Flying and grounding

It was time for our sejourn on the Pacific Coast to come to an end. We decided to make the return to San Jose a grand adventure by flying on one of the local Costa Rican airlines. There are several flights a day with Nature Air to get from Quepos/Manuel Antonio to San Jose. It wasn’t really that much more expensive than hiring a driver to take us in a car, and we were super excited to see the Costa Rican landscape from the air in a small plane.
And when I say small plane, I mean small, as in very WEE! It only seats 10 people, and, as it turned out we were the only 2 passengers on board! So we got the best seats available, right behind the pilots.

Of course Cap’t K was so excited, as he is a true lover of flight. I was excited too, although I have to say I was also very scared. Especially when we hit some turbulence coming over a ridge of mountains and we practically all hit our heads on the ceiling of the plane! But the view was fantastic, and it was thrilling to be so high in the air in such a small aircraft. I don’t think we stopped smiling the whole time, which wasn’t really very long….the flight only last about 30 minutes!

Lala getting on our "private" charter flight

Flying over the fabulous mountains

All in all, we were thrilled with our little experience and would gladly ride on Nature Air again.

Once we were back in San Jose, we reconnected for a few days with our sweet friend Eileen, staying at a little bed and breakfast for a few days that is owned by a friend of hers. Then we got to move into our new “casita” in Ciudad Colon, where we will be staying put until after the birth of the baby. Ciudad Colon is a cute little town on the outskirts of San Jose, right on the edge of the mountains. The little house where we are staying is literally on the edge of a steep mountain ridge, and on the edge of town. It’s a great location that makes you feel like you are way out in nature, but yet town is just a kilometer away.

The house is basic, and yet has everything we need to be comfortable, including a hammock on the porch! Here is what it looks like:

Our "new house"!

Kitchen and living area of our casita

Shortly after we settled in we met with our new midwife that we have decided to use for the birth.

My new birthing team, Natalie and Rebecca!

Her name is Rebecca and she came out to visit us along with our doula, or birth assistant, Natalie. I think that between these two fine women, the outstanding Cap’t K, and the doctor we met with a few weeks ago in San Jose as back-up (as well as the owner of the property, who is a retired midwife and doctor) I have an excellent birthing support team!! I feel so grateful and happy to get “nested” now in this nice comfy place knowing that our plan is in place.

Even though Costa Rica is known for adventure travel such as ziplining, hiking, etc, we are not here for that reason….I at least, am relaxing and laying low more than I probably ever have in my whole life! And loving it!

Takin’ it easy in Costa Rica

Here we are in beautiful Costa Rica!

In keeping with our desire to have this experience in Costa Rica be about easeful retreat in preparation for the birth of our child, we have chosen a different way to travel than we normally do. We have been taking the easy route, relaxing as much as possible, keepin’ it simple. All my life I have traveled off the beaten path and was proud of being able to rough it. Camping, backpacking, sailing on a tiny boat, suffering… But not this time. I’m 8 months pregnant and all about cushiness and relaxation! For example, even though we took the cheap-o red eye flight down here, we made arrangements ahead of time to have a driver waiting for us at the airport to take us to our hotel(and bring our suitcases upstairs) the first night. No stressful car rentals or driving for us! (travel tip if you are going to Costa Rica for the first time: do not try to rent a car in San Jose. It’s just not worth the stress of driving in a place with no street signs. Cabs are not that expensive. Just get a cab.)

Our first day in Costa Rica was spent taking care of the most important business at hand — getting ourselves established with a doctor and hospital here. We had planned in advance to go with an American OB/GYN doctor and a private American style hospital in San Jose. We also decided to hire an American doula, or birth assistant, to help us navigate our way through the health system here as well as be present for the birth, assisting us in whatever way we need. We immediately loved the doula, and felt at ease and confident about working with her. The doctor we felt a little less enthusiastic about, although he is definitely competent and friendly. Now that we are here, we are going to investigate a few other care providers as well.

