Our Life

The Adventures of Mike and Kelly At Sea

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Long Trip Down the West Coast

“Kelly, wake up its your watch”, Mike softly says as he gently nudges the giant mound of covers that I am hidden underneath. I moan and sink deeper into my cave of fuzzy blankets, hoping that it is just a dream. Watch keeping has been a struggle heading down the California coast with the constant stops we have had to make for weather coupled with the frigid temperatures that keep us warm blooded, sun-spoiled Hawaiian folk in a permanent frozen state. I procrastinate as long as I can hoping that Mike will just forget about trying to wake me and I can once again return to a sweet slumber.

I never have been great at mornings, but waking up after a couple restless hours of sleep, leaving the comfort zone of the nest of blankets, and exposing the body to the raw elements at sea at God knows what time in the morning (or night) really takes the idea of not being a morning person to an entirely new level. Mike’s voice has become more stern, and I am reminded of my parents trying to wake me on those mornings when it was a struggle to get out of bed for school. I finally gather the strength to throw my covers off and I am smacked with the chill of the air that sends shudders all over my body. As I try to gather my wits I feel a heaviness on my head; my fitful rest has knotted my mass of curls into one giant dreadlock. Lovely! I don’t have time to mess about because the anxious Captain has had enough of my dramatic delay in assuming watch, so I ball up my new do’ into a giant mound on my head and dart out the companion way grabbing my warm foul weather gear along the way.

The jagged mountain range outlined in charcoal against the maraschino cherry stained sky floods my field of vision as I stumble into the cockpit. Mike smiles at my astonishment as I now understand the urgency in his voice at getting me out of bed. We admire the beautiful sunrise and turn to one another and recite the old adage, “red skies at night, sailors delight, red skies in the morning, sailors take warning!” A mere few hours from landfall at our first port in Mexico, we are thankful that we will not be caught out in whatever surprise mother nature has in store for the day.

As I assume my position at the helm, the horror of removing myself from my cozy nest is a distant memory with the peaceful arrival of the day so brilliantly gleaming around me. I get my bearings and settle into my course slowly tuning into my senses as the sleep melts away from my mind and body, invigorating me. Amongst the solitude and silence around me I hear a noise that sends a jolt through my body. Something is off.  I scan the decks, check the sails, and survey the horizon looking for a noise that is out of the ordinary. Nothing. I hear the noise again, only this time it is significantly louder. Now fully awake and primed with my super senses I jump up looking for this mystery sound, when “SWOOOSH…SLAP!” a whale fully breaches right in front of me while a second whale greets me with a pounding tail slap to the surface of the sea. “MIKE!!!!…WHALES!!!” I scream excitedly. Mike rushes to the deck and we watch in awe once again on this fine morning as the whales put on a little show next to our boat. These are the moments that I cherish about this lifestyle; the  juxtaposition of opposite emotions co-existing in the same minute. I am forever grateful for the surprises that mother nature reveals on a regular basis.

Our arrival to the port of Ensenada, Mexico has been monumental for us. It has been three months since we arrived to the mainland of US from Hawaii and we feel like we arDSC06405e significantly behind schedule. We get stressed about it from time to time, but then we remind ourselves that we are not on an agenda and we need to just slow down. While we like to complain about how long it has taken us to get down the California coast, we have to look at the positive side of all that we got to experience along the way. We revisited our old stomping grounds in the Bay area, which was a nice treat catching up with old friends and reliving momentsDSC06389 from our first experience there. We spent a month in Redwood City working on the boat and hanging out with our dear friends Petter and Octavia. We also were really productive in putting our old boat Isabella back in the water after almost three years on land and finding her a new home (another Mike from Hawaii).

When we crossed under the Golden Gate bridge back in November we felt like a burden had been lifted from our shoulders. We no longer had any ties to the area (our old boat and storage) and we felt relief in knowing that the next time we end up in the Bay area, it will be by choice rather than by obligationDSC06666. We made tracks down the coast aiming for the destination of Ventura, where we would meet up with our cousins for a visit. Unfortunately, the weather was rough and we ended up fighting strong winds and big seas all from the wrong direction. After 28 hours of zig -zagging back and forth with minimal forward progress, we ended up turning around for safe harbor in Monterey Bay.

