necessary changes ~ Full Monty is for sale

The time has come for us to say goodbye to Full Monty. After 9 years with her, it is time to let her continue on her journey in the hands of someone new. Life has thrown new challenges at us, and it will be quite a few years before we can return to cruising. Therefore, at this point in time, it makes the most sense to sell, rather than to let her sit and wither away. She is a boat that’s meant for the ocean and to be enjoyed at anchor. She has carried us many miles, and hopefully one day, I’ll be able to fill in the missing years of our travels. This blog also serves as a memory for ourselves, so I’m still vowing to continue our story!

Please check out Full Monty at The Multihull Company website . . . . and spread the word!!

Andrew, our broker, knows Privileges & has captained a variety of cats over many ocean miles.

Andrew knows Privileges and has captained a variety of cats over many ocean miles




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tribute to nikolai

October 23, 2017

I like to write fiction for fun in my free time. In one recent story that I’ve been working on, however, I’ve had my doubts about how realistic the main character is. This is because the primary motivation of the character is the words and actions of a person she only knew for one day. I found myself wondering if it is really possible to be so significantly affected–to have your whole world changed–by someone that was in your life for such a short amount of time. Days, months, and even years can go by so fast, and sometimes one day looks no different from the next. Can small, or perhaps a better word would be subtle, events really impact us that much? I know now that the answer to that question is yes, but I hate the way I learned it.

Nikolai, who was a fellow cruising kid in the 2013 French Polynesia kid group, died two months ago. We didn’t know each other for that long and he was closer to Colin than to me, but we were still friends. He was a cruising kid, and cruising kids have the ability to bond in the deepest and most meaningful ways in the shortest amounts of time. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t known each other that well or for that long; we can still come together and have fun as well as any good friends can. The cruising community is family, and the bonds that are forged in it aren’t easily broken. I always say that cruising has changed my life, but what I don’t say enough is that the people that I have met along the way make up a large source of that change. Nikolai was one of those people.

When I learned that he had died, it had been days after it had happened. I went down to my room and in the next two hours wrote down everything I had been thinking at that moment. What I wrote is perhaps selfish–as much for me as it is for him, but it is honest, which I believe is especially important. So, Nikolai, this is for you: Personal Journal Entry #31 (located in Justine’s Log).

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updated pages

August 21, 2017

The title of this post is a lie. Well, partially. I did add more content to Justine’s Page, Justine’s Creativity Corner, Boat Life by Justine, and For Students, but these new entries are many of my English (and some American History) essays for ninth and tenth grade. While none of them talk about any recent events, they do provide a lot of information about me, boat life, and a number of our adventures. So check them out if you haven’t already. More coming soon in the form of my eleventh grade essays (I’m a senior!) and a very emotional post about a recent tragedy. Stay tuned.

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a new page

June 30, 2017

Your heart skips a beat. The shock grips you physically. You gasp. “This isn’t possible! There’s a new post!”

Did I get that right? Was that your reaction? Even if it wasn’t, the fact that you’ve read to this point means that I at least got your attention, which is something that hasn’t happened in a while.

Oh, right. When you haven’t seen someone in a while, it is proper to say hello. Hello, Justine here! As I sit here in Panama, I decided that I should actually take advantage of my status as an admin on this site and do something with it. ‘Cause let’s face it, my mom’s not going to make a new post anytime soon (hint hint). Alright, to be honest, I shouldn’t be the one to talk. If you could see the drafts and the ideas for drafts that I have stored on my computer without completing or publishing, then you would see that I’m even worse. So, rather than write something new, I’m going to be trying something different: post stuff that I have already completed. What I mean is that, over the years, I have done a lot of writing for fun and for school, and much of it contains stories of our travels, my opinions on certain issues, and demonstrations of the way I think as a cruising kid. I have put many hours of hard work into these stories and essays, but no one is going to read them except myself and my English teacher. Until now. As we’ve been here in Shelter Bay, I’ve been going through old essays and journal entries in search of stuff worthy enough to go on the blog, and I have already begun to post some of it.

