These Last Days

Mike walked up to pay the moorage for April and told the folks at Foss Harbor that we’re leaving. He gave them notice. This is the last monthly moorage we will pay for Galapagos in Tacoma for a long time.  That feels kind of…stunning. It’s actually more stunning than the day Mike gave notice at work. It’s more stunning than when we moved out of our house.

At work,  Mike’s in the midst of helping to find his replacement; not an easy task, apparently. If you want to know how many airplanes Russia might need in the coming decades, he’s your guy for 4 more weeks. His last day ‘working for the man’ is May 4. We’ve spent the better part of the last week getting his retirement paperwork in order, going over and over our choices about how the pension comes to us. These decisions feel so big, so fraught with opportunity to make a life-altering mistake. Boeing is really good about giving you a human being to walk you through this process. We are grateful for that.

This goes in the mail tomorrow.

I’m seriously winding down my practice now. My last day of work is April 30. Unlike Mike, I’m not relieved to stop working. I’ve been really enjoying my work. Ever since I cancelled all my contracts with insurance, I’ve felt a new sense of freedom in the work I do, like a big weight was taken off my shoulders. Imagine that! Just being connected with the insurance system weighs me down. Think about that at your next doctor’s appointment.   I make less money refusing to bill insurance, but I’m happier with what I do. Seems like a good trade to me.

I don’t have any paperwork to sign or turn in on my last day of work. It will be a day like any other except that I will have my very last appointment with my very last client. No fanfare or hurrah. Just…done. Damn, I still remember the first client I ever had. So strange. You do something for 28 years and then one day, you don’t do it anymore.  I’m lucky to have done something I loved. I will miss my work and am thinking about how I might keep my hand in a little bit while we’re out. That’s probably not seriously workable because of scheduling and having internet/phone access, but it makes me feel better about leaving the practice behind. And I’m open to it.

The spoils of a fun day of painting rocks for our travels.

By the time we leave the marina and go to Olympia for the haul out, we’ll be quite ready to get this show on the road. We’ve already started talking about how little we might be able to get away with doing before we go because we’re kind of chomping at the bit to get out there. We are starting to get excited about the idea that we get to go cruising this year. It feels like forever since we’ve been anyplace cool on Galapagos. And that’s because it HAS been a long time. I can’t wait to get out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, actually. It’s a big body of water, and it smells like vacation and summer. Plus, whales! We always see humpbacks in the strait. Mike better start practicing his whale calling song, because we’re coming for them!

We will hang around the south sound until the end of June, when we get our last immunization from the nice Elizabeth at Costco, and then we will start our journey north to explore the inside and the Strait of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland. We are still considering a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island by way of shake down, but as every sailor knows, those kinds of plans will blow around with the wind and weather. Gosh, it’s really nice to not have to be in too much of a hurry! I’m already enjoying that part and we aren’t even gone yet! 

You know, in all the blogs I’ve read about people doing this thing called cruising, I don’t remember reading about how strange it feels to be at this part of the planning process; this part where you are almost completely ready to cast off the lines, with one foot in your land life, and the other on the boat. All the final land-based contracts and obligations are poised for disconnect or have been put on hold. House is rented, jobs are quit, boat is paid for.  All systems are ready, you just have pick up your foot and go.

We’ve been eating, breathing, sleeping this plan for 5 years. It’s been the all-consuming focus of our existence, for better or for worse. Between this plan, work,  and family stuff, we have had no time or energy to invest much in anything else. The amount of psychological energy and focus this kind of life change takes is enormous; much more than we would have ever known. It’s hard to explain that to others.

All that’s left at this point is to have those ‘last’ days, haul her out and get to work on her, and then to say goodbye for awhile to our people. The hardest part is saved for last.  I remind myself that it’s ‘farewell for now’, not ‘goodbye’. I remind myself I can come home if I want to, for a visit. I remind myself that my people can come to Mexico and beyond and be on the boat with us. I remind myself. A lot. And I wish they could all come on this trip, too.

Benson Island, one of my favorite places. I wonder if we’ll be there again this year.

By the way, since we’ll be in Scotland most of May, we are trying to get the storage shed at the marina emptied out this month. We have a couple of things boat related up for sale. Right now we have a #45 CQR anchor and a nice dehumidifier. If you are interested in either of those, give us a shout.


25 thoughts on “These Last Days

  1. Yup! We are so in the same space… 🙂 Amazing, isn’t it? We can’t wait to be out there too. May your trip to Scotland be amazing and wonderful – see you guys on the water!