Monterey Bay was a cute little seaside town with a serious sea lion problem. Our olfactory glands were in overdrive along with our ear drums which were pulsing from the incessant barking coming from these monstrous creatures. Regardless, we made the most of our time there delighting in Farmer’s Markets and networking with other cruisers. After about a week, the weather shifted in our favor and we found ourselves sailing on Thanksgiving day rather than feasting. As cruisers, we wouldn’t want it any other way.

This time heading down to Ventura, we had the opposite problem: no wind. This is not ideal for us because our engine is way underpowered for this heavy boat and we do not have an autopilot. So this means we move very slowly and have to hand-steer for long hours. It makes the watches tough. It takes us much longer than expected to get to Ventura, but we were happy to have calm seas and winds as we rounded Point Conception, a known area for nasty weather that has frightened many a crew and destroyed many vessels.

Giant oil platforms emerged from the water like aliens all through the Santa Barbara channel. As we dodged these space-like figures an eerie fog crept in blurring our vision and blanketing Maluhia. We inched along as the fog grew thicker until we were no longer able to see the bow of the boat. Lost in a surreal world, we were fully expecting an alien mother ship to cast a beam of light down onto our boat. Without radar, we rely solely on the GPS system hoping that our fears of crashing into an oil platform or a giant freighter do not come true. Hours pass and we rotate through watches, both feeling grim and cold. The sun eventually starts to peek through breaks in the fog as we near the entrance to Ventura Harbor. We rejoice in another safe, albeit strange, passage and are scooped up in no time by our family members for a night of reprieve on land.

After a brief stint in Ventura, we decided to keep moving to get away from the steep marina fees and the nasty weather that was forecasted to come. The sailing was great toward the island of Santa Cruz and we tucked into a beautiful little bay called Potato, enjoying a night out on the hook all alone. The weather picked up overnight and we heard over the radio that a high surf advisory had been issued all around the coast near to where we were. We noticed the swell building in the little anchorage we were in, so we pulled up the hook and headed into the dismal gray.

When I first started to write this post, I was going on and on about the miserable weather. Truth be told, it was boring to read about how cold we are and how our boat has no insulation so the damp weather has caused it to sweat, which in turn has created mold growth all over. I could go on and on about how this has really impacted this trip, but I realized how negative it all sounds and decided that this little blip will suffice. Needless to say, as we ventured out into the crappy weather in route to Newport Beach from the little island of Santa Cruz, we were cursing the rain, cursing the fog, and cursing the lack of wind that sealed the deal for our miserable, long passage.

Our arrival into Newport was wet. Pulling up to the police docks, the rain decided to open up just as I was securing the lines to the dock. We walked into the office dripping like wet dogs, shaking from the cold, and looking wild from sleep deprivation after the long motor. The process was easy and in no time we secured a mooring in the odd, yet quaint little town of Newport. Since we were mainly on business in this place, we got straight to work sourcing out parts that we needed for various things such as our transmission, headsail, and miscellaneous bits and bobs. Multiple trips to Minney’s Yacht Surplus scored us a few essential items we have been looking for, and the neighboring Doyle sails had a treasure of a used headsail that happened to fit our boat perfectly.  Success was ours!

We debated about making Newport our last stop along the coast, but we had been communicating with our friend Andy Gunson (AKA The Naked Canadian) and decided a stop over in San Diego wouldn’t be such a bad idea. We had a nice, quick sail down the coast (finally!) and quickly got our boat situated on the hook in the cruiser’s anchorage upon arrival. Two weeks passed by here and it felt like minutes. We jam packed every moment with sourcing out parts, catching up with friends and making new ones, taking our HAM radio operator exams (via a 12 hour class), provisioning, and wrapping up loose ends all around. It was a very productive time, and we even managed to squeeze a day into visiting the city, which was a nice break. It was finally time to break free from the US and make tracks to Mexico!

