Surfing the Gap

Hunter and Kai play under the Rainbow at Kailua Beach

At the risk of sounding like a New-Age Ninny, I'm gonna admit it…

We've been listening to Deepak Chopra.


Now, normally, neither Jon or myself are inclined to jump on any spiritual/self-help bandwagons…
we usually try and blaze our own paths to self-realization.

The past few years, my pathway to inner bliss was simply waking up everday as we bobbed on our anchor in a secluded cove,  or watching our kids free-dive and hunt for lobsters on the reef,  or sipping a margarita at sunset while having a laugh with Jon and of course, there was always a whole lot of staring at the ocean to bring out my inner Buddha-nature.

Bliss was in no short supply.

Coming back to the "real world", however, brought new challenges to what had become a laid back and simple life, where it didn't matter how much money we weren't making, or the fact that between the four of us, we only owned three pairs of flip-flops (Kai and I were sharing until he outgrew me a year or so  ago)…

Tying up to a dock with running water and power is super-nifty, so is buying fresh produce everyday and having hot showers at the yacht club (where they have kindly given us a "social" membership) and its so wonderful to be able to call our families whenever we want-but these things come at a price.

You gotta have da cash, bruddah.

Man, can that ONE little detail, suddenly snap you back in the world in a way that a WHOLE lot of issues start popping up again. 

Doubts that sat, snoozily dormant in the back of your sun-kissed brain while you filleted your freshly speared grouper for the beach BBQ now came springing to back to life with anxious veracity.

All the highly-tuned, "trust" in the Universe, self-sufficiency, commitment to making Life about loving and exploring… kinda starts seeming a little shaky, and like, maybe, we might have lost our minds out there just a little bit. 

It was time to get phone plans! Re-instate our health care! Deal with insurance companies about the recent mishap in Lahaina! The kids needed check-ups! All our clothes have holes in them and dammit…what kind of crazy people only have three pairs of shoes between four people???!!

We had to do something. We had to make things happen.  Get back in the game and REBUILD!

We had a two year adventure and within four weeks, we were once again stressed, doubting, wondering, worried, sleepless, anxious and seriously broke.

What were we doing wrong?
Could we maintain our happy place AND fit back into the world?

Enter Deepak.

I'd never read any of his books before, but I was familiar with some of his philosophies. We once owned a CD of his, on Transformation, that we used to listen to in our car whenever we were stuck in traffic in LA. It had been a  particularly hard year then, with many close-successes that ultimately had not panned out and both Jon and I were pretty shaken and needed a jolt of positive thinking….the CD was great, it encouraged one to meditate, if only for half a hour a day, to find the space within yourself and enter the mysterious "GAP" as Deepak calls, the realm of "pure potentiality", a place between thought and stillness…where you can let go and allow the universe to "roll in ecstasy at your feet"…

Groovy -sign me up for some of that.

( it's also really, very helpful to listen to it when you are stuck on the 405 freeway at rush hour)

Anyway,  it was only a few months after practicing hanging out in this "gap" that we began divining that maybe we should just cut out of LA for awhile and get on with this Bliss thing in a fresh direction…so, fast forward to 15,000 sea miles and several years of Joy later-we're here in Hawaii and its incredible but I'm starting to freak out a little that we have like less than 4 digits in our bank account.

Around Christmastime, one of Jon's agents forwarded us a link to
"Deepak & Oprah's free online 21 day meditation"...

"Are you kidding me?" Jon said, 
when I showed it to him one night.

"I don't mind, Deepak …" he head waggled in his spot-on imitation,
" but there's no F-ing way I'm meditating with Oprah Winfrey".

Fair enough.
( he doesn't know Oprah like I do :))

" I think its just Oprah talking for a bit  and introducing the ideas to people who might not be into meditation and then Deepak leads the actual practice so that they can expose more people to it and that's a cool thing, right?"...

I went on and on and on and on-
until I badgered Jon into agreeing to do it with me.

For 21 days…

We listened to Oprah introduce Deepak's theme for the day and then we closed our eyes and listened to Deepak lead us into the daily meditation and every day we head some version of…

"Trust, Love, make Life an expression of Joy, follow your passion, offer yourself and your unique talents to the service of the greater good,  be in harmony with your bliss and abundance will flow to you…."

Hang on.
Hit me with that last one, again?

Deepak and Oprah, inarguably, extremely successful people by pretty much any standard you want to measure by, are telling me over and over, that if you totally,  explicitly, utterly, commit, to a path of making your entire life an expression of joy, for the greater good of others…

You can count on abundance flowing to you.

Well, that's pretty much exactly what I needed to hear because that's pretty much exactly what we've been doing out here for the past few years, so… 
maybe I need to just chill and trust it.

So we did.

