Ready to run…then fly   Leave a comment

I know that as soon as I run out of other things to do and start writing the baby will wake up. It’s a law of motherhood.

We’re getting ready for a trip to Maine. That means a two-leg, cross-country flight with an active toddler. I’m a little bit terrified. We’re taking a red eye, which could be better or worse than a daytime flight. Please sleep baby! 

Pirat last summer

In Maine, we’re staying with Lee’s parents and taking day trips on Pirat. We might sail overnight once, although gearing up the boat for something like that is a daunting task. Just sailing Pirat with G isn’t something I’ve wrapped my brain around yet. There’s no cockpit enclosure and no lifeline netting. The companionway ladder, his favorite thing on Unbroken Wings, is significantly taller and steeper on Pirat. We’ll have his little climbing harness and lifejacket…but maybe I should order up some netting.

Behind the wheel of the MG

I cannot wait to be someplace green and humid. As I’m sure I’ve said before, the CA monoclimate is not something I enjoy. Oh, and there will be lobster, corn, lots of swimming in the ocean and lakes, ice cream, green lawns, cold drinks, and riding in fast cars down windy forest roads. These are the things I love about New England in the summer.

I can’t believe he’s still asleep. It’s been a good hour and a half, maybe more! Tired baby! He did fall asleep in his bike seat on the way home this morning.

Before we board a plane for Portland, ME, Lee and I are running our first half marathon in Oakland, The Town’s Half Marathon, on Saturday morning. I’m more scared of that than I am of flying with a 15-month-old, mainly because I have a nagging injury that has messed with my last week of training. I’m worried that I won’t even be able to finish the race after limping home from a 5 mile run last week. In any case, Lee and I are going to be some tired parents come Saturday night. Maybe we’ll even get to sleep on the plane!

Calculator salesmen came to our door this morning. Our house is the current base of operations and business address for Lee’s new company. I felt pretty weird escorting a couple of people from Texas Instruments into our garage. I think they were a bit confused too.

Gunnar helping Lee with a project on UW.

Ok, he’s still asleep. Now what?


Posted August 12, 2015 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Seattle and motivation to get outdoors   Leave a comment

Clearly I’m having a tough time sticking to my writing plan. Sticking to any plan is difficult nowadays. I’ve been able to check off all my half marathon training runs so far. I keep a toddler from diving off of furniture and eating cardboard every day. We all eat, sleep, and recreate (the necessities of life in this household). That’s about it.

Gunnar and I went on a lovely trip to visit my mom in Seattle. Lets just say that flying with a 14-month-old is significantly harder than flying with Gunnar has been at any other age. It’s a good thing he’s cute!

Gunnar and salmon at the locks.

Gunnar and salmon at the locks.

Seattle was GORGEOUS and it is always wonderful to spend time with my mom. We went to the locks, a museum, and the playground. There was lots of walking and playing in the yard (which has me wishing we had a yard of our own). Gunnar may or may not have said “Kitty” out of love for Jack and Pepper the cats.

I often have a hard time adjusting back to reality after visiting my mom. It feels like being thrown back into adult life after cozying up with a friend who does the dishes and likes to talk about food/books/tv shows/family drama with me. This time around I had an excellent distraction the weekend after I got home! I spent all day Saturday and Sunday at a Wilderness First Aid class at the Berkeley Sports Basement.


The course was really worthwhile. Not only did I learn some valuable, potentially lifesaving skills but I got to spend 8 hours a day as an individual – no baby, no husband, no puttering around the house! I don’t there there’s anything wrong with saying that it was an incredible feeling. I need to take breaks like that more often. Lee claims that as long as I’m taking classes that feed into our outdoor activities he will be on Gunnar duty whenever I want. Of course that means I’m planning to sign up for the Wilderness First Responder class in the spring!

Taking a class with a bunch of people that love the outdoors also has me thinking about a first family backpacking trip. We’ve been camping enough to know the ins and outs of that procedure with an infant/toddler. I think we’re ready to hit the trail! I miss the mountains. I miss the physical challenge and the isolation.

