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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Turning 60: Circumspect But Still Sassy

Hang gliding for my 40th birthday in New Zealand.
Just weeks before my 40th birthday, I reluctantly filed for divorce on a long-dead marriage. 

Years prior, I joked, "Married, but not dead." At 40, I updated my new M.O. to "Divorced, but far from done." I celebrated my birthday with a solo trip to Australia and New Zealand. I walked, rappel-style, across the upper tier of the Sydney Bridge and took a tandem hang-glide in New Zealand. They were far from my only adventures.

Fifteen years ago, I asked my hairdresser "What would you say my hair color is?" It used to be medium brown. In a mid-life crisis, I dyed in burgundy, then let it grow out and shifted to a foil weave. It seemed lighter . . .

Pre-haircut, French Polynesia, 2016; I was 55.

"Gray," she said, with something between a grimace and a smile.

Our wedding kiss, Hawaii, 2007. Wayne still treats me like a goddess.
When I turned 50, my husband let me choose my own birthday gift. I picked a weekend at Sleeping Lady Resort, where I could go cross-country skiing and get pampered. I luxuriated in a thick fluffy white resort robe and Wayne treated me like a goddess.

Galley Wench—me—swinging
into the blue-green waters of Vanuatu. 2016.
A year-and-a-half later, we took off for five years of sailing, until we sold our sailboat in Australia, after sailing there from halfway around the world.

In the summer of 2019, one of my high school alums pointed out of the 100 or so 40th reunion attendees, we were the only women there with gray hair—though technically, hers was a now-fashionable blue.

Gray-haired and unashamed of it at my 40th high school reunion in 2019.
I coined my own term for the state of my tresses: earned highlights.
Today I begin my 60th trip 'round the sun.

Once upon a time, I considered 60 old, although even at 50, I bristled when others close to my age described themselves "old." I didn't then and I still don't, now. That includes when I got trigger finger after doing heavy boat work. The osteopath in Antigua said, "Oh, that's just because you're old. I'll give you a cortisone shot. If that doesn't make it go away, additional shots won't help." His didn't help much, but after two shots from another practitioner, I was good as new. That was 8 years ago. No problems since. Old, my a--!

Granted, I'm lucky. Fate and heredity treated me kindly. Or, as one of my Hewlett-Packard colleagues quipped, "Good genes and immaturity go a long way."

Even as a teen, thanks to my small, deep, close-set eyes and prominent nose, my dad bluntly informed me modeling would never be a viable career option for me. 

Today, add to that my COVID Budda-belly, less hair on my head but more sprouting from my chin, distinct wrinkle marks on either side of my nose and across my forehead, cellulite on thighs, gravity's impact on my tits. raised veins on my hands, and the indisputable need for reading glasses. The physical evidence of my appearance drives home the point that I can no longer pass for what our youth-and-beauty-worshipping society considers young.

Despite—or maybe because of that—my birthday wish was to get a professional body paint job.

Body painting. Not necessarily like this.
Phote credit: Gerhard Lipold pxhere.com

I thought I'd spend my glamorous 60th birthday applying bottom paint to our boat in the boatyard and instead of getting my body painted for my 60th, I'll try to avoid getting bottom paint on my body. That struck me as a reasonable trade-off for heading to the Bahamas by sailboat from February to sometime in May.

A sudden change in plans prompted us to decide to delay the bottom job on our boat until this summer. Instead we'll move our boat to a spot that we can more easily transfer everything we own onto the boat from our RV, and whatever we want to bring from the US for the next 4 months in the Bahamas.

Beyond that, I haven't made alternative plans for my birthday, though Wayne's promised to treat me with TLC. It won't take much arm-twisting for mw to take him up on his offer.

I agree with what John Lennon told his teacher he wanted to be when he grew up: 
"Happy."

2012: The last time I painted a new-to-us sailboat's bum, in St. Lucia, a 36 1/2 foot Pearson 365.
The boat we're buying, a 45-foot Gulfstar, should be far easier to prep, but is significantly larger to paint.
I do, however, fully intend to take a raincheck on my own personal paint job—the one where my body, in all its glorious imperfections, provides an ample canvas.

"Half-birthdays," my friend Connie suggests. Maybe not that long. I'm willing to celebrate as soon as I'm in the right place at the right temperature with someone willing and able with a paintbrush.

Meanwhile, there's some work to be done (so I wrote this post ahead of time, and pre-set the post date)!

My message to you:

Only you get to decide when you're "old." It is not a year. It is not your physical limitations. It's definitely not how you look. It's how you feel, in your heart, mind, and spirit. As long as you're full of adventure, you are young, IMHO. Adventure away!