As some of you may have discovered by now, there is a new page under Justine’s Page called Justine’s Log. It contains almost all of the entries I have made in my passage log and personal journal since I was nearly nine years old. Due to the “dedication” that I have demonstrated so far, that’s only thirty entries, but it should provide you with some insight on events that were never touched on in this blog. The passage log contains entries made while I was in North Carolina, the Caribbean, the Pacific Crossing, and the Hawaii to Alaska crossing, and the personal journal contains entries made while I was in Hawaii, Alaska, and California. And, yes, I do mean personal journal, as in it contains stuff embarrassing to me. However, I figured anything embarrassing to me would be hilarious, thought-provoking, adorable, or heart-breaking to you, so I didn’t filter much out.

Now that I am done with the new log page, I will attempt to find essays to post (once again oldest to newest), so keep checking my page every so often for something new. Once I finish with this, I may attempt to actually write something new for once. Yeah, I know, I’ve said that before. I’ll just let you read my thoughts for now. I look forward to “seeing” you around.

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last days of french polynesia

September – October 2014

Upon Wil’s return to Tahiti, our days following were a whirlwind of activity. The day he returned, we spent one last night in “Carrefour Bay” near Marina Taina, where we shared drinks out with s/v Liward and s/v Macha. This would be the last time to see our dear friends, Steve and Lili (s/v Liward), for a long time to come.

Early the following morning, we sailed for Port Phaeton to do some last minute provisioning, as well as collect rainwater from the 100% chance of daily rain there. In a 24-hour period, we completely filled our 200-gallon capacity, plus all jerry cans!

s/v Macha was also in Port Phaeton wrapping up their season and preparing for their flights back to California. The boat would remain in Tahiti until their return. The Macha crew had rented a car, so we were able to have a lift to the fuel station to fill our diesel cans. Hawaii was a lot of miles ahead of us, and we needed enough fuel in the event there were too many no-wind days when crossing the ITCZ (the Intertropical Convergence Zone) near the equator.

From Port Phaeton, we sailed for the Tuamotus. In order to sail comfortably for Hawaii, it’s best to make some easting with respect to the NE trade winds that begin near latitude 10 degrees North. It is most ideal to sail to Hawaii from the Marquesas. However, we had already cleared out of French Polynesia, and we did not want to press our luck by overstaying our welcome.


birds flying past at Fakarava

We made a brief stop in the anchorage at the south end of Fakarava, where we waited on a desired wind. While waiting, we snorkeled the famous Passe Tumakohua where hundreds of sharks can be seen at once. However, because it was late in the season, we only saw a small handful of sharks. It was still a heart-pumping experience though!



goofing off with his new Tahitian ukulele

goofing around with his new Tahitian ukulele

From Fakarava we sailed to Kauehi. We tucked up in the southeast anchorage to sit out some stronger winds. It was wonderful to revisit this atoll that we love so much. Every where we turned, we reminisced about specific events or experiences that had happened the previous year with our big group of kid boats. There were crumbling walls of an abandoned building that still contained year-old chalk drawings from several of the kids. It was fun to see where the kids had had their wild camping night out on the island. While it had been great fun with the big group, we were also enjoying the fact that now we were the only cruising boat in the lagoon. Other than fishermen passing by, or an occasional local family that would come down to play at the beach, we felt completely isolated. It was peaceful and a perfect time to reflect on the recent loss of Wil’s brother-in-law.


dark skies beyond the crystal blue lagoon



darkening skies can create such beauty
















a developing "café" at the SE anchorage of Kauehi

a developing “café” at the SE anchorage of Kauehi











what we believe to be a “café” developed to cater to the seasonal cruisers ~ this was not present the year before.












