Preparing to Leave Puntarenas

Costa Rica Yacht Club
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Emma Jo at Costa Rica Yacht Club

The first week of March, Ole flew up to Orlando for a management meeting, leaving me alone at the dock beside the haulout yard at the Costa Rica Yacht Club in Puntarenas. I sat under the watchful eye of the guard tower, taking the shuttle ashore every day or so to check email and sip a quiet coke. Although the Bixlers left the boat in good shape, there were things that needed doing to prepare Emma Jo for the next long haul, putting things away, slapping on a coat or two of varnish, and visiting the SuperMega down the road for provisions. [Read more…]

Provisioning in Belize

Radisson Fort George Marina
Belize City, Belize

It’s just after 11:00 a.m. and we’re finally getting ready to get underway for what we hope will begin the fun portion of this cruise.

Ole got back yesterday afternoon as planned, we washed down the boat, reset the lines, pulled up the anchor we had set against the norther, and looked at what we’ll do with the remaining 19 days of his vacation on the way to Guatemala. We think we have a plan. We’re not tied down to waypoints and planning for seas, as we’ll be cruising all through protected waters until we arrive in Rio Dulce – but the plans do call for napping, skinny-dipping, snorkeling, and the “work a little, play a little” ethic we thought this cruise would be about.

[Read more…]

Plans Change…

Safe Harbor Marina
Key West, Florida

So, how did we end up here after a week? Why aren’t we in Mexico somewhere?

It all started at noon on Sunday, January 21. With a fresh 15-20 knot wind from the east northeast, we set out from Bayside, with all crew aboard, excitement and anticipation driving us up to the flybridge to celebrate Miami in the rear view mirror. The cats, less excited and anticipatory, were driven to their usual cruising location.

It was beautiful — sunny, about 80 degrees, plenty of boats out and about. We left via Biscayne Bay and Stiltsville escorted for a short while by a dolphin, heading for Hawk Channel and our first stop, Key West. Exiting Biscayne Bay was rather exciting, with seas at 4-6 ft and the wind freshening as we entered open ocean, making for interesting hand steering. Once we got the autopilot sorted out and put ourselves on our plotted course, we took the seas on our port beam for several hours. Word to the wise — seasick prevention starts at the dock — not when you are already feeling woozy. God bless Lise for stocking the abundance of ginger remedies, from home-made biscotti, to tea, to non-drowsy Dramamine. [Read more…]

Our Last Night in Miami!

Miami, Florida

Sanely awake this morning, sans hangover, although when we rolled back to the boat from Monty’s at about 10:30 last night, we sat down, thought 2 or 3 thoughts, then went to bed. We were asleep before our heads hit the pillow!

There was nice turnout at Monty’s last night to wish us well.There was a contingent from Riverview Marina — aboard Chris’ “South Forty” were Kim, Brendan, Debbie, and Chris; and Frank and Leslie (Maggie’s kids) drove down from Ft. Lauderdale.

Lots of folks from Royal Caribbean came as well — and as far as we know, many stayed well beyond our bedtime! Almost the entire complement of Lera Consulting showed up — Martha and Abel; Michael and Magda. [Read more…]

Throwing off the Lines in Ft. Lauderdale

Riverview Marina
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
2:00 a.m.

Two weeks, 58 to-dos, and several boat units later, we are almost ready to go. It’s 1:35 a.m. on Friday, January 19, 2007, and I have just finished a thorough housecleaning while Ole is in the engine room changing the oil in the generator and the Lehmans. We have been at it since 7:30 a.m.

While the doing has been fairly straightforward, the getting ready to leave has been a bit complicated, mostly by the emotions of transforming relationships from “present” to “absent.”

Both Ole and I are rather linear, in that if we have a task to do, we put our nose on the line and follow it, often to the detriment of anyone or anything that gets in the way. And this week, what has “gotten in the way” have been our friends and neighbors phoning or stopping by just to chat, usually right in the middle of some straight-line project or other. [Read more…]

Getting Ready to Go…

Sovereign of the Seas

Let’s see…what have we forgotten? We made a list a year ago, of projects and purchases that seemed important in preparation for our departure on January 18 of this year. Buy and install the new autopilot. Check. Buy and install the water maker. Check. Find and test a mail forwarder. Check. Get SCUBA certified. Check. Take all of the classes we could at the Power Squadron – Boating, Seamanship, Engine Maintenance, Piloting, Advanced Piloting. Check.

Even though we’ve made steady progress on the big things, with only two weeks left before the first leg of our long journey home to Seattle, the list just seems to get longer. Get vaccinated against all sorts of nasty mosquito-borne illnesses. Take the HAM license exam. Get health certificates for the cats. Put together a ditch kit. Create a stowage plan and provision. Clean out the lazarette. Buy enough Velcro to stick everything down in case of rough seas. Oh, yeah — buy seasick medication. I’m about to have an ulcer just worrying about what hasn’t made the list yet.

So how did we end up here? [Read more…]