Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18, 2017- The adventure begins tomorow

Cindy and I leave tomorrow on our great adventure.  Stay tuned for more updates.

I've been getting a lot of questions about how this trip came to be.  Well, when we were cruising in Mexico we met a very nice couple while anchored at Isla Coronados:

Isla Coronados 2016

We bumped into them many other times after that first meeting, and we even went to their marina/resort in La Paz to watch other boats get loaded onto the freighter, after our boat had been loaded:

La Paz 2016

We spent many fun times with Jerome and Karen in Mexico.  But we went separate directions after that last time in La Paz.  They were heading to the South Pacific on their boat, and we were heading back home.   At some point during our times together in Mexico, I mentioned that if they ever needed help moving the boat, I would love to help.  Well, a few months ago Jerome called me and asked if I was still interested.  "YES" was my reply.  He told me about this trip and I said I was definitely interested, but would have to discuss it with my family that evening, as it meant I would be gone for weeks.  The trip would be Jerome, his friend Paul, and me.  Karen was going to be home in Bow (just 10 miles from our home in La Conner).

That evening I told Kathy, Cindy and Kevin about the possible adventure.  Cindy immediately stated that she wanted to go too!  So, I called Jerome back and asked how he felt about that.  He said "sure, if she wants to go, she can".  Wow, what an amazing opportunity for a 15 year old to see some exotic places, and take on some adult-responsibilities at that same time.  Cindy will be standing watches, and helping with boat duties during our 6-7 day passage from Tonga to New Zealand.  She is VERY excited!

This opportunity meant, however, that Cindy would be missing a large percentage of her second year of high school.  Her schedule has some tough classes like Honor's English, Honors Algebra II, Pre-AP Biology, Astronomy, Health Science, Chemisty, Spanish, and Yoga.  She had to go around to all of her teachers and explain this opportunity in order to get their approval.  They all said she could go, and have given her assignments and homework.  So, she is good to go with school.

For me, it means that I won't be working for weeks, and I will be out of touch with my customers.  I've been telling as many as I can about this trip and I think I've covered all the bases.  I have my phone setup with foreign travel service for a month so my phone should work in Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.  But just in case, I will be checking email via wifi in the hotels, and from Jerome's boat.  I hope that I have thought of everything related to work.  It has been a hectic few weeks trying to wrap up loose ends and boat projects for people. I've also been working around the house getting things ready for our departure.

Cindy and I each got a flu shot a few weeks ago, just in case.  Our vaccinations are all still good, from our Mexico trip.  We have quite a selection of over the counter drugs just in case either of us gets sick, injured, or sea sick, etc.  I got a couple of prescriptions filled yesterday just in case I have another bout with either hives or cellulitis, both of which happened to me in Mexico.  Hives I can deal with via antihistamines, but cellulitis can be fatal if not treated with a very specific antibiotic.  I will have that antibiotic with me.

I spoke with Jerome yesterday, and his weather router is now looking into the future for our passage from Tonga to New Zealand.  A weather router is a weather professional that finds appropriate weather for yachts crossing oceans.  He thinks he sees a possible weather window opening up around the 26th.  We arrive in Tonga on the 24th.  In general, the weather is still a bit on the rough side for this passage, as it is  spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  There are storms rolling though just about weekly this time of year.  So, we need to find the right "slot" in that storm train so we can get through relatively unscathed.

Tomorrow we fly to L.A. then hop on the 11.5 hour flight to Fiji.  We will cross the international date line, so even though we leave home on Thursday, we land in Fiji on Saturday morning.  Fiji is 5 hours earlier than us, but a day later.  Tonga and New Zealand are 4 hours earlier than us (and a day later).  We might suffer a little jet-lag the first few days, so we are getting up early today and tomorrow to help adjust a bit ahead of time.

I will post an update when we arrive in Fiji, assuming I find some good wifi,


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 2017 Adventure

Steve and Cindy have an exciting adventure that begins next week.  The two of them are going to help relocate a beautiful Nordhavn 60' yacht from Tonga, in the South Pacific, to New Zealand.  In order to get to Tonga they have to first fly to Fiji, where they will have a 3.5 day "layover".  That's enough time to get to explore Fiji and experience the culture.

After several days in Fiji, they hop on a plane that will take them to Tonga.  Once in Tonga, they will be waiting for good weather for the ~1200 mile trip to New Zealand.  The weather could be right for the passage as soon as they land, or there might be weeks of waiting.  So, how much time they have in Tonga is unknown, and will completely depend on the weather.