Location Location

Our boat is in Mulberry Cove Marina, in Jacksonville Florida's Naval Air Station base ~N30.12.980 W81.40.234.

We're targeting early February to be on our way to the Bahamas. 


Friday, January 22, 2021

It's Official: We've Got a New Sailboat!

 

View off Straight from the Heart while underway, leaving Jacksonville at sunrise, January 21, 2021.

Yesterday, Don, Wayne, and I left Ortega Landing Marina, bound for Green Cove Springs Marina for a haulout. We needed that for a final hull inspection, required for insurance. 

With a 21-mile run to Green Cove, and a "be there first thing in the morning" request from them, that meant getting there the day before.

Aboard Heart, just outside Ortega Landing. approaching the bridge lifted for us to pass through.

We had a little trouble.  

The area just outside Ortega Landing is quite shallow, and our departure time was close to dead low tide. We got a soft grounding we were unable to break loose from on our own.

Our TowBoat US rescuer: prompt, professional, and efficient. He got us going in a jiffy.

We tied off to a mooring ball at Green Cove Springs. 

This morning we hauled out. 

There were no insurance showstoppers, so we are now officially the proud owners of a Gulfstar 45 Hirsh sailboat. We can from now on officially refer to her as s/v Gallivant, though here I chose to describe her by the name that most accurately reflected her ownership at the time.

The boat is back on a ball in Green Cove Springs tonight. Tomorrow we'll take her to JAX NAS marina, then celebrate my birthday—it's one of those major milestones.

Then we'll get everything moved aboard we'll need for 4 months in the Bahamas, head down Florida's Coast to where we'll jump off for the Bahamas, then go. Weather permitting, we're on track for the Bahamas in early February.

Special thanks in this big transition go to 

  • Our friends Larry and Nancy, whose generosity made this possible
  • Patrick, for selling us his RV to get us to Florida and give us a place to live until we found our sailboat and she's ready to move aboard.
  • Chip Cramer of SJ Yachts, who helped us out with great resources even though he wasn't repping any boats that fit our needs
  • The folks at Sunnier Palms, who gave us a fantastic place to live and a warm welcome while we boat shopped
  • Cecelia "Ceal" Potts, our amazing surveyor, who we can't recommend highly enough
  • The folks at NAS JAX, who simplified our life as we arrived in are preparing to depart Florida. Who knew we'd get such awesome customer service from a military base? We did.
  • Chris and Chris of s/v Scintilla, our cruising buddies and favorite problem solvers
  • Deb Blakewood for providing support for our nomadic life by handling our mail, and a true friend, besides
  • West Marine, as one of the best employers to work for when you need to support your boating habit, and Nik Bottkol, my Portland Oregon manager, for all his support
  • Aaron Tice, our financial planner who continues to help us work the financial end to make our wild and crazy dreams possible
  • Don and Maryann, for selling us their beloved boat so we can each begin our new adventures on the water

Location Location

s/v Gallivant is currently on a mooring ball in Green Cove Springs, approximate lat/long is 29° 59' N x 81° 39' W.




Monday, January 11, 2021

And the Winner Is . . .

Ok, maybe this is a little over-the-top for picking a boat name.
Photo by 
Vlad CheČ›an from Pexels

Thank you, all of you who contributed and offered your feedback.

Our friend Reed suggested the name that was chosen as the winner.

This is the Survey Monkey boat name results.
Additional votes came in from Facebook and in email, the winner was still the same.

The winner is Gallivant—traveling for Pleasure.

This is the graphic treatment we'll use from BoatUS's options.
We'll order the stencils once we look at what size we have to play with on the boat.

Special credit also goes to . .  .

Chris of Scintilla, who offered a staggering amount of terrific names. Chris, you get partial credit for one of the top three, as you suggested MoonSong and Luna Canto is that in Spanish.

Steve and Patty, as Kelefesia—many islands—also made the top three. It will always be a winner in my heart even without making its mark on our transom. After all, you led us to Kelefesia, and it will remain one of the most magical places we stopped at, and one few cruisers will ever see. We're delighted we spent our time there with you.

AJ and Deb, for getting your family involved in the project and coming up with an impressive quantity of quality names.

The names that cracked me up the most with their naughty cleverness: Deb's Over Exposure and Susan's Buck.

Anna wins the prize for the most melodic names, especially those in Spanish. Vela Desanuda and La Soltura definitely were in the top ten.

Seriously, there were a crazy amount of great names. If you want to see the entire list of names suggested, let me know and I'll post them.

