Friday, December 21, 2007


One thing that kept recurring for us was the need to learn and ask questions. We found almost every person we met was a teacher in some way. We have constantly been in a state of receiving from strangers (and friends) since we left. Most people were happy to teach us Spanish words and wait patiently for us to describe something we didn't have sufficient vocabulary for. People spoke slowly and filled in words or corrections as we were speaking. We've improved at Spanish and have a long way to go.

Often before I could knock at a house I would hear "Pasale" through the screen door and see someone inside gesturing to come in.
One beautiful aspect of the culture was the welcome we felt to come in for a visit. It was humbling to experience the generosity of people who had enough to live comfortable but who had fewer things in their homes than we have packed in to our boat. We were welcome to whatever food they were eating and always took time to sit and visit and tell us about their town or their families(Olivia sent home a whole plate of fresh clam cakes-like crab cakes- for me to have since Brian was visiting alone--Yummmy) or their hobbies (Rigo, the abalone diver, raises fighting cocks! I learned a lot about that sport.) We felt challenged by their kindness and willingness to give a ride or advice or help with Nomad. It was a wonderful gift to not be treated as outsiders or as rich Americans to be taken advantage of. We have gained true friends in Baja because they accept us as we are. This is a valuable lesson we want to emulate with everyone we meet in the rest of our travels.

This example of community hit home especially because we've both finished reading a book called "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger." I highly recommend it! It talks about many things but one of the points is that if churches or groups truly were functioning communities they would use fewer resources, meet more needs within the community, and be able to share love more genuinely outside of their community. A few different real life examples were described of people living simply, looking out for each other, and loving God. We found that that the small Mexican villages we visited looked more like true communities than most places we know of in the U.S. Whether this has to do with fewer material possessions or less media impact, or a different culture, we don't know, but we plan to begin incorporating these principles into our lifestyle and our future.

So, continue to be students of people we meet, Nomad, and each other. It's always new whether we're figuring out our SSB radio, finding a store that sells a part we need, or trying to figure out our future as a couple.

We're Back

Our return trip began with a one hour drive by Manuel and Tita from Abreojos to the military checkpoint outside of St. Ignacio. At the checkpoint, Manuel saw our bus pulled over for soldiers to check luggage for drugs and weapons. He ran over and asked the driver if we could get on so we didn't have to continue to St. Ignacio and wait for the next bus. We got on and stood for about half an hour until some passengers got off. Total trip lasted from about 5pm to 5am when we arrived in Tijuana. Unfortunately, our cash was gone and noone took visa for our next leg. So, we paid a driver 20$ US to drive us about 4 blocks to an ATM and then back to the bus station. Hopped on the next bus to Long Beach; caught another cab to John Wayne Airport and picked up our rental car and headed to Santa Cruz in a Prius. (28 hour trip from start to finish)
Miss Green made it back to the US too! Tucked safely in Brians jacket, they didn't even ask for her passport at the border.
I have been busy making Christmas presents and visiting my sister and beautiful niece! Brian went straight to work with his buddy Eddie. Gotta add to the bank account somehow. Cruising is cheap (once you're away from West Marine), it's the trips home that we have to save up for.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jumping Ship

