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Mico Verde

Season Three and a Half: Back to Work

For our journals in sequential order, read from the bottom up or use these links to jump around the page. When you reach the end of an entry, click on the "Next journal entry" hyperlink to go to the following entry.

November 20 - Santa Maria, CA

April 3 - Bellevue, WA

April 6 - Bellevue, WA

May 4 - Bellevue, WA


Seattle, Washington
May 30, 2006

"The feeling begins." - Nikos Kazantzakis

Mico gets restless in Fiji


Bellevue, Washington
May 4, 2006

Everyone always wants to know what it costs to cruise. You might find it interesting to see what it cost us to live back in the states this winter.

The data is from the six months we spent back in Bellevue working to top up the kitty before heading west again.

In case you missed it last month -- "Latitudes and Attitudes" magazine ran a little piece we wrote a few years back. You can read it all here.

I've also added a new article to the collection. Quite a few people have been interested in how we can afford to pull down weather faxes on passage.  The system we use is detailed here.

Pre-good-bye party planning table creation

Getting ready for future voyages by making an Aussie Flag

Bellevue, Washington
April 6, 2006

This was so spot on we had to reproduce it here. Greg Kozlowski orginally published this on the CS-BB board as "10 things cruisers say to their wives."


2. I said, the adjustable wrench NOT the pliers.

3. Sorry I yelled at you.

4. Hang on, here comes another one!

5. Check our position please.

6. It will blow itself out by morning.

7. Companion boards in NOW!

8. Can you see the entrance?

9. What's for dinner?

10. I love you.

Bellevue, Washington
April 3, 2006

(Wojo) We're still back in the states getting ready for our imminent return to cruising. The current plan is to keep working until the end of May, returning to Vuda point shortly after.

(Steph) We've been feeling guilty about not giving you all an update, even though there's not that much to talk about. But my old friend LisaJac, whose editorial expertise got me out of a jam on more than one occasion, has again come to the rescue. The following is a long list of questions she recently sent us to which I've provided answers. Enjoy, and here's hoping our next update is on the eve of our departure for Fiji!

Q: What was the first U.S. food you wanted to eat?

A: Sour cream! You can't find anything like it anywhere else, I swear. The label may read sour cream, but it is not the same thing. I also missed good cheese – the two kinds to choose from in Fiji are "Pizza Cheese" and "Tasty Cheddar." Cheese doesn't really factor into the diets of Polynesians, so our only other cheese opportunity was in Papeete wih the French influence. Warren looked forward to Buffalo wings. And we both missed good microbrews. Other than that, there was a long list of cuisines we were looking forward to: Mexican, good pizza, good hamburgers, good sushi, and Thai. Thanksgiving was a week after we arrived, so we managed to gorge on a bunch of good ol' American comfort foods in one day.


Q: What were the first leisure activities you wanted to do? (Watch TV? If so, what show? Read new books? If so, what books?)


A: The first leisure activities we were looking forward to were hanging out with our friends and catching up on some TV shows via DVD. We actually didn't catch up on TV shows so much as see them for the first time, at our friends' recommendations. Some favorites were Veronica Mars, Deadwood and Lost. Watching Lost was pretty hilarious for us – while it's a good show that we are both now addicted to, it's obvious their writers haven't spent more than an afternoon on a tropical beach. I won't go into all our commentary on the subject, but let me just say this: those people are wearing WAY too much clothing. It is hot and humid, and wearing jeans is just not an option. Oh, and that episode where they're all freaking out about running out of water – look around you, dorks. You are on a lush, tropical island. I guarantee you it will rain in a few hours. Oh, and the tarps that they are using for shelter are going to last all of about a month in the elements. Okay, that was more than one criticism. I couldn't help myself.


I also love to read, so signing up at the library and checking out some good books has been wonderful. I read a lot on the boat, but my choices are usually pretty sub-par. A few titles I've finished were Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, The Unburied by Charles Palliser, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Adrift by Steve Callahan. Warren just finished Platform by Michel Houellebecq.

Q: Where are you living? Does it feel incredibly luxurious? Or is it somehow excessively static?


We are living in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle. It is both luxurious and static. It is luxurious, because even after 5 months I still love endless running water and electricity. It is really amazing how much easier meal planning and preparation can be with a refrigerator. And with the dishwasher, clean-up takes a fraction of the time. I've never kept a kitchen so spotless. I also love the queen-size mattress with room to stretch out. But, the downside is that we're in a suburb without a car, so we don't get out much. But, that keeps us from spending money.

Q: Do you have your cats living with you? Did you get your furniture out of storage?


Cats, no. Furniture, yes. The cats are still with my folks enjoying a lot of square feet and outdoor adventures.

Q: Have you been out on anyone else's sailboat yet? Did you feel the urge to give them any sailing advice?


We have not gone sailing, and truthfully, haven't really been tempted. We miss Mico and sailing in a tropical climate, but we just finished up a Seattle winter. That means cold and rainy conditions. Yick. We did step onto a boat while at the dock, just for a few minutes. We only gave advice if asked, which wasn't much. They're experienced sailors and have been cruising in areas we haven't, so we both had things to contribute to each other.

Q: What's the master plan, at this point? (Meaning: based on your estimated earning/spending rate – and no, I'm not asking for actual financial details, which would be all the way rude -- how long will it take to get back afloat?)


A: As always, any master plan is only in effect until the next idea is presented. We have a few different options in the mix, although we pretty much agree that after we get back to Fiji we'll cruise Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and possibly Papua New Guinea from June to October (2006), and then make our way to Australia. Once in Australia, we'll probably explore it by land and figure out a way to work again. That would be roughly November – April (2007). At that point, we head southwest across the Indian Ocean to South Africa, or northwest up through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. There are pros and cons to each option, and our decision will be based on a huge range of criteria. Or, it could just be one thing. Pirates are currently my one gi-normous objection to the Red Sea.

Q: Knowing what you know now, what are you going to bring along when you go back?


A: We could have made it without stocking up on a bunch of stuff, but here's a sample list of stuff we're bringing back with us: new mainsail, new asymmetrical spinnaker, spare batteries for camera, laptop and iPod, new auto-tiller, spare laptop, portable stair stepper and resistance bands for exercise, AIS receiver, leave-in conditioner, Kraft grated parmesan cheese, good books.

Q: Is work OK? Everyone I know who has taken time off work for more leisurely pursuits has found 40-hour weeks to be exhausting at first, but it doesn't take long to get back in harness, which I guess is good.


A: I don't think either of us found our work too exhausting. I think my biggest challenge was focusing on an intellectual task for long periods of time. My attention span needed to calm down with all the stimuli floating around.

Q: Did you have any culture shock kinds of experiences? All lost in the supermarket?


A: I can no longer shop happily.


Actually, I really like our supermarkets. You can't knock the produce or the variety. One shock we both commented on was how weird it feels to be in a car at high speeds on the freeway. It also took us a while to adjust to normal temperatures. We were both really cold in our friends' homes if the temperature was lower than about 72 degrees F.


Santa Maria, California
November 20, 2005

(Steph) We're back! We arrived in LA on Thursday afternoon, and were met by my parents. While some things about home are a bit hard to adjust to, we have had fun reuniting with a lot of family and friends.

I managed to line up a job in Seattle at the last minute, so at least we'll use our time in Seattle productively (i.e., make some money so we can get back out there!).

This may mark a hiatus from Mico Verde updates for now; we're not sure how exciting our logs about apartment hunting or commuting will be. We'll try to be in touch throughout our time in Seattle, and will definitely alert everyone when we head back to Fiji. We should come out of our hibernation hole in May or June.

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SV Mico Verde