I swear, as soon as I stopped worrying and really put it out there to "trust" this path of doing what you love, a paying offer came in to write a screenplay, I got a letter in the mail that a dear old aunt had passed and left me a piece of art that has a bit of value, a lump of unexpected residual checks appeared for Jon, our good friend JR came out for a visit and spoiled us rotten and treated us to all kinds of fun we couldn't have afforded right now, and all this while tied to a dock in one of the most gorgeous cities on Earth, where you can surf everyday and are constantly surrounded by Aloha spirit.


It began to dawn on me, that it might actually be possible ( and even Oprah said so!) that following your Joy, utilizing your unique talents, making and spending more Love than Money and living everyday that you possibly can in complete AWE of nature and this extraordinary Universe we get to live in…
will somehow, also, end up covering the bills.

Maybe owning three pairs of flip-flops between four people IS the definition of sanity?



I haven't posted in while because I've been working on another writing project-but here's a few from xmas until now…

Xmas Pura Vida style

makin' xmas cookies...


Our tradition of new Pj's on X-mas eve


J shows up, spoils us… and rents  a pimpin' ride!
Rock and Roll hairdo's

Hawaii girl


Almost twelve...


Kai and Mom heading out for the morning session.

Wandering in Waikiki


Settling into our new life in Waikiki Beach…
I have to admit, I'm kinda in heaven.

It's a tropical mix of glitzy and kitchy and natural, laid back and slick, populated by people of every race and mix of race...

Sure, its a city and there's all the grunge and crass that goes along with that too,
there's homelessness and crime and you have to take your bike seat with you when you lock it,
but when you're from LA?

It's not like you haven't seen it before.

One of the things that has been really cool for us,
is that we sailed here from French Polynesia, 
so every time we meet a local-especially the "real' Hawaiians-
and they ask us where we're from…
we've been treated with genuine welcome.

Respect for the ocean is a way of life here.
and crossing one in a small boat-
you get some props.

Which is great, especially when your the new guy/girl in the lineup on the surf break.

There's turmoil here too and you can feel it.
It's not openly hostile or anything (at least not that we've seen), 
its more like the brooding of a teenager, questioning (rightfully) the authority and jurisdiction of his parents over his life.

A lot of political stuff is underlying the aloha smiles and
chi-chi swank of Chanel and Fendi stores every five feet,
the overwhelming tourism and development, 
the crowded beach breaks...

A feeling among some Hawaiians that their land was"annexed,
and a building groundswell of "separatism', throbs beneath the stunning  scenery.

As an American, it's interesting to recognize  how totally  different Hawaii is from the mainland.
California is a LONG way from here...

But even back on the mainland, our polarized political parties sometimes make it seem like we could all end up on our own separate "islands" one day.

(my island would have preventative healthcare, equal rights for all and we would give bear-hugs instead of handshakes)

Our new life begins…

It is a little weird that our little world aboard is so still now.
The Ocean Motion ingrained in us, is fainter,
the hum of the busy city seeps under the skin and we make long lists of things to accomplish, our days are once again full of goals and tasks.

It costs money to be back in the world and at the dock, 
but the upsides are great too... 
The kids learn Hawaiian along with the French they've been working on, we can all surf everyday before homeschool,
there's a gym nearby, so I can do yoga and Jon can watch football on Sundays from the treadmill…We found a great used bike…
became temporary members of the yacht club, 
(it's at the end of our dock and has a workshop with table vices and they let you have free ice! ). We call our family whenever we want and put up our christmas tree in eighty-five degree weather!

I was walking down the beach the other night,
just as the Stars were coming out and I stopped to listen; 
even beyond the lights and noise of Waikiki,
you can still hear them singing…

(I leaned this trick "Out There"...
and I never forget to thank them for keeping me company, all those long, deep nights on that big dark Ocean)

It is crazy busy with tourists from all over the world,
here for honeymoons and holidays…

They tumble in a pink and brown riot of hairdos and bikinis, 
indescribably interesting and odd and ridiculous
wandering the perfect white sands with cameras and mai-tais…

Even with all that, you can still feel the magic of this place.

It is not like anywhere back stateside.

We tread on the soil of the ancient Kings here.

Somewhere behind the peak of Diamond Head,
where the clouds still gather and wrap the green in rainbows,
the Old Kings shake their feathered heads and sigh,
and the Stars shrug their shoulders and keep playing 
that same, sad tune.

CHOOSE HAPPINESS


Sunset from Maui

They say there are only two kinds of blue water cruisers;
those who have gone aground- and those who will.

As we add (yet another) trial to our Big Bag of Experience,
the circumstances surrounding the fiasco actually taught us way more than just what to do when your boat runs aground.

( stay calm, think it through, don't just gun into forward, use the waves to help you if you can, make sure you can see your way out of the rocks before you start driving...)

Jon did all of these things and I credit his cool approach and our Lucky Stars for the fact that we did not lose our boat that night.

I think the Universe had even bigger lessons in store of us, though
and the conflicts we encountered in the events that followed,
gave us the chance to broaden our perspective and practice a little "Noble Strategy".