The next day we headed for our first destination, a small town called Uvita on the Southern Pacific Coast. We traveled with a small group of people who were also headed to the event we were going to, a small fire circle festival called ForestDance. ForestDance was being held at a retreat center called Selva Armonia. What a lovely place! Located on a steep mountainside with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean, Selva Armonia featured beautifully designed permaculture gardens in a lush jungle setting. They are completely powered by solar energy and the buildings were unique open structures made of bamboo and cob.

The main lodge space at Selva Armonia

And the ForestDance event turned out to be a nourishing feast of soul food, with beautiful, loving people creating music, dancing, and sacred ceremony together for a whole week. Just what we had been craving!

2 of the beautiful musicians at ForestDance, playing a magical musical instrument called the hung.


They even had a special ceremony one night to bless us and our baby. I don’t know if I have ever felt so honored and blessed in my life. Our baby received some very special energy there that I’m sure will affect him as we prepare for his entrance into the world!

After ForestDance ended, we traveled with our dear friend Eileen up to the area around Manuel Antonio National Park. We found a fabulous little rental apartment in Quepos, a small town on the coast. We had a 2 bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the ocean, as well as a sweet little swimming pool and patio area in our “front yard”. It was delightful!

The sweet view from our apartment at Quepos!

I had injured my foot quite badly on our last day at Selva Armonia, and I was hobbling around painfully the whole week, barely able to put any weight on my foot at all. So I barely left the property the whole week, instead lounging by the pool and taking it super easy. Cap’t K started calling me Gimpy Blimpy, since I wasn’t moving around all that easily even before I hurt my foot due to my ballooning belly, which is really huge at this point!

One day we all went on a touristy boat ride, just to be able to GET OUT ON THE WATER, which of course we miss. (although I’ve been thrilled to be enjoying the comforts of a real house, like a big bed, hot water, and flat floors) The giant catamaran tour took us out in the ocean where we were likely to see humpback whales and dolphins. We had the treat of seeing a mama and a baby humpback whale jumping out of the water and splashing their tails.

a whale's tail!


The coastline near Manuel Antonio

Lala with our friend Eileen

On our last day we did make an effort to go out and visit the famed Manuel Antonio National Park, which is the most popular national park in Costa Rica and reputedly “one of the most beautiful places in the world”. There are two stunning beaches there, surrounded by lush jungle and populated by monkeys, blue morpho butterflies, amazing birds, and hundreds of other species of fabulous creatures. The highlight of the day for me was getting to see a 3-toed sloth.

Our new friend the happy sloth

What a charming animal. You can’t help but fall madly in love with them! I felt a particular affinity to it’s slow moving nature, since the heat and my late pregnancy status has been making me feel VERY slow indeed!

The walk through the park turned out to be bit much for me, and I was completely exhausted by the time we made it to the beach, but it was worth it to swim in the ocean on one of the most idyllic tropical beaches in the world!

Lala looking super preggers on the beach!

We’re back. A long overdue update with exciting news!

Well where do I start? It’s been months and months since our last post. Readers, I’m sorry we abandoned you. Life sort of got in the way and we got sucked into the daily grind of working and it seemed like there just wasn’t anything going on that was worthy of a blog post anymore.

But actually, that was only partially true. We did get sucked into the humdrum of working full time jobs and surrendering to a boring routine of going to work, buying groceries, taking out the trash, fixing the dinghy motor, going out occassionally with friends, watching stupid movies at night, and trivial daily crap that in many ways was not worthy of blogging about. AND, there were ALSO such big and important things going on that we didn’t even know how to write about them, and we became paralyzed for awhile about how to convey our journey to you, our readers.

For our journey, though it has recently not included much sailing or traveling, has indeed continued in profound ways. While we thought we were working towards our “plan”, which was to save up money to take our boat cruising to the Carribbean and Central America, God had other things in mind for us.

In August we found out that a Wee One had decided to join us in our adventures!

Yes, that’s right, we are expecting a baby!

It’s an exciting surprise for all of us!

