Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 - Year In Review!


We knew that 2017 would be the year that we started traveling a lot more .. but we had no idea that our travels would be on land AND add to our cruising kitty.  Life is full of surprises if you're willing to keep an open mind.

2017 started off with a "plunge" in Austin, Texas during a New Year's getaway with our daughter & son-in-law.  It was definitely an exhilarating way to kick off the new year!

We then jumped right into more boat projects and then Mardi Gras in New Orleans .. along with lots of King Cake & "adult" beverages!


Mardi Gras in the French Quarter NEVER gets old!


After even more boat projects, we were ready for another tradition ... Ken's participation in an annual "Crawfish Cook-Off" at our friend's place.  Ken's won a couple of times .. always delicious and fun!


With plans of moving out of our rented 1-bedroom condo and onto Nirvana, we took the opportunity to rent a beach condo with family for six months in nearby Bay St. Louis to ease the transition. While we loved the beach condo, we didn't spend nearly as much time at the beach as we'd hoped. Boat projects and work seemed to get in the way, but we enjoyed the times with family that we did spend there.



Our first weekend at the beach condo was spent celebrating Mother's Day (with crawfish, of course)  .. and the fact that we'd just turned over the keys to the condo we'd been renting.  We were now primarily going to live on Nirvana!


The next day, we spent our first night on Nirvana! Our daughter & son-in-law visited us, and our new lil home was warm & cozy. We had FINALLY become liveaboards!


Our first few weeks as liveaboards were spent at the boatyard we'd been working in for over a year, but we didn't mind.  We were on a boat!


We then motored our boat further South on Lake Pontchartrain to a local marina. Our daughter & son-in-law came along for the ride and it was an exciting time for us. Being on the water again after such a long time was a great feeling .. especially since we had no motor problems!


The marina is much more scenic!


Nirvana looks pretty good in her new slip!


That first night at the marina seemed so magical .. we weren't cruising yet, but we were finally starting to experience the first taste of our dreams!


Another highlight of this year was on Father's Day at the beach condo, when we learned that we're gonna be grandparents in February, 2018!


The summer's heat came upon us quickly, as well as the pressure of getting Nirvana ready for cruising.  We made Nirvana our home, and tackled a few projects while trying not to melt!


Although we loved living on Nirvana, we yearned for some fun and a break from the brutal heat.  Mexico was calling!



We had a great time in Isla Mujeres & Cancun, and had visions of when we'd sail Nirvana to Mexico someday soon. We even swam with whale sharks! Shortly after arriving home, we set off again to Helen, Georgia with our daughter & son-in-law to view the full solar eclipse in August. It's a rare event and we love time with the kids, so we couldn't pass up the invite.

Guess which tent is ours? .. LOL!


Helen turned out be a great little town, and we even went tubing!


The eclipse turned out to be better than we'd expected .. things turned dark & the crickets got confused & started chirping!


With the birth of our first grandchild coming in February, Ken & I changed our plans of cruising in November, 2017. We decided to stay around until the baby was born and move our cruising date back to April or May of 2018.  With this in mind & lots of hurricane activity in Texas & Florida, we decided to apply at a nearby company that hires insurance adjusters.  We didn't have a license, but with all the hurricanes we hoped that we'd get hired. After applying online in September, we were packing and headed to Birmingham almost overnight!

Ken & I left Nirvana in a hurry, getting rid of all the food and making sure she was secured. Thankfully, we made some great friends at the dock (yes, the cruising community really is full of great folks) and one in particular took good care of Nirvana while we were away .. thanks Charlie!


After being away almost 3 months on an adventure taking us from Alabama to Georgia to Florida .. then California, Nevada, Arizona & Texas,
we arrived back to Nirvana the first week of December. 

We arrived just in time for Winter and the first snow we've seen in years! I'm not gonna lie .. living on a boat in the Winter is no fun. We are already sick of the cold & can't wait till Spring!

Luckily, December had a baby shower, ultrasound and Christmas to keep us occupied during the cold weather. Being away from family for 3 months gave us a glimpse of what it will be like cruising. We missed the baby reveal party (it's a boy!) and the first ultrasound while we were away. Although we used Skype during these events, it was incredibly difficult to not be there for our daughter. While we hated to come home to cold weather, time with our family has made it worth it. Our daughter definitely has a "baby bump" now, and it was so cool to see our lil guy in a 4-D ultrasound!



They've come a long way with ultrasounds. Look at little man at around 7 months!


We visited New Orleans to see the Christmas lights, and even had some just outside of our cockpit!



We celebrated Christmas at my brother & sister-in-law's place (that's them in front with their cute grandkids), and ate way too much!


New Year's Eve was spent watching football at my mom's before heading back to Nirvana for the New Year. We were home & in for the night around 8 o'clock, since high winds & freezing temperatures weren't sounding too comfortable to us.  We ran the heater, turned on the electric blanket & woke up just before midnight to watch all of the fireworks through Nirvana's ports. Luckily for us, there are a lot of folks who don't mind standing in freezing weather & watching their money blow up in the sky!

I always enjoy writing these yearly review posts, as every year is full of unexpected events and lots to be thankful for. While yet another year went by without us leaving the dock, we had a year of great experiences, new places, and new friends. That's what it's about, right? We also became liveaboards & future grand-parents, which is a pretty big deal to us!

I didn't have time to keep up with our blog while handling insurance claims, but I plan to write more about our time in Cancun, the solar eclipse, and our explorations in California, Vegas & Arizona. Ken & I had never been to California or Arizona before, and we were able to see a ton of places while we were working, and even more while taking the long way home along the Pacific Coast Hwy.

Here's looking forward to a new year, and new adventures to come ... Bahamas or Bust in 2018!

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

6 comments:

Emily said...

I'm so glad you had such a full and fulfilling 2017. Lots of changes, moves forward, and exciting times for you, Ken, and your family! Our 2017 sucked, frankly (almost no travel, losing my husband's father, and my bike accident, among other things), so we are hopeful that 2018 will be MUCH better. Onward and upward, right?! Enjoyed your wrap-up post. Happy New Year!

The Cynical Sailor said...

What a fantastic 2017 you guys had. Wishing you a wonderful 2018 :-)

Jo Kowal Vose said...

sooooo exciting.. and wonderful reading about your plans and it all coming together!! I hope soon you will be sailing to Panama to come visit!!!!

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Ken n Cheryl said...

Anonymous .. I've always used Blogger. It's easy, so I've been happy with it. To be honest, I set the layout a long time ago so I don't remember exactly which one I had chosen. However, Blogger has quite a few formats to choose from. Best of luck!

Emily, hope 2018 is a lot better for you! I know that you had your share of challenges in 2017.

Cynical Sailor, thanks and hope you have a fantastic 2018! Hope to see you "out there" someday!

Jo, we can't wait to see you in Panama!

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