US Land Logs 8, Year 4: Ode to Silvie

US Land Logs 8, Year 4: Ode to Silvie
Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Weather: Not Important
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts

As you sail around the world, the cruisers you meet become like family.   Some you meet are like distant cousins that you would rather not see too often, but others become like sisters and brothers. Silvie was in the  ‘sister’ category for me. She was from Windcastle and I from Windbird. Our paths crossed many times during the first year of our circumnavigation. We met in Balboa, Panama, just after coming through the Panama Canal.  Silvie was a number of years younger than I, but we immediately bonded. She was from Mexico City sailing around the world with Doug from San Juan Capistrano, California. Last night we received an email from Doug telling us that Silvie died last Saturday evening in Lamen Bay, Epi Island, Vanuatu.  She died just hours after taking MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution), a product she purchased from a fellow cruiser. Words cannot convey the sadness we feel in our hearts. Silvie brought joy and love to everyone’s she met and it just doesn’t seem possible that life was taken from her so quickly and
needlessly. Our hearts are broken and we so wish we were closer so we could help Doug deal with this tragedy.

We met Doug and Silvie in Balboa at a meeting of cruisers headed across the Pacific. Afterwards we had dinner at a two-for-one pizza restaurant and sat at a table with Silvie and Doug and Patrick and Margaret of Aqua Magic. Silvie gave Mark Spanish lessons while we ate and that was the beginning of our friendship. Silvie, Margaret of Aqua Magic, and I shopped ’til we dropped in Panama City as we provisioned for the trip from Panama to the Galapagos. There are the memories of Silvie dancing in the streets of Panama City during Carnival, sharing my 59th birthday while anchored off Espiritu Santo in the Las Perlas Islands, trying to row our dinghies up the Rio Cacique, and just generally enjoying life from anchorage to anchorage.  Once we reached the Galapagos, we walked to the top of Mount Crocker, the highest point on Santa Cruz Island together. It was a long, hot climb, but at the top Silvie made us all smile as she opened her arms to the heavens.   Riding horses to the top of Sierra Negra on Isabella and exploring the  volcanic rim together with Doug and Silvie and our daughter Heather and her husband Jed was just a wonderful, unforgettable day. Silvie picked some of the wild flowers growing along the rim to make herself a bouquet and then flung herself down volcanic cinders just to celebrate life. And after sailing the 3,000 miles from the Galapagos to the Marqueses, the first boat we saw in the Bay of Virgins in Fatu Hiva was Windcastle. Months later, we sat together in a little church in Tonga to hear the new King address the people for the first time since his brother’s dealth and then we made the crossing to New Zealand together. The last time we saw Doug and Silvie was in Opua, New Zealand. Our paths have not crossed since then, but we have always stayed in contact via email. We were so looking forward to meeting them in Thailand this next January and crossing the Indian Ocean together. We are certainly going to miss them, and we can’t even imagine what Doug must be going through at this point. Our thoughts are  certainly with him.

Silvie’s death is a very abrupt reminder of just how quickly life can slip
away and a rude reminder of just how important it is to live each moment to the fullest. That is what Silvie would want each and every one of us to do. She would want us all to live, love, laugh, and be happy.

Silvie, we love you and will miss you so very much. The world was a happier place with you here, but we can each try to bring joy to the world in your absence.

090811 Silvie

US Land Logs 6, Year 4: It’s Another Boy!

US Land Logs 6, Year 4: It’s Another Boy!
Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Weather: Overcast and Raining . . . Again
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts

I have written and rewritten this log at least five times and am just now getting it posted. Life with a two-year-old and newborn can be quite busy, so apologies for not getting this wonderful announcement posted sooner.

On Friday, June 26, at 4:26 am, we became grandparents once again. Our daughter Heather gave birth to her second child, Jonah Biggs Goldstone. Biggs is my mother’s maiden name and we know how proud she would be that Jonah carries her name forward. Jonah has been called ‘Bubba’ by his big brother Sam for the last few months, so it is going to take some time for all of us to adjust to the new name. Jonah weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces and is gaining daily. He’s a very calm and peaceful little guy, sleeping and eating his way through day and night. We now have three grandchildren, all beautiful little boys. Photos of Jonah’s first three days are posted with this email.