Posted July 30, 2015 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Starting over (again)   Leave a comment

I’m hoping to reenter the blogging world. I’ve tried and failed to do so many times before but something is different this time. I’m home with G and have no career aspirations for the near future but I want (need!) to do something with my brain. Every time I pore over my options, considering various returns to previous careers, I land on writing. Writing is something I know how to do, at least for myself. It’s something I’ve done reasonable well for all of my past jobs and, most importantly, it’s something I enjoy.

The trick here is that as soon as I start blogging I start worrying about whether people will like what I write. I suppose I could just keep a journal and forget publishing my drivel for all the internet to read but I like having the possibility of an audience and a public record, even if no one is reading along for now. I’m going to try to forget about pleasing others and cultivating readers on this blog and just write to document my life.


So here it is: G is 14 months old. He’s a walking (almost running), smiling, laughing baby who gives me the most heart-melting hugs at least 20 times a day. Lee has finally gone out on his own and started a company that we hope will be wildly successful. We live in a little house in San Francisco and spend as much time as possible on the bay or adventuring around elsewhere. Right now we’re not doing anything too extreme. We sail, hike, camp, do triathlons (and soon a half marathon), and visit family throughout the country. There are a few big things in the works, though. More on that later.

Today, G and I went to the library, something I’m ashamed to say we have not done before. I strapped him to my back and traipsed up the hill and down the other side to get to our cozy local branch. We came home sweaty with an armful of books (including one in French and several about sea creatures). It was quite the hike, as many errands are on foot in SF, but I know we’ll be back. I got really, really excited about all the fun kids books from my childhood that I wanted to find in the library. I almost brought home a cookbook for myself too but didn’t have a large enough bag.

More later in the week. We have some fun plans for this weekend!

Posted July 14, 2015 by Rachel in Uncategorized

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I’m really bad at finishing things   2 comments

I’m sure everyone who cares has figured out by now that Lee, Gunnar and I made it back to Bremen and then home to California. I have a terrible habit of working on a project until it’s 95% done and then stopping. I used to do this all the time with college papers. I would be so relieved to be almost done that I would just stop working and not finish the final paragraphs until hours before the paper was due. Forget revisions. Oops. Here’s a final post on our trip with pictures I finally uploaded from my big camera.

Lee on Mistake Island

Once we arrived back in Bremen there was so much work to do to get Pirat put away that I didn’t have time to write anyway. Gunnar was demanding extra attention thanks to some kind of growth spurt/developmental leap/change in routine when we moved back onshore. Lee’s brother and his pack of children came for a visit. Chaos reigned.

Deconstructing the boat wasn’t as time consuming as putting her together at the start of the trip. It only took a couple days to unload most of the crap. Lee sailed Pirat back to Rockland with a crew of kids and his dad. I organized things onshore and popped aboard to clean when I could.

As usual, we ate some delicious meals in our final days in Maine. There was plenty of lobster, corn, seasonal vegetables and ice cream. Lee’s parents took fabulous care of us and helped out with Gunnar so I could contribute towards boat work.

The morning of our last day of sailing.

We left Pirat on a mooring in Rockland a few weeks ago. It was sad to say goodbye. Lee and I definitely want to cruise Maine and hopefully points farther north again but we’re not sure when that will be. Our next long voyage will hopefully be sailing my dad’s boat to Hawaii in summer 2015(!!!) Maybe I’ll try to chronicle our preparations for that epic sail, since they’ve already started and will be ongoing until we actually make the jump…Or maybe I’ll be completely absorbed by caring for an infant for the coming months.

Christening Pirat with drool.

Gunnar is thriving. He gets bigger and bigger, cuter and cuter, smarter and smarter. Lee and I are proud parents. We’re already talking about G’s early introduction to dinghy sailing and how sweet it’s going to be when he can help out on the big boat. Until then, there will be plenty of San Francisco Bay sails and other, non-aquatic adventures for this family.

Mistake Island boat house with a view.

Posted September 23, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Retracing our steps   2 comments


Here we are anchored at Green Island, very close to our Stonington anchorage from the sail north. We knew we had to stop here on our return trip when we found out about the old quarry swimming hole at Green Island’s center.

