Dane (“Cap”) and Makaela are a Canadian couple who decided to uproot their lives for awhile and sail the seas on their 41’ sailboat ‘Sea Otter.’ They love to explore the world by way of the sea, to learn something new every day, to savour the small things, and have fun throughout! Here’s a week-in-the-life of Mak & The Cap in the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas!
(Nora’s Note: Aah…memories; I sailed the Caribbean for 3 months a few years ago).
This post was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
DAY 1 – THURSDAY
6:07 AM – Hit snooze. Nice start to a week in the life!
6:17 AM – Crawl over Mak, brush the pearlies, put on my swim shorts. We have guests still zonked in the saloon, so as quietly as I can I get my french press prepped and put the water on. Next I slide the companion way open (which always squeaks a little), and enter the glory of an early morning at sea!
6:30 AM – I watch what’s left of this Black Point sunrise in Great Guana Cay, Bahamas, until the kettle goes off. Fill the bodom, let it steep, and then for a part of my day I always look so forward to – a dive into that aqua blue off the stern. Hands down one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had is starting the day with a refreshing ocean dip. I wade for a couple minutes, then towel off and pour a cup of joe.
7:00 AM – Crack my journal and spend a few minutes in gratitude of life, friends, the sea or whatever it is that gets me that morning.
7:20 AM – I pull out my morning read – usually a more philosophical, internal book. This week it’s Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. I’m having a hard time getting into this one, hoping I can get more into it soon.
7:45 AM – The crew starts to stir. So the books hit the shelf and we spend the next while making brekkie, drinking more coffee, enjoying each others’ company, swimming, and planning the day (“To land or not to land?” That is the question.).
9:30 AM – It’s the last full day having our friends aboard so I opt out of working today. There’s six of us altogether… a packed boat! It’s forecast to be sunny and hot so we get ready to hit the beach at low tide and play in and among the little sand bars.
10:30 AM – All six of us cram in ‘Tire Head’ (our dinghy) and we’re slowly puttering off to the beach for a few hours of paddle-whackle, make-shift golf, football, Heinekens, and iced rum & gingers.
2:30 PM – Back to the boat to swim, relax, read, play dominos, whatever tickles your fancy.
5:30 PM – Everyone’s cleaned up, back in the skiff, and off to the island for dinner. We tie up and head to our favorite dinner spot, DeShamon’s Restaurant. Amazing food, amazing people. We crack a few beers, play some dice on the patio, eat a tremendous dinner.
8:00 PM – Pop over for a night cap at the local watering hole then back to Sea Otter for, yes you guessed it, another night cap or two. Don’t judge, it was our guests’ last night! Hehe.
DAY 2 – FRIDAY
6:17 AM – Up for the morning ritual: coffee, swim, journal, read. And this morning I’m already feeling a bit behind not having worked the previous day so I hotspot my phone and nerd out for a bit while everyone cracks eyelids.
9:00 AM – Sadly, we drop off our crew to cab to the airport. They were amazing guests and the best of friends, so it is a bummer to see them leave. Just Mak & The Cap time!
11:00 AM – We hit up Lorraine’s Cafe to snag the fast wifi, work for a while, then have some lunch next door at the school’s fundraiser luncheon – hotdogs with the kids!
4:00 PM – Back to Sea Otter for some long overdue cleaning. One of the many great things with living on a 41’ sailboat is that there’s only so much that can get dirty! We finish most of the work that day, have some dinner, pull out the cribbage board and start a best of seven playoffs for a sushi dinner. She whoops my ass (but no skunk!).
DAY 3 – SATURDAY
10:00 AM – We decide to sleep in, then lay around in bed for as long as we want. Mak whips up some coffee, we read, chat, do a few puzzles. First morning alone in over a month so we embrace it. Oh and then she makes me my favorite – pancakes! #spoiled.
11:00 AM – Hop in Tire Head and we’re off to Lorraine’s again for some work. Work there, have some lunch, work some more.
3:30 PM – Hit the grocery store (the ship didn’t come in so the store is completely barren of produce), then off to the boat with more water and whatever else we can scrounge up for dinner.
4:00 PM – Swim for a bit, scrape the hull a little, and enjoy the afternoon with a book in the hammock.
6:00 PM – Our nightly ritual begins. Dinner, vino, crib and the sunset. Life’s pretty good on the hook.
DAY 4 – SUNDAY
6:17 AM – Up and at ‘em! Morning ritual, work for a few hours.
10:00 AM – We’re on a mad search for a Bahamian visa extension. First stop is immigration at the airport, which we’ve been told might be able to give us an extension. No luck. We hit the phones and discover that we have two options: Georgetown or Staniel Cay.
