Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just When I Thought We Were Sailing Along

So, I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing from here on out.  I mean, Martin is on his way and crossing the Atlantic, while I am wrapping up items at home.  All we had to do was wait, but somehow on Saturday night, we ended up waiting in the emergency room.
Lily has been a little sick this past week.  This weekend though, she got really sick.  Not taking any chances, I drove her straight to the emergency room yesterday and she was quickly admitted into the hospital.

I had told the doctor about Lily's symptoms of vomiting non-stop and not wanting to eat or drink.  Lily never had a fever and was quite pleasant in the midst of the unpleasantries.  The doctor ordered a x-ray amongst other tests.   What we found was that she was severely "backed up", dehydrated and well, we also found this when viewing her x-ray...
We've yet to find out whether it is a penny or a quarter, but we did have a second x-ray today and the coin is moving along and down the intestines.

While visiting with the radiologist, I expressed how I couldn't believe what a terrible mom I was to have not seen her doing this.  To reassure me that they have, "seen everything", he began to list out all the items that they have seen.  For example: nails, nail files, bullets to guns, open safety pins, a toothbrush and then he showed me this...
Yes, folks, that is a Christmas tree ornament!  Okay, so at least I didn't let Lily swallow a Christmas tree ornament!  I laughed so hard when I saw this and I just had to share.

Lily should be discharged tomorrow and then hopefully everything will get back to normal...  Like packing and making lists normal.  Amara normal.  Sailing normal.  However, as I type this, what I have realized is that this means that our new "normal" will be nothing normal at all... and THAT sounds pretty grand to me.

I know I promised dolphins... next post.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Good bye, Gran Canaria
Life got the better of me this past week and I haven't been the best blogger.  Martin called me on Wednesday (they left the Canaries Wednesday afternoon) and I got all jittery inside and went into panic mode, "This is it!  We're doing this!"  It is all I could say to myself all day after getting Martin's text that they had just left.  I don't know why this single event made this all real for me.  I mean, my husband has been gone for ions.  I've been packing for two months and I've gotten all our bills automated.  I've been getting our house handed over to my family and touching base with our landscaper to make sure our lawn doesn't turn into a jungle because someone forgot to mow.  You'd think that with all this planning that this one single event of leaving the Gran Canarias wouldn't put me into overdrive, but it did.  It all became real to me because it signified no more waiting.  No more waiting for a part.  No more waiting for a weather break.  No more waiting and wondering when I was going to see my husband because in 2 weeks (I've got a date!) our little family will be together again and this time aboard Amara.  I. Can't. Wait!

Now for the good news.... wait.... hold it...  I shipped all of our boxes down to St. Martin!  It felt like giving birth.  It was so nice to come home to a box-free kitchen and feel a little normal again.  It was no easy task.  I ended up shipping seven boxes.  SEVEN HUGE boxes.  In fact, if Martin was in the Gran Canaries this week, I think I would have packed up Lily and we would have taken off to the Canaries, because we are ready to go!  Bummer that the timing didn't work out for us, but at least I feel ready.
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I had a great call from Martin yesterday.  I was in the middle of a store wrapping up some last minute details when he called.  So, I found a couch in the store and just sat and talked to him for a good 20 minutes.  After the first night from leaving port, the swells were so high that Martin was suffering from some pretty bad seasickness.  When I talked to him, he sounded miserable.

I have this habit of asking Martin every time we are on the phone with each other, "Are you still glad we bought a boat?"  He then replies, "Yes, of course!  This is going to be great!"  When I asked him the first night after leaving the Canaries and while he was feeling the bad side-effects of the sea I asked, "Are you glad we bought a boat?"  He replied, "Ask me tomorrow."  So, when he called me while I was shopping and he was in good spirits, I had to stop what I was doing and just sit down and talk.  The seasicknesses had passed and Martin was excited to be doing this again.

