A Midnight Swim Under the Stars

Saturday June 19, 2010

Another weekend, another group of friends.  I think we’re starting to get pretty popular.  The friends we had out this time were Ken and Mindy, one of Matt’s co-workers and his wife.  These friends are going to be joining us on a trip across Lake Michigan next month to Milwaukee, and even though we love just hanging out with them in general we thought it would be a good idea to have them on the boat for the night so they could get a sense of the space we have on board and if they’d be able to stay cooped up on it for 12 hours straight.  Plus I’ve seen how Mindy packs for weekend trips and I wanted her to see how little storage there is on the boat, especially with 4 people on it.  Not that I would have known any better myself before owning a boat though.  We’ll still have to see if any editing needs to be done once they arrive for the trip.  There might be cocktail dresses and heels going overboard.

 

 

 

After a nice dinner in Muskegon sitting on a patio and listening to live music we made our way back to the boat for some after dinner drinks and a sunset cruise.  I was quite excited about this, because as weird as it sounds being on the lakeshore, we rarely ever see sunsets except from our mooring.  But an unobstructed view of the horizon is a beautiful sight that I will never get sick of.  There wasn’t much wind, but for some reason there were rolling waves on the water.  This is absolutely my least favorite combination.  I can get seasick pretty easily sometimes but can usually get over it if I have a nice breeze on my face.  However, if there’s no breeze there’s no feeling better.  I usually only start to get sick if I’m trying to do something in the cabin, so after trying to be a good hostess and mix a rum and diet for Mindy my stomach started to get queasy and I was off drink duty.  It was time to put Matt to work anyway.

We had a good time puttering around at a slow pace and dangling our feet off the back ladder into the water.  The water felt surprisingly warm for June, and when we checked our gages it showed 75.  I would have guessed that for Muskegon Lake, but both Matt and I have taken May swims in Lake Michigan with under 60 degree water temperatures so I did not think the big lake would heat up this quickly.  Although we had all brought our suits none of us quite felt like jumping in just yet.  So we hung around the cockpit laughing and having a good time.  There was a little bit of a seating issue since Mazzii had the whole starboard side to herself leaving the four of us to take any open space we could find.  Since we were only a few days from the longest day of the year, the sun didn’t start to dip below the horizon until 9:30.  Even after it was down the sky stayed a blazing orange and red until well after 10:00.  Yep, I could never get sick of this.

 

Keeping an eye on Ken so he won’t push her in

Me?  Space hog?

Bringing the boat back to the mooring there was not a breath of wind in the air.  We took advantage of this by bringing out a deck of cards to play a few games.  I’ma lover of gin rummy and poker (five card draw, NOT Texas hold ’em), but it seems like every other person in the world loves Euchre.  I was quickly out-voted when Matt decided he wouldn’t vote, and I was forced to brush up on my Euchre skills that I haven’t used in forever.  To even things out I was paired with Ken while Matt paired with Mindy so each team had at least one person who knew what they were doing.  Ever fearful I had no idea what card to throw down when, Ken and I easily pulled in a victory since each round I usually had a Jack in my hand.

I was not too keen on playing another round, so when Matt suggested going for a midnight swim I actually took a moment to ponder the idea.  I’m not much of a night swimmer and I’m not much of a swimmer in Muskegon Lake but at the time it sounded like the best idea ever.  After a little prodding Mindy was on board too.  I won’t lie, we did have to take a shot of Mailbu to give ourselves a little extra courage before we put our suits on.  It was still sounding like a good idea until we were standing at the edge of the deck looking down at the black water.  Every girly we were holding onto each other’s hands so one wouldn’t jump into the water without the other.  Taking a deep breath we made the plunge.  The water was very warm and we were splashing around having a good time, climbing back on and jumping off again and again.  Soon Matt was also in on the action and I was pretty sure this was going to have to become a ritual.

On the count of three, jump!!

After fully tiring ourselves out we dried off in the cockpit with one last drink for the night.  Matt shuttled Ken and Mindy off to the parking lot and sent them on their way.  Sloppily making the bed in the v-berth I waited for him to come back and we both crawled in to go to bed.  Yes, I am definitely loving weekends on the boat now.

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Oh the Weather Outside is Weather

Sunday June 13, 2010

Serendipity already seems to be getting more visitors than the Hunter ever did.  Besides having our friends Becky and Tyler out for her maiden voyage, we were having our friends Kim and Korey out with us today.  They actually had been on the Hunter with us last year, so the extra space on the deck and in the cabin amazed them.  All Kim could say after she got on was ‘It’s so big….there’s so much more space than the last boat….it’s just so big’.  Which should tell you a little bit about how small the Hunter felt with four people on it.  Like I’ve said before, it gave us some great times but buying the Sabre was a big upgrade for us.

 

Last year on the Hunter

We were hoping for a beautiful sunny day on the water, this was June of course, but why would Michigan submit to my desires.  The sky was overcast and it was chilly enough to need a fleece or jacket.  There was a nice amount of wind so we pointed the bow north and set the autopilot.  We didn’t let it ruin our day though.  Cracking open a few beers we grilled burgers and hung out in the cockpit.  Then we moved the party up to the deck where we dangled our feet over the edge and let Mazzii steer the boat.  It may not have been an ideal day out on the water, but we always have a good time with our friends and the summer is just beginning.  We’ll have plenty more opportunities for the sun to come out as well…. I hope.

