Map our trip…
Oct 11th, 2009 by Kate

A bunch of people have suggested that we post a map on our blog tracking where we’ve been.  We are trying, but in the mean time, for anyone who cares – and  for Troop 190 who I know is out there following us -  here’s where (and how) we’ve traveled so far…


Phoenix, AZ USA                                            by plane to

Dallas, TX USA                                               by plane to

Fort Lauderdale, FL USA                                by car to

Stuart, FL USA                                                by boat to

West End, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas       by car to

Freeport, Bahamas                                           by boat and plane to

Fort Lauderdale, FL USA                                by plane to

Phoenix, AZ USA                                            by plane to

Calgary, Alberta, Canada                                 by car to

Canmore, Alberta, Canada                               by car to

Bamff, Alberta, Canada                                    by car to                                              

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada                          by car to

Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada   by car to

Kamloops, BC, Canada                                   by car to

Jasper, Alberta, Canada                                   by car to

Calgary, Alberta, Canada                                 by plane to

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada   by boat to

Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada           by car to

Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada by car to

Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island, BC, Can        by car to

Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC Canada            by car to

Parksville, Vancouver Island, BC Canada         by car to

Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Canada            by boat to

Seattle, WA, USA                                            by plane to

Los Angeles, CA, USA                                    by plane to

Narita, Japan                                                    by train to

Nagoya, Japan                                                 by train to

Takayama, Japan                                              by train and bus to

Lake Kawaguchico, Japan                                by train to

Yokohama, Japan                                             by train to

Tokyo, Japan                                                   by train to

Hiroshima, Japan                                              by train and boat to

Miyajima, Island                                               by train to

Kyoto, Japan                                                    by train to

Osaka, Japan                                                   by boat to

Shanghai, China                                                by train to

Suzhou, China                                                  by train to

Beijing, China   …

 Tonight (October 11th), we leave for Xi’an, China on the overnight train, so you can add that too!

We’ll feed you to the killers!
Jul 31st, 2009 by Tessa

So me and the other assistant were all sitting on the motor boat when one of the kids screamed. We road over to the kids as quickly as possible. All of the kids on their little Opti sail boats were hysterical.(Optis are the smallest type of sail boats- they are about 3′ by 5′) 

“WE SAW A SHARK AND IT WAS LIKE 20 FEET LONG!!!” one of the kids shouted….

“You probably saw your shadow or something” (a lot of the kids constantly “see” something dark moving in the water- which usually turns out to be their own sail’s shadow….)

So the assistants and I all decided that we were hot and David let us off in a little area away from the sail boats so that we wouldn’t hit them. We were swimming around when suddenly we heard someone yell “SHARK” again. We were about to swim over to the sailboats when we realized that one of the kids hadn’t yelled it. A fin appeared above the water and started swimming closer to us. 

So what did we do? We swam as fast as we could! What else?! All 5 of us swam towards the nearest opti (which may I remind you is 3′ by 5′) and all 5 of us + the kids that had been sailing it were crouched in the opti trying to keep it floating. The fin came closer and closer and suddenly we saw the HUGE jaws of a dolphin as the dolphin jumped into the air with a big splash as it landed…



We got into the motor boat and followed the dolphins for about an hour afterwards…

Proud parent moment… Tessa wins Grand Bahama Sailing Club Award!
Jul 27th, 2009 by Kate

Tessa hiking

So you need to bear with me know for a second while I brag about my kid… Tessa has been taking part in a sailing camp at the Grand Bahama Sailing Club for the past few weeks, and at the end of camp it was announced that she won 3rd place overall in the advanced division of the sailing regetta!

But that’s not it – she also won the Sir Jack Heyward Award for the best all-around sailor/sportsman for the entire camp.  It is a really big deal here, and the Commendant came and awarded her with the trophy which is a beautiful carved wooden sailboat.  Today she got interviewed by the Freeport newspaper, and she was asked to return and be a Jr. councelor.  I have added a couple of pics of her sailing and one of her getting her award.

