16 April 2015

5 Months Away From Home

P1050296I would never have described cruising as relaxing. There are relaxing days, even relaxing weeks, but overall the words that spring to mind when I think of my life cruising are words like exciting, overwhelming, and intense rather than words like relaxing, mellow and comforting.

So, it is with some surprise that after 5 months of traveling by plane, car and other people’s boats, I am finding living on my boat, in a dusty boat yard, in Fiji’s tropical heat to be a relief. Tension that I didn’t know was there is seeping out of me. Apparently, even for someone traveling full time, traveling without my “snail shell” is tiring.

I am home. My home is a mess and she isn’t her finest as a living space while buried in a keel pit, but still, I am home.

We had so many cool experiences, of such variation in type, over the last 5 months that I still find myself sifting through the memories and trying to fit them together into a coherent narrative.

We had our two months living in a tree house on a private island in Tonga, kiteboarding ourselves silly and playing with other people’s dogs.

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We had two months vagabonding around New Zealand. During that time, we were hosted by three cruising friends. Luckness showed us the Bay of Islands. Nomad showed us Great Barrier Island and part of South Island.  Dream Time showed us Waiheke. We also were able to visit with the crews of Nyon, Bravo and Celestial.

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We traveled by bus, by rental car, in our friends’ van, hitch hiking, by ferry and we slept more than half of those two months in our trusty tent which finally fell apart and was left in NZ. We rock climbed on both North and South Island and my oh my it felt so good to be back on the rock.

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Then I went to see my family whom I missed dearly, two childhood friends, and ran out of time, and frankly energy, to manage to see anyone else.

So now I’m back and somehow returning to the boat makes me feel like writing again. We are taking the day off of boat projects today. We’ve had a great run of ticking projects off the list. It’s been a very productive haul out and we expect to spend another week in the pit, a week on the stands and put Estrellita back in the water by the end of the month.

FIJI – here we come!

16 January 2015

Passage Diary: 3000 Nautical Miles in the South Pacific


Ahhh…the land of fast internet! This is the 36 minute sequel to our Mexico to Marquesas Passage Diary (our most watched video to date it turns out) and the third passage diary we’ve made. We did better on the sound this time.

Settle down and come ride with us for 3000 miles in the South Pacific.

Go directly to the video on our youtube channel here.

02 January 2015

Video: A Taste of Tonga

This is the 4th video in the “A Taste of…” video series we’ve been working on as we’ve been cruising. First, the Marquesas, then the Societies, then traveling backward in time to British Columbia and now, what I think is our best so far, A Taste of Tonga. And in case you are wondering, the drone footage is from a friend, not our own (unfortunately).

Direct link to the video on youtube here

25 December 2014

Merry Christmas from Tonga!

Having a great time at the resort where we are playing caretaker and enjoyed Christmas dinner (on this side of the dateline) on the beach.

Happy holidays!

24 December 2014

There was this “award”…

There was this “award” going round cruising bloggers a few months ago (or maybe still?) which I have to admit I found both weird and fascinating. Weird because it was more like a chain email or pyramid scheme than a real award and fascinating because, let’s face it, I love the idea of interviews*.  I cherry picked a few questions from two interviewers and even though I am making fun of the award I was still very flattered you guys thought of me.

Leah’s questions:

Why are you cruising wherever its is you’re cruising right now? How did that become a destination?

team giddup kenutu 1Well, it’s the South Pacific and I think that answers also how it became a destination!  It’s amazing. It’s everything I wanted out of cruising. It’s a dream. I am making memories of a lifetime almost every day. I’m forgetting details of better places than I had ever visited before. It’s overwhelming and awesome. So, yeah, I like it here.

How’d you find your boat? Have you had other boats?

I (Livia) had never had another boat. Carol (my husband and supercruiser) had owned a 26’ Robert Perry design (Mirage). We decided to hire an expert to help us decide what boat to buy because we didn’t feel we knew enough. We knew so little that he encouraged us to visit a few boats while we were in Seattle visiting family over the holidays. The very first boat we stepped on that trip was the boat we bought and went cruising on (!) even though we went and looked at bunches of other boats.

If you weren’t sailing/cruising, what would you be doing?

Working to fund the next vagabonding adventure? Homesteading? Caravaning? More cruising?

IMG_0356What’s your big-picture plan? Where do you hope to be in 5-10 years?

Still alive and healthy and active. Still searching working on keeping the fun-to-suck ratio in the appropriate balance.  Perhaps seasonally working and seasonally traveling?

How do you keep yourself entertained on long night watches?

