Here Comes The Bride – A Sigh of Relief!

No, no, the relief is not because my daughter Julia is finally married!!! There’s no “finally” about it and we’re thrilled to have the best new son-in-law ever in Tim! Well, OK, as it turns out there was a ‘finally’ involved with the wedding…read on.

The relief is because the wedding marked the end of the complex 9 month deadline-driven treadmill of a path Alan and I have been on. It started last October with flying to the Annapolis boat show to look for a boat, flying to Florida, finding our catamaran Swanie, now Vivacia (aka V2), flying back to Baja, back to Florida for the survey, back to Baja, then wound through buying the boat, selling the rental house no thanks to hurricane Matthew, selling our beautiful Vivacia (now referred to as V1), buying a car, buying a trailer (separate trips to San Diego), moving from Baja to Florida (how can we have so much stuff!?), selling the car and trailer, sailing V2 1000 miles to Annapolis for our flight to meet friends in Venice, Italy, chartering a catamaran with them and others in Croatia, flying back to Baltimore, then finally flying to Houston to accompany our daughter, Julia, to her wedding in Emerald Lake, near Banff, British Colombia. Throw in all the requisite logistical complications and glitches along the way and it’s been quite a ride!

But enough about that. The wedding was spectacular and turned out to be rather a story in itself, which I will tell as usual mainly in pictures and captions. First, we had to get there which involved flying to Houston, then to Calgary where we rented cars for the drive up to Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake was a spectacular venue for a wedding, despite the fact that wedding day, July 1, also happened to be Canada Day in the year of Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in which access to all national parks was free. Can you say crowded? Julia and Tim treated their 30 family and friend guests like royalty, providing gift bags, food, drinks, and activities starting with hot dogs and s’mores on wedding eve.

Wedding day started out bright and sunny and went pretty much as planned with hair, makeup, dressing, and the big reveal of the bride and groom to each other (he’s on the balcony, she approaches behind him, he turns around to see her), followed by a walk to the ceremony venue.

Come the 3pm ceremony time the weather was perfect, the guests were seated. But just a couple people were missing. Uncle Joe had misjudged the traffic delays coming up from Field, and the wedding commissioner was nowhere to be found. Joe arrived. The commissioner didn’t. The sun threw up it’s hands in disgust and let the rain briefly take over. Sun and rain continued to tag team it as half an hour stretched into an hour. Wedding planner reports of “the commissioner is on her way”, and “the commissioner is in the parking lot” materialized and vaporized, only serving to delay the brilliant contingency plan hatched by the quietly panicked bride and her supportive family and friends.

All we heard was that the wedding commissioner thought the ceremony was at 4. Which then begs the question of why she showed up at 4:30. Somehow I doubt their fee was refunded. Through it all the bride was the picture of calm, the guests were happy, and it was really special having Uncle Joe perform the ceremony – ironic since had the commissioner showed on time he might have missed it (though I suspect we would have waited). And why, you might ask, weren’t these people communicating by phone? It just so happens there’s no cell service at the lake.

The reception was loads of fun, most of the group carrying on until the place turned into a pumpkin at midnight.

Monday after the wedding Julia and Tim did a beyond belief helicopter photo shoot. Many guests made a vacation out of the trip, traveling to other nearby wonders of nature. We visited a couple ourselves, which I’ll save for another post. If you’ve made it this far through so many pictures, I thank you!

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Posted in 2017A Catamaran Life on the East Coast, All Posts, Other Fun Stuff | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Croatian Interlude

Transients, that’s us! Our Vivacia is now safely ensconced here so we can fly away and cheat on her with another catamaran in Croatia. Tomorrow we spend a few days with friends in Venice, then ferry over to Split, Croatia where we meet more friends for a week of sailing on the Adriatic Sea. We leave tonight…think I’d better go pack.

Posted in 2017A Catamaran Life on the East Coast, All Posts, Other Fun Stuff | 1 Comment

Tangled, not Mangled!