When I got off the phone with Martin, I said a little prayer for his safety and got on with what I was doing.  However, I felt an extra spring in my step because I know, we ARE going to do this!  I couldn't be more happy.

More updates on their travels tomorrow.  It has to do with dolphins... so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Talk to Me

I just got off the phone with Martin and unfortunately the trip was postponed until Thursday.  The swells are too high and they want to wait it out before they attempt to cross the Atlantic.  Better to be safe.  Of course, I would have liked to have seen Martin sooner rather than later.  It will be almost 9 weeks by the time we see each other again.  Way too long.

Even though Martin and his crew weren't able to shove off today, it was nice to have a long, relaxed conversation with him tonight.  A lot of the times that we talk, it's late into the night for Martin and he is on his cell—which isn't cheap.  As much as he wants to talk, he's exhausted and in the back of our minds, we know the bill is quickly racking up charges.  Today, Martin went to an internet cafe and we were able to do some much needed Skyping on our computers.  Lily especially enjoyed seeing her dad on the computer screen.
When traveling, if you see something that says, "Zona Wi-fi"  you stop and pull out all your gadgets and start downloading.  Martin and Garry couldn't look happier to get in contact with the outside world.
Because of Lily's disability, she doesn't talk.  She does most of her communicating through her eyes.  When Lily meets someone she usually takes a good 15 seconds and looks deep into their soul with her eyes.  It's disarming and so tender.  During our Skype time with Martin, Lily nuzzled up to the computer screen and looked deep into her daddy's eyes, as if telling him that she loved her daddy.  It really was so special to see her responding to her dad and wanting as much as she could to communicate with him.  I am so grateful that she could have some much needed daddy-daughter time with him.
Projects.  Constant projects.  
It seems that every time Martin and I talk, he is hard at work on the boat and elbow deep into a project.  Martin said that they worked almost 14 hours on the boat just fixing things today.  I asked him if this was going to be a "constant" and all he could say was, "I sure hope not."  Luckily we will always have crew there to help us.  However, the ongoing joke with cruisers is that projects never end and lists just get longer.  Hopefully those lists will lessen by the time we reach the Panama Canal and we will have most of the kinks worked out and be able to just enjoy one another AND Amara.  Maybe we'll even be able to enjoy all those sunsets that I keep reading about.
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While Amara has been tied to the dock, Martin said that he has seen some beautiful boats.  This one for example.  This is one gorgeous BIG sailboat!  What a beaut!

He has also seen a family carrying on with their daily life... just on a boat.

What Martin has come to understand is that regardless of the things that we see as impressive when it comes to boats is that a man's boat is HIS boat... or HERS.  Everyone loves their home, because that is truly where their heart is.  The size, the luxury and the sails—it doesn't matter.  A love for one's boat is truly a labor of love.  Take for instance, José and his boat...
The entire time that Martin, Patrice and Garry have been busily fixing and maintaining Amara these past 5 days, José has been working just as hard on his.
I love that José has the same pride for his boat that Martin and I have for Amara... perhaps he even has a little more.  I'm always impressed when I see someone living out their dreams.  I would hope that everyone we know doesn't let circumstances hold them back and that they can shoot for the stars and live out their dreams.  That means YOU!
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Now for a tour...

While in Las Palmas, Martin and Garry have had a chance to take in the sights of the city.  Here are some great photos that capture the essence of the Gran Canarias.

More updates tomorrow.  As always, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday Best

Martin at the top of the Mast.  I really love this photo of Martin.
Sunday proved to be a fruitful day.  Martin and Garry started out the day looking for a place to go to church.

Luckily, there was a local LDS branch (congregation) in the Canaries.  Unfortunately, Martin forgot to pack a white shirt (No worries. I got that covered).
Martin at the local Mormon church in the Canaries.
While Martin and Garry were there, they met a wonderful missionary couple from Colorado, Elder and Sister Buhler.  The Buhler's are serving an 18-month mission for the Mormon church in the Canaries.

