Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This may or may not be the type of mozzie that carries it but aren't they all bad!

Or Chicken G or Chick G or as we call it aboard s/v Honey Ryder, Chicken Chimichanga.  While the rest of the world is talking about Ebola, the cruisers and locals here are all talking and whispering about Chick G.  *I don't know why but wherever something is bad, people lower their voices to a near whisper to talk about it.  While chicken G is not fatal, it is some nasty stuff.  Early symptoms are like the flu with high fever and aches but the severe joint and muscle pain that lasts for a longtime along with bad headaches is the stuff people whisper about.
Here are the full details if you are interested.  Chikungunya (CDC) and here (WHO). 

Mosquitoes are to blame.  Bastards!  Some places spray against them but most islands simply can't afford to spray.  Plus there are just so many places in these islands that are ideal for mozzies.  
There isn't a cure and the only prevention is to not get bitten.  Yeah right.  We are trying our best.  We have mozzie spray including some with 25% deet but it feels so nasty on your skin and inevitably I end up getting it in my mouth some how.  Yes, I know...that is bad too.  Plus I am fully convinced deet melts fiberglass.  Completely covering up is an option if you don't mind heat stroking. I have the coils to burn while in the cockpit and even in the boat but these must be monitored very closely as we don't want to scorch the fiberglass or worst yet, fire.  Not all coils are made the same.  Some smell ok while others are more like a campfire.  Additionally it's smoke and that leaves a soot like coating on things like fans and such.  I also have some natural stuff I have been testing out.   It seems to work somewhat but the affect wears off pretty quickly.   It has citronella, peppermint and other things. I like it but Tom hates the smell.  It's super strong.  He says he feels like he is sleeping with a big can of Pledge furniture polish.  On the positive side, it leaves my skins soft.  We have all the cockpit enclosure screens up - including the new one I made for the front windshield of the dodger.  However no enclosure it 100% in terms of shutting out mossies because of all the ins and outs of the cockpit, dodger, bimini, and arch.  We have all our screens in place on our portlights and the Zarcor doors are up with screens in but we still get mozzies below as we come and go the 100+ times a day from inside the boat out into the cockpit and beyond.  

Even with all this, they are finding ways to bite us, especially me.  They really like me.  The other day I got a bite 2 seconds after I got out of the shower.  Oh yeah, there is nothing like taking a cool shower to wash off the day's sweat and stink only to immediately cover yourself in deet.  Ugh!  Get this,  I got a bite over the weekend on my upper, inner thigh as I was pulling up my shorts after a quick pee!  I know, TMI but I am sharing to give you an idea of what I have been up against.  Little Bastards! They don't fight fair.  And please don't email me with mozzie bite prevention and fixes.  I know you all mean well but I just don't have the strength.  I have tried most of them and still get bites.  

And what good are mosquitoes?  It seems to me they only spread disease, pain and death.  I wish Bobby the Bat that lives outside our KC house was here to feast on these vicious suckers.    

Update - After writing this over the weekend I actually came down the chick chimichanga on Monday evening.  Looking back, I might have had some symptoms as early as this past weekend and just didn't realize it.  Sometimes it's hard to distinguish boat bite aches and pains from regular aches and pains from something is seriously wrong aches and pains.  By dinner time Monday night I knew.  Let me tell you Chicken G is some nasty stuff.  Over night I thought I was going to die and by early morning I was hoping I would.  This is the worst stuff I have experienced.  Horrific pain everywhere.  Any slight move causes pain.  I feel as though my body has been thrown down a flight of stairs.  My feet, ankles, hands and wrists are especially painful.  My feet feel like I have walked 20 miles in shoes 2 sizes too small.  I can't straighten my fingers completely.  Instead I look like one of those Lego people whose hands are the constant shape of a C.  Smirk - I feel too yucky for a full ha ha.
On a positive note, our dock neighbors that have been holed up for a week in their boat with chick g finally emerged yesterday and even ran an errand, so there is hope.  And to date Tom has escaped.  Knock on wood - ouch.  Why would they bite him when I am right here!  Crooked fingers crossed it stays that way.  Smirk.