A little good news. If you read my May 21 Perils of Pauline post, you know that we were down to one engine after snagging something underwater while drifting around waiting for a bridge to open. A few days ago a very Good Samaritan passing swimmer (Brrrr) dove down to survey the damage for us (We hadn’t managed to pull out the face mask yet). Look what he came up with! The propellor and drive shaft are fine now.

On the other side of the coin, you may notice in the picture that Vivacia is no longer in the background. That’s because the second day after arriving we dragged anchor AGAIN! (Also see previous post) We watched in disbelief from the window as Vivacia headed off to visit the neighbors, slowly sidling to the right all afternoon despite only a light breeze. When she reached the 3rd dock down we grudgingly moved her to a mooring down the creek to the left. Then promptly returned to the house and ordered a new Spade anchor. As opposed to the plough style Delta that came with the boat. Which lived up to its name, ploughing a perfect furrow for about 200 feet along the muddy bottom!

Posted in 2017A Catamaran Life on the East Coast | 3 Comments

A Dream Come True

A 12 year dream come true, Vivacia anchored off my brother’s dock in Annapolis! Ever since we decided back in San Francisco to retire onto a boat, we hoped one day to make it here. It didn’t happen quite how we thought, but here we are! In the second shot I’m with my brother, Bob, on Vivacia looking back at his house and dock. Do I look happy or what?

 

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Blackwater Creek to Portsmouth – The Perils of Pauline

What a difference a day makes…in our surroundings, the nighttime sounds, and our own well-being. It all started out well enough with a lovely rest day, thanks to the North Landing Bridge failing in the closed position 10 miles up the ICW. Alan was able to get our fender boards rigged for use against the east coast’s ubiquitous dock pilings, and fire up the dinghy outboard for the first time.

One final bit of serendipity was my capturing a picture of a lightning bolt in an approaching evening storm.

Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. When the storm wind hit from an angle 90 degrees away from that in which we had sat pretty in strong wind for 24 hours, the anchor immediately pulled out of the mud and we slipped rapidly sideways towards a catamaran that had anchored fairly close behind us. I’m sure he had kittens before we managed to get our engines fired up and miss him by just a few yards. We tried re-anchoring after the rain stopped, but dragged again. The safest option was to go further up the creek where the only thing we could bump into was the marsh. Luckily the night was quiet, except for the unbelievably loud marsh-creature chorus, and all was well with the world…we thought.

All was only well until the next day when an oblivious monohull named Footloose (ironically, the 5th boat in the drone shot) caused us to drift too close to shore while waiting for a bridge to open.  In shifting our starboard engine into forward to start moving again, all hell broke loose as the starboard prop must have hit something submerged. This after they caused us difficulty at the two previous bridge openings. Pay attention to the effect of your dawdling on those behind you, dude! He NEVER looked behind him in tight situations with other boats. So now we are down to only one engine. Not a good thing on a catamaran which depends on 2 engines while anchoring and for maneuverability in tight spaces.

Speaking of tight spaces, immediately following that bridge was a lock in which they crammed these same boats and several behind us – a big crowd thanks to the backlog from yesterday and the day before’s stuck-closed bridge. But Alan did a masterful job of maneuvering us into position, no thanks to Footloose who, after heading over to the left side as we headed right, suddenly switched sides and cut in front of us. The lock lowered us about 3 feet and after about 45 minutes we were on our way again.

Approaching Norfolk, the weather turned cloudy, cold, and very windy. Just in time for another tight space maneuver coming into a side tie between other boats in the north basin in downtown Portsmouth. Unfortunately this one didn’t work out so well. Without the starboard engine we didn’t quite complete the required tight left turn against a strong wind. We have some damage in the form of gel coat scrapes and gouges on the starboard forward hull from metal piling tops, plus a pretty bent stern rail. Luckily the other boat was fine since we were only blown onto his anchor.

Within an hour of our arrival at this busy public and ferry dock, a band had set up in the on-the-water stage and we were treated to very good rock music from 4 to 10 PM. What a departure from the nature serenade of the last two nights! We do feel badly for the organizers since the cold and wind has kept attendance to a minimum, despite the all-you-can-drink beer truck!

