Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from ... Guaymas, Sonora!

Mt Shasta - inspiring, great views 

Leaving Las Vegas, dinghy drag meant lower mileage
pile o' stuff before loading up the Ford
Janis & Greg - requesting we find their fave bags of enchilada sauce. We'll search!
Hiking with Jerid & Scott in Palm Springs






Thanks for the wine, Kelly & Jeff sipped with Cathy!
We arrived gleeful and ready to get out of the car after 10 days travelling south. The dirt yard at Marina Seca Guaymas beckoned, we were welcomed by the Jorge the guard and the 3 weed-eating sheep who keep the yard “mowed”, quickly followed by the yard workers, Andres, Alejandro and Roberto, all anxious to tell us in rapid fire Spanish how they’ve saved our boat on the night of Hurricane Newton! Turns out, they did save our bacon, as our 3 tight fitting covers which are intended for sun protection, couldn’t handle the windage of up to 140 KM / hr winds on that stormy night. They were at our boat at 3AM, cutting the strings and stopping the swaying of the boat on her stands. While I lost some of the Spanish, it sure sounded like she was close to a tip… and they held her and also had to move some stands as the mud didn’t provide good holding. Wow. We are thankful and provided gifts to acknowledge their fortitude of working through the night protecting us and many boats in our yard. That wasn’t the case with a few other boats whose stories weren’t so sweet.
Marion & Theo - our gracious San Carlos hosts
Pura Vida: a sight for sore eyes!
Deep muddy ruts required the yard workers to move our boat stands
Guard station at Fonatur yard - got a paint can?
Mike looking down!
We both went up the mast today. Me first, unsuccessfully, then Mike did the required repairs!
But I get ahead of myself. We had a superb trip south, just a lot of (slower) miles with the dinghy up top, meandering through CA, NV, AZ and CA again, finally arriving Sonora after visiting friends and swapping stories. A great time – thanks to all of our hosts! And now we celebrate good times and life in the dirt yard with many other cruising friends. It is a special place working on your boat in a arid desert environment, and not for everyone, this we know.
5 newly crafted ports - ready for installation
We’ve spent the last few days working our way through dust plus too much stuff brought with us, stowing and dispositioning items that seemed so important when we created our lists last spring! And now on to projects that will bring us safety and security on board. New set up for the generator, 5 new ports to be installed (leaking ports are never a welcome thing on a boat), redefined anchor locker config and well, the list is long and the hours will be long. It’s why we’re here and thankful for every day in the Mexican sun. Morning walks to the bay to count waterfowl, warm tortillas and fresh fish, butterflies, the sound of banda music and barking dogs, holiday displays of lard. Welcome to Guaymas!

We enjoyed the first of the parades on Independence day. Everyone’s included and the parades go on forever.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Enthralled parade goers


Cute little Mexican flag girls, dancing




Revolutionaries
Lots of marching in uniform 


Unusual musical instruments, 30 strong

Traditional Yaqui Indian dance
Check out the parade shoes!

Oh, and it's about 85 degrees. No sweat.

Tons of pick ups filled with giant speakers!

Waiting for the dancers in front of them




Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween - Time to head south

Our first and only selfie on our 9th Anniversary

We are so happy to have a small home that is our own. It’s been a great transition into a community of 71 floating homes.

Because we face ‘inside’ on the river, we enjoy the private, wooded shoreline where the occasional raccoon family tromps on by at low tide. Kayaks, paddle boards and the occasional dinghy are our only traffic – besides low flying heron and hustling birds. Our friends and neighbors will keep an eye on the place while we travel.

Packing up our boat stuff
We are heading south after 3 Nov, the last work day for both of us. I had to quit my job, they didn't want a traveling minstrel this year and I respect that. So I interviewed my replacement for the job description I wrote. It’s a crazy thing to quit when you have a "good job" yet I am OK with moving on.

We’re loading up the car, heading to Pura Vida in Guaymas, Sonora. We’re anxious to ensure she’s survived the rains and wrath of Hurricane Newton. Every trip N and S brings new adventures. We love seeing friends and exploring as we go.

Early October, I enjoyed my annual trip to Wisconsin to spend time with my family. The trek to the Madison UW campus is always filled with great memories of glorious youth and college life.

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Afloat in Portland!


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I've been trying to set aside time to write a blog for a few weeks now. I have so many stories in my head, I could explode..... or maybe one day, I'll start writing the book that's rattling around in my head. It's been an amazing, emotional transition getting settled into our tiny floating home and I will share that it's incredible to have a place of Our Own!! No more living out of duffel bags and ZipLoks while we are in Portland. It’s a huge and positive change for us after 5 years of being vagabonds while working multiple jobs. It's not a lifestyle for everyone, I might add.

Looking toward our place from the ramp.
1 of 4 layers removed fromthe bathroom wall. Scary stuff.
You may recall that we purchased our floating home last fall before we left for Mexico. I know, timing is everything. We thought we’d be anxious while we were gone about buying a home and splitting town, but hey it's us and frankly, once we were on the road heading south for Pura Vida, we’re about living that life to the fullest; the northwest life can wait.

