Vancouver Visits (Vancouver, BC)

Have you EVER met someone from Vancouver, Washington? I’m sure there are many fine people who live in Vancouver, WA but I have to tell you I find it CRAZY how often I’ll tell people I’m from Vancouver and their first question will be “Canada or Washington?”. What are the odds it’s Washington?!?! (Although I just googled it and apparently it’s the 4th largest city in Washington State, so maybe I’m being touchy) šŸ˜‰

Those West Coast sunsets


We had an amazing visit to Vancouver. It feels like the more I go back, the more I appreciate Vancouver for the natural beauty that it is. I get the appeal of mountains (REAL mountains) and West coast sunsets in a whole new way.

Jess swimming with Grouse Mountain in the background

But also the more I go back, the more that I realize how much I live in Maine now. I moved to Maine, and I really, really like it here.

Portland, especially, is the perfect combination of a charming city perched on the edge of fantastic bays and islands and cruising, with a legal liveaboard marina right in the heart of it all (which is a serious challenge in Vancouver), tons of bright sunny days and afternoon breezes, all the city-living perks of restaurants and coffee shops and weekend festivals but without the big-city traffic, a job I truly love, and a healthy dose of winter blizzards to make sure we don’t get too complacent in our old age šŸ™‚

West coast sunsets are pretty hard to beat

Given all of that, the only hard part that remains is being away from family and friends. I love my family something fierce, let me tell you that. I don’t know if it’s because we spent 7 years living on Synchronicity or because of Jess’ accident or our DNA or some combination of all the above, but we’re a pretty awesome family unit, and I’m not ashamed to say it šŸ™‚ So living on opposite coasts causes me a pretty great deal of stress, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

This is what I’ve learned so far…

  1. Visits to Vancouver should be more than 10 days but less than 21. One week is not nearly enough time to feel like I had a real visit, but more than two-ish weeks and it starts to feel hard to get back into a groove in Maine.Ā Sailing under the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver
  2. Working on East Coast hours works amazingly well. Yes, it means starting at 5:30 am, but it also means being off by 2ish without taking any precious, precious vacation days šŸ™‚ Since Jess trains every day (she’s a professional athlete on the BC wheelchair rugby team) and mom and dad are at work too, this seems to work for everyone. I am SERIOUSLY grateful to work for a company that is okay with remote work — it facilitates my deepest life needs in the best possible way. In Ganges
  3. Quality over quantity — although there’s some pretty good quantity too. If I look back at the last 12 months, I’ve spent 8 weeks in Vancouver. That’s two whole months of dedicated visiting! It doesn’t always feel like enough — I miss Sunday night dinners and easy afternoon coffees, but I think the quality of time makes up for some of the missing quantity. I’m going to misquote Bumfuzzle a little on this, since I think he put it nicely:
    “Over time, I think, our lifestyle has actually afforded us more time with our families than had we stayed put in Chicago. Iā€™m sure there is no way we would have seen each other as much had we slipped into the grind, even if [visits] would have been cheaper and easier.”Love these two so so much
  4. Memories matter most. Kind of related to the point above, but I find that visits where we go out of the way to make memories — concerts, sailing trips, spontaneous ocean swims, blo-bar hairdos, BBQ’s, sleepovers, drinks on the beach — are the ones that we remember forever. Bonus points if there are a million photo-taking opportunities included.

We did a good job of following the rules this trip, and I have the memories (and photos!!!) to prove it šŸ™‚

Mary Kruger - Synchronicity

2016-07-15 20.58.35 Birthday cake onboardĀ Ā  Beaching in Kits with JessĀ Ā  At the Old Dominion Kenny Chesney concert with Jess Jess loves creampuffs Ā  Sister pics with a random in the background Blo bar results Ā  Jess just hanging out in Synchy Boom funĀ  Sisters Jess just hanging out in Synchy - climbing the stairs!

Thanks for the visit, Vancouver!!

LMK šŸ™‚

The Mythical Maine Swimming Hole (in “The Basin”)

I think I’ve been swimming in Maine a grand total of 3 times to date, and one of those times was a 10-second dip to confirm that our brand new prop was, indeed, too big for our boat, and was, indeed, trying to tear a chunk of our hull.

So when Jon mentioned that people really liked “The Basin” because of its warm swimming waters, I was… highly skeptical, to put it nicely šŸ™‚

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But we wanted to go somewhere new for our spectacular Canada Day / 4th of July extra-long-long-weekend, so The Basin it was.

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A gorgeous downwind sail reminded us of how fun sailing can be…

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And an absolute idyllic, land-locked anchorage reminded us of how much we like being out on the hook…

2016-07-03 07.45.00Ā  2016-07-03 07.58.55

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Drinking coffee at anchor might be my most favourite activity in the ENTIRE world…

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Oh and this was the debut of our new flexible solar panel (below) — so now we can actually see over our dodger when we’re docking, anchoring, or just generally driving around.

Personally I felt like being able to see exactly what’s in front of you might take some of the surprise and fun out of maneuvering a small, hard-to-maneuver sailboat, but Jon convinced me to give it a go…

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And she does look kind of nice with the cleaner lines…

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AND, surprise of all surprises — we got in the water and SWAM.

And not just a 10-second dip either! No, no, no, instead we discovered an additional fun aspect of the newly-made outboard throne — it floats! Since it’s stuffed with 4 adult lifejackets, it even floats quite nicely!

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It was heaven.

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And with a boisterous bash back to Portland, the whole long-long-weekend was complete!

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I think we’ll be back to The Basin soon!

LMK šŸ™‚

A project only small-boat folk might appreciate… (in Portland, Maine)

We store our outboard on deck.

It’s not pretty. It’s not aerodynamic. It elicits charming comments from strangers like, “all that weight up so high up, tsk, tsk, tsk.”

But look, if you live on a 33′ boat and you want to have a giant outboard, you have to make some compromises. An unsightly outboard stored on deck is one of ours.

All of which might lead you to believe that I’m about to say we found a better solution for storing the outboard (wrong). Instead, I’d like to present the brand new outboard throne that is my new pride and joy šŸ™‚

First, please admire my zipper panel (per Sailrite’s instructional videos… he says “Coo-shun” really funny but other than that the videos are amazing):

Finished zipper panel, per Sailrite's instructional videos

Next, please hazard a guess at the multi-purpose nature of this giant cushion…

Cushion made of lifejackets - dual purpose

If you guessed “somewhere to store all the required lifejackets while simultaneously protecting the deck from getting banged up by the outboard”, you got it right!

A peek at the lifejackets inside

I’d never tried sewing a piped cushion before. It’s seriously satisfying.

My first real piped cushion job

And the finished product. An outboard throne šŸ˜‰

Big outboard on a little boat - cushion made of lifejackets

Like I said, I’m pretty sure you have to be a small boat person to appreciate this little project… but it’s pretty great from over here šŸ™‚



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