Ultimately I went with a name that was short, simple, unique enough, and fits both us and the boat. It also rolls off the tongue well when we'll need to say it three times in quick succession over the VHF radio.

As for Wayne, he's just glad I finally picked a name so he could fill out the paperwork, register our EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), etc.

Location Location

We're currently in Fort Pierce. The boat we're about to purchase is in Jacksonville. Our haul-out will be in Green Cove Springs. All are in Florida, on the Eastern/Atlantic side.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Naming Our Gulfstar 45 Sailboat

 

Names with sample graphic treatments.

It's a nice problem to have—too many good names!

I'm still having a tough time making my mind up and those of you who've voted here—thank you. The votes are relatively evenly split.

By sometime this Wednesday I need to finalize the name so it can get programmed into the EPIRB aboard the boat. I also need to order decals for our boat name and homeport, though the turnaround is fairly quick. Playing with Boat US's decal design program for boat names, hailing ports, and design decals, I found certain names suggested font colors and treatments to me. I'm not sure that I'll use any more than the name and hailing port but still liked putting them in to give a bit more personality.

This is where the boat name and hailing port will go.
I will place the name closer to the top of the transom,
 and the hailing port will be smaller rather than larger than the boat name.
Photo credit goes to Cecilia "Ceal" Potts who is our outstanding surveyor.

The Contenders, Pros & Cons

Kelefesia

I like the way Kelefesia looks, particularly the one dead center. It's my sentimental favorite. Pros are that and its meaning, "many islands." Cons are that it's a little harder to read, pronounce, and requires a bit of an explanation. Kelefesia is also someplace we're not likely to make it back to, much as we loved it.

Gallivant

Gallivant—traveling for pleasure—fits us and the spryness of the boat. For some reason, it begged for plainer design treatment. It doesn't please my eye as much but the non-script versions are very easy to read.

Luna Canto

Luna Canto—singing moon, implying the song is a birdsong, is a beautiful name. It spoke to me in clean and elegant tones. The two reservations: it needs to be translated and in English, I'm not sure I want a name that sounds like "can't." Silly, but I like to think of myself as a can-do person and the boat equally or more capable.

My Current Inclination

Given that I'm leaning most toward Gallivant, the first one in the second row.

Your final feedback is welcome! If you want more background, check out these prior posts:

boat name criteria

what the boat looks like (line drawings) & how to vote

As for Wayne? All he wants at this stage is for me to finally pick a name and get on with it! Can't say I blame him.

Location Location

Until the 18th, we are in Fort Pierce, the boat is in Jacksonville, and our haulout is scheduled for January 22nd in Green Cove Springs. All are in Florida.




Monday, January 4, 2021

Boat Names: Cast Your Vote!

Your help wanted!

For everyone who made suggestions for boat names—thank you! I stopped counting at 100 suggestions. Let me know if you'd like to see the whole list and I will post it.

When we first started out, we were looking at a Pearson 365, like the one we sailed halfway around the world in, spending 5 years living aboard her, before we sold her in Australia. After living the last 3 years in 300 square on a trawler, I just wasn't up to committing to spend another 5 years living in 150 square feet of living space, especially if we found ourselves quarantined aboard for some indefinite period.

When I asked for name suggestions and gave our criteria, we'd made an offer on a big sister to the Pearson 365, a Pearson 424. We were concerned about how much work the 424 would require.

Here's the boat we decided on. We're a bit nervous, the boat we picked is a lot more boat than we initially planned on, but we're excited. Maryann and Don are friends, and they put a lot of thought and love into the many improvements they made on the boat.
Gulfstar Hersch 45' exterior image from SailboatData.com.

Yesterday, we completed our in-water inspection.  There are a few items to attend to and some of the reports are still to come but no showstoppers. We also still need to see the boat's bottom side out of the water, though we're reasonably confident there will be no show-stoppers when that happens.

The boat name needs to not only fit us and how we expect to live on the boat, but the boat name also needs to fit the boat, too. Some names that seemed perfect for a fixer-upper boat aren't right for a well-maintained boat, which is what we're buying. The Gulfstar is a zipper sailing craft than a Pearson, and her interior is more elegant. 
Gulfstar Hersch 45' interior layout from SailboatData.com.

We've decided to make Collins Beach our homeport—the location posted on our transom (the back of a boat). We anchored the last three summers off Collins, on the Columbia River between the Oregon and Washington border. Collins is more than just a place, it's a lifestyle. With Collins already on our transom as our home port, we wanted the boat name to speak more to our boat's personality and our sense of travel. Our plans are to sail to the Bahamas in February, the US eastern seaboard mid-May to November, then the Caribbean West Indies after that.
Me and Wayne in a hot spring at the ocean's edge in Guadeloupe, 2012.
We plan to return to this area in about a year.
We also wanted a name that rolled easily off the tongue when we needed to repeat its name three times, back-to-back.