We’ve decided to wait until Annapolis to deal with the possibly damaged prop. Anchoring will be tricky with only one engine, but we’ll cross our fingers for benign conditions that will keep us out of trouble.

Posted in 2017A Catamaran Life on the East Coast | 2 Comments

May 18 – Almost to Norfolk

Just a day out of Norfolk…MAYBE. It all depends on whether or not they get the North Landing swing bridge fixed tomorrow. Seems as of midday today it’s stuck in the closed position. Too bad if it had to be stuck it isn’t in the open position. Cars have alternate routes. Boats don’t. So they’ve been stacking up at marinas and anchorages north and south of said bridge.

Rather than the $85 side tie along with the rest of the crowd, we opted for tucking along the shoreline of Blackwater creek with its raucous nighttime serenade of insects, frogs, and birds. And the occasional military jet from Camp Lejeune.

This morning started off with wildlife too, in the form of a snake curled around our anchor snubber. He jumped ship at the first bouncy boat wake, luckily preferring that to continuing on up the line onto the deck!

For a touch of irony, the last 3 days we’ve been playing hopscotch with none other than a beautiful Caliber 40 from Annapolis MD! No regrets, we loved ours but are seriously happy on the new Vivacia!

Today was a long 12 hr day of trying to stay inside the lines and dodge crab pots when in “open” water. Despite narrow stretches with depths of 1 ft on either side (based on the chart, not on being able to see) we managed not to runaround. Unlike yesterday when once again we briefly managed to assist with the bottom dredging effort. All part of the ICW game.

Posted in 2017A Catamaran Life on the East Coast, All Posts | Tagged | 1 Comment

Boats and Blogs, Starting Over – May 2017

Our life has taken a sharp right turn and landed on two hulls cruising up the east coast. So now seems like a good time to try a new tack with this blog as well. Sadly, I never managed to share the amazing pictures and stories that came out of last year’s adventurous trek down the west coast of Mexico and up into the Sea of Cortez. Well, that’s not quite true. I did post on Facebook where it’s quick and easy and spontaneous. In contrast, writing a blog post is such a big undertaking that it never gets done anymore.

Unfortunately many of you with whom I care about sharing aren’t on Facebook, or certainly you would have “friended” me the last time I blamed it for my lack of posts. Instead you are neglected and I apologize. The compromise solution? I’ll try to copy my FB posts here. Not the clever, cohesive posts you’re used to (wink wink) but better than nothing. Who knows, maybe I’ll throw in a few extra pictures now and then, or at least add a caption or two, kind of like fooling myself into doing a post.  That way it won’t be completely redundant for those of you that ARE on Facebook. We’ll see how it goes.

Just last week we headed north on our first big voyage. Here’s my FB post from May 7:

We never would have believed last year when we decided it was time to go catamaran, that just over a year later we’d be spending our first day on the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) heading from Florida to Annapolis in our floating condo! It was a day of firsts. Our first time driving the new boat ourselves, first time asking a bridge to open for us, first time on the at-times harrowing ICW, first time anchoring the new boat. First time trusting that our 63.2 foot mast really was going to fit under those 65 foot bridges, despite the disturbing optical illusion saying otherwise.

Sunday was hardly the best day for our first since on the weekends the ICW is a freakin’ zoo. But after barely making it out of the marina for dodging all the little boats clustered around the fuel dock (we gave up on the idea of getting fuel ourselves) we managed to stay inside the lines and not run aground outside the narrow ICW. Parts of the channel itself shoal quickly so sometimes dredging operations become an obstacle to get around. Once all the panic subsided and we settled into the flow, we even managed to gain a little speed by bringing the mainsail out for awhile. At last we anchored for the night and popped open a welcome cold one! 26 miles down, only 975-ish to go. Yikes.

