Kindred Spirits, Anyone?

The season is upon us, and I’m not talking about the holiday season. I’m talking about the rainy season; time of darkness; time of spiraling inward; time of reflection and thought. And time of sitting around wishing the sun would make even a small appearance. Last week we had our first really dark day of fall where the rain started sometime in the night and continued all day long. All. Day. Long. The sun never showed up, even for 5 minutes. I accidentally I left my outdoor work vest somewhere on a wheelbarrow outside. It got soaked and I didn’t care. I stayed in my pajamas all day and whereas I should probably have felt disgusted with myself, in fact, I did not.

This was summer rain. It comes and it goes. Not like what we have now.

This is not depression. This is the rainy season. There are simply days where the most useful thing I can imagine doing is resting and reading. I realize that this is completely un-American but as a licensed Mental Health Professional, I highly recommend the occasional day of complete rest. It wasn’t just me. Mike went down to the boat. And he took a nap for most of the day. So let’s not finger point, okay? Never mind that I’m writing this in my pajamas.

If you’ve been a long time reader of our blog, you’ll know that this is the time of year when we don’t do much on the boat. We hang out on her, but we don’t accomplish much. This year since we’re really focused on getting the house ready, that’s fine with me. But I need to keep the interest in our cunning plan alive. I need support! I need encouragement! I need to know that all this work will be worth the trouble. Because, really, it’s a great deal of work and takes a lot of focus as well as a zen like belief that it will all come together in the end.   Ideally, I’d like to know other people who are in the same place in their process: the place where we are letting go, one little bit at a time, all the obligations, the spoken and unspoken ‘contractual agreements’ that we have with our life on land,  with an eye to sailing out to sea for awhile. Thank goodness for blogs.

One of my favorite photos from this summer. What a great day!

I read a number of blogs, but most of them are written by people who have already sailed away into adventure. It’s like they are already college graduates, enjoying their freedom as grown ups and we’re still stuck in junior year finishing up our distribution requirements.  I wish there were more blogs written by people who are still in the preparation phase. I know they are out there, but I’m having a hard time finding them.  Where are all the west coast people getting ready to go? I guess most people get the blogs going after they get the boats going. Still, I found some interesting new blogs to read while we hunker down for the long dark winter. Maybe you’ll enjoy these, too:

Sailing Consort – Alan and Cheri describe themselves as ‘Adventurous Texans’. Currently in Seabrook, TX, they are starting for Florida soon on their Endeavor 42, so if you hurry and subscribe to their blog, you can read their adventure from the start.

Winds Of Time – After buying a Formosa 41 on the east coast, and after some delays, Rick and Joanne are finally sailing down the east coast toward warm water. I enjoyed spending several hours catching up on their extensive blog today. They have interesting hobbies and are both HAM radio operators. I look forward to following them.

Oh Sail Yes – I love this blog. These folks are younger than us, will be traveling with teenagers, and have colorful hair. It seems like they should be from Seattle, but in fact they are from Oklahoma. They also have a huge trimaran called Eleven Purple Monkeys and will be taking their family purple monkey puppet named ‘Bean’ with them on their trip. I believe there will be videos. They are an entertaining and creative crew. Check them out.

Sailing Luna Sea – Currently in Savannah, GA, Mark and Jennifer are preparing to leave for warmer waters. They sail a Beneteau 393. They comment it will be a few years before they can start taking Mark’s pension, but they are going to figure it out as they go. That’s the spirit, so I’m reading.

These all look like interesting blogs to follow, but come on! They are all going to the Caribbean. Where, oh where, are the Pacific Northwest people who are preparing to go?  Do they not have blogs? Have I not used the appropriate search criteria? If you know of an interesting blog written by people who are still here, in the Pacific Northwest, please do post in the comments. Winter is long and dark. I get through it best by the glow of a computer screen.

Sunny beach, Pacific Northwest Style

Sunny beach, Pacific Northwest Style


32 thoughts on “Kindred Spirits, Anyone?

  1. I feel your pain! This weekend will be the third in a row that’s rainy! I love days in my pajamas .. not one bit of guilt!

    It does seem that most blogs start AFTER the pain of moving aboard and figuring out finances, leaving family, etc. Sometimes we feel that we’re never gonna get out there, and it seems so easy for some. Hopefully blogs like yours and mine will inspire folks someday when they see us out there. I hope we get out there .. LOL!

