Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

The Art of Practicing Stillness

In today’s world of social media, it’s often hard for me to find stillness. There is this huge demand to stay connected. Even before I felt the pressure of social media, I struggled with finding serenity. It was one of the things that appealed to me about sailing. Being able to quiet my mind and find peace in the midst of the mental storm was something I craved desperately. The solitude of being on the ocean with nothing but the flap of the canvas as the wind moved the sails seemed to be the answer.

While there is busyness in the work of sailing, I find it brings me to a place internally where I am able to recenter. Once the auto pilot is set, I try to find a comfortable spot to just sit and breathe in all that is around me. I take a deep breath, filling my lungs with the salty sea air. I listen to the lap of the waves as they slap the hull and the cries of gulls circling overhead wishing I were a shrimp boat. I push the anxious thoughts that continually plague me and instead take note of the way the canvas flutters and the direction of the tell-tales on the sail as we glide across the water. It never ceases to amaze me how still the Bay here can be, almost like sailing on a lake. As I take in my surroundings, I again quiet my mind from intruding thoughts,  and then do absolutely nothing. That’s right nothing. The age old wisdom from the Psalms says “Be still and know that I am God.” Sometimes I have to remind myself that He is God and I am not. I am not in control of the wind or the waves, He is. Practicing stillness isn’t trying to problem solve or even pray. It’s literally making everything in my life silent. Not an easy task for this over thinker.

There are several reasons I practice stillness at least 15 minutes everyday. I use this time to reconnect to my true self. It’s easy to get caught up in the image that I present to the world, but I want to live from the inside out. I want to be able to love the person I am today in this moment. I am extremely hard on myself so taking this time to just let all of that go and just “be” is essential. My favorite place to practice stillness is on my boat, whether it be at sea or docked. I can just as easily apply this practice to my morning cup of coffee while I sit topside as I can at sail. I first set aside a time each day for what I like to call my “quiet time.” Stillness isn’t necessarily prayer, but it can be an act of worship. I relax my body, become aware of my breath, and quiet my mind. This has so far been the hardest part for me. My mind runs 1000mph, with flurries of thoughts popping up everywhere. I try to use non-judgmental observation, or mindfulness, to help keep the thoughts at bay. When I first began practicing stillness, I found this was often when the negative thoughts and voices in my head were the loudest. They would remind me what a failure I was, or how everything that had happened in my marriage was my fault. They would point out all the moments in time when I had really screwed up and let everyone down. As I learned to push those thoughts aside and focus on the present, my surroundings, it got a little bit easier. I am learning to be present. I watch the clouds or birds as they pass by. I smell the ocean, the way the teak oil smells on the boat. I feel the wind on my face and listen to the water. Sometimes I close my eyes and visualize a place I’ve been that gave me peace, recalling intricate details. I like to close out my quiet time with prayer, but sometimes just say out loud positive affirmations. I remind myself that I am loved. I am worth loving. I am healthy. I am a loving mother. I am a loving and nurturing daughter. I am a kind and caring sister. I give and receive love freely.

This practice has definitely helped me move towards healing. I hope you are able to incorporate this into your day and learn to live in today.

Much love everyone! Fair winds and Following Seas!5E7CE4CD-4D13-4B7C-971F-9B90A2B0D5F7

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Alabama Gulf Coast · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Tasty Tuesdays: Breakfast onboard!

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’ve never really listened to that wise saying and instead my breakfast typically consists of drinking a pot of coffee all day until I’m finally hungry around 3pm, at which point I want to devour everything in sight. In an effort to acknowledge a healthier diet, I’ve started eating a solid breakfast to accompany the liquid one. I’m not a fan of anything sweet so sugary cereals or waffles/pancakes are definitely not on the menu. I also don’t really like cooking breakfast in the galley except for special occasions. It’s kind of a pain with the refit of the galley to use the oven and burners. Several months ago I picked up an electric tea kettle at Walmart. It cost like $12.00 so that made it super economical. I bought it originally for tea but it’s quickly serving it’s purpose as my go to breakfast appliance. It’s made of a hard plastic, so it also meets my “no glass on the boat” rule.