The passage from San Diego to Ensenada really marked the change over into the cruiser lifestyle for us. While Ensenada has everything imaginable, it took no time to feel the effects of being in a foreign country. I stumble over the Spanish language and awkwardly walk around trying to remember if it felt this strange when I first started to travel a decade ago. I feel way out of practice. I don’t have the same confidence that I did before when traveling was part of my everyday life. Mike reassures me that we will get back into the groove in no time and I too know that we will. But until that time, we continue to struggle through the awkwardness until this all becomes second nature once again.

Going forward I hope to write more frequently as it is really hard to condense so much information from many months into one little blog post. I hope this post isn’t too overwhelming for those that read it. I have been trying to write it for awhile now and have changed it many times. Seeing as I am cutting it close with my internet time here, I am rushing to get this out there because I do not know when we will have internet again. We are departing Ensenada this afternoon and will spend our holidays puddle hopping into different bays along the Baja Coast of Mexico. We hope that we will make it to La Paz by the New Year, but we are taking it all in stride hoping to enjoy ourselves along the way.

We wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season, or as they say here, “Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano!”  We are thinking of our dear families and friends this season hoping that you are all surrounded by much love and joy.

*(Sorry for the lack of photos, we have really been terrible this time)*

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sailing through Space: Crossing the Pacific from Maui To San Francisco

The black velvet sky painted with glittering stars reflects into the freshly polished mirror surface of the calm sea. There is no definition between where the sea ends and sky begins and the infinite horizon makes us feel as if we are sailing through the sky. Maluhia gently slices through the stillness generating millions of shooting stars in her wake as she stirs up the bioluminescence of tiny marine organisms. We are 2000 miles away from anywhere and it feels as if we are lost in space. One sparkle gleams brighter than the rest with subtle undertones of red and green. I snap out of my whimsical state and grab a pair of binoculars afraid of the reality that might be before me. The seamless horizon plays tricks on me and I can’t make out whether I am hailing a ship or a star. Eventually, I discover that I am hailing the planet Jupiter, which has a known reputation for tricking sailors by mimicking the colors of a ship’s navigation lights. I settle back into my watch comforted and mesmerized by the brilliance of my surroundings. We really are sailing through space.

My mind continues to wander out here as I think of the cyclical nature of life and the little patterns that exist to remind us of the significant moments that are worth remembering. I flash back to just a week and a half ago wDSC06150hen we entered Honolulu  harbor after we frantically ran from Maui desperate to start our journey.  We had just secured the boat into a slip in the Ala Wai when the Friday night fireworks started booming above us. It seemed like the ultimate welcome to a port, and it became even more significant when I realized that exactly one year ago to the date (and hour) Mike proposed to me at the exact same spot while we were looking to buy Maluhia. So much has happened in the past year, and this moment of reflection was a perfect time to appreciate all the blessings and start our journey off on a positive note.

We officially departed Honolulu on the 5th of September under the pretense that we were making a run for the weather window. We didn’t get our few relaxing days in Kauai as we hoped, but rather made a mad dash away from the islands with the fear that we were going to get caught in a high pressure system (aka, no wind). A mere 4 milDSC06098es out of the harbor, our topping lift snapped. It was a piece that we had attempted to fix in Honolulu, but we obviously didn’t do a great job in our haste. Fortunately, we were still close to Keehi Lagoon, so we pulled in quickly, hauled Mike up the mast, and to fixed the problem before we started off once again. The first week was sloppy all around. We barreled through the washing machine seas at a permanent 25 degree angle to the port while the steady 15-30 knot winds facilitated our escape. It took some time for us to get re-acclimated to offshore sailing, but eventually we were old pros.  Just as soon as we were moving about comfortably, however, everything abruptly stopped. It was as if someone had switched off the wind and big seas with the flick of a switch. We had entered the doldrums, or the high pressure system that we were worried about.

Up until this point, “entering the doldrums” was merely a fabled expression to me. I had heard stories from fellow cruisers about weeks lost at sea stuck in this mythical vortex, and I have encountered the expression in just about every single sailing book I have read. It sounded torturous and I was led to believe that this was going to beDSC06168 our greatest challenge on this passage. Yet, despite the threats, I wasn’t convinced. I welcomed the still paradise that greeted me when the switch was shut off. Complete and utter silence engulfed us and Maluhia seemed to take a deep sigh of relief as she settled back to center and slowly bobbed along in the lake like sea. Not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind, and the bright sun beating down on us warming our frigid limbs and drying out the salty air that infiltrated through our vessel. “What’s so bad about this?” I asked Mike who in return gave me a gentle smirk and replied “just wait”.

