Friday, June 12, 2015

1000 Days Away!!!

For those who have been following our online blog you may have noticed that there is a day counter on the right hand side.   This served as a countdown meter as we prepared for our trip in 2012 and then started counting the days since departure after we sailed out of San Francisco Bay, September 15, 2012.

Day One!  Sailing out the Golden Gate
Can you believe it has been 1000 days?  

Well, here we are.  It has not been 1000 days at sea, and thank goodness, not 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. But we have been "away".  We've enjoyed our California and Mexican cruising aboard our beloved Shindig.  We've enjoyed our summer couch surfing in the US and Canada.  It has been an amazing journey.  It feels like we've had 10 years of adventures instead of less than 3.

We have met hundreds of cruisers, made many dear friends, and celebrated the little and the big milestones together.  The ease at which friendships flourish with other cruisers and local Mexicans is truly amazing.  The new relationships we have developed on this adventure are the most cherished part of the nomadic 1000 days.   In addition to the new friendships we've also grown closer to many of our "landlubber" friends and family as we enjoyed the generous hospitality during our homeless summers.

Many of our sailing friends have continued travel to Central America and the South Pacific.  Others have completed their sailing adventures and returned home full time.

HarkerBoard SUP relay race team.  Katie, Mike, Rob and Wendy. (La Paz October 2013)
One of the most difficult things we encounter when moving around so much is saying goodbye to new and old friends.  Often it really isn't goodbye though.  More times than not we are reunited during the cruising season in different anchorages or marinas or in the next season.  Sadly, we have lost a good friend this year and must say goodbye.  "Wendy on Willow"  was an amazing woman.  She single handed her sailboat to Mexico and brought the "sunshine" where she went.  We bumped into her on and off for two seasons, shared birthday celebrations, dinners in remote anchorages and some impressive paddleboarding.  We will miss her free spirit and endless optimism.  Even as her cancer and treatment debilitated her she wrote inspirational love notes to all her friends.  Amazing!
While we mourn the loss of a good friend we also celebrate her spirit, sense of adventure and the positive impact she made on everyone she met.  

So what is next for the Shindig crew?

As we write this, Nancy is in Northern CA, visiting her mother and Rob is in Southern CA spending time with his parents, and brother's family.  Our remaining June travel schedule includes separate trips to Boston and Texas and a nice drive up the California coast together.

Our plan is to walk into our house July 1st and begin the process of getting it ready for sale. It's time for a new home base, one that we can come and go from while we continue our travels.

We both thank you all for your interest and support of our travels, and your friendship.  

"Gracias, Muchos Gracias!!"

"Merci Beaucoup" (gotta start refreshing on the French for Shindig's eventual trip to the South Pacific) 

And Nancy's mom (age 89) just recalled this phrase, 
"Takk Takk Tusen Takk",
(A Thousand Thank You's in Norwegian)

With Gratitude, Rob and Nancy

Rob and Nancy delivering a candy filled "Shindig Man" to the children in San Evaristo

Rob and Nancy in Barra de Navidad at sunset

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Shindig checks into the Boat Spa

Shindig has taken good care of us for three seasons in Mexico;  it was time to check her into the "Boat Spa" for some TLC.  The tropical weather and heat takes its toll on wood teak decks, fiberglass, gelcoat and any painted surface.

One big project that we had been delaying was the removal and the painting of the mast, boom and spinnaker pole.   It feels like an infrastructure home project, like replacing old plumbing in your house. If it all goes well,  you still have water coming out of the tap in the end.  And after a whole lot of work, it is still functionally the same.

The rig was 18 years old so this was also a good opportunity to inspect all the welds and mast fittings very closely.  Mexico is a great place to do this type of work.  It will make me feel more confident in the standing rigging for a Pacific crossing in 2017.

Lots of corrosion at the masthead.  18 years in the sun and salt will do this.

I did a lot of prep work, both on the outside as well as the inside to get the mast ready to be pulled.  It was kind of like a tooth extraction  but on a much larger scale. After a few days in the La Cruz Marina, we went over to the boatyard's dock, tied up and followed instruction as the "surgery" began.  An hour and a half later, Shindig was already back in her assigned slip, tied up, and looking kind of odd with a mast.

Tied up at the yard, preparing for pulling the mast

Off with the boom

Peter Vargas is lifted on the crane to make the appropriate attachments

Mast is out and swinging into the yard


Work progressed well at the boatyard.  Daily monitoring, encouragement for the 2-3 guys who worked on Shindig, as well as contributions to their Saturday afternoon end of week celebrations were part of the routine.  Meanwhile in the slip, boat workers washed and waxed Shindig's hull, topsides and stainless steel.  Even the dinghy and paddleboard now look sparklin' new.

Three and a half weeks later, the mast was ready to be stepped.  With almost precision work, Shindig pulled into the boatyard at 830am, the Sea Tek rigging team led by Peter Vargas was waiting to help tie her up, and the crane began its careful work.

Here is a time lapse of the re-stepping of the mast.

Two more days of putting everything back together again, and Shindig was ready to head out.

We are happy to have this project done and behind us.  Peter Vargas and his team were thoughtful and did a great job.
Everything went back together well and we didn't have any extra parts!

Here are some intermediate photos of the painting project.

Paint is chemically stripped 

Then sanded
Detail work with a wire brush at the masthead

First coats of paint on the spinnaker pole and boom

Main furler gearbox and motor detailed and painted

Lots of little bits and pieces painted and drying

New Shindig graphics for the boom

Painted mast is reassembled and standing rigging is going on