I’ve begun making instant oatmeal for breakfasts. My go to choice right now is Quaker Instant Organic Original Oatmeal. Again, in an attempt to be healthier, I chose the Organic Oatmeal because it doesn’t contain the caramel coloring, an additive that has been shown to cause cancer in animals and maybe a carcinogen for humans. (SIDE NOTE: I think it’s awful that in today’s age we have to really research our food to make sure it doesn’t kill us!) I try to stay away from Instant Oatmeals that have fruits or flavors. 1) I don’t really like them 2) See above additive comment. I do enjoy adding my own little additives such as honey, brown sugar and nuts. The little packets store neatly in the galley inside some of the plastic bins I picked up at the Dollar Store. The electric kettle heats up water pretty fast AND it serves another purpose as well. Remember the liquid diet from above? While the kettle is heating the water, I grind my coffee beans and  prepare my french press that holds exactly two cups of coffee. I pour the hot water into the press and use the remaining to make the oatmeal. It’s a win-win.  In the summer cooking like this keeps it nice and cool and in the winter, well there is nothing like a cup of coffee and a steaming bowl of hearty oatmeal.

As I mentioned before, I do enjoy cooking breakfast on special occasions while on board. There is nothing like having breakfast topside. One of my go to’s for Saturday Morning Brunch on board is Baked Oatmeal. I usually assembly this the night before and sometimes even bake it ahead of time as well. My favorite is a Berry Baked Oatmeal.

Berry Baked Oatmeal

10 Ingredients

2 cups of Berries, fresh

2 Eggs

3 cups of Rolled oats, old fashioned

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

3/4 cup Brown sugar

3/4 tsp Cinnamon, ground

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Vanilla Extract, pure

4 tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil ( I love using the coconut oil. It’s healthier and tastes great)

2 1/2 cups Milk

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter or oil a 2 1/2 qt. baking dish. Combine all of the dry ingredients. Place half of the oats in the baking dish, top with half the berries and then top with the remaining oat mixture. Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and melted oil/butter. Pour over the lasts. Top the oats with the remaining berries. Gently shake the dish back and for to allow the wet mixture to get down into the oats. Bake uncovered for about 40 mins, until the oats are tender, and the mixture is set. Serve it out with a splash of milk or cool it and relate for later.

You can also assemble make ahead oatmeal jars/cups. The picture below shows glass jars but I sometimes use ziplock bags. They store flat in the refrigerator or in a bin I keep on the inside door.

What’s your go to breakfast Onboard?

Fair Winds and Following Seas Everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Maintenance Monday: Restoring Teak

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This is a picture of my Dad’s boat the S/V Deja Vu a few days after we purchased her. She had sat in the marina for several years with the mechanics and sails well maintained but slightly neglected when it came to just a good scrub down. Underneath that mildew and dirt is a beautiful 31 ft. Allied Rhodes Seafarer. While she isn’t as comfortable to live aboard as my boat the Rialto Zephyr, she is incredibly fun to sail.

With my boat being a little big bigger of a project, aka I really need an extra pair of hands for where we are in the refit process, I decided to a Maintenance Monday post of how to clean and restore teak. The Deja Vu has a beautiful teak toe rail that for being 46 years old is in excellent shape. She also has several rails on the cabin and some teak seat backs as well. They have weathered into a beautiful ash grey color over the years but definitely needed some love to get them back to their former glory. So I set out to bring the old girl back to life.

I started out with a 75/25 mix of laundry detergent and chlorine bleach. With bleach being involved, you want to make sure that you are in a well ventilated area and you might want to use some type of glove to keep the bleach off of your hands. Contrary to some beliefs, Chlorine isn’t harmful on the environment or aquatic life. Bleach degrades primarily into salt water.  I do however use an environmentally friendly laundry detergent such as Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry. It’s made primarily from plant derivatives. There’s really no such thing as a perfectly “green” laundry detergent, but Mrs. Meyer’s is very close. There are teak cleaners that you can purchase if you just don’t feel like being a chemist and mixing cleaning solutions. They range in price from $132 (an entire cleaning system from Kingsley Bate http://www.AuthenTEAK.com) to more economically friendly versions like Star Brite QT Teak Cleaner found in your local Ace Hardware Store or Lowe’s. Once I’ve mixed the detergent and bleach, I apply the mixture to the teak with a stiff brush or pad such as a ScotchBrite. Don’t scrub to hard and for God’s sake DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL! Leave the mixture on the teak for several minutes to allow the detergent to really get into the grain and bring up dirt to the surface. Once it’s set, lightly scrub along the grain and rinse the teak with water. It may take several cleanings to really get the grim out. 46 years worth on the Deja Vu took about 4 times of cleaning!

