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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 “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!

Random thoughts by Lala

We are so glad we succeeded in our longest to date ocean passage and made it safely to Atlantic City, but now we’re stuck here! At least for a few days, and even on the weekend, the weather window is small and not super ideal. But we are hoping to make our next passage to Cape May, NJ in a few days. Until then, we are going to try to enjoy Atlantic City, although I must admit this is one of the last places I want to be stuck in for days. We are not a gamblers, and even if we were, we have no extra money to lose right now. This is not a good place to be on a super tight budget! (although winning some money would be nice, so we’ll at least put a couple bucks in some machines, I’m sure!)
Yesterday the wind was howling so strong and the weather was so dismal we didn’t even leave the boat. The anchorage here is a ways from any access to the scene of Atlantic City, and to get there requires crossing a channel with a strong current, so we didn’t venture out in our new, very wee dinghy that only has a 3 horsepower motor. We just stayed put and baked cookies, did some deep cleaning, watched movies, and rested from our long sail. I even got to weave on my new loom that I just got for our boat, which is working out great. (the one I had on Wee Happy belonged to someone else, and I had to give it back)

Random photo -- Horseshoe crab skeleton on the beach

So I will take this time to fill you all in on a bit of random news. First of all, we decided on a name for our new boat! It was quite a process to decide, and we had a long list of possible names ranging from Snonomo to Delilah to Invictus, but finally we couldn’t resist the segue of the name WAY HAPPY. It is after all, a continuation of the Wee Happy journey, only now we feel we can do it way better on this boat! Not that we have been way happy every moment on this trip….but it is all a journey, and not a single destination, right? New boat lettering is on the way (for now we have temporary lettering on the transom) and we will soon be putting up a new and improved blog site.

Just in case any of you were wondering as intensely as I was about what the heck a wren was doing way out at sea, I may have solved the mystery. Last night I was looking in the great bird guide my dad recently gave me (Thanks, Dad!) and discovered that our bird friend was actually not a wren but a sparrow. A “Seaside Sparrow” to be exact. There is a variety of sparrow that only lives along the Atlantic Coast of North America, and whose habitat is grassy tidal marshes. So we were in this bird’s conceivable range. A part of me loves unexplainable weird mysteries, and that part of me is disappointed to find such a rational truth, and there is another part of me that NEEDS TO KNOW things, and that part of me is satisfied to have the answer.

As long as I’m talking about needing to know the identification of things, here is another mystery. We found a strange fruit on Block Island that I have never seen before. Green, brain like hard tissue about the size of a large orange. The tree was bigger than an apple tree, maybe related to a walnut tree. In fact the smell kind of reminded me of fresh walnuts. A fresh, grassy citrusy smell. I asked some locals and they called it things like “ugly fruit” and “bitter orange” and recommended that we don’t eat it. One guy said that this fruit is found no where else but Block Island. We tried looking it up on the internet but only managed to find a few other people asking what it was and no answers. Do you have the answer? Does anyone out there know what this fruit is?

Block Island mystery fruit

Last on my random bits of news list, yesterday Slowmo was the winner of the daily cat fight. Our two cats are brothers from the same litter, and they love each other dearly. Every day they fight as a form of play and they can get quite rowdy. But Mojo almost always “wins” because he is way bigger and fatter than Slowmo. But yesterday Slowmo prevailed, and here is the video. Feel the tension….

Ok, that’s enough rambling for now. I’m going to go help Capt K climb up the mast in his attempt to stop the banging of the mast cables. This morning it is very calm in the anchorage (in fact, the first thing he said upon waking this morning is that it was so calm it woke him up! We’ve been getting used to constant rocking and banging for a week now!) Will report back later on the success of that project.

Shakedown! We made it to Atlantic City!

Here we are in Atlantic City, after a nearly 40 hour trip from Block Island. Whew!! We did it! We got here just in time, too, because the now the wind is starting to really howl and rain is on the way.
We had smooth, calm sailing most of the way, although the last 60 miles or so was a downwind run that caused the boat to rock uncomfortably for most of the day. I got a little seasick for the first time ever and felt pretty green all day.
We had hoped to make it in just before dark, but as it turned out we approached the inlet just after dark, and it was incredibly stressfull navigating our way in with a crosswind and 6-10 foot waves on the beam. The anchorage here is really sketchy with minimal markers, and was it not fun getting in here in the dark. With all the brightly lit casino buildings here, the anchorage sure is dark!

A few highlights of our sail were a large pod of dolphins who played and swam in our bow wake under the silver full moon light at 3 am. They were magically delightful, and a sweet surprise!