Here is a brief sidenote for those of you who may have wondered silently what our situation was regarding having or not having children. I, Lala, am the mother of a wonderful boy named Diego, who was killed in 2002 in a tragic car accident at the age of 6. That is another huge, profound story and journey entirely that I don’t go into here. Cap’t K and I tried for quite some time to conceive a child together. After several miscarriages and a ticking biological clock, it seemed that maybe we were not destined to be parents, and so we decided to go off on a sailing adventure instead. We went through quite a process of removing ourselves from the “rat-race” lifestyle, giving ourselves a certain “unstable freedom” that may not be viewed by some as compatible with raising children. And then….surprise! A little soul has finally chosen us, and decided that now is the time to enter this world through us.

And so it is that we are on a journey to become parents together.

So now what? The thought occurred to us that maybe we should get a house and a car and steady jobs and settle down and be “normal” people again. But, to be honest, even though that lifestyle definitely has it’s merits at times, the thought of settling down in that way was pretty revolting to both of us, and we started scheming of creative ways to continue our adventures with the addition of the Wee One.

And, after working our butts off for a year in St. Augustine with the goal of going travelling, we didn’t want to just give that all up and stay put in boring Florida. But travelling and living on a small sailboat while pregnant/with a newborn seemed like a bit too much even for us adventurous souls. It seemed that some sort of break from living on our boat was in order. Then, one day a friend planted a seed in our minds. He said “Did you know that if you give birth to your baby in Costa Rica, the baby will automatically get dual citizenship and the parents can qualify for permanent residency?” Hmmmmmm, no we didn’t know that, but hey, that sure is a nice idea…..

After leaving New England in part due to the cold weather, and after having lived in Florida for a year and found it not to be our dream location, we had been brainstorming about places to live or visit that had a specific list of criteria:
1. Mountains AND ocean
2. warm climate
3. good food and water
4. like minded people
5. affordable

Hmmmm……Costa Rica fits that description perfectly. Maybe we should check it out!
At first it sounded downright crazy…..going to a foreign country where we barely know anyone to give birth?! But there were many things that were tempting about it, as well, and we couldn’t quite get the idea out of our minds. So we began researching the option of going to Costa Rica for the birth of our baby. And, to make a long story short, we decided to do it.
We decided this for two main reasons: we wanted to give ourselves several months of relaxed retreat together to fully enjoy this special time, AND we want to secure the option of being able to live in Costa Rica as residents in the future if we so choose.

Next came several months of preparation to leave the United States and set up a temporary residence in Costa Rica for 3 months.
That preparation included continuing to work our butts off to save money, as well as a long list of things to get in order to be away. One of the main goals was to finally sell our first boat, Wee Happy. The sale of this boat had been delayed many months by a long list of random things, and it was getting down to the wire to sell it before our departure in mid-February. I was worried that it may take months to sell and that we wouldn’t be able to do it before we left. After all, boats in this economy don’t just sell in a week, right?!

Wrong! Within an hour of the listing going up on the internet, we were flooded with inquiries. The very first one was from a young couple who happened to be nearby and who wanted to come look at the boat the next day. They came and looked at it, and made an offer to us the very next day. We felt that they were a perfect couple to take over possession of the legendary Wee Happy, and everything lined up in such a way that the sale was completed in only a few days! Wee Happy was sold in under a week!!

Detail after detail fell into place, including the other 2 big questions of “What to do with our cats and our boat while we are gone?” Cats as special as ours needed a special kind of situation, with someone who appreciated how awesome they are and who could give them the love and attention they deserved. And our boat, well, that is another long story, but to make it short we were either going to put it in storage on the hard in a boat yard, or keep it on a mooring ball. And then the perfect solution presented itself: our dear friends Syd and Heather have a daughter who LOVES cats and needed a cheap place to live. Voila! We found a great cat sitter AND boat sitter in one by offering her a place to live on our boat with our sweet kitties while we are away.

But what about the pirate ship and the great jobs we had working on the water? Well, let’s just say that all good things have their end, and those jobs were great fun and an awesome experience while they lasted, but it was time to move on! And let’s face it, a corset with a belted sword just doesn’t go well with a pregnant belly!