Update Day Three - I am feeling slightly better.  I no longer have C's for hands but my fingers still aren't 100% straight and it hurts to use them for any sort of lifting, carrying, opening, pulling, pushing.....much of anything.  I still have aches and pains everywhere but much less.  That first night was such a dozy.  This morning I have developed a rash on my arms that is itchy.  More fun.  

Rumor has it that once you get chick G, you can't get it again.  The CDC website says specifically -
  • Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
 I would love something that says 100% vs likely but that just isn't the way things work with nasty viruses.  

A fellow cruiser and also doctor has been advising me so that is helpful.  

One a positive note, I am hoping to use this down time to catch up on blog postings.  However typing is slow going with tender, crooked fingers and the internet connection is of course super slow.  Ten mins to upload one picture!  But then again, what do I have to do but watch a spinning ball indicator?  Ugh!  I am going back to bed!  

Cruisers Jam Session - Trinidad

Tom on the bongos
Every Monday night at Coral Cove (our marina) the grill is lite (that is barbie for you Auzzies) and cruisers from all over the area show up with whatever they want to grill.  They also arrive with any and all musical instruments and an open jam session takes shape.  Every week is unique as different people show up with different instruments.  Those without instruments can sing along or simply sit back and enjoy.  S/v Cape has a very musical crew and come prepared with not only instruments but songs and song notebooks which is very helpful.  Last week there was an acoustic guitar, two electric guitars (with amp/speaker combos), banjo, harmonic, maracas, flute, and a recorder.  Tom took his bongos and finger shaker last week.  This was a welcome addition as I don think they often get a drummer or percussion.  I dashed back to the boat for our viberslap.  It was a huge hit as most had never seen one.  What?  You aren't familiar with the viberslap either?  Well ok.  Let's take a minute to introduce you to it.
Viberslap - 

Check out the Wikipedia Viperslap if you want the details.  Listen to ANY Cake song and you will hear plenty of viberslap.  There are some famous viberslap songs - "Sweet Emotion" by Aeorsmith, Ozzie Osborn "Crazy Train", and at 2:33 mins into Elton John's song Captain Fantastic there is a clear, solid viberslap that was my first ever!  Best of all, the sound of the viberslap just makes you smile.  Check it out here Viberslap sound for a sample, although it's not the best sample.  You are better off checking out the above songs for a sample.
John off m/v Banjo and Sarah and Bethany off s/v Cape
Anyway, the weekly jam is a chance to relax after a day of boat projects, interactive with fellow cruisers and learn.  An example of learning -John off s/v Rhumbus and Bren off s/v Cape played a Rodriguez song last week.  That is world famous American singer song writer Rodriguez from the late 1960's that no American has ever hear of.  See documentary  "Finding the Sugarman" if you are interested.  All types of music is shared at these jam sessions.  Sea shanties, folk songs, oldies, current tunes and even newly released songs as the crew of s/v Cape shared their version of "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons.
It's all good fun.
Bren off s/v Cape on electric guitar, Tom on bongos and Sean on acoustic guitar

Back Home

We are back in Trinidad and more importantly back home on s/v Honey Ryder.  It's so good to be home again.

What I Did On My Summer Break

By Sabrina - in no particular order

Took an inside shower every day
Wore makeup that involved more than mascara - and yes I was out of practice!
Painted my nails and toenails for the first time in 17 months
Used a hair dryer
Used a straight iron
Cooked a meal using more than one pan
Grilled out
Cooked meals without the use of a pressure cooker - brown rice takes forever without a PC
Ate quinoa - our supply on the boat ran out in May
Ate more than one bag of tortilla chips - NO, not in one sitting!  Sheesh!
Drove a car
Drove 5300 miles total in 3 months in our Murano
Drove fast
Hung out with friends
Sailed on a lake 
Taught sailing lessons
Talked on a cell phone daily
Text daily
Wore long pants
Wore a coat
Washed regular clothes in a regular washing machine on a regular basis with warm or hot water
Visited the cities of:  Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan KS, Garden City, Washington DC, Wichita 
Visited:  The Flint Hills Discovery Center, American Jazz Museum, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, The National Builder Museum, Navy Memorial and Museum, National Archives, National Sculpture Park, Nelson Atkins Art Museum, The Kemper Contemporary Art Museum
Monuments - Washington, WWI, Vietnam, Korean, Lincoln, MLK, Women of War, Roosevelt and Jefferson.
Watched TV news
Watched PBS
Watched regular stupid TV
Swam in backyard pools belonging to friends - thanks!
Attended:  a Naturalization Ceremony, a county fair,  Plaza Art Fair, our first ever concert at the world class Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - Modern Rock The Music of Reich, Ligeti and Zappa, the Big Picnic (on the lawn at the Nelson Atkins Art Museum)
Hung out in Loose Park
Toured Boulevard Brewery
Went to a movie theater to see movies
Took a guided tour of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Went to the funeral and memorial of a friend's mother
Watched K-State Football on TV - EMAW!!
Watched Chief's Football on TV - Go Chiefs!
Watch Royal's Baseball POST SEASON (1st time in 29 years for the team) on TV - Let's Go Royals -clap x5!!
Met friends for coffee mid morning in the middle of the week
Hugged and hugged and hugged family and friends

