Thursday, June 23


Sorry it's been so long since we posted last. Jessi's been in Israel for almost 2 weeks traveling (come home now please!) , and so I haven't really been in a blog mood. But I decided I should post anyway.

Don't worry though, I have been keeping myself busy while she's been gone. Check it out.

I know I know... It looks like an open window. To you. But to me, it looks like success. Considering last week it looked like...

And it leaked... And it was stuck shut because there was a moss forest growing in the window track. (Some people call the "pilothouse" the "greenhouse" because it gets so hot... and apparently things grow quite well in there) So last weekend I "popped" out the windows, pulled out the old track, replaced it with new track, and put the window back in. Now it works swimmingly.

No window.

Replacing the track.

Taking all of that into account I'd say it looks more like success.

Oh, and did you notice that blue sky two pictures up? I think summer might be here. It keeps trying to arrive officially, but 2 days after every sunny day, it rains. Looking at the weather forecast, summer might finally win out. We had another gorgeous day like that today, and instead of boiling up some pasta for dinner I celebrated by throwing a filet mignon (Thanks Rob!) on the ole grill (Thanks 'Rents!) poured myself a glass of wine (Thanks Jessi!) and sat my ass out on the bow with the puppy and enjoyed the boat life.

See, I've been keeping myself busy.


Tuesday, June 14

Climb to Fight Breast Cancer

What a weekend! Some of you may remember that Tom and I were raising money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. After raising $3000 (Tom) and $2500 (me), on June 11-12 we attempted to summit Mt Hood. Thanks again to all of our generous donors!

On Friday we drove to Timberline Lodge at the base of Mt Hood and spent a windy night camped in their parking lot. At times the wind was so strong it made the truck shake! It did not bode well for the weekend...

On Saturday we woke up early and met the rest of the group for a day of snow school. We hiked up to a snowy patch on the lower mountain and got down to business. We learned a lot of very cool things, such as how to stop yourself from sliding down an icy slope head first and upside down (and yep, we got to practice that)! We learned that the pointy end of an ice axe is called the pick, and the blunt end is called an adz, and the hole in the adz that rope goes through is an adz hole. Heh, heh.

Snow school, with Hood lurking in the background (upper right)

Doug, our guide, is in the green pants

After snow school ended around 3 pm, we headed back to the Timberline Lodge for an early dinner and then hit the sack by 6:30 pm. Why so early to bed? Because we needed to wake up at 10:30 pm (you read that right) in order to start the climb!

Part of the climb involves a snowcat ride to the top of the ski lifts at 8500 ft. From there, you climb an additional 2700 ft to the top of Mt Hood. Or at least, that's the plan.

Our snowcat was scheduled to depart at midnight, and there was another group leaving at 2 am. Nine of us piled into the snowcat and headed up the mountain. It was snowing and blowing heavily. In short, the weather didn't look good. We arrived at 8500 ft, got out of the snowcat, and were immediately pummeled by winds and blowing snow.

Doug, the lead guide, gathered us all around and told us that although he didn't think there were any safety issues, it would be an uncomfortable climb and there were no guarantees we would summit. If people did not want to climb, they didn't have to. Four of the 9 climbers in our group got back in the snowcat and headed down without ever really setting foot on the mountain. The remaining 7 of us (5 climbers and 2 guides) headed out into the blizzard.

Gearing up in the blizzard

And we're off!

Why did we bother to climb in nasty weather? Well, first of all, we were there to climb. Even if there wasn't a chance at the summit, Tom and I didn't have any mountaineering experience and we wanted to see what it was actually like up there. But that's not all: the night before, 2 guides had summitted. Upon returning, they said that although the lower half of the mountain was stormy, once they hit 9500 ft they punched through the cloud layer and it was clear to the summit. We hoped we'd have the same luck.

The climbing was tough and we almost immediately put on crampons because the winds had blown most of the snow off the surface of the mountain, leaving behind an icy slope. One member of our group was particularly scared and uncomfortable (and honestly, I don't blame her). She kept hinting at wanting to head down, but never actually said she was done.

We continued to plod up the slope. We hit 9200 ft, and the clouds hadn't cleared. We pressed on to 9500 ft, where groups normally rope up (put on climbing harnesses and rope together for safety). And wouldn't ya know it, at 9500 ft, the sky miraculously opened up. Although the winds were still gusting up to 40 mph, we could see stars and the summit of Mt Hood. Things were looking good!

Doug gathered us around him again and spoke loudly, so we were sure to hear him over the howling wind. "I have something important to say and you all need to listen carefully. That edge over there that looks like it drops into the abyss? It does. Nobody go near it." We all squinted into the blowing snow and took note of the area Doug was talking about. Then we started to put on our harnesses.

As we roped up I looked around and noticed one of our guides was throwing up. He was so quiet about it that I wouldn't have noticed except that his headlamp was turned on, creating an inadvertent spotlight on his sickness. Once he finished, it was decided: the sick guide needed to head down, and he would take the scared girl with him. That left 5 of us: Tom and I, Tim (a guy from CO who had raised over $40,000!), Denise (a quietly determined mother of 3), and Doug, our guide.

