I don’t always think it’s easy being far away from home and especially not during Christmas. I've always celebrated Christmas with my parents except for last year, where we 6 days earlier arrived in Martinique after 31 very long days at the Atlantic Ocean. Then we had our Christmas dinner in a very un-cosy corner of a restaurant in town, and I think we managed to get on the wrong side of each other before the night was over.

Henrik hasn't the same sentimental feelings about Christmas as I have, but at least we agreed on having a better Christmas than last year. In the beginning of December, we went through different scenarios: Should we fly home to Denmark and celebrate Christmas with family?

Should we take a trip to New York City? Should we find a place where there’s snow? In the end we decided to stay on the boat and save the money, and when we arrived to a Christmas decorated St. Augustine, we decided it was a great place to both wait for spare parts and celebrate Christmas!

The 22nd of December, we had arranged with a yard outside St. Augustine to get the saltwater pump for the engine fixed. It wasn't supposed to take more than one hour, but these things rarely go as planned. It turned out that the repair set didn't come with a seal, so we had to order that as well, and decided to stay in the yard until the following day.

Two days later, on Christmas Eve, we still hadn't moved and had no chance of moving either. Both the staff and we were about to fall apart. We wanted to go back to our mooring and the city, where we wanted to attend Christmas Service, and they wanted to start on their Christmas holiday. Just before they closed, the haulier finally arrived with the seal, but when the mechanic quickly wanted to change it, the seal for the heat exchanger broke instead, and water started pouring out! Henrik was about to panic. He wanted to buy me a Christmas present before the shops closed (luckily, he had decided to give me something in addition to the new generator), but at the same time the mechanic told him that they would only return after the weekend, where we had planned to be in Fort Lauderdale! However, we decided to let the engine be and celebrate Christmas instead.

We paid our bill at the yard (which was a 1000 USD more than we had expected!), wished the staff a merry Christmas, and took a taxi to the Christmas Service in the first parish of USA.

Back on the boat, we prepared our American style Danish Christmas dinner with roast duck, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and red cabbage. Henrik said it was the best Christmas dinner he’s ever had, but I’ve had dinner at his mother’s house, so I know it’s not true. But the dinner was a success, and I’m surprised that we could make such a good roast duck in our small oven! So after all it was a good Christmas – though expensive too!

From Florida, we wish everyone a merry Christmas!

Signe Storr Freelance journalist and friend of Boatshed