Two Blondes on a Build: In the beginning

Hello friends,

How are you doing today? I hope this finds you well, all things considered. Having spent three, two-week periods of self-quarantine locked down in Nova Scotia, Leamington Spa and at home on Salt Spring Island since September, I have had plenty of time to think and reflect.

I have realised that I haven’t told you much about what happened after our Handfasting and Hawks Day on 22nd April 2017 and since we went to sea up until now, so I thought I would fill you in over the coming weeks.

From Two Blondes on a Boat…

You may remember that on 1st August 2017 we set sail from Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island on the first leg of our round-the-world voyage in stages. Over the course of one year, we sailed over 8,000 nautical miles along the West Coast of Canada and the USA, the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. On reaching Panama we crossed the Panama Canal and traversed the Western Caribbean from Linton in Panama to Cancun in Mexico and onward to Florida. From there we bounced up the East Coast of the USA, taking in parts of the Intracoastal Waterway reaching Maine and finally crossing to Canada via Yarmouth to land in Dartmouth Yacht Club marina, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It was an amazing and exciting voyage and I wrote about some of the important life lessons I learned during the first six months at sea in this blog post 30 liveaboard lessons from my first 6 months at sea.

It was an amazing and exciting voyage! Highlights were:

  • Captain Brett at last fulfilling a life-long dream of beginning his round the world voyage on board Theros, which he had lovingly refurbished over the previous 9 years;
  • I too, realising a cherished dream to learn to sail, in good hands, under the Captain’s leadership and guidance;
  • being totally immersed in nature and encountering whales, dolphins, turtles, manatee, seals, sea lions, rays, a diverse array of fish and sea birds at close hand;
  • meeting some amazing and inspiring sailors, fellow travellers and local people in the countries we visited;
  • sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and across the bay;
  • catching up with good friends;
  • kayaking through caves on Santa Cruz Island;
  • sailing into Acapulco at night which glittered like a bowl of diamonds;
  • spending a month in Guatemala learning Spanish, staying with a local family in La Antigua and spending Christmas on the shores of Lake Atitlan;
  • spending New Year’s day swimming in the Pacific and walking the gorgeous sandy beaches in Nicaragua;
  • going through the Panama Canal;
  • crossing the Western Caribbean to Cancun;
  • visiting the pyramids in the Yucatan;
  • sailing along the intracoastal waterway of the USA;
  • sailing past the Statue of Liberty into New York and crossing over to Canada, landing in Halifax just in time to attend Brett’s son James’ wedding to his fiancé in Digby, Nova Scotia!

Lowlights of the voyage were:

  • My seasickness, compounded by labyrinthitis, which lasted for the first two months of the trip;
  • a malfunctioning, Raymarine multi-functioning display unit which cut out and needed repair five times;
  • encountering fierce Tehuanatepec winds in Mexico, the equally ferocious Papagayo winds off the coast of Costa Rica and sailing through an electrical storm, while approaching Balboa Marina in Panama;
  • bailing out for six days in towering waves hundreds of miles offshore while crossing the Western Caribbean (trying to avoid pirates off the coast of Honduras – yes there really are Pirates of the Caribbean savvy?!).

By the end of the leg, we could certainly attest to the old adage of “stranger things have happened at sea”.

The InReach track for our voyage and trans-Canada road trip

…To Two Blondes on a Build

Over the summer of 2018 we embarked on an epic road trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia and back, visiting family and friends along the way. While we were on the Island, this description of a five acre plot of land on the lower slopes of Mount Tuam enticed us to take a closer look.

Sunny, south-facing, 5-acre parcel, quiet, private, nicely treed and potentially overlooking a pastured farm across the dead end road. The land is sloping up from the road to a beautiful rocky knoll at the top, which is the likely building site and from where, one could possibly achieve farther views of the Mount Tuam ridges, the farmland and maybe even an ocean glimpse. The light on the knoll is unimpeded from all directions and there is more usable and flatter land behind the knoll. Mount Tuam Ecological Reserve and the start of a lovely, nature trail into it is just at the end of the short road. There are several ocean accesses within a short walk. Zoning allows for a variety of uses, main dwelling, 602 square foot seasonal cottage and 2,000 square foot of ancillary buildings and farm buildings.”

When we set foot on the property, we immediately fell under the magical spell woven by the forest, the incredible rock formations and the energy of the land. We did our sums and placed an offer based on what we could realistically afford and quite a bit lower than the asking price. We were amazed when our offer was accepted and we completed on the purchase within a month!

Salt Spring Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada

Here, we began to dream another dream, of building our future eco-home and permaculture garden, in between the stages of our ocean voyage around the world.

And so we embarked on our land-based adventure into eco homesteading. You are welcome to follow our adventure, as I tell you more about what we have done since we signed on the dotted line in this blog and also through video blogs on my Youtube channel. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget to subscribe below. Thank you.

Peace, love and light,

Sarah xxx

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