Our Life

The Adventures of Mike and Kelly At Sea

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka

My first trip to Hawaii was 18 years ago when my parents decided to brave the insanely long haul from VA with four children to give us a “Hawaiian Christmas”. Now I know I can be a bit cheesy when it comes to nostalgia and over use certain gimmicky phrases (thank you mom!), but I just can’t seem to shake the memory of when I first heard the words “Mele Kalikimaka” on that trip.  I remember it was our first night in Hawaii and we were in Honolulu taking some sort of bus tour around the city gawking at the Christmas lights. Our driver, a large, jovial Hawaiian man, made a lasting impression on me with his charisma and enthusiasm. I vividly remember riding in the bus to the sound of his beautiful voice singing the Mele Kalikimaka song over the microphone. That song was incredible to me as a curious 10 year old fascinated with everything Hawaiian. The words of that song still run through my head at various moments in my life, which always makes me chuckle a little when I think about how silly it all seems.
Fast forward 18 years and now I live in this beautiful state which captivated my interest so many years ago only to find out that its still doing a great job of doing so. As I write this blog, I am proud to announce that I have officially lived in the state of Hawaii for one entire year! Obviously, this place is doing something right for me! As many people know, I have spent the better part of my twenties as a nomad terrified of the “y” word. That’s right, I couldn’t even say “year” because it made me feel like I was disrupting my newfound (adored) lifestyle. So to say I found a place where I have lived and worked for a year means I must have found somewhere really special. This place is beyond special!
I look back on the last year (did I mention I was nostalgic?) and think about the bumpy road that we have had trying to settle into this place. But no matter how trying the situations have been, we are immediately brought back to reality as Maui swoons and reminds us not to take her for granted.  The title of this blog is our mission and we cannot forget that while living in such a beautiful place. While searching the world for “bella” we stumbled across it here in Maui, our home. Everyday, the beauty of this place overwhelms me in the best possible way. Everyday, the beauty of my relationship with my husband-to-be makes my heart smile. So as this holiday season surrounds us, I feel incredibly thankful and lucky for the beautiful life that I have right now.
While I am engulfed in my warm, fuzzy happiness, I must digress to bring you up to speed on a few changes we have had since our last update. We had a long and interesting trip back to California, where we got a lot of work done on Isabella. She’s looking mighty pretty these days! And it’s a good thing because it turns out we’re going to be keeping her after all. The deal fell through with the 40’ boat in Oahu, which just tells us that it really wasn’t meant to be right now. So we did what we could on Isabella (fighting against terrible weather might I add) and then came back to Maui looking for a new place to live until we are finally ready to go back to Isabella for our big trip down to Central and South America. We found a nice house to temporarily call home, and Mike even changed gears with his work situation. He is now driving 100+ foot boats for a company that does snorkel tours, cocktail cruises, and dinner cruises. He is really happy to be on the water again, and I am really happy to join him on those trips when I can!
As for wedding plans, we have decided to have a private wedding here in Maui on the 28th of April, 2012. We are both very excited and happy to share our lives with one another as partners and eagerly looking forward to the many adventures ahead of us.
We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Cherish those beautiful memories that you make this year…you never know when they may pop up again in the years to come!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All at Once

Dear Friends and Followers (if we still have any),

I am so terribly sorry that we have been so terrible about this blog! If anyone still follows us after such a long hiatus, thank you, and I promise that this post will be riddled with exciting news about the events that have been going on in our lives.  So, I shall waste no more time and get on with it!

Volcano sunrise
As our last post indicated, we have been living and working in Maui, aka paradise! We both really love it here and have decided that Hawaii is our place to call home (of course it already has been Mike's home for 10 years). How can one complain when we spend our days surfing, snorkeling, sunbathing, sailing...you name it, and then work a few hours at night in a place where one can see a beautiful sunset on a regular basis. We never do tire of those sunsets (although some people think that we just haven't been here long enough...I beg to differ). This really is quite the life. Sure we have braved a tsunami since we were here (offshore for 2 days on a boat), we have had a few interesting living situations (a tiny cork of a boat moored offshore during the winter storm season was not the most ideal place to call home), we've worked interesting jobs that involve wearing a grass hula skirt ("shake those hips for tips", and there were NO coconut bras), we have been discriminated against over property rights with locals (not really our issue, but somehow we are involved), and we have been tried and tested by interesting characters that have come to Maui to run away from their problems only to create more for others. But despite these little blips, we have made it through just fine and are still enamored with living here. Just last week marked our 10th month here on the island, which for anyone that knows me well, knows that this is certainly quite a feat. There is just something magical about this place. The constant, perfect weather may have something to do with it! I see why people fall in love with Hawaii.
Sitting above the clouds at Haleakala Crater

So onto the news!! Mike and I got engaged! We had a lovely weekend trip over to Oahu where we were looking at a new sailboat (more on that later). After a nice lovely sail, we enjoyed a beautiful dinner on the veranda of Morimoto's restaurant overlooking the Ala Wai Harbor. Suddenly, fireworks started dancing across the sky illuminating all the sailboats below in brilliant, vibrant hues. It was a nice surprise and treat, but Mike's proposal at the same moment was the icing on the cake. It was a beautiful moment and it caught me completely off guard. I can't believe he kept it a secret from me for so long! I realized that there are moments in life I will never be prepared for and that was one of them. It took my breath away.