Mark is now in his fourth week as a West Marine employee and he is enjoying the job. He gets paid to talk about boats all day. Now what more can he ask for? Today is his 67th birthday and he is still going strong. I continue to keep myself busy cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, gardening, playing with Sam, and holding Jonah every chance I get. Being a full-time grandma suits me well. The weather is another story. It has continued to be cool and dreary throughout the month of June, although we had a beautiful 4th of July weekend. Here on Cape Cod, we have seen the sun less this June than anytime on record since 1903. But over the weekend we were reminded that summer really might happen this year. We were truly beginning to doubt that.

The weekend before Jonah’s birth, we enjoyed a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with Jed’s parents. They were driving north from their home in Washington, DC, to Maine which is the location of their summer home and stopped by here for the weekend. Heather and I made Father’s Day aprons for dad, granddads, and for Sam. Unfortunately, Sam got sick again at the start of the weekend and was not quite up to par, but the four doting grandparents still had a wonderful time. And leading up to Father’s Day, Jed’s brother Ben visited on his way north to Maine. Sam definitely has a love affair with Uncle Ben and watching Sam try to play the violin along with Ben was truly precious.

Tomorrow Jed’s brother Toby comes to visit. He lives in Oregon but has been in Maine visiting his parents for the past week. And then next week, our son Justin and his wife Jo and Ziggy are stopping by for a one night visit on their way to London. They are flying from Albuquerque to Boston on one day and then from Boston to London the next, spending the night in-between with us. We are so looking forward to seeing a three-month old Ziggy.

There are so many other things I have to share, but if I don’t stop here this might not ever get sent. So more later . . .

090628 Cape Cod–Jonah's First Three Days
090522 Cape Cod–Father's Day Weekend

US Land Logs 5, Year 4: Life on Cape Cod

US Land Logs 5, Year 4: Life on Cape Cod
Date: Friday, June 12, 2009
Weather: Temps in the 60’s, Overcast and Rainy
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts

I simply can’t believe it has been a month since we arrived here. We left sunny Santa Fe on May 12 and have spent the past month here on Cape Cod in what appears to be long-lingering spring weather. We have had days here and there that give a hint that summer is coming, but temps in the 50’s and 60’s and overcast days sprinkled with rain have prevailed. Despite the weather, a whole month has flown by and I have not even had a second to write a log. I guess time flies when you are living in a household with a two-year-old. And soon we will have a newborn. Our daughter Heather is due with her second in just 11 days so the excitement is building. We had what may or may not be a false alarm today. From 3 to 8 pm she was having light contractions every 10 minutes, and sometimes every 5 minutes. But it is now 9:30 pm and all is quiet. It could be an interesting night.

Sam, our two-year-old grandson, came down with a terrible cold just a couple of days after we arrived. The next day our daughter got the cold, and the day after that, I got it. All three of us have been sick for the entire month. Sam was finally diagnosed with walking pneumonia and a hint of bronchial asthma. Heather and I have probably had the same, but have been treated for sinus infections. So all of us have been on antibiotics and slowly, every so slowly, we are all getting a bit better. But whatever hit us was a mighty strong bug. Heather’s husband, Jed, was in France for ten days just after we arrived and he has avoided this monster cold. Miraculously, Mark did not get hit with the same intensity as Heather, Sam, and I. This bug seemed to like women and children.

Despite the weather and the illnesses, we have done a fair bit of yard work, finished planting a rather ambitious backyard garden, and have worked on readying the house for the arrival of “Bubba” (Sam’s name for the forthcoming brother or sister). Mark spends a great deal of his time looking for employment, but the opportunities are few and far between. But yesterday he got a call from the local West Marine store and after a short interview, he was hired full-time for the busy season. He will start work on Saturday, so at least we will have some income.

We get messages from time to time from cruising friends and marina staff back in Malaysia giving us updates on Windbird. We got a couple of photos from the Rebak Marina manager yesterday showing us how Windbird if faring and she seems to be weathering the rainy season just fine so far. Life is so busy here that we rarely even think of our cruising life, but when we get messages about Windbird, or when we visit marinas here and see all the boats, we get very homesick for the sea. But rest assured, a two-year-old and newborn will keep us busy enough that thoughts of sailing will be put on the back burner for now.

Justin, Jo, and Ziggy are doing great back in Santa Fe. Ziggy now weighs over 11 pounds and is a real cutie. He has started to giggle and smile which delights his parents. Justin, Jo, and Ziggy will be flying to England in mid-July so that Ziggy can meet family there. Justin and Jo have been invited to play at the Glade Electronic Music Festival debuting Silvermouse in the UK. Silvermouse is the name of their husband and wife musical duo. Justin plays various instruments with world music flair and Jo provides interesting beats electronically. An article in a Santa Fe paper wrote, “Silvermouse is much more than a run-of-the-mill electronic group. The instrumentals take it to a new height of creativity and fun. A+.” So in addition to being busy first time parents, Justin and Jo are working hard to make a go of their music.

