Moving On….

11/16/2018

We set our sites on our goals and went into action. After the loss of our last love, 51′ Formosa, we purchased a smaller sail boat with the earlier mindset of staying aboard, cruising and site seeing. It took several years to get back onboard. Paid too many months on dockage for her to sit unattended. Now every time we step aboard I tell her “Honey, I’m home”.

Like the story goes, we got rid of most things and put the rest in storage, including two MG sports-cars. We got on board and went to work. In about thirty days time Michael has accomplished much:

  • #1 Removed and replaced 8 ports.
  • Got drinking water up and running,
  • Set up a shower,
  • Rebuilt the head,
  • Tore out old wiring & old piping.
  • Installed a Hot Water Heater,
  • Built a new Galley,
  • Cleared up a clog in the heat exchanger on the engine.
  • Installed and customized our new Purple Bed to the vberth. I told my husband I’m not going without my bed.
  • Converted the Chain & Cable Steering to worm gear steering.
    And thats just the interior stuff he’s done.
    Me, I Pressure Washed the topsides.repaired the companion way doors, sand and varnished, as well as two Dorads, and a Butterfly Hatch and Removed old varnish with a heat gun from two boom vangs and we hand the bottom of the boat cleaned by a diver.
  • Work started in October with hopes that the summer rains were over and the temperature during the days would be cooler but that was not the case. Up til the mid of November each day was close to 90 degrees. Extremely hot. Felt like August in the tropics. Our stand alone air conditioner “bit the dust” one week before the cooler temps moved in. We almost felt defeated.
  • Two days ago a cold front went through. It cooled right off. We felt revitalized.
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    The Reserection

    11/16/2018

    The time has come to condense our belongings and put whats left in storage and move on to our boat. The itch to go exploring once again has set in. Life on the boat gets much simpler. A peace that is hard to match with anything else.

    Now that decision has been made… the work begins.

    The Demise of Halcyon

    02/21/2017

    This was written by my son, with a heavy heart.

    Are You Ready?⛵️

    12/01/2016
    • What type of person are you is the question. Are you rigid in your daily routine? Are able to ride out the tough times without it destroying you? These are questions you have to ask yourself before you put everything on the line and decide to move onboard a boat and cruise/travel.  Living on the water requires one to be like the water; roll with the times and stay fluid. Be willing to deal with anything that comes your way.

    Zihuatanejo Morning

    11/23/2012

    I found these words I had written while staying on the boat.  After reading them I decided to post them. Somehow they felt therapeutic.

    Clouds of pink and light blue randomly spaced across the sky.  The sea gently rolls  toward the shore reflecting the colors.

    A light sweet chatter of  birds  fly all around. Fish  feed on their morning breakfast.  Mostly small ones on the surface dart back and forth to get out-of-the-way of the big ones below. Sea birds fly above doing  gentle passes while soaring on the light cool breeze, looking for a school of fish to dive into.

    The air is a comfortable 70 degrees while a light breeze adds to the peaceful feeling.

    Fisherman quietly approach my boat,  tossing a hand-line over to the fish hiding underneath. “Buenos Dias” is exchanged back and forth in a whisper, so to not wake those sleeping on deck.

    From town faint sounds of traffic off in the distance.  Lights on-shore begin to fade.

    The sun shows signs of peaking over the eastern mountains on the horizon.  Rays of pink, yellow and blue light jet straight up as if announcing the start of a new day.

    Sailing Vessel Halcyon

    11/19/2012

    This is one story that has been hard to tell.

    We left Mexico last June, 2012. We had a mooring made by an individual name Fernando who was “known” for making moorings. He put it in the water and secured it with chain without allowing Michael to inspect it. Michael had mentioned to him many times that he needed to inspect it before splashing it. But Fernando “blew him off”. That should have been our first warning.

    We also hired someone to keep watch over the boat while we were gone. Jimmy was a local who agreed to watch over the boat and maintain it if anything went wrong.

    Our Mexican Visas were about to expire last May and we had to leave the country. We weren’t allowed to renew the visas since we were at the expiration date and would have to leave Mexico until January 2013. Although Michael was able to pay extra money and obtain a yearly visa.  We had planned to be as far south as El Salvador by the time our visas expired, but that didn’t happen. The motor mounts had needed replacing and the boat was going to have to be hauled before we continued south. We didn’t have the money for the repairs at that time and had to go back to the states. We were aware there were risks but had no choice. Since we had hired Jimmy to watch the boat and an alarm installed, we hoped that would be enough to keep it safe.

    On Aug. 13th, 2012, we received a phone call from Jimmy, our boat had broke loose of its mooring one night during a storm from the east. It drifted over a reef and pounded on top of the rocks for some time, putting a large hole the size of a human hand in the side and cracking the keel length wise and the boat sank.