For the next few days I was either too tired to put anything up on Facebook, or we were out at sea. But here’s the post I did today. Light on pictures as time and energy were short, but here’s the story:

We’re tired, taking a day off at the marina in Morehead City NC to wash off the salt, do a little maintenance, and not have to be vigilant for a day. Navigating on the ICW takes constant careful planning (to be where you can anchor when it gets dark), timing (for scheduled bridge openings), and steering, unlike a nice (you hope) passage at sea where you set the autopilot and read a book. But then again, the ICW is flat and the sea is bouncy. And you can stop at night rather than stay up on watch. But then you can’t go as far. Tradeoffs.

Over the last week we’ve done both and continued having “firsts”. Including running aground (got off ourselves), getting fuel (cha ching), heading out to sea (4 days and 3 nights, mostly under sail), getting beaten down and diverted south by earlier-than-predicted strong head-winds and rough seas (spray over the top, violent pitching, lost 2 days making up the distance in the ICW), and finally docking in this marina (completely f-ed it up in heavy wind and current). Docking a boat is kind of like landing a plane though. They say any landing (docking) you can walk away from without damage or injury is a good one. I’ll take it. Lessons learned. I’ll get over the embarrassment somehow. Chocolate perhaps.

Early tomorrow morning (Tuesday) we head north again. 200 more miles up the winding ICW and then a couple hundred up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis.

I’ll end with our new Facebook profile picture. Two very happy people loving their new home. Missing you all.

Posted in 2017A Catamaran Life on the East Coast, All Posts | 5 Comments

Acapulco 2016

Instead of our usual winter cruising, right now we’re sitting at the dock in La Paz readying Vivacia for her soon-to-be new owner. The survey (like a home inspection) is on Feb. 27 and we have no doubt she will pass with flying colors. As we approach the time to sadly leave our beautiful girl, I’ll continue belatedly sharing last year’s grand adventures with her.

About this time in 2016 we were voyaging 800 miles southeast along mainland Mexico’s Pacific coast, buddy boating with Jim and Jess on sv Hajime. The last familiar stop was Acapulco, our southernmost point the previous year. Again we had a great time there, the story as always told by pictures and their captions. (Save yourself scrolling through them by clicking on the first one and then stepping through the full sized versions with your arrow keys.)

Posted in 2016B Mainland Mexico to Huatulco and back, All Posts | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Going to the Gray Side

We interrupt this slowly appearing series of catch-up blogs to bring you this late-breaking news bulletin (Well, OK, so it’s not terribly breaking for those following along on Facebook, but it contains lots of pictures you haven’t seen):

Our beautiful Vivacia is up for sale. Having kept us safe on many great adventures, hopefully she will soon set off on a new journey fulfilling someone else’s dream. It will be a bittersweet goodbye as she will always have a place in our hearts, but it’s time to move on.

If a sailor with a monohull moving to a motor boat is deemed going to the Dark Side, then I guess that means moving to a catamaran is going to the Gray Side. In any case, as of Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 we own 2 boats on 2 coasts in 2 countries. Meet Swanie, our 2008 Antares 44i soon to be renamed Vivacia.

Our original plan was to cruise Vivacia through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean and east coast, but we got waylaid by the good livin’ in Mexico. In addition, as we age – uh, make that mature – we are feeling the need for more room and stability. Plus we’d really like a guest stateroom suitable for family and friends. Hint Hint.

The solution? Buy a catamaran in Florida, explore that side of the world for a few years, then sail back to Mexico where the warmth of the climate and the people, the amazing cruising community, plus the low cost of living and great food, have proven irresistible. In fact, in a perfect stroke of bad timing, as of Dec. 8 we finally competed the complex, expensive, multi-year process of obtaining our Mexican permanent resident visas, just in time to leave!

On October 4-11 we headed to the Annapolis boat show (good excuse to go visit my brother, Bob and his lovely wife Debbie!) and then to Florida in search of just the right catamaran. It took nearly 24 sleepless hours to get there from La Paz, via Ft. Lauderdale. But at least our Florida boat searching was right on the way home!

