Monday, March 17, 2014

Gearing Up

{The packing has begun!}
Tap, tap, tap... Is this thing on?

Sorry.  So sorry... It's been way too long.  I've missed you all.  I never meant to be away for so long but life has a way of gulping you up.  Then every time I opened my laptop to give you all an update, I would go blank.

What I can tell you is that we are getting ready, I mean REALLY ready to board AMARA at the end of this month.  We are excited, nervous, feeling overwhelmed and organized.  Bags are getting packed, Amazon has been continually dropping off packages at our front door, and tourist visa's are getting applied for.  We are gearing up fast and honestly, I still don't know if I'll be ready.

I swore, SWORE to myself that I was not going to pack as many clothes as I brought last time.  Somehow though, the pile is getting higher and higher.  I mean, no one is really going to see me, and those that will, could care less, and yet I still keep adding to my pile.  I need an intervention.

Martin has been pretty much stuck in his office day in and day out writing out our sailing itinerary, applying for cruising permits, securing crew and making sure our boat insurance is current.  All of which take a lot of time.  I can't wait to get back on the boat just so we can have a normal conversation again.  Time together on the boat really kept us close and in sync.  Being home keeps us going in different directions.  All of which is to be expected, seeing that Martin does have to go to work and I have my own responsibilities going on around me.  But boy, it will be nice for us to step back onto AMARA's deck.

Check back soon and I will be posting our new itinerary.  WE ARE GOING PLACES!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Swallowing the Anchor

"Swallowing the anchor" is "sailorspeak" for leaving the sea behind and becoming land dwellers.  That is just what we are these days and it's hard to believe that just two weeks ago we left AMARA behind in Brisbane to explore the world without her.  

Before I jump ahead of myself, I should tell you that getting AMARA up on to "the hard" (aka taking AMARA on to land) was no easy feat.  AMARA ended up being the biggest boat that the boatyard had ever pulled out from the water and onto the hard (figures—just our luck).  So what should have just been a quick one hour chore to get her out of the water, turned into three.  In fact, at one point the manager of the yard came over and told Martin that we were going to need to find another location to leave AMARA.  They weren't going to be able to get her out of the water.
This machine has inflatable bladders that slip under AMARA and lift her out of the water.
An up close shot of the bladders inflating underneath AMARA.
Just about the time we were told that we were going to need to go somewhere else, the gentleman holding the remote control that works the machine pictured above, literally yanked AMARA out from the water.
Here he is with the remote that is controlling the tractor 
and is lifting AMARA from the water.
AMARA just leaving the water.  We were holding our breath the entire time.  
White knuckles all the way!
Once they pulled AMARA out, they put her through a boat wash and got off all the grit and grime from 10 months of being in the water.

Next, in the spring, she'll be repainted on the bottom with anti-foul paint.  This will bring her back to her good ol' self.  
AMARA settled in her new home in Brisbane, Australia.
Right after we got AMARA settled in her new home in Brisbane, we hugged and hugged AND hugged David and Sue and said our "goodbyes" to them.  
It was hard to say goodbye to this little one.
Although they started off as crew for AMARA, they quickly became a part of our family.  It was so hard to see them drive away and soon after they left I turned into a puddle of tears.  We had grown to rely on them in so many ways.  Most of all we had grown to love them.  It all seemed so final when they drove away.  They are missed.  

*  *  * 
Once we pulled ourselves together Martin, Lily and I took off for Sydney.
Our view from our hotel room in Sydney.
It was a little drizzly the day we arrived, but we couldn't have asked for a better view from our hotel room.  It looked out over the harbor and on to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  It was breathtaking.  This was something that grew to become a signal to me throughout our trip.  I said to myself repeatedly throughout our trip that,  "Once we get to Sydney, we will have officially made it!  I WILL HAVE DONE IT!"  So seeing the sight of Sydney Harbor brought tears to my eyes knowing that we had done it!  Martin and I had actually fulfilled one of our dreams to sail the Pacific ocean.
Strolling across the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Martin's dream was to sail in Sydney Harbor, which he was able to make happen.  During our voyage through the South Pacific, we had made good friends with another owner of a Lagoon 560—Pan Dei (same as AMARA).  The owners of Pan Dei had sailed her to Sydney.  Martin was able to get out on Pan Dei and sail around Sydney harbor with them.  A dream come true for Martin.
Martin's view of the harbor from Pan Dei
As for my dream... Mine was to end our voyage in Sydney and see the fireworks on New Year's eve in Sydney harbor. What we didn't plan for was that we got to Australia 3 weeks ahead of schedule.  Which was fine, but that meant hanging out in Australia for two months until New Year's eve.  Martin and I had planned a month-long trip to New Zealand to explore this beautiful country.  However, once we got to Brisbane (almost a month ahead of schedule), Martin and I could feel our feet getting itchy for home.  