    About 8 locals and ponga taxi drivers worked to move the boat, patch the leaks, and made runs to shore for supplies for 3 days. Our helper Jimmy, was on the phone with us daily asking for more money to patch the leaks. After sending off funds by way of Western Union several times, it was evident that Michael was going to have to get down there to assess the damage. We were working hard to get the money together for airfare and more repairs.

    We were at the Miami airport the next morning by 5 a.m., for Michael to take the first flight to Mexico City then on to Zihuatanejo. We had understood that we might not see each other for a month or more due to the amount of work that he would have to do to get the boat in order. We hoped that he would have enough money to pay the locals and start repairs.

    When Michael arrived he was inundated with people. He began paying people for the work they had done while more and more people on boats approached him demanding $2,000 to $3,000, not pesos. He was told it would cost over $6,000 just to tow the boat to a marina to a nearby town. The leader of the group, requesting the largest amount of money, told Michael to meet the Port Captain the next day at 10 a.m. When Michael asked if he needed to check with the Port Captain to confirm the time, the guy told him the Port Captain worked for him. Michael told me “They think we are just rich Americans, they are demanding money that we don’t have”.

    The boat was back on the mooring when Michael got there. He inspected the chain and found saw marks all over the chain. The boat was moored close to shore a few hundred yards from the beach in 40′ of water. The boat was too close to land to “break loose” of the mooring due to wind or waves. The entire situation was suspicious.

    After Michael’s call to update me, I was concerned that the Mexican Government would arrest Michael and detain him indefinitely. I called a lawyer friend who was also a cruiser. He consulted with several other individuals that were knowledgeable of International Maritime Law. He highly recommended that Michael leave the country immediately and handle affairs long distance. Claims would be made against the boat. He said “Take a bus out-of-town if you have to, just GET OUT”. The urgency in his voice made me more aware of the potential danger that Michael was in.

    Michael’s first phone call to me was at 5p.m. on Friday. At 5:45 p.m., I instructed him to take the next flight out-of-town which was at 6:35pm. He had about an hour to get to the airport.  He was to take a water taxi a mile and half back to shore, hire a street taxi to the airport 20 minutes away and hope there was room on the next flight out to Mexico City.

    We worried that he would be detained at the airport. He was able to purchase the last seat on the plane 10 minutes before take off. I made reservations for him out of Mexico City one hour after his arrival, only for him to be detained in customs. The next flight to the United States left at 4 a.m. Saturday morning.

    Michael said he sat in the airport in Mexico City, out-of-the-way, hoping not to be noticed. Which I found to be funny, a Gringo in Mexico stands out like a sore thumb. The next 24 hours were hell while trying to arrange last-minute flights back to the U.S.   At 7:30AM Saturday he called to say he had arrived in the United States safely. The following 12 hours were spent calling and texting him to keep him awake for his connecting flights, in order to get him on his next flight home.

    I met Michael at the airport at 7:30 pm Saturday night. A little over 24 hours from the time he called me from the boat. It felt  a month had passed by.  As he walked around the corner with all of the other passengers at the arrival gate I noticed that he had my violin across his shoulder. When I grabbed him and hugged him he said “The last thing I grabbed was your violin and my moms ashes”. (His moms ashes were going to be scattered at sea with the rest of the family once the boat was back on the east coast.) Michael looked defeated and exhausted, it was all I could do to fight back the tears.

    When we got home, Mike our Son was eagerly waiting to see his Dad walk in the door. The guys hugged each other tight then Michael stepped back, looked at us and said ” I’m sorry, I couldn’t save the boat”. The days following revealed the Zihuatanejo Port Captain paid the locals by dividing up the equipment located on the Sailing Vessel Halcyon. Halcyon had been set up to be self-sufficient. The only thing we needed to cruise was fuel and food (and now we know “deep pockets”) to go where ever we wanted to go. All of our savings, heart and soul had gone into this boat.

    What matters most is that we are together and safe. We are thankful that we weren’t on the boat when someone decided that they wanted it. Living without one of our family members would have been the hardest thing to live with. Our hearts are broken due to the loss of our home and sanctuary.

    Winding Down

    08/27/2012

    We continued on until we came to Zihuatanejo.  Our approach there wasn’t until sunrise the next morning.  I had just finished my watch when Michael came up on deck and took the wheel.  I told him about the dolphin playing around the boat for the last 4 hours and how they seem to know when they startled me. They kept me awake the last two hours from 2am to 4am.  I also told Michael that the boat had seemed to take on an extra rumbling and vibration sound.  We weren’t able to really look at it until we were in the bay at Zihuatanejo.  It was there that Michael determined the shaft was loose and the motor mounts needed replacing. We were thank full that something worse didn’t happen with that situation while we were offshore, such as taking on water.

