I can't remember a time when I didn't love the idea of traveling; the exploration of new places, people, customs and cultures. This undoubtedly went back to my childhood. (Can you tell I'm a therapist?) From the time I was very young our family spent each summer in San Luis Obispo, CA interacting with Japanese exchange students. I had many pen pals throughout the years and began dreaming of visiting distant places.
As my graduation present from high school my parents sent me on my own summer exchange to England. I had a wonderful experience and officially caught the travel bug. I was blessed with opportunities to visit Europe several times which included Belgium, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Spain.
The tropics had always been at the center of my dream destinations and trips to Hawaii, specifically to Kauai and Maui, cemented that desire. But how was I supposed to get to all of those remote places? Little did I know the answer would come from a man I would meet just weeks after finishing graduate school.
Appropriately, Sam and I met on the beach; well, Mission Bay in San Diego to be exact. He began talking about this “cruising” idea and his thought of moving onto a boat. He wanted to know what I thought and my response was, “Go for it!” (I later learned that I had just passed a very important test in Sam’s book.) Well, things progressed, we found him a boat, got engaged on San Francisco Bay and married on San Diego Bay.
It didn't take much persuasion for Sam to sell this cruising plan to me. Though I didn't know anything about sailing I couldn't help but think, “What better way to see the tropics than on a boat and in your own home.” Traveling by sailboat is ideal because we have our bed, lounging area, galley, head, food and water with us as we travel; not to mention scuba and fishing equipment! No dealing with airport hassles, lugging suitcases around and searching for hotels.
When we saw Moana I was a bit skeptical. I knew she was perfect… except that she wasn't. I could see her potential but I could also see the hundreds of hours of work that lie ahead. In response to Sam’s pleading eyes I responded, “As long as you're up for it.” The next thing I knew we were signing the check.
One of our jobs with Moana was a haul-out, which included the removal of “Los Angeles” from the transom as the home port. Underneath we discovered “Bora Bora”. This planted the seed to take Moana back for a visit. By August 2004 we got Moana to a quite respectable and comfy level and moved aboard temporarily at the San Diego Yacht Club. Two months later, in October 2004…well this is where the adventure begins.
_/) _/) _/) Sally _/) _/) _/)
The dream of crossing oceans under sail was ignited in me shortly after college. I had begun the 8 to 5 job thing and was wondering if there was more to life. The idea actually came from an article of living aboard boats on San Diego Bay in the newspaper. I instantly realized that I'd always had a dream of traveling under sail and that I could get there much sooner if I bought a boat and lived on it. At the time I knew nothing about sailboats nor how to sail.
I immediately started saving every penny I could to buy a sailboat. I was also reading every sailing book and magazine I could get my hands on along with spending hours surfing the internet.
I had some learning to do if I wanted to make this dream a reality. Luckily, I had a co-worker that sailed and was a member of San Diego Yacht Club. Tammy put up with endless sailing questions and was gracious enough to hook me up with the racing scene at the Yacht Club. I learned a "boatload" of information sailing on Caper. Racing is a great way to learn to sail.
At this time a certain woman came into my life, Sally. I quickly saw that she was someone I wanted to keep around. Outside of a thousand other excellent qualities, she shared my excitement for my dream and went with me to look over prospective boats. At first I thought that 30 feet was the minimum I could possibly live on. Being fresh out of college, cash flow was pretty much non-existant. I found a 26 foot sailboat that I could pay cash for. Sally's encouragement that I didn't need a bigger boat convinced me that this 1969 Ericson would be my first boat. It was a decision I wouldn't regret.
I packed up my apartment, getting rid of a ton of stuff in the process, and moved onto "Golden Road" within a month. The weekend I moved out all my neighbors got a letter stating that rent at my old apartment was going up substantially. Just another confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
Living on the boat brought a newness to life. Twenty-six feet turned out to be just fine. The boat was easy to sail and a joy to learn on. She brought Sally and I around San Diego Bay, Mission Bay and Catalina Island.
Over the next couple of years my dream became Sally's dream too. We married in 2001. On our 6 month anniversary we purchased our "voyage" boat, Moana. She was structurally sound but cosmetically "challenged". To put it lightly - she needed a lot of work and the price reflected this. Once again I knew that there was still a lot of learning to be done. This time it is "handyman university". I needed to learn how to fix & install sailboat systems.
It took the next three years to fix up Moana and save enough money to give this "cruising thing" a try.