Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Puget Trawler for sale to pay for our next sailboat
M/V Serendipity deserved a brochure to strut her stuff for the right prospective buyer.

They say the two best days of boat ownership are when you buy and when you sell. 

I don’t buy it.

Our first day was almost too surreal to be our best day with her—too good to be true. Serendipity came to us as an unexpected gift—a bit of a miracle from some dear friends, “Tom and Diane” (not their real names), at a time we needed rescuing (see page 26 in 48 North for more about that).  She was more than a boat—she represented hope, friendship, home, and adventure.  Together we spent idyllic summers on the river off of our favorite beach and explored Puget Sound and British Columbia in summer and late fall. The rest of the time, Serenditiy provided a roof over our heads in a real estate market we could no longer afford to rent in, much less buy. Serendipity took good care of us, and we did our best to return the favor.

We wanted Serendipity to go to a good “home.”
“Dash” and her friends, fell in love with her; we could tell she’d be in good hands. 
Oh, and selling a boat in a hot market in COVID is bizarre.

Yet Wayne and I are sun-lovers. Last winter, we house-sat to get more light than we could in Serendipity‘s winter covered moorage, also getting in the furry friend time (with kitties and puppies) we couldn’t otherwise get in our nomadic life. Nonetheless, we made a pact to leave the Northwest before winter came around again. Visions of chasing summer by hopping hemispheres danced in our heads. New Zealand, here we come! Or so we thought.

Then COVID-19 hit travel came to a standstill and house-sitting along with it as well as most countries banning US visitors. After much angst, we realized we want to return to the tropics. Serendipity could not take us there.

It was time for us to head off to our respective next adventures. We checked in with Tom and Diane who gifted Serendipity to us. We felt like their adopted kids; they felt like my surrogate parents. They knew our selling Serendipity would make our next adventure happen; they fully supported that.

Collins Beach Sauvie Island clothing optional
A couple of planes regularly buzzed our boat off Collins Beach, Sauvie Island, Oregon.

Ultimately, our next adventure is returning to sail the West Indies, once those of us from the US are again welcome to do so. We predict that will happen by winter 2021.

“The Spaceship;” a cement trimaran at Collins Beach, Sauvie Island, our favorite clothing-optional beach.
Not our next boat, but “moored” in a place we love.

Before that happens, we need to find our next boat.

A sweet summer eve, touching toes watching the moon rise, anchored off Collins Beach, Sauvie Island/ 

We’re looking for—as Wayne calls it—a hull and a stick.

Moonrise as seen from the deck of m/v Serendipity, off Collins Beach, near Portland, Oregon.

That is, we find often used boats for sale are DIY projects gone astray. Best case, the sellers remember paying boat bucks for their electronics, which in their minds are still “new” even though they’re long outdated and likely on their last legs. Ditto sails, rigging, etc.

Watching the freighters go by from m/v Serendipity, off Collins Beach, near Portland, Oregon.
Boat traffic on the Columbia River makes for an ever-changing view,
even when you mostly stay anchored in the same spot.

Because our goal is to sail in the West Indies, it makes the most sense to us to find a boat in a good location to get us there.

Keith, my favorite kayaking buddy in Oregon.  We paddled the waters around Sauvie Island, especially the Gilbert river area and the surrounding lakes. Kayaking, we saw oodles of eagles, osprey, herons, kingfishers, and large flocks of pelicans. I said goodbye to two of my kayaks this year. Both went to adventurous owners, thrilled to take their new-to-them kayaks out to play.

These days, that location is Florida.

Handsome canoe tied off at our weekly summer stopover, St. Helens Oregon’s city .

Florida offers a wide selection of boats at more competitive prices than the Pacific Northwest. More to the point, it offers warmth and sunshine in the winter, and a good jumpoff point to the Bahamas, which is still mostly open to cruisers.

Tom and Kay of Alaskan Seadution. Wayne followed their trawler exploits online
up into Alaska and up the Columbia River, where it merges
with the Snake River and goes all the way to Lewiston Idaho.
We met in St. Helens Oregon at the public docks.

Still, we knew saying goodbye to Serendipity would be bittersweet.

Wayne lovingly refinished all Serendipity’s teak decks.
That and her other brightwork drew lots of oohs and ahs.
Watch for an upcoming digital link to my article in 48 North on Wayne’s deck restoration.

