IMG_0029I lived in Colorado the majority of my life, since the age of 7. It’s all I know—till now. Colorado lies in a High Desert climate zone and is basically bone dry. As a result, I am familiar with ailments like lizard skin that I would remedy by slathering on almond oil before ever stepping out of the shower. Or cracked, bleeding fingers from fall till spring that Super Glue would temporarily fix. I used a saline nasal spray to keep my nasal passages moist. A whole-house humidifier would kick on whenever the furnace ran to try to add a bit of soothing moisture to my home’s inside air.

IMG_2762Living on a boat in the Pacific Northwest is a whole different reality. If I use lotion, it’s simply for a soft fragrance and to indulge in a bit of feminine vanity. My fingers don’t require SuperGlue because they are soft and supple. (I’m told by locals I’ll look years younger soon as my skin plumps up. We’ll see.) My nose is dripping with moisture. While my body is loving this wet place, I’m fighting the battle against excessive humidity in our floating household in many ways.

I run a DE-humidifier every day we’re on a dock connected to shore power, along with fans to keep air flowing to mitigate moisture. Against my inclination, I also run the heater at night to keep the air warmer and hopefully dryer. I wipe water droplets off windows and ceilings every morning. I have gridded tiles ordered to place under our mattress which hopefully will provide more space for air circulation as a means to ward off mold and mildew growth (yuck!). Until they arrive (and maybe even after), I’ll continue to fold our mattress in half each day and aim fans at its underbelly after I spray it with Norwex Mattress Cleaner.

Sunshine or the lack thereof is another thing to which I’m adjusting. Rather than worry about skin cancer, I’m taking 5,000 I.U. of vitamin D about every other day to make up for the absence of UV rays (which the human body uses to naturally produce vitamin D). I still use sunblock every day on my face (the only thing exposed to the sun for a few minutes every fourth or fifth day in this damp cold), but think it may be a waste of product.

So I’m not lacking moisture in my life, but do feel a lack of independence, which is driving me CRAZY! If I want to go any distance, it requires a boat. While I’m sure I could/would get Sundown anywhere she needs to take me, doing so for sport doesn’t feel comfortable or reasonable yet. Besides that, where would Clay be if I take the boat somewhere for the day? Besides THAT, I feel dependent on him to do the “hard” stuff, like dock Sundown. I am taking her off the dock and can pilot her through narrow passages using charts and electronic navigation equipment, but going solo would be nerve wracking right now. (We can’t afford any newbie accidents that result in damage to Sundown or anyone else’s boat.) I have plans to practice getting more familiar with Sundown’s spacial-ness (sic?) the next day the weather’s calm, but till then…

I’m so tempted to take Lightfoot, our dinghy, out by myself. Starting the motor isn’t coming easy though, which is SO frustrating. I grew up working on a golf course and started all kinds of mowers, tractors and trimmers. Why doesn’t the #$%! Honda 2.3HP start for me?!? Lightfoot has oars, though, and I may just have to row, row, row my boat.

My only easy recourse is running which I do every day that allows such an escape. “What about your bike?,” you might ask. The island roads lack shoulders of even a narrow width, so I’d prefer to go by bike with Clay, for safety’s sake. We’ve taken a couple of rides, but not enough to satiate my appetite for pedal-powered freedom like I’m used to on almost a daily basis.IMG_3059 Clay’s in his element, which makes me happy knowing he’s thriving.

Obviously, this new adventure remains challenging for me, but I know I’m dealing with minor inconveniences. We are living in beautiful country filled with new sights, sounds and smells…most of them fresh, but not necessarily at low tide. The forests are thick with ferns and moss. Flowers of all varieties are still in bloom. Yesterday we had a great day of sailing and were thrilled when a large pod of doll porpoise were frolicking along beside us for awhile. We’re both healthy and relatively safe. And Clay’s in his element, which makes me happy.