  2. So excited for you ! Savor the emotions like a spicy meal – so much of life is just boiled potatoes. In ports in Europe, you often find boats with little advertisement signs on the lifelines: “marine electrician” or ” sail and canvas repair”; sailors who want to top up the sailing kitty along the way. You could put out a sign with “sailing couple counseling” ! I’m sure you’d get a lot of inquiries ! You could even have visitor cards printed up and leave them in the cockpit of couples you hear screaming at each other! (wait, that would make you a sort of ambulance chaser, wouldn’t it?). Anyway, I hope our internet holds out enough so I can follow your first months !

    • We feel lucky that we’ve had glimpses of the ‘sucky’ parts of this life. Having spend summers cruising for weeks at a time, we’ve never had a trip where we didn’t, for instance, have engine problems. But yeah, I get that whole ‘look at right now, not too far ahead’ thing. So true. Sure enjoy your blog! And very glad that April 1 post was your idea of a joke. 🙂

  3. So glad to see you this close. Very exciting. Long time comming but a huge reward awaits you.

    When we sold our house and moved onto the boat, the last item of business was to sell the car. We went to Carmax to sell it and took an Uber back to the boat. Three days later we left the marina and never returned. Those three days felt really weird.

    Don’t worry about making friends along the way. We spent our last summer at a marina and barely got to know our neighbors (not from a lack of us trying). Once back out on the cruising circuit, we meet new people everyday. We bump into a lot of the same people along the way. When we arrived in Turks and Caicos we saw a couple we met in the Bahamas in the anchorage. It’s really fun to here your boat name called on the VHF knowing it’s people you like inviting you over for a drink. Meeting new people is easy: launch the dink and knock on someone’s boat – see what happens next. I would be as bold as saying we have more friends now than when we had a land life. The hard part for us now is leaving a port because there is a good weather window and friends are not going our way. But we have been doing this long enough now to know we will continue to meet more people.

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

    • We do look forward to meeting people along the way. That’s going to be one of the fun things, I know. Two couples we are friends with in the marina are gone already: one to a house, the others just starting their own sailing adventure north. My family I will really miss, but they will need to come visit, and I will fly home to see them.

  4. These are exciting days, that’s for sure. While I was reading your blog, I tried to think back to the days we were prepping our boat to go offshore. It was such a long time ago, but I remember the excitement, anxiety and mass of emotion like it was yesterday.

    • We have a lot to be excited about now, for sure. We are both excited for the Scotland trip, as well as finally taking off after all this work and planning. I’ll be better once the goodbyes are over. Anticipating them is the worst.

  5. So exciting! Congratulations to Mike on retirement!

    I said goodbye to my children, and their families several years ago when they moved out of Alaska, so that made the move out of Fairbanks easy. I’m looking forward to many visits with them on the boat, no matter where we are. I know you will too!

    • I do hope so! Claire moved out into the world years ago. We miss her but we stay in touch. Andrew lives in our house. It’s hard to leave him, but it’s time to go explore. When kids move away as adults, that feels like the natural order of things. When parents move away from kids, I think feels different. But we will carry on and do look forward to boat visits.

  6. Wow, so excited for you! Look for time for a lunch with me or Chere and I before you go. Will keep reading your blog as I assume you will want us all to know where you are.

    • Yes, let’s do lunch before we leave. We will be keeping the blog updated as we go as much as we can. Our ability to connect to the internet is the main thing. But I will be able to post to Facebook using our Iridium system.

  7. You’ve been planning for FIVE years! And NOW; it’s almost time. How exciting, scary, fun!

    Hubby and I are six years out from retirement. We agreed just Saturday to try not to talk about it for a WHOLE month. It seems so far away; and yet scary close.

    I cannot wait to read your adventures!

    • Let us know if you are able to not talk about your upcoming plans for a whole month! That would take a lot of discipline. Six years seems like a long time, but it flies. Enjoy the life you are living now as you plan for your future cruising!

  8. Where has the time gone! Leaving sounds like a mixture of feelings….you have both come so far. I know things will work out. Have you ever thought of writing a book about your adventure? Your writing is superb and I’ll bet you’ll have many interesting events to share. Retirement is different but well worth taking the plunge, particularly when you plan to travel the world. Your dream will be here before you know it. I’m so excited for you and Mike. Keep counting down those days…..⛵️

    • It sure is a mixture of feelings. Finally, after a long wait, excitement is beginning. We won’t be ‘retired’ actually, just taking a break from work for a couple of years, until we figure out what we want to do when we grow up.

    • Having brought my art supplies onto the boat, I need a purpose for them. This is going to server well for awhile. It is such a cheerful thing, a brightly painted rock.

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