I’ll be sure to post another log as soon as the newest addition to our family arrives. I have posted the photos of our first month here on Cape Cod with this log and they show just how busy we have been. Sam has certainly kept us entertained!

090610 Cape Cod–Busy First Month
090531 Cape Cod–Touch-a-Truck Day
090530 Cape Cod–The Turtle Affair

US Land Logs 4, Year 4: Saying Farewell to Ziggy and to Santa Fe

US Land Logs 4, Year 4: Saying Farewell to Ziggy and to Santa Fe
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Weather: Blue Skies, Sunny, Temps in Mid-70’s
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

We are sitting in the airport terminal in Albuquerque waiting for our 10:24 am flight to Denver. From there we fly to Chicago and then on to Providence, Rhode Island where our son-in-law Jed will pick us up at 9:30 this evening. Yesterday was a tough day. Every time we would walk from our casita to Justin and Jo’s I would get teary-eyed thinking about leaving Ziggy, Justin, and Jo. Ziggy was one month-old last Thursday and yesterday he weighed in at 8 pounds 8 ounces. He was so tiny when we arrived but now he is starting to get chubby little cheeks, fingers, and toes. It is going to be very hard to leave him. We hope to see him again before we return to Malaysia in late fall, and in the meantime, we will see him via Skype video and continue to watch him grow. We had an interesting conversation with Jo and her parents last evening about just how huge this country is and how far apart families live from each other. In England where they live, nothing is more than a couple of hours away. Wouldn’t that be wonderful! But here we just have to get on a plane and fly across the country. Of course, while sad to leave Ziggy, we are very excited to be going to Cape Cod to see Sam, Heather, and Jed. And in about five weeks, we will have another grandchild there. And that is very exciting.

The weather in Santa Fe has been spectacular and we are going to miss that as well. Springtime in New England is beautiful, but it won’t be sunny and in the mid-70’s everyday as it is here. So we have lived everyday of the past week to the fullest. We started our week working in the garden. Tuesday night we went out to dinner at the CowGirl restaurant in downtown Santa Fe to say farewell to Jo’s sister Katherine. She flew back to England on Wednesday. Then on Thursday we had a one-month birthday celebration for Ziggy. And Mirabelle came home from the VW shop just in time for the birthday party. On Saturday we rented a car and took Justin, Jo, and Ziggy for a day out in Taos. There is a high road and a low road leading to Taos. The high road has gorgeous mountain scenery and is very green. The low road is the fastest but it winds through dry country that has a very different kind of beauty. The difference in the scenery on the two roads was truly unbelievable. Taos is a tourist town at the base of the highest peaks in the area which also makes it a ski town in the winter. We had a wonderful lunch on the outdoor patio of a restaurant in downtown Taos, wandered though the plaza, and visited the Taos pueblo north of town. On the way home we stopped to see the Santuario de Chimayo. To top off a fantastic day, we had dinner back in Santa Fe at a Thai restaurant. Our waitress was from Krabi, an area of Thailand that we really enjoyed visiting in Windbird. Just talking to her made us homesick for Windbird but we hear from friends that Windbird is doing just fine in our absence.

Sunday was Mother’s Day and Justin, Phil, and Mark prepared a fantastic brunch for us. Justin and Jo gave the grandmothers each a photo of them with Ziggy and each mother was presented with a beautiful rose. We sat and talked and ate for almost three hours, and then later in the evening we had the whole gang over to our casita for a southwest dinner of chili and polenta. Yesterday we packed and did the last little bit of work on Mirabelle and the garden. Then we all went out for sushi. We said our farewells to Jo’s parents after dinner. We have so enjoyed getting to know them and already look forward to the next time we get to see them. We ended our last evening in Santa Fe by being treated to desert at Justin and Jo’s-chocolate brownies fresh out of the oven with raspberries and Rice Dream ice cream. What a treat. We smothered Ziggy with hugs and kisses and said our goodbyes for now to Justin and Jo.

It’s time for take-off, so I’d better send this while I’m still connected to the internet. I’ll post another log when we reach Cape Cod.

