Our Private Signal

The maritime world is full of customs and traditions; some are quite practical while others border on the bizarre. As we prepare for a life at sea, we have chosen to embrace the practical tradition of the private signal. This practice dates back over 6,000 years to the Egyptian captains of the Nile who would identify themselves to passing ships by placing a distinctive clay figurine atop their ships’ aft most cabin. Modern private signals are unique banners that communicate the presence of a specific individual or family on a boat. Our signal will make it easier for fellow ocean cruisers to identify our boat and it will be a fun way to pay homage to our families and places we love.

Private Signal

Our private signal is an amalgam of symbols from Kimberly and John-Michael’s family crests, references to the city we love and its traditions, and even an inside joke from John-Michael’s early childhood.

The three primary colors of the banner are purple, green, and gold…the official colors of Mardi Gras. Fittingly, this is a celebration enjoyed across the Caribbean and South America in many different forms. We hope to experience them all.

The fleur de lis is the quintessential symbol of New Orleans, the place we will forever call home and where we met and have lived for most of our lives. We will leave the Crescent City soon, but it will never leave our hearts.

The fleur de lis, coincidentally, along with the shallow waves are two prominent symbols from the Alvarado family crest and represent John-Michael’s Costa Rican ancestry. Kimberly’s British ancestry is represented by the Lancashire Rose in the upper right of the banner. Unfortunately for both of us, the other parts of our ancestry are muddled by history, obscured by time, or lack defining symbols.

The purple ocean has meaning too. When John-Michael was a little boy in school, he drew with crayons an ocean scene with sailboats floating on a purple sea. When the teacher asked him what color he painted the ocean, he stated, “Blue, of course!” That’s when the world discovered that it was not creative genius and an artistic flare for unusual pigmentation that he possessed, but that he was colorblind.

So when you see this banner flying proudly on our boat, you will know we are aboard. Come by to say hello, share your story, and add to our travel adventure.


  1. Can’t wait to hear about your amazing adventures and treasured moments. Your flair for language will make your tales all the richer!

  2. Can’t wait to see your adventure begin, and hopefully participate along the way!
    Love you guys!
    Adam & Shannon

  3. I can’t wait to read all about your journey through the oceans of this world. Love you guys and can’t wait to see you two later this month…..

  4. I love the idea of the pennant and cannot believe in 5 years of sailing we have not designed our own. I now have the pens and paper out. Love the idea. Thank you.

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