Now, I'm not a full-on Buddhist exactly but I do appreciate the wisdom of trying to find a way to suffer less, 
and not chew off your own tongue at night because you are so anxious or depressed.

There's a concept in Buddhism called the Eight Fold Path and it was definitely one of Buddhas "big thoughts" on how to be groovy and Noble- a quality that is by definition, totally rad and yet these days, it seems to have an undeservedly wussy reputation.

(I think we could change the world, if only acting noble could be perceived as being as cool as having a fancy car or washboard abs)

Nobleness is pretty much the corner stone of everything Buddha thought was dope.

You can look it up, if your interested (in more than my barely literate understanding of it),
but the basic gist of the Eight Fold Path is;

Find a way to Happiness, by practicing "right" View, Intention, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness and Concentrationwhen one is dealing with the pile of crap one is sometimes handed in this life.

(and this entails something entirely different than thinking you are always "right")

These are ways of behaving that lead one out of being super pissed off and reactionary and into a nice calm cove of not making things worse for yourself or others.

If it seems like I'm off topic here, let me explain how running aground brought us to a higher understanding of these Buddhist precepts.

Waking up  on the rocks in Lahiana was defiantly one of the most terrifying and stressful experiences we've ever had on our boat.
It was compounded by the fact that both our children and my wonderful and very non-sailor-like mother-in-law, also got to share in our middle of the night, cotton-mouth-making, life-threatening terror-which was subsequently followed by three sleepless nights, of wondering if our boat was going to sink out from under us (due to the slow leak we could not identify after the accident) as we limped the remaining hundred miles on to Ohau, crossing notoriously rough channels on a boat, with a compromised keel and rudder...

The next morning, after the incident,  Jon dove under the boat and got a look at what our damage was, he decided to bring the frayed rope from the decrepit mooring ( that was still attached to our lines on deck) into the yacht club so they could see what was what- and let them know right away, so this wouldn't happen to someone else.

What went down next was inexplicable and crazy-making but as my great grandfather, Ol' Henry J,  liked to say;
'Problems are just opportunities in work clothes".

We arrived at the yacht club  and were greeted by the secretary who was very cold and acted as if nothing had happened.

She was incredibly curt and when we asked her if she had received our email ( as no one had responded to it)
she ignored the question and simply asked if we would be leaving that afternoon and then shook our hand like we were pariahs, told us,"it was nice to meet you" and then turned around and marched back into her office.

Jon and I were so weirded out we just sort of wandered out of the club and onto the street.

It was a million degrees outside and pink, puffy tourists were streaming around the sidewalks and we stood there for a moment dazed and confused and feeling really, really upset.

How could they not even care?

This was their mooring and we could have lost our boat.
Surely a Yacht club would feel kinda bad about that, right?

Litigious thoughts began swirling around...
Anger rose in our hearts and bad vibes clouded our intentions.

We decided to go back into the club and see if we could find someone to talk to.

The day before, we had come in and had a lovely dinner and spent a good whack of our almost-no-cash, ordering snacks and trying to find some willing ear to listen to us blabber about all the cruising we had just done.

(we are still so new at all this that getting to sit at a bar with other sailors and talk about adventures, is a big, romantic deal for us)

We had met a really nice, long time, club member and chatted with her for awhile and today, we saw she was again at her post at the bar,  so we sidled up and sort of found our way into regurgitating (in as non-accusational a way as possible) what had happened to us the night before .

She was shocked

"You went aground on our mooring!!!?" 

We nodded, appreciating her concern.
It had been terribly upsetting after all.

"That's awful...did you tell the Commodore?"

"No", we said and then told her about the secretary and how she had been a bit of a cow to us.

At that very moment, the Commodore came in and stepped up to the bar and the nice club member took it upon herself to introduce  us.

He was looking at us with this odd grin and we expected  he would offer some sheepish sympathy and be grateful we were alerting him to the problem with their moorings- or at the very least, offer to buy us lunch.

'So...you're the ones who came off the mooring and ended up on the rocks?' he snorted, eyeing us like a couple of grifters up to tricks.

"Yes" Jon said with measured pleasantness.
"We went aground last night after your mooring parted…"

To our utter amazement, the Commodore LAUGHED.

"Yeah, it is not even our mooring. The line you brought in?
It's not the kind we use, so I don't know what your doing but
its nothing to do with us...."

He laughed again and then turned away and ordered a beer.

Jon and I were shocked.

( so was the poor club member who had introduced us)

There was not one ounce of compassion, not a single thought  or question or concern for our or our children's safety,
or the condition of our boat...
AND he seemed to think we were up to something!

There were a LOT of things we wanted to say right then but we didn't want to upset the nice people in the club who
had nothing to do with what had happened- so we went back to the boat and regrouped.

