At Crow’s Soap we have a long an illustrious history in soap making…okay, I started making soap for Ron about 1999. He had super dry skin, and had a stubborn batch of “gator skin” on his lower back where he had repeated sun burns from picking rock and baling hay shirtless when he was a teen in Iowa. Our standing joke was that I would make him handmade soap to fix the problem. When I finally did make the soap it worked wonders on his dry skin.
Life was busy and the soaps and lotions were a hobby. We both had other careers, he owned a mortgage brokerage, and I worked as a graphic designer. In the back of his mind Ron always had the dream of sailing around the world. During this time we had several people close to us pass away from cancer. We decided that it was time to make at least part of Ron’s dream a reality. Ron sold his business, we bought a sailboat, rented out our home and set sail.
We started the adventure in Houston Texas where our boat was docked. Our two girls were ages 6 and 4 when we left on the trip. Our boat, Enterprise, was a 42-foot Whitby ketch rig. We sailed across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. From the Florida Keys we made passage to the Bahamas. We followed the island chain through the Turks & Caicos to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Spanish Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe clear down to Dominica.
From the shallow clear waters of the Bahamas to the “islands in the clouds” with mountains, volcanos, and rivers we had an amazing journey. I was able to home-school the girls on the trip and work into the curriculum all of our the real-life experiences. We swam daily, although the eldest often “let” her sister go in first. She figured hey, if nothing eats her it’s safe for me to swim! We often had trigger fish hanging out under the boat…they were all promptly named “Larry, Moe and Fred.” We shopped local markets and made friends with other cruisers. It was a great treat to find other boats with children. We spent a week with a family from Europe traveling around the Bahamas so their 9 year old daughter could improve her English.
It was a study in self-reliance. Aboard the boat we had a water-maker to turn salt water into drinking water. A generator to run the refrigeration system and the inverter which ran vital systems like the coffee grinder! My laundry system? Two five-gallon buckets served as the washer and the rigging and clothes pins were my dryer. When we were at an island where we could buy fresh produce we did. Everything else was purchased in bulk, sealed and stowed away under the seats in the salon.
The girls learned about being entrepreneurs when we spent 4 months in the Dominican Republic during hurricane season. The made jewelry (with some help from mom) and sold it to other cruisers in the harbor. They also learned how to help crew the boat, and how important each job was to the well-being of the family. We explored the water, so clear in spots you could see a star fish from the deck of the boat in 60 feet of water. It was simply amazing. And then we had to come home.
When we returned in 2008 the economy had changed and we found that we needed new careers. After a couple of faulty starts we decided to build on the products we used ourselves and Crow’s Soaps was born. We spend a great deal of time creating and perfecting our recipes. From our first soaps to our complete line we have personally tested each product we sell. Ron no longer has gator skin, and we have a new career to share. Though I must admit come February I sure do miss that sailboat!