Mike and Belle share a moment at the helm.

Mike and Belle share a moment at the helm.

Captain Mike, a Michigan native, began sailing when his friend Jim Bradley invited him on a vacation in the British Virgin Islands (BVIs). Jim promised that it would be Mike’s best vacation ever. That was 23 years ago. Since then Mike completed Steve Colgate’s Sailing Course, where he first encountered the idea of living aboard a sailboat, and acquired his captain’s license through the American Sailing Association.


Cheryl enjoys CANUSA Day in St. George’s, Grenada.

Cheryl, a Missouri native, took her first course in sailing at Southwest Missouri State University and sailed Flying Juniors across Lake Springfield. Later she completed a sailing course with Womanship in the BVIs. She has blogged frequently about the family’s adventures since they left Bradenton, Florida, in January 2011, aboard S/V Happy Times.

Mikayla steps out in the Rio Dulce.

Mikayla is the family’s only true Southerner, born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised there until she finished seventh grade. She has continued her education through homeschooling and online courses. She claims that she loves traveling and doesn’t like homeschooling. (She’ll get low marks for that.) She has gained much experience at the helm of Happy Times. She also took a course through the youth sailing program in Marco Island, Florida.

Belle Toujours, our 13-year-old Vizsla, moved aboard with us in August 2010. She quickly adapted to life on the boat. The last year, 2012, however, was tough on her. She overcame Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that she probably picked up in Colombia. The frequent lightning storms over the Rio Dulce became too much when we left Happy Times in the care of friends in July. We moved Belle to Lakeland, Florida, in October 2012 where she happily shares the sofa with her best friend Pepper.

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