If after all your hard work cleaning, the teak is still dull and dark you can use a oxalic acid such as Barkeeper’s Friend. I do want to warn you however that it is not good for the fiberglass of the hull and so you will want to make sure that you keep the area around where you are working wet and rinse it carefully. Otherwise, it will dull your paint and fiberglass.

After you have let the teak completely dry (this might take a full day) you are ready to begin applying the oil.  The oil intensifies the grain patterns of the wood. Oiling teak isn’t about protecting the wood, it actually can cause it to break down faster due to the scrubbing it requires before application. It’s more about the maintaining the beauty of the wood. I used Watco Teak Oil that I purchased at Lowe’s for around $8.00 (www.lowes.com) To apply the teak oil you’ll need a paint brush. I used to softest I could find and it really helped the oil glide across the wood. I do want to give you a cautionary tale about using teal oil though. When I applied the first round of oil, I didn’t realize what a mess it will make if you get it on the fiberglass or anywhere else for that matter. The oil left yucky dark yellowish brown stains where it dripped and was nearly impossible to clean up. I was able to get it cleaned after a few tries but needless to say it wasted a lot of time in this process. It will take several coats of the oil to really work and penetrate the grain. The teak shouldn’t look shiny after several coats, rather it should have more of a matte finish. You’ll have to do this process about every 3 months to keep it looking great.

I stopped at this point in the process because I really want to varnish the Teak I wanted to get my Dad’s permission first though because he had expressed a desire to leave it as it was. I would like to seal and varnish it to give the wood a nice glossy finish. He kind of likes the weathered and worn look. So I guess we’ll wait and see what happens and what he decides.

I hope this article was helpful. Teak is an absolutely beautiful wood and what most people think of when they dream of sailing ships. It was a good bit of work, but completely worth it.

Please feel free to share any tips for restoring Teak or any ideas for Maintenance Monday posts!

Fair Winds Sailors!

 

 

 

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Magical Days: Living in the moment

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Friday turned out to be absolutely magical. With the refit still happening onboard my boat S/V Rialto Zephyr, she’s not ready to be sailed. Friday the winds changed to the southeast and the air began to warm. Although the temperature was still a little cool, I couldn’t resist the sailing bug any longer. My Dad owns a 31ft. Allied Rhodes Seafarer, the smaller sister version of my boat. I had decided to head over to the marina to do some cleaning on the Rialto Zephyr but my dad had mentioned a few issues he wanted me to look at with his boat. It has a few soft spots on the cabin near a teak rail. I wanted to see how big the area that would need to be fixed was and to explore some options of repair WITHOUT having to cut down into the fiberglass. My dad decided to join me and together we succumbed to sailing fever. We loosened the mooring lines and set out to sail on the bay.

I jokingly but loving have bestowed the nickname the “Accidental Sailor” on my Dad. He wasn’t looking for a boat when he purchased the Deja Vu and I certainly never saw him learning to sail. Yet, here we are, gliding across the bay as if we were seasoned sailors. I’m sure we weren’t doing it properly or that he even knows the names to all of the essential workings but it doesn’t matter to him as long as we are safe and enjoying ourselves, and enjoy ourselves we did. There was little to no wind when we first set out, but eventually a gentle breeze picked up. We hoisted the Jib and practiced tacking and jibbing. I love the fact that my Dad allows me to “play around” with the heading and the sails. I’m learning how to sail without instrumentation and I feel like that’s a pretty important skill, considering I’ve experienced electrical failure onboard my boat. The wind died down again and my Dad grabbed a fishing rod and lazily cast off the stern while I soaked up the warm January sun. I briefly thought of my Massachusetts sailing family and thanked God that I live in a place where I can sail year round. With no fish biting and the wind starting to pick up again, we motored a little further to the east. I noticed a sailboat off of our starboard stern and thought to myself that it appeared familiar. As the boat gained on us (we hadn’t brought our jib down and the wind DEFINITELY slowing us down) I realized that it was our good friend David, a fellow live aboard from the marina. David has been sailing for most of his life and in my opinion is one of the most knowledgable sailors I’ve ever met. He had been watching us from the shore and when he noticed that we were sitting dead in the water (remember the lazy fishing) he decided to charge his batteries and check on us at the sam time. We changed course and headed west back into the marina, enjoying conversation as we took turns gliding along the glass bay. I sat on the bow and watched as brown pelicans floated above the water, the tips of their wings touching just enough of the water to cause ripples. One bird in particular flew so low across the water that it almost appeared to be slowing sinking into the ocean itself. Just about the time I pointed the bird out to my dad, it quickly cut a left turn and hopped right aboard our bow only 2 ft from where I sat. The bird made itself comfortable and my Dad got quite the laugh as I freaked out a little bit. I have this thing about flapping around my head. I inched my way down the rails to the cabin where my Dad stood hysterically laughing at the wheel. Once I realized our stowaway wasn’t going to peck my eyeballs out, I grabbed my phone and began to snap pictures. The pelican sat quietly, looking at us as if to say “Um I demand payment for your passage, FEED ME.” Once he realized that there was no snacks to be had, he dove off into the water and paddled away. It was a really funny and incredible experience. Thankfully he did no damage or mess. I snapped the above picture of David in his boat as we made our way back to the marina. We easily docked into our slip and I helped my Dad tie off the lines. I glanced forlornly over at the Rialto Zephyr and felt renewed motivation to finish the refit.

