back in May of 2000, Janet and I invited two hundred friends and family members to our home for a bon voyage party. The event was a huge affair with tents, a live band and plenty of food. The party marked our last hurrah on land - our house would be cleaned out the following day - so we emptied the refrigerator and freezer, cooking everything to prevent throwing it away. It was a real feast. Now as we motored through the Dismal Swamp Canal aboard Charbonneau two years later, I was envisioning another feast. Only this time we would be serving food to complete strangers as fast as we could cook it because Charbonneau's refrigeration system had inexplicably quit working. Unless I worked fast, all our frozen food - a full six-month's stores - would spoil.

Stormy Night
(previously published in Blue Water Sailing)

I held my breath as I felt Charbonneau’s bow being pushed to port by another breaking wave.  Even in the complete darkness, I knew what was to come.  I yelled down to Janet to hold on as I double-checked my harness and tether for what seemed like the one-thousandth time.  My yelling sounded like a mere whisper in comparison to the avalanche of water being thrown at us.  But the noise was nothing compared to what came next.  I kept thinking, “My God,  how did we ever get into this situation?”  Down below, Janet  held onto the dogs, braced herself, and was having her own conversation with God  – “Please God,  give us the strength to survive this storm.”   

Charbonneau Cruises Nova Scotia

We didn't see a single iceberg on our cruise along Nova Scotia's east coast. Nor did we find the inhabitants of this seemingly distant land living in igloos or staring back at us through hooded parkas made from animal skins. And though there was an occasional aroma of fresh fish set out to dry, it was not the overwhelming scent that we had expected based on rumored fables of this land. Instead, what we found was a distinctly rugged shoreline accented by brightly painted houses, steep cliffs or lush rolling hills, a proud maritime community and one of the best cruising locations we've explored in our three and a half years aboard Charbonneau.

The Prettiest Place I Never Saw

Maine is a beautiful place. Your senses are overwhelmed with its striking contrast of verdant hills, shocking blue skies, and a peppering of Hercules-size rocks along the shores. Then add the color of ancient fishing boats, brightly painted cottages, and the gazillion lobster traps of every color. A camera can't truly capture the splendor seen with your eyes. Artists have struggled for years to imitate her beauty, all in vain. Yes, for the few days when Janet and I could see past the bow of our boat, Maine was a beautiful place. Mostly, however, it was the prettiest place I never saw.

Bailey Meets Glory

Cruising with two large dogs has been an enchanting experience at times, but is often full of challenges. I believe that every cruiser who chooses to bring their pets along has to focus on the positive aspects of that venture. But in the back of each pet owner's mind is the fear that their furry loved one could be lost overboard. It was on July 29th, 2003 that Janet and I came face to face with that gut-wrenching terror. While we were ashore in a borrowed car looking for more generator parts, Bailey fell overboard into the cold Maine waters.

Cruising with Kids in the Bahamas

Ali Taubner (age 12) was kind enough to write an article for our website.  Her family has cruised along the US east coast and throughout the Bahamas.  Read her well-written article for an insight into the life of another cruising kid.  Now and again, we try to share a perspective from the younger crewmembers we meet, so that those of you with your own children can get a glimpse into their experiences.

For another perspective you can read an earlier article written by Kurtis Meilink (age 13) aboard MiLady -- Caribbean Cruising  - A Kid's Adventure.

Dispatches From Satori

Our friends, Doug and Valerie (Voss) Crenshaw, departed from Washington, NC aboard their Pacific Seacraft 37 about a year before we began our own adventures.  So far, their journey has carried them to the Bahamas, through the Caribbean and across the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal.  We've collected the informative, and sometimes humorous, emails that we've received from them.  We thought you might enjoy hearing stories of their travels.

Things that Work (and things to throw overboard)
Last Update - July 2003

One of the most often asked questions by new cruisers, or soon-to-be cruisers, is the question of "What works out there?"  We've tried to identify those items or services that have really 'worked' for us and those that we wish we'd never seen.   We'll update this page as often as we come across items or services that fit into this category.

Previous Articles
07/13/03 -- Angry Anchoring (and tips to avoid it!)
07/04/03 -- We've Gone Satellite

04/29/03 -- Pet Emergency - SSB Radio Net Saves Pet

03/31/03 -- Pirates of the Bahamas?

01/30/03 -- Water, Water Everywhere (new watermaker installation)

12/11/02 -- A Cruiser's Holiday

12/03/02 -- Conquering Fears of Offshore Sailing

09/27/02 -- Janet's Favorite Galley Gadgets
09/17/02 -- 'Chickennecking' in the Chesapeake

09/01/02 -- Teak For Two

08/18/02 -- Preparing to Abandon Ship

05/30/02 -- How Much Does It Cost
05/05/02 -- Family Emergency Hits Home
04/19/03 -- Water Collection Aboard Charbonneau

04/15/02 -- Caribbean Cruising - A Kid's Adventure

03/25/02 -- Radio - The Cruiser's Telephone

03/13/02 -- Provisioning In The Bahamas
01/31/02 -- Something Funny Happened on Our Way to Miami
01/30/02 -- Still Speaking After 8000 Miles
12/23/01 -- New or Used Cruising Boat -- Our Decision

10/18/01 -- After the Strike - Lightening Repairs

09/14/01 -- Lightening Strike

09/13/01 -- Norfolk to Block Island
08/01/01 -- Charbonneau Takes On Crew
06/06/01 -- Annual Haul-Out
04/25/01 -- Dragging Along - The Importance of Ground Tackle
04/25/01 -- Power Management
04/24/01 -- An Unlikely Mechanic

04/22/01 -- Anonymous Heroes -- Our Close Call
04/11/01 -- Offshore Sailing at Night
02/28/01 -- 'Charbonneau' -- What's in the name?
01/20/01 -- Charbonneau's Communication Strategies
12/7/00 -- Just another day in paradise until someone screams SMOKE!!!
12/5/00 -- The 'Reel' Story
11/22/00 -- The Art of 'Dog-Naps' (offshore sailing)
08/19/00 -- Oh Sweetie, Do We Have Any .....??
08/2/00  -- Move Over.  That's My Storage Spot!


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