We took advantage of the calm and busied ourselves with projects around the boat. DSC06160Mike pulled out the sewing machine so he could repair our headsail that started to tear during our week of crazy wind. I proceeded to clean the boat inside and out while baking goodies for us to enjoy when the winds picked back up. We even delighted in a much needed blue water swim/bath, which was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time (fortunately my fears of a giant shark having me for his dinner did not come true). It seemed to me that the doldrums were the perfect little break that we needed to ease ourselves back into offshore sailing.

DSC06181Slowly with each passing day, I grew restless of not moving and began to obsess over our course, specifically how much distance we still had to cover. The threats were coming forward in my mind as I started to picture us bobbing in the same spot for 45 days with no food or water to drink (we didn’t have time to get our water maker hooked up before this trip). I was living the nightmare of the doldrums. Three days in and we seemed to actually be moving backwards and twirling in the middle of the Pacific. The sea had become a minefield of rubbish and the only thing catching on our fishing lures was plastic, nets, and rubber. Maluhia gracefully dodged giant fenders, glass fishing balls, and partially submerged containers that had fallen off the freighters and we worried about the debris snaring our prop or gashing our hull. This was not good. I sheepishly asked Mike for his thoughts on turning on the motor, even though I knew that he was adamDSC06204antly against it. He delighted in my realization of the horror of the doldrums and shot me a told you so glance. Yet, despite his purist beliefs on firing up the “iron genny” (motor), he actually was all for it provided that it would work. You see as we were leaving Honolulu, our engine overheated, and while Mike was able to amend the problem at the time, we hadn’t fired it up since. This would be our tell all moment: are we sailing purist with no engine on this trip or will we be able to compromise and get a little push out of the doldrums? Fortunately for us, the motor worked just fine and we eventually made it back into the glorious wind! No more hand steering (we also don’t have an auto pilot which is another reason why we don’t like motoring) and no bobbing about for 45 days hungry and thirsty! Maluhia assumed her heeling position to the port and charged through the rolly seas delighted to be moving once again.  

Our celebration of passing through the doldrums was shared amongst our DSC06224community of fellow sailors also making the passage. We have a network of 3 other vessels out here and it has been one of the best things about this crossing. We all check in via SSB twice daily to share positions, weather conditions, and amusing stories (we even had a rendition of Happy Birthday for one of the Captains). We are neck and neck with a boat called, Good News, who is also heading to San Francisco. Our main weather informant is John on Sherpa, who is heading to Santa Barbara. Finally, our dear friend and beloved comic relief Robbie on Q-Wave (our original buddy boat from Honolulu) is heading to Mexico. We also check in with Robbie every three hours throughout the day to keep each other company and to help each other figure out our best options for routing. Robbie has been sailing for 40 years and is on his 4th circumnavigation. His wisdom is like gold to us as he has really inspired us and encouraged us in this lifestyle. Mike says he has never had this kind of community on a crossing before and we are both really enjoying it. It helps to know that there are others out there close by just in case anything goes wrong. It is also nice to hear how everyone handles themselves out here. For instance, Aj, the youngest crew member out here (18) vividly describes his dreams of a Five Guys Burger over the net as he points out the lack of homemade meals on board and the fact that he ate his way through his three week stash of goodies all within the first week. Robbie on the otheDSC06154r hand keeps us entertained with the trials and tribulations that he has faced on this crossing. Between torn headsails, battery acid infused back up sails waiting to blow apart any minute, his prop being entangled by a net, and a wave coming inside and soaking his electric panel (just to name a few); it is hard not to feel sorry for the guy. We almost turned around a number of times to provide assistance, but the distance between our boats was so great and it was too dangerous to do so with all the nasty weather lurking about. Through it all he has remained in good spirits, but we really worry about him. We have established a great bond out here with these fellow sailors, and we seek refuge in their voices at our twice daily meet ups.