*Tom got to help Keebon bring a new calf back from Wheaton KS, raising the total calf count to 3 at the ole Haefner ranch.  Quite an experience for the city boy Tom! 
Mother and daughter

Dad with the downtown banner he painted - 4 sale if anyone is interested

The Big Picnic on the lawn at the Nelson Atkins Art Museum

Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan KS
Flint Hills - so pretty
Tom and nephew Graham in DC
Boulevard Brewery in KC
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - World Class!
Inside the Kauffman Center - a MUST see!
Inside the Kauffman Center - a MUST attend something here!
Sailing on Lake Perry - Thanks Bill & Tim/Kim & Ben
Cruising Lake Perry 
Boomerangs in Loose Park
County fair stuff

Sunday, October 26, 2014


We frequently get asked how two people our age are able to afford to quit our careers, move aboard a boat and go cruising now.  (I think they are referring to us as young'ish compared to some other cruisers, at least that is what I am choosing to believe so don't crush that illusion.)  There are many ways to make this happen.  Today we will focus on one alternative to leading a "normal life".

We don't have any children.  We made this conscious choice prior to getting married.  I don't want to discuss all the social, political, world, mental, blah, blah, blah reasons whys here.  Instead I want to discuss what the financial outcome of this decision can mean.  When I answer the above questions by stating "First of all, we don't have kids."  generally the person asking will say....."Ah, well there you go."  But let's look a little closer at the actual numbers.  Christopher Doering lays the ground work with the numbers in an article that appeared in USA Today  on August 18, 2014, interesting stuff so be sure to check it out.
Then Matt Krantz wrote an article about the potential TRUE cost of raising a kid.  He focused not on the actual costs but instead of what that amount of money could be if instead it was invested.  Read the full article here USA Today.  He uses $245,340 as the 18 year average cost of raising a child - food, shelter, expenses.  Yes, it could cost more or less but let's just go with this average for the purpose of this discussion.  Below are three scenarios he presents of what could happen if you invested that money instead of having a kid.
10.4% rate of return $245,340 would be $1.45 million in 18 years.
7.2% rate of return $245,340 would be $857,580 in 18 years.
"But Sabrina, who has $245,340 to invest at one time?" Good questions so Matt breaks it down by year
10.4% rate of return $245,340 with 1/18 invested each year ($13,630) would be $646,810 after 18 years.
Yes, these are generalities with a lot of averages and assumptions but it gives us a starting point for looking at what a different path might mean financially.

"I love my children.  They are priceless and I wouldn't trade them for any amount of money!" said by any one of a million plus parents out there.    "Good, great, wonderful" says me.  Our community and world needs good parents and families.  Yay to you!  I do not want this blog posting to turn into the tired fight of parents vs childless.  I am just putting some numbers to what an "alternative" child free life can mean financially.  That is all.

Next Phase

The pie of life?  Hum? Bahahahaha

While back stateside visiting, we got a lot of questions.  Some are standard such as "What is your favorite island so far?"  "Do you ever get scared?"  "How is the boat working out?" 

