A small effort to help a Cruising Family who has lost everything in the BVI

A young cruising family with a sailboat and a small family run charter business in the BVI; lost everything but themselves.

This is my small effort to get this word out on top of all the other suffering in the Caribbean, Mexico, Houston and Florida. I feel a strong need to get the information out about the massive destruction in Barbuda, BVI and other portions of the Caribbean, as US news is telling the story of Houston and Florida well, but there’s others involved in the Irma destruction.

This cruising family has a great blog at Windtraveler.net that tell the story of their cruising with their tiny children on a small cruising boat, something I look forward to and would like to emulate someday.  Somehow, they were able to find the time to start a small charter business in the British Virgin Islands, called Aristocat Charters and were eking out a living in paradise through hard work and family support.

That life is gone for them.  They were in the US when the hurricane hit, but it didn’t spare their boat (Legato) or their charter boats.  Their boats were in a hurricane hole I talked about in another post: https://livefree2sailfast.com/2017/09/08/caribbean-in-mind-conflicting-news-from-bvi/

Their story is below.  I URGE you to read it and consider re-posting it so we can help gain awareness for the folks in the Caribbean who have been hard hit.  Tourism helps with jobs in the Caribbean, so the people must put life back together.  Awareness helps, but so do donations that go to the right places and not into administrators hands.  I feel this donation site and one other one I’ll post are two of the best for the Caribbean.

Hurricane Irma: Reflections on a Life Forever Altered by her Wrath

Posted: 13 Sep 2017 06:05 AM PDT

We were supposed to fly back to Tortola yesterday. Our bags sit in my closet half-way packed with belongings and goodies we were bringing back to our beloved boat. This past weekend was supposed to be full of tearful goodbyes with friends and family. We should be on our boat right now, maybe getting ready for Isla’s first day of kindergarten. She was so excited about her new shoes and uniform. Or maybe we’d be at the beach bar at this moment, hanging out with our friends and telling stories from our respective summers, enveloping in hugs, clinking drinks and lamenting how we’d forgotten it could be so damn hot. The post-summer reunions are always so nice…

This next season held so much promise; best business year yet, travel plans, family visits, rendezvous with new friends…there was so much we were looking forward to.

Irma took all that away from us.

It is hard to put into words how I am feeling. I don’t even really think I know how I am feeling because the magnitude of the situation is, quite frankly, hard to grasp. It’s surreal and, like so many of our friends, I feel numb. We are not unique in our position right now, not by a long shot. I’m often at a loss for words when people ask me about it. There’s a constant little ache in my heart that I carry with me all day long and each time my brain reminds me that this is really happening, I get that a tiny sensation of free-falling in my belly. Life as we knew it is over, and we need to begin again. And while there is a glimmer of excitement in a clean slate and having the ability to “chose your own adventure” (this is how I am framing it for the girls), there is also a tremendous amount of pain and grief because – as most of you know – we really, really loved our life. Our boat, our community, our island…We didn’t want it to change. There is no where else we’d rather be. But we don’t always get what we want, and sometimes something unexpected happens that shakes your world to the core.

On September 6th, Hurricane Irma ripped across our little island showing no mercy. We were hit square on and – at one point as we abroad watched in horror – all of Tortola was visible in her eye. We held our breath. But we knew…we had seen the footage coming out of St. Maarten just hours earlier The devastation…we knew it was going to be beyond what any of us could possibly fathom…And she was. Her wrath was catastrophic. Biblical. Unimaginable. The scope of her destruction was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. I keep throwing around the unofficial statistic 90%. “90% of the houses are destroyed.” “90% of the boats are destroyed.” “90% of our island is destroyed.” Ninety percent. Again, it’s not an official number – but I can tell you it’s close. It doesn’t take a genius to scan the images and videos come to that ball park number. There is hardly a single palm frond left. She raked our island clean of all foliage. It looks like a nuclear bomb was dropped and friends on the ground are describing the scene as “post-apocalyptic”.

She took our boat, she lies now at the muddy bottom of our marina. She took our business, stripping our boats from their hurricane hole and hurling them into a twisted pile of hundreds of others. She took the homes and businesses of many others and nearly all of our friends. She took beaches and trees and animals and landmarks. And she took lives. We are grateful and lucky to have been spared. Lucky to be alive…we know this, and we are grateful. But that doesn’t mean we still cannot feel the pain of losing so much. It doesn’t mean we don’t grieve for the life that we knew and our uncertain future. We will be okay, we know that. And, yes, we still have each other. But we grieve. A death has still occurred. And, to be quite honest, I think I haven’t even truly begin to process it. This is not the loss of a loved one – far greater to be sure – but it is a loss, and one that so many cannot even begin to fathom. But we are lucky, we had insurance and, hopefully, we will one day be able to recover our great losses.