These are the days that make living worthwhile. I know one day I will look back at this memory with fondness. Sailing hasn’t only healed me from a broken heart, it’s restored a relationship with my Dad that at one time I thought was lost. So often I forget to just slow down and live in these moments. Friday was a reminder again that not everything in my life is broken.

Fair Winds everyone!

 

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Daily Prompt: Shock

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To say that this life I’m living now is a bit of a shock would be an understatement. When I first started out on this journey, I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the other side. There were days I didn’t want to wake up and days when I was sure that if heartbreak could kill I was on death’s door. Looking back now, as much as that hurt and still hurts some days, I realize that it was all a part of the story that is being woven. Sure I have regrets, we all do, at the same time I’m coming to realize that life is about chances. Every chance we are given to love, to learn is so incredible.

A few months ago I took a chance by starting this blog. I didn’t think anyone would read it and honestly I didn’t really care. It was more or less a way for me to get my excruciating emotions out. Somehow  writing about the path that Ava and I were on seemed to me the only way to be able to put one foot in front of the other. Today over 400 people read it and while that makes me feel slightly vulnerable, I am proud of every little thing I’ve written. I took an even bigger chance when I decided to live aboard the Rialto Zephyr. Trust me, you should have seen the looks I received from family members when I told them of my plans to make my home on a sailboat full time. It’s not conventional, but then again neither am I. I’ve always had a bit of a restless, adventurous side and this life is now a chance for me to explore that. I’m discovering who I am. I’m learning my own strengths. I’m learning to love myself again.

It’s also a bit of a shock to others when I tell them that I share my little home with my 110 lbs. German Shepherd. Ava isn’t exactly what most people would think of as a “boat dog” and true sometimes her size gets in the way. Still, there is nothing like watching how happy she is when we are underway and she is standing on the bow. When I’m behind the wheel, she lays at my feet, my constant skipper. She’s adjusted to this life better than I thought she would. She’s been a reminder so many times that I should just slow down and live in the moment. She’s finds joy in small things; beach walks, swims, and lazy days of laying in the sun on the deck. Most days she’s the reason I find joy too.

I am still in shock over how different my life is, but it’s not all bad. Sometimes we need a little jolt to wake us up to the life we were supposed to be living.

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Alabama Gulf Coast · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Fitting the Galley: Must have kitchen tools for your Boat

When I started living full time on the boat this past summer, one of the first challenges I realized that I had to address was storage. Living on the boat is and will be all about minimization. I downsized from a large farmhouse kitchen with really amazing gadgets like a KitchenAid Mixer and a Rotisserie, appliances that really aren’t practical on a boat galley AT ALL to some more practical items.

Anything that is “space saving” is ideal. I love to cook so I began to look for pots/pans, cooking utensils and food storage items that were collapsible. Magma makes an amazing nesting pot set that is perfect for storage. The 10pcs. gourmet nesting cooking set is stainless steel and includes a bungee cord to secure the pots all together. This cookware set was made specifically for RV’s and Boats. It has a 3 sauce pots, a saute/fry pan, and a stockpot all with interchangeable lids.  Handles for the pots are interchangeable and detachable as well, making it easy to fit them inside the entire system when in storage. While it was a little pricey, around $176.00 on amazon.com., I’ve loved the convenience of being able to store the set all together.