Homeschooling in the Bahamas…
Jul 23rd, 2009 by Kate

One of the most common questions we get when we tell anyone that we are traveling around the world with kids is “what are you doing about school?”  After lots of reseach and soulsearching, and taking into consideration where the girls are in school, what year they’ll be missing, their learning styles, our parenting styles, our travel schedule, and our collective self disipline, we’ve decided on taking with us formal math curriculum, and the rest of their lessons being “the school of the world”. 

In other words, we are making it up as we go along – learning about cool stuff that seems relevent at the time, wherever we are.  For example, our “homeschooling” in the Bahamas so far has consisted of:

  • Reading Discovering the Caribbean – The Bahamas, a 68-page children’s text book on the history, environment, economy, people, religion, festivals, islands, and general culture of the country.  (Tessa and Phoebe)
  • Reading Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Tessa)
  • Saxon Math – Lessons 1-5 (Phoebe)
  • Principles of sailing including sailing techniques and terms, knot tying, sail racing, parts of a boat, water safety and how to capsize annoying boys without getting wet (Tessa)
  • Ocean currents, and specifically the Gulf Stream (Tessa)
  • Nautical measurements (Tessa & Phoebe)
  • This history of Pirates, Privateers, and Wreckers in the Caribbean. (Phoebe)
  • Tropical ocean habitats- reefs, sandy beds, grassy beds, deep water (Tessa & Phoebe)
  • Native plant and animal identification (Tessa & Phoebe)
  • Cardinal directions (Phoebe)
  • Latitude & Longitude (Tessa)
  • Ocean tides (Tessa & Phoebe)

Other important things they’ve learned in the Bahamas:

  • How to tell if a conch is a “keeper”
  • How to get back into an ocean kayak with tipping all your sand dollars back into the ocean
  • Which tide is better for shelling – low or high
  • Which way the storms are heading based on the direction the rain falling in the distance
  • How to make a wasp-on-stick and impress all the boys
  • How to shuffle your feet on the sandy bottoms so you don’t step on stingrays
  • How to Skype with your friends back home so we don’t seem so far away!
wasp on a stick!
Jul 20th, 2009 by Tessa

I was staying back one day at camp with all of the assistant counselors and one of my friends, Tom, when our counselor, David decided to show us a cool trick.

David, the guy counselor, decided to show us how to put a bee or wasp on a stick. You see, when a bee or wasp gets cold, they go into a dormant stage where they fall asleep, and as soon as it becomes warm again, they wake up. So we got a 2 foot stick, a foot long string, and a wasp from outside. We stuck the wasp in the freezer and waited for it to fall asleep. In the mean time we tied the string to the end of the stick. As soon as it fell asleep, we took it out, and while it was still cold, we  tied the string around it. This made us a “wasp on a stick”. As soon as it woke up, it couldn’t sting us because the stick was long enough that it couldn’t reach us (since it is on a string). I wasn’t involved in this activity, I simply watched them.  (at least I am obliged to say that so I don’t have bad wasp Karma) Now that it had woke up, it flew around on the stick and we walked it around. Before we left, we let it go though, either by cutting the string and running or by freezing it again and untying it.

Giant squalls and big-ass sharks
Jul 19th, 2009 by Kate

We are all falling into bed after a great weekend in West End, Grand Bahama.  It is the furthest-most western tip of the country, and the first stop for many boaters crossing over the Gulf Stream from Florida.  It was my youngest sister Claudia’s 15th birthday, and Jeff flew in from AZ for a long weekend..  Ten of us slept between my dad’s boat and a very wonderfully air-conditioned hotel room (yes, I know, this Third World country-thing with no AC is breaking me in for the Asia part of our trip!).

So my last post, when I said it is “better in the Bahamas” well I failed to mention that it is sometimes “bigger” here too.  Last night, we sat on the  dock with a bunch of other boaters grilling fish and swatting mosquitos when a really big, I mean really big, squall kicked up over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and within minutes pounded the begebbers out of us!  Forty to fifty mile an hour winds with gust upwards of 65+, total horizontal rain, and lightening that literally made the entire ocean look like it was a sunny day.  The thunder cracked so loud you instictively looked around to see what was going to fall on your head.  So you’re thinking “big storm”  what’s the big deal… HA!  Our only place to retreat within a quarter mile were onto big floating boats with large poles sticking up high into the air – exactly the place our mother’s told us NOT to go in an electical storm (mom- was your eye twitching uncontrolably last night – its because we were ALL not heeding your warnings!)… 

So imagine about 15 of us huddled inside a boat cabin soaking wet in giant rocking waves, with lighting and thunder about, oh, every 3 seconds – and Phoebe screaming over and over again – IT’S A HURRICANE – and for those of you who know Phoebe, I need say nothing more.  After the storm passed, we all decided that even though we were a bit scared, it was sort of awesome too.