So it all lined up and we managed to get ourselves off our boat and onto a plane to Costa Rica, where we are currently enjoying an abundance of fresh tropical fruit and views of the ocean from a lush mountainside! More details about our experience in Costa Rica will be coming in the next blog posts.

Also, please note that we have now decided to have our primary blog be located at www.weehappy.com. “Wee Happy” is more than just a boat name (and the boat formerly known as Wee Happy is continuing her adventures under a different name). Wee Happy reflects our philosophy of living happily with less, of appreciating the little things, and NOW, it also will include the addition of the Wee One as a new member of our happy family!

Workin….

Well, we are still here, working away the summer.  So far it has been too much work and too little play.  Even what seems like an exciting job, like working on a pirate ship, gets old when you do it a lot.  And the pirate ship has more drama going on behind the scenes than a reality tv show, and that is getting old too. 

Our plans to go traveling this winter in our boat are feeling intangible and far away at the moment.  Our efforts to put away a bunch of cash is progressing more slowly than we had hoped. 

But even though I may be feeling burnt out from working 6-7 days a week at two jobs, Capt K finally has a new exciting job that he is enjoying a lot.  And how could he not?  He gets to take a fun sporty boat out in search of dolphin and wildlife sightings!  How cool of a job is that?  He is working for an ecotour company that takes small groups out on sightseeing expeditions in the waters around St. Augustine.  He truly is Capt K now!

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In other news, we have been housesitting for the last week and have been thouroughly spoiled by having a/c, a huge bathroom, and wonderful things like floors and countertops.  It has been a nice break from the boat, almost too nice.  Although we love our boat, we are a bit sick of living on it right now.  We might need a longer break than a week….but even though the idea of renting a studio apartment is appealing, it would slow down our money saving plan even more. 

So it goes.  We are cruisers in the drudgery of waiting to go cruising.

Workin, workin

I know some of you may be wondering why we haven’t been posting much lately….the reason is plain and simple.  We have been working a lot and there doesn’t feel like much to report.  Even a job as “exciting” as working on a pirate ship gets routine when you do it every day.  There is enough “drama” on the pirate ship with the crew and management for a reality tv show, although even that gets old…

Captain K, however has a fun new job that he is enjoying.  He is working as a captain for Ecotours, a small excursion company that takes out small groups to look at wildlife.  What a cool job!!!  He is learning a lot and getting to see a lot of rare dolphin and manatee encounters. The other day he got to hang out with a whole group of mating manatees! How romantic! Well, not really….but interesting!

Although we have our goal of saving money to sail to the Carribean/ Central America this winter, at the moment that feels vague and far away. We are just plodding along trying to beef up our bank account, which is not happening as fast as we had hoped.

We did have a one week respite from living on our boat. We got to housesit for a wonderful lady who has graciously let me set up my floor loom, which I use for weaving, in her house. So we not only got to luxuriate in air conditioning, but I also got to weave to my heart’s content! Here is a bit of what I’ve been weaving:

We fully appreciated the marvels of a house, with all it’s wonders such as countertops and floors. Our cats came along too, and made friends with the dog we were taking care of! Truth be told, as much as we love our boat, we are a bit sick of living on it right now. If we were traveling it would be one thing, but just living on it while working is making it feel small…

There you have it, the drudgeries of cruisers waiting to go cruising.

downsizing phase 5

We are in yet another phase of “lightening our load”.  Last summer we put the stuff that had made it through at least 4 rounds of downsizing.  This is the best of the few belongings we still have, the things we just could not bear to get rid of.  It has been sitting in a storage unit for almost a year, waiting for us to figure out what in the heck we were going to do with it.  Last month we came up with a plan a, plan b, c, and d for how to get the stuff out of the storage unit in upstate New York.  Cap’t K went to New York for his sisters graduation ceremony and through a crazy set of intense and unusual circumstances came back with a rental van full of our stuff. image

We stuffed it all in another storage unit and now face the daunting task of downsizing once again. Along with that comes the question “how much more do we want to downsize?” “Is it worth it to keep stuff we MIGHT need someday!” At what point is the value of our sentimental possessions that we aren’t using but don’t want to get rid of not worth saving anymore?
We haven’t quite answered these questions yet. At the moment we are so busy working we don’t have much time to do much else anyway! But hey, now that we have a storage unit here we can offload some extra crap off our boat and put it there!