Others ask much deeper questions.  These get more to lifestyle, way of living, a path/plan towards a different life that to us means freedom, exploration, and growth.  You would think these questions are coming from wannabe cruisers and they are.  But a pleasant surprise to us has been the number of non-sailing friends and acquaintances that are asking these deeper questions.  At least five different couples have told us how they have been re-examining their life, path/planning, and thinking about what I like to call the next phase of life.  They aren't suddenly planning on learning to sail and setting off over the horizon.  However, they are now thinking outside the "normal" box.  Big questions like "How much is enough?"  "Can I live with less stuff?"  "And if so, what does that mean for my future?" "What am I going to do with the next phase of my/our life?"  "What if we chose to NOT have kids?  What if it was just the two of us and we went traveling sooner rather than later?" "What does it really feel like to be debt free and how does that change things?"  These are BIG questions.  Just thinking about them should mean something to these people and I congratulate them.

I tend to look at life in phases.  For a few years now I have been asking friends "What are you going to do in your next phase of life?"  Often they respond with "What do you mean next phase?  You mean like retirement?"  I mean the next phase of life.  Perhaps this is once the kids are out of the house. Or your next career or after your major career is over - the job/career you really wanted.  Or finally taking that volunteer job you have always wanted.  Or true retirement.  For my younger friends, perhaps it's whether you are going to get a "real job", or get married, or have kids.  And so on and so forth.  The next phase of your life....whatever that might mean to you.  Men seem to be especially bad at answering this question.  I think it's because so many men identify themselves primarily in terms of their careers.  "If I am not the head of my own company or that sales executive or engineer, CPA, (or whatever), then who will I be?"

I think the bulk of us generally plans for money part of retirement.  At least I hope so!  Or maybe worry is a better word.  Ha - although it's not really funny.  Many of us knew long ago that pensions were a thing of the past and not in our future - ever!  Money of course is a big part of life and thus a focus.  That is just a fact of life.  This is true of retirement planning.  The numbers can be scary.  However I am finding that very few people actually plan for retirement beyond the money.  I am talking about what will you actually DO in retirement or the next phase.

So have you starting thinking of your next phase of life?  We certainly don't have all the answers by any means but we are out searching and having a grand adventure while looking for them.   

Things We Have Learned - What do you miss most

This is a common question we have been getting lately as we visit with family and friends after living aboard for over a year and spending eight months in the Caribbean.  Aside from the obvious of family and friends......

1.  Sliced turkey and ham-  Prior to leaving the USA, we ate a lot of sliced deli meat.  It was easy and we like it.  We have seen it in the Caribbean but it's been too expensive.  Jolly Harbor was the only place where the price was reasonable so we gorged ourselves.  Additionally we miss whole turkey and/or whole turkey breast. We used to have one approx 4 times a year.  No need to wait for Tday.  We would roast or smoke up a turkey breast and eat on it for several meals.  YUM!  *Update - Pricemart warehouse club here in Trinidad has sliced ham reasonably priced.  Woo Hoo!
2.  NPR-  Yes, we could download podcasts but as you all know, we are somewhat internet challenged at times.  When we do get good internet, we are generally focused on other items like weather, banking, finances, etc.... Additionally the connection may not be strong enough to stream or download podcasts.

3.  Ice - Those of you that know me are probably surprised to learn I have been living this past year for the most part without ice.  What?  I know!  I went from habitual ice chewer to near ice abstention.  Shocking!  We have a freezer but it's under our fridge so to access anything means taking  stuff out of the fridge to get to the freezer part.  We are also finding, as we go south, the water is warmer and things against the hull do not remain frozen.  We need more installation.  OR we can just keep less in the freezer and get used to chilled drinks - NO ice!  

Sailing on the Great Plains

s/v Jayhawker on the riverfront in Wichita KS

"You sail in Kansas?"  Boy, if I had a dime for every time I have heard that.
Molly is a colored wig lover like me.  She has an awesome collection!

Most people have heard of the Koch Brothers - Charles and David from Kansas.  Their other brother Bill Koch is not as well known.  However he is known in the sailing world for financing and operating the 1992 America Cubed campaign which was defeated by Il Moro.  In 1995 he tried again with the first all female America's Cup team aboard Might Mary.  Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes edged out the win to advance as the defender ultimately losing the cup to New Zealand.

Connection?  I am not saying the 1992 and 1995 America's Cup were sailed in Kansas.  However a major player in those America's Cup campaigns was from Kansas.  Jayhawker the sailboat used in that 1992 campaign in on display in Wichita KS.  Kewl huh?  FYI - the wind always blows in Kansas thus sailing is good there.