Hi all. The last week was pretty eventful. Our crew
jumped from 3 to 6 in the space of a few hours. Last
week we were at the island of Cedros (didn't even get
it on the yotreps it was so crazy) moving our boat and
trying to make sure that the onshore wind wasn't going
to blow us on land. Luckily we speak Spanish enough to
get permission to anchor in the fishing harbor in
between crab pots and protected from wind waves (still
windy). We got situated in the harbor and had another
sailboat tied up to us since it was such tight
quarters and they had less experience. It was a
polish couple that windsurf, conscientious and
friendly. We ended up getting tacos with them in town
(our first restaurant in Mexico) and coming back to
bed around 9pm. Right around midnight we heard a
commotion and looked out to see another sailboat
directly next to us and I heard a woman's voice
yelling "Deyess it's Grace" I recognized the voice as
a friend of Deyess' that we'd met about a month ago.
What was she doing on Cedros in the middle of the
night? Next thing we heard is a man's voice
announcing to us that he was going to raft up (tie up)
on our Other side. This is a tricky maneuver any
time, especially in the middle of the night. It was
clear very quickly that they were not in good control
of the boat and at one point as I went to fend them
off, Grace leaned over the side of her boat and
whispered, "they've been drinking, we need to get off
this boat!!" Not what we wanted to hear since it was
being driven by one of the drinkers at the moment.
The short version of the story is that despite the
fact that they drove directly at our boat and drove
over our anchor line several times they only bent a
stanchion which will only need minor repairs and they
ended up anchoring 30 feet away and not tying up to
us. Deyess went and got Grace (a ucsc grad that is
levelheaded and outgoing) to visit our boat. Turns
out there were two other people that wanted to abandon
the ship because the captain and his friend were
angry, violent drunks. All three (including the
captain's girlfriend Erica were scared) We got them
off of the boat throughout the night and after Erica
made over, we left the anchorage at 4am so as to avoid
any interactions with the captain when he woke up with
a giant hangover and only one crew member.We had
perfect escape weather and all were relieved and
smiling again. It was truly a storybook story. What
are the odds Grace would be on the boat and recognize
us? She only knew we were somewhere in Mexico! The
amazing coincidences that ended up having us be there
are too numerous to go in to right now, but it truly
is a miracle. For example, the captain thought they
were pulling in to a bay on the west coast of Baja
when really he was pulling in to a harbor on the south
east side of an island over 50 miles to the north
west.So we had Grace, Erica (the captain's now
ex-girlfriend), and Joe, a father of twin boys who was
crewing to get some experience so that he could take
his family sailing someday. WE had them aboard and
then on land at Ron and Ruth's house in Abreojos.
They have all left for either home or other adventures
leaving us with some mellow time with Ron and Ruth and
Genevieve. We'll be leaving the boat securely attached
to the bottom of the bay here (the fishermen will help
us strategically lay down 3 anchors tomorrow) and
under the watchful eyes of some locals that are
friends. In the next few days we'll head north in a
car (gonna rent one) toward Santa Cruz. Brian and Megan

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bahia San Carlos

Daily dolphin sightings haven't lost their delight
yet! We are anchored in Bahia San Carlos, roughly
100miles south of Ensenada. We pulled in and were
anchored by about 8am today. In fact, we could have
been here earlier except that we slowed down in the
night so we could have daylight for the anchoring
process. On shore are a few campers/belonging to
windsurfers/surfers/kiters, one building belionging to
a windsurf camp, and then further in a group of pink,
light blue and plywood colored fish camp shacks.
Steve, we are totally thinking about you right now
since you were just here!! Wish we could see you now.
We landed our dinghy below the fish camp near the
fishermen's launches. Our first touch of Mexican
sand! It's cool except we haven't gotten to meet any
locals yet unless the windsurfers that spend half the
year here count. Let's see, it took us 3 nights and 2
days to get here from Newport and it's a relief to be
off duty for the next day or two. We are in the
process of figuring out the next hop down the coast,
depending on weather and Ron's schedule. The nights
are broken up in to 3 hour shifts which means We each
get at least get at least 6 hour shifts. Having
Deyess on board has been a huge help and makes our
job less exhausting. Night shift has been beautiful (
except for the one foggy night) and quiet which has
meant I've gotten in reading in between checking the
radar and our position. This is no easy thing we've
undertaken and it's actually nice to get some quiet

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mexican Waters

Well, we entered Mexican waters at 6:03 am today. To our port and about 3 miles away was a navy warship patrolling and 3ish miles further south was a Mexican Navy boat. Both pacing back and forth on parallel tacks. Very interesting to be playing at war on a morning like this one. The water was as smooth as glass and the engine purring at 1000 rpms pushed waves out of the way that reflected the stars. I was on the 4am till morning shift and I have to say it was the nicest one. The weather was warm enough that I didn't have to be thickly bundled and I sat by our navigation equipment writing in my journal to their glow. After the brown orange to the east wore off, "Los Coronados" a small group of jagged islands were silhouetted in front of the sun. Around the same time a group of 5-7 dolphins started playing in front of our bow. The water was clear enough to see them dive deep after splashing just under our bowsprit. They visited for at least half an hour.