12:00 PM – We cross-examine the charts, tide tables and weather countless times trying to decide if we can make it to Georgetown in time. Weather is looking good so we’re thinking South to Georgetown. Mix that with some work for the remainder of the afternoon.
6:00 PM – Tonight is spent looking more at where we’re going to sail to next, and then we slip into a movie and crash early.
DAY 5 – MONDAY
6:17 AM – Morning ritual, bit of work. Love it.
9:00 AM – We hit the island for some groceries since the boat came in last night. Do some laundry and hit Lorraine’s Cafe for a bit of work.
11:00 AM -We weigh anchor and we’re heading South to Little Farmers Cay, which has a nice cut over to the Exuma Sound side (deeper, bigger water) and will be our launch point to Georgetown. It also has that iconic underwater mermaid and piano we want to dive on!
12:00 PM – We’re about an hour out and I notice the alternator error light on. At this point, we’ve got a busted engine blower, a torn mizzen sail (most stern sail), our generator is out of commission, and now the alternator warning light is on. Mak and I start to think the universe is telling us it’s time to head in the other direction – toward home – a little earlier for hurricane season than planned. We listen, tack over, and we’re off to Staniel Cay.
12:45 PM – We’re about to turn in to the entrance to Staniel and WHAM! The main sheet block (which holds the line that holds the main boom in place) blows out! The boom is hanging way out off the port side of the boat and we quickly look at each other with a “Holy Sh*t!” We swing into action, pull the boom back in, strap her down around a winch, come up into the wind, drop the genoa (the foresail which was also out) and then drop the main. PHEW! That was exciting! And maybe some assurance that we’re now headed in the right direction.
1:45 PM – We motor into Staniel Cay, and drop anchor in the shallow bit right in front of the Yacht Club. We’ve been here a few times before, and just love it. They’ve got the swimming pigs, James Bond’s Thunderball Grotto, your quintessential island bar, and someone who can extend our visa! Gorgeous spot.
3:00 PM – We scoot over to land an inquire about the the visa. Bad information, we can’t get the extension here either. Bummer.
4:00 PM – Mak negotiates ourselves into some fresh Grouper and we head back to Sea Otter for the night.
6:00 PM – Pour a little wine, Mak makes an incredible dinner, we play some crib, watch the sunset, and bask in the beauty of the Bahamas!
DAY 6 – TUESDAY
6:17 AM – Morning ritual.
8:00 AM – We decide to spend one last day working, since we won’t have internet connection most of the time as we sail back to Florida. Hotspot at the boat a bit, then head into land for a bit. Life’s good when you’re here (with her), so what’s the rush:
4:00 PM – I chase a Remora around the keel as I scrape the boat.
6:00 PM – The rest of the night consists of – you guessed it – wine, crib, reading and the sunset. It’s a real pink one tonight, and we take in every moment of it.
DAY 7 – WEDNESDAY
6:17 AM – Morning ritual and sail prep. Always a bit of a rush on the longer sailing days since there’s a lot to get ready.
7:45 AM – We weigh anchor and head North towards Shroud Cay – which we haven’t been to yet and are jacked because there are mangroves which, at high tide, you can dinghy through all the way to the other side of the island and a secluded beach.
It’s a beautiful sail as we catch a broad reach under full main and genoa in 15-20 knots of wind. These days are full of constant sail trimming, chart plotting (I’m OCD with this), plenty of reading, and often times we even work out while we go. Today we covered it all.
3:30 PM – We float in to a nice anchorage at Shroud Cay, with only two other boats around. One of which is a young family who are surprised to see us and came over to say hi. Mak and I are a bit of an anomaly in the sailing world because you don’t often see people our age cruising, and it is the same for us seeing them! We are probably more intrigued because they have two young boys and that is something we plan on doing with our kids one day. So sweet!
6:00 PM – Pull out the guitar for a bit, make Mak’s ears bleed, have some dinner, go for a dip, and relax all night in the cockpit under the stars.
Dane & Mak just closed up Sea Otter for hurricane season and headed home to Winnipeg to spend the summer. They’re looking forward to seeing all their friends and family. They are back out to Florida in October, where they’ll set sail on a nine-month adventure through the Caribbean and end up in Trinidad for a lime or two with Mak’s family. They’ll be blogging the trip over at MakAndTheCap.com come the fall.
Big news on campus for this couple: they are the creators of a new app called “Journo: The World’s Most Sophisticated Journal App”, which is jam packed with goodies for fellow travellers. Check it out!
Photo Credits: Anders Homenick and Dawson Friesen