Ohana Sailing Adventure

Dolphins, Salty Carbs, and Gilligan’s Island

That is probably the best description of our 3-day voyage from the British Virgin Islands to the Turks and Caicos…

Our first pod of dolphins during the trip – baby and all!

After 76 hours, 500 nautical miles, and the narrowest channel to get to a marina that we’ve yet experienced, we are safely in the Turks and Caicos. This marks our first extended offshore passage with just the four of us, with Ted and me sharing watch duties, leaving the girls to read a lot, play a lot, and watch a LOT of TV. Ted’s partners gave us the complete series of Gilligan’s Island before we left, and the girls re-defined ‘binge watching’ during the passage – I have no idea how many episodes they watched while Ted and I sat at the helm or slept, but I know it was a lot based on how many times I heard the theme song playing…

Sunset our first night at sea

We were fortunate to make the passage with a ‘buddy boat’ – a similar-sized sailing catamaran with a couple on board whom we initially met in St. Martin and who were leaving the US Virgin Islands at the same time. It was really comforting to know that within a few nautical miles, there was another boat to contact if needed, and also just to touch base a couple of times a day. It made the vast expanse around us seem just a little bit smaller.

Katie and Grace enjoying our ‘picada’ at sunset.

We prepped our main meals ahead of time, and we kept the pattern we followed in our trip from Brazil, with our main meal in early afternoon, and an Argentinian-style ‘picada’ (cheese, crackers, olives, etc) in the evening. We also recalled how none of us was very hungry while on passage, but instead just wanted small snacks, and we provisioned with a whole lot of pretzels, crackers, and chips – easy, salty carbs. The girls love that part of passage-making, since they don’t often get those kinds of things otherwise!


Hands down the best part of the passage was the dolphins. We had three different pods of dolphins come to play during our time offshore – surprisingly, the first we’ve seen since the coast of Brazil.

My favorite of those was the one for which I have no pictures. It was sunrise, so the light off of our bow wasn’t great for photos, but I will always remember the magical combination of watching the dolphins play in the first light of day and watching the girls’ faces glow with delight.


We were lucky that our buddy boat caught some images of the passage through the reef and into the marina, since I was too awestruck to grab my camera. We knew we were in for an experience when we saw breaking waves on either side of the cut through the coral reef, but even that didn’t prepare us for the zigzag pathway through the coral heads and the entrance to the marina. Thankfully, the marina sends out a guide boat to help you get in safely!

Ohana passing through the zigzag entrance – 9 feet deep and incredibly shallow on either side. Thanks to our buddy boat for this picture!
Image off the port hull of our friends’ boat – yes, the channel was really this narrow! Thanks to them again for this image.

We’ll be here for at least a few days, and then weather will determine when we move on to the Bahamas. We’ll get some much needed rest before we attempt going back through that channel, and we’ll play on the beautiful beaches that we saw coming in.

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