Although I was sad that we would miss out on New Year's in the Sydney Harbor, I was pretty antsy to get home.  Plus, we knew that we would be back in Australia at the end of March. So we could explore New Zealand then, before we started getting AMARA ready for the next leg of our trip (and you thought we were done with all this!).  
Lily getting a little "R and R" at the hotel in Sydney
Thinking my dreams of seeing fireworks in Sydney harbor were crushed, I hadn't planned on the surprise just out our hotel bedroom window.  The first night we were in Sydney, low and behold... there were fireworks!
So, I got my fireworks!  I couldn't have been more elated to see the fireworks that I had longed for for so long.  Little did I know that every night the fireworks would go off behind the Sydney Opera House.  Martin and I enjoyed every bit of it every night from our hotel window.
*  *  *
Now?  Now we are home.  Back in Utah.  Back to the cold.  Back to school.  Back to normal...  I still have piles of clothes to unpack, and I feel like the pile is getting bigger, rather than smaller.  Then there is the matter of cooking.  I miss Sue.  I mean, I miss Sue regardless of her cooking, but I really miss her beautifully prepared meals that I grew so used to having every day.  Now I walk in the kitchen and forget why I am standing there in the first place.  

Martin and I are having a bit of a hard time adjusting back to life.  For example, we had our cable hooked up for a week and hadn't even turned on the television.  We grew so accustomed to using our time in different ways that we just forgot that television was even an option.  Martin has gone back to his office and is quickly getting back into the thick of working.  I am busily unpacking, getting caught up on hundreds of emails, getting Lily back in school, getting the house in order and trying to figure out all this Christmas shopping and decorating that seems to be coming faster than ever this year.  
Our little Lily back in Utah all snuggly and warm from the cold.
It does feel good to be home, but I can also say that I miss AMARA and all the adventures that she brought to our family this past year.  I feel like Martin and I were closer than ever and we really learned to rely on one another.  This adventure really made our relationship stronger.  Although the adventures will soon resume in March, it still feels surreal that we are home and at how quickly we fell back into the daily grind of life.  It's almost as if we never left.  

So, what is in the future for us and our sailing adventures?  First, Martin has an adventure coming up in December that will deserve another post (so stay tuned)—let's just say... Antarctica for starters.  Then, come March, we will pack up and head back to Brisbane and back to AMARA.  Our plan is to sail her around the Great Barrier Reef, and on up to Darwin.  From there, we will head to South Africa eventually getting AMARA back to the Caribbean.  The trip should take us around 4-5 months and believe it or not, I am already getting excited to get back and finish our goal of getting AMARA back to the Caribbean.  As I explained in an earlier post, Lily and I will be coming and going and will not be doing any of the long passages.  We will be there for the majority of the trip, but not all of it.  Martin, on the other hand, will be sailing her full-time.  

As for this blog, I will continue writing what we are up to with AMARA from time to time.   I have a final video of our trip in the works that I will post shortly.   So be sure to check back every so often if you are interested in seeing it and what we have been up to AND what adventures we have in the works (because there are a few).  I'll also continue to post more regularly on my personal blog, here.

In closing, I have to say that this has been a wonderful time for our family.  One that will remain etched in our memories for years to come. 

Martin and I would like to thank all of you that have followed our adventure right alongside us.  We enjoyed all of your thoughts and emails and wish that the internet was working well enough that we could have responded to every one of you.  Please know that your support was so appreciated by us and we will treasure all your kind comments and emails for years to come.   I also hope that all of you  have the same opportunity to follow your dreams.  It's worth it.  So get out there and make it happen!

Until our next adventure, we wish you all fair winds and calm seas in your life.
"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."     —Christopher Columbus

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where do we go from here?