    Our son Mike was getting “itchy” to get back to the states to get up with his friends that were graduating from high school.   It was decided that with the mechanical problem and it being the start of hurricane season, that we would secure the boat and head back to the states to save some money for the repair and return after hurricane season. Then the  boat would be fixed and continue on.

    We stayed in Zihuatanejo another month while we talked with the Port Captain and the locals as to where the best place would be to moor the boat. The Locals recommended putting the mooring close to town, the Port Captain insisted we put it in a remote area between La Roppa Beach and Los Gatos.

    We removed the sails and winches and anything else that might attract someone to go aboard. We had an alarm system installed that would go off if the locks were broken and someone entered the boat thru the companion ways or hatches.

    It was hot at night.  We put up a screened covering that covered the deck and dropped down on the sides.  Pulled the cushions from down below up on deck and slept under the stars.  It was a wonderful feeling sleeping outside.  We watched the first thunderstorm of the season go thru late one night.  As the rain swept across the mountains and into the city, explosions from the transformers lit up the town in all directions.  It was quite the light show.

    Manzanillo

    08/27/2012

    As we continued down the west coast of Mexico we stopped for the night in Manzanillo.  It was a pretty city on the coast and the buildings that climbed the hillsides were impressive.  Flowers were in bloom in brilliant reds and pinks while most of the buildings were painted white.  The contrast of the two along with the bright sun almost hurt your eyes to look at. The boat was anchored directly outside the local marina.  The tourist book stated that the marina offered amenaties that we were looking forward to using, only to find the marina had “seen better days”.  The impressive buildings that climbed the hillside were actually falling apart.  As you walked around the area it was a maze of pathways and alley ways.  Cinderblocks pilled up in areas, along with  barbwire dangeling and dirt pathways.  Many of the condominums appeared to be nice and were being used as a resort area. It was just the structure underneath that was falling apart.

    When the guys returned to the boat and reported what they saw, it was disapointing.  We went back later to find the dock master to see if there was a shipstore nearby.  He charged us $200 pesos to park the dingy at the marina that offered nothing other than a tie up and told us there was a shipstore down the row from him.  Only to find that there was a sign “closed” on the door.  It looked as tho this place was a thriving resort at one time…just not now. It was full of shops on the lower leavel that were mostly vacant. We wandered around until we found a restaurant on the ocean side and had a nice lunch of baked, whole red snapper.  The following morning we pulled up anchor and continued down the coast.

    Heading East South East

    08/27/2012

    The day we left La Barra De Navidad was a bit sad for me.  We had spent some time with the crew on S/V Third Day and they were fun.  We go thru life and meet lots of people but few do we actually connect with.  As life on the water goes, we wished each other safe passages and hoped to see each other again.

    Then we were continued on our journey Manzanillo our next port of call.

    Heading Down the Pacific Coast of Mexico

    07/30/2012

     After waiting 3 days for a weather window we left Chamela, our next stop was La Barra De Navidad. It was 137 nautical miles and it took us overnight to arrive in the afternoon.  La Barra De Navidad has a lagoon where boaters anchor and locals fish.  It was very shallow going in at low tide and we ran aground.  First Mate Mike was sent up forward to “watch” as we went forward.  But he was preoccupied checking out all the boats in the anchorage, scanning for familiar boats that might contain friends from La Paz.

      It wasn’t long before a small boat was headed our way.  In the boat was indeed friends we had met in La Paz from the boat Third Day. They had seen us come up the channel and had come to say hello and lend a hand.  We welcomed them aboard while Mike and Jason went up to the bow and caught up on past events. We adults went back in the wheelhouse out of the sun and passed around “cold ones” while waiting for the tide to rise.

    This was probably one of Mikes favorite stops.  His friend Jason was taking surfing lessons the following day and invited Mike to come along.  Mike was able to hang out with J and surf with him a good part of the day. The two of them did great and got a real workout.  The seas were a bit rough and the waves were just right for practicing.

    We anchored the boat in the lagoon there and the trip back and forth to shore was a long one.  Coming back  to the boat at night was the most exciting with the brightest phosphorus I had ever seen.  A flashlight wasn’t needed due to the light reflecting off of the transom and the outboard.  The sea life was ever so active jumping and darting in all directions. The outline of sea snakes would come to the surface and move their heads back and forth looking around, while everything was a bright flourescent green.  It was down right eerie.

    Our friends from Third Day have a boat made by the same designer as ours, a William Garden.  It was nice to see the two boats anchored together.  We had a nice visit and just wished we had more time to play.


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