After twenty days at sea, we have finally had a rendezvous with one of our buddy DSC06266boats from our SSB net! We have spotted the sails of Good News many times in the past two weeks, however, we have never been close enough to see the hull of the boat. On this particular morning, we happened to be in the right place at the right time. We were so close and our paths were going to cross in no time. Mike took over the helm and steered us right for their boat, while I went down below and prepared a bag of cookies and fresh baked bread to pass along to the men who didn’t do much cooking on board. I gave them a hail on the VHF asking if they could see us. They had been down below so they didn’t know how close we were, so when they looked outside we heard them screaming and laughing over the radio at our proximity. It was such a fantastic moment as we approached this vessel that up until this point we only knew as voices over the SSB. Mike did an incredible job steering under full sail, as I hung over the bow sprit with a fully extended boat hook bearing my bag of goodies. It was bumpy and wet, and it seemed like we wouldn’t be able to get close enough, but just as I doubted it, the perfect swell pushed us up right next to their starboard side and Aj, eagerly grabbed the goodies off the boat hook. We all laughed and relished in theDSC06264 moment. All of us except Mike that is. When I looked back at him at the helm, he had a look of utmost concern and worry. Later, I discovered that what he managed to pull off was an incredible feat. He was so worried about crashing into their hull and it took him extreme concentration and skill to make it all happen. He really is an amazing Captain. That was a most memorable experience!

Out here in the open ocean, everything becomes clear. We have finally had a chance to relax a bit; a welcomed reprieve after the last few months of pushing to finish up our jobs and get the boat ready for this crossing. I knew we were stressed out at the time, but looking back we were out of our minds! I am sure there are things that we missed; friends we didn’t say goodbye to and little important details that accompanied the boat work. But, we did what we could to do and pulled off somewhat of a miracleDSC06139 trying to balance everything. Many wonder why we rushed out of Maui like we did, and the reason is because of the weather and the difficulty we were having with the inconsistencies of the harbors. The beginning of September is the absolute last window for crossing the Pacific, and many would even say that September is too late. We took a gamble and well we have certainly been experiencing one of the weirdest years of weather out here according to many seasoned sailors and weather routers. This is Mike’s 5th crossing at this time of year and he has never seen weather quite like this. While we seem to remain unscathed from the threats that loom around us (a hurricane below and gales above and behind us), those threats do not go unnoticed and they require us to be creative with our route planning.

All told, we have been pretty lucky with the weather provided all the odditiesDSC06250 that are surrounding us. We have been able to carry on normally with most activities and find fishing (to date we have 8 Mahi Mahi and 1 Tuna), reading, and movies to be most popular for our daily activities. Most days have been pretty mellow and we canter along through the mild swells like a wild horse. This boat can run! Our buddies from the net constantly wonder how we move so fast,  and they pick Mike’s brain as if he is the ultimate sail trimmer with an intuition that can’t be rivaled. While this is partly true (that boy DSC06196certainly knows how to manipulate sails), he would tell you that he is lazy and just lets the boat do what she wants to do. We feel as if Maluhia is like a caged animal set free (she did sit tied up to a dock for about 16 years) running with reckless abandon, steering her own course. We follow her lead assisting only when mother nature decides to take the upper hand and make her presence well known. 