We also had a unexpected hitchiker who accompanied us for a good portion of the trip. A tiny wren found our boat 15 miles off the coast of Long Island and stayed on and around the boat all day and all night. He hopped around the deck taking a break from wherever he was going…..where was he going? What was a lone wren doing way out at sea?! Migrating perhaps….
Anyway, I gave the wee bird some water and crumbs and they were much appreciated.

Our cats were too busy with their itinerary of napping and lounging inside the cabin to even notice our visitor out on the deck. But at about 7 am the bird flew inside the cabin and did those cats wake up fast!! (as did I, who was sleeping at the time) There was major commotion inside for a few mintues, with the bird flapping wildy trying to escape, and two cats having the most exciting time on the boat EVER. Amazingly, the wren escaped, and disappeared for quite a few hours. But later in the afternoon I saw him return, circle our boat a few times as if the say goodbye, and then flutter off alone over the vast sea.

Other than our few visitors, it was pretty uneventful out there. Here we were all nervous about going out to sea, and once we were out there, there really wasn’t much to do or worry about! (except for the inlet). We had lovely mild weather and light winds, so it was a breeze!

We have now expierienced our boat in a pretty wide variety of conditions, and are getting to know her better. The shakedown cruise is shakin!!

– Capt’n K & Lala

Considering departing for big jump to NJ tonight

Sitting here in the old harbor at Block Island. Day is waning. Winds are northwest and steady. We wanted to wait for them to shift to north before leaving, but it looks like our weather window is shrinking. So, now we are tentatively planning to leave tonight to head to Atlantic City or Cape May, NJ. It’s a clear sky with almost a full moon, and the temperatures are nice and warm. With this northwest wind we should make good progress through the night to the southwest. Then tomorrow the winds are supposed to shift to the north and lighten up. That means we’ll make slower progress but make a more westerly course. Then Monday night and into Tuesday the winds are supposed to shift to the northeast and then east, which should make going west or south a breeze.

So, we are estimating that it’ll take us 36 hours to make it to Atlantic City. If we leave tonight and then show up on Tuesday morning, and if the winds are still fair and we are not exhausted, we may continue on southward to Cape May before pulling in and anchoring.

A slight chance exists that we will find our progress and stamina good enough that we might continue on from Cape May NJ straight south to Ocean City or Norfolk. This chance looks slim, but is a possibility. If that east wind is fair on Tuesday and Tuesday night and Wednesday, then it is remotely possible that we could arrive at Norfolk by Wednesday afternoon or evening.

This is a big jump for us. To date, we have not made any passages longer than 60 miles or so. The jump from Block Island to Atlantic City is 165 nautical miles. It’s the next logical step in our cruising curriculum, so to say. We’ve made overnight passages before, but we have not yet done a 24 or 36 hour jump. So, this is pushing our boundaries again. It makes us nervous, but it is what we have been talking about for a month now.

We are more experienced sailors than we were with wee happy. We have made a few offshore passages and overnight passages. We are ready for a 24-36 hour run now. Just a bit nervous. Wish we had a buddy boat to go with, but that hasn’t lined up for us even though we’ve been looking.

So we’ll be without internet and cell phone access until we make it to the NEw Jersey Coast. Then we should be able to get online with our iPad to make a post. Alternatively, we will be monitoring VHF channel 16 the whole way incase any of you are on a boat in the same area as us.

Now, I’ve made an interactive google map of our planned route. It is totally rough and estimated on the fly with my hand on a mouse. The points are not accurate waypoints or GPS coordinates. We are going to sail based on wind conditions, not this estimated path, but it is a good way to visualize the passage on this blog. So click on it and explore the points and route line if you like.

View Planned Passage Block Island to Atlantic City in a larger map

The sights of Newport

We were only in Newport for a very short time, just enough to wander around the town a bit and get some pizza, and dinghy around the crowded harbor and gawk at the gorgeous sailboats there. Newport is after all, the home of America’s Cup, and some mighty racing boats are based there. These shiny, sleek, sexy boats who live up to names like Glory and Gleam are something to behold! There were also some other fun and unusual boats, and here are a few of our favorites for you to see:

A small "cruise ship" charter sailboat with the wonderful name of Arabella

A most awesome pirate ship!

What is it about these ships that stirs the soul so?


Gleam, a sleek racer

The winner of the most unusual boat....what is this? An oriental boat of some kind with marvelous dragon carvings

SloMo checked out the great boats with us, but wasn't as excited as we were

Made it to Block Island

Quick entry. Went to Newport last night. Keeping true to its trend, the wind was dead against us again! So we beat to windward all day today and just anchored off the east shore of Block Island in the “old anchorage”.
Rolly, but nice moonlit night. Tired but alive. West winds all day tomorrow, so we’ll stay here and hang out until they turn north.

