Who are the Murpheys and why in the world are you living on a boat?!
We are a family of five from The Woodlands, TX, and you can learn all about us and the story behind the adventure from this blog post.
What type of boat do you have?
Colette is a Lagoon 630 motor yacht or catamaran. And, you can learn more about her and the great story behind her name by visiting this blog post!
What is your route?
Our route is tentative, but this is where we have been and where we are going…
- Bordeaux, France
- Royan, France
- Vigo, Spain
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Las Palmas Gran Canaria
- Atlantic Crossing (16.5 days!)
- St. Lucia
- Caribbean island hopping for a few months! (St. Vincent, Martinique, Guadalupe) I really want to make it to Turks and Caicos, BVI and Bahamas. Brett wants to head to the Panama Canal and cross The Pacific to Bora Bora. I’m not sure about that yet! So much depends on the weather and the recommendations of Captain Dal and boating friends we’ve made along the way. We are excited to see where this adventure leads.
How are the kids continuing their education while onboard?
Brett Jr. is doing Switched on Schoolhouse, which is an offline program that is self-guided and convenient. For Ellie, we have workbooks and various other curricula that she uses to focus her studies. Ellie prefers to study out of a book instead of a computer. Corbin, well, we do whatever works best because he is not a fan of “school.”
Primarily, we are using our travels to find a creative way to learn. Each day, the kids are enjoying these real-life experiences that teach them about…
- Different societies and cultures
- Foreign languages
- Economic and monetary systems of other counties (euros, dollars, eastern Carribean dollar, exchange rate)
- Ocean and marine life (Ellie is doing a study on whales now!)
- Tides and currents (We learned this firsthand -the tide can make it tricky on how you enter and exit onto the boat!)
- Water and electricity conservation
- Different religions
- So much more!
AND, the kids love learning outside the classroom. They have so much fun; in fact, they have no idea how much they are actually learning.
The kids are having a fantastic time, and they impress me so much with how quickly they adjust and adapt. They are positive and excited and love the adventure. They are meeting kids from all over the world and making memories that will last a lifetime. Thankfully, we rarely hear them complain. When they do complain, its typically Corbin missing his friends and trampoline. Ellie complains a lot when she’s seasick, but I understand how she feels so I embrace it!
When we are docked, we like to stretch our legs and walk to nearby restaurants or bakeries. Every chance we get, we try to sample and enjoy regional dishes and flavors, eat where the locals do and immerse ourselves in the culture.
When we are underway on a passage, we “provision” at a local supermarket before we disembark. We stock up on loaves of bread, meats, cheeses, yogurt, frozen veggies, fresh fruit, spices, and meals are prepared on the boat.
When we cross the Atlantic Ocean, we will provision for 20 days of meals for seven crew! That’s going to be a big provision haul!
How did you choose Captain Dal?
Brett worked with a representative from the dealer who we used to buy our boat. Bruno with Navigare was located in Croatia. He sifted through numerous applicants after posting specifics about our adventure. When hiring a captain, we were looking for someone who really wanted to do what we were going to do. We did not want somebody who just wanted a job, but wanted someone who eagerly desired to cross the Atlantic, make multiple ports and seek adventure. For weeks Brett made phone calls and had Skype video calls interviewing different captains from all over the world. It was very similar to any interview process he’s been through over the years except that he did not know exactly what he was looking for. So, he reverted back to the basics. Find someone who is humble and ambitious. When he spoke with Dal he seemed to fit the bill. He had Atlantic crossing experience, which was a prerequisite to satisfy our insurance requirements. He also had experience on boats similar to ours, he seemed extremely flexible, easy going and he seemed like he had great moral character. We decided that we should do a family Skype video call. We spent an hour and a half on the call and it went great. After a couple of days of deliberation and ruling out another captain, we decided to hire Dal. He happily accepted and about 10 days later he met us in Bordeaux. He has proven to be capable, humble and ambitious. He is excited about taking part in our adventure and is very considerate. He’s great with the kids and has a sweet disposition.
Do you get seasick?
Before the trip, we believed it might happen, so we prepared and had some medicine and sea bands ready just in case. Now that we’ve traveled 1000s of nautical miles, I can say with a with all certainty, “YES, I get very seasick!!” And sadly, the sea bands and meds only work for so long! If you want to see the gruesome effects of seasickness in real life, check out some of our earlier videos on Instagram @cruisingcolette.
What are night watches?
When we are cruising, which is also called “underway,” someone has to be up at all times (24/7) to be “on watch. ” This is necessary to ensure that the boat is safe and the course clear.
While on night watch, we…
- Monitor the radar for weather alerts and changing condition
- Keep a lookout for boats that not registered on AIS (a tracking system) that may be in our path
- Listen and observe for mechanical or electrical issues while we are on “auto-pilot.” Night watches occurs, as you guessed, at night!
How long will you be traveling?
Our goal is one year, but we grow fonder of the lifestyle more and more each day, so we may extend the voyage.
What do you miss from home?
In no particular order and not an all-inclusive list…
- Family and Friends, the kids talk about their cousins daily
- Our dog Scout
- Simple conveniences
- Ellie misses the routine and structure of school
- Mexican food and Chick-Fil-A!
So far, what do you enjoy most about cruising?
Being out on the open ocean is surreal, incredibly peaceful, and beautiful. The grandeur of it all also helps me feel closer to God. Seasickness aside, it really is magical and grandiose.
Living together on the boat, while it has its challenges, has already created some incredible family memories and bonding time. I can say that we feel closer as a family and function better as a unit.We love exploring new countries and islands. We are loving the adventure!
We love to answer questions and inspire people along the way to experience life to the fullest and you only live once! Let me know if you have any questions!