Given that. we've narrowed the names down to these three (or you can suggest an alternative):
  1. Gallivant: traveling for pleasure
  2. Kelefesia: a magical place we visited in Tonga (click here for a 5-minute video of that), which translates to "many islands"
  3. Luna Canto: singing moon
Or—you can suggest an alternative—though we've already received over 100 names.

Off St. Martin, 2012. We plan to return to this area in about a year.
Location Location
The boat is in Jacksonville, Florida at N30 16.646 W81 42.774. We're in Fort Pierce, Florida, ~ 3 1/2 hours drive south of JAX. We plan to haul out in Green Cove Springs, Florida.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Fresh Start: 2021—Reach Out

 

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

We're fast closing on what for most of us is the oddest year of our lifetimes and are happy to wish this year a "good riddance!"

For those of you who've lost someone close to you, my heart goes out to you. 

For those of the rest of us, the expectation is by mid-year or sooner we'll turn the corner on COVID. We're not out of the woods yet. Please be careful.

This is a year we all learned how much we took for granted. As we hope for some return to what each of us considers "normal" I believe we'll learn to appreciate those more innocent "before" times and treasure the return of the freedoms that were a natural part of our everyday life.

Like so many others, 2020 did not turn out the way we expected. This is a time that shut down distractions and forced us to slow down and reassess. It put us on a different path. 

We are lucky to be living in a community that normally requires a three-year waiting list to get in, but COVID travel restrictions created an opening for us. For others, as work and school shifted virtual and travel plans were canceled, their family bonds grew tighter.

I am grateful that I kept a roof over my head, food in my belly, and maintained contact with friends and family.

Beyond COVID, we are still a nation divided. I encourage each and every one of us to find ways to reach out with compassion, seeking common ground rather than focusing on our differences and disagreements. Our nation needs to heal, and it is up to us to make that happen. Don't wait. Drop a line. Pick up a phone. Knock on a door. See how you can help.

Our boat saga ramps up soon, but for now, let's keep it simple and real: 

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Naughty or Nice?

My favorite sign up now in our termporary neighborhood.

How are you celebrating the holidays this year?

Thanks to COVID, the holiday season is weird for everyone this year—we get it! I advised one friend to just take a raincheck rather than force it if the spirit didn't move her and her family to find alternate traditions that made them happy this year.

Wayne honors my Grinch tradition of no Christmas decor, given I'm Jewish and Christmas trimmings aren't a big deal to him.

I couldn't find my menorah in our RV, nor could I find Hannukah candles. I bought birthday candles, spread cream cheese on celery to hold the candles in place and blessed the holiday over their weirdest makeshit menorah I ever hope to have. 

Still, I appreciate my neighbor's decor and the sense of festivities and everyone's efforts to do their best to appreciate who were are with rather than who's not with us in real life, or, anymore.

Flamingo in a Santa cap in a neighbor's yard—more weather appropriate Christmas decor
for Florida, where are now as we are in the process of purchasing a sailboat here.

This isn't our first Christmas celebration where "dashing through the snow" is an impossibility because we're either in the tropics or someplace upside-down from a North American perspective because January is mid-summer and July is mid-winter.

Here's a few blasts from the past you might enjoy from a more innocent time:

Another neighbor's nod to the North, a fake snowman for Christmas decor neslted amon the palm trees.

Today we're enjoying weather in the 80s. I made sure to get in a swim as tomorrow's peak is forecast for the 50s, with temps that night dropping to freezing. That means tomrrow's COVID-adapted dinner like we did for Thanksgiving is more likely to be a grab-and-go than an-eat-outside at appropriately placed tables. We got lucky for Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we're not expecting a return of that luck.

Still, we can say hello to our neighbors in the chow line, and we're alive to call friends and family to wish them well. We count ourselves among the fortunate for that this year. This is a year to remind us just how much we normally take for granted.

Happy Holidays!
Enjoy—or—Take a Raincheck

Seriously, let me know how you're celebrating the holiday this year. I'd love to hear from you.

Location Location
We're in Fort Pierce, Florida. The sailboat we're buying is in Jacksonville Florida. We plan to haul our boat out later in January at Green Cove Springs, Florida—I expect to spend my 60th borthday giving our new-to-us-boat a bottom job. Then come February, we're off to the Bahamas.