Saying goodbye to friends and family is always hard too, though with COVID, a bit easier given we were saying goodbye to connections largely stymied by the pandemic anyway. As always, I view goodbyes as an invitation to say hello again who-knows-where. 

Collins Beach, Sauvie Island, the volcanically blown top
of Mt. St. Helens, Washington in the background.

As Terry Jacks sang “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun. But the wine and the song like the seasons are all gone.” Saying goodbye to summer and our favorite spot and the community there is a little death. 

In our eight-month stint in Florida, this sailboat is the only item
I purchased there that came back with us from our furnished apartment.

Yet I agree with Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great, Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t” belief that  “Good is the enemy of great . . . Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”

Tom and Jan in Olympia Washington.
Tom built a beautiful Ferro cement sailboat now in Guam.
They flew off to return to her October 1st.
Tom’s grease-stained pants were earned fixing up a vintage car.

In preparation for leaving, we headed North, to say our goodbyes to friends there. We caught up with Tom and Jan, who we befriended cruising in French Polynesia. They circumnavigated—then crossed the Pacific again. They winter in Guam, where their boat is, and summer in Olympia, where they grew up, met and married.

Ponghi and Pete, always gracious about our crashing their Seattle WA pad. 

We caught up with Pete and his fiance Ponghi, who tentatively offered to become part-owners of Serendipity because they, too, loved their time aboard her. We hope they will join us on our next boat.

Diane and Tom in British Columbia, Canada,
where I first met them, aboard their boat which became ours.

We said goodbye to Tom and Diane. It’s still hard to believe how much they’ve done for us. Their generosity changed the course of our lives, and for that, we are forever grateful. They inspire us to do our best and live our lives to their fullest, not only for ourselves but also to honor their best intentions.

Dave’s sailed and is lusting to do so again.  He lives surrounded by water on Bainbridge Island.

We met with Dave, one of our only non-sailing friends we made in our lonely year-and-a-half in Everett. We hope this time he can join us for a sail.

Tigger stakes claim on my Mac, as only a kitty can do. Our nomadic life does not lend itself well to pets,
so when we get in time with kitties and puppies, it’s a rare treat.

We fell in love with Dave’s cat, Tigger.

We knew once we sold our boat, we were once again going homeless—not a good feeling. We also we couldn’t take everything with us in my Prius hatchback, and we didn’t have a place to store it or an address to send it to. We toyed with buying a van, but never got a chance to even begin to look for one. 

Our vision of a van, or at least our image of ourselves
and what that vehicle represented for us and our lifestyle.
This is a photo of our latest mascot, joining Gumby and the koala from
Chris and Chris, our cruising friends we hung out with in Oz (among other places).

Then what would we do with my Prius? We didn’t want to drive two cars cross-country.

Our new-to-us temporary digs. I refer to it as “a large storage area on wheels.
It’s a 34′ 1995 Holiday Rambler Vacationer.

Patrick, our new slip-mate in Jantzen Beach Marina solved our panic about what to do once we sold our boat. He sold us his no-longer in use motor home—big enough to carry all our possessions and then some, and powerful enough to tow my Prius on a dolly. Appropriately, Patrick’s boat is a Ranger Tug, the same kind of boat Tom and Diane, Serendipity’s former owners cruise in now.

Karrie and Dash, Serendipity’s new owners continue her love affair with West Marine.

Monday we handed over Serendipity’s keys to Dash and Karrie. We know she’s in good hands as she’s currently in haul-out, getting a host of updates to make her fully up to all the latest ABYC standards. She’s also getting a long-overdue bottom job. 

We’re not sure how long it will take us to find our next boat or even what it will be other than it will be a sailboat that we will trust to handle the West Indies. We’re aiming to arrive in Florida when the hot summer fades into a pleasant fall, and the hurricane season should be done.

Michael Hoy took this photo from the mast of our last sailboat, s/v Journey
when we were in the US Virgin Islands. We plan to return to in our next sailboat.
We’re not sure what our route will be (your suggestions are welcome), but we’re heading East first, bypassing California to escape the fires. We plan to take about a month to cross the country, spending time in national parks, and visiting with family, albeit not our California friends and family (this time).

Come along for the ride through our blog! 

Want to read more? 
With our sale behind us, and our new home ready to roll, I can finally resume the memoir I’m writing about our on past sailing adventures. The first book’s working title is “Sailing Naked.” Click here to get on the notification list for when it comes out.