We have learned to slow down and not react until you assess the situation-this is what living on a boat does to you.

It works great when your on the rocks and it works even better when you really want to punch someone in the face.

The fact that the Commodore was acting strangely was obvious-what that was all about wasn't clear.

All we could look at was where WE are and figure out the best actions for US to take.

It was a deeply sucky thing to happen at the end of such a long trip. We have always been so careful, re-achoring over and over until we are set, moving out of anchorages in the middle of the night if the wind changes, checking and rechecking our gear...and we've never had a problem.

Sure, we felt the club bore responsibility for their negligence and the manner with which we were being handled was super upsetting but the fact was, we still had to sort out our boat and how we were going to get safely to Ohau and hauled out and inspected

Our insurance deductible is 2900.00 bucks, 
which is about the sum total of our net worth right now...

What good was going to come of getting all heated and upset about things?

In our lives, there are also little eyes and ears watching all the time, what was goes down and our actions directly influence the behaviors we impart on our kids.

So we mutually decided ( by force of will) to behave with "right"action.

We would just take care of our own stuff and take things one step at a time, be grateful no one was hurt, not paint anybody with a big fat brush of mistrust ( everyone else we had met in Hawaii so far was great), and not let anger get the better of us.

It was a chalky, hard pill to swallow but we did our best.

While Jon went ashore to make arrangements with the Harbor Master to inspect our boat
( the Marina in Ohau won't allow any uninspected vessels into their slips so the Lahiana harbormaster kindly offered to do this for us, to save us the hassle when we got there),
I took all my anger and frustration at the unfairness of what was going on and marched up to our foredeck to attempt a little meditation in order to get some perspective on the big WHY.

Why now?
Why like this?
Why when we have no money to deal with all of this?
Why was that guy being such a total jerk?

I don't always have profound meditations;
Sometimes I get distracted and think about surfing,
or my feet fall asleep, or I can't focus or let go...

But this time, a message floated up from my consciousness,
with in big, bold, letters, like the blimp over the half time show at the Super Bowl, complete with flashing neon lights;

"THIS WILL WORK ITSELF OUT.
IT'S NOT EVEN ABOUT YOU GUYS...
STAY CALM AND KEEP BEING NICE"

 ( my Buddha nature has kind of a Budweiser slogan sort of tone and is not very fancy about things)

I opened my eyes ( and I swear this is exactly how it happened), looked out at the water, and a little farther over in the mooring fieldI saw Jon in the Harbor Master's boat.

They were checking out the broken mooring we had come off and taking pictures.

I wondered what was up.

Five hours later, Jon returned to the boat.

Apparently, the Harbor Master, a big, serious, Hawaiian guy, who was stern but fair and completely professional...
had talked to the Commodore and not liked the conversation very much. It seems other yachts had broken from their mooring before and one ketch had been lost entirely just two years ago...
So he decided to do some checking up on the circumstances himself.

He sent Jon out with his guys to verify the facts 
and that noted that we had indeed  been on a mooring with the LYC 3# clearly painted on the side, when the line had given way due to improper maintenance.

They confirmed that they had some previous concerns about how the club had been maintaining their moorings, they didn't like how we were being treated, or the fact that our children could have been hurt or that any of this could come back on them, they also already had kind of a sense of us and that we were nice people, because we had  been the office lots of times over the previous few days, filling out paperwork and asking questions and we had chatted with everybody about how awesome Polynesia is and talked about fishing and music and food and you know, just seemed like decent folks,  i guess.

Hawaiians are cool. 

They don't like a bunch of ruckus or headaches and I think they appreciated that we were not getting super inflamed.

Like all the Polynesians we have met so far, they are also total badasses and if they have your back, you're in good hands.

Long story short,  Harbor Master and the Department of Land and resources couldn't have been nicer, offering to help us out any way they can and wanting us to let them know, if we get any hassle from the LYC or their insurance.

(they also told us they thought we should pass the deductible on to the responsible party)

As Jon was climbing back into our dingy to out to our boat, 
another member from the yacht club who had heard about what happened to us, approached him.

"I just heard about what happened. I'm so sorry... is everybody okay?"

The guy was really nice and sincere and Jon told him we were all fine. The dude commiserated (genuinely) and recommended a good yard in Ohau for repairs-and offered to help us find work if we needed jobs while we are visiting Hawaii.

He handed Jon his card and insisted that we call if we need anything or he could help in any way.

Jon told me the days events over a cold beer when he got back to the boat and I told him about my meditation and the message I got from it.

Jon smiled and handed me the card from the friendly guy on the dock, embossed under the guy's name, in big, bold, letters it said;

"CHOOSE HAPPINESS".

Noble strategy, man...
it's definitely the real deal.

*****

We managed to sail into Oahu, get ourselves into an insanely expensive slip ( but the cheapest available), said our sad goodbyes to G-ma Sara and put her in a Taxi, getting her off to the airport, with not a minute to spare before her flight...