I do a long night watch from midnight until 5am. After trying a bunch of different standard watches we settled into our own idiosyncratic watch schedule. My usual plan is to make a cup a tea while “safe-ing the route”. This means I do the zoom in and zoom out double check on the electronic charts which we’ve already done prior to leaving on the intended route but is the responsibility of each watch person to double check on the actual route. I take my tea to the cockpit and zone out, absorbing the horizon, the sails, the weather, the windvane, for at least an hour. I then often grab a second tea, and a snack, and repeat that process. Somewhere around 2:30am when I need distraction, I alternate horizon sweeps with email writing. If propagation is good at that time of night I often do a weather download while uploading the emails I wrote. At this point, around 3:30, I go back to the cockpit full time with either: an audio podcast, an ebook, video podcast on the iPad. Once I’ve toughed out that hour until 4:30 or so, I come back down and start alternating horizon sweeps with settling down rituals – face washing, teeth brushing, whatever.

Dos Libras’s questions:

What is the one thing you wish more people knew about you?  Don't be afraid to brag here... this is your chance!

I wish more people knew about the Newly Salted project and volunteered for Newly Salted interviews. Now that I am cruising it can take a while for me to respond to those interviews (which is why I put the Interview With A Cruiser project on intermission) but I really appreciate when people participate. If you are newly off the dock (< 2 years) or know someone who is, the deal is that you self-interview and I publish it. Consider it a donation to the dreamers out there.

P1050297What would you say is your partner's greatest contribution to your success (current or future) as sailors/cruisers?

Carol has an amazing attitude and I didn’t realize how critical that is to cruising before we left the dock. Carol is ready to put on his game face and do dirty jobs at almost any time. I’m not saying he loves it, but he is ready to “pay the piper” for all of the good times and he does so with good humor and a good nature.  This leads to some “leadership by example” in the sense that I see him gearing himself up to do something he didn’t necessarily want to do and I “man up” as well because I’m not willing to let him deal with it alone. He brings out the best in me during those situations. He is also really  good with dealing with on the fly information gathering.

When will you/did you REALLY consider yourself to be a Cruiser?  What does the word "Cruiser" mean to you?

I don’t really care what people call themselves. I was a cruiser the day I left the dock to start cruising. I think the main problem is when people who are cruising fail to indicate the limits of their expertise.  If you have been in one region , doing one specific type of cruising, you can’t talk about whether “all cruisers need windvanes”. We have been in the South Pacific for a couple of years and we have only seen a few countries so really we know only a taste of the region. Lots of cruisers go on and on about things they really know nothing about just because they’ve been cruising a long time. Length of time cruising tells you very little about how much someone knows and it doesn’t tell you if what they know will be applicable to your cruise.

IMG_0330What do you think will be the thing that ends your Cruising journey?  Andy why?

Before we started cruising I didn’t know if we would stop when we ran out of money or when we were done with the hard work/discomfort aspects of cruising. I knew we wouldn’t get bored. Now I think we will run out of money before we don’t want to put up with the uncomfortable parts. I think this is because we’ve somehow managed to spend a fair amount of time off the boat every year. Whether it was for good reasons (visiting family, house/resort sitting), or bad reasons (repairing the boat), each time refreshed us. After a break we start missing the boat, missing the travel, and we come back with refreshed emotional reserves to deal with problems.

What size boat do you/will you cruise on?  And if money were no object... would you buy a bigger one?

P1030908 (2)We cruise on a 30+ year old, 35 foot monohull. In our price range, we wouldn’t change boats. We have a solid boat we can take almost anywhere in the world (ice would make us nervous). 

If money were no object we would be on a performance catamaran (think Atlantic or Outre-mer, not Lagoon or Fountaine Pajot). The additional space would be great and appreciated (particularly for our toy collection – kites etc) but really we would switch for the fun of sailing that fast, between anchorages sailing well in very light air and making fast passages.

*I loved creating the Interview With A Cruiser Project. Although on intermission, the IWAC still gets a lot of regular traffic and I love the idea that it remains standing as a free and open resource. And, admittedly sporadically, I am still publishing Newly Salted interviews.

22 December 2014

Kudos to Gill

P1050721 (2)I don’t know if you remember this post about our favorite sailing gloves?

A reader notified us (thank you!) that Gill had reportedly had problems with some of their leather, had switched leather, and would replace our gloves. As cruisers far from North America we hadn’t tried contacting the company to send our gloves back, deciding it would be a hassle.

After contacting Gill, we had new gloves shipped to our N American address, no problems.

Kudos to Gill.