Ever since Alan learned of the Antares from a fellow cruiser, it’s been his dream boat, at least on paper as we’d never actually seen one. There are only about 50 of them, used ones are rarely offered for sale, and they were not represented at the boat show. Coincidentally, Swanie came onto the market just as we arrived in Florida where we found one serious contender after looking at a variety of boats. She was beyond our budget, but Alan still needed to see Swanie to “get Antares out of his system.” Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. She was a dream and we just had to make it work. Following is a series of pictures of just why.

We made a second trip out to Florida for the survey where Michael, the owner, joined us. The day after the survey he spent hours guiding us through every boat system! Coincidentally he lives in San Diego. We thoroughly enjoyed lunch with he and the real Swanie during our annual Thanksgiving visit to see Alan’s family, and mean to keep them as friends.

Survey day was lots of fun, including a trip over to a boat yard where Swanie was pulled out for hull inspection. The surveyor put her through her paces, including unfurling the sails one at a time.

We are excited to move on with our new life. All we gotta do is sell Vivacia, move to Florida, and negotiate our way 250 miles up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to be out of Florida within 6 months of December 2. It sounds so simple, NOT!

Meanwhile, I will continue to catch up with picture blogs about our 1700 mile buddy boating adventure with Jim and Jess on sv Hajime earlier this year, plus our amazing summer in the Sea of Cortez.

Posted in 2016C, All Posts, Other Fun Stuff | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Good Times and Guitars in Zihuatanejo

Here’s a happy look back at our March sojourn in Zihuatanejo. Dear friends Mike and Val of sister Caliber 40 Red Sky visited from San Franciso. They, Jim and Jess of Hajime, and we are all “Kuony Birds”, brought together by our boat dealer and friend, John, and now “flying” far and wide in our boats. The six of us had an amazing, though all too brief, few days enjoying each other, beautiful Zihuatanejo, and the International Guitar Festival.  I’ll start with a favorite picture of Red Sky and Vivacia from years past. As usual these days, the story is told in the picture captions.

Posted in 2016B Mainland Mexico to Huatulco and back, All Posts | 1 Comment

Barra, Santiago, Las Hadas, Oh My!

Here’s one more installment in my attempt to catch up my way-behind blog! After all the farewells to family and friends in Banderas Bay, we headed south along the mainland Mexico coast. Last year in Barra de Navidad the leaking head had to be rebuilt. We never even got off the boat in Santiago. And time in Las Hadas was spent chasing down options regarding our suddenly leaking water heater. So THIS year we hoped to only play, not repair! Luckily Murphy’s Law stayed at bay and our wish was granted!

Next stop, Zihuatanejo GuitarFest!

 

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Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta) Jan 2016

Visits from family and friends are one of the best parts of cruising. First, daughter Julia and her fiancee, Tim, accompanied by friends Tomas and Kelsey, came to La Cruz and stayed at our favorite Simply Baku. Second, Elizabeth’s brother, Bob visited us at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta. Both visits were way too short!
(If you get tired of scrolling down through the photos, you can click on any picture to open the sequence as a full size gallery and just arrow through it.)

Posted in 2016A Banderas Bay, All Posts | Leave a comment

An Interview with Guess Who?

Just in case you ever had the burning desire to sit down and chat with us for an hour or so about our journey to and views of the cruising life…here, for your viewing/listening pleasure (or perhaps as a sleep aid) is just such a dubious treat! This is one of a handful of interviews with full-time cruisers done by Radu and Katja Negru in their Project:Cruiser’s Life series on YouTube. Enjoy!

Posted in All Posts, Other Fun Stuff | 8 Comments

Bahamas Adventure, December 2015

Once again laziness and Facebook (the devil?) made me neglect my beloved blog followers, for which I apologize. Pictures are worth 1000 words. So starting to make amends, here are snippets of our December 2015 Bahamas charter with Kimberley and Garth from sv Irish Diplomacy. And, of course, my usual lame attempts at caption humor.

Posted in 2015E Bahamas, All Posts | 3 Comments

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part 3: La Cruz, Les Miserables, and La Paz!

Miserables, as in, don’t spend the dripping hot summer in La Cruz without air conditioning! What wimps.

