“41 Days Until TACOS!”
This is the text I receive from Andrew one day while he is in San Diego, working with Sonrisa in the boat yard to complete some last minute systems maintenance, repair, installation or upgrades. For at least the last year, he has been counting down the days for street tacos in Mexico.
I’m getting excited, too, but I am also harboring a low level vibration of anxiety about that little number before the tacos -- 41. I have 41 days to finish up about a million little tiny projects. As we tell more and more people, one question keeps coming up. "Are you ready?" In response, I say: "Yes, pretty much. All the big stuff is taken care of (I know how to sail and I own a seagoing sailboat - what else do I need to do?) now we just have odds and ends." Odds and Ends.
But what are the odds and ends one must wrap up to cast off from a land based life to a voyage at sea? To this point I’ve been fretting about quitting our jobs and wrapping up those responsibilities, but this weekend I realized that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you think about one must do to move from land to land, that’s a great place to start. Things need to be packed, stored and secured. The responsibility for the garden shifted to someone else. Contact information updated and changed. Cell phone numbers adjusted, utilities cancelled. All these same things have to occur.
This weekend, my focus is on the house. I am working on figuring out the legal and tax ramifications of leasing the house, furnished, to a friend of ours. Everyone does this at some point with a property they own, it can't be difficult. Set up an LLC, a lease, transfer the property to the LLC... But wait, did you think about the tax consequences? What about Landlord Insurance? Commercial or individual? I'll get all that figured out eventually. I empty out the entire office of all of our personal stuff and either took it to Goodwill, boxed it for storage, or threw it away. That took a while because it involved moving all of our photo albums. I can't help but get distracted. One room down, the rest of the house to go. There are stacks and stacks of clothing still yet to go to good will. Oh, and I still need to figure out what to do with the piano. The piano needs to be moved.
Now, what about the stuff that needs to get done to go to sea?
As this blog progresses, I will undoubtedly fill you in on the details of all the big and little things we did over the last ten years to get ready for this trip. All in good time. For now, we focus on the odds and ends. Aboard Sonrisa, Andrew is going through the boat and analyzing any little part or piece that is not adequately tacked down and may become a flying projectile at sea. This list is largely comprised of those last minute maintenance items that have been nagging me, making me worry about our safety or Sonrisa’s seaworthiness.
Probably the two most serious items on this list is securing the batteries with large dyneema chords anchored into Sonrisa’s hull and stretched over the top of the batteries, to add a layer of protection to make sure those 100 lbs blocks of lead do not kill one of us if Sonrisa were to turn turtle. This is unlikely, but of course possible. We need to be prepared.
The second odd/end Andrew is working on is refining the construction of an air vent that seems to be angled at the right and most perfect position to scoop an onboarding wave directly into her engine room.
“I cannot figure out how this air vent can possibly be positioned like it is, and not scoop gallons and gallons of water into the engine room with a boarding wave. Why is it like this!?” Andrew has asked me this question every single weekend since we purchased Sonrisa three years ago. While this air vent has obviously served Sonrisa’s purposes fine enough since 1982, Andrew decides to close it up and move it to a more protected spot. Again, it is a small, odd little task, but something that will seem of undue importance the day that the engine room with its electrical breakers, batteries, fuel pumps and filters, engine, and other key life systems on Sonrisa is doused in saltwater.
Apparently, he also installed the highly necessary (and fake) parrot named Sergio to keep watch over his duties.
My job – in addition to figuring out the house – is to shore up the medical kit. I am submitting prescriptions for all manner of ills to my favorite pharmacist requesting antibiotics for a series of potential different infections, pain medicines, muscle relaxers, medicines to handle extreme allergies, seasickness, anxiety, creams to handle burns…you name it, our medical kit needs it. I need to buy over the counter items as well – braces and splints for bones, ankles, IV kits, syringes, kits for giving ourselves stitches, saline solutions, solutions for eye washes, on down to the simple things like vitamins, band aids, cold medicine and the like. Much of this is contained in an offshore medical kit you can buy online, but there are many other things we need to supplement. I’m working my way through that list.
I had to practice my French, figure out a plan to sell my car, set up some blog posts, learn how to add a subscription button, go to a baby shower, design a "Boat Business Card," fret about the fact that we still have no ideas for what to bring along as gifts for the people we meet (frisbees?, light, compact and fun?), and last but not least, ingest my first dose of Typhoid.
"Would you like a side of Typhoid with your tea? Oh, why yes, thank you very much."
We had our final appointment with our favorite vaccination nurse on Thursday. She sent us home with two packs of four pills each containing weakened, but live Typhoid. We have to take one every other day on an empty stomach. You can get a shot, but the protection from the shot only lasts a couple years, whereas if you ingest typhoid and get it moving into your small intestine, then the protection lasts five years. I can see the benefit to this, so bottom's up!
At this point, I have a feeling forty-one days will fly by, and each one will be filled from top to bottom with things we have to get done.