I am longing for the doldrums once again. The closer we getDSC06280 to land, the worse the conditions become. We haven’t seen the sun in days, it is freezing, the entire boat is soaked inside from the dew and salty air (thank you leaky windows), the seas are huge and confused, and it is blowing up to 35 knots. We took down the main sail yesterday as the winds started to build and we are now only moving under storm sail alone. We are now on a starboard heel (or a port tack) so we have had to adjust to everything being launched the other direction. It haDSC06283s become hard to even move around down below and it is miserable to be outside in the cockpit. I have been chef extraordinaire on this passage (a trainee in the school of Chef Mike’s crash course to offshore cooking) and now I can’t even begin to think about trying to cook (did I mention that our freezer is full of about 8 Mahi Mahi and 1 giant Tuna just waiting to be eaten?) At times like these, I result to doing what I do best…sleep! Somehow I can sleep through the roughest conditions, and I am thankful for that, but I have to make sure my Captain gets his rest too. We are 200 miles from the entrance to San Francisco, but with these conditions it may take us up to 3 days (normally it would take us a day to a day and a half). I have Mexico on my mindDSC06299 as I rummage through our vessel on all fours looking for anything that will keep me warm (really regretting leaving all warm clothing in California at this moment). Unfortunately, my fuzzy socks that brought me so much joy upon their finding have become a deathtrap as I quickly learned when I jumped out of my bunk and slid across the wooden floor at rocket speed and crashed face first into the closets. Are we there yet? Defeated, I crawl under damp blankets shivering to sleep dreaming of our arrival.

Three Copy of Kelly's Photos 703years ago this exact same time of year, Mike and I crossed under the Golden Gate bridge in his boat Isabella. The seas were rough and I remember frantically writing a blog down below as if I were writing my last will and testament. Mike and I were still getting to know each other and that was our first big passage together (Kelly's Photos 704my very first offshore passage). I remember being amazed at his ability to work so well under such immense pressure; he wasn’t even fazed by the seas that were crashing over him. I was in awe of him and completely trusted this man with my life even though I barely knew him. Knowing I was consumed by fear, he gently coaxed me out of the cabin to witness the full moon above the Golden Gate, and in that breathtaking moment, I knew everything would always be ok.

Now as we finally cross the entrance this go round after 23 hours of motoring through dense fog, I am not consumed with fear, but rather I am filled with joy and confidence. With the completion of this 24 day passage  I DSC06307have now reached 11,000 offshore miles at sea in the three years I have been with Mike, and I have gained an abundance of knowledge that continues to expand each and every day of this lifestyle. For us crossing under this bridge three years later is the pinnacle of reflection and significance for we are returning married, with a new boat, and a wealth of experiences under our belts that have colored our lives in such a brilliant way. It is the end of the beginning of our voyage..a small stepping stone to the bigger adventures that lie ahead.

Land ho!!! Its time for a beer!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And We're Off!

At last, the time is here! Today is the beginning of an amazing journey for us aboard Maluhia. I would love to say that we are feeling refreshed and ready, however, it is not really the case for us. We sailed from Maui to Oahu with a little pit stop in Molokai overnight. It was beautiful and we had great sailing weather, which got us excited for our voyage. Upon arrival in Oahu, we were greeted with a lot of interesting situations: a lot of headache from the state harbor, many interesting characters scoping out our boat looking to rip us off, and shady characters out of their minds giving us a general feeling of suspicion and uneasiness. Additionally, we were tied up next to the harbor dumpster, which provided us with ample entertainment as we watched all the people that horded around and went for a little "dive" amongst the rubbish.

It hasn't been all bad though! We met an amazing man named Robby who has sailed around the world for 40 years and circumnavigated single handed 4 times. He has provided us with a wealth of information and has greatly entertained us with his stories. We have been tied up next to him since we arrived here and now we are all leaving together so that we can have a companion out there in the big blue. He is heading for Mexico, so at some stage our paths will split, but it is nice to have another boat to leave with and know that there is someone else out there! He has really helped us get all of our systems dialed and has provided us with some really awesome ideas that we hope we will get to follow through with in the future. He has become a great mentor and friend.

So now, we are finishing up the last of what we need to do to head out. This isn't the  most exciting blog post because I am a bit worn out, have just woken up, and haven't even gotten a drop of coffee in me. I had the option to stay up late and write a killer blog or get a little sleep and rush a post this morning before departure...I obviously chose the latter. This is it for awhile! We think it will take us roughly 26 days to get to San Francisco, weather permitting. We are leaving a bit rushed and sooner than we anticipated due to ample hours of studying the weather and realizing that this is our best window to go. So for now, farewell and I will check in when we arrive to San Francisco (or wherever the wind may take us)!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


If you look up the Hawaiian word Maluhia, you will find definitions such as: "serenity", "peace", "calm", "silence", "safety", "at ease", and "placid". It is only fitting that this is the name of our new boat and the feelings that she has imparted on us since we have made her our home. I finally feel a sense of serenity that I have not felt in quite some time. Maybe it is the lapping waves against the hull or the gentle rocking motion that quickly comforts me and sends me into a sweet slumber. Or perhaps, it is the long desired peace and quiet of no roommates, no roosters, and no loud neighbors. I forgot how placid life is while living at sea. Alas, Maluhia!

