Sailing Silver Lining

Our adventures on the water

Sailing Silver Lining - Our adventures on the water

Land Legs

Settling In 
Its funny, I dont feel like we are 100% assimilated back into the hustle and bustle of normal land life, but then I realize that somehow almost four months have slipped away since my last post, and I know that to a certain degree, we are right back in the rat race. 

Its been a crazy summer full of the things we missed while we were away: time with our families and fun with our friends. The only thing missing was time for sailing, but we can’t complain about that…  you could say that the scales tipped towards sailing in the last few years, so we are making up for that imbalance now. We have already been to seven weddings this summer, and all of their accompanying bridal showers, bachelor parties, bridesmaid’s mani/pedi dates, and so on. Although my beach feet probably needed a some extra love, I think that three pedicures in three weeks was a little overkill, but how do I say no to a bride? Our wedding schedule has kept us zipping all over the state and has given us a great excuse to catch up with family members from afar and friends we haven’t seen in ages.

People keep asking us “how does it feel to be back?” and I wish I had a better answer, but all I can think of is “it’s weird”. After 18 months of keeping it simple, moving at our own pace, and spending 100% of our time together, it just feels weird to give our time to other people, hop in a car and drive across town for any old reason, and be expected to “keep up” with everything.

We are dragging our feet on a few things. We kept my 14 year old Subaru while we were gone, and have decided to be a one-car-family for as long as we can. We sold the Cabriolet – and good riddance! We can bike to most things in town, although I’m still working up the guts to ride to work in the morning. In addition to sharing a single car, we are sharing a single cell phone, which baffles and confuses people to the point of comedy. Its only been a decade or so since most people gave up their home phones for cell phones, but judging from the look people give you when you tell them that you don’t have a cell phone, it may as well have been a million years. After being totally unconnected to the outside world for weeks at a time, I have to say that I feel some resentment at being expected to be available by phone 24-7. Then again, I have always been terrible at returning phone calls, so maybe Im just happy to finally have a half-way decent excuse. I don’t know that we’ll be able to share cars and phones forever, but it feels good to keep things simple for as long as we can. I figure that we’ll probably never have less “stuff” than we do right now, so we are savoring the moment.

Home Sweet Boat
We plan to live on the boat for as long as we continue to like it. We originally thought we would sell it at the end of our cruise, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. We love sailing, we love this boat, and we weren’t ready to give it all up. Keeping the boat not only meant footing the expense to ship it home from Florida, but also meant not having that extra infusion of cash to get ourselves reestablished. We counted our pennies, crossed our fingers and decided that what we would save in rent by living on the boat for a year or so would counteract the cost of shipping it home. So here we are, back in Bellingham, and living on our boat. For now, we have everything we need and most of what we want. When we originally moved onto the boat 2+ years ago, one of the only things I was sad to give up was my garden and my houseplants, so now that we are sitting in one place most of the time, I converted our jerry can rack into a flower pot rack… now our home is complete!
Mini boat garden

Mini boat garden

Before our trip, I didn’t talk much about living aboard, for fear that people would think it was weird. Now, I talk about it to anyone who will listen, and get a total kick out of people’s reactions. Most people respond in one of two ways: “oh, how interesting” or “oh, so… you’re homeless”. Its been fun sharing about our non traditional lifestyle, especially at work with a bunch of accountants who are more prone to think inside the box. One co-worker in particular asks about once a week: “are you still living on that boat??” Its hard to convince some people that its NOT camping or being homeless and more like living in a small but cozy house.
Cheapest waterfront property in town... and the view isn't that bad. :)

Cheapest waterfront property in town… and the view isn’t that bad. :)

Finding our Feet
Fortunately, right before we returned home, a friend of mine and previous boss, asked if I would be willing to pick up some of my old job responsibilities while I looked for a permanent position. I was stoked to help her with a few fun projects, earn some cash when we were in a pinch and have an easy, no-pressure, way to transition back into the working lifestyle. I wont lie, even though this was the easiest re-introduction to work I could have asked for, it was still a little rough. After having the luxury of spending 100% of my time selfishly, it took a while to wrap my brain around giving 40 hours of my life to something else every week. This same wonderful friend also put me in touch with a friend of hers who is a partner at an accounting firm that happened to need someone like me. I interviewed the very day after we splashed the boat in Bellingham, one thing led to the next and boom, I have been working full time since the beginning of July.  The tiniest part of me secretly hoped that I would be unemployed for just a little while so I’d have time to catch my breath, but in a job market like this one, I know I am blessed to have found a job I love so quickly.  Elan has had several good interviews so far, but is still looking for a position that will keep him interested long-term. With all of the boat work we have needed done, I don’t know how he would have time to work anyway.  

Zen and the Art of Boat Maintenance
For once in her life, Silver Lining cooperated with our pleas. During the last few months of our trip, we had a few key pieces of equipment that were threatening to give up their ghosts, but we begged them to ‘just hold out until we could make it home’… We should have been more careful what we wished for, because as soon as we made it home, it seemed like everything broke. Although we are used to roughing it, (and I know sailors who chose to live without refrigeration), two months without a refrigerator and a temperamental water pump is pretty sucky.

