Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Beginning and a Middle

It’s been quite a while since I wrote last and as with most things, the longer I put it off, the harder it is to begin.  I have a list longer than Harrison’s hair of blog post ideas, so I’d better get this one off and running.  There: the beginning of the blog.

So what’s been happening over the last month? Over one month ago now, Michael and I put our kids on a non-stop flight to San Francisco as unaccompanied minors so that he and I could spend some quality alone time.  While the kids spent time with their second family, the Saal-Dalmas, and then participated in our annual ten-family Labor Day camping trip as our representatives, Michael and I relaxed and hung out at a resort in Cabo San Lucas.  This was our first extended time away from the kids in over a year, and it was long overdue. My blog on relationships while living on a boat is still in the making so stay tuned.  Needless to say, we had an amazing time in Cabo. We even managed to fit in some sailing – we signed up to race on a former America’s Cup boat.  Michael even got to drive. I was the team captain and encouraged our bachelor party teammates to moon the opposing team.  While it distracted the other boat, we still lost the race.

Our family reunited in California and spent a wonderful two weeks with many friends, as well as running errands, attending to doctor appointments and picking things up for the boat, not to mention a handful of High Holidays. We spent some time getting the house ready for re-renting and as we noted in a previous blog, managed to get it rented again for a second year.  Whew!  I had a few ‘dazed and confused’ moments as I struggled to be on a schedule once again – and a packed one at that.  Several days were filled with multiple ‘entries’ but I no longer had my BusyBodyBook to keep me organized.  I was so guilty of over-programming, and yet still managed to miss seeing several people I had wanted to spend time with. In any case, there’s never enough time to see everyone, but the time we spent truly had us reconfirming over and over again how grateful we are for the community we share back home.  They are what will make our re-entry next year do-able – we’ll need their support as we have already started stressing about finding jobs, earning a living, and being productive again for more than just ourselves and our daily living.  Okay, so maybe we stressed for only a few minutes.  I keep telling Michael to remember how much we love each other and how well we are getting along now when we are both faced with the stresses of daily ‘real’ life upon our return next summer.

We returned to the boat on September 21 as Tropical Storm Georgette blew through the southern part of the Baja Peninsula.  While roads were mud-baths heading from Cabo to La Paz, the rains did not stop us from loading up our car at Costco in Cabo (there is none in La Paz).  Thank goodness Alaska Airlines lost one of our bags, or we wouldn’t have had the room in our smallish car rental for all our groceries.  It took us a full five days to completely put the boat back together after we had packed everything up before leaving on our trip in preparation for a possible hurricane (which thankfully never came).  It was just like the days back in San Diego last September and October – long days, the boat upside down and nowhere to step, unpacking, finding space where we thought there was none to store more things, cleaning, stowing, reloading.  Definitely no time for school.

My mother, stepdad and nephew Ethan arrived five days after we returned and we spent a great few days together, both at the dock and out at the islands.  We loved sharing with Ethan some of his firsts:  first time living on a boat, first time catching not one but two fish, first time making your own sushi, first time seeing dolphins close up, first time swimming and snorkeling off the boat and in caves, first time driving a dinghy and a huge boat, first time playing Mexican Train.  For my mother and Allan, this was their second visit with us, so by now they had the hang of it, getting on and off the boat and into the dinghy with much greater ease. Marine toilets were no longer an adjustment. We loved having them around as they are such great company.  We shared a lot of laughs. It was a joy seeing the cousins together.  Definitely no time for school.

Our guests left this past Sunday, October 3, and so came another beginning: the first day of school for Danielle in 7th grade and Harrison in 4th.  As of today, we’ve done four lessons.  Only 156 to go.

So what are we in the middle of?  Well, can we consider Lesson 5 the middle of the school year?  Perhaps pushing it a bit. 

It’s the middle of what has become our two year adventure.  It’s hard to believe that we are still doing this.  Thinking back to a year ago, the decision to make this trip is such a no-brainer and yet we fretted so much over it. It is something that so many people have said took  a lot of courage, but now that we are doing it, we realize it’s really no big deal.  We are certainly fortunate that the timing was right and that financially we could manage it, but now that we are doing it, we realize we could not have made a better decision.

We have decided to hang in La Paz to wait out the rest of hurricane season rather than go up to that furnace further north in the Sea of Cortez where we spent much of August.  While daytime temperatures in La Paz are near 100 degrees, it cools down significantly overnight into the low 70's.  This was certainly not our experience further north. Besides, we are quite happy not to have to deal with bees. We hope to reunite with some of our boating friends over the next few weeks as they filter down here toward the end of hurricane season, either from points north in the Sea or from visits home in the US.

We have begun to tentatively map out our second year at sea, which includes becoming better informed of what’s involved in heading south into Central America and how we get the boat back to the SF bay area, if at all.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted.  In addition, I feel better about getting those blog ideas down in print now that I've completed this post.

Signing off from La Paz, BCS, Mexico


  1. What a great post - you write so beautifully! I'm printing it off to read to others - it's easier and more descriptive than I can recount, and they always ask about you.
    And you're right about the heat. The swelling in my feet disappeared the moment I stepped into air conditioning. But I wouldn't have changed it for a minute. Our trip on WGD was truly amazing, one which we will always cherish...
    Love you all so much, and miss you already...

  2. Barbara, I love reading your blogs!! You capture the essence of what is going on incredibly well. I am so thrilled that your family will have another year of this wonderful adventure! Love Phyllis