Thursday, May 2, 2019

Our Piece of Paradise!

Our piece of paradise .. just steps from the beach!
It’s been a while since I posted anything, so I figured I’d take a few minutes to update ya’ll with what we’ve been up to. In my last post I mentioned that we were ringing in the new year in Luquillo, Puerto Rico and spending the month of January there to escape the cold in Louisiana. Yes, it gets cold in the South, and we weren’t spending another Winter on our boat!

Anyway, it’s now the beginning of May and ... we’re in Puerto Rico! To sum things up, we went back to our boat on February 1st and came back to Puerto Rico on March 19th ... to buy a house on the beach in Luquillo!

Some folks may wonder if we’ve abandoned our dream of sailing “Nirvana” to the Bahamas. After almost 10 years of working on our sailboat, we’re not giving up on our dream. In fact, we feel bad for leaving our beloved boat, and we plan to sail her South this October. We were so close to sailing to the Bahamas this Summer, but sometimes you have to grab an opportunity when it arises.

We didn’t plan on switching gears and buying a house in Puerto Rico, but we fell in love with the surfer town of Luquillo, it’s beaches, and it’s people. As luck would have it, a house was for sale two doors down from the Air Bnb that we were staying at! The house wasn’t listed, but our host (the best) knew the owners wanted to sell the vacant house and he got us inside .. just hours before our flight home. The price was right, we made a verbal offer on the way to the airport, and we flew back to buy the house 5 days after our arrival back in Puerto Rico.

Since then, we’ve been busy finding a vehicle to buy (wasn’t easy when not knowing Spanish!), finalizing the paperwork on our house purchase (it’s a little different in Puerto Rico), and starting a ton of renovations on our house. It’s been about 5 weeks since we bought the house, and we’re just getting started. The language barrier mixed with “island time” can make things difficult, but I think we’re finally making some progress.

I can’t wait to show you “before & after” photos, but that probably won’t be till around July. Until then, here’s a few photos of the outside. The color is pretty plain, so we plan on painting our concrete     
piece of paradise a bright, tropical color. If you notice in the first photo at beginning of this
post and the 2nd photo below, we’re just steps from the beach. The photo was taken from our front porch!

The blue house is a hostel, and we love seeing all the visitors pass by to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. It’s hard to believe this is our house! The second photo below is from our rooftop, which shows the ocean, the river, and the untouched wildlife refuge to our right. It’s pretty amazing!

Our house is just past the farthest tower (condos). See all the untouched area?! This is just a peek of the miles of beaches that we can walk. The opposite direction has a couple of restaurants, but mainly houses. We’re glad that the beaches haven’t been ruined by miles of high rise buildings!

Here’s the left & right view of the beach at the end of our street ... lots of horses! 

From the wildlife reserve, you can barely see our house on the right of the river, next to the white two-story house. The two tall condos are barely seen at front right of photo. 

The beach away from the reserve and towards homes and a couple of restaurants ...

There’s so much more to share with you, but I have to get back to work. If you want to see more, check out our Puerto Rico album on our Facebook page, and watch for more new photos daily. Now that the secret is out, I can share them with you! 

One more thing .. if you wanna check out our house yourself, we’ll be renting it out once we’re done renovating. We gotta go sailing! 

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

2018 - Year In Review!

Wow, I can't believe we're well into February, 2019 and another year has flown by! I'm so far behind on my blog, but I don't wanna give up on my annual tradition of looking back on the past year. Not only is it a great way to keep track of our lives, but it always makes me feel grateful when I realize just how much we've done .. 2018 was no different. In fact, it was extra-special because we had a new addition to our family!

The year started off with a baby shower for our daughter at my mom's house. We were excited to celebrate the upcoming birth of our first grandchild .. a boy!

A couple of weeks later, Orson was born .. what a wonderful day!

With a healthy baby boy & Mother, we were able to uphold our annual tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras in the French Quarter with our friend, Judy.

We squeezed in a few boat projects before our next adventure, which included replacing our galley table and removing our old alcohol stove. We then added a new propane cooktop & had extra space for a microwave and storage underneath.  Another project off our list .. boat curtains!

With these projects done, we hopped on a plane in March to meet our friend in Key West!

Charlie invited us to join him on his Hylas 47' sailboat for a 3-day passage to Isla Mujeres, Mexico!

We had an amazing trip, and were excited to get some more work done on our boat for her own passages. The first big project was being able to use our new propane cooktop, which meant installing a propane system on Nirvana.