Of course, once Martin met the Buhler's, he invited them over for dinner on Monday night.  This would be Amara's first hosting event and the crew cooked up a fabulous meal of fresh tuna, potatoes, and a green salad.  Martin said that Patrice seared the tuna just right and as I type this, it's making my mouth water. Tuna happens to be one of my very favorite meals!
Elder and Sister Buhler
Martin really enjoyed his time that he spent with the Buhler's.  He was especially glad that they were the first ones of many more fast friends to help break in Amara.  One of the reasons we are going on this adventure is to meet lots of people from all over, and all walks of life, to help us enjoy Amara and all the lovely sunsets we foresee her bringing.

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Today, along with preparing dinner for our first guests, Martin and his crew did some more provisioning. This time they had to make sure that they would have enough food to last them for the next 17 days.  I can't even imaging shopping for 3 hungry men.  Martin admitted to me today that Lily's allotted bedroom on Amara is now a storage and provisioning room stacked with spare parts and food.  (I was afraid that was going to happen.)
After provisioning the boat, Martin and Garry took off and went on a tour of the city and visited Christopher Columbus' home and saw the route that he took on his first voyage in 1492 to the New World. It goes without saying that I would have loved to have seen the Canaries.   I served a LDS (Mormon) mission to Madrid, Spain 24 years ago, and it was always my desire to get the Canaries.  Bummer that I'm not there and couldn't take advantage of seeing the sites.
It looks like the team will be taking off in the morning.  Patrice thinks there will be a break in the weather, but it's still not set in stone.  I hope it happens because that means that Lily and I are a few days closer to seeing Martin.  Finger's crossed!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Like Flying a Kite

A first look at our new parasailor.
When Martin and I bought Amara, it was evident that we were going to need to buy a few new sails for her—especially a new spinnaker.  A spinnaker is a special type of sail designed to sail off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, with the wind 90° — 180° off the bow .  For you non-sailors, it's usually the big, fancy, colorful sail that gives your boat a bit of personality.

When Martin and I were doing our research on catamarans, we had heard a lot of opinions about using a parasailor in place of a spinnaker.  A parasailor is lighter in weight (made out of similar material to a parachute) and known to be able to take on more wind.  It is also a lot more stable and easier for a smaller crew to handle than a heavier spinnaker.  What makes a parasailor unique is that towards the upper part of the sail, there is a hole.  This helps prevent the parasailor from collapsing or rolling and lets the wind pass through and fill up more easily with less stress on it (unlike the big "bang" that you hear when the wind fills up a spinnaker).

Doing our research on the pros and cons of a parasailor, Martin and I put out feelers and went into online forums asking other cruisers their opinions between a spinnaker versus a parasailor.  After receiving lots of positive responses on the pluses of sailing with a parasailor (Jimmy Cornell swears by his)—we decided to get our feet wet and purchase one.

In the process of purchasing a parasailor—the purchaser can choose from the manufacturer's (ISTEC) designs, or pay a little more and submit their own design.  Since I always love the idea of being unique, Martin told me that I had complete creative license to come up with my own design.  I knew that I wanted ours to look like the stars in the night while sailing against the sky.  I also added the red to the lip (below the opening in the sail) to give it some depth.  Then I showed my final design to Martin.  Of course, he loved it and submitted the design to the manufacturer.

After much anticipation on my part, I give you our end product...
Since Amara is on the bigger end for catamarans, the parasailor ended up being 252 sq meters.  It's interesting to note that I thought our mainsail was huge!  Check out this post showing it's size.  Now look at how much bigger the parasailor is compared to the mainsail in the photo above.  That's one big sail!

These are the first photos of Martin sailing with our new parasailor.  I think it definitely gives Amara some "personality" and really "classes up the joint."  I can't wait to sail on Amara and see her sailing with the parasailor for myself.

Martin checking out the parasailor in full bloom.
If you are a fellow cruiser, here is more information on ISTEC—the company that manufactured our parasailor.