Saturday, September 17, 2011

We never expected this to be so hard

Jeff was so exhausted by the time we cast off our lines that he needed a quick nap en route.  
 Destination Pelicans Cove, Santa Cruz Island Sept. 17, 2011

We were completely unprepared for the stress and anxiety that we felt leading up to our departure.  After all, this is something that we wanted to do, had planned for two years, physically worked toward for the last year and now that the final month arrived we were experiencing a huge amount of stress. 

 I (Julie) often broke into tears when talking to the boys, my parents and close friends about our departure and plans.  The reality of leaving those so dear to us behind was incredibly hard.  I was also surprised by how attached I had become to our home and the comfortable life we were enjoying.
Finally we had time to relax and fully experience living in Ventura and now we were leaving.  Does this make sense?

Pictures from Jeff’s retirement Party 
aboard the Scarlett Belle in the Channel
Islands Marina.
Hosted by Connie our dear friend, 
and Jeff’s long time office manager.
Thank you so much Connie, Al, Tim, Nada 
and the entire staff and all of our guests.

As our departure day neared our "to-do" list grew.  It was so tempting to keep pushing back our date one more week or maybe next year.
We just kept working through each task one at a time and little by little things came together.

Jeanne and I sewing sun shades
for the Buena Vida.
Thanks Jeanne.
Will we ever get this all packed
into a 42 foot Sailboat

We were bolstered by the encouragement from our friends and with the support of each other we continued packing the boat and preparing our home 10 hours a day until it was time to leave.  
Well, not quiet 10 hours a day.  We were blessed with many invitations to dinner with friends and
family as an opportunity to say “good bye”.  The thoughtfulness of our friends has truly touched us 
and we can not express enough how much the kind words and loving gestures have meant to us.

Our Last Supper at the Ventura Yacht Club with great friends.
                                                                        Hasta Luego Amigos

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How We Prepared

Anacapa Island off the coast of Ventura, CA

The past four years; how we prepared 
Cruising the Channel Islands has been an amazing experience for us.  We love the Channel Islands' wild side and natural beauty.  They have also proven to be great training ground for our sailing skills.  As new sailors we wanted to learn as much as possible about the art of sailing so not long after we sailed the Buena Vida home we took sailing classes, a navigation class, the Power Squadron safe boating class and joined the Ventura Yacht Club.  We have been fortunate to have great friends that have mentored us and helped us prepare for this voyage.

We did not set a three year timeline to prepare but that is about what it took to get our personal, financial and professional lives ready.  The summer of 2010 was a cold and foggy summer in Ventura and boating was not great so we took advantage of that time to work hard on the Buena Vida.  We thought that we would be so far ahead of our timeline. Ha!   We are still tweeking systems with only a few weeks left to departure. 
We also hoped to wind down our careers in a meaningful and effective way.  We both retired from long term careers in the medical field in the spring of 2011.  It took about a year to transition Jeff’s practice to a new physician and about 6 months for me to extricate myself for Community Memorial Hospital.  We both loved our careers and the people that we worked with, leaving was harder then we ever expected.  We retired about 6 months before our departure as we wanted time to travel abroad, visit family and finish transitioning from our home to our new life afloat.   

Monday, September 12, 2011

When do you know that you have a dream?

Buena Vida moored at Two Harbors, Catalina. 
When do you know that you have a dream? 
We did not know this was our dream.  
One day on a whim we went to the Ventura Harbor to look at sailboats and that was the first step in the ruin of our lives, we were hooked.  A year of research and boat shopping later we finally purchased a Catalina 42 Centerline two cabin and aptly named her the Buena Vida.  We bought the boat with the intention of long weekends with our friends at the Channel Islands and surrounding marinas but quickly our eyes where opened to what the Buena Vida could do.  Without talking about it,  Jeff and I both started imagining that this boat could really take us places, we could cruise to the warm waters of Mexico and beyond if we wanted to.
I never thought that my very rational husband would consider doing such an irrational thing as quitting our jobs, leaving our family, our friends and our home but he was thinking the exact same thing!
Now, four years later we are preparing to embark on the dream we did not know that we had.  
We have quit our jobs, rented our home and will be leaving our family, friends and everything that we know to cruise south.  We plan to spend a month and a half floating around Southern California then we will cross the boarder to Mexico as hurricane season ends.  We have no defined plan except to continue to head south at what ever pace seems good to us.  In March we plan to turn around and head north to experience the Sea of Cortez at it’s finest in the Spring.  
We have a few weeks left to finish a year of intensive preparations.
We have added a new heavy weight bimini and solar panel array, a water maker, a freezer, a SSB radio, an extra fuel tank, an electric toilet (my 14 year anniversary present!) a new stereo, a TV for movies, two Kindles, an ipad and a macbook.  Almost every day a box arrives at our door with some extra filter or spare part that we will hopefully never need.  We are now reduced to shopping at Walmart for various and sundry items that we think of at two in the morning.  
Will they have our favorite candy in Mexico?