After breakfast of waffles and bacon I got a hot shower (since the engine ran all night);Deyess and Brian changed the head sail and our day looks warm and a little too light on wind to sail without the engine. But very comfortable.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Newport beach and beyond

November 6, 2007 Nomad has travelled from Monterey to
San Simeon (with a view of Hearst Castle)around Point
Conception in Southern California. There, we met
another cruising couple, had tea and nibbles. The
most important thing about meeting these guys, Linda
and Steve, is that they solved my problem of getting
sea sick! Stugeron (a non-prescription med sold
anywhere but the US)has made my sailing days more than
just keeping still and keeping my eyes shut. I've
been cooking, cleaning, reading, navigating, studying
charts all while we're moving. Let's just say that
this stuff has worked better than any of the various
things I've tried in the US. I could use that great
segue to rant about the evil of large insurance
companies running the FDA with their lobby groups
We also met up with an old friend Chris and another
friend Deyess who sailed on Chris' boat to the Channel
Islands at the same time we did. It's buddy boating
at its best. Brian has had guys to surf with and we
keep learning little things from each other about
We have spent the last 2 nights (tonight will be 3) at
anchor on the Channel Islands. For two nights we
heard the grunting of male elephant seals from the
beach. We were anchored right in front of a colony
and walked around them when we took a hike on shore.
My favorite thing was seeing their large tracks in the
sand. It looked like dead bodies had been drug up and
down the sand dunes. Actually it was the large-eyed
baby elephant seals looking for just the right spots
to hang out. Speaking of dead bodies. Chris and
Deyess sawtwo human skulls and leg bones on top of one
of the sand dunes. They also saw an old stone bowl
that had been used for grinding grain, etc. Yup,
these islands used to be inhabited by Indians (don't
remember the name of the tribe). No worries, they
left the items as they found them and just took

Tomorrow we leave the south side of Santa Cruz island
and head back to "civilization" in Southern Cal. for a
few days and then onward to Baja California. I'm
already practicing my Spanish in my head!

November 9
We're snugly in Newport Beach on a 5$ per night
mooring ball directly next to Balboa Island where
houses range from 2-3 million each. I find it ironic
that we share the exact same landscape. The only real
difference is they have cute golf carts to drive
around and we have a skateboard and rusty bike when we
get to shore.

We've got Deyess coming down to join us in a few days
so that the trip from here to Mexico will be more
doable and less exhausting.

Our tasks here in Newport are to finalize insurance,
figure out our customs procedure for entering Mexico
by boat, figure out where to do laundry, run the
electrical for our new solar panels and the wind
generator. We're still trying to find places for
things we crammed onto the boat before we left and
oddly enough, just the other day I found two cabinets
that had hardly anything in them! So, the organizing
goes on.
I'm continually amazed at how God has provided for us.
We're on a tight budget; the 5$ mooring balls,
reimbursements from insurance companies!!, hearing
about Minney's a Marine Surplus store close to us,
etc. are all reminders that we are being taken care of
just when we need it.

another awesome sunset

This one was taken on November 6 as we sailed from Santa Cruz Island to Santa Catalina Island. The island you see is San Nicolas. I think it is off limits because it's used by the military. This is the same day we did the sewing under sail.


This was our first time pulling out our awesome 1940s Pfaff 130 sewing machine while sailing! Since we were sewing through about 5 layers of webbing, Brian turned the handcrank and I guided the fabric through. Very satisfying!... and all at 6 knots of speed.

Surf buddies

Here are the Happy guys off to find surf. From Boat to board in just a few seconds!


This is a picture of a surfer at Coho (just east of Point Conception). Directly behind you can see Nomad and Metaphor ( our friend Chris's boat). The guys have been stoked on the large South swell that came through this past week. They got to surf in this spot, also.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Hi all,
On Monday morning at 5am we drove the boat from Moss
Landing Harbor to Monterey Harbor. The moon was high
and bright behind speckles of clouds and the water was
as smooth as a mirror. The sky turned pink gradually
and then the sun rose behind some clouds. Large
translucent jelly fish floated by underwater and
pelicans dove for the sardines that were jumping.
Just one of the reasons we're doing what we're doing.

Brian should be done with the solar panel installation
today or tomorrow and, thanks to our good friend
Kevin, we have an outboard for our dinghy. Those two
things mean we are ready to anchor instead of having
to rely on being tied to a dock and plugged in to
shore power.

thanks for all of your notes!