So I will cling to the belief that God put me in this place for a reason and will give me what it takes to enhance it, to serve His purposes. I also daily repeat to myself the words stamped on the back of necklace charms given to me by my friend, Stephanie. Strength. Confidence. Intuition. Serenity. I pray for all of them daily.

We’ve been at this cruising life for about two months and have already met some very interesting and really nice people, which is so much of what makes this lifestyle wonderful. Continue Reading »

The past week has been filled with more adventures, lessons, friends and fun.

Halloween proved to be a trick and a treat. Despite a less than favorable forecast, we left our safe anchorage in Blind Bay off Shaw Island to head for Anacortes. Continue Reading »

So, it has been awhile since I wrote a blog post. To say the least, Kim and I have been busy…still.

While Kim went to Colorado to take care of business and go to Molly and Matt’s wedding (which I am so sorry I missed, Molly and Matt!)cockpit I kept making forward progress on Sundown. The paint job on the mast and booms was finished and all the hardware needed to be put back on. We replaced all the wiring, lights and halyards. We also inspected and replaced all the standing rigging. New radar, anometer and antennae were installed.

The morning Kim came home from Colorado, the boatyard guys and I stepped the mast. It was a pretty emotional morning for me. I was so anxious! Not only was this the second time I was Sundown’s helm, but Kim wasn’t to help or witness this moment. The whole thing went smooth as silk, however. Seaview North Boatyard and its crew don’t step masts like Mark Grindle and I did in the mid 80s, but their process worked.

It was great to have Kim back after being gone for so long! She and I put the sails on and hoisted them one at a time to work out the bugs in attachment and sheeting. We then did a pre-sail check, pulled the dock lines and left.

It’s hard to describe how you feel after four years of working on a project like Sundown in a prairie dog field in Randy and Andrea’s storage yard in Fort Collins (A Unique Storage…it certainly was while Sundown was there), to motoring out of port with no schedule or exact place to be. We knew where we were going, however, because we had been there before–Sucia Island. Setting off to Sucia gave us confidence and we felt a little more secure because we had sailed there twice before. It was familiar and an easy first stop. We picked up a mooring and enjoyed our amazing boat. Rather than getting the outboard out and attached to Lightfoot (our dinghy), we chose to row it to go and pay our state park fee on the island.

There were two boats in the harbor near us, both from Utah! One of them was a Tayana 37, a very nice blue water boat like ours with very common roots (thanks Bob Perry!).

So the journey has begun. We are roughing it every day. Heater, propane stove, teak furniture, marble counter tops and beautiful ports of call.

The other night as we were anchored in Friday Harbor and snuggled up in bed watching a DVD–The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock–we determined that the wind and the way it was blowing Sundown required us to move our anchorage. Hmmm, never had to do this with the land house, but you gotta do what you gotta do. At 11pm we hoisted anchor and moved a tad farther from shore in the rain and wind. The task taught us some lessons and we are already using the information at our current anchorage in Deer Harbor where we’re still roughing it.

Kim is making chile rellanos and Spanish rice for dinner. We’re listening to Alison Krauss (thanks for the introduction to her, Daryl and Karen Lawyer). Tomorrow we go sailing!


Sundown in Echo Bay

Yep. Kim’s writing this. I admit there have been times during our first few days of sailing that I’ve felt shaky. Land sickness has struck (meaning when I get to land, it’s moving all over the place), and I’ve felt less than competent and scared too much of the time. Continue Reading »

IMG_2636Well, almost a couple of weeks have flown by without a blog post from us. Part of the reason is that I (Kim) was in Fort Collins for work and to attend the wedding of Molly North and Matt Kowal. Working with colleagues face-to-face was great and the wedding was beautiful! It was good to be “home.” Continue Reading »

Electromaxx partsAll the systems on a boat need to be working properly for a vessel to be ship shape and safe. If you have a sailboat, of course the first means of propulsion ideally are your sails, powered by the wind. Having a fuel-powered auxiliary motor also is necessary for a boat the size of Sundown. Continue Reading »


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