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Mico Verde

Q: How do you sail at night?

Warren: How do porcupines make love? Very carefully.

Stephanie: We keep three-hour watches. When my watch ends, I wake Warren up and get to sleep for three hours. We'll wake up the off-watch when we need to put in a reef or change a headsail. When I'm on watch, I usually listen to music on my iPod. I've recently started playing solitaire on the iPod as well, but I think it is making me go blind, so I'm trying to curb the addiction.


Q: What do you eat if you don't have refrigeration?

Warren: Stephanie is an incredible cook who works miracles two shows nightly.

Stephanie: When we don't have access to fresh provisions or haven't caught a fish, we eat a lot of canned food. For protein sources, we have canned beans, seafood, and meats (usually in some kind of sauce, like mole or curry). I also have a method for preserving cheese in oil, like cheddar and mozzarella (which is kind of a pain and has been met with limited success, so I've started scaling back to only buying cheese when we'll use it within a week or so). Our last big provisioning stop was Mexico, and Mexicans don't eat a lot of canned veggies, so it was quite the challenge to procure a decent assortment of vegetables. But I managed to find canned spinach, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, poblano peppers, artichoke hearts and green beans. We eat lots of pasta and rice, too.

Some favorite recipes are seafood risotto, pasta treated with various veggies and sauces, mexican-style dishes using rice, beans, and salsa, and curries with rice.

We also find that in these warmer climates, we're not often in the mood for hearty, hot meals. We go through a lot of crackers with various accompaniments, like cheese, peanut butter, and smoked seafood. Nuts are very popular, as are olives and pickles. A lot of the canned vegetables I mentioned above are eaten cold, with a vinaigrette or improvised dressing.


Q: How much does cruising cost?

Warren: Whatever you have plus 10%. I think this is the single biggest reason to not wait for "better" financial times to go cruising. In the end you might start out with more money but you'll just find new and exciting ways of spending it faster, before and during the cruise.

Stephanie: Pretty much ditto on Warren's response. We know people in Seattle that are working for five more years before their cruise, or who had to sell their boat and give up the dream when their stock investments went in the toilet. Sure, if we had worked for five more years, we'd have more money (assuming that life plans cooperated), but then we wouldn't be out here now. Our stock investments went in the toilet, too (didn't everybody's the past few years?), but we realized that even if we cruised for less time than we originally "planned," we would still get out there. And figure out something to do about the diminished kitty when the time came.

Also, it has been heartening talking with other cruisers out there. Most cruisers we've met have at least 20 years on us, if not 30. Many people in that age group have told us they wished they had done it our way, and cruised when they were younger. Many of them have very nice boats with all the amenities, but their #1 regret is that they had to wait until they were 55 to get out here.


Q: What about nasty storms? How do you deal with them?

Warren: We're still being tested all the time whenever we get into a blow and each time we learn something new. The best advice I was ever given is to learn how to heave-to and never try to run before anything. You also need to have ultimate confidence in your rig. The next time you're headed back to the marina for a cold one in 20 knots of wind, wait 'til it builds to 25 or 30 and practice, practice, practice. You need a decent amount of wind to actually get a feel for how the boat will handle in more wind.

Stephanie: I don't feel like we've really run into a "storm" yet. We've had a few episodes of some nasty wind, and some sorta big seas, but I've never felt in danger. I guess that's a testament to our boat and to my captain. :-)


Q: How much beer can Warren drink in one night?

Warren: Excellent question! Meet me in New Zealand Oz and find out.

Stephanie: Please don't.


Q: How are you paying for the cruise?

Stephanie: While we were working, we saved up a lot of money by just saving paychecks. When we moved out of our apartment and lived on our Cal 25, we saved a big chunk of change. I also contributed to a stock purchase plan through my company, which allowed me to buy stock at a reduced rate. And I had a little left over from my college tuition mutual fund. So all that added up to something, although not much -- and even less, now that the stock price of my former  company is low. Let's just say I wouldn't be livin' large if I was trying to get by in the U.S. Warren had stock in his company as well, and we managed to take advantage of some of it, before it all went kaput in the stock market.


Q: How long are you planning on cruising?

Warren: At least through next week. Beyond that who can say?


Q: Is Keegan from R Factor REALLY a better diver than Warren?

Warren: I must admit that, yes indeed, it's true. I still have buoyancy issues.


Q: What's your downwind sail plan?

Warren: What's a "sail plan?" This is the kind of annoying question one always gets asked when in the Puerto Vallarta downtown marina by other "cruisers" who've been in Mexico five years running. The next question usually goes something like: "...this is your first cruising season and you think you're ready to sail to the Marquesas?"


Q: Can you send me a copy of your five-year itinerary?

Warren: In five years I plan to be living on Mars in a biosphere with my ten kids.

Stephanie: In five years I plan to be the pirate queen ("El Jefa") of a 120' luxury schooner composed of an all 20 year old Cuban boy crew.


Q: I hear that cruising isn't all margaritas and senoritas 24/7. Is it actually a lot of hard work out there?

Warren: There are good days and bad days. Luckily the good days are REALLY good, but the bad days tend to be REALLY bad as well. Stay ahead of your maintenance schedule and prioritize tasks.

Stephanie: I wish that we stayed ahead of our maintenance schedule. Actually, we are much better than we used to be. We are slowly learning that upon arrival in a new port, it is worth the struggle of first getting the boat ready to leave again. Going to shore to buy fresh food, having a meal out and a cold beer, and sight-seeing are very tempting, but when it gets time to leave again, we are always annoyed with ourselves that we still have a long project list to finish before we can weigh anchor. And if you must leave, due to weather or some other circumstance, it's never good if you have to leave unprepared.


Q: What are your highest maintenance items onboard?

Warren: The engine and anything with a piece of silicon attached to it in any way.


Q: Is there anything you wish you had onboard but don't at the moment?

Warren: We used to poo-poo them all the time but I'd really like to have a little 1.5 GPM 12v watermaker. It would mean that we could stay in drier areas for much longer and not have to work quite so hard to catch water during squalls. A 60' waterline would be nice too but I can't find one in the West Marine catalogue.

Stephanie: Refrigerator, despite all the power and maintenance issues. Roller furling to manage the headsails (now we have a million headsails and are forever groaning when it's time to go up to the precarious bowsprit and change a headsail). Lazy jacks to help us reef more efficiently.


Q: How much power do I need to generate on a daily basis to cruise "comfortably?"

Warren: It definitely depends on your lifestyle out here. My friends Bruce and Linda struggle to make it on over 300 amps a day but we do pretty well on 30.


Q: What's been your favorite destination so far?

Warren: This is a hard one since a lot of our "bests" have to do with the people we met there. Seriously, just getting out in the world and restoring your faith in humanity is reason enough to drop everything and cruise for a year or two. Suwarrow was an incredible experience for us both but I also feel nostalgic about Crescent City since it was the end of our first major passage on Mico.






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