In the wake of Irma, however, some magic has occurred. As it happens so often in times of crisis the layers of the onion peel away and people begin to see what is really important. Before Irma hit (and we became aware of her velocity and what it might mean for us) my friend went aboard s/v Legato to gather things off our boat, “What do you want?” She asked. I couldn’t think of a single thing that I *needed* to get off because of real value. After Irma hit the only thing  I was concerned about was the safety of our friends. And now, instead of slipping into a depressed funk about what our future holds (I completely reserve the right to do this at a later date, fyi), I – along with most of my friends – am channelling my pain into efforts to help the BVI recover as quickly as it can.

People are pulling up their sleeves and coming together. On the ground, on the front lines and abroad, people are working tirelessly to help in any way they can. From fundraising to donating, from evacuating to offering services, from going to the front lines to getting word out to the media, everyone is doing their part and efforts large and small are being made by everyday people. More and more stories are coming out of people talking about how – despite the horror of their experience – it’s been one of the most humbling and positive experiences they’ve ever been a part of. How grateful they are for their lives. How grateful they are for their friends. How, really, it’s the simplest things that matter the most. How everyone came together to help one another. It’s a lesson in humanity. Almost every message from those who have survived the greatest storm of the century is: Gratitude. For life, for neighbors, for each other. “It was the most horrific experience of our lives…but we are stronger for it”.

The yin and yang of life. Just as our beautiful British Virgin Islands showed nature at her most perfect, Irma reminded us that she can be very, very ugly as well. She giveth and she taketh away.

Scott and I have started a relief fund to help rebuild our beloved British Virgin Islands. He is in Puerto Rico right now working with the amazing group >>>Sailors Helping<<< (set up by the amazing powerhouse of a duo behind Sail Me Om) – along with so many others – (Massive shout out to Puerto Rico and it’s people for stepping up to the plate SO BIG for ALL the Virgin Islands and our friends from Three Sheets Sailing for their amazing work!) in an effort to find ways to get our islands back up and running as quickly as possible. And there are so many more I have not mentioned…The road is long, but we are not alone.

If you’d like to help the beautiful Islands that we called home, if you ever vacationed in the BVI and fell in love with it like we did – donate. No amount is too small. Please feel free to share if you are unable to contribute!


If all 106 if you re-blog this, email it, discuss with your friends how to help anywhere; Houston, Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean,,,,,it will go a long way. 

LiveFree2SailFast.com just donated to the Immediate Relief Fund mentioned above, will you donate too?

LiveFree2SailFast.com: Sailors, family, adventure travelers-


Small Blog trying to have an impact, can you help too?

LiveFree2SailFast just donated to the BVI Immediate Relief Fund, will you help?

Here’s the link:  BVI Immediate Relief Fund

BVI Immediate Relief Fund – Hurricane Irma

For: BVI Immediate Relief
Tortola, Virgin Islands, British
Organizer: Scott and Brittany Meyers
BVI Immediate Relief Fund - Hurricane Irma (BVI Immediate Relief)


Key West (and Houston, Caribbean and Mexico) in our Thoughts

Key West,,,,and Houston, the Caribbean and Mexico were all in our thoughts as we drank a round this weekend in their memory.  We’ve been to all of them,,,and miss them greatly.  Hope Jimmy Buffett got out ok!

Thinking of Key West

One of the best ways to help folks get back on their feet is to allow the economic machine to function again,,,,so check out this site for BVI Tourism and consider your future travel options,,,,,BVI, USVI, Houston, Key West,,,,you get my drift.  Sun, Sand and the ability to lend a helping hand or restart the economy by simply being there.

Ode to the Original Rubio’s

As much time as I’ve spent traveling and living in Baja California, I like Mexican food a lot.  The food you eat in different places is a reflection of the culture and people around you.  We learned early on to avoid places the tourists eat,,,,,cause those places often have sub-standard refrigeration and the food often sits for longer than needed, with few health regulations.   But smaller busier food stands with just a cooler for refrigeration have lots faster food turnover and the food is cooked in front of you.  This style of food is often safer, cause you get to see it cooked and the vendors often know you’ll come back, they want you to fill up and not get sick.  Even as a kid, I never got sick anywhere in Central America because of food,,,,until we ate at tourist resorts.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill is a San Diego creation of a local surfer who loved the food he ate on surfing trips to Baja, so he brought it back to San Diego.  The idea has since spread into multiple restaurants; but the original in Pacific Beach, San Diego California is still there.  Yesterday I was able to grab some food there and appreciate the original site for how it looked 30 years ago and how it looks today,,,,,pretty much the same.  Here’s some pics for you to appreciate and perhaps savor, especially if you miss your Rubio’s!

