Hello! Welcome to my blog. I’m Martina and my boat is Carina of Devon. I live aboard Carina with my husband and our two daughters. This blog is about our adventures aboard our boat, our observations of life, my (and sometimes Julian’s) thoughts about culture, nature, home schooling, parenting and life in general.

In 2011, Julian and I decided to quit our jobs, sell our house in Cambridgeshire and buy a boat to live on. We found the boat later that year and moved aboard in spring 2012. In the past three years we’ve cruised in England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Let me tell you a little about the cast of characters who appear in this blog:

Martina That’s me. I’m 42 years old and from Ireland but since 1995 I’ve lived in Japan, the Canadian Arctic, Scotland and England. I’m a social anthropologist and human geographer, with an interest in Inuit knowledge of the sea and the relationships between humans and marine mammals. I’m now a freelance writer. You’ll find a link to my publications on the menu bar. I like to write about environmental issues, sustainability, parenting and home education. I had almost no sailing experience before moving aboard Carina so I’ve been on a steep and fascinating learning curve. I like reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and learning new things about the world around me.

Julian is my 40 year old English husband. He’s a geophysicist and glaciologist and has conducted deep field research in Greenland and Antarctica. He grew up in Warwickshire and sailed dinghies on the River Avon from the age of 5. He has been responsible for most of the repairs to Carina to make her seaworthy and habitable. He is passionate about foraging for wild food, long hikes in the hills, history, studying Spanish, baking bread and beating me at Scrabble.

Lily is our six year old ship’s naturalist. She loves reading, observing wildlife, swimming like a dolphin, Frozen and The Sound of Music. When she grows up she wants to be a writer, a dancer and a fisherwoman. Her favourite authors are Jacqueline Wilson and C.S. Lewis.

Katie is four and three quarters. She loves singing, laughing, building Lego and huggles (a hybrid hug and cuddle). Her favourite movie is Brave and she fancies herself a bit of an archer. She loves foraging and eating wild food picked from hedgerows as she wanders along. Her favourite toy is called Monster Rabbit.

Carina is 36 years old, 11 metres long and 3 metres wide. She is a Westerly Conway ketch, built in 1979. She has had two previous owners. She started life as Carina of Hamble and was owned for twenty years by two doctors. Her second owner renamed her Carina of York and he lived aboard for eleven years, sailing her from the UK to Turkey, and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. When she returned to the UK from the Caribbean in summer 2011, he put her up for sale, and we snapped her up almost immediately. She is our amazing home.

I hope my blog puts a smile on your face.



39 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi, very interested to read your blog. My girlfriend and I spent 4 months living aboard and crewing Carina in the Caribbean a few years ago, and it’s great (and a bit surreal) to see the boat we spent so much time on being well used and looked after by enthusiastic new owners! What’s your next adventure? Feel free to drop us a line by email!

  2. Hi Douglas,
    What a small cyberworld we live in!! Great to hear from you. We’d love to hear about some of Carina’s earlier adventures. Her ship’s log makes for some interesting reading!

    • Alas, we don’t do any sailing in Hudson Bay. We live in the south of England, and plan to sail south to the sun. One day I’ll sail to Arviat, instead of flying in. Good luck with your move to northern Quebec. I once spent a couple of months up in Quaqtaq, on the northern tip…what a beautiful part of the world.

    • And now I’ve found your blog too!! It’s all so familiar – the career and family pathways, the worries of family members, etc. I bet your daughter has the time of her life!! And to add a completely random fact…the Gilbert and Sullivan Society at the university where I teach is staging a production of Iolanthe this week!!
      Happy sailing,

  3. We have so many similarities. 4 years ago we sold everything, bought a boat to live on, took our two boys out of school and set off for the sun. We have been doing it ever since. (Our blog may help with some places on the way down to where the butter melts)
    We know all of you will have mixed emotions at leaving family and friends behind and going to explore the unknown. Don’t worry, you will soon be with your new family of liveaboard sailors and will find you have joined an amazing lifestyle.. fair winds..