    Hang in there and hope to celebrate with you someday!

  2. We’re in prep mode, but have not gone “public” yet on the blog with our exact timeline due to work obligations… but feel free to reach out or get together sometime soon to keep the fires burning bright. I have just over a year to go until I quit and we start our journey northward.

    • We look forward to having a chance to visit with you and Donn more often when we move aboard, probably sometime in the early spring. Maybe we’ll be leaving at the same time.

  3. The tall ship sailors refer to this season as “downrigging”. It’s a time to take care of the things that sustain us, to take stuff apart for to make it work better, to sing songs and tell stories, to varnish and make fancywork, polish brass and mend canvas.

    I’m trying it out this year. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • We do have a lot of that kind of stuff to get done. I wonder if it counts that that’s what I’m doing at the house just now? I’m forcing myself to not worry too much about doing work on Galapagos this winter, as on this planet, as far as I know, there are only the usual 24 hours in a day. We look forward to moving aboard so we can really focus on her and preparing for the trip.

  4. This is our 4th winter of living aboard in The Beautiful PNW and I feel ya sailing sister! Hang it there it will all be worth it. We are saying goodbye to the PNW August 2016 and heading south. Looking forward to warmer climates. Good luck with your preparations, keep smiling.

  5. Oh, how I remember those years living in Portland and the advent of the rainy season. I spent many a day in my PJs and never felt even a drop of guilt. I love your use of “kindred spirit.” I just got done reading Anne of Green Gables and she talks about finding kindred spirits who have imagination and spirit, like she does. I hope you find your kindred spirits out West. Perhaps SV Cambria ( might know of some folks in the prep stage in the PNW?

    • Perhaps. There is a couple, Kerry and Donn, in our marina, who are getting ready. I was hoping to find some other bloggers who are in that transitional phase as well. We’ll be visiting more with Kerry and Donn as we spend more time down at the marina.

  6. Our purge has started. Actually it started the summer after the winter Cherry and Alec stayed with us. Cherry was beside herself thinking that Canada wouldn’t approve her visa in time for her to spend Christmas with her grandkids. To lift her spirits, the two of us brought down all of the Christmas ornaments and decorations I’ve been collecting thru the years. The roofline probably raised a couple of feet with all that weight gone. Anyway when the following July rolled around, the decorations were in boxes and not stored back in the attic. So I gave them all away.
    I’ve given a passing thought to having a garage sale. Considering the time it takes and having people I don’t know pick thru my life, I decided against it. I thought of sending it to goodwill, but I’ve seen how donated items are treated before reaching the shelves. So here I sat, overwhelmed by stuff.

    Yesterday I put something up on our local Buy Nothing FB page. It felt really good to give it away to someone who wanted and actually needed it. I’ve been having so much fun giving stuff away that I’ve been up all night posting things. Of course being sugered up on left over Halloween candy helped too.

    I put a post on the site telling everyone my intentions of going sailing and asking folks to list items that they might be in need of.

    We have pretty much decided to sell our place and buy something much smaller that we can rent out. Or maybe just a piece of property we can pop up a yurt on when we are back for a spell.

    Family momentos are gonna get boxed up and dropped off at either my son’s or daughter’s. Those cute little beads and yarn hangings I’ve been hanging onto for 40 years are going back to their makers. I will not suffer the guilt of throwing them away!

    Well, it’s getting light out. I’ve got people coming to pick up stuff and I’ve got to get it ready.

    I wish I could just open my doors and say have at it and walk away!

    • Wow, that’s awesome, Diane! I’m so happy to hear that you guys have made the decision and are moving forward with the downsizing. It sounds like you have the firm beginnings of your own cunning plan and we’re both really glad to hear it.

  7. You have a kindred spirit here on the other side of the planet ! Brittany’s grey wet winter has settled in and will stay until April. Next to my computer (where, by the way, I sit in sweatsuits and read other people’s sailing blogs several hours per day) is my IMRAY guide for Spain and Portugal, along with “Spanish for Cruisers” and Rod Heikell’s Mediterranean Cruising handbook. These make me smile and help me past the grey funk (but it’s still early days…). I, too, feel like we’ve been left behind after meeting so many other sailors heading across Biscay and to the Canaries for the winter or for a trans-atlantic crossing. But I just look at the list of things we still need to buy / fix / upgrade and then test the level of my Spanish and the extra time seems a lot smaller !