The third segment of our summer consisted of house sitting for our friend Marianne, owner of Simply Baku, the beachfront casitas where twice, soon to be three times, we have brought family and friends for a visit. Marianne needed some time away while shut-down for the summer, and we were happy to oblige, always up for a new adventure.

Turns out this was the hottest summer anyone can remember in awhile. In contrast to the rental units, the main house where we were staying has no air conditioning. Nor does it have all the doors screened against the regiments of mosquitoes lying in wait. We never lacked for company, becoming best buddies with all manner of small creatures of the reptile, rodent, and insect persuasions.

And then there was Pancho, the large puppy in need of training and neutering. We worked on the training, and took care of the neutering…though a puppy used to playing in the surf all day has trouble understanding eight days of confinement when he feels just fine.

Simultaneously I became involved in volunteering at a traveling spay/neuter clinic. My job for 4 days was to take care of kitties as they came out of surgery. I got my kitty fix and then some! One kitty of the 150 cats and dogs died immediately upon injection of the anesthesia, though, bless their hearts, the docs worked on him for 5 min including shots to the heart and even CPR breathing. Tragically, he was a beloved pet, not one of the trapped strays.

All in all the six weeks from August 3 through Sept 11 were a bit of a challenge, but we were happy to be giving Marianne a break, plus enjoyed lots of Spanish practice with the maids and maintenance workers. Best of all, having our very own shower was pretty cool. And a small swimming pool on the patio for evening cool-downs. And a beautiful view of the beach with the surf as background ambiance.

Alan was able to set up a sewing table in the Jardines unit where we had twice hosted friends and family. He wasn’t able to finish the front shade cover, unfortunately lacking enough material, but did make progress towards a cooler front cabin. For the heavy duty sewing on the side panels of the huge existing shade cover, Chip and Debbie provided a vast expanse of smooth, air conditioned floor in the “palace” they had scored as a house-sitting gig. We spent countless hours there sewing and playing Mexican Train dominoes. (See Summer Part 1 blog)

After Marianne returned we spent one last week enjoying friends and air conditioning at Paradise Village before setting “sail” for La Paz on Sept 22. Please, if you ever hear we are considering doing an upwind passage again, knock some sense into us, will you? What a lumpy bumpy miserable wet salty sick hot passage it was! Some distant storm had stirred up the seas, so immediately outside Banderas Bay we hit about 16 hours of confused 6 foot seas 3 seconds apart. Which means you are lifted up and over one wave, only to pound violently through the next. We were glad to be in a boat built to take it, though the shuddering crashes certainly gave pause.

Eventually the seas settled down so we were just pounding upwind into the typical Sea of Cortez uncomfortable bouncy crap that is much better endured as following seas. Sadly, we had knowingly missed the good downwind weather-window 3 days earlier, now paying for a longer time enjoying Paradise Village with an upwind, anything-but-paradise, passage. But hey, we did have a lovely sunset, and for ONCE we finally had moonlight for 3 nights, having actually managed to catch a waxing-towards-full moon!

After reaching La Paz we were treated to a full lunar eclipse enjoyed while dining with our peeps on our usual dock next to mv Ocean Quest. It’s great to be back to old and new friends and activities in La Paz, and we’re thrilled to have gained so many new friendships on the mainland. We miss them greatly as our boats scatter, but we always seems to cross paths again and the reunions are wonderful.

I’ll leave you this time with a few snapshots of our fall goings-on in La Paz.

Posted in 2015C Summer in Banderas Bay, 2015D Fall in La Paz, All Posts | 1 Comment

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part 2: Family and Fireworks

No, No, the fireworks aren’t what happens when the family gets together. They’re from a spectacular July 4 fireworks show in Michigan. Michigan! Yes, we actually had to put on a sweater. And wear shoes. Geez.

But first there was Houston. You know, that other planet where the US oil industry has headquartered itself, whose gravitational pull and loud sucking sound eventually inhaled my daughter, Julia. She had escaped orbit briefly by scoring a three year assignment in Aberdeen, Scotland. (I escaped Houston by ending my career, moving onto a boat, and sailing to Mexico. Think I made the right choice?)

