Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Goehler Quest: the next chapter

We respectfully dedicate this blog post to Caron and Doug, an amazing couple who have faced incredible adversity during the last 16+ months. Doug was diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease last summer. In support of Doug, I had the opportunity to share a few moments with them during the ALS Walk held downtown Portland on 9/30. Just a short (or long) week later, Doug has gone to a better place. In talking with Caron on that Sunday, she reinforced our decision to pursue our dreams while we are able.

Sunset on the Columbia, Judy's BD 9/7
The RailRoad Crossing just west of us
The summer weather has been great in Portland and we’re thankful for so many experiences living on the Columbia River. The wildlife, water, summer evenings on the deck, heron on patrol, squawking osprey and busy beavers … these are just some of the benefits of houseboat living, along with nice neighbors, incredible sunsets, and island living. Check out our photos at

We’ve been thankful for the work opportunities we’ve had! Mike has two jobs, working as a yacht broker at Passion Yachts and as a Home Depot associate. Both have been rewarding and learning experiences. If you’re in the market for a boat, check out

Judy’s been working in marketing, project management and consulting with a number of great clients, helping them build their businesses.

Pura Vida being hauled out in Guaymas
Our Sailing Vessel Pura Vida awaits us in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico and we are anxious to see her again. She’s been ‘on the hard’ in the baking sun. We’ve hired a local craftsman to do major repairs for us, including complete deck stripping and refinishing and now we’re on to the hull repair project due to blisters and repairing the ‘coral problem’ that Judy caused on our first day of cruising when I ran us aground outside of Port Townsend, WA. Oh, but that’s another story.  A few photos:

We’ve had some difficult decisions to make about our next chapter, but after long discussions and consternation, we’re gearing up to continue our quest and head south again for more sailing experience and cruising adventures. The amount of logistics is incredible and we are realizing that this year is as least as much work as last year! We didn’t think it would be this tough. But you get in to a groove in the workaday world and it’s not easy to extricate yourself.

Finding the Crystal Dolphin on the joyous mile
During the last couple of months, we’ve been struggling with leaving our jobs, doing another upheaval from a nice living experience on the water, and starting anew. Sometimes, things happen for a reason and you just don’t know it…yet. We’d just watched a video clip sent by one of our cruising friends showing dolphins playing with their cat aboard their sailboat.

After our weighty discussion that evening about whether we could pull it off, getting back to Mexico and all that entails, I took the walk along what I call the joyous mile, the stretch of dock that is our walkway along the 56 houseboats in our moorage. It’s the best walk ever, with the fabulous houseboats, tropical plants, night lighting from the homes, and the moon sparkling on the river. You’re overwhelmed by the quiet, beauty and mellowness of it all. The reasons you live on the water.

As I walked along, I happened upon a crystal dolphin under a walkway light. Really, there it was – a little message calling out to me that it would be alright. We’d make it work, we’d figure it out.
S/V Pura Vida under sail
I looked around, and of course I picked up that dolphin, and it now sits on our window sill at the sink in front of our Pura Vida photo. So, it’s inspiration and the significance is not lost on us.

Hasta la vista
We look forward to seeing our cruising friends again and while we don’t know where or when we’ll see them, we know it will happen in some amazing and fun ways.

Judy & Mike

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