Note: Actually I didn’t get to post this log before leaving Albuquerque, so it is being posted a couple of days later. We are now on Cape Cod. Our flights here went without a hitch from Albuquerque to Denver, Denver to Chicago, and Chicago to Providence. Heather, Jed, and Sam are doing great and we are already settled in here. I’ll write a log this weekend to update our activities since arriving here.

090508 New Mexico–Santa Fe Walkabout
090509 New Mexico–Trip to Taos
090510 New Mexico–Mother’s Day
090511 New Mexico–Last Week in Santa Fe
090511 New Mexico–Saying Farewell

US Land Logs 3, Year 4: Second Week in Santa Fe

US Land Logs 3, Year 4: Second Week in Santa Fe
Date: Monday, May 4, 2009
Weather: Sunny and Warm; PM Temps Hovering Around 70
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

This time last year we were just arriving in Australia after spending five months in the US. One month ago we were still in Phuket, Thailand, and had just gotten Windbird back in the water after her refit. I’m really having trouble believing that it has only been a month since we were in Phuket, but the calendar tells me this is true. How time does fly and this past week was no exception. This was the week of Mirabelle. Mirabelle is Justin and Jo’s 1973 bright yellow VW Beetle whose engine needed some serious help. Mark and Justin decided they could take the engine out and they did this working only in the afternoons on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, Jo’s parents rented a car to go to Albuquerque to pick up Jo’s sister Katherine, so Jo went along with Ziggy and Mirabelle’s engine which she traded in for a rebuilt. All Thursday afternoon, Mark and Justin followed the VW manual directions for reattaching everything to the engine and hoped to have it installed by the end of the day. But there was a hitch. A bolt coming out of the engine to which the heat exchanger would attach was the problem. The bolt was fine but the threads in the engine were stripped so the bolt could not attach anything. So Friday morning we rented a car and Mark took the engine into a local VW garage to have the machine work done. After talking to the mechanic, however, Mark made the decision to tow the car to the garage and have the mechanic do the engine installation. The installation will be on us, but Mark just felt that he couldn’t learn enough fast enough to do the job right. We still don’t have Mirabelle back, but hopefully she will return tomorrow in good working order.

Late Friday afternoon, Justin, Jo, and Ziggy played music at the art gallery where Jo’s art is on display. It was a lovely evening. Ziggy arrived attached to the front of Jo with the most amazing baby wrap I have ever seen. Jo just whips the Moby wrap around Ziggy and off they go. Ziggy slept attached to his mom while she and Justin played their music. Since both sets of grandparents and Jo’s sister were there, we finally convinced Jo that she must let us hold Ziggy. We all danced around with Ziggy and enjoyed the music. After the performance, Justin, Jo, and Ziggy came to our casita for dinner. It was the perfect end to a busy week. It had been such a busy week, however, that we all decided to take the weekend off. So Jo’s parents and sister headed to Albuquerque on the train while Mark and I just stayed close to home. I’m working desperately to get a pair of overalls embroidered for Ziggy and Mark can always find things to search on the internet. We did take a walk downtown on Saturday afternoon just to check out some of the shops, but that was the extent of our activity. On Sunday, Mark and I took the bus to Museum Hill. There are three museums there, but the most striking thing is the setting. The hill overlooks Santa Fe and gives a great view of the surrounding mountains. We walked more than halfway back to town just to enjoy the desert hilltop scenery. It is beautiful.

Sunday evening was the highlight of the week. Both sets of grandparents and Auntie Katherine all gathered at Justin and Jo’s for a Sunday night barbeque. Jo’s dad bought a tent gazebo for the backyard and he trekked from his casita through the neighborhood streets with the barbecue grill so we could grill out at Justin and Jo’s. We all sat under the gazebo and enjoyed Ziggy and a great dinner. We had fish, shrimp, chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and a salad. It was quite a feast and a great family gathering.

Week three in Santa Fe will be spent doing more gardening and all of the odd jobs that we started in week one and never finished. Thursday is Ziggy’s one month birthday, so we will certainly have to celebrate that in style. We are going to Taos on Saturday and spending Mother’s Day Sunday back here in Santa Fe. By this time next week, we will be packing our bags and getting ready to head to Albuquerque to catch our flight east. Then we start all over again getting ready for grandchild #3 on Cape Cod in June. It’s a wonderful life!

090502 New Mexico–Last Week of April in Santa Fe
090503 New Mexico–Sunday in Santa Fe