In a time of Covid, Patrick Schulte and his family seem to have found a good way to cope. They’ve been cruising, on their 1986 Grand Banks 42 named Bumfuzzle, around St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they’re so content that they often don’t leave the boat – or the water – for long periods of time.
“All we tend to do is on or in the water,” Schulte wrote on his blog, bumfuzzle.com. He and his wife, Ali, their daughter, Quest, 10, and son, Lowe, 9, have been living aboard Bumfuzzle since they bought it in Florida in September, 2017. For the past two months, they’ve been cruising off St. Croix.
They spent the holidays off Frederiksted, and Schulte wrote that they were happy there. “It’s got about all we need to live our simple life on the hook – food and a clean ocean.”
For Christmas, the kids got water scooters, and they used them almost every day until the batteries wore down. They were certified as Scuba divers, and the entire family spent days diving, with the kids often playing pirates when they found a sunken ship.
That’s when Schulte made parenting sound easy. “What I’m finding on these dives is that my job isn’t to lead the kids around, but to simply keep an eye on them as they go about their play.”
A few weeks ago, they cruised around the north side of the island to Christiansted, where it was a 15-minute walk to the grocery store, laundromat, marine store and hardware store. The family enjoyed picnics on the grass in front of the fort, “a scenic, quiet spot, where we can all stretch out a bit.”
Still, Schulte wrote that “Ali laughs about how little she gets off the boat. We sometimes can’t remember when her last trip off the water was. You might think we care, but 99 percent of the time we’re all perfectly happy just to be floating out here – our own little island.”
Patrick and Ali have been traveling since they quit their jobs in Chicago in 2003, where he had been a successful commodities trader. They sailed around the world, drove a Porsche across the country, and took a VW bus from Alaska to Argentina, among other trips. He supports the family by writing a weekly commodities trading newsletter.
Where will the Schultes go next, after Covid? They considered the Great Loop, and then again they may head south. Meanwhile, they’re happy to be on – and in – the water at St. Croix. Read more: