Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fair Winds Stella Blue!

Big changes are happening with Stella Blue. We sold our house in Utah in late January and traveled down to Stella Blue where she was on the hard in Florida. 

We had accepted a deposit to sell Stella Blue to a great couple, Logan and Gillian, from San Francisco. We wanted to have her looking perfect for them, just as we would like, so we spent two weeks knee deep in fun boat projects. The tasks included; refinishing all exterior teak, installing a new maserator pump, wax & buff the hull, two coats of bottom paint and testing/cleaning all the systems. We wanted the boat to be fairly "turn key" for the new owners. The end result was a clean bill of health from the Surveyor and that was it, Stella Blue was passed along to her new stewards for their adventures. A bitter sweet day for us but we knew that the day had to come as we needed more room and tankage.

Molly, Kala and I have now turned the page on a new chapter and have been spending the last few weeks sofa-surfing with generous friends and relatives as well as camping in the Sportsmobile while we look for a new boat... a/k/a adventure platform.

After driving over 5000 miles, looking at countless boats and making a few offers, we now have a contract on an incredible Valiant 47. The survey is next week and we're optimistic that this is the boat for us. We hope to be able to make it to the BVIs this season so stay tuned for updates at the new blog: Sailing Terrapin

All our worldly possessions in one place... on the hard in Florida.

Stripping the toe rail of Cetol to prep for 9 coats of nice varnish.

Deck teak stripped and prepped for varnish
When you replace the poo-blender, remember to double glove!

Stella Blue in the slings for the survey.

It wasn't all work in Port Charlotte. Kala and Molly enjoy the escape from the cold Utah winter.
Congrats to Logan & Gillian!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas... in photos...

Merry Christmas! (photo from our trip to the Bahamas)

Christmas Day backcountry skiing

Kala is always ready for some fun in the snow!

Quick rest stop while skinning up the hill.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“Such a Long Long Time To Be Gone And A Short Time To Be There”

I’m not sure whether it is the tragedy in Newtown, the greyness of the winter skies or the workload at the office but I’ve found myself thinking more about trying to actually live now, more than ever before. I’ve been back in the office-bound work world for only four months now and realize how hard it is to take the time to step away and think about what is really important in life and how to put those things front and center in my day-to-day outlook.

 When you’re head down into work day after day, week after week, with meetings and tasks backed up, it is hard to see past the next day, let alone the next several years. I guess this is one of the reasons that corporate strategist schedule off-site retreats for their executives when strategy planning or how some employers encourage employees to take vacation in blocks of at least 3 to 5 days, so that a period of reflection can occur.

Fortunately for me, I’m way too much of a slacker to let work interfere with my moments of reflection and have tried to completely disengage from the morning rush to work, to have a few moments to myself, albeit on the drive into the office.   Right now, I’m sad.  I’m sad for our world, for our environment, for our children and for our animals.  Mass murders, environmental destruction, senseless overproducing and slaughtering of animals. To me, the end is so obvious if we continue on this path, why can’t our leaders see it?!?!  Humans really suck as a species.  

So with that mental backdrop, here are a few large scale realizations I’ve had on my drives in to work. I don’t want to negatively impact anyone, people, animals or the environment. I don’t want to have my existence perpetuate the destruction of the world or perpetuate the “buy and spend” mentality that drives the US economy.

What good are realizations without a plan, so here is what I’m doing about it… Molly and I are eating a plant-based diet. Some people call this being a “vegan” in that there is no meat and dairy, but that term creates negative images or associations with a lot of people so I’ll just say “plant-based”. We have sold most of our cars and motorcycles and only have one vehicle that Molly and I share now. Admittedly, this one vehicle is a van that gets poor gas mileage but we have a contract to sell our house so hopefully soon the van or the boat will be our home. We have added more solar and wind to the boat so that we don’t have to use the diesel engine or gas generator to charge the batteries and have made a mental commitment to sail more and motor less when on the boat.  We have given, or are giving, many of the things we worked hard for and had looked forward to buying, away. “Minimalizing” if that is a word.

Nothing I’m doing is really going to make a bit of difference to the big economic and environmental perspective but what it has done for me is to create a significant mental shift. I feel like I want fewer physical possessions.  Clothing, furniture, toys if they are not absolute necessities now seem to just hold us back from living. We have been tied to the continual upkeep and maintenance of junk. From an American perspective, we still have lots of crap but by divesting ourselves of things that we didn’t need, could do without or were just plain burdensome, we have been allowed to see much more of the outside world.  Maybe it’s one to many veggie burgers, an overdose of tofu or perhaps there really was something  mind altering in what that guy passed me at the Furthur show, but this perspective feels very comfortable and natural like I’ve tapped into some cosmic energy flow.

I realize more than ever that there are roads to be traveled, oceans to be sailed and beers to drink.  I’m not at my stopping point; this is not where I want to park it.  I’m not sure what is out there next, but life has been pretty damn good so far and with this new perspective and ethos, I’m more than ready to see what’s next… and soon.

We are all on this planet for such a short time and I can only think that if we all try to love each other more, protect the animals and earth, that this would be a better place and have more of a future than the path it is now on.

Cheers my friends, thanks for reading my ramblings. Happy holidays, Namaste and hope to see all you like-minded souls out there sometime soon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Herbivore Abroad!

Three months ago if someone would have asked me to stop eating cheese, I would have responded with a nasty glare, a shriveled lip and said something to the effect of "Why would I ever do that?".  In just that short amount of time, shorter actually, only about 2 months, I have become educated and aware and have made choices that will change our lives.  Baxter and I have moved to a plant-based diet.  At first, we were happy with just becoming vegetarian, but after further research (I'd be happy to share with those who are interested), we have moved to only plant-based foods.

As I was researching a vegan diet and it's benefits, I found some amazing recipes and suggestions from Lindsay S. Nixon, author of Happy Herbivore, Everday Happy Herbivore and newly-released Happy Herbivore Abroad.  Not only was I elated when her new book was published, but I immediately responded when she asked who would like to participate in her blog tour.  Lindsay's recipe's in Happy Herbivore Abroad are amazing and include flavors from all over the world.  My favorite recipe so far has to be the bread pudding (England) on page 156!  It is so easy to make and the ingredients are things most people already have in their kitchen.  Another nice feature of the book is that Lindsay includes stories of how the recipes developed and how her travels around the world have changed her as a person - an idea most people who live on a boat (aka cruisers) can identify with.

Over the last 24 months, we have spent a considerable amount of time living on our 37-foot sailboat, Stella Blue, traveling up and down the east coast, through the South Pacific (aboard Mahina Tiare III) and from Florida down to the southern Exumas so I have a particular interest in how a plant-based diet adapts on a boat.  I know many cruisers who have limited refrigeration, limited storage space and of course, everyone would like to eat a bit healthier.  I asked Lindsay about those issues and more in our interview.  As a note, Lindsay is giving away a free-copy of her new Happy Herbivore Abroad to one of our blog readers.  Just post a comment below and I will draw a winner on Friday, 12/7/12.  


Have you always been a vegetarian, or what inspired you to move to a plant-based diet? I was a vegetarian for most of my life, but lapsed back to meat-eating in my late teens due to family pressure and peer pressure. A serious health scare in my early 20's brought me back to a vegetarian diet and about a year later I adopted a totally plant-based (vegan) diet. I was motivated mainly for health reasons, but I also care about the environment and am moved by the plight of farm animals. 

What is your favorite aspect of cooking plant-based recipes? I don't have to worry about food born illness when cooking. I used to be so fearful that I didn't cook meat enough, or I'd get sick from eating cookie batter, or that I didn't clean my cutting board sufficiently after chopping up chicken and following with onions. I don't have to worry about those things anymore! 

What do you find the most difficult aspect of eating vegan? There's nothing really difficult about eating a plant-based diet. It may not always be the most convenient option, but I'd rather a little less convenience if it means better health. 

Do you have an ultimate favorite recipe? Asking a chef what their favorite recipe is, is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child :) 

What do you consider your staples for your recipes? The basics: vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and plenty of spices! 

What advice could you offer to someone who would like to follow a plant-based diet but does not have refrigeration? I imagine it would be difficult following any diet -- specifically one with meat, dairy and eggs -- without refrigeration (since those foods MUST be refrigerated). The good news is that fruits and vegetables do not require refrigeration. Similarly, dry grains like rice, and dried beans and lentils are shelf-stable. You can also buy shelf-stable tofu. 

