Goodbye 2017

Shannon and I had our last sail of 2017 on Friday. The weather has been essentially terrible over the last few weeks. So finally, when the rain cleared up, we untied Nymeria from the dock and set off for a cold, winter day sail in the Galveston Bay.

After getting out of the channel and into the bay, we hoisted the sails and shut off the engine. This is one of the most beautiful moments in sailing. All the noise of the engine is gone and all you can hear is the water and wind around you. You can feel all the power flowing through the boat moving you forward.

It really struck us then just how far we had come in 2017. We had hatched this plan many years ago, but this year it all came together. It all happened so much faster than I had imagined. It was only July that we left our house in Durango and really began this journey.

What a journey it has been too. Thousands of miles pulling our RV with the little Tacoma. Random nights at random RV parks in random locations. Cross country trips for weddings. Emergency evacuations for hurricanes. 24 hour road trips to marinas all up and down the huge state of Texas. Mad dashes from one bank to another to get money together to purchase the boat by the closing date. Day after day of boat projects (and for the foreseeable future). All to get to here, quietly cruising at 5 knots in Galveston Bay.

We would not have made it so far without all the love and support from our friends and family. From the day, we started talking about this crazy idea, everyone has been incredibly supportive. Shout outs to our friends who suffered through many boat conversations over an alcoholic beverage or three. A special thank you to the folks whose couches we crashed during hurricane evacuations. Also many thanks to all that are following along with us on this adventure.

Now that we have the boat, and are getting fairly settled in, whats next?  We don’t really know. Our first goal would be to get at least 500 miles sailed under our keel. That should really help us get to know Nymeria and her capabilities, as well as grow ours to match. This time will also allow us to make any changes and upgrades that we feel we need in order help us take her anywhere.

With destinations only limited by our imagination and confidence, we’re excited to see what our next adventures bring!

Finally, a new Video. Day sailing in Galveston bay

The move is on!

Well, it begins, again. After four months here on the beautiful Bolivar Peninsula, we are on the move. This time across the bay to move aboard Nymeria. The boat spent the last week at the shipyard getting a new bottom job and some plumbing repairs required by our insurance. Tomorrow morning we get to relaunch her as our new home.

We will miss the quick beach access, the very quiet neighborhood, and we had just learned the name of all the bartenders on the peninsula. Its time to move on though.

Yet another session of downsizing has to happen, and everything that we have not used in the last four months needs to be stored or sold. We already downsized a ton when we left Durango to fit and live in the camper, but not enough. The boat isn’t necessarily any smaller than the camper, in-fact, living space is a bit better, but the storage space is spread through a lot of smaller and awkwardly shaped spaces.

There is also a todo list about a mile ling once we are on-board. Days worth of cleaning, light fixtures, fans, engine work, tests, more cleaning. Then, maybe a bit of sailing. First on the list is get the main water tank clean. It looks like it has been sitting with 80L of water for years. There is a layer growth all around, and a bunch of sediment at the bottom. Nothing a bit of bleach and some scrubbing cant take care of. Then its onto the engine for me. It may not need any maintenance right away, but I want to do an immediate oil change, water pump, and other general maintenance just so I can be sure, and get some experience doing it before too long.

We have our own satellite internet set to be installed on Monday, its expensive, and has many drawbacks, but we need internet, and this is our only choice as the free marina WiFi just wont cut it for our jobs.

Wish us luck!

24 hours with Nymeria

Its official, we are boat owners. Shannon and I took delivery of Nymeria on Friday and got to spend the day really getting to know her. It wasn’t an easy road to get here. It started back in July when we arrived here in Texas. After a few weeks the boat search really got going. Finally in October, after many boats toured, we found the right one. After making an offer, and taking her out for a survey and sea trial, the real test began.

It seems the hardest part of all this was actually moving the money from one account to another. Seems like such a simple task, but it we actually had to travel back in time before the internet in order to make it happen. Several phone calls, 8 hours of driving between post offices and banks, one  lost transfer check direct from the bank, and an overnight mail of “temporary” checks, I was finally able to get everything deposited in one place.  Only to have Wells Fargo question the final wire transfer, then finally agree after some persuading only because I have been an account holder since 1985. “That would be one hell of a long con” they said.