a “café” umbrella made from an old upside-down satellite dish



a toilet with a view








the remains of a building containing chalk drawings from the previous year

the remains of a building containing chalk drawings from the previous year


The longer we sat in Kauehi, the more boat issues began to creep up. We were still at least a 3-4 week sail to Hawaii, and our very well-stocked freezer decided to call it quits. At first, we could turn the freezer off for some time, and then turn it back on. When we did this, it would run for about 24 hours before it would stop cooling. After a couple of rounds of the on/off thing, and analyzing line pressures, it was realized that there was probably a blockage within the refrigerant line. Wil was able to vacuum out the old refrigerant, pump in new refrigerant, and the freezer was as good as new. However, throughout the whole process, we didn’t want all of our meats (including a Thanksgiving turkey!!) to go to waste, so we were forced to eat meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a family who normally only eats meat a few times a week, this was tough to stomach.

The next thing to go was the generator. An electronic sensor for voltage regulation stopped working. This was a very serious issue because the generator powers our water maker. We usually try not to run our water tanks low in the event that we can’t refill. However, this time one tank was empty, and the other tank was very nearly empty. If we became desperate, we could go the 10 miles to the village and carry jerry cans for water. Fortunately, Wil was able to by-pass the faulty sensor. The generator worked again, and the water tanks could be refilled.

Next, the Pactor which is used for receiving weather and email through the HF radio began to die. We were getting ready to start the 3-4 week passage to Hawaii, and it was crucial that we be able to receive weather information throughout the trip. While it would have been possible to find a weather station on the HF radio, or get verbal reports from my dad via a ham frequency, I totally prefer to do our weather routing by studying the grib files for our immediate area. This allows us to tweak our course daily with respect to forecasted wind direction and strength. Over time, I discovered that if I allowed the Pactor to warm up prior to use, it would work long enough for me to pull in email and gribs. Some mornings, I literally covered it with a blanket. Talk about nursing the equipment! With the help of a friend over the HF radio, we were able to determine that the Pactor would need to be sent in for repair once we arrived in Hawaii. Fortunately, the repair would cost significantly less than buying a new one.


S end of Kauehi ~ looking east



S end of Kauehi ~ looking west










road to the village 10 miles away


what look like gorgeous sand beaches are really made up of sun-bleached coral








exploring the atoll’s ocean side ~ Surprised at how much trash we found that had washed up from other parts of the world. Wishing we’d taken more photos of the unsightly stuff.













brightly colored parrot fish swimming over the coral




coral reef keeping the ocean at bay










fishing eating our food scraps ~ water depth is 15 feet with a coral head below



hard to believe this photo was taken from deck ~ such clear water











looking below to the anchor, but also seeing to the top of the mast

















excellent at free climbing the mast

excellent at free climbing the mast



our spotter for coral heads in the lagoon

our spotter for coral heads in the lagoon





















In an attempt to replenish some of what had been consumed when our freezer had its trouble, we decided to do a quick day trip to the village of Tearavero. Unfortunately, the only provisions we purchased were two cans of corned beef. As sad as we were to have not found more, the corned beef would be a brief, additional sustenance in the event that food stores ran low on the way to Hawaii.

On the brighter side, we got to pass by Motu Toe Toe where we had sought refuge from a storm the previous year. We also got to stroll around the village taking in the sights.

pearl farm Motu ToeToe

pearl farm at Motu Toe Toe ~ where we took refuge from a storm the previous year










A side note regarding Motu Toe Toe: Some time later, after we had departed French Polynesia and had been in Hawaii, we were contacted about using some of our Kauehi photos to help promote the new up and coming Blue Pearl Island. Blue Pearl Island is an eco-friendly lodge located on Motu Toe Toe where one can go for a variety of experiences, including a work exchange program for free lodging. There is hope that this project will be a source of income for the people of Kauehi, as well as remain in the atoll’s best interest. You can see some of our Kauehi photos in the Gallery on Blue Pearl Farm’s website!


strolling past a school in the village of Tearavero, Kauehi

strolling past a school in the village of Tearavero, Kauehi















Since we would be at sea for Halloween, and we had no way of obtaining a pumpkin, the kids got creative with some coconuts. The Halloween coconuts were left for the local family that would eventually come down for a day at the beach.


creativity in a tropical paradise











Halloween coconuts waiting to surprise us


Justine busy with their Halloween creations















Colin’s creations



Arrrrrrr! & Meow!