Original Rubio’s sign and pickup window

Restaurant looking toward outdoor patio seating area,,,that’s all there is to the whole thing except for kitchen.

Next time you’re in Pacific Beach, San Diego California, make sure to come check to the  original Rubio’s Coastal Grill, grab a perfect fish taco and slow down enough to appreciate the food culture of Baja captured in some of the dishes that Rubio’s serves.

If you ever have questions on production boats, boat upgrades, projects, family adventure travel or other,,,,let me know, I’m here as a resource.


LF2SF- From Sea to Shining Sea (Alaska to Arizona)

Friends of the family and LiveFree2SailFast came through town about three months ago and visited, taking some stickers and shirts with them as they continued their travels.  They’ve made it up the Alaskan-Canadian Highway (the Alcan) to visit family of their own up there.  Here’s a quick note we got from them:

You will have seen that we have now arrived in Anchorage & are enjoying time with the family.  About a week ago, as we crossed the Yukon-Alaska border, we noticed that folks had stuck stickers on the back of the border sign.  So, having a stack of 29 Palms YC  stickers that XXX gave us, we posted one amongst the many other stickers.  I’m attaching a couple of photos that maybe you could pass on. – so he knows it’s out there, miles from southern California, for others to see.  And please say hello to him & wife.  We have 3 weeks here in Anchorage before heading back to NZ, arriving early in September.

So,,,how cool is this,,,that this cool couple from New Zealand took a couple of stickers and are now proceeding to throw them up in the 50th state.  Cool, here’s what it looks like:

You’ll also remember my post about how some pirate mysteriously decided to decorate a certain buoy on the Colorado River with the same sticker, as seen below:

Some pirate put our sticker on that buoy!!!

I’m also told on good authority that a LF2SF sticker may also be stuck somewhere in the Breakwater Brewing Company and the possibly somewhere in Little Miss Brewing in Miramar.

Thanks for following us, keep following us and if you’re NOT following,,,,,,perhaps you might want to?

Like a Giant Bowl — Exploratorius Reblog

If you’ve been through the eastern sierra’s via a road trip you may have passed Mono Lake, but probably not from this perspective.  One of my favorite trips is up the eastern sierra’s as far as Bodie (best ghost town EVER).  Check out this story-

Mono Lake — as it exists today — is in the distance. But at one time it was so big and deep that the shore would have been close to where this photo was taken, rather than the 8.5 miles away that it is today. Hundreds of feet deeper, too. So what happened? It’s a […]

via Like a Giant Bowl — Exploratorius

Little Miss Brewing- A beer story!

Awesome Beer and Great Ambiance- Little Miss Brewing Company, Miramar.

Yep,,,,so it’s Saturday afternoon and we’re in the industrial back area of Miramar, Ca in San Diego,,,,checking out a company that makes mattresses for boats- San Diego Boat Mattress Company.   We’d met these guys at the San Diego Boat Show and they had offered us a chance to drop lots of money for new mattresses for the boat.  It’s very, very tempting,,,,but we went for the tour and had a good time.  We liked this place.  They know folks with kids are going to come in, so they have a room with a DVD player and TV and toys for the kids so the adults can shop.  It was a nice tour and then we left, intent on heading out for food then back to the boat.  But,,,,our crew is easily distracted, so we followed the cool signs for Little Miss Brewing Company.  By easily distracted,,,,I mean,,,,,a chick riding a bomb on a sign advertising a brewery,,,,,easily catches my attention.  Yes,,,,I’m easily distracted.  So we followed the signs around behind several buildings in this industrial area till we found the brewery,,,,and LOVED it.  Little Miss Brewing Company has all sorts of decor that brings to mind WWII propaganda and great beer too.  We had a sampler of our own choosing,,,,,delivered in a bomb housing with very nicely portioned tasting glasses that allowed for both of us to taste each beer without having to conserve it.  Again, we were both impressed because the tasting room had a specific area with big plush couches and lots of games for kids, videos and more decorations that kept me distracted.  After tasting four different samplings, the tiny hunger machines (kids) were on the verge of nuclear fucking meltdown,,,,so we had to promise to return and take off.  On the way out,,,,they took one of our stickers and you may be able to find it on the wall of stickers inside the brewery,,,,if you look really hard.

We’re working toward our goals……are you?

Stay with us,,,we love your questions, comments and concerns and want you to follow us for more adventures-