Its going to take us a while to de-cuise the boat: to complete the deferred maintenance and re-do our quickie bubble-gum-ducktape-fix-it-with-whatever-supplies-we-happen-to-have fixes that we did along the way. It feels pretty good to be able to fix things on our own time, wait until we can find the proper parts/supplies and not be working in ‘survival mode’ anymore. We did manage to off-load a couple of big space-hogging items that we’d kept for our cruise: the spare transmission, the wind vane, and the 50 gallon flexible water tank. Maybe, just maybe, we will actually remove enough cruising gear that we can sleep in the stateroom again someday. Big dreams! :)

Now that we aren’t putting such hard miles on the boat, we have decided to fix up a few cosmetic things as well. We re-did the silver pinstripe and I broke my absolutely-no-varnish-outside rule, and have started varnishing our few token pieces of teak on the exterior of the boat. After all of her hard work, Silver Lining deserves a little love too!
The sparkly silver stripe on the hull was not so sparkly anymore, so we put a new one on.

The sparkly silver stripe on the hull was not so sparkly anymore, so we put a new one on.

Left middle right

Left: Using Teka Teak cleaner; Middle: all sanded up;  Right: 5 coats of Cetol and 4 coats of gloss.

Left Middle Righ

Left: after teak cleaner and before; Middle: first coat of Cetol going on; Right: Cetol + gloss + rain drops.


SUMMER IN THE BEAUTIFUL PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Here are a few photos from our summer in our old stomping grounds.

Camping at Deception Pass:
Rocky beach art

Rocky beach art

To catch a sunset

To catch a sunset

Campfires

Campfires

S'mores

S’mores

Apollos boat feet didnt hold up to the cheatgrass in E Wa, he had a bad infection in his foot for the first few weeks we were home.

Apollos boat feet didnt hold up to the cheatgrass in E Wa, he had a bad infection in his foot for the first few weeks we were home.


Buddy Boating with Mom and Dad on their new Grand Banks
Buddy boating with Mom and Dad on their new boat, Voyager, near Cypress Island

M/V Voyager

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Happy to be back out on the water

Happy to be back out on the water

San Juan Sailing

San Juan Sailing

My baby sister came out sailing with us for the first time.

My baby sister came out sailing with us for the first time.

How do I caption this photo? This dog loves his "Grammy'.

How do I caption this photo? This dog loves his “Grammy’.

Gorgeous San Juans

Gorgeous San Juans

Not happy about being left behind

Not happy about being left behind

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Second highest point in the San Juans

Second highest point in the San Juans

Sunset near Cypress, Silver Lining from Voyager

Sunset near Cypress, Silver Lining from Voyager


Out for a Day Sail with Old Friends:
Day sail on Bellingham Bay with Mt Baker in the background.

Bellingham Bay with Mt Baker in the background.

First sail for Cooper

First sail for Cooper

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A Visit to Western Washington University:
At Western's Campus... where we met 8 years ago.

At Western’s Campus… where we met 8 years ago.

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Castle Art

Castle Art

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Pretty great being back with old friends.

Pretty great being back with old friends.

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends


Time with Family:

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My beautiful sisters

My beautiful sisters


A Front Row Seat to the Best Sunsets in Bellingham

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Well… there goes Summer, happy first day of fall everyone! I hope a whole ‘nother season doesn’t slip by before my next post!
Hope you are all happy and well,
Ashley & Elan
Category: Update
  • James Newsome says:

    As always I enjoy your posts. Not sure that the San Juans aren’t as beautiful as any place you visited on your cruise. Looking forward to our next adventure.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm
  • Sue and Dick says:

    We enjoyed your comments soooo much and glad you are back in the NW. Glad you found a job you love Ashley and maybe Elan will be fortunate too soon. Your photos are worth framing, so beautiful the sunsets and San Juan. They make me want to go there again. You two are so lucky to have each other and we wish you to have a great life together. Come see us in San Diego if you are here again.Cheers, Sue and Dick

    September 23, 2013 at 11:58 am
    • Elan says:

      Uncle Dick and Aunt Sue. We will definitely come see you guys again. You should also know that you are always welcome up here, and if you come in the summer we can show you some very special places. Love you guys, Elan and Ash

      November 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm
  • Silvana and Don says:

    It was real joy following your post guys! Enjoy “normal” life if you can….that is probably bigger task than staying afloat in middle of nowhere!

    October 15, 2013 at 10:35 am
    • Elan says:

      Thanks guys! We are enjoying “normal life”. I am still trying to find a great company to work for, but aside from that minor detail we have our families close by and life is good! Winter is beginning to feel cold. I remember getting to the Bahamas and thinking that was cold, but the PNW has the Bahamas beat when it comes to low temperatures. We have had frost on the dock this week! At least there have been clear skies! This time of year clear skies are normally a bit rare so we are loving to see them despite the chill. I hope that everyone out there reading this is doing great,

      Elan

      November 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm

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