Once the conditions are right, they will shove off and motor for about 6-7 days across open ocean.  Cindy and Steve hope to stop the boat at the Tropic of Capricorn and go swimming in 2 mile deep water.  After arriving in New Zealand, they hope to spend at least several days exploring before flying back home, and back to real life.

Cindy will be bringing school work with her.  She is potentially going to miss up to a month of school.  Fortunately she is a 4.0 student, so her teachers are all OK with this absence, although she will be bringing homework and assignments so she doesn't get behind.  Her Astronomy teacher is particularly excited because Cindy will get to see the southern sky, from the ocean, where there is NO light pollution to obscure the faintest objects in the night sky.

Follow this blog for updates on the adventure.

The Nordhavn 60 Steve and Cindy will be travelling to New Zealand on.

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016 - Change of plans!

If you have been following our blog, you know that our intent was to ship the boat home quickly, regroup and re-provision, then take off for a summer of fun in Alaska.  Well, we aren't doing that after all.  Why, you might reasonably ask....

Well, while we were leaving Puerto Escondido about a month ago Kathy took advantage of our Telcel cellular-based internet and did a little job searching.  She found a few very enticing jobs close to home and submitted her applications and resume.  A few weeks later she got an email from one of them requesting a phone interview.  We were in an area with cell coverage so the kids and Steve took off on the dinghy for an hour while Kathy had her interview.  Kathy felt it went well, but also that she could have answered some questions better.  The next day she got an email from the prospective employer stating that they wanted to check her references.

Several days later we loaded our boat on the ship in La Paz and got in our rental car to drive south toward the airport at San Jose Del Cabo.  About an hour into the drive Steve's cellphone rang with a Mt. Vernon number that we didn't recognize.  Kathy answered and it was the employer calling to make an offer of employment!  It was a great offer, for a job Kathy was excited about.

But, Kathy still had questions about the job, wanting to know more details.  She made arrangements for another phone conversation with "her manager".  Plus, there was an additional job of interest and while in the Cabo airport, Kathy made arrangements for a discussion with them at our next stop in the Phoenix Airport.  Then after that discussion they scheduled an additional interview the following day with additional people.  Now, two positions close to home gave us reason to believe that Alaska would not happen and that there are local opportunities in the Information Technology industry that are exciting to Kathy.

That second job didn't turn out to be a great match for Kathy's skills and interests.  But the first job sounded even better after she had that phone conversation with her new manager.  Kathy accepted that first offer and is VERY excited about the job.  

Life brings adventures.  We have enjoyed our extended voyage and are now ready for what may come ahead here in La Conner.  We never had the plan to leave La Conner permanently, although we left our options open, and we kept our home.  Now as life would have it, we can return to where we began this trip, Steve with his business and Kathy with a new opportunity in employment, and excitement for whatever comes next.  Cindy and Kevin are excited to be home and to see friends and family.

Again, this blog will likely not be as exciting as it has been in the past.  We have plans to post a few entries about what's it is like living on a boat for a year and a half.  They will be written by our children, from their perspective, so they might be interesting......

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016 - Victoria - and the end of cruising in Mexico

This blog is likely the last one for this trip.  We have started some writing and took many pictures and videos of living on board the boat over the past several weeks, as our regular posts did not seem to really cover day to day life onboard.  We hope to post some of those soon as they will help put in writing for Cindy and Kevin how life was for us, and give them something to look back on to help them remember what it was like.

First a couple pictures being at home for the few days before heading to Victoria to pick up the boat.

The legos we left at home came out as well as Nerf guns.  Our living room requires
some careful walking.  Give the kids the room, look what happens!
Glad we had some friends over so they needed to clean up.
After no rain for nearly a year while in Mexico, Cindy and Kevin head outside
on our first morning back to enjoy it.  They were both excited to get out in the rain.
Notice:  shirts and pants, and jackets.  No more Mexico attire....

We had an adventure on a Washington State Ferry.  Believe it or not, Cindy and Kevin had never been on one in all their years as we always boat to the islands whether in the US or Canada.
Walking the ramp to the ferry in Anacortes
On the ferry as we leave Anacortes.  Yes, the brown on the deck is rust!
Getting ready on the boat deck for offloading in Sidney B.C.  You walk off on this stop before cars.
We walked through Sidney, got some Canadian cash and caught a BC bus to Victoria.
BTW, Mexican and Canadian bills are just beautiful, beats the green USA.
Modern Double Decker bus so we were on the top deck and in front, what a great ride.
This bus was a total of $10 Canadian for us, not as cheap as Mexico but a nice ride!
Lunch at Fisherman's Wharf with Kathy's cousin Jackson.
He owns Jackson's Ice Cream right behind us.  It has been too long since
we last saw each other and great to spend a bit of time together.
Jackson with a side view of his floating ice cream shop.  The boat here
was owned by his Mom up north in BC and Kathy had the privilege to be on it
years ago before it was floating.  It used to live in their back yard.
Jackson's shop from the front. If you go, he says the Salted Caramel is a favorite.
He was out of it as the US Memorial Day crowd ate it all the day before we arrived!