Justine’s creations











this basil plant would have to perish prior to entry into Hawaii




a trash burn was necessary before departure




Before the start of the 3-4 week passage to Hawaii, there was one last little bit of fun to be had and energy that needed to be burned.






catching some air










plenty of fuel was burned, as well



some happy kids








Eventually, we finally had a decent weather window for sailing north. This was a passage that would lead us to the next phase in our lives. French Polynesia had become a true love in our hearts, and we would miss her dearly. We considered ourselves lucky to have been able to re-visit these beautiful islands for a second time. There was a strong hope in all of us that we would one day return to French Polynesia again.


anchored in southeastern Kauehi ~ one of our favorite spots













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Categories: boat improvement & maintenance, cruising kids, electronics, mechanical, nature & wildlife, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

a self portrait

February 13, 2016

Justine has decided it is time to let her voice be heard. She has painted a picture of herself with words. Check out Justine’s most recent blog post by clicking here.

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moorea ~ sting rays, sharks, and a gecko

September 8 – 11, 2014


Next stop . . . swimming with sting rays and sharks again for our third time!

So that we could have a shorter dinghy ride to “sting ray city”, we anchored as far west of Passe Tareu (mouth of Baie d’Opunohu) as possible. s/v Macha has a much shallower draft, so they were able to enter at Passe Taotoi and pick up a mooring.

For the next couple of days, we dinghied back and forth with Macha, enjoying the water activities. While the boys boogie boarded Passe Taotoi, Justine and I snorkeled near the pass. The water was too cloudy and a moray eel caused us to exit the water sooner than expected, so we dinghied out to look for whales instead. One morning, the guys on Macha served us a wonderful pancake breakfast!


butterfly fish amidst sting rays


eager sting rays immediately swarm








sting rays seem to enjoy being touched . . . especially when food is available!














we can stand safely among them


a dog’s trick ~ flipped food from nose to mouth









sting rays feel so velvety soft













even when the food is gone



just like petting a dog!










string ray tail & a child’s feet ~ the two happily swimming together













eventually shark presence grows


. . . and the sharks get closer








hmmmm . . . can you hear the Jaws music?












the more sharks, the more aggression


shark behavior lesson ~ when pectoral fins are down, the shark is exhibiting aggression, and it’s time to leave the water











bug-eating stowaway discovered ~ named Sam














All fun things must come to a brief interlude. Soon it was time for us to part ways with s/v Macha. They were going to return to Ha’apiti for some more surfing, and we had a few things to wrap up before returning to Tahiti to pick up Wil. Playing in Moorea during Wil’s absence had been another nice distraction from the pain we had all been feeling.

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moorea ~ captain mom & the wind

September 5 – 8, 2014



our Rocna well buried on the sand bank

After a week in the anchorage near Marina Taina, provisioning and spending our final days with s/v Liward, the kids and I finally hoisted the anchor and sailed to Moorea. A strong northeast wind was forecast for the area, so we chose to return to village Ha’apiti on Moorea’s southwest shore. It was a quiet anchorage and there was plenty of good snorkeling. With surfing in mind, as well as keeping the 12-year old boys happy, s/v Macha joined us for the fun.


twist ties indicating the amount of chain out


beautiful snorkeling near Ha’apiti, Moorea



Since Wil was gone, Colin had become my new anchoring teammate. With myself at the helm and Colin at the bow, it didn’t take us long to perfect our team anchoring skills. Once the anchor was down, Colin would swim on the anchor. One time, we re-anchored because our chain was too close to a teeny tiny coral home for a teeny tiny lionfish.