Monday, October 15, 2007


"Velcro consists of two layers: a "hook" side, which is a piece of fabric covered with tiny plastic hooks, and a "loop" side, which is covered in equally tiny plastic loops. When the two sides are pressed together, the hooks catch in the loops and hold the pieces together. When the layers are separated, the Velcro strips makes a telltale ripping sound. . . .The strength of the Velcro bond depends on how well the hooks are embedded in the loops and the nature of the force pulling it apart. . . " (
We are hooks, and you our friends, supporters are loops. Your gifts of time, cards, questions, money,care,pull us to you at the same time our departure pulls us apart. I have felt more connected and loved and surrounded than ever before. You are all embedded in our lives and there are telltale ripping sounds.

Monday, October 8, 2007

one more week

Brian and I have been working at our separate lists which are totally different but crucial. e. g. Brian has installed new batteries and I took a 3 1/2 hour trip to CostCo for supplies. We are exhausted and have been sick and the are looking forward to spending time together when we leave.
There is definitely a realization that our departure is impending but thoughts are sparse since all mental energy is directed to packing more stuff into the boat than I ever felt was possible. I know I'll regret not getting to see people this week but even when Lisa stopped by yesterday I couldn't even hold a conversation, so people aren't missing out on too much.

Friday, September 28, 2007

2ish weeks to go

People keep asking us, "when are you leaving?" It's
been somewhat comforting to be able to respond that we
don't know for sure or that it's about 6 months or
that we have a flexible date, or that we'll leave when
we're as ready as we need to be. These responses
relieved pressure and made departure less startling.
Well, today we set a date. I'm already emotionally
starting to dig my heels in. I want ot add a day or
argue that we'll need to do this so we'll have to
wait. The ironic thing is that we are really ready to
be done preparing to leave. So I thought it would be
a relief to know we really are leaving, Now I've
vascillated from the hurry up and get out of here
feeling to the wait, I'm going to be sad feelings. I
accept this is part of change and in order to see new
places we have to walk away from the known.

So, October 16 it is. 18 days to get the list items
crossed off.

Monday, September 17, 2007


One week after our Bon Voyage party. Nomad was returned to the waters of Santa Cruz Harbor after 10 days 10 feet up in the air. It was a hectic marathon/sprint to get all the important things done and then return her to the water as quickly as possible. It seems that the longer a boat is hauled out, the larger the bill. We managed with help from Brian's Dad and much from Deyess and much from the yard crew to have the bottom sanded and repainted, take all of the through-hulls out, clean them, and reinstall them, remove the propeller shaft, replace the cutlass bearing, replace the propeller shaft, replace the motor mounts, and a few other messy things. The best parts about it all was after being placed back into the water, the engine was quieter, and the boat didn't sink. 3 days later, it still hasn't.

I've been trying to think of interesting things to write because everything else I seem to write or think about is in list form. Lists of things to do, things to buy, people I want to connect with before we leave, even lists of questions to ask. Despite the lists, I feel disorganized and unstructured. I feel the most structured, in control when I cross off items on the lists. Of course, it often means that I've finished one thing only to have remembered or discovered 2 more things that need to be added. These perpetual lists require patience. So does the nonexistent departure date. I noticed on Lisa's wedding website that she and Frances have a count down to their new life. 26 as of 9/17/07. We don't have one of those countdowns. As best we figure it will be early/mid October, before the weather turns wintery and after we've completed all of the most important things on those lists.

Our party on the 9th was one more reminder that we are not alone in this world and we are supported and surrounded by the surprising kindnesses of friends and family. I even started a list of people to thank. It's never ending also. I don't even want to begin listing the people because I'm bound to forget someone who has helped us on our jouney. I can only hope that we can pass the kindnesses along as we travel.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A ship is safe in harbor...

There's a quote I heard a long time ago.
"A ship is safe in a harbor, but that's not what ships are made for."
It's been running through my head lately. It reminds me of my brother's advice to me when I was deciding between two colleges at the end of my high school senior year. I was deciding between UC Davis and the college where my parents both taught, 5 minutes from where I grew up. I had spent my childhood running around their campus, feeling safe and 100% at home. I knew every professor, almost every secretary and many of the students. I knew the routines and all of the expectations I would encounter. I was tempted to go there because I was nervous about the unknown. My brother asked me, "Yeah, but where are you going to grow? Where are you going to be challenged?" Right then, I knew I needed to go to the unknown so I could keep being challenged. I'm glad I did!