Ok, now on to picking up our vessel.  We wish we had more time in Victoria to visit and explore but now that we are back home, there is too much work for us to be able to spend any time in Victoria. After visiting with Jackson, we decided to walk toward where the ship would dock when it came in overnight.  To our surprise it was finishing docking right then, maybe 3:30pm (12 hours early).  As we talked and walked, the couple in front of us heard us talking and started a conversation telling us that their vessel was there too.  It was loaded on the ship in Florida.  More than this, Linda and Martyn live down the street from us in our community, wow, small world.  This is a new vessel for them, so exciting!   As the afternoon turned into evening we met with Mike and Vee of m/v Freedom, the exact same boat we have.  There are not many of our model vessels around so we had a great time with them having dinner.  We wanted to see their boat float but it is under the top deck (lots of work opening decks) and they were not scheduled to float until around 8pm, 11 hours after us. They are planning to stop in our area as they head south to Tacoma, so we will get to see them soon.
To our amazement the ship is there.  m/v Adagio is there among the cranes.
Zoomed in from shore, there is m/v Adagio.
Our ride to the ship had us getting to play with Cooper, 3.5 months old.  The driver
for our ride said since he was a taxi driver today he figured he could bring him.  This very
large inflatable is normally a whale watching tour boat.
Adagio floating in the water, the sling from the crane raising as we came out on the inflatable. come of our departure (gratis Mike and Vee on land watching us depart)

We always feel that we are blessed in life.  Today was no exception.  Although we were 20 minutes late getting onto the boat, since the ship offloading was slow, we had a good day getting home.  Currents were in our favor and Deception Pass had a slack current at 1:30pm.  If we are late we will have to go north up around Anacortes and motor for 4 more hours.  If we get there in time we can be home in an hour.   Abandoning our leisurely and relaxing cruising style of Mexico, we ran both engines with more umpf than normal and made it in time to get through.  We could not have made it but the STRONG currents and extra power helped us make it eastbound from Victoria.   For almost an hour our 6-7 knot boat was going 12 knots! We were home within 5 hours of leaving Victoria.  We then said, "wow, that was not that far to go, we could visit Victoria for a fun weekend."    We may go back there to spend some time exploring this beautiful city over the summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 23, 2016 - La Paz Mexico. Last Port in Mexico

It is Monday morning, May 23, 2016.  This is our last day in La Paz, and our last time onboard our boat in Mexico.  At 9:00AM this morning Adagio is scheduled to be lifted onto the ship that will bring her home for us.  This is a bittersweet day for us.  We are so sad that this adventure is now over.  Yet we are excited to be headed home, and for all that life has in front of us.  But, to be sure, these past two years will definitely stand out as "the big event" in our lifetimes.  We have traveled over 5300 miles by water over 440 days in 21 months time.  We will miss the sea and all of the people we have met along the way.  Fair winds and calm seas to all of you out there, we will be keeping in touch.  

Now to the last 5 days in Mexico and a picture and video of us getting Adagio to the ship.

The past week or so in La Paz has been great.  We reconnected with old friends on s/v Coastal Drifter, and met several new cruising families.  Two families are beginning their adventures as we finish ours.

Cruiser Kids in La Paz.  
Kathy returns from the final trip to the grocery store to get just enough food to last
us for our few remaining days onboard Adagio in Mexico.

Pillow fight!  Ethan (sv Coastal Drifter, Kevin, and Andrew (s/v Spanish Stroll).
We had a sleep over a few nights ago.  Andrew's sister Ariana also spent the night.