      • Well the beer is here in Sicily and the sun if you want it. Just go south until the butter melts and turn left.. who needs a chart plotter

  4. Nice to have come across your blog Martina. My daughters have flown the nest so I am working on my own ‘retirement home’ , a 30 year old Hans Christian 38, here on the lovely little mid Med island of Gozo. If you do end up passing through the central Med, let me know. Peter

  5. Hi Y’all,
    I have nominated you for the Liebster Award via my blog: helialetitbe.wordpress.com
    I tried to search your blog to see if you have already been nominated, but I didn’t see it. I find that hard to believe as I really enjoy your blog.
    Please take a look at my most recent post and you will see the questions I have posed for you.
    Here is the link: https://helialetitbe.wordpress.com/
    Keep up the excellent blogs! Wishing you all the best,
    Mary Grace
    Mary Grace Stich
    s/v Let It Be

  6. Hi Martina, I heard you on TodayFM this morning and was fascinated by your story. You’ve awakened my dream of escaping it all one day. I’m looking forward to reading your blog. I hope you enjoy your holiday at home.
    Best wishes, Karen

    • Hi Karen, Good to hear from you. This is my week of media madness. I’m on the Today Show on RTE with Daithi and Maura on Thursday afternoon! I’m certainly enjoying being home, but not sure about this weather! Martina

  7. Hy there. Just saw you and the girls on The Today Show on RTE1, and I think you are great to take the “plunge” and go on an adventure of a lifetime doing what you love. I look forward to following you as you sail.x

    • Hi Cath. Thanks for getting in touch. What a surreal week of media coverage. But it was a lot of fun. Back down to earth now and getting my head around where we’re going to sail to next. Time to do some online research and make a decision about which direction we’ll set sail. All the best, Martina

  8. Hi I enjoyed seeing you on the Today Show on RTE this week, and your two lovely daughters. It’s a really inspiring story and a great adventure, also a very brave decision. I look forward to reading your blog now that I have found you. A wonderful lifestyle choice…Best wishes.

    • Thanks Marian. Brave or foolish…maybe there’s a thin line between those two! We’ll carry on doing it for as long as all four of us are enjoying it and finding it fulfilling…or until something else catches our attention. The sailing blog posts will be coming soon…once we set sail at the end of this month. All the best, Martina

  9. Hi Martina, I’ve just discovered your blog. Where are you at the moment? Our boat is in Cornwall at the moment and we spend most of our time sailing around there and Devon. We have kiddies the same age too.

    • Hi Gina, Great to hear from you. Our boat is currently on the Rio Guadiana between Spain and Portugal and we’re in Leamington Spa!! But hopefully we will be reunited with Carina in the not too distant future when our hiatus in the UK comes to an end. How lovely to sail in Devon and Cornwall. We love sailing around there and only yesterday one of my daughters asked when could we go to Cornwall again! Happy sailing, Martina.

  10. Hi Martina, I am thrilled to have found your blog. I was getting frustrated this evening by not finding “anything worth reading” online. Yet, thanks to your well-written article on the BBC News website about the Inuit and polar bears, your engaging, interesting blog is now bookmarked on my PC! We have 3 children (1 grown and 2 at home), and although I’m not a homeschooler, many of my friends are, and I’m a big advocate for that way of life. Your children are among the most fortunate to have such an education of the world. I look forward to reading more about your many adventures!

  11. Greetings! A note to let you know that I too am enjoying your writings from here in Oregon, USA. Your adventures spark my excitement and imagination, as well as my prized recollections. My sailing has been limited to the lovely San Juan Islands of Washington and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, as well as dinghies and kayaks on our regional lakes and rivers. However, it was my young summer of commercial salmon fishing aboard a 40 year old wood double ended troller that most captured my spirit. When I conducted climate change research along Kane Basin on Ellesmere Island and Greenland, I broke all the rules by taking our little skiff out among the floes and bergs and marine mammals. You’ll forgive me then for first thinking that your “Devon” referred to the arctic island, given your research on Hudson Bay. Now that I am mostly bedridden at age sixty, your lives help keep my own fulfilled. I thank you kindly for living *your* adventures! Best wishes, Michael Jones, PhD

  12. Hi Martina! Love your writing, and hearing about your family living a simply life afloat. If I had kids, it would be the only way to bring them up, at sea and out in nature., living a simply green life. Happy sailing!

  13. Fabulous to find you ! My husband and I plan on doing the same thing in a few years when baby older (only 6 weeks old today!) Looking forward to follow your adventure !

    • Hi Brid. A six week old baby and you find time to read blogs? Impressive!!! Still, it is the most lovely time of year to have a baby. Lily was born on March 27th and those early morning feeds seemed easier accompanied by the dawn chorus! Best of luck with your plans. My advice? Make a plan, set a date, and work towards it. Baby will tag along no matter what age! All the best,

  14. Enjoyed our conversation today at the Riverside Restaurant and the blog too. It would be a delight to meet you all sometime (again) maybe on the Danube which is one of the 3 rivers (Inn and Ilz) which meet at our hometown of Passau. Let us know if you’re ever around. You’re welcome to spend some time.

  15. Pingback: Born again minimalist | Me in place

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