In July we took a road trip with our daughter, son-in-law & grandson to Indianapolis, Indiana for our daughter's graduation. She received her Master's in Education while teaching first grade and raising her new son .. we're so proud of her hard work!

Once we came home to Nirvana, we tackled a very stressful project .. an entire new battery system. We were so glad when all the research and work was done on this!

After many years in storage, we pulled out our "new at the time we put in storage" inflatable dinghy & Tohatsu motor. The dinghy didn't need much TLC, but the Tohatsu required some cleaning.

We installed a new Garhauer engine hoist to make raising "Mr. T" much easier .. we already love it!

With a list of boat projects still ahead, Ken added new 12 volt circuits throughout Nirvana. Running wire in a boat requires turning removing everything out of the way .. did a tornado hit?! With this done, we installed a few Caframo fans and outlets inside our lil home. 

All of this work made us want a good night's sleep .. meaning a new foam mattress in our v-berth!

We can't just focus on taking care of Nirvana .. we have to take care of ourselves as well. I noticed an unusual spot on my shoulder, which turned out to be basal cell carcinoma (a common skin cancer). I had it cut out, which required a few stitches. Everything healed well (looks much better now), and I'll continue to protect my skin from the sun with hats & clothing!

This lil guy spent the day with us after my "surgery" .. a great way to chill on the boat. We're really enjoying being grandparents!

In August, we did a very rare thing .. dressed up! Our daughter's father-in-law was elected as our city's new Mayor, and we went to the inauguration ball. My Dad (in pic below) & Step-Mom attended too, and it was fun to wear a dress & heels for the night.


As Summer came to an end, we continued to enjoy many sunsets and great times with our dock neighbors!

Just when we thought the rigger was done with small projects on the mast, we were told that our standing rigging was looking pretty rough .. another big project!

We took the rigger's advice and had him replace our standing rigging. We also (on our own) replaced our running rigging, installed new clutches, put our main sail back on, added retractable lazy jacks, and installed our new sail pack that had been in storage for a few years. Nirvana was finally looking like a sailboat again .. a great feeling after so many years!

We also had a new stainless steel bimini frame made to replace our flimsy aluminum frame. Again, we pulled out our "new" bimini top out of storage after many years.

After years (literally) we took Nirvana out for a sail in the lake. It was such a great feeling to be back out on the water .. on our own sailboat! The engine ran great, the main sail raised easily, and we loved our new lazy jacks and sail pack! Nirvana's almost a full sailboat again .. we just need to remove our roller furler to replace the forestay, then put the roller furler and head sail back on. We feel we've come a long way this Summer!

We were sorry to see Summer come to an end, as we were finally getting Nirvana ready to sail. We HATE the cold, and were not planning on spending another Winter in Louisiana. However, we ran out of time but not projects!

We decided to celebrate Thanksgiving & Christmas with family, then escape Winter for five weeks. We spent Thanksgiving in the country at my brother's place, and were so glad our daughter & her family were able to spend Thanksgiving with us. Our lil grandson is growing so fast!

Our 1st Christmas with our grandson .. what could be better?

On Christmas morning, we loaded up the gifts and headed to our daughter's house. We just love that smile!

While celebrating Christmas, we were prepping Nirvana to be alone for a while. We packed our few valuables and brought them to our daughter's house. To keep Nirvana well ventilated, we kept a fan running in the salon, raised our new v-berth mattress, & removed our settee cushions from the hull (stood them upright on bottom settee cushions). We also added a few generic "Damp-Rids" throughout Nirvana and wiped down the interior of the hull with vinegar. We contemplated winterizing Nirvana's engine, but we ran out of time! On December 29th, with two hours of sleep, we caught a cab at 3 o'clock in the morning to head to airport. Luckily, Nirvana never experienced any freezing while we were gone.

Where did we go for five weeks? We went to Puerto Rico! I'll have more posts about this soon, but we found a cheap Air Bnb in Luquillo. We'd never heard of this town, nor had we ever been to Puerto Rico. We weren't sure if this cheap Air Bnb would be a good thing .. or a bad. It turned out to be a great time, and a beautiful location! The beach and the river (photo below) is just steps away from our apartment! Puerto Rico was indeed a great way to escape Winter, end the year, and begin a new one. We've been to a lot of tropical places, but Puerto Rico is probably our favorite!

A "sand man" is always better than a "snow man"!

It's now past mid-February, Winter is almost over, and we're looking forward to more adventures in 2019 .. I think it's gonna be another great year!

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!
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