We walked back to the boat and our new reality began to sink in.

For the first time in years…
we are plugged into shore power, a fresh water hose is within arms reach, we can walk to Macy's, order a pizza and have it delivered right to the boat, our beloved stars wink at us though a canopy of skyscrapers and it's a three minute walk from our decks to the awesome surf break on Waikiki beach

it feels like the beginning of another adventure.


Smooth sailing to Molokai

Passing Diamond Head on approach to Oahu

The new digs…..view from our foredeck
...and from our stern
Hunter's amazed to find out we will see  the fireworks from the Hilton EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT
right from our cockpit.

We love you G-ma Sara.







Grounded in Maui


Grandma Sara and Hunter enjoy a warm shower 



Alenuihaha channel-on a good day!



Glass of done after a long day's sail




Storymatic games at sea




MAUI!

Approaching Lahaina

Lahiana harbor 
Christmas festivities

SHAVE ICE SNOWMAN!


The Pioneer inn





Cruising is just one of those things where you learn to accept the unexpected...

Sometimes it turns out to be something better than you could have imagined and you can take some credit for the planning, diligent forethought and keeping a tight ship…
but other times, things just get funky and you gotta accept it and take a look at what you can do differently next time.

The fact that there's coast guard on the VHF doesn't actually change your reality all that much.

Sailing is always a "game on" kind of thing…
and the Hawaiian islands are intense.



The winds howl and funnel through the channels between the islands, the seas build quickly,
reminding you that despite the daily flights from every stateside city in the US..
You ain't home yet, Bra.

This is sacred ground,
you feel it in all things and it's wise to be respectful of this place.

The winds are hefty,  that volcano towering over you ( mauna Kea) is the highest mountain in the WORLD, when measured from its base, far below the sea. Pele wraps her fiery arms around all things here and where she touches the ground it is sharp as razors beneath your feet, the sharks are plentiful and apparently hungry these days ( Yikes! ), the waves pounding the Northern coastlines are some of the biggest in the world and the Banyan trees are ancient and so massive that an entire town can congregate  under a single tree for the annual Lahaina pre-Christmas festivities.

Power.

Hawaii throbs with it.

While we waited for our wind, we absorbed the tranquil,  healthiness of Hilo.
What's not to love about armloads of inexpensive orchids, incredible organic produce available everyday from the farmers market and a town choc-fulll of killer massage therapists?

(I think you totally have a free pass to indulge in some much needed bodywork after major ocean crossings :))

We  did finally get served an eviction notice by the  Hilo police - but they were way cool about it.
Honestly, we had tried to check in and be straight up about it but the guy who ran the Parks office had hurt his back and there wasn't anyone to replace him, so everyone just shrugged and told us not to worry.
When the cops finally did come out to the boat, they were super-nice and happy to hear we had had such a great time in Hilo. 
We told them we were leaving the next day anyway and that was the end of that.
Lots of smiles and Alohas-no bad vibes at all.


We got a perfect weather window to shoot up the windward side of the Big Island and dropped our anchor  in Nimishura cove for sunset and caught a few hours sleep before getting up in the dark to head across the dreaded Alenuihaha channel ( one of the roughest channels in the world).

The day we went, it was like crossing a mill pond.

We had a lovely sail, watched the Humpbacks breaching in the distance while Maui rose up to greet us from a gorgeous blue sea.

Ten hours later, we picked up a mooring from the Lahaina Yacht club in the open roadstead  of  the famous old seaport on Maui.

Like all historic towns in beautiful locations, its been been totally overrun with touristy-kitch but we were lucky to arrive at the very moment of the local pre-Christmas celebrations, where they light the giant banyan tree in the center of town and the local kids have their pictures taken in front of a "real" snowman made out of shaved ice and the King Kamehameha schoolchildren preform Hula dances and gourd dances and the high school band plays christmas songs. 

It was beautiful and fun and there were tons of amazing artists and street performers doing their thing and for at least this one night, Lahaina was mostly for the locals and it was great to see it this way.

A million years ago, in some other life of mine, I had come to Lahiana and stayed at the historic Pioneer Inn with some movie producers and the author, Tom Robbins, who used the inn as the inspiration for one of his books, 'Still LIfe with Woodpecker"...at the time, I thought that was  just the most magical thing ever, to be sitting with one of my favorite authors, and talking about maybe doing a movie, in the actual setting where this book that I had always adored actually took place...

Well, they never did make that movie, and I never got to be in it...but to be arriving here now, on this festive night, twenty five years later, with my wonderful family in tow and having just sailed here from French Polynesia- well, it all seemed  pretty darn magical once again.

Over the past few years we've heard lot about how much Hawaii sucks for cruisers but i kind of think its like anything... its all what you put out there.

Everyone we've met has been great..

One of the things we  learned on our adventures  was to just put yourself out there.