We have been living on board our lovely boat for about a month and a half now, and we are both thankful for everything that this lifestyle has to offer. There have been challenges (of course), but if anything these obstacles have shown us how great of a boat we have. The hot, balmy summers that we typically expect here in Lahaina have been more like winters with frequent showers, big swells, and nasty fronts with 50 mph winds surrounding us. We have had rough dinghy rides out to the boat late at night dressed in full foul weather gear huddled on the floor of the dinghy in crash position with waves breaking over us. We even had waves crashing over Maluhia swamping our bunk...talk about serious weather on a mooring ball! That's boating in Hawaii for you! Everyone tells me that if I can survive living on a mooring here, I will be golden as this is probably one of the hardest mooring spots we will ever encounter. I have rather enjoyed the challenge and I feel very happy about having an extremely heavy boat that makes me feel safe. 

Its not all rough out there either. We have really beautiful days where I delight in laying out on the deck of the boat with friends or we enjoy a sail to neighboring islands or anchorages (days off permitting). Unfortunately, we do not get to do as much sailing as we would like, but we know that this is something that we will get our fill of very soon in the near future! With opposite work schedules, Mike and I hardly got to enjoy the newly wed bliss we were hoping for. We are lucky to even see each other some days, let alone get our major projects done on the boat. We both are really looking forward to having some time off soon.

The summer months are breezing by and before we know it, it will be time for us to set sail on our first big adventure aboard our new boat. We are planning on leaving Hawaii in September and making a crossing over to San Francisco to pick up our stuff and to try and sell our other vessel Isabella. From there we will head down the California coast to Mexico, and eventually will continue down the Central and South American coast lines. Stay tuned for updates as we spend the next few months getting prepared for our journey!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Last Week of Singledom

Well folks, we are in the final week of singledom! Scary how quickly time has passed since our engagement. As if a wedding hasn't been enough to think about, we threw in buying a new sailboat just to keep us on our toes! We really are gluttons for punishment. I feel like I haven't seen Mike for the entire month, which really is making me realize that I am so happy to have him in my life. I am delighted that this is my last week of singledom! I have the best partner in the world to share an exciting life with.

It has been an exhausting couple weeks for us trying to get everything figured out. Our patience has certainly been tried and we have had a few bumps in the road as always. It wouldn't be life if we didn't have those obstacles, and we are thankful for them because they help us appreciate all the positive things that we have going on right now. It is the perfect yin and yang balance.

Mike shipped off to Oahu back at the beginning of the month to start making an assessment of things we needed for our new boat. He practically lived at the West Marine store over there, sifting through all the "stuff", dreaming of all the luxuries, and walking out with the essentials. He did an incredible job getting things together as best he could given the rushed time frame and all the obstacles that he encountered along the way.

The biggest problem that he encountered was finding blisters on the bottom of the boat once it was hauled out for dry dock. We had been told there weren't any blisters, but with older fiberglass boats, there is always a possibility. Mike worked around the clock repairing the blisters as best as he could accepting the fact that this is going to be something we are going to have to deal with again in the future. With the help of his friend Jesse, they breezed through the dry dock checking the important things like through hulls, fixing the bottom, and giving her a nice new bottom paint job. While there are still a million things to do on the boat, these were the priority given the short amount of time the boat was hauled out. Oh! I almost forgot, Mike also installed our refrigeration through hull and unit which means there will be iced coffee on board for me in the very near future!