Mike tearing out and rebuilding the bathroom
We arrived in Portland on February 28th for my long anticipated return to my 30-hr/wk job, a continuation of the 10-yr/wk I was doing during our winter months. So you jump right into a work environment where the pace is fast, the deadlines are real and the sitting factor, intense. No more up and down the ladder
when the boat is on the hard as the last couple weeks before our departure, no more balancing on a moving vessel which is part of our core strength, and importantly, a greatly reduced randomness that comes from a boat lifestyle.
LazyBoy loveseat- splurge for our living room.

And so began this journey toward a home of our own. It’s been a long, tumultuous time as we prepared our ‘tiny home’ for us, for our lives, after our self-imposed relative state of homelessness. Five summers of moving multiple times into variable living situations each with its own opportunities, blessings and challenges, and of course, being ready to vacate on demand. Five years of "visitation rights" to see our stuff at Public Storage.

Using dinner plates that we haven't seen for 5 yrs
This summer we had the distinctly cool deal of moving back in with our 80 year old roommate from late last summer (our 4th place in 2015). He’s our friend’s dad, a super nice guy, great place on the water, fun to share a living space with. And flexible to let us stay longer than our anticipated “one month” before we could move into our new digs. We wanted to move in, but buying our floating home ‘as is’ has a broad range of opportunities, shall we say, and we were in for the long haul.
Our first fire on the deck. That's friend Tony's boat

When I say long, I mean long enough that our contractor just moved his incredible cache of equipment out of our place in late July, just in time for my sister’s visit and us to figure out where stuff could actually fit in our tiny space. Plus, the house resettled after his heavy saws, drills and painting gear moved such that we listed even more to port, if that was possible.

Kitchen after

Kitchen before

My digression – now that we are moved in to our tiny home (658 sq ft / 61 sq m*), we had the floatation / leveling dude come yesterday. I’d hoped that leveling process would mean our wonky front door actually fits!  But alas, we still have a major air gap to be dealt with. His tasks included: removing 2 old beaver nests (go away!), a spent oil drum whose insulation melted away and installing additional floats and shims on our old growth giant logs to get the house level. For now. I understand flotation changes over time, so we will become friends with the floating home leveler. And, please, no more beavers under our house! We had one swim up to our float 2 nights ago with a giant branch in his mouth and he dove with that nesting branch just under our home. We yelled: NO but I don’t think they listen or care.


The new pantry cabinets ROCK
Although I suppose a whopping 650 sf doesn't qualify us as a tiny home like on the shows, which varies depending on what you hear, I have to say, ours is quaint and small. We measure every space 10 times to figure out walking space, furniture placement and trip hazards. It is interesting to note that on the 10th time, the measurements are still the same! So you execute accordingly. Example #51: cabinets. To create a pantry for food storage (mandatory!), we installed the typical 12" upper cabinets in a lower space to create a pantry, as our walkthrough space had to be large enough to actually pass between the “pantry” and “office”. 
Assembling the grill so
we can cook. No stove yet.

This will be our office. Mike building the desk.
Currently, I'm sitting at this crate as my desk.
Now this space usually would serve as a kitchen seating area but for us, it’s got to be two unique spaces – office AND storage. More stories abound on that front but only for those who actually care about the traumas of downsizing and crazy things like no storage. No garage, alas and that also means no more monthly Public Storage payment!

Another aha! moment - we are never more than 10 steps from the kitchen garbage receptacle which, upon reflection, can be a good thing.

There’s more stories waiting to unfurl from my brain but for now, I’ll do this post and share a few photos of this lovely place we now proudly call Home.

* For those who comment that we "should" be used to a small space on Pura Vida, she offers more storage than our home.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Getting our taco fix

Bundled up for my night watch

Dolphins at sunset

Calm sea - cloud reflection

Incredible hour long sunset with popcorn pink clouds












Our 23.25 hour passage across the Sea of Cortez was calm, pleasant with light sailing to help with our safe arrival in Guaymas. Lots of red tide all day and night so no wildlife with the exception of a small pod of dolphins at sunset. And the sunset - one of the best ever. We took so many photos!

Trying to photograph the quick moving dolphins!

We arrived in the early morning, avoided the fishing nets and shrimpers in the Guaymas area and scored the last slip at the Fonatur marina, where we worked our butts off for 2 days to prep for our haul out.

The sunset ooohs and aaahs from the crew were non-stop
Haul out on Saturday 8AM was thankfully uneventful and we are safely on the stands in the "new" dry yard. In between work projects, we are getting our major fix of tacos from the myriad of wonderful vendors that Guaymas has no shortage of.

We are living in the dirt yard until we depart in the next couple of days for a new chapter in our NW lives. This chapter features moving into our new tiny floating home! Although heading north "early", we have a lot to look forward to. Of course, including seeing friends and the W-word...work.

Happy Captain doing happy hour at the end of a long work day.
Behind him, construction of the music conservatory is going fast.
In the ways awaiting the lift. Mike had to turn us around to back
into the lift because of our boat configuration.
Yep, 36,000 lbs turns on a dime (or ten pesos).

Heading for the barn after some great sailing adventures.
We will officially no longer be 'homeless' as we have been the last five years. It's a huge deal for us. Come check out our new digs if you're in Portland.