There is an old saying “The two happiest days in a sailors life are the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it”. This is us on that first happiest day.
Yesterday, we enjoyed that ‘second happiest day’ as escrow closed on the sale of Aquila. We’ve had a couple of false starts on the sale these past couple of years, so we didn’t want to jinx anything by announcing it early. But it’s official so we can celebrate now!
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to include in this post. The more I thought about it, the longer it got. You have been forewarned! In fact, it’s taken me all day to whittle down our 7+ years aboard into one post.
First, I’ll share a couple of pics of Aquila sitting comfortably at anchor.
Were all of our days full of rainbows, dolphins, and beautiful sunsets?
Many days treated us to fair winds. Our first solo sail was from Ensenada, Mexico to Oakland, California when Aquila was brand new. She was on display at the Oakland Boat Show representing Hylas49 Offshore Yachts.
Sometimes things got a bit more exciting.
Following are a few pictures of clouds you DO NOT want to see ahead!
As full-time live-aboard cruisers, we did much of our own maintenance on board.
The most vivid and wonderful memories of our sailing years are of visits from family and friends, as well as all the new friendships created in our life afloat. The following is a snippet of those memories. For unknown reasons, hundreds of my pictures were not on my backup disc (I hope they are back home in storage), so I apologize to all those friends not pictured here. We love you all!
First up is family (of course). The kids and grandkids sailed with us and vacationed with us in Channel Islands and Catalina in California; Ensenada and Zihuatenejo in Mexico; San Blas Islands and Bocas del Toro in Panama; St. Martin, St. Bart, and Antigua in the Caribbean; the Exumas in the Bahamas; Key West in Florida; and all along the French Rivera in France including Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco and Villefranche.
My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola from Texas vacationed with us three times. First in Italy on the Italian Riviera, then Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and they also joined us in the Bahamas. We enjoyed their visits so much! Always impressed with their ability to go with the flow and their can-do attitude. I was truly nervous before their first visit, which was Italy, because I didn’t want them to hate it. Turns out they loved it! Even after a rogue wave threw Nola across the cockpit and dislocated her thumb when she hit the floor. And Valarie discovered that she gets a little motion sick. They still came back for more! Love you guys!
Our Hylas family is made up of our team of riggers, engineers, crew members, and fellow Hylas yacht owners. All of these folks were invaluable to us and became lifelong friends. Thank you all so much for your guidance, assistance, wisdom and love.
After taking off shore delivery of Aquila in Marina del Rey, California, our first order of business was to get her down to her new home in Ensenada Mexico. Following is a picture of our team. I actually can’t remember if it took us 2 or 3 days to get there, but I do remember that we had a lot of fun and learned so much! My head was swimming with information on all these new systems I needed to learn!
We spent the next 6 months learning to live aboard, learning to sail, learning to dock, learning to anchor. In all of our 7+ years, however, Mike never learned to duck when stepping down into the galley. He hit his head every time. (Sorry, that makes me laugh. I can’t help it.) At the end of 2005, we were ready to hit the high seas. We joined a rally of several hundred boats departing from San Diego for Cabo San Lucas. No turning back now! Crewing with us was fellow Hylas owners Herman and Claudine and boat show friend Kevin. Our friends Darlene and Mark met up with us in Cabo for the partying!
As we cruised for the following year down the coast of Mexico and Costa Rica to Panama, we became a part of a floating community. We formed lasting friendships and our fondest memories are of that first year when it was all so new.
After transiting the Panama Canal, we spent a couple of years cruising in the Caribbean. We enjoyed visits from some of our dearest friends and made some great new friends along the way, too!
Major respect and love goes to Ray Berndt who gets seasick and yet he volunteered to crew for us on our Atlantic Crossing. He split the nightwatch with Mike, so I could sleep every night, and for that I am so grateful! He was terrific companionship for Mike and the two of them could talk and reminisce about on-the-job stories all day long. Or they would play chess. That is, when they weren’t dealing with stormy weather or trying to sew torn sails underway. My folder with pics from the entire Atlantic Crossing and all of our first year in the Mediterranean Sea were missing from my backup drive. So I plucked this one of Ray from my website. We met up with Mike Mak and Marquise Hawley of catamaran Aqua in Gibraltar and kicked off our Mediterranean adventures!
Good friends Ray Torres and Mike McBride flew over to vacation with us on Aquila in the Balearic Islands where we met up with our buds Larry and Mary Ivins. Our little group began the search for the perfect champagne sangria on the beautiful (and wild) island of Mallorca. Other great friends that we met along the way include Dan and Denise on s/v Canace, Spencer and Nana on s/v Adverse Conditions, Shirley and John on s/v Solstice, Terry and Deb on s/v Wings, the McGee family on m/v Tesla, Jim on s/v Orinoco, Robert on s/v Silver Harmony, and Mark and Kimberly on s/v Swanya. We had good times!
And now I’ll share a sampling of our sailing destinations. We had a wonderful experience during our life aboard Aquila and treasure all the memories. It was very difficult to cull my thousands of photos down to just these few. So if you are still here with me … this set of pics is the last of this post.
It’s the end of an era for us. Cheers to new adventures!