Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is there earthquake Insurance for our boat..... What???

Well,  we had a very eventful morning on Sunday 8/24 at 3:20am.  Usually with a boat you don't need to worry about an earthquake because you just ride the waves.... unless of course you are up on the hard and out of water on the steel lift.  It just so happens to be our luck....  Chris and I had just completed painting the bottom of the boat, putting in the sail drive repair kits and were just waiting for the new propellers to arrive from Denmark.   We were going to  install them on Monday and put the boat back in the water.  We have been sleeping on the boat that weekend because we are still trying to get organized and taking inventory.

The earthquake was centered a 1 mile away from us.  It was a 6.0 and very shallow... With the boat being up on the lift I felt like a popcorn kernel in a hot pot.  I have never been so scared in my life... at first for our safety but then OMG... the boat... what damage is happening.  I thought that we were going to slide off the lift sideways and crash onto the cement...

The boat is just resting on the 2 center steel beams that sit on railroad tracks. The boat is then brought out of the water by a tractor with a big winch, so it pulls the boat up and out of the water... When the earthquake hit it felt like we were going to rock off of the supports and fall onto the cement.  I thought our trip was over and we would lose it all.  It seemed like there was 10 minutes of violent shaking, I was practically climbing into chris' skin, I was holding on so tight.  Then it was quiet.... and Chris says, "we are in the water!"  .... WHAT?!!!  I had no idea we had broken free on the lift and ran back into the water.  Well, with out props and no anchor on board there was no way for us to direct our drift in the river or stop us.  We had taken the anchor off because we were replacing the chain...  We scrambled out to the deck and I have to tell you, by the time I had grabbed one dock line, Chris has methodically turned on the deck lights gotten 4 dock lines and was throwing them to the amazing people that had come to help us within a matter of seconds.  I literally looked down to untie a line and then looked up and there were 8 people on the docks helping to pull us back and tie up.  We then went thru the boat to make sure we weren't taking on any water.  We weren't sure if there was any damage to the bottom of the boat from the lift.   We were okay... I think we got very lucky.  There was a power boat out of the water next to us on the other side of the dock and he also slid into the water on the lift... he lives on his boat so he was there as well and he was taking on water quickly.  He didn't have the propeller shaft in so there was just a big hole in the bottom of the boat.  The hole was plugged and then because power was out..  everyone scrambled to help get generators and pumps to pump the water out.  People went and got their trucks to face the docks with their headlights on to give us all light to work in...  and after a few hours he was floating again... it was close he almost sunk on the boat ramp...  the sailing community is so wonderful...   There are quite a few people that live in the marina and several of them came up to me the next morning.   ALL were asking about the kids and if they were okay.  I had no idea that so many people noticed.   It was really endearing having them all ask if they were with us that night and to say they were so worried about them.

There was quite a bit of damage to the yard not just the building, but also other boats that were up out of the water on the hard.

2" cracks ran through the banks of the marina...

This is the front of the cement platform that our boat sat on

Here is what the lift looks like under the boat and after in the water...

We are all good... the boat was hauled out yesterday and the new props put on... and it seems we literally came away from this with a couple of scratches.  We were very lucky that the boat slid back into the water.  When the lift hits the water it slows down and then keeps going until the boat was floating and set free.  It seems it was a perfect straight launching back and the only scraps were from the scaffolding I had left up from painting the boat.  I never thought I should put this away incase an earthquake hits.... HMMM maybe we should add new mandatory drill for the boat... earthquake drill.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Can of Worms or More Learning Opportunities

I just want to say that there have been a lot of learning opportunities in the last few days... I can see why they say that sailing will always keep you on your toes and your mind active.  You are always learning something new.  Yesterday my focus was on Props and Sail Drives.  Our boat is being hauled out for repair, with Chris and Tristan out on the 50 mile hike, it is up to me to try and make some decisions on what to do with some of the repairs that are in question.  Thanks to Pete, one of the previous owners of the boat, and my new best friend, I have been on the phone with him a few times a day trying to decipher the mechanics of the under side of the boat and what our options are in terms of either buying new props, or repairing our old props that are really expensive but make the boat go really fast :@)..... Also asking him questions about Mexico cruising permits and homeland security.... Maybe I will just wait for Chris :@)

Then today... I get a wonderful email from Gayle and Pete about registering our EPRIBs and an MMSI Number... what ever that is :@) I now know... but it opened up a whole new set of items for my TO DO list... I now need a station license for our boat.. it is mandatory for international travel if you are using a VHF and/or Single Side Band radio, not only that but the VHF may only be able to be programed once with a MMSI number so I will have to ship it back to the manufacturer in order to be programmed correctly with our new International MMSI number... This is a number that the Coast Guard, and in other countries their equivalent, use in order to track our location for a distress signal.  This is rather important to us so it has now become my priority.  I was also told that it may take longer than the time we have and so we may just need to purchase a new VHF... Boats :@( you always seem to just throw money away... PETE... thanks for the advice on resale on EBAY. I will definitely make an account to sell parts and pieces...

I also discovered Thru Mr. Kim, our escrow agent in Seattle, that we need to put a rush on our US Coast Guard Documentation because they usually take 6 months to process.  We need this little document in order to leave the country... and get into Mexico.. UGH.. but don't worry he tells me, he will get it processed in time... oh and by the way because we changed the name of the boat we may need to update our Mexico Cruising Permit... I wonder how much of a hassle that will be... if at all.  In all these discussions I also learned that we need to get a Mexican Fishing License... It is only available in San Diego and you have to have it BEFORE you enter Mexico if you have ANY fishing gear on board... this includes a stick with a lure.  If not there are very severe consequences that you don't really want to have done to you...  So THANK YOU to my Dad and Kristi for going to the Mexican Fishing License Office and trying to get one for our boat.   If they can get this for us it saves me a trip to SD or postage and the hopes that we get the license back in time for departure.

I have also been working on putting together our Medical Kit for our trip.  I am working closely with a few medical professionals for advice and help in getting all of our prescriptions collected along with the medical bag.  There are several sites that offer a recommended list of items that you have to have on board... of course everyone feels differently about these and me with my Paranoia and 5 kids I WANT IT ALL>>>>>  I have started my wound management bag... with the Tzortzis Grace, we will all need lots of bandaids aboard!

I am just amazed at all the people that I have run into in this sailing community... So far they have been so incredibly helpful and wonderful to work with.  They are so patient in helping me to understand things from cruising permits, required documentation, anodes, props and sail drives... oh my!  

I am also grateful for not only all of the advice I am given but also for everyone that is helping so much with all the little things to get us off the dock.  I want to thank Katia for her bottomless coffee pot and a quiet place for me to go and regather in the midst of the chaos at our old house before we moved out.  It was also a place the kids would go to escape the mess and reality of us leaving our home... Mallory for all of your help in getting us out the door.  Thank you for helping me pack and scramble to finally drive away... It was such a mess with the last minute stuff and trying to decipher between the garbage or packing... God what a mess.  Also, thank you for opening your home to Mykaela for a place to stay while we are away.   You guys are the best.  

I can say that it takes a village... but it is broader than that. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just a simple THANK YOU

Please bare with me... I am in a transition stage of reflecting, sadness, anxiety.... but also excitement, happiness, wonder and anxiousness.  I said yesterday that the hardest part of this whole process was leaving the hood... I would like to modify that to say that today was probably the hardest for me.  I had to leave my dog of 15 years with a wonderful family up here in shasta.  I know I won't see her again because she won't make it till we get back.  It is so hard to leave a family member behind.. which she truly is.  It just breaks my heart.  I know that all you dog lovers will understand the depth of this and others won't... but it was really difficult and I am ridden with guilt and missing her.  I wanted to give a big hug and Thank you to the wonderful couple that runs Shasta Cove Dogs. Thank you for their wonderful spirit and immense love they give to their dogs AND for taking in our 2 dogs for the duration of our trip.  If there is anyone better to leave them with, I think it would be very difficult to find.  This couple runs a rescue foundation for dogs with disabilities.  They are amazing in their generosity and love they give these pups in need.  They make their home the dogs home in such a way that the dogs know they are truly loved and know it instantly.

Knowing that my babes are in Doggy Disneyland truly makes it more comforting to leave them.  They have been so wonderful updating us with pictures of how happy they are, all of the kids really look forward to the pictures and seeing the dogs in action.  It really helps the kids to know they are in such a wonderful spot.

Please check out their website and if you feel you can help them in their mission to help dogs that aren't able to find care because of their disabilities, it would be truly appreciated.  They would never in a million years have asked me to put this on my site, so I hope that it is okay.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

No looking back...

So far I feel that this is the hardest part of the trip.  We finally emptied the house Friday morning, packed up the suburban and headed out of town.  Looking in the review mirror with tears in my eyes remembering all the closeness of the neighborhood and the community that we will be missing while away.  I know we are fortunate to be able to take this time and do this trip, I know that we will be returning to our house the community in 2 years but it doesn't make this any easier for me.  I have always moved around ... A LOT.... and I have never felt a sense of home like I have in Lafayette.  I never thought that I would become rooted anywhere, but as I was leaving I realized I have.

I know that there are some that believe we are really making a bad and risky decision in removing our children from their home, education and what not... I want to thank all of you (my friends) who have asked all the questions and truly understood the amount of time Chris and I have spent in planning this adventure.  We are not just making an irrational, mid life crisis leap to get out of town and try something new.  We really believe that what we are about to take on will bring our family closer than we ever have, open the kids eyes to other cultures, and give them a sense of accomplishment and responsibility that they would never have gotten at home.  We are trying to show the kids that if you have a dream, with hard work and sacrifice you can make it come true.  Chris has always dreamed of  circumnavigating since he was in the sea scouts and truly fell in love with sailing.  We have been planning this trip for 10 years and seriously planning for the last 7... This is one of the biggest undertakings in terms of planning that I have ever gone thru... but hopefully will be the most rewarding.

This last week has been the most exhausting in terms of deadlines that we needed to meet.  We were suppose to officially buy the boat the week before last but one of the owners friends is a rigger and he had discovered some issues with the mast and rigging.  He advised us not to go offshore to purchase the boat.  We then had to scramble to get the mast taken down and repaired in the time frame that we had in order to purchase the boat before Chris leaves with Tristan on his 50 mile boy scout hike in Kings Canyon.   We had a week and a half to fix the mast, buy the boat and to move out of the house.  We always underestimate the time it takes to actually accomplish to projects we undertake.  The Tzortzis way is to take on as much as possible, give ourselves the shortest amount of time to accomplish it and then make sure that a bunch of stuff comes up to give us opportunities to problem solve.  This is of course good practice for us for the next few years.

My sister piper and her husband Josh came down and were a god send in helping us prep the house and move all the furniture.. Without them I don't know what we would have done.  Chris had to be at the boat prepping the mast and working on the boat while we had to pack up the U-haul and move all the furniture out of the house Friday and Saturday night.  Then OH THEM MESS that was left.  I can't believe after 6 months of Goodwill trips and dump runs we still had so much junk.... Packing the last of the house this week really sent the kids for a tail spin and again emotions have been running wild.  There were many late nights and trips to Oma's storage garage in the city, then dump runs and more Goodwill runs... It just seemed never ending...

The light at the end of the tunnel... we were able to get the mast up on Wednesday and take her offshore on thursday to officially purchase the boat.  YAY!  I can't tell you how good that feels to actually have a boat to go on this adventure with.  I know many of you have been asking for pictures but we were always afraid to jinx the process by counting our eggs to soon.  So in with said I will put some in now.

The boat we decided on is a Lagoon 470.  There are only 50ish of these made.  It is between a performance cat and a charter cat.  When Chris and I first saw the boat in Costa Rica we really felt she was perfect for our family.  Her layout is unique in the fact that she has 4 staterooms (one with a king bed) and 3 bathrooms.  She has been actively blue water cruised for the last two years.  It is a perfect senerio for us.  As with any boat, prior to leaving for blue water we will need make sure that everything is checked out and in excellent working condition..... and then you bring all the spares parts you can possibly bring.

Friday morning was a mad scramble to get all of the remaining crud out of the house or stored so that it is free and clear for the painters, new carpets and cleaners to come in and get the house ready for the new family, the Kricks.  We are now in Shasta at Oma's house while Chris and Tristan are hiking in this horrible heat south of Yosemite... When they return we will be living in the city and finally focusing on the boat to get her ready ocean ready for us.  The list is so long that I can't even begin to think of how much we need to do prior to leaving... so I am just going to relax and recover for a week up here in the fresh mountain air, go for nature walks, spend time reading with the kids, and swimming in the lake.  I may tackle inventorying our medical bag for the boat, making a shopping list for the items that we need to purchase for the boat and ordering the homeschooling supplies for the kids... I know it will sneak up on me and I want to be prepared for their first day of school.