We managed plenty of great snorkeling before the strong wind arrived.














checking out the sea anemone


thrilled to have finally found Nemo!








gorgeous clown fish & sea anemone














underwater acrobatics



showing a sea biscuit










an underwater world reflected




beautiful sea slug ~ for Amy


sea cucumber ~ photo for my friend, Amy, who loves invertebrates

sea cucumber ~ photo for my invertebrate-loving friend, Amy





























During the wee hours of the morning, the northeast wind began to build. By about 5 a.m. it maintained itself at a good 30-40 knots. It wasn’t long before our chain was outstretched and we were sitting stern to a handful of coral heads. I immediately put myself at the helm with the engines on and in low gear. As the wind blew, I monitored the situation, and brainstormed through my options.

The coral and sand bank in the Ha’apiti anchorage doesn’t leave much room for dropping the hook. Boats must carefully place their anchor near the edge of the sandy drop-off, and allow for swinging room without hitting any coral heads. We were in our usual spot with the best space available for our boat, but with a 40 knot wind funneling across the mountain and an outstretched chain, there wasn’t an ounce of extra room.

As a “single-hander” with kids, and with a very small anchoring space available, I didn’t want to attempt to re-anchor in the strong wind. I didn’t want to shorten the anchor scope because then I’d sacrifice our holding power. Therefore, I sat near the helm and stern of the boat for several hours, watching the coral heads with each gust of wind.

Finally, there was a small lull in the wind. During the lull, s/v Macha added a stern anchor to prevent themselves from swinging onto the coral. It would take too much time for me to rig our stern anchor, so I made a quick decision. With Colin’s help, we pulled the anchor up and dropped it off the edge of the sand bank. This allowed us to drag the anchor into the bank wall where it immediately held. With the knowledge that the wind would remain northeast for the rest of the day, I knew we wouldn’t move. I could finally take my eyes off our stern and relax a bit.

Twelve hours after the start of the 30-40 knot blow, the wind finally dropped below 30 knots. My entire body was exhausted from the constant tension, and my ears were relieved to not hear the wind howling through the rigging anymore. I was very thankful the wind had blown during the daylight hours (which it never does!), and I would have no trouble sleeping that night.

Normally, Wil and I would be together through a strong blow, and we could rely on each other for support. If he had been there, we could have taken watch turns, worked together to get a stern anchor out during the lull, or even re-anchored in the 40 knots. This was my first experience as a single parent acting as a solo captain (with a bit of help from the kids), and while it was a challenge, I was also reminded of my own capabilities.

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huahine to tahiti ~ bad news received

August 28 – September 5, 2014


underway from Huahine

















The morning had started out as a beautiful morning. We finally had a good wind for our departure from Huahine. Our s/v Liward friends were also taking advantage of the wind for their return to Tahiti. We were a little unsure about our next destination, but we were headed east for the time being. Hawaii was our eventual destination, and we needed to make some easting in order to have the best angle for the trip north.

We were sailing along side Liward. We would see humpback whales breach. Steve and Lili never saw the whales, and referred to us as the “whale whisperers”. The day was just right.

Everything changed the moment I went to the SSB to check on email.

There were two emails both titled with the name of Wil’s brother-in-law. One was from Wil’s sister, and one was from Wil’s mom. The last time we had received an email titled with a person’s name, it was about an old friend from home who had died. Surely, this wasn’t the case.

I read and re-read the emails. I couldn’t stop from shaking. My mind was in disbelief. Wil was in the cockpit. How was I going to tell him that his brother-in-law had just died? Wil walked in seconds later and saw the look on my face. I couldn’t say a word. I only indicated for him to read the emails. The tears flowed uncontrollably.

