By now, most of you will be acquainted with the Edholm family, and have read about their adventure of a life time. If not you can catch up by reading Liv(e) a little where the family introduce themselves, in Liv(ely) preparations they share what they did to prepare their Arcona 400 before moving onboard, and in Liv(ing) the Dream – Four months on board you can get a quick recap of the first four months of the adventure.
It’s been six months and the crew has made it to the Caribbean. Even though we have had the privilege to follow their journey there through weekly log entries and social media updates, we thought it was time for a proper check-in and a half-time debrief.
Hello, S/Y Liv this is the mainland calling! Where are you in the world?
We are currently in St Anne, Martinique, which is a French overseas department in the Lesser Antilles, and one of the windward islands!
Time flies! You have been away for 6 months – how has it been?
We just love this life; the freedom, the exotic places, the clear blue water, but most of all we love all the wonderful families that we have got to know. We have become one big family, where we all help out and take care of each other – they are our safety net. There’s so much knowledge and willingness to solve all kinds of problems, and of course we are also having a lot of fun: in this big family, there is almost always a birthday to celebrate!
How is it to live onboard, what adjustments have you had to make?
You’d be surprised at how easy it is – we have everything we need and more, despite having one of the smaller boats.
Thanks to our solar panels we produce more energy than we consume, and we do consume a lot of energy! We use our kettle, have multiple lap tops and perhaps most significantly, we use the water maker A LOT: we consume over 100L of fresh water a day. There is a lot of swimming happening and you really don’t want to get the salt into the boat, so the cockpit shower is almost always in use.
Before we left we were a bit worried about fridge space, after all we are a family of five and we cook almost every single meal onboard, but as it turns out it hasn’t been an issue at all: at home we try to “think local” and eat what’s grown locally and what’s in season, we brought that mindset with us to the Caribbean and eat a lot of fresh produce – food that doesn’t have to be refrigerated. So, while we eat different things than home, it is no sacrifice – it’s just avocadoes, mangoes, and passionfruit rather than apples and pears. The only thing we do miss, and that was mainly during the crossing, is a freezer. The kids miss ice cream and ice cubes.
Speaking of the kids, how have they adjusted to the lifestyle?
They are definitely living their best life; and have really found their rhythm of having the boat be their classroom. The only real struggle is that the saloon is a little bit too sunny, so it is sometimes difficult to see the computer screen. All the other kids are also in school, and we all have the same rule, the VHF is turned off as long as school is in session. But the second they are finished with school, the radio is on at channel 69, and the day’s plan is being formed.
“I actually prefer doing school remotely, because you have a clear expectation of what you are meant to accomplish” says Axel. “Yeah, I don’t miss my school back home at all, I miss my friends and breaktime, but not school” says Alma.
What is the main difference to life at home, apart from the weather?
The main difference is that there are no musts, no stress – that we make all the decisions. We don’t have to make plans for days/weeks/months ahead, we just do what we want to do in the moment.
Also living so close to nature, there is no real contrast between indoors and outside. We don’t close the hatches at night and we follow the sun: we rise with the sun and go to bed as the sun sets – or almost anyway.
If someone reading this gets inspired to embark on a similar adventure, what would you say?
Go for it – you will not regret it! It is truly the experience of a lifetime.
Is an Arcona a good choice to go blue water cruising?
Absolutely – an Arcona is a good choice for any type of sailing! Unlike many of our friends here we didn’t buy Liv specifically for the trip, we bought her to have a boat to sail with at home in the Stockholm Archipelago. Surprisingly, she is a lot more fit for purpose than many other boats, with better technical solutions and a higher level of craftsmanship, and while it is important that a boat is comfortable to live on, you are going to sail a long way, so it is nice to have a boat that actually sails well.
What we do recommend is owning the boat for a season before you set off to learn the ins and outs of it – every yacht has their own personality, and it’s good to get to know them a bit in advance of an Atlantic crossing.
Can you give us your Caribbean highlights?
Atle: I love the Tobago Cays! Snorkelling in the clear blue water with all the turtles and rays. And I also really like the waterpark in St Anne, Martinique.
Alma: Most of all, I like being where all the other kids’ boats are; I love all my new friends and playing with them. If I had to pick a place it would be the Tobago Cays.
Axel: I just enjoy being in the water, swimming, playing and having fun, and we can do that everywhere here! So I can’t pick just one place, they are all too good!
Sanna: My favourite location so far has been the Tobago Cays and all the fun we had there; new years eve, birthday parties and Tobago Cays Cup. The environment is so beautiful, and the nature and wildlife are spectacular.
Jonas: My gem is Chatham Bay – a nice and calm anchorage with no swell, a nice beach, good snorkelling and hardly any other boats. And of course sundowners with the whole family on Happy Island, visiting the famous island made of conch shells has been on my bucket list for a long time.
Written by Hanna Ericksson