And then there were 5 (4 + the photographer)

We started heading up towards Crater Rock. After ascending another 500 ft, the clouds moved in again. One second we could clearly make out the Big Dipper, and in another second the stars and summit were obscured. Doug shouted down the rope that it was time to turn back. Until that point, the wind and snow and lack of visibility had been uncomfortable, but not dangerous. And when the sky cleared briefly at 9500 ft, summitting had actually seemed possible. However, we were reaching a height on the mountain where white-out conditions could be very dangerous, and the worsening weather meant we had to head back. (Later we learned that the 2 a.m. snowcat ride was cancelled altogether. The snowcat driver said conditions were just too nasty to get the snowcat up, let alone drop off a group of climbers.)

We made it to Crater Rock at 10,000 ft. Click the image to enlarge.

Tom and I heading down.

We had brought along prayer flags signed by climbers in the group. Many climbers dedicated a flag to someone they know who had breast cancer. Ideally, we would have brought these flags to the summit. Although we never made it to the top, we stopped around 6 am as the sun attempted to break through the clouds, and took a picture with the prayer flags.

It was a good reminder of why we were doing this climb. Although we didn't summit, we are proud to have raised so much money for breast cancer research, and we are proud to have stuck with the climb until weather turned us back.


p.s. Of course, the very next day around 11 a.m., here's what the mountain looked like:

Where were those clear skies when we needed 'em?

Wednesday, June 8

What's in a name?

I was looking back through our old posts, and I realized that about a year ago, I promised to explain how we chose "Sea Change" for our name - but then I never did. Just in case anyone thinks we're trying to make a clever reference to money (not at all), I want to clarify the meaning of Sea Change. Be forewarned, I'm about to geek out. What else do you expect from a girl who dates a Navy nerd?

Anyway, Sea Change is the name of a book by Sylvia Earle. Earle is one of the best, and best-known, female marine biologists in the world. I first read Sea Change at the age of 12, just after taking a trip to Sea World. That book, along with the trip to Sea World, pretty much sealed the deal for me: I was going to be a marine biologist.

The book isn't what we named the boat after, though. It's just what made me familiar with the term "sea change:"

sea change
  1. A change caused by the sea: “Nothing of him that doth fade,/But doth suffer a sea change” (Shakespeare).
  2. A marked or profound transformation: “The script suffered considerable sea changes, particularly in structure” (Harold Pinter).
In her book, Earle explains that a sea change is needed in terms of the health of the world's oceans, and that these changes can't be made without also changing the world-view about aquatic conservation issues. In other words, Earle believes that ignorance is a major threat to the sea and the future of mankind. So go buy the book and educate yourself!

And now I'll step down off my soap box and get back to the name of the boat. For us, the boat is a sea change in several ways: First of all, moving on to the boat was our first time moving in together. (Crazy, aren't we? That's why we have a 48' boat! Anything smaller might have been relationship suicide!:) So moving in together in itself was a marked transformation in our lives.

"Making the break" from land to sea was also a big change. Although living on a boat seems normal now, I remember how frustratingly different everything was at the beginning (What do you mean we have to fill up the water tanks to run laundry? What's that smell? And what the hell is dripping on my head?... Did I say in the beginning? OK, it can still be frustratingly different at times.). Not only was moving aboard a boat a profound lifestyle change, but in a way it was also a change brought about by the sea. Perfect!

And finally, we'd like to think that the boat itself is undergoing a transformation. No, we have not completely restored it. But, we are making changes one step at a time. In a few years, we hope it will look dramatically different.

So there you have it: the story behind the name.

But I can't end this entry without mentioning one more reference to "sea change" that is also quoted in the definition above. From Shakespeare:

"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made:
Those pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange."


Tuesday, June 7

Happy Anniversary!

YAY! We've been blogging for exactly one year! Happy birthday to us!

And it took me all that time to finally get the name of the boat actually put onto the boat.

We decided on Sea Change in July of last year, ordered signs a couple of months ago, I varnished them for about a month, and now... (dramatic music)

Ta Da!

A close up

Finally, other boaters can hail us to let us know we are about to collide with them, and they can use our real name!


Saturday, June 4


Look, we're famous:

In the May issue of Sea Magazine, our blog was quoted for the cover article about marina security. They used quotes and stories from our "There goes the neigborhood" posting. Yay us!

Here's a sneak peek of where we are quoted. If you wanna read the rest, go to your news stand and buy it now (it's still available)! Click on the pics below to view larger versions.


Cover Posted by Hello

Page 2 Posted by Hello

Page 5 Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 2

Ghost Sailor

This is why I love the liveaboard community.

Last night we visited another liveaboard couple here in Seattle. They are leaving today for a 2 week trip up to the San Juans, yet even though we barely know each other, they still took time out of prepping for their trip to host us for dessert and answer all of our "We have no clue what we are doing" questions... . It was wonderful! We had a really nice time with Scott and Angela and their two adorable kids (Zak and Ellie - the "swabbies" according to their website). We were treated like family, just for our common interest.

Scott, Angela, Zak and Ellie

The Swabbies

We chit chatted about our boats, our jobs, ate some cake and then got down to business. Scott pulled out the charts and started gushing information. This is their favorite anchorage in the San Juans, and beware of the Admiralty Inlet ripping tides, and you have to go here, and have to go there! 5 years of cruising covered in one night. I know I remembered and wrote down about a quarter of that info (I guess we'll just have to get together again sometime!). They were so amazingly hospitable and helpful.

So, thank you Ghost Sailors and have fun in the San Juans... Bon Voyage!

Ghost Sailor on the way to the SJIs