We cried and cried. The kids cried too. It was too difficult to focus on sailing. I radioed Liward to explain the reason for our inattentive sailing. They were there for us.

Suddenly, we had a fish on the line. Now we had to focus. We all jumped to attention and fell into our “fish on” duties. Before we knew it, we had our biggest mahi-mahi onboard. We never measured it, but it’s length more than surpassed the width of our transom steps. It was huge! And a nice distraction from our recent news.

The distraction continued. We had barely brought the mahi onboard when suddenly we had another fish on. The next fish was even bigger than the first, and it was a wahoo. Wil barely had room for both himself and the fish on the transom. The wahoo was not going down without a fight. Even out of the water, it wriggled so hard that it kept smacking Wil on the legs. Wil called for our rarely used bat. He did his best to hit the wahoo over the head, but the fish was too tough. With every hit, blood splattered everywhere, and all over Wil. He kept hitting the wahoo, and with every smack, kept yelling “All hail the bat!” We all couldn’t help but laugh. We needed this distraction.

Once both fish were processed and put away, we returned to feeling sad and numb.

What were we going to do? We were on passage, and we had cleared out of French Polynesia. There was only one thing to do. We emailed our agent with Tahiti Crew and explained our situation. Would they let us clear back into French Polynesia, so Wil could fly out to his sister in California? Our agent was going to do what she could. We aimed for Tahiti.

We sailed overnight. In the morning, we didn’t yet have clearance approval from our agent, so we stopped in Moorea, anchoring just outside Baie d’Opunohu. The anchor was barely on the bottom when we got word that we could proceed to Tahiti.

We dropped the hook near Marina Taina and quickly went ashore to meet with the agent. She was quick and effective through the entire process. She drove us to the immigration office at the airport in Papeete and assisted us through all of the paperwork. She even found and purchased plane tickets for Wil, putting him on a flight for that night.

Wil would be gone for two weeks. We had hoped that he could stay with his sister for 3-4 weeks, but the French Polynesian authorities only allowed us 15 days on an emergency visa. We had no choice, and we would take what they gave us.

However, there was a complication on our part. The moment Wil stepped on the plane, he was considered cleared out of French Polynesia . . . again. He would not be using his 15 days while he was in the US. The rest of us would remain in French Polynesia, using up our 15 days. The day Wil was scheduled to return to Tahiti was also the day the kids and I would be required to clear out. Our agent tried to get permission for us to be allowed to stay with our “captain”, but we were denied. I would have to have the boat ready for passage the moment Wil returned.

The remainder of our day was spent going over things I would need to attend to in Wil’s absence, as well as getting him packed for the trip. After having come off an overnight passage, we were mentally and physically exhausted, but there was no time to stop. That evening, Steve (s/v Liward) picked Wil up by dinghy and then drove him to the airport in their rental car.

Wil was gone, and suddenly the kids and I had the boat to ourselves in Tahiti. While I was sad that I couldn’t go with him, and sad for the loss of his brother-in-law, I didn’t feel like we were alone. Liward was in the anchorage for about a week until they hauled out, and Macha would arrive the next day.

Macha had family visiting for about 6 weeks, which to Colin’s good fortune, included 12-year old Griffin. They had played together in Huahine, and now would get to be together again in Tahiti.

Regardless of Wil’s absence, I knew that I didn’t want to stay in the “Carrefour Bay” anchorage near Marina Taina for the entire time Wil was gone. I would go crazy in the crowded anchorage and preferred to be a bit more secluded. Moorea was the island of choice until his return.

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while waiting on wind

August 21 – 28, 2014

While we waited on a favorable wind to take us to our next destination, there was no shortage of fun.









no fear


posing for the camera




at her own pace


. . . and with grace




our own Puddle Jump 2013 reunion ~ Full Monty, Liward, Macha, and Yum Yum, either remaining in or having returned to French Polynesia










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