Smile, let people know you love their country/home/island, ask permission, be cool about things;
Like see if its okay to dump your trash in the can where all the fisherman are hanging out, before you just do it. Ask them what they're catching, whats the tastiest fish out here, 
if they don't  seem warm right away-it might be because they're a little shy and sometimes shy comes off as tough, but in our experience,  if you ask where to get a good loco-moco, make fun of yourself whenever possible and smile a lot… you're in.

It also helps to have cute kids.

The Harbormaster in Lahaina was super nice and offered to do our boat inspection before we get to Honolulu, so it would be easier for us once we got there.
 He called ahead and checked things out at the Ala Wai  marina and let them know we would be coming in the next week...

In Lahaina we  had picked up a mooring from the local yacht club- which was the recommendation in the cruising guide. They have several available for transient cruisers and they're also free, so what the heck.... it felt really weird to be on someone else's lines and  normally we would check them first by diving them but when we were checking in a local  told us to watch it, as he had dove another mooring out in the field the day before and was chased out of the water by a large and aggressive Galapagoes shark and  just two days before that some spear fisherman had been chased out of the water by another large shark. 

That solved the mystery of why NO ONE was surfing the nice little wave happening in front of the pier so we opted to just ask the Yacht club if mooring number three was in good shape and they assured us it had been checked within the past six months and everything was spanky, we pulled the mooring up and were happy to see it was on a massive braid of new looking rope, so we decided to leave it at that.

We took advantage of the hospitality of the yacht club to visiting cruisers ( we don't belong to any kind of reciprocal club ourselves) and had hot showers and at their super lovely clubhouse and ate amazing food for a great deal and drank one too many Mai Tais-in my case that  is TWO...and had a great night, chatting with friendly locals and swapping fish tales, with the tour boat captains who inhabit the bar.

A few times during the evening I had told Jon I was weirded out about the mooring,  and I kept looking out at Pura Vida, which I could see from the deck of the club but it was so calm and the secretary  at the yacht club assured us, it was good, and we knew our lines were in great shape- so I let it go.

Remember that thing I wrote about intuition, before?
The one where it ALWAYS seems to tell me somethings gonna happen before it does?

Had we been in the middle of nowhere, I would have been on high alert and paid attention to my little alarm bell-especially as it had gone off more than once that day but hey, I was back in the safety net of civilization-ordering a second Mai Tai and congratulating ourselves on our amazingness.

The whole evening was a blast and we all piled into the dink, stuffed and a me little buzzed ( we were safely on a mooring after all and the winds were light, so why not relax and party a little?) and fell into our bunks, with smiles all around.

A few hours later (2am) Jon and I woke up at the same time but everything was calm and the stars were shining down on us through our hatch.

We lay there talking about the plans for the next day and wondering if we should try to fuel up at the dock early or wait until the ferry traffic had died down later on.
Suddenly, there was a weird scratching noise and a thump,

"the dink must've gotten snagged under the swim ladder..."  Jon said.

Then there was another huge BANG! and Pura Vida shuddered.

We were both on deck in a flash.

Looking around, at the perfectly calm night, it took a second for us to realize what was going on.

There were waves lapping around us....
Pura Vida smashed again and tilted to her side...

We were on the ROCKS!'

and that was SURF breaking around us!

There was no time to figure out what had happened or why.
Jon jumped for the flashlight and quickly made his way around the deck, shining light in the water, 
sussing out where we could go.
Kai kicked on the  instruments while Jon fired up the engine and then tried to ease her forward… No dice. All she did was spin her bow toward the shore. We were high centered on the rocks! Another wave lifted us and dropped our keel on the bottom again.
Pura Vida shuddered and groaned, the depth meter said THREE FEET!
Kai ran forward to keep and eye out on the bow and thankfully grandma Sara and Hunter remained calm and quiet below.
Jon smartly waited for the next wave to lift us again and then  gave us a burst of reverse that spun us the other way. As the wave dipped we heeled way over and jerked loose. Another burst of forward got us out and away from the rocks.

With Kai and I on the foredeck with the flashlight Jon carefully guided our beloved boat and her crew back out through the break and into deeper water.

"Honey, you drive while I check the bilges...." Jon said in an amazingly relaxed (sounding) voice.

He went below to check it out and we didn't seem to be taking on water but everyone held their breath for the next hour waiting to see if something would start flooding in.

Pura Vida is a heavy bottom girl with a rugged old-school fin-keel, so our hope was that the damage wasn't too bad as we headed out to deeper water to find another mooring.

I know that seems ridiculous but there isn't much holding here (thin layer of sand over coral) and the moorings are supposedly safer!

I noticed we were trailing part of the old mooring line and closer inspection revealed that the we not only had the entire hauser line and its float but the thicker line that attached it to the shackle beneath bouy looked like the thimble had rotted through and cut the line.

So much for recently inspected moorings.

