Our Life

The Adventures of Mike and Kelly At Sea

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Journey North to Canada

Our lives have become defined by extremes! One week we're in the tropics sailing, swimming, and fishing and the next we're shivering our butts off up in Canada as we help a friend restore his sailboat Maiatla. We left Mexico and stopped over in San Francisco to see our boat Isabella on the hard. Unfortunately, she had a bad few months on the hard and needs a lot of work. Feeling depressed about the boat and having left the tropics, we made tracks to Nanaimo, BC in hopes that our spirits would be renewed.

Andy and Janet have been living aboard their 44' sailboat for 10 years. They travelled from Canada to the Sea of Cortez, across to Hawaii, and back to Canada. Mike met them a few years ago in Hawaii and was inspired by their lifestyle and energy. They raised their two children, Thomas and Melissa, primarly aboard Maiatla. To read more about their adventures, check out Andrew Gunson's book The Voyage of the Maiatla with The Naked Canadian.

The family warmly welcomed us to their home in Nanaimo; a place on land they have chosen to stay while restoring Maiatla. Our spirits were instantly revived with their humor and hospitality. Although we're a bit chilly, its hard not to smile as we are entertained by their stories of their adventures. We plan on helping them out for a few more weeks before we head back to Isabella and begin our major refit. Fortunately, I'm getting excellent practice at sanding and varnishing because I have my work cut out for me on Isabella!

A Little Slice of Paradise...Finally!

The funny thing about life is that the rough periods make the good times that much sweeter. Mike and I can hardly say life has been rough for us, but it has certainly been interesting and has thrown a curve ball at us. We never anticipated the sexual harrassment that Mike endured from the last owner, or the deceit and the potential danger that we faced with the first boat we were aboard. Our dreams to charter have been halted, but we are confident they aren't completely shattered. We decided that we need a bit of time to regroup and we were fortunate to have hopped off the boat in a little slice of paradise.

Isla Mujeres is a tiny island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico surrounded by the crystal Caribbean turquoise water with a touch of a rugged coast line. The proximity to Cancun brings in a fare number of spring breakers and tourist that regulalry frequent the area, however, we are lucky enough to land there during  the first week of the off season and manage to avoid all of the normal chaos that faintly lingers in the once overcrowded streets. The stark white beaches are dotted with outdoor massage beds and tiny bars with swings instead of stools. The few tourist that are on holiday leisurely putt around the small island in golf carts or mopeds stopping off to indulge in the tasty local food, go for a snorkle, or explore the old Mayan ruins.

Mike and I followed suit and hired our own moped for a day to do a bit of exploring ourselves. At first we were eager to see the Mayan ruins, but when we got there, we were disappointed by the steep entrance fee, the random sculpture park in front of them, and ruins that were likened to the size of a tiny shack. We were more exicted to find the zip line system along the coast of the Nature preserve. It was closed down for the day, but we promised if we brought our own boat back one day we would be sure to spend ample time flying through the sky above the crystal blue sea.

The real highlight of our brief holiday was meeting a fun couple from New Orleans. They had been to the island about six times, so they provided us with tons of insight to places they thought we would enjoy. Being in their fifties, we weren't prepared for the late nights of drinking us under the table that ensued. We had a ball with them and were really thankful for the tasty pomegranate tequila that they introduced us to!

Our time in Isla Mujeres was much needed and appreciated. We had a lovely beach bungalow that we got for an insanely cheap price (thanks to meeting a very influential man on the island) that helped assist in our brief period of R&R. We are excited to bring our own boat Isabella back to the island one dayand spend a bit more time exploring!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Change in Plans

These days, nothing is predictable or stable for Mike and I. We left Colombia hoping that we had finally found a boat that we could spend some time on, but things changed and we felt that we could no longer carry on under the conditions we were presented with. At this stage, we would much prefer to get back to our own boat, fix her up, and cruise/work our way around the world. So we moved off S/V Chantecler and decided to enjoy a bit of a holiday here in Isla Mujeres, Mexico before heading to Vancouver for the summer. I will be sure to write and post pics from Mexico as we will be leaving tomorrow and stopping over in San Francisco for 4 days before heading North.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Colombia to Mexico

Today I'm writing from Isla Mujeres, Mexico after a six day non-stop sail up the Yucatan Channel from Cartagena, Colombia. We had very easy sailing, luckily, and great weather. The only bit of discomfort was about two days of high seas off the coast of Panama, which was not bad considering some of the seas Mike and I have had previous to this journey. It is so nice to be on a sailboat once again! We love how Chantecler sails; the owner has really done a great job with the boat and she makes offshore sailing a breeze.

It is Cinco de Mayo which is a huge holiday here in Mexico. Unfortunately, we're confined to the dock for the night as Customs has the day off due to the holiday. We see the island hopping and celebrating the holiday and we're tantalized by clear bright green waters that we long to swim in to wash off the grim of our offshore passage. I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow. Fortunately, there is a tiny shack of a restaurant which is part of the marina where we are, so we are able to get a taste of the Mexican food and the internet, so we are well entertained until tomorrow.

All of our plans are a bit up in the air at the moment. At first we were planning to sail to Florida and eventually to cross the Atlantic, however, the owner has now decided to sell the boat out of the home port in New Orleans. We're a bit concerned due to the giant oil spill in the gulf, which the owner is convinced that we can sail through without harming the boat. Mike and I beg to differ. So we may or may not be sailing to New Orleans in the next day or so.

Another issue that we've been having is that we've been given the opportunity to purchase the boat from the owner. She's a world class world cruiser and would be a home for us that we could turn into a business opportunity in the future.  Since everything is up in the air at the moment, we don't really know what to do, but I will do my best to keep everyone posted! I feel that if it is meant for us to have this boat, then it will all work out, but if not, we move on with life and find a new opporunity.

For now, I'm going to go enjoy some local Mexican cerveza and try to stop swaying after not being on land in 6 days! Stay tuned!!