After the most stressful week I think I’ve ever had, we finally hopped aboard and moved her to our new slip at Waterford Harbor Marina. It had been over a year since our sailing courses in Thailand, and I had never actually docked anything larger than our friend Jeffs’ 22ft day sailor, so, trial by fire I guess. One lesson I remember clearly was “if your bowman isn’t bored, you are docking too fast” I took that to heart and several slow minuted later we tied up to slip 9-21.

Even before we pulled in completely, the friendliness of the sailing community started to show. The livaboard couple in the slip next to us came out to greet us and help with dock-lines. They happily listen to our story of getting there and offer congratulations and whatever advice we are in need of.

We needed to replace one of the old stern lines of the boat as it was rather old and frayed (even tied and held together by some tape) so we took off to our first official trip to West Marine (or my new toy store). They say its nearly impossible to get out of there without spending $200 on stuff. I can totally see why. “Yea, we need one of those”, “oh sure, that would be nice”, “that one light really needs replacing, so lets buy 7 and replace them all.” With an unbelievable amount of personal restraint, we walked out with a new line, one new light, and a fan. $197.95, we had done it!

Now the fun begins. The next several hours were spent folding ourselves in strange ways cleaning and testing everything we could. What pipes go where?How does this light turn on? WTF is this thing, and what does it do? Where are we going to put all our stuff? By the time the sun went down we were nasty and exhausted.

As we were finally getting ready to clean up and order a seemingly traditional first night in a new home pizza, that wonderful sailing community showed its worth again. As we walked down the dock, a couple came out and invited us to the Friday Marina Happy Hour. They meet every Friday at the pavilion and share stories and snacks. We had intended to just have our celebratory champagne and eat pizza on the boat alone, but why not be social? We ended up having way too much fun and had a few too many drinks and no real food while meeting the other owners. We finally ordered that pizza far too late and after stuffing our faces we took to our first night sleeping on the boat.

After a better night of sleep than I expected, we got up and prepared to take the boat to the shipyard for a haul-out and full bottom job. As we were getting ready, Shannon remarked “this should feel weirder.” I think I agree. For some reason things just felt OK, like we were supposed to be there.  Even our last few months in the RV never seemed too normal, just part of a vacation or something. Ill take it as a good sign.

One more week of RV living while we have the Nymeria worked on, then the adventure really begins!

Whats in a Name?

How do you decide a name? Naming a boat turns out to be a bit more of a challenge than I had expected. There are so many considerations to take into account. Superstitions are a big one, they even change regionally. Bananas? Cats? Never. Lots of names today seem to be “punny”, like Knotty Lady or Passing Wind.

Once you navigate all those little things, the name still needs to mean something to you. Shannon and I have been trying to come up with a name since this adventure began over a year ago. Names like “Animas” or “Serenity” were early attempts. Nothing ever felt right.

The superstitions and rules don’t stop once you’ve come up with a name either. Neptune, the god of the sea, will take his revenge if he is not properly appeased. There is a whole ceremony that needs to be done in order to strike the old name from Neptune’s “Ledger of the Deep” and ask his permission to add a new name. Of course there are many versions of the ceremony, and several involve copious amounts of alcohol.

Now that we have actually made an offer, we really need to make a decision. It seems the best time to make the change is when the boat changes hands. There are registrations and forms that all need to have the name, and changing later is just a bit more process.

We’ve narrowed it down to some finalists.

“Valinor”

From the Lord of the Rings. Valinor is the undying lands that the elves travel too once the king finally returns. (They also invited Bilbo and Frodo to join them.)

“Nymeria”

Nymeria is the name of Aryas direwolf in Game of Thrones. Named for the the warrior queen that created Dorne.

Yes, they are both a bit geek culture related, but both Shannon and I are fairly solid geeks. Game of Thrones was even a sub-theme of our wedding.

Let us know in the comments what you think. Even tell us your own ideas!