The Blog is Back

We haven’t posted for the off season, but some readers may wonder what’s up with Voyager.  While visiting with a friend, who reads our journal of retirement aboard the boat, reminded me that the power of the internet reaches beyond our small circle of close friends who know our lives.  He said, “Is the dream still alive? I want to know.  I think that others might wonder what happened.”   This is the stuff of a new blog entry…

The off-season was a bit of a transition.  When we left the boat back in late September, it seemed to happen quite suddenly.  The leisurely daily pace was interrupted by the boat suddenly out of the water and placed in a busy parking lot.  Our living aboard was coming to an abrupt end.  While having the bottom painted, the guy yelled up to me as I thoughtlessly ran hot coffee down the drain.  He said, “Hey! I am DOWN HERE”.  The water was running out on him.  It was time to leave the boat yard.  It took just a day to load up most of our clothes and some wood projects for the drive back to our home in California.

How good are you at switching gears?  I floundered for some days trying to get my bearings.  You would think that once your legs stop moving to the roll of the boat everything would be back to normal.  It had been such a mental push to learn everything ‘boat’ that once back at home there wasn’t a purpose to my day in, day out living.  Beth simply jumped in where she left off – teaching exercise and volunteering where she could.  When in doubt, do what she does.  I volunteered restoring a 70-year-old stored airplane.  This has kept me off the street and occupied over the winter.

Andrew at Calaveras Airplane Co. has allowed me to learn a few things on this museum quality C-140A

Back to the Question: Is the dream still alive?  With boats and RVs, there is an initial excitement that fades as the first season comes and goes.  This is true for us too. Probably the biggest downside to cruising in the lack of community.  We are very fortunate to have a loving family and friends that surround us in life.  The boat, on the other hand has a built-in moat that creates nice privacy, but can be somewhat isolating. This sense of connection might be some of the disorienting switch back to our normal life mentioned above.  But the weather is changing and our conversations have turned to the upcoming boating season.  We have an old-fashioned paper calendar that has scribbles to show where we might like to be over the summer season.  We are excited to visit the places we enjoyed so much during the first summer.  These include repeat visits to Butchart Gardens, and Princess Louisa Inlet.  The anticipation of sharing these places with family and friends adds to the motivation to get going.  There are new places like the Broughton Islands and Desolation Sound.  Challenges that include Dent rapids, Seymore Narrows and Johnstone Strait are waiting too.  It is already April.   The planned start for ‘on-the-water’ is the third week of May.

This must be the source! They grow these here…  It’s spring in the Northwest.

This presents a problem.  We left the boat without doing some of the big projects before the winter.  These include:

  • New inverter/ Charger installation with better instrumentation
  • New helm computer to include better mapping and a new depth transducer
  • Windlass switches (the same problem identified as CHAINBITER last season)
  • New windshield
  • Teak deck refinishing

These projects are difficult to do while using the boat, so I have come back to LaConner, to the boat yard to accomplish these tasks before we begin the season later on, in May.  I’ll post some of the repair photos on the boat page.  As much as I enjoy planning and doing these projects, eleven days solo is long enough.  My compass is pointing South – at least for now.  Stay tuned because more adventure is just around the bend…

Thanks for reading along.


Paths and the ever present Mount Baker

The title page reads ‘random musing of a couple of newbie retirees’ or something similar.  I have been musing a bit on life’s paths.  These thoughts have been inspired by some beautiful walks we’ve been enjoying.  We don’t have a car, just a boat – so we walk.

The seldom traveled county road on Stuart Island
A more narrow path going from one side of Hope Island to the other…
A very faint trail on Stuart Island
I sometimes wonder, ‘how did I get here?’  We sometimes ask each other this because the wonder or beauty of the moment causes us to be more present and thankful.  Part of this feeling comes from the contrast from my working life and this new life with Beth.  We are very glad to be together, but also out of the office.  It was a quick transition.  So far, retirement is more like a vacation.  I hope it continues…

There’s the boat, but how do I get there?
What if the way is not clear?  You want to get somewhere, but there isn’t a road.  (Here’s where it gets philosophical.  Just look at the pictures if I get too wordy…)  Just two words: Mount Baker

Seemingly Ever Present: Mt. Baker
Everywhere we turn, there he is… Beth: ‘What mountain is that?’  Mike: ‘Mount Baker’

The guy we met here said: ‘Great, I don’t have to die, I already made it to heaven.  This place is heaven!’
Watmough Bay is really nice.  There is only room for the three boats in the harbor, so we rode real bikes (not the circus bikes) about 15 miles to be here.  There wasn’t room for Voyager to anchor, but maybe next time.  That looks like Mt. Baker in the distance.  Yes, it is…  Here is Baker again…

Obstruction Pass with Mt. Baker presiding
The ancient book of Proverbs says it this way:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths”

Our path really hasn’t been ours to choose.  The work journey, the retirement journey, and even the day-to-day paths that stretch out before us, are not our own.  That may sound ridiculous since our culture seems to say that we are ‘captains of our own ships’ – that our choice determines our journey.  Beth and I simply have not found this to be the case.  We have placed our ‘trust’ in Jesus and like the Ever Present Mount Baker, He is the guide.  Sometimes Mount Baker is not visible while cruising the San Juan Islands, but just around the corner, or over the ridge, it is always there.  This is what I have found with the paths that have made up my life: God may not always be visible, but He is always there. 

Yep, Mt. Baker – from the top of Mt. Constitution – Orcas Island
If you look to the west, you probably won’t see Mt. Baker but you might get to see a really nice sunset…

Deception Pass State Park
Be sure to check out the new Boat Page…




Attitude is Everything

Here we are in Garrison Bay, Wa.

A Full Moon Rise – Garrison Bay

We had several days in Friday Harbor:

We had the great and unique opportunity to meet the prior owners of Voyager, our boat.  It has been based here and serendipity brought us to the engineering office that I had seen on some of the boat’s paperwork.  We went in and introduced ourselves.  John and Janet are great folks and helped us out with many answered questions.

Chain Biter (our affectionate name for the windlass –  the thing that lets chain out and brings it back when we put out the anchor – continues to demand attention with a new switch and a newly fabricated, stainless steel chain ‘shucker’ installed, so we are in control as opposed to the random starts that Beth described in her previous note.  Think Grrr  Grrr – very loud, middle of the night…  We are all set, right?  Probably not.  The computer that runs the navigation program crashed, the generator battery charger didn’t work so the generator wouldn’t start.  (I have a spare, so not to worry…) We were there for five days, but at some point, it is time to go…  Yes, we got these things working – sort of…

A portable battery charger is a good backup.  Don’t forget the black tape…

How could I be smiling when faced with this seemingly continual list of repairs and breakdowns?

I have a new idea that could at the very least, change my attitude and perhaps yours, regarding ‘success’.  Let me explain:  Why would two reasonable, relatively sane people leave a comfortable home, in a great neighborhood for an uncertain future on a 32-year-old boat?  We would be subject to the elements of weather, uncertain reliability of the boat, no routine, and ‘hardship’ in general.

Because we could…

We are having a great time even though there is always more stuff to fix.  It is never done or perfect.  We GET To be here, now.  We are laughing more.  I guess I am learning about contentment despite circumstance.

Here is the path we walked today…


I hope this note finds you healthy, content, laughing, thankful and surrounded by meaningful relationship. Here is an article that lists some things you can do if you feel in a rut:  It is a checklist of sorts…

Life is a gift and so are you!

Thankful for you,