Two years, 15,000 miles, anchor in all kinds of crazy situations in all kinds of weather and this is the first time our bottom has touched the ground.

Honestly, we should have checked the mooring line more closely than our basic inspection-no matter what the reported condition, and we know enough about sharks that it really wasn't a factor…

We just got a little off our guard, 
and we paid the price! 

We were lucky because it could have been way worse.

It's not a mistake we will make twice.

We dove Pura Vida when the sun came up.

Our tough old girl suffered some deep scrapes and took a fist-size chunk out of one corner of her rudder.

It's not good…
but we're still floating,
and accepting the unexpected.

Re-entry


Hunter on the fields of Mauna Kea

Out there in the middle of that big, beautiful ocean, 
on more than one occasion, I witnessed the brilliant, burning trail of an object falling from space.

Much bigger and brighter and closer than a shooting star, 
it made me sit up, from my dreamy, introspective, star-gazing, night -watch and pay attention.

The idea of it bewitched me;
that this man-made-chunk-of-something-or-other, 
had been "out there", 
getting the God's-eye view,
witnessing the whole, gorgeous, tragic, sparkling, circus going on down here.
It had blipped along, doing its job,
gathering information, 
eavesdropping on international secrets, 
broadcasting "The Simpsons" to someone's hut beside the Ganges,
and all while floating around in an infinite and un-answerable Universe...

Nifty stuff.

However, returning to Earth from that  great vacuum of awesomeness, where nothing slows you down?
That's the tricky part.

An object falling from space is carrying crazy amounts of kinetic energy,
Its not at all going the same speed as everything else down here...
so it smashes into our atmosphere and  squashes all the air molecules and just burns shit up.

I can relate to  this feeling.

We came in from the Yonder and  the Blue after two years in Paradise,
and instead of feeling, like super-chilled out and groovy cruisers...

There was some serious turbulence.

Our MOLECULES were having a hard time.

It felt  a little like being  a soda bottle that someone had shaken with the top still on.

All that built up energy, we had gained from living a Life full of risk and adventure,
worldly worries on a way back burner, a clear  and blue horizon on every dawn,
and now, here we were back in "reality'?

Where we could just go to the store and buy ice?

A few weeks ago, we were sailing the high and robust Seas,
embracing our inner badass,  following our Bliss,
feeling fairly certain we had this whole thing pretty figured out
and feeling pretty awesome as we sipped our morning coffee and watched every sunrise with a swell of gratitude.

A week back in "reality", a couple of trips to Target, and suddenly it felt like...

We don't own a car anymore?
Dude, we don't even have a phone plan...

Holy crap!

What have we done?
What the hell are we gonna do?

It's amazing how quickly one's perspective can change.

It took a few long talks and about two weeks of meditation
to realize that this was just re-entry.

The burning trail of blazing in from the realm of pure potentiality and smashing into the atmosphere of fear and expectation,
of consumerism and the plain old unpleasantness of finding more bills waiting us for than residual checks.

Yes, there was some disintegration...
but this process is also part of the adventure.

It has given us the opportunity to rise from the ashes and reinvent ourselves
( once again)
and realize that it is possible to be back in our world AND maintain the open field of possibility.


When you go to Space,
Rock it like a rocket,
then re-enter the atmosphere, with your burn shield and your parachute,
and come on home.


Everyone goes through some version of this in their lives.

Experiences or realizations change us and when
we come out of the void and re-enter our lives, 
It hurts a little...
we blaze a trail,
and set the atmosphere on fire,

But you never know,
maybe somewhere out there,
someone on an Ocean of darkness
will look up,
and see you burning in, 
brighter than a falling star...
and they'll think;
"Geeze, Loiuse, look at that...", 
and wonder.


Today, we are still anchored in Hilo bay.

No one has hassled us, or made us move or pay anything to be here,
We have fallen in love with Hilo and its funky, laid back, beauty.
The weather has been wonderful, the locals warm and friendly,
The Grandmas came to visit and it was great, 
the kids are happy, 
we've walked volcanoes and swam in waterfalls,
There's more turtles here than anywhere i've ever been...

Sure, we need to find work,
Kai and Hunter will have to hit the schoolbooks for awhile,
but we're not done...
there are future missions to be had.

For the next few months, we will do what we need to and ready ourselves and Pura Vida for another phase,
( fill the coffers! winterize our warm-weather cruiser for higher latitudes!)

I may post a little less often as there are longer-format writing projects, I want to tackle now that I have to spend a little less time hunting and gathering on a daily basis
but we love our following and  our virtual crew
and we hope that you'll still check in on us occasionally.


it's time to rest, repair, surf a lot and assimilate all the information we gathered on our orbit,
and get ready for the next big launch date…

Kai and dad hike the sulfur flats of the volcano



Happy in Hilo

Waiting for Nana at the airport

Nana arrived and Hunter turned 9.... there was plenty to celebrate.