Vacation!

We have had the pleasure of having Capt Ks sister and her boyfriend here visiting for the last few weeks. 

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We took a little vacation and sailed our boat to our favorite nearby spot – Cumberland Island.  Wow was it good to get our boat out sailing!  We had an epic overnight sail there.  For once all conditions aligned in our favor –  perfect wind, calm seas, a gorgeous full moon.  We even timed our exit and entrance of the inlets to be in daylight and it worked.  We even made it all the way to the anchorage under sail alone.  It was awesome!!
We spent 3 days enjoying the island.  We encountered a lot of rain but overall it was a sweet time.  Here a few pics:

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Trevor relaxes with a cold one.

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Sarada meets a newborn wil horse!!  This horse was not well however, and we sadly discovered later that he did not make it.

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One of the biggest live oaks on the island.

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The magnolia trees were still blooming!

In the midst of tropical storm beryl

 

Click the triangle above to play.

Life is Good

Life is good right now.  Things are looking up.  We are happily in love, we are enjoying being in St. Augustine, and doors have been opening for us.  We are grateful!

Here’s a few of the highlights of what feels good right now:

Cap’t K is officially a Captain now, having passed his exam with flying colors!  He is already training in for an exciting new job using his Captian’s license.  It is with a local tour company that does eco-tours in the local area with a variety of small boats.  He is on his way to living the dream of getting paid to go out sailing!

I am thrilled to report that I have miraculously scored a free weaving studio in the Lightner Building, which is a gorgeous historic building here in St. Augustine.  It is a 5 minute walk from the marina.  I’m doing some volunteering with the St. Augustine Textile Guild, and in exchange I am getting access to their studio space that has a fully functional floor loom in it!  I have been an avid weaver for over 10 years, and for me, the single hardest thing about moving onto a boat has been that I have not been able to weave on my floor looms, which are sadly in storage.  Now, for the first time in several years, I have SPACE and a loom to work on!  I’m going over there every spare minute I have and loving it!

Here is the courtyard of the Lightner Building, where “my” studio is:

Beautiful, huh?!?

And here is some fabric I’m weaving right now:

Like I said, life is good.  The weather has been basically nice every day, although it is starting to get a bit hot.  We better get used to it — hot is what we are in for this summer!

Here is a photo of us in St. Petersburg while we were visiting the Salvador Dali Museum. (which is highly recommended by the way)

Cap't K and Lala

 

To St. Petersburg we go!

We took a break from our little St. Augustine bubble today and rented a car to go to St. Petersburg. Captain K. has decided to add some official backing to his Captain title, and is going for his captains license. He will be taking his big test in St. petersburg tomorrow. He has been studying like crazy for days, so I anticipate great success for him on the exam.

Coming to St. Petersburg means we get to visit our good sailing friends Rich and Mimi. They live here and almost convinced us to stay here last fall, although St. Augustine won our hearts.

We know from previous experience with them they they enjoy playing games, so tonight we shared with them a new board game we have. It is called Nautical Trivia and involves answering trivia questions about sailing while navigating around a board game based on a map of Bermuda. image

It also was a great way for Cap’t K to keep studying for his captains test even while taking a break! Here are a few sample questions for you readers:

1. Q: what is the proper term for the place where the anchor chain is stored?

A: chain locker

2. Q: The duration of a dog watch is
a) 1 hour
b) 2 hours
c) 4 hours

A. 2 hours

3. Q: leaning the mast aft is called
a) raking the mast
b) arcing the mast
c) stepping the mast

A: raking the mast

4. Q: name the 1st Officer who led the mutiny on the HMS Bounty.

A. Fletcher Christian

(you would have thought I could get that one right after just visiting the Bounty last week, but that question stumped me!)

We love this game and invite anyone to come play it with us to test their sailing knowledge!

- Capt’n K & Lala

Location:St. Petersburg