Thursday, March 29, 2012


After our new dear friends George and Merima had a tearful farewell with this magnificent boat, we drove them to the airport and had our own set of good-byes.  Then we returned to Moonshadow, raised her new "battle flag" (thanks again Ryan and Scott!!), and enjoyed a delicious bottle of Chandon left behind by George and Merima.  

The events of the last few days have caused Deb and I to realize the unspoken responsibility that falls on us to take care of this boat that was George's home for 18 years, and Merima's for five years. Moonshadow is the centerpiece of some of the most significant experiences and memories of their lives so far.  It just won't do to let Moonshadow sit idle, or fall into disrepair.   It's also finally sinking in that all of our work has actually come to this:  The boat of our dreams is ours and she'll take us wherever we want her to.  WOW!!

There still a few days chores getting all of our things stowed away, familiarizing ourselves with Moonshadow, and tending to a few items discovered during the survey, but hey what's a few days now?  Soon we'll cast off and let Moonshadow take us south for some clear water anchorages, swimming, snorkeling, and long slow days in the sun.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

One Picture says it all

There's a saying that the day you buy a boat and the day you sell a boat are the happiest days in your life.  Tonight there's four quite happy sailors in Florida...
First (and last) sail aboard Moonshadow
(click photo to enlarge)
After the cold front that chased us from San Diego all the way to Florida finally passed to the east of us, we were greeted yesterday morning with a cloudless sky and warm fresh westerly breeze for our sea trial aboard Moonshadow. With 18 knots of wind, Moonshadow romped around the Atlantic, delighted to be back out doing what she does.

We are getting to know Moonshadow after two days of poking our heads into all the bilges and lockers, operating her equipment and learning about how things work from George and Merima.  Part of the discovery we're experiencing is just how really fantastic this boat is, and what terrific owners she'd had. 

As exciting as this day was for us, we could see that George and Merima are realizing this could be their last sail aboard Moonshadow... at least until they join us along our way someday.  For all of us it was an exhilarating day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A little Magic before the real magic begins...

Timing for Moonshadow's sea trials and surveys allowed us to take some time out from our travels to camp out and visit with Niece Patricia and her husband Dave Duff, their beautiful kids and awesome black labs, in Orlando, Florida. Sensing an immediate need to stand in long lines and hang out with the spring break crowd, we hurried over to Walt Disney World and had some fun.

But the real story was about George who's selling his boat to John at the Ft. George Marina on the St. John River.

So next it was off to finally meet George Backhus, who sailed Moonshadow around the world, and his fiancee Merima, who sailed with George for the last half of his adventures.  We're feeling pretty fortunate to find not just a really great boat, but one that comes with knowledgable owners who've got years (17+) with the boat, and a willingness to share their experiences with us.

On the way to the boat, cop cars and motorcycles with lights and sirens had us convinced we were receiving a welcoming police escort, somehow arranged by Ryan from 3000 miles away!  But when we were forced off the road so a motorcade of about 250 Harley Davidsons could motor by for 5 minutes, we figured it isn't all about us...

Deb and I had to laugh as our plan to try to appear blase while inspecting the boat evaporated the moment we stepped aboard Moonshadow.  Instead, we spent the day, Deb with Merima; and John with George, learning about the boat, and what great people we're adopting her from.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On The Road

In addition to towing a U-haul, we've stayed just in front of this front with thunderstorms and even a tornado just behind us all the way from San Diego.  As a result we've had Southeast headwinds the whole way so we're getting about 10 mpg.   


Hang out on Bourbon Street...

  ...and shop for new foulies.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Leaving San Diego

Leaving San Diego was so hard.

First:  You have no idea how much stuff you have.  I think it multiplies when you're not looking.  The movers worked all day packing our "essentials" into wooden crates and carted all that off for storage.   One day we'll probably laugh at what we thought was important to keep.  The rest of our stuff either went to garage sale treasure hunders, goodwill, the landfill or a uHaul trailer bound for a life afloat.  The process of segregating all of this is a killer.

Lessons learned!

Second:  In the middle of running all day every day trying to leave town, you find yourself suddenly saying good-bye to friends and family and thinking "when will I see them again?".  At least 3 times I had to ask Deb:  Are we doing the right thing?

The day finally came.  Saturday, March 17th, after staying overnight with my brother Steve and his wife Wendy, and saying good-bye for the second time to our sweet yellow lab Casey, we met our dear friends Greg and Barb for breakfast, said good-bye and started east on I-8.  It didn't take long for those sad feelings to materialize again mixed with the realization that we're really doing this and on our way.

But wait!  There's red and blue lights in the rear view mirror and we're getting pulled over by the cops!

Turns out, Ryan had planned a special send-off for us!  So we had  another tearful roadside good-bye then we got back onto the freeway to really get on our way... But wait.  Eight more La Mesa police cruisers were waiting on the on-ramp to escort us through La Mesa and El Cajon with lights and all.

What a special and unforgettable day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We had a wonderful send-off today, March 10, at San Diego Yacht Club with about 150 good friends and family.  In addition to marking the beginning of our big adventure, yesterday was our 38th wedding anniversary, which is fitting as we've been dreaming of cruising aboard our own yacht since the day we were engaged (see November 1 post).  

Between the beautiful San Diego day and the many dear friends and beloved family who came to see us off, we realized just how much we are leaving behind as we begin our adventure.  We'll make new friends along our way, but our roots are here in San Diego.  Life's opportunities always seem to have some cost, and today was a reminder that it won't be possible to pick up the phone and arrange a lunch or dinner, plan an afternoon sail or a round of golf whenever we want.  To make all of this easier for Deb and me, I asked the Yacht Club staff help me bar the doors and nobody was allowed to leave without a promise to join us aboard Moonshadow for a portion of our cruise.

Another anticipated trade-off for pursuing our dream was the impact of cruising for our sweet 12 year old yellow lab Casey.

She's a water dog and has always loved being aboard Legacy, but Moonshadow would have presented big obstacles for Casey with her high freeboard and steep ladders.

But I speak in past tense because today my brother Steve and his wife Wendy offered to keep Casey at their Escondido Ranch.  Casey absolutely loves their "boys" (golden retrievers) Spencer and Andy and running with them through the acres of tangerines in the orchard.  It will be very hard to say goodbye, but we are just delighted that Casey will be in dog-heaven-on-earth.  And, of course, there's always Skype so we can talk to Casey!

Since our return from Florida. where we found Moonshadow, life has been a blur of racing to meet the March 14 deadline, when the movers come to lock away our life's possessions until we return years from now.  What to keep, what to sell, what to toss; packing (this would have been impossible without Deb's sisters, Jill and Robyn - angles sent from heaven!!); getting our lives as paperless as possible; finding a mail forwarding agent; notifying our life's business contacts of our change of address; scheduling to do our taxes; dealing with Realtors, termite repairs, fixing dozens of house inspector issues... whew!  I think driving to Florida will be a vacation compared to the last two weeks.  But WAIT! I just paid $93 to fill the truck's gas tank...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

We took a break from packing our household goods and had a bloody great day of sailing with great friends, maybe our last aboard Legacy.