Amazon has become my best friend for purchasing some of the kitchen items I use. I have found that speciality stores are often far more expensive. If you have the time, research exactly what you are looking for and then check Amazon. I have found items that were ridiculously expensive in a boating/camping store as opposed to the prices they sell for on Amazon. The Nilfe 8pcs collapsible silicone measuring cup set is a great example. These great little measuring cups pop open and close allowing them to be stored in a drawer flat, taking up less space than a rigid measuring cup. While I love stainless steel because of it’s hardiness, these little cups get the trick done. They also come in great colors. They are made from FDA approved, food grade and BPA free non toxic material. I purchased mine for about $10.00 and am super happy with how they have held up so far. While I love the way these cups collapse, I haven’t had as much luck with other silicone products such as the Sea to Summit brand.

Sea to Summit is a great outdoor camping/boating company. I absolutely swear by their dry bags and other camping gear. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed with the X-Series cooking items. Most of the X-Series pots are made with silicone sides and a hard anodized bottom. While the silicone makes it easy for storage, it cannot withstand an open flame. My stove top is propane and sometimes the flame from the burner can lick the side of the pot. You also cannot cook with the lids on these pots, as it damages them. Sea to Summit can be a little on the pricey side as well. Do your research! There are comparable cooking items that store just as easily and are more affordable.

Another great place to look for kitchen items is your local thrift shop. I have found some really amazing wine glasses, plates, and cups at the Waterfront Mission in Foley, AL. Lowe’s and Home Depot carry really cute melamine summer ware when the temps start warming up. My most recent and amazing find at the thrift shop is my copper french coffee press and bean grinder. Whole Bean coffee seems to hold up better than ground.  Since glass is a huge no no on the sailboat, I often look for serve ware and beverage ware that are made from plastic or metal. For instance, I am currently IN LOVE with copper. Advanced Mixology carries a gorgeous Moscow Mule gift set with 4 copper mugs and these great wooden coasters. When the coffee is done and the sun is low on the horizon, this set is perfect for some cocktail service! Speaking of thrift shopping, I also found plastic storage bins and even old magazine racks to keep spices neat and tidy.

Last but not least, is knife storage. I’ve seen magnetic strips recommended on several different forums and honestly I can’t see this being a good idea. I’ve thankfully never been out at open sea with extremely rough conditions, but I did weather a tropical storm and a hurricane on board the Rialto Zephyr this past summer. With as much pitching and tossing she did being moored to the pier, I can’t imagine how that would have been at sea. If the magnet holds the knife in place, but it somehow gets jostled loose, you are going to have knives flying everywhere. Unless you’re part of a circus act, this doesn’t sound fun to me! So what I use and what I would highly recommend is a lockable knife drawer and sheaths for knives. You could also use a bin to keep them safely stored in said locked drawer. You could also look into purchasing blade safe’s for your knives as well.

There are some items that you just can’t do without and for me that is my Instapot. I try to use it only when I am connected to shore power. Because it has automatic settings and shuts off when finished, it hasn’t really drawn much power. I like that I can essential prep my meals the night before and have dinner in a relative short time. It means less time in the galley and more time catching some amazing sunsets. Plus, during the summer months it kept the galley cool by not running the oven. Living in the south, that’s a major issue in itself. I typically use my grill and the Instapot to keep temps and electrical use down. I’m hoping to purchase a Magma Rail Mount Grill this spring to free up the space that my current grill takes.

I hope you found this article helpful as you choose what to fit your galley with. Any tips or ideas you’d like to share with my readers would be very welcomed!

Fair Winds everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Introduction: New Year, New Followers

It’s 18 degrees outside right now. Yes, I live in Mobile, Alabama and it’s 18 degrees. Everyone is freaking out. Schools, work, roads are closed. I am shut up in the apartment dreaming of sailing. I’ve been trying to be better at posting but haven’t had much to blog about lately. The S/V Rialto Zephyr, my 38 ft. Rhodes Seafarer, is across the street in the marina just waiting to be loved again. The weather hasn’t been right for really working on her. I’m hopeful that by the weekend this cold will have pushed through and I’ll be able to get to her. I have so many plans this year.