But now she has returned to the mother-ship, as must all good Chevron employees (aka Chevroids) with career aspirations. She’s bought a beautiful home there and fights off the planet’s hostile atmosphere (heat and humidity), fauna (legions of mosquitos) and verbal cacophony (have you heard how they talk?) by building a beautiful life there, including a new significant other,Tim. And yes, we like him extremely much!

We had a brief visit on the way to Michigan, then spent more time in Houston on the way home. Needed time to visit the rock collection, the kitty, good beer, buy a few boat parts, drive a few major highways, see a Chevron friend from way back, the usual stuff!

Every few years my brother, Bob, has hosted wonderful family reunions in various parts of the country, and has always had a home big enough to accommodate us all. Now sister, Linda, has taken over the “honor”. Her beautiful new home provided the perfect venue for lots of fun activities and picking up right where we left off years before. I’m afraid it will be awhile before I have a boat big enough to do my hosting part!

My family is a very interesting (just ask us), friction-free, loving mix of right and left, religious and atheist, smart and, well, smarter, folks who’ve had careers in everything from science and industry to the United Nations and if-I-told-you-I’d-have-to-kill-you organizations. Discussions are more likely to involve world history, thermodynamics, or the theory of relativity than the latest movie.

But, of course, the most important thing when we all get together is s’mores. You know, graham crackers, chocolate, and gooey, falling-off-the-coathanger, toasted marshmallows. And of course, ice cream. OK, food in general, at which my sister and her husband who hosted the reunion are serious experts. And their brand new custom home is built to cook it, plus hold all of us, so a seriously fun, way too short, time was had by all!

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part 1: Passage and Paradise

or, “The Long Hot Summer”, “The Endless Summer”, “Hot Town, Summer in the City”…ok,ok, so you get the idea. It was Hot!

But first, I have a confession to make, having strayed over to the dark side to the detriment of my blogging duties. Yes, FaceBook, I admit it. Even Alan has sold out. What is the world coming to? Speaking of selling out, we bought a PC for SailMail…just don’t tell our Macs. Though Alan’s must have found out because now it’s punishing him by not working (the infamous white screen of death), forcing him onto said PC. Insult to injury, it was loaded with that notoriously awful Windows 8. Kinda fun to watch the wrestling match and learn a few new swear words. Maybe things will improve now that we’ve managed the Windows 10 upgrade.

I left you with Vivacia all clean and shiny, having her new bottom and other cosmetic jobs completed, all ready for a couple leisurely weeks playing in the islands near La Paz before trekking to Banderas Bay. Though warned against the summer heat and humidity on the mainland, we were committed to house-sitting for 6 weeks in La Cruz, preceded by flying from Puerto Vallarta to visit daughter Julia in Houston and a July 4 family reunion in the states.

We cast off the dock lines May 30 on the heels of nearby Hurricane Andres. Only to be turned around by Hurricane Blanca taking aim at Baja. What? This early and already not one, but TWO August-like category 4 hurricane threats? First time ever this early in the season. In the end Blanca blew a couple badly anchored boats ashore and sent a channel marker walkabout, but really only tickled us with 40 kt winds.

But if this was foreshadowing the season to come, caution dictated we skip the island-hopping and bee-line to La Cruz, lest we get pinned down on the Baja and miss our June 30 flights. So June 9 we tried again, this time escorting friends on sv Scout out the San Lorenzo Channel. She was headed for San Diego and beyond, doing “the Bash” north. No thank you. After mutual farewells and photographs, we headed to our new favorite pre-crossing-the-Sea anchorage, Playa Bonanza on Espiritu Santo.

We had great plans for actually SAILING for a change, our early departure leaving us with time to burn. The spinnaker hardly knew what hit her, having been buried in a storage locker for such a long time. She joyously greeted the sunlight and brisk wind, hustling us down the Cerralvo channel, until we chickened out and doused her as the wind freshened to nearly 20 kts. For San Francisco racers, that might be just getting started. For fair-weather cruisers with a light-weight “kite”, that’s going beyond fresh to becoming downright cheeky.