Cindy (with Zappa), Kevin, Ethan (sv Coastal Drifter), and Kathy in the waiting
room at the Veterinarian.  Zappa has to get the OK from a vet before he can fly
back to the US.  
Zappa about to get his checkup from the Vet.
Mexico is a very pretty country
We watched the Lone Ranger the other night.  I think it gave Cindy an idea.
Cruiser's pot-luck dinner in La Paz
End of the season pot-luck dinner in La Paz, at Club Cruceros.
The adults and one child:  Kim (s/v Spanish Stroll), Monica (s/v Luminesce),
Debra (s/v Coastal Drifter), Kathy and Steve (us m/v Adagio),
Phil (s/v Coastal Drifter), and Jeff (s/v Luminesce).
Photo courtesy of Debra from s/v Coastal Drifter
Guess where we stopped for some ice cream treats?
We have rented a car and left it in Marina Costa Baja near the ship.  Karen and Jerome from m/v Daybreak (moored in Marina Costa Baja) were kind enough to let us keep it there in the very secure marina parking lot. it does have some of our belongings for the flight home.  We spent a nice afternoon with them, swam in the pool, and visited on their boat.  We wished we spent a few days in the beautiful marina/resort of Marina Costa Baja.

Frederic and Janet's boat Kyrnos gets lifted onto the ship.  Sunday afternoon.
We watched this from the swimming pool at the Costa Baja resort.
Watching yachts being loaded, while playing in the Marina Costa Baja pool.
Photo courtesy of Karen on m/v Daybreak

You need to watch this short movie of us as we approach the ship and get ready for it to be lifted...........

We had rented a car and left it at Marina Costa Baja so once we left our boat at the ship we were ready for the several hour drive south.  Thanks to directions from Karen and Jerome we headed south based on memory of some left and right turns since there are no signs to help out!  The tourist map has a road along the coast and we decided to take the second part of one.  Well, dirt soon replaced pavement and we had several hours of bumpy road.  We kept stopping cars coming our way asking how far to San Jose Del Cabo as our gas gauge was getting low and no towns of any size or people were around.  By the time we were within an hour, the gas gauge was on empty, we had windows open, air conditioning off, and were really hot just in hopes of not running out of gas before San Jose del Cabo.  YOLO (You only live once).  We made it, barely!  It was a tense few hours wondering if we were going to run out of gas in the boonies of  Mexico.

These goats were running down the road

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25, 2016 - quick update

We are back home now.  Everything is just fine at home and we are getting our cars running again, getting our mail, activating some temporary internet access, etc.

Our boat got loaded onto the ship with no drama.  It is a well run operation.  We left our spot tracker turned on, but it only tracks for 24 hours before it stops and you have to press a button to restart it.  So, it stopped tracking just after the ship passed Cabo San Lucas.

We will post a few more final blog entries of our last few days in Mexico within the next few days....

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 22, 2016 - Boat shipping update

The ship has arrived!  It is anchored just outside of La Paz.  It arrived around 2:00AM this morning (Sun May 22).  They will unload 6 boats today, the largest one being a 92' motor yacht.  This afternoon they will load 3 or 4 boats and then stop for the night.  Tomorrow morning 3 more boats will be loaded, and one of them is ours!  Then the ship leaves in the afternoon and steams north toward Victoria BC where we will be reunited with our boat in about a week.

When we first started to seriously consider shipping Adagio home, this ship was supposed to arrive in La Paz at the end of April.  That was going to give us plenty of time to get home and take care of some business, work on the boat, and possibly head to Alaska for the summer.  The schedule has been slipping ever since with the ship arriving later and later.  Now it is here, 3 weeks behind schedule.  Our summer trip to Alaska has been seriously cut into, time-wise.  If we decide to go north this summer we are going to have to literally race through Canada to arrive in Alaska with enough time left to really experience the wonderful scenery, wildlife, and villages.  It can still be done, but it's not how we envisioned it when we though we would be home in early May.  There are also some new opportunities that could change the trip to Alaska, but that is for another blog, if they do indeed pan out and change our original Alaska plans....

After our boat is loaded on the ship at 9:00AM Monday May 23, we are driving our rental car down to San Jose Del Cabo where we will check into a hotel.  Then we will drive around the area a bit to explore.  Tuesday around noon we fly out of San Jose Del Cabo and will be back in our home Tuesday night.

It is quite a strange feeling to know that we will not be boating and living in Mexico anymore.  This has been such a WONDERFUL family experience.  Memories, adventures, and a deep exposure to another culture that will certainly be with our kids for the rest of their lives.  It took 5 long years of planning, preparation, sacrifice, and commitment for this trip to become reality.  Kathy and I are so happy that we made that tough decision years ago, to "take a break from normal life" for two years with our children.  We wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

We are finally nearing the end of of our Mexican adventure......   ;-(

We will be seeing our friends and family soon.....    :-)