    • Oh, the list. I certainly know ‘that list’ you’re talking about! I do get excited to do this thing when I read the blogs of all the sailors who are already out there. I envy your cruising grounds, although I know we have great ones here, too. I hope someday to sail to the Canaries myself. Cheers to kindred spirits! Yours is one of the blogs I read!

  8. I guess I’m a little confused. I understand that you have a deadline to get out of the house and onto the boat but is the plan to leave right away? If so, how about just living aboard for a year before you go? Nothing will make you more familiar with the boat and you’ll have more time to get the leave-the-dock projects done (at least the ones above the floorboards).

    • No, the plan is not to leave right away, although I wish we could sometimes. The plan is to get the house rented, then move onto the boat. We are hoping that will happen in the early spring. We don’t really have a deadline, but to take advantage of the period when most people are coming to the area needing short term rentals, we need to get the house on the market at the end of this month. We should have no trouble pulling that off. It will be ready. We agree that we want to live aboard for at least several months in order to get all those little projects done and get into the groove with Galapagos. We’ve moved up our timeline, but even that remains somewhat flexible and depends very much on how things pan out with the house and with Mike’s job. So while we’re not particularly in a hurry, we do want to go sooner rather than later because we are not getting any younger. And reading some of those sailing blogs really inspires us.

      • Sounds like you’re on the right track but I’d suggest you make a deliberate effort to exhale once you’re aboard. Whether you’ve left the dock or not, living aboard is an adventure in itself and the change in context and lifestyle is to be savored every bit as much as any other adventure. None of us are getting any younger but it seems like your anxiety about losing your chance to go or having it cut short may be detracting from your enjoyment of the lead-up. It’s all good!

  9. Hey, thanks for the shout out and the review! And I’m very happy to say that there are now a bunch of different blogs for me to check out (and yes, we’ll have a LOT of videos up starting in December!

    We had a serious lazy day here today (rain and gloomy weather makes us feel glum). With so much to do before we can move on, we’re working a LOT. Today my husband just decided that he needed a day and he sat with our daughter alllll day long and watched movies.

  10. Thanks for the shout out! We are moving along, knocking out the projects. But your post has inspired me to do an update on what it’s like behind the scenes – living on the boat while our condo is on the market, along with one of our rental properties. The chaos that comes with keeping two homes “Show” ready, while working/living on the boat is some days overwhelming. Today we will rest. Even though we are very far south, on the east coast, it’s wet and dreary and cold today. I think it’s certainly an all day PJ day 🙂

    • Definitely go for a day in pajamas and for a blog post with an update. Sometimes I find it hard to keep the blog updated because there is simply so much going on that it’s hard to pick just one thing to write about. But, as a previous commented said, it’s all good. In spite of all the craziness, I really do love what’s going on at our house and how it’s coming together. I should probably do another post with an update on the actual plan so people don’t think we’re just going crazy here!

  11. Our blog is in the “preparatory stages”, and we’re in the PNW. We’re not planning to sail to warmer waters though, just bigger PNW cruising. I know you already know of our blog though. I started blogging from before even purchasing the boat, because I too noticed many blogs completely skip over that stage (which I think is one of the hardest phases of the whole thing).

  12. You might like our family blog at:

    My wife uses the blog to write about the adventures of the two of us, our two teenaged children and Pika the grumpy Chihuahua.

    We finished a trip around Vancouver Island this summer so that’s all covered in the blog as well as all the past years of sailing in the PNW. Some of the posts even have fun little videos.

    You’ll have to go back 3 or 4 posts, however, as the most recent ones cover some more recent land adventures.

    I hope you enjoy it!

    • Hey thanks for posting your link to your blog! We will check it out. Looking forward to reading about your ’round the island’ sail. We hope to do that before taking off down the coast.

  13. Hi, Melissa! We’re prepping for departure over here at–planning to head out June 12, give or take, on our Beneteau First 38 with two kids. Not the PNW, sadly–landlocked in Wisconsin, bracing for snow, with the boat about two hours away.

    We’ve been on-and-off readers of your blog for a couple of years, and I have to say–I really enjoy your writing voice. Thanks for helping us feel like we’re not the only ones!

    • Hi there! Thanks for reading and for commenting so we can check out your blog. I’m always amazed at people in your part of the country that want to sail on the oceans. It seems like so far away. Looking forward to seeing how you get there!

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