We were still stuck to the dock in the far-less-than-fantastic harbor of Radio bay waiting out a large Northern storm system that moved in, bringing 20-30 foot swells.

Lucky for us, there were all kinds of wonderful things to do and see close by.

Nana  took a room at a nearby motel for two days and gave the kids and Us a chance to have hot showers (indescribable joy!) and she granted Hunter's birthday wish of a proper, Downtown Abbey-type frock ( complete with gloves and jewels) and we all celebrated our girl's fantastic lovliness with a strawberry-pancake breakfast at the motel diner.

Once the storm had passed and the sea settled down, we found the   nearby beach and paddled around in a shallow lagoon, where a river flowed through a delicate, grassy park and out into the sea. 

We discovered that along with a pile of friendly local kids, the lagoon was also home to a resident population of sea turtles who scooted around beside us and underneath us, happily munching seaweed off the black lava rocks, while bright and colored Sergeant Major fish nibbled our toes.

We rented a car and ventured off to Volcano National Park and visited the active ( but currently mellow-as in, no lava flow)  and viewed the crater rim and the cool sulphur flats and stuck our heads into steamy vents and wandered through an ancient lava tube and strolled through it's songbird filled forests.

Of course, it is a National Park and the place is set up to accommodate tourists but I gotta say, it was a kinda thrilling change for me.

After countless months of being a million miles from any sort of assistance, where hikes and scuba dives and all the rest of it,  also required us to be prepared to deal with any disasters or injuries that we might run into- all by ourselves.

This volcano adventure came with nice, clean restrooms and bottled water for sale (at a restaurant!)  and there were guardrails on the most dangerous bits of trail and yet it still was stunning and impressive and for the first time in ages, I could witness the extreme and magnificent powers of mother nature, without worrying that maybe I should also have brought along the suture kit.

Civilization does has its perks.

There is stuff that we may not have noticed so much before, that now drives us crazy, though...
NOISE.

I think everyone, everywhere should be given mandatory NOISE decompression-for free.
Nice, long, paid vacations, in an environment with no unnatural sound stimulus and it should be covered on all health care plans.

Oh, I know....
and Unicorns should come bursting out of rainbows, too.

(it is so completely disheartening to know for a fact, that nothing preventative will EVER be "covered" on any health care plan in any of the countries I belong to and its even MORE upsetting that  now-a-days, even the TERM "health care plan" is being used as the starting gun for inane, political-crazy-making debate, instead of, like, just meaning  something that actually HELPS people stay or get healthy.

SO Stupid.

Anyway...
Radio Bay.

A busy port, with an uber-massive, propane plant and a standing army of colossal semi-trucks piling in and out everyday, farting their air brakes in unison directly off our transom, finally drove us to seek refuge in the big harbor outside. 

Once we found our spot out in the middle of the four mile wide bay  and got the hook down and took a look around, we realized we totally should have moved out here days ago as its really no more of a pain in the patootie than being on a dock with no services whatsoever and the view is WAY better.

We now hear the birds calling over the balmy rush of a soft wind, while looking up at the gentle slope of this beautiful island, its sides flush with the verdant green of tropical plantations, a flashy parade of sun-flecked clouds rimming its highest mountain- 

It sure beats the heck out of waking up to  the coast guard cutter next to us calling out drills every five minutes, to its handsome and obedient crew-who unfortunately, despite all those square jaws and rippling muscles, still look like PLAYMOBILE guys dressed up in their uniforms, complete with silly orange hard hats that they all don to do anything on deck- it never stopped to amaze me, that it took at least five of them to do any job that Kai could handle (alone) in half that time.

:) it's okay though,
they were pretty cute.

Back at anchor, once again, ( after a month at sea) Pura Vida now drifts in slow circles, swaying on the soft surge rolling through the bay, the lights of Hilo, reflect off the black water, a full moon rises over the breakwater, the kids  are blissfully snuggled with Nana on the berth and everyone is dreamy and drowsy, listening to music...
and Jon just figured out how to get us wi-fi out here.

Hawaii rocks.



The longest awaited hug..



Birthday girl



                                                           Our lovely girl…turns nine.

\
Swimming hole


Little buddy
The caldera

Sulfur flats


close up of cooled magma flow






Mother letting off steam

  These next two are professional shots by park staff, taken when the volcano is erupting.

SO wish we could have seen it like this!

pretty cool, huh?

Nana entering the lava tube

Inside the tube

Wild Hawaiian partridge-
Jon,  accustomed to finding our food for the past few months,  was tempted to grab this guy and stuff it into our backpacks for Thanksgiving dinner.


Fields of Mordor



Jon gets a budget friendly facial
Sulfur crystals
Wild Orchids

We also stopped on the way home at an awesome Orchid plantation…oooooohhhh, I want to be an orchid farmer in my next life.















This one is called PURPLE HAZE-my favorite