Do you feel like you sacrifice any part of your diet by not eating animal-protein? No. I feel like I only benefit. I eat a much wider range of food now on a plant-based diet than I ever did as an omnivore. Plus nothing tastes as good as being plant-based feels. It's such an amazing feeling -- you can't get this glow without a plant-based diet. 

How do you respond to people who think all vegans are hippie liberals and will eventually realize the error of their ways and go back to eating animal protein? I don't look like a hippie liberal so that sort of silences that stereotype with people around me :) I have had people come up and say things like "you're vegan, but you look so normal" I really try not to laugh. Most of the time, people are busy asking about my glow, or my complexion, or how I stay so trim and healthy -- and I tell them my big secret-- I'm plant-based! and then they're curious to hear more. 

The impact you've had on other people's lives by educating them and helping to change their diet is significant. What is the most important message you would like to convey? Every time you can eat a plant-based or vegan meal, do it. Your body will thank you.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin'

We've had a great time in Utah but we can hear the ocean calling...

Vegan Waffles!

Hiking in the snow
Molly and Kala on a sunrise walk.

BASE Jumping in Moab

Vegan Cooking Injury! (she's okay)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kala's 15 Minutes of Fame

Since we have lived on the boat, we get most magazine subscriptions digitally through Zinio.  They are automatically downloaded to the iPad and they don't have to be mailed to a random location.  We get them faster and cheaper.

One night in June, Baxter was casually turning the pages of our new July issue of Cruising World, only to see Kala's sweet smile.  We had forgotten all about that post on Cruising World's Facebook page - but apparently they liked it.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

ad·just·ment noun \ə-ˈjəs(t)-mənt\: a correction or modification to reflect actual conditions.

These are the blogs that we submitted to one of our sponsors, Mountain Khakis, as part of their Ambassador Program...

After spending the winter on our boat in the Bahamas and South Florida, we found ourselves back in Utah on the best powder day of the year.  The contrast between the two lifestyles couldn’t be more different and we love every minute of each of them.  However, it does take a minute to adjust to being back in the mountains and living in a house.  For example, our refrigerator can now hold enough food for months AND keep it cold.  What will I ever put in there?  Or…Kala can stand up and walk out the doggy door to go outside and enjoy fresh green grass – no more waiting for the dinghy to take her to shore. 

We did adjust, quickly.  We started hiking more in the mountains and I even entered a local 5K just to shake the dust off my land legs.  I set a new PR (personal record) and took first place in my age group – pretty good considering I hadn’t run a step in at least six months.

With our Tartan 37, Stella Blue, now “on the hard” (out of the water) for hurricane season, it would probably be a good idea for me to get a job and ramp up next season’s cruising kitty.  So I am writing this blog from the four walls, well three actually, of a cubicle.  Sometimes the mountain life means putting your head down and working hard so you can find your way back to adventure – whether it’s just the weekends or a long term plan of getting away for a couple years.  The memories are fresh in my head and motivate me to get back there.  


Back in the Wasatch

Throughout the winter, my wife and I traveled along the east coast of the U.S. in our Tartan 37 sailboat.  We made our way from North Carolina down to Key West, back to Miami and over to the southern Exumas and finally to the Gulf Coast of Florida.  At the end of February, it was time to leave the boat and head west to Salt Lake City.  We arrived February 28, and purchased our spring season pass at Snowbird the next day, just in time for what our friends told us was the best powder day of the season with over 60” of fresh, dry, deep, fluffy Wasatch snow.  It reminded me how much I love Utah.

Unfortunately, that storm passed quickly and the ski season would only last a couple more months due to the abysmal snow totals for the year.  I quickly transitioned my toys from skis and snowboards to my wingsuit, skydiving rig, paraglider, B.A.S.E. rig, running shoes, hiking boots and started to prepare for my new adventure of kite boarding.   I have started moving into kite boarding which involves learning to fly a traction kite and then eventually moving on to the water.  Fortunately, Salt Lake City provides the venues from beginning to end and I can practice throughout the summer.  

With the warm weather, we decided some of the other toys also needed to be aired out.  We drove up to Skydive Ogden and I got in a couple wing suit skydives.  It's great to have the toys at hand and I'm ready for the summer!