This is one happy family
I'm still having a hard time collecting my thoughts about this whole adventure and wrapping it all up—so I'll wait on that for another post (you can't get rid of me that quickly).  My heart aches thinking that there won't be any large oceans to cover for awhile and that we go back to just being "Kym and Martin."  Not that this matters, but it seems strange that we go back to life as it was before such a grand and unthinkable adventure like what we have experienced this past year.  I'm not just "Kym" anymore after all this.  There is so much more to me now.  So, I have to sort this all out before I just go back to being a housewife and mom (two roles I greatly adore).  I guess this is what you call surreal and leave it at that for now until I get it all sorted out in my head.

Emotions are mixed because every day for the last year I have woken up to a new day knowing what was ahead of me, what was expected of me, and where I was going (for the most part).  Now, it's planning.  Planning on what Martin and I should do with AMARA for the next five months.  Planning on where we should go once we find AMARA her new home, and then planning for the next chapter in our lives—going home to Utah.  It may sound trivial but it will be hard to leave AMARA in Australia while we venture home to our old lives in Utah.  I know she's just a boat, but she has also been our home for the last year and we were anticipating her for a whole year before that.  AMARA has been another member of the family so to speak, and now we are leaving her here while we go home to Utah.
Coming into the harbor in Brisbane
So, what's next?  That's all going to have to go in my next entry, because Martin and I just aren't sure as of yet. Truthfully, we're tired.  Beat.  Exhausted. Because of that, we are slow in making a game plan for what happens next.  What we do know is that we have to figure out where to leave AMARA before next week.  Yesterday we went and visited different marinas around the Brisbane area to see what would be the best fit for our rather large boat.  She just can't go anywhere and we just can't leave her anywhere.  Then there is the matter of security.  We need to make sure she is safe before leaving her.  There is the decision on whether we should pull her out of the water for the season and put her on the "hard," or should we leave her in the water in a marina for her to sit until we return in April?

Then there is the matter of returning in April.  See, this adventure isn't completely over yet.  Just this leg of the race.  We still have oceans to cover and places to visit, but come this time of year, in this part of the world, there are cyclone's to contend with.  So, packing up AMARA is a must in order to wait out the storms.  Then we can be back on our way again come April 2014.  I probably won't be a full-time sailor when I return in April.  I'll just be one that comes to the fun ports and then back home while Martin and his crew make the larger crossings.  Our plan is to eventually make our way back to the Caribbean some time in the Summer of 2014.  

The plan for today is taking down sails, cleaning my side of the hull (which is going to take me days to sort through) and then getting in a visit with a little town named, Brisbane.  We have been here 5 days and haven't even been to downtown Brisbane yet.  So, that is a priority for today.

Hopefully, I can wrap up a few more thoughts running through my head in the next post and highlight beautiful Brisbane. Maybe by then, we'll have a few more things finalized and I can share with you what our next leg of this amazing adventure will entail.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Greetings from Down Under

Our crew is happy...
…and Lily wants to become an Aussie and perhaps take up residence with David and Sue.
There is so much more to post and tell you about our final passage to Australia.  There are so many emotions to dissect and so many thoughts to finalize.  We are busy, busy with so much to do here in Brisbane, i.e., finding AMARA a temporary home for the next few months, cleaning, fixing stuff, more cleaning and even more fixing of stuff.  Then there is saying goodbye to our crew (weep. weep.) and figuring out what we are doing next as a family.  For now though, I just wanted to let you all know that we made it to Brisbane, Australia after a six day passage at sea.

Give me a day or so to collect myself and I'll tell you all about it.  For now, we are so happy to be here in Oz.  It's everything and more!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Exploring the Islands of New Caledonia

After leaving the Isle of Pines, we took off to explore more of the beautiful islands in New Caledonia.  So many remain untouched and pristine.  We couldn't decide which one to visit first.
Before we did… Martin and David had to do a rescue.  A woman and her sons came out on paddle boards and a kayak but couldn't fight the current to get back in to shore.  So David had to load them all up in the dinghy and take them back to shore.
Also, this blog wouldn't be complete without congratulating Martin on his new purchase.  After 40 years, he FINALLY purchased a new pair of fins (on the right).  I think that these may just turn him into a super hero.
Out with the old and in with the new!
Discovering a new island.  The island of Alcamere.
Martin and David anchoring the tender as we go ashore.
Lily loves to play in the sand.
Family Photo.
Me doing what I do best… snoozing.
I can't get over the white beach.  The sand was like powdered sugar.
AMARA keeping an eye on us from the bay.
Toesies in the sand.
Martin doing what he does best… dancing.
Our little angel.
DSCN9838 Next stop.  Brisbane!