Sunrise over the Crater
The engagement was just the first thing to start off our week of life changing, exciting events. That same weekend, we decided to buy the boat we were looking at and make it our new home. It is a 40' Acapulco, which is a huge upgrade in size compared to our 31' Isabella. It is beautiful on the inside with gorgeous woodwork, and it is strong and very seaworthy. We have been talking about upgrading to a larger boat for awhile, and this just came at the perfect moment. We have a bit of work to do on the exterior, but it isn't anything that we can't handle. It suits us well and we think we will have many great adventures with her! I will post photos when we get her over here in Maui (currently she is in Oahu).

With all of this elation does come a bit of bittersweet emotion. Naturally, it doesn't make sense to have two boats, so our beautiful Isabella is up for sale. Mike is particularly feeling sad about selling his girl since it has been his permanent home for the past 10 years. He has completely rebuilt her, with countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears, and he has a fondness for her as one would expect. We are hoping that she will go to a good home and will be cared for and used the way she is meant to be used. If anyone one here sees this post, please do let us know if you know of anyone interested. She still rests in Napa, Ca all freshly varnished and painted and ready to go (Mike has been there for the past 3 weeks working very hard to get her finished).

Well, that is about all of the excitement I have for now. Any more shocking news would just be too much! While I would love to be writing about trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica, we aren't quite there yet and that is certainly ok with us. I couldn't think of a better place to be in the interim. We plan on staying here in Maui probably through next summer and then spending our "honeymoon" heading down the coasts of Central and South America aboard our new sailboat. But, for now, I have a few more days of work until I head back to California to help Mike tie up loose ends with our beloved Isabella and then take a quick jaunt over to VA to visit my family.  Life is certainly full of surprises and has been quite a journey. I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store for us!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


We must say we are starting this post feeling a bit embarrassed by our lack of upkeep to this blog. It seems that we are not immune to the routines of everyday life and feel that maybe our lives have become “not interesting enough to write about”.  In returning to the real world again we’ve neglected the blog a bit more than expected until we got so far behind that it now has gotten hard to figure out where to start off again. So, in order to keep this short, let me just say that the past few months have been hugely eventful for us and have brought us many ups and downs, yet they haven’t necessarily been the exciting adventures that everyone loves to read about.

After our delivery, we went back to our Bella after settling on the idea that she was in fact what we are happy with and what we want to live with at this point in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed the luxuries that accompanied the larger, lavish yachts we were working on for the past year, however, once we got back to Isabella we felt that sense of comfort that only comes with the place you call home. The work that was ahead of us was overwhelming, but nothing could change how we felt about her.

So we got to work and began to give Isabella a facelift while completing all the little projects we’ve talked about for the past year. It was grueling work, but we were motivated to get it all done. In between hours of sanding and painting, we picked grapes in the local vineyards in Napa Valley to help keep our rapidly depleting pockets full (boats are so expensive!!!). We stayed with an amazing couch surfer who opened up her lovely Victorian home to us so we wouldn’t poison ourselves with the nasty chemicals floating around the boatyard.

After a month and a half of productivity the weather started changing rapidly from day to day which was making our projects that much more difficult. To top it off, the “to do” list kept growing and our spirits were starting to plummet as we tried to fight mother nature for a little more time to finish Isabella.  We had a decision to make whether that meant getting the boat back in the water or walking away from her once again to pursue something new. After a few phone calls from an old boss of Mike’s in Maui looking for his help once again coupled with the fact that finding work in California was looking very grim, we starting thinking about leaving Isabella once again to seek work elsewhere. Many restless nights and endless hours of conversation eventually led us looking further west out into the middle of the Pacific Ocean, only this time on a boat, but somewhere equally as pleasing: Maui. The move meant “going home” for Mike and a new adventure for me, which we both were very excited about. We were hesitant to say goodbye to Isabella once again, but we knew we were making the right decision (did I mention we’ll be warm!!!).

As we said our goodbyes to California and dear Isabella, we made a quick visit back to the East Coast to visit our families and friends before we could make it to the land of Aloha. As usual, it was great to visit home, but we felt increasingly excited as our departure date to Hawaii approached.

We have now been settled in Maui for a month and it has certainly been quite an adventure. Mike at first went back to work doing boat charters with his old boss, but then picked up his knives to do a bit of cooking once again. He is at David Paul’s Island Grill, which has a stellar reputation here in Maui. I am really proud of the work that he’s been doing there. I also went to work straight away working at a restaurant called Duke’s. They are a great company to work for and have been outstanding with their employees. Plus I get to be outside on the beach everyday! =) Between work, sailing, and general boat life, we are enjoying the beautiful landscape and sunsets that Maui has to offer every night. We recently just moved into a house as well as living on a smaller boat than Isabella offshore here has been quite challenging with opposite schedules. So for now, we’re happy settling into island time and living the simple life here in Hawaii. We may not be the best with our posts for the next few months, but we’ll try to keep everyone posted the best we can! Mahalo!