This quote and this story contain the same theme as our current choice in life. We could stay in Santa Cruz, continuing the teaching jobs which are comfortable and very satisfying. There would be nothing wrong with that. But maybe that's not what these two ships are made for. We believe we're ready to apply some of the convictions that have been growing in us for the last couple of years. We want to live lightly on the earth, using few resources. (Nomad runs on free wind and biodiesel, whenever they are available). We want to trust God (not as necessary when we have a routine with few challenges). We want to work for justice (absolutely possible to do in Santa Cruz. But there are organizations all over the world that we've sent money to over the years. We're ready to get our hands dirty and join them when possible.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Aren't you excited?

So, the most common thing we hear when people hear about our trip is, "that's so exciting!" and second is, "that's so romantic." Not to dash anyone's image of sailing away into the sunset but . .. Let me tell you what we've been working on. I've been applying for new health insurance, sorting through papers, and figuring out how we're going to manage finances from a distance, starting to collect things we'll need/want or things we can give away to local schools as we get to know people in villages along the way, and getting in visits to friends and family. People have become more precious to me than ever as I imagine not being able to call up or drop in on someone when I want. Brian has been building cabinets, reinforcing other cabinets, building supports so that our table area can turn in to a very comfy bed for 2. Anybody want to visit?

Still to be done: Get the SSB installed, make a sun awning, buy more supplies, get a liferaft, have a goodbye party (Sept 9, 1:00 til ? at 321 26th AVE), give the sails a once over, give the engine a once over, have someone else give the electrical system a once over, buy replacement parts for everything we couldn't live without, haul the boat out of the water and repaint the bottom and replace the through hulls, stock food and other supplies, and the list goes on. It's strange to me that for some people this is completely foreign, for me it is familiar because I've been thinking about it for over a year, and yet to cruisers many years into this life these steps would be elementary.

So, no, I'm not excited. But I'm looking forward to new places, new people, a view of the world outside of oh-so-comfortable california, being challenged by poverty, weather, and newness. Already I'm dreaming of teaching kids how to read Spanish, or floss their teeth. I can't wait to have the children teach me new words or their best way to eat a mango.


Brian and I just got back from our 2 week land voyage. I insisted on a return to Yellowstone National Park, a blur that caught my fancy the year my parents drove our family around the United States in an Isuzu Trooper II with two car top carriers strapped on top. Then, we were in the park less than 24 hours, as best I remember. But the Morning Glory Pool sucked my breath away even at the aloof age of 13. This time the bubbling power spilling up through the white encrusted soil in various colors and muds and temperatures was jump up and down delightful. Bison eyeballing me without an ounce of friendliness and baby great horned owls squeaking from limb to limb made me wonder why people sit at home watching TV when there's so much REAL stuff out here to be felt and known in 3-D. Brian and I felt like we were on a second honeymoon getting to backpack 5 nights in a row.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Well, here's my first ever blog post. I apologize right now to Carmen for telling her almost 2 years ago that I didn't know WHY someone would want to have a blog. Communication. Connection. I get it.

In a year of new things, this blogspot is one small, satisfying, somewhat manageable new---unlike hopping on a 42 foot sailboat and leaving all the olds in my life except my husband, and the saxophone I'm going to squirrel away somewhere. We'll be departing in September sometime towards the end of the month. It's not like having a plane ticket, however. We'll leave when we are as ready as we feel like we can get. Nomad is already strong and seaworthy, has lots of water and fuel storage. Anything else we get done will just be bonus.

"itinerant good"
I enjoy the name of our boat but the frequent use of it has already stolen some of the meaning I associate with the word, "Nomad". So, I didn't want to put that in the title. Itinerant is the suggestion the Thesauras gave. It's a good concept to summarize the next phase of our lives. "good" comes from a quote my mother-in-law sent a couple of weeks ago. Brian and I have been looking for a blessing or prayer that was a guiding purpose for Nomad and our lives aboard her. We've tried on and off for a year to write or find one. All the we tried seemed awkward or not quite right- too complicated or not enough. When I read the quote Sharon sent, I said out loud, "there's our blessing." I'd heard it before so it wasn't new but it was exactly the right timing and the right sentiment.
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
~ John Wesley

As far as we can figure, that is our purpose on our voyage. Without the help of God, it will be a paltry amount of good. With the Spirit, we hope to be guided and used as we are to be a part of more meaningful works than we could ever accomplish on our own.