– Capt’n K & Lala

P.s. There is one REALLY annoying thing about our new boat.
There are cables inside the mast that bang around when the boat rolls from side to side, making tons of noise. In this rolly anchorage, the sound is enough to drive us totally crazy. I dont know how we are going to sleep tonight! Actually it has been bothering us for a few weeks now. We need to remedy this situation ASAP, but doing it without taking the mast down or climbing up the mast in the dark in a rolly anchorage is near impossible. Aaargh!!!!

Plan? What plan?

Today was a disaster. (but we are alive and well to write to y’all about it, so I guess it wasn’t that bad)
It started out first thing in the morning with both of us having near heart-attacks when I almost crashed our boat into another boat in the mooring field while exiting Cuttyhunk harbor. It was a terrifyingly close call, and an epically stupid move on my part due to losing control of the steering because I thought the engine was in gear and it was actually in neutral. Some angels must have been helping us out on that one, I still am somewhat in shock over how close we came to hitting that boat.

Then we proceeded to leave the harbor and face 20 knot winds on the nose with turbulent waves coming across Buzzards Bay. We had to head straight into the wind for aways to get out of the harbor, and we bucked like a bronco making very slow headway. It was a wild, rough ride. Some people find sailing like that pure bliss and fun, but I found it pretty stressful. We were motor sailing into the wind until we reached open enough waters to alter our course for better sailing. And then our engine died. Just like that, the engine suddenly died. We had no idea why. It happened so suddenly and without warning….

Ok… problem….we’ll sail. There’s definitely enough wind for it! So we sailed across Buzzards Bay until we reached the mouth of the New Bedford harbor. We contemplated continuing on our planned route in the direction of Block Island/Long Island and figuring out the problem down there, but it seemed more prudent to find out what the problem was sooner rather than later. We couldn’t go all the way into the harbor under sail alone because it was straight into the wind and the entrance is very narrow. So we thanked God that we have a membership to TowBoat U.S. and called them for a tow.

That was a new experience, getting towed in a sailboat by a tiny little tow boat! The guy who helped us was wonderful. He towed us right into a narrow slip (that was impressive) in a marina that was right across the street from a West Marine and several other boat supply stores. Cap’t K. tried trouble shooting the problem and could only determine that it was a fuel supply problem. Luckily within a few hours we had a diesel mechanic on board who knew way more than us. We almost had another heart attack when he suggested that it looked like a problem with the fuel injector pump (the main reason we are so stressed out about money is because we just spent $2,000 on a fuel injector pump for Cap’t K’s car)
But on further investigation, he discovered that it was a clogged fuel pump. Apparently the wild ride we were on bucking the giant waves stirred up a bunch of sludge that had been resting at the bottom of our 40 year old fuel tank, and to make things even worse, some water seeped into the fuel tank somehow. Those two things combined clogged our filter in jiffy! With a new $30 fuel filter, he got it running again, and gave us a bunch of helpful tips on the care and feeding of our engine. Brian was another wonderful angel!We still have some trouble shooting to do on our water in the fuel tank problem, but that is another story. For now we are back in business.
So, here we are tucked into a marina slip, enjoying hot water and full electric hookup, feeling both grateful that things weren’t as bad as they could have been, and also feeling major regret for having missed the wind window we had been counting on to get us west. Tomorrow the wind is going to turn west AND die down to light and variable. So we will be waiting for better wind to make it to New Jersey.
Our plan right now is to try to make it to Block Island tomorrow, and enjoy ourselves there until Monday, when the wind is forecasted to be in our favor once more.
But who knows what will happen!!! Planning is starting to feel pointless….

Made it to Cuttyhunk.

What a ride! 2 seconds after the last post we got hit by a storm and had to drop sail and don our foul weather gear. Spent the next half hour keeping the boat’s nose into the wind and getting doused with spray. Woo hoo! Our first storm!

The rest of the trip was nice on a broad reach flying just half of our jib under mostly clear skies with brisk winds gusting occasionally to 30 knots. Then we saw a lone race sailboat on the horizon. They were flying a spinnaker! Crazy, those racers, but we opened up our jib all the way after seeing how they were doing. Sure enough we sped up a full knot and the ride was no more or less comfortable

Lala brought us all the way into Cuttyhunk pond an hour before sunset, and then we failed to set anchor three times. Too much mud and grass here, so we tied up to a mooring. Now the wind is gusting to 35 or 40, and we are glad to be tied up for the night.

There is suppod to be a boat that goes around selling oysts from 5 to 7, but they arent answering on the radio. Probably too late in the season. Darn! Well at least we are off on our trip now! Hope to make it far to the west tomorrow. Probably not just jumping out to Atlantic city. We are pooped.

– Capt’n K & Lala