Erin Carey from Australia bought a yacht in Grenada in 2017 and now lives upon it full-time with her husband and three children
When Erin Carey and her husband Dave sat down to watch the documentary about Laura Dekker, the youngest woman to sail around the world, little did they know that it would become the start of a life-changing adventure. Within less than two years, they had bought a yacht sight-unseen in Grenada, rented out their home in Australia, and with their three young sons, started living their life on water.
“We’d never dreamt of doing anything like this. We’d never owned a boat, we weren’t sailors,” said Erin. “Something in the documentary spoke to us. I think it was just the freedom and peacefulness of being out at sea and the endless sunsets and sunrises.”
While the decision to go might have been spur-of-the-minute, they spent every waking hour preparing for the trip. They bought a trailer sailer boat that they used to practise with at weekends, hired the sailing coach Sailing Totem and once their skills had improved, joined a racing yacht crew every week. They also paid to join a crew that was sailing from Queensland to Sydney, which confused the captain slightly as he would usually be paying the crew. “We also took courses like sea survival, first aid and boat maintenance,” said Erin.
Then in November 2017, they took a two-year sabbatical from their jobs, rented out their home in Melbourne and flew to Grenada to start their Caribbean adventure and collect their 47-foot yacht Roam. Sailing friends and a surveyor had checked out the yacht, but the first time that the family saw it was when they arrived in the Caribbean.
“When we first saw the yacht, it was in the dry dock on stands, so we all screamed ‘it’s huge!” said Erin. “Then when we climbed up the ladder into the saloon, we all said, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s tiny.”
The family spent 18 months discovering the islands of the Caribbean from Grenada to St Martin. “Each island had its own personality,” said Erin. Two that stand out for Erin were the islands of Grenada and Saba. They fell for the lush island of Grenada with its inquisitive Mona monkeys and soca-music playing buses that bounce along the mountain roads, and were awestruck when they reached the rugged coastline of Saba to see the steep hillside tower above them. “As we pulled up to the port, I remember looking up to see birds circling above us and they were not even a quarter of the way up the mountain,” said Erin.
Away from land, they were still treated to sights they will never forget. “On our first night passage when I was on watch I heard the sound of spurting water. So I panicked and I grabbed the flash light to then see two dolphins bounding along beside us,” said Erin. “I wanted to wake everyone up to see the dolphins playing in the wake, but I got to keep this special moment to myself.”
Then there were the countless pink sunsets that marked the end of each day.