I recently had a follower on Twitter ask me to do an introduction post. Initially when I started this blog I had posted the story of how it came to be that I lived on a sailboat, but it’s been almost 10 months since that journey began. It certainly hasn’t been easy or gone the way I had planned but I feel as if I am making progress and my goal for 2018 is to live aboard full time. So I thought I’d revisit the past for just a bit and introduce myself, Ava (The Wayfaring Tail Wagger) and my life.

My name is Rebecca. I was born and raised on the beautiful Gulf Coast. I had a pretty idyllic childhood with lots of adventures. My Dad has been a school teacher for nearly 40 years and our summers were filled with his dreams. We learned how to make pottery by digging clay out of our backyard and firing it in a kiln he purchased from the art department. We sold watermelons and blueberries from the back of trucks and learned about marketing and sales. We bought a boat and became marine biologists, discovering all the incredible things about living on the Gulf of Mexico. I suppose that’s where I get my adventurous, albeit restless nature.

I married young, had two children, divorced, remarried, had a precious baby girl, went through an abusive, traumatic relationship, divorced, remarried and in a heartbreaking twist, my ex-husband, who suffered from PTSD and a Traumatic Brain Injury, left with a family member one day to never return. It was a complete shock and surprise to all of our family and friends. No one saw it coming, especially me. Ken and I had started a nonprofit for veterans who suffered from the same demons he did. We had loved and lived happily with this being our life’s work. The nonprofit farm was our happy place, but now it was completely broken just like our marriage. For weeks, Ava, his emotional support German Shepherd, and I cried and prayed that he would come home. He never did. A few weeks later, my oldest son graduated high school, my youngest daughter went to live with her father, and my middle daughter moved out with friends. In less than a month my entire world had fallen apart. I had been a full time paid caregiver for my husband through the Veteran’s Administration so I lost my job when he moved out as well. I was forced with the decision to move back home to be with my parents until I could get on my feet.

What followed is one of the most deepest depressions I think I’ve ever experienced. I felt so lost. Ava was lost as well. Suddenly she the one person who she was born to serve and help wasn’t in her life anymore. She laid around, stopped eating and became my shadow.   In an effort to come to terms with what happened, I started a blog about traveling with Ava. You see, I thought I would have to reinvent my life to survive. It was so different than the life I had known. We slowly adjusted to apartment living with my parents. We took long walks on the boardwalks and beach. One day my Dad called me and asked me to walk over to the marina next door. He had discovered the beautiful treasure the S/V Deja Vu and she was for sale. Little did I know that this was my father’s way of trying to save me. He and my mother felt if they didn’t intervene and give me something to live for that I might not live. They were right. My Dad purchased the boat and I set to work getting her cleaned. The Deja Vu is a beautiful Allied Rhodes Seafarer and with a little bit of elbow grease, quite possibly one of the prettiest little sailboats I’ve ever seen. I had experienced sailing in New England with friends and wanted to learn more. I began reading books, articles and talking to sailors. A few weeks later, I landed my dream job as an operations manager in a local marina. Unfortunately, the business was dying and within a few months I’d be without a job again. During my time at the marina I began dreaming of living aboard a sailboat. The Deja Vu isn’t quite big enough for me and 110 lbs. German Shepherd, so I began to look for larger boats. That’s when I found her! My baby and the reason this blog exists now, the S/V Rialto Zephyr. With help from a friend, I  purchased her and moved her to the marina I worked at. A few weeks later I started the process of moving aboard. The few weeks that I spent aboard her were happy and the sailing bug definitely bit hard. When the marina shut down, we moved the Rialto Zephyr to the marina across the street. There weren’t any live aboard slips but I tried to use this time to plan a refit and some much needed repairs. Meanwhile, Ava had adjusted to boat life and just the mention of the word boat would send her into happy barking and tail spinning. I made friends at the marina and learned more about sailing from them than in any book I’d ever picked up.

So now it’s been 10 months since my life was shaken. Am I happier? Yes. Do I still have a lot of healing to do? Absolutely! but I am healing. The blog really helped and now that I’m in a place where I don’t feel like I have to explain the heartache anymore, I’m hoping it can go back to being about my adventures with Ava and our friends. Thank you to everyone who showed such a great deal of support and love to Ava and I. You have no idea how it helped us on this journey.

Fair Winds and Following Seas my friends! Off to work on the refit list again.