 

That Korey, he’s a looker

Don’t worry guys, I’ve totally got this!

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We’re Going Green!

Friday June 11, 2010

Although there were A LOT of things we completed while the boat was in heated storage, work on a boat never ends and we are continuing to do work and make improvements.   One of the things we’re adding are solar panels.  Not only would it be nice to have one just for sitting at the mooring to have enough power to keep the fridge running, have enough juice for the autopilot and then a little leftover for the stereo and instruments….we will need a power source on our trip to keep these things running every day.  By the time we leave we’ll probably have three panels total, but for now we’ve only purchased two and one is going on the boat today.  This is a project that Matt couldn’t handle by himself (could you imagine a piece of equipment  like that accidentally falling into the water during installation?) so I joined him once I got out of work.

After unloading it from the car and gingerly placing it in the dinghy Matt took us to the boat and dropped me off.  He found out that morning while I was gone that he could get the dinghy on plane with only one person in it and wanted to show me.  With him and the solar panel left in the dink he cruised around at full throttle showing me how quickly he could zoom around.  Finally coming back to the boat he was showing off too much and didn’t slow down when he should have.  The side of the dink bumped into the boat, not a big deal because we were using the inflatable, but the corner of the solar panel was protruding off the side and caused a nice little scratch on the side of my beautiful Serendipity.  That will be a fun one to fix.  And Matt thinks I’m the accident prone one of the relationship.  Boys………..

Being extra careful we managed to get the panel from the dinghy into the cockpit.  This panel was going on top of the davits we installed earlier this year on the stern of the boat.  Working on my acrobatics again I had to position myself so that I was basically hanging off the transom but still keeping myself steady enough to support the solar panel while it was being raised.  Luckily we managed to hoist it on the davits without much trouble and from that point my job was more to keep it from moving than to keep it supported.  Matt had the panel quickly attached and was running wire to the charge controller which then brings the power to our batteries.  Maybe the gods felt bad that we’d already done damage to the boat that day and didn’t want to make life harder for us, but everything worked on the first try!  We were taking in power, and from just the one panel it was more than we needed for just weekends out.  Maybe we’d hold off on adding the second one until we get closer to leaving.  I have to say, it’s not too bad of a set-up.  With the wind giving us our movement and the solar panel giving us energy we’re on our way to a very green way of living.  Now I just have to count down the days until we’re out of our house, cars are sold, and we’ve joined the cruising lifestyle.

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On an Island in the Sun

Saturday June 5, 2010

This will be me in a few years

Although Matt and I started this blog so fans of sailing and friends of ours could enjoy stories from weekends on the lake (and you’d still read it if were only that, right?), there is a much bigger reason for us to share our story with everyone.  Next summer on August 1st we will be leaving our land life behind and becoming cruisers.  Remember how I mentioned before that once Matt gets a hobby he’ll become obsessed with it?  Well apparently somewhere in the 10 hours a day he spends online reading about sailing and cruising he started reading about cruising sailors and what it takes to live that kind of lifestyle.  We’d always talked about doing traveling and wanting to see the world.  Back in 2007 we spent a week visiting my parents who were living in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam at the time, and were completely enamored with experiencing other cultures.  There was even a month when we got back that we were searching the costs of moving to Vietnam because we thought a life change like that would be good for us.  There’s too much world out there to stay in one place.

So sitting at my desk on a Tuesday afternoon I get an email from Matt that said something along the lines of “I was just looking into this, and did you know that people are cruising and living on budgets of only $20,000 a year?”  Obviously with the life we’re living on land we’re spending much more than that and I had to think to myself, ‘Wow, that actually sounds doable with a couple years of planning and saving’.  We didn’t make plans that day to leave our lives behind and head out into the the wild blue yonder, but the more we researched it the more it sounded like a possibility.  I would spend days at work daydreaming about sailing around to lush sandy beaches with year round sun and warmth.  Plus time away from the daily grind?  Sign me up!

After a few more months of talking it over we came up with a plan to spend two years sailing between the east coast of the states and the Bahamas.  Matt’s original idea was for us to sail around the world in about 3 years.  I was not too keen on this plan as I could not see myself going three weeks at a time without seeing land and did not want to cross two whole oceans.  In the end we agreed on the States/Bahama plan so that I would feel comfortable staying close to land, and this would allow us to bring Mazzii on the trip as well.  It’s too bad we won’t be able to go any further south than the Bahamas with saildog aboard because she would have to be quarantined, but I don’t think I can complain seeing as I get to spend two years cruising.

The general plan is that we’ll leave out of Muskegon in August of next year.  Sailing through the Great Lakes and Erie Canal we’ll be dumped in New York Harbor and begin our journey south.  Stopping among little town on the way we’ll get to the Bahamas sometime in December and stay there until March when we’ll go north again.  Hitting the towns we missed the first time we’ll keep working our way up and hopefully spend a few months in Maine before beginning our decent south for one more winter.  Then begins our trip home where we’ll resume our lives.  Not exactly the way they were left though.  The house will be sold and our jobs will have been quit, we’ll be starting all over again.  But tomorrow gives no promises and I’d hate to put off something like this until retirement and not have it happen because we don’t have the means then, or have health problems.  There’s nothing stopping us now, no kids, no commitments, nothing we can’t pick up again when we get home.

So follow us in our preparations to leave and once the journey starts.  It should be one hell of a ride!!

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