Oh but not as awesome as the 7 foot shark the kids saw (yes, length confirmed by non-overdramtic adult – read: not Kate) today while out snorkling!!!!  It was a nurse shark (they aren’t typically agressive) but sitll very cool and big (it was bigger than the dinghy they were in!).  They also saw a large sting ray, a lion fish (unfortunately not native to the Bahamas and reeking havoc on the local reef fish, but a very very beautiful fish), and an octopus that actually squirted ink!  They also hit the sea biscut lottery, so we’re going to try and bring some back to AZ and see how many make with without breaking into a zillion tiny bits.

Phoebe’s not home tonight to add to her critter count, so I’ll do it for her:

  • nurse shark
  • sting ray
  • octopus
  • conch
  • lion fish
  • sargent majors (those cute black & yellow fish)
  • snook (although there is some debate among the adults)
  • flounder
  • sea gulls
  • puffer fish
  • needle fish
  • trigger fish (dead & stinky but cool)
  • potcakes (stray mixed breed island dogs- Miranda you would won 500 dogs if you lived here)
  • giant hermit crabs
  • land crabs
It IS Better in the Bahamas!
Jul 13th, 2009 by Kate

Phoebe & Jack's Ocean Playground

The beaches and ocean here really are quite amazing… the one behind my sister’s house is by Bahamian-standards considered an “average” beach – nothing special – HA!!!!

The beach:  White sand finer than powder, tons of sea shells at low tide, no other people for a mile on each side, sea oat swaying, sea grapes sweetening the air, and in the afternoon, a beautiful breeze from the tradewinds…

The ocean:  When I get back to the real world, I’m going to make an entire box of crayola crayons that are just the shades of blue of the ocean in these islands.  There will be at least 50 crayons in that box.  You know when you are a kid you hear people say “the eskimos have 100 different names for snow”, well we are going to have to come up with new names to describe blue, because it would be a shame to let all these magnificant colors go unrecognized.

Behind my sister’s house, the ocean is literally a playground.  Within swimming distance are grassy beds with conch and starfish, small coral reefs teeming with Nemo and his peeps, sandy bottomed areas with sea cucumbers and other fabulously squishy creatures (hopefully Tess will post about her new best friend, the sea slug – no offense intended Chloe), and an area the girls have deemed “the sand dollar graveyard”.  At low tide, all of these areas are in less than 4 feet of water!  

We take the sea kayaks out about a 1/4 mile, stick our heads in to see if anything peaks our interest, set anchor, and plop on in (for those keeping track – the water is about 84F). 

Yes, indeed it IS better in the Bahamas…

Tessa with one of 100 starfish

Tessa with one of 100 starfish

Nacho Bahamas
Happy Bahamian Independence Day!
Jul 10th, 2009 by Kate

Bonus!  Two Independence Days in one week!  In honor of the island country that we love, please check out this most excellent rendition of the Bahamian National Anthem…


** You need to have a facebook page to view this (sorry, couldn’t figure out to import the video), but trust me, it is worth it…  if it doesn’t bring you right to the video, click on “Jack’s Debut”.

the most adorable thing you ever saw ^_^
Jul 8th, 2009 by Tessa
So cute???

Just a little fact- that curly tails tail isn’t very curly ^.


“Curly Tails”  So cute!!


THERE ARE THESE AWESOME LITTLE GECKO LIKE THINGS ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!!!!!!!  they have these little tails and they curl up in a circle like a… like a… – Spiral! and they are the cutest thing you ever saw ^_^ I love them but they keep running away from me (oh no…)

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