I flew over to Oahu last Sunday to help Mike wrap up dry dock and get the boat back in the water to sail her back to Maui. Unfortunately, things did not go according to the plan as we had hoped. The winds picked up and there were reports of 45-50 mph winds in the channel we were going to be crossing. We decided not to put the stress on the boat and ourselves, and spent the remainder of the few days getting the rest of the essential equipment. Although bummed about not getting to sail back with Mike, I was happy to get off Maui for a bit and have a change of scenery. It was a welcoming couple day break from work, leaving me even more anxious for my two weeks of vacation coming up next week! I flew back to Maui feeling exhausted, yet relieved that things were working out so well.

Just this morning Mike finally made it back to Maui with the lovely Maluhia (formerly The Good Guys). It took him 22 hours of fighting strong winds (30-35) and dealing with the problems that he found with the boat along the way. Fortunately, nothing too serious happened, but they did encounter a few hiccups that made it a bit interesting. Being an older boat, Mike was expecting this, and  he dealt with everything as it came and still made it back safely. His ability to adapt and roll with the punches makes him ideal for this kind of stuff. Something breaks, no problem! Mike figures out a quick way to jury rig it or work without it. I really love this about him! I was so happy to hear from him this morning!

Now we are trying to get everything ready without causing too much stress for ourselves. We have encountered problems with the Harbor here, which is no surprise to us at this stage (Hawaii really is tough for boaters). It isn't anything that we can't figure out, but it requires us to be a bit more creative and to shift our priorities around a bit. Being a type A personality, it is hard for me to not have everything perfect in a matter of time. I just have to keep remembering that everything will fall into place as it it meant to. For now our biggest lesson is patience and maintaining a positive attitude...and that is pretty darn easy as we sit in the cockpit of our new home enjoying our coffee as we gaze at the crystal blue water around us and delight in the the cool breeze and the hot sun above us. Man it feels good to be back out on the water!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Everything Happens for a Reason

"Everything happens for a reason," is a saying I grew up hearing frequently and came to love and make my mantra. Mike and I have incorporated it into our lives, however, through the bumpy patches, it is not always easy to fully commit to the belief that everything will work out how it is meant to.

Back in August, Mike and I flew over to Oahu to look at a 40' boat that we were interested in buying together to have as our home. We got really excited by the boat and everything seemed to be working in our favor, but at the last minute, the owner changed her mind and ended the deal. We were bummed, but we moved on figuring that it just wasn't meant to be.

Just this past week, we heard that the boat was still up for sale and the owner was getting desperate to get rid of the boat. Our friends planted the bug in our ears about the situation, once again igniting the excitement that we had previously felt for the possibility of buying the boat. We hummed and hawed over it and researched the current situation regarding a guy that she was committed to selling the boat to. We discovered that a certain buyer had been evaluating the sale for 2 months and kept falling short when it came down to actually paying for the boat. They were giving him a final deadline and if he didn't show up, we could place an offer and see where it would go from there.

It was a long week of waiting and uncertainty. I had to keep Mike busy with projects so he didn't go insane not knowing! We kept putting positive energy out into the universe, knowing that it would work out if it was meant to. Finally, the day of the deadline approached and we made a plan to head down to our friends' boat a little early to see if the buyer would show up. He never did! We moved in on our opportunity, made an offer, and got the boat! I was so proud of Mike. He was patient through it all and did a great job negotiating. We just can't believe that it really happened! Timing is so much of everything, and the timing was certainly right for us. It once again goes to show that everything happens for a reason.

So now, as if we don't have enough going on with our wedding approaching, we have a boat to fix up and make our new home. It is all very exciting and we are ecstatic that we now have a new home to settle into as newlyweds at the end of the month. Mike was shipped out to Oahu two days ago to get the boat, dry dock her, and eventually bring her back to Maui. From there, we will fix her up for the summer and still carry on with our plans to sail to Central and South America in the very near future. Life is always exciting and we are loving every twist and turn that is thrown our way!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Updates from Paradise

It has been an exciting time for us lately as we prepare for our wedding in April. Time seems to be moving so quickly, but it is a nice feeling since there are so many positive things surrounding us. We are having a small beach wedding with our dear family members, who are traveling so far to be with us for this special day. We are so happy to share this day with our loved ones and cannot wait to show them around Maui! I have created a wedding website so everyone can be involved with the events of our big day.

Our wedding website: