Life is Good: When the Sky Isn’t Falling

Multi-Tasking.  The very nice lady behind the counter at Super T, washes and dries her laundry while at work.

Multi-Tasking. The very nice lady behind the counter at Super T, washes and dries her laundry while at work.

The famous logo and product line, “Life is Good” is one of my favorites. The captain and I have several Life is Good T-shirts, depicting sailing, kayaking, and exercise. For the last two weeks, life has been good for Seamore Pacific. But in our quest for carefree adventure we have encountered serious physical work, termites, ladders, cold, and no bathrooms. Behind the simple, ultraistic drawing on a Life is Good t-shirt, I’ve learned that camping has its bugs, kayaking brings on blisters, running causes chafing, and living on a boat requires….denial, delusion, and repeating the motto, “life is good” a thousand times; even when it’s not easy or convenient.  Dinner 2 SNS Two weeks ago, after 10 months of working and urban dwelling, the Captain, Francis, and I returned to our boat. Sitting in the Sonora, Mexico work yard of Marina Seca, she greeted us with open arms. Skillful staff had moved her from secured storage to the work yard to await our arrival. Excitement was in the air, as owners just like us filed in to claim their fiberglass and wooden family members. I heard sighs of relief, grinding, sanding, and storytelling.   Except for the constant grit and grime, I find boatyards fascinating. People from all walks of life and professions are breaking sweat by day and dreaming by night.     DSC05036Having Francis with us, we thought it best to stay in either a posada or casita for the 2 days it would take to launch Seamore Pacific. Life is good though. On day 4 we were still nowhere close to splashing. Nature has the final say in sailing and nature had determined that the tide wouldn’t be high enough to launch until the following Thursday. The little posada we were staying at was free of grit and grime but to make it comfy we needed to personalize it with blankets, towels, and rugs. And then there was the issue of termites in the headboard having midnight munchies. The captain was wigged out by the noise they made. I was wigged out by the tunnels they had created. We are from Florida, so we are used to termite damage but for some reason or another, this experience was just not in our “life is good” repertoire.   Patio for SNS Bedroom casita 4 We waited 10 months to be on the boat- why let jack stands; climbing a ladder; no onboard bathroom; and boatyard grime stand in the way. Cheerfully we cleaned the thin layer of dust from inside Seamore Pacific’s sole and hauled our stuff up the ladder to make our boat back into the home she is. Perched 10 feet in the air, in the Tetakawi mountains, we grinned just as silly as a stick figure character from a Life is Good t-shirt. Staying aboard a boat while in the work yard takes patience, tolerance, and a strong bladder but for us it was worth the trade-off of being in our own space. Francis readily agreed. Our boat yard days quickly took on a rhythm of physically exhausting work during the day, a tepid marina shower at 5 pm, and then a nighttime walk to a local restaurant.   Chicken enchiladas, papas locos, cheeseburgers in paradise, and margaritas made up for all of our inconveniences. Sooner or later, the topic of food always comes up within the rich conversations shared by sailors. However, despite our good life in the boat yard, launch day did arrive. Except for a below-the-waterline leak, and strong winds, launch day was just like any other ordinary day. The time to switch gears had arrived. I was trading in land for water. What an adrenaline rush, to hear the captain announce, “We have a leak.” It got my attention in the same manner as a rattle snake did, when I crossed paths with him at midnight on the Pemberton Trail in McDowell Mountain a few years ago. Another example of when life is good, I tabled my emotions and searched diligently for a positive outcome; helping Captain Chameleon narrow the water leak to a hose fitting. Captain Chameleon shut off the thru-hull valve taking it down to a tiny trickle of ocean water to seep in, but subsequently a non-functioning toilet. Not perfect by any means but we continued on. In cruising, I’m learning that life can only feel good when I stay calm, stay with the mission, and keep my expectations and fears from sky rocketing. In short, it’s been a physically exhausting week. We have sanded and painted the hull, started sanding and varnishing the teak, fixed all water leaks, and formulated a plan for replacing the hot water heater, head (bathroom) shower faucet, and a few sail lines. Aside from that, we have enjoyed well thought out meals, deliberately prepared over conversation and easy laughs, (spaghetti, pizza, and barbacoa over rice). When the sun goes down I transition to sleep by cozying up with a good book, under a fleece throw. I go through every boat sound I’m hearing…is it a leak? Are our dock lines secured? Is the sky falling? Once I’ve checked all possible catastrophes off the list, I give Francis a good night kiss, switch off the cabin lights, and say to the captain, “Isn’t Life Good?” For which he reassuringly responds, “Yes” Good night, S/V Seamore Pacific

Work yard at Marina Seca

Work yard at Marina Seca

The tarps took a beating.

The tarps took a beating.

Barren & Dark

Barren & Dark

Cobweb

Cobweb

Boat critters

Boat critters

Boat-sweet home after a day of tender loving care.

Boat-sweet home after a day of tender loving care.

Cozy bed SNS cozy kitty SNS

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

Francis' Galley

Francis’ Galley

Sunrise.  Launch Day!

Sunrise. Launch Day!

Moving Crew

Moving Crew

These guys are amazing...skillful, friendly, efficient.

These guys are amazing…skillful, friendly, efficient.

Moving Day 2 SNS

Marina San Carlos...here we come.

Marina San Carlos…here we come.

It's always exciting to see a boat go in the water...even when not my own boat.

It’s always exciting to see a boat go in the water.  Marina friends saw Seamore Pacific on the launch ramp and stayed around to see her splash.

#x%#!!!!!  We have a below the water line!  "Grab some masking tape Ethel!"

#x%#!!!!! We have a below the water line! “Grab some masking tape Ethel!”

Life is Good...leak stopped and boat is still afloat.  Lots of cleaning and canvas work to put up.

Life is Good…leak stopped and boat is still afloat. Lots of cleaning and canvas work to put up.

Bimini up

Bimini up

Seamore Pacific...Phoenix, Arizona

Seamore Pacific…Phoenix, Arizona

Wild Horse.  Life is Good

Wild Horse. Life is Good

Wild Guy.  Life is Good

Wild Guy. Life is Good

Seamore Pacific Trivia:

  1. How many steps to the marina bathroom?   Answer: 624 steps round trip. When it’s blowing 30 knots or in the dead of night it feels like 1248 steps.
  2. How many days did it take to make Seamore Pacific free of “below the water line” leaks? Answer: 4 days. I’m happy to say that water never reached the bilge pumps and we now have a working toilet. Life is really good when the boat floats.
  3. Who sells the best bacon in San Carolos, Mexico? Answer: Santa Rosa’s market. They smoke all of their meat on premise. However, we can’t just stop with the bacon, we also cart home pint size tubs of guacamole, spinach, garlic, cheese, barbacoa, refried beans, and tortillas. Plus, Santa Rosa is on the way to Ruth & Rudy’s Bakery….their chocolate éclairs up the ante on what is good for the soul.
  4. Besides being sea worthy, what makes for good living on a boat? Answer: hot water, ice cubes, a warm bed with soft sheets, absorbent (and pretty) towels, strong dock lines/anchor rode, a cozy settee, ample lighting, a well provisioned galley, and a boat kitty.
When life needs more color

Life needs more color

DSC05031

Sunrise over Marina San Carlos

Sunrise over Marina San Carlos

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Syncing Ship

cropped-cropped-dsc0466611.jpgThursday, January 1st was supposed to be the day we sailed away. That was the plan. Rock solid and pretty, the plan was to glide out of work by New Year’s Eve, wake up early Thursday and toss our gear into a freshly washed and waxed car, then drive south across the border, scooting into San Carlos by happy hour. The formal itinerary called for Seamore Pacific’s mainsail to be unfurling just as Captain Chameleon and I raise a cerveza and sing, “Its 5 O’clock Somewhere.” Bon Voyage couldn’t have been any more perfect than if Jimmy Buffet and Martha Steward had planned and packaged it. Reality check- the ability to execute travel plans is lost on the two of us. Captain Chameleon’s motto is, “I don’t know where I’m going and I don’t know when I’ll get there.”

Captain Chameleon knows where he is going. He just isn’t into planning out every infinite detail. A guy of chameleon complexity, he also isn’t one for taking chances and he is far from being reckless. Tell him to be somewhere at 5 and he will make sure to be there at 4:45. The Captain’s reply to my question of, “what day are we heading to the boat?” turned out to be a valuable exercise in determining the value of time. The wise Captain knew that I needed to settle into non-occupation mode and he needed to get used to having Martha Steward organize his day. And so, the syncing of Seamore Pacific began…

The first sign that Seamore Pacific was syncing was when I awoke on January 2nd without an alarm clock. I love mornings when they start off with my own internal clock saying it’s time to wake up. Yesterday my internal alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. and so I made a pot of coffee and welcomed the day (SOS….sign of syncing). I couldn’t help but smile at a flashback from nursing school when I would stand in the shower at 4 am and cry because I hated mornings. And then there was the other flashback, when Captain Chameleon would either start his day at 3:45 am or end it at 3:45 am.

What was innate for Captain Chameleon on January 1st and later became obvious to me, is the need to be in-sync with boat living. In other words, we needn’t get crazy and knock each other down following a specific plan for re-entry into live aboard cruising. Besides syncing mobile devices, setting up an inReach handheld satellite device, stowing new batteries, ordering auto-pilot spare parts and grease for the propeller shaft, there is the ambient features to incorporate.  Sailing is very physical. But living aboard a sailboat, in another country deduces to physical locomotion.   In our experience, when we are not sailing we are walking; to the Mercado for groceries, the hardware store for gadgets, and every street taco vendor within a 50 mile radius. We love walking.

So, on January 5th we downsized from 2 cars to 1 (SOS…a sign of syncing). Why keep a “his” and “her” car to drive a mile to the market when we can peddle our bikes? In Phoenix, we have become accustomed to the easiness of hopping in the car to drive a half-mile. Part of our love for Seamore Pacific is the walking that we do, so why not do more walking and bike riding when we aren’t on the boat? Now a one car…2 bike…4 Saucony…and 8 flip-flop family…we hoofed it the other night to a local pizzeria ­­­­to celebrate. Syncing or not, I really do like this, Don’t-Know-Where-I’m-Going sailing fellow.bikes in garage

With nine days of syncing we are in good shape and on our way to the boat. We left Phoenix one afternoon and crossed over into Mexico at dusk.   Professional and helpful, the Mexican officials inspected our car, gave Francis the A-O-K, and handed us our travel visas. We are good for 6 months.   What about Ruby? Well, part of what came out of syncing was a last-minute request by Grandma to keep Ruby. Everyone loves Ruby and her adorable face. The question took me by surprise. What would we do without Ruby on board? But, the Captain was selfless and correct to identify that sailing was never Ruby’s gig….it is ours and not hers. When we took Ruby over to Grandma’s house, I swear Ruby was humming to the tune of, “its 5 o’clock somewhere.”

Taking into account our GPS location and relaxed state of mind, we believe it will be 4, 5, 6 or 8 more days before we actually arrive in San Carlos and climb aboard Seamore Pacific. Like the Captain says, “If we knew where we were going, then we would know what time we’ll get there.”

SOS, GPS, and LOL.

 

Seamore Pacific is Syncing….

DSC04904

 

getting to stay home

Francis is packed

Syncing the In Reach

Syncing the Delorme

Waiting for Health Certificate

Waiting for Health Certificate

 

 

~ Afternoon walk ~

DSC04925

coastal

sleeping

pellican sos