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Looking Forward While Celebrating 2010

As we look forward to what 2011 has in store for us, we reflected on our blessed-beyond-belief 2010. This has been a year of big changes, new beginnings and celebrations galore.

Looking forward to a walk like this soon

The first part of our year was filled with starting more projects than we finished on Kaleo, learning as much as we could aboard, as well as through Seven Seas University courses, and spending a few freezing weekends planning for warmer weather projects.

Spring brought warmer weather, some great sailing in Galveston Bay, the wedding of our dear friends, Amy & Jeph, and Christie’s parents’ 35th wedding anniversary in April.

May was a landmark month as we became officially debt free, gaining financial freedom. We also moved from our 1,400 square foot townhome to a 650 square foot studio apartment to better prepare for our life aboard Kaleo. And, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary at The Joule, were we stayed on our wedding night. Of course, we spent a few weekends completing some boat projects along the way.

With the Texas summer heat came lots of family and friends visiting the boat, marina BBQ’s, and more boat projects. And in June, the “Cyclin’ Sailors” geared up for our 4th annual Urban Assault Race in Austin!

The Fourth of July was shared with the Wilborns by sailing and watching incredible fireworks shows while anchored out in the bay. Then, we jetted to Coeur D’ Alene, ID to celebrate the newest Butchers, as Matt’s brother Jeff married his bride, Meloney. We topped off the trip to the Northwest with an incredible experience of sleeping 50′ off the ground in the boughs of a giant, old Washington Red Cedar Tree at Cedar Creek Treehouse and touring Mt. Rainier National Park. Of course, we spent a few weekends completing some boat projects along the way.

While the summer heat continued to bake us, we enjoyed a shakedown cruise to Galveston with the Kryzaks and a sailing weekend with The Powers. Of course, we spent a few weekends completing some boat projects along the way.

The fall brought a trip to Minneapolis to celebrate Grandma Butcher’s 90th birthday, visit with family and to Trader Joe’s to stock up on our favorite snacks. The realization that we were now within one month of tossing the docklines helped us get a lot of boat projects wrapped up almost every weekend.

October was a big month as Matt took his leave of absence from work, Christie resigned from her job, we moved out of our land home and aboard Kaleo full-time, sold a car and put another one in storage along with our belongings. We soaked up treasured time with loved ones and were given three outstanding Bon Voyage parties. We also got to celebrate the marriage of Ben and Carly (Matt’s cousin) and spent time with family in San Diego. Of course, we managed another trip to Trader Joe’s for more provisions.

November 8th marked the beginning of our cruising life. Before leaving the dock, we met up with some cruising mentors, The Sittons, and celebrated Christie’s birthday with family and a dear friend, Crystal, aboard. The month was filled with a host of new experiences – from adjusting to life aboard to overcoming unknown challenges and navigating new waters to connecting with new friends along the way. We topped it off with a roadtrip from Mississippi to Texas to spend Thanksgiving with family.

The year wrapped up by crossing the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and into Florida. It was on those passages that we learned to love the open ocean, more fully appreciate warm days and spent time digging our toes into our first white sandy beach. Christmas with shared with family and friends in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida and we were back home aboard Kaleo on New Year’s Eve.

We welcomed the new decade with the most unusual of celebrations for us at this time of year. The clock struck midnight as we pushed two carts down the isles of a 24-hour Walmart. We laughed and shared a little “Happy New Year” smooch in the canned goods aisle and continued provisioning in preparation for the Bahamas and beyond. Yes, really. Oh, the cruising life ;o).

Thank you for joining us as virtual crew along this adventure. It means a lot to us. We wish you peace, blessings and togetherness in your new year!

We’re ready for 2011 and believe the best is yet to come. God has even more amazing things He wants to do in and through our lives so we’re straining to what is ahead. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Companionway Doors Complete!

As Christie and I are learning, boat projects always take much longer than anticipated. But that means it feels even better when a project is finally complete. We crossed another item off the list with the final hanging of the companionway (a boat’s front door) doors.

This project has been a cross-country build as:

These will provide a more pleasant living experience when we are anchored or in easy sailing weather. For rough weather we will use still the drop boards as they provide better protection against boarding seas and heavy rains. I really enjoyed this project in particular because I was able to work alongside my Dad, learn from his experience and have his craftsmanship aboard.

Visiting the Fam

Our Seattle weekend continued as we started Saturday with a visit to Pike Place for breakfast at The Crumpet Shop and to pick up some flowers to bring to Matt’s mom.
We then hit the road for a 5-hour road trip to Coeur d’ Alene to visit the family and celebrate Ken’s birthday.
Before heading out for Ken’s birthday dinner, he and Matt reviewed the test companionway doors and talked through their final design. We’ll leave the materials and plans in his good hands to be built. He even offered to build us an overlay for the bathroom countertop from some scrap granite he’s collected. It means a lot to us to have his craftsmanship aboard.
The boys taking a break while dad takes Jeff’s new bike out for a spin.

Productive Seattle Weekend

We took full advantage of a long weekend in Seattle with a date night staying at The Edgewater and seafood dinner at Elliot’s, a refitting gear quest across some premier and cost-effective suppliers, and a visit with the family in Coeur d’ Alene.

  • We started our sailing supplies’ gathering with a visit to Fisheries Supply (think Toys-R-Us for boaters). There we picked up epoxy (marine glue) for the companion way doors that Matt and his dad are building, our new electric Lavac Marine Toilet and some electrical wiring for the toilet pump. Through Matt’s exhaustive research, we chose a Lavac for its unparalleled reputation for simplicity and longevity among blue water cruisers. Earlier in the week, we ordered the necessary hoses from Defender Marine Outfitter.
  • We then marveled at all the other treasures there and even picked out new LED lighting fixtures (but that’s in our October budget & refit plan so we jotted down the part #s and headed to our next stop).
  • From there we headed to Crosscut Hardwoods to pick out some teak planks to build the companionway doors and a shower bench.
  • We wrapped up a productive day with a romantic dinner at Elliot’s on the Bay and a nice night at The Edgewater.
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