Before this we were at Southwest harbor on Mount Desert Island and get re that we spent the night alongside an empty island Downeast. Before that we sought shelter in Cutler, which was a lovely little town with a protected harbor. That was our first US port since leaving Canada.



The rocks we ran into once the tide exposed them.

Our Canadian adventures included visiting Old Sow, the named whirlpool in Passamaquoddy bay, spotting several whales nearby, running aground (very briefly and gently) near St. Croix island, and finally getting some wind. We’ve actually had nice wind for the past few days, although it blows from exactly where we want to go. Tomorrow its supposed to change directions so our final day of sailing should be interesting. We will try to leave here first thing in the morning and get all the way back to Bremen, even if we get in late.


The quarry made for a nice swim/bath but I really, really want a hot shower.

We’ve been having some weird engine trouble. The water intake seems to get clogged and then the engine isn’t getting water when we start it. We picked up our mooring under sail last night thanks to this problem and it was looking like we’d have to do something similar this afternoon until Lee fixed it, at least temporarily. Oh, and the refrigeration is dying a miserable death. With one day left I think the timing is pretty good, though.


Learning about gravity when the boat is healed over.

What’s Gunnar up to? Laughing (a trick he learned in Canada), making lots of other baby sounds, and generally being cute.

Actually, we’re back in Bremen now after a lovely sail. More on that soon.

Posted August 28, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Less than no wind   Leave a comment

Posted later. I’m way behind thanks to a lack of internet. Now it looks like I can do some catching up.


I shouldn’t jinx us but I have to write about the wind, or lack thereof. We have had some nice sails on this trip but nothing to write home about wind-wise. We’ve been motoring a lot, quick is always a little depressing. We’re out here to sail, after all.


RKYC on the Saint John river.

Today was no exception. After a brief stop back in Saint John to retrieve the running shoes I left at the pool, we set out for points south in next to no wind, which eventually in became nonexistent. Then coast was quite pretty with the glassy water reflecting the dramatic clouds. At least we had a significant current with us, otherwise I don’t the think we would have made it as far as we did. Here we are in Passamaquoddy bay, tied up at a town dock with a bunch of fishing boats. The US Canada border is just across the bay. We’ll probably re-enter in the next couple days and then make our way back to Bremen. Maybe there will even be some wind!


I’m missing some things about civilization at this point. I miss my kitchen back in San Francisco. I miss limitless fresh vegetables and refrigerator space. I miss being active every day. Its tough to sit on a boat day in and day out. My muscles are atrophying. I am not, however, looking forward to putting the boat away. We just put it all together and now we have to unload everything again! I’ll miss this way of life too. Its great having Lee around all day. I know Gunnar enjoys having him around. I’ll miss he adventure of visiting new places. I’ll definitely miss having Maine blueberries in my breakfast every morning.

Once we get back to where we started I’d re ally just like to fast forward to being home in SF…maybe post baby adjustment to the time change.

Posted August 26, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Saint John adventures   2 comments


A nice sail from Grand Manan to Saint John.

We spent yesterday tired up in Market Slip, a section of floating dock on the Saint John waterfront. We were prepared for it to be swelly and uncomfortable but it wasn’t bad. We were the only boat there for the day. Most people seem to just use this dock to wait for the right time to navigate the Reversing Falls, the Saint John river’s infamous feature that guards it’s inner sanctum.

We went “over the falls” yesterday evening without a problem. The timing has to be right for the balance of tides and the river’s flow to eliminate the otherwise boiling falls. I don’t really understand it but I’m glad the water was flat when we passed through.

Saint John was an fun city to explore. We managed to do laundry, check out the City Market, an old market building full of food and grocery vendors, and swim at an awesome aquatics center.

After navigating the falls, we picked up a mooring at RKYC last night and will venture a little ways up the river today. The water is warmer here so we thought we’d take advantage and swim while we can.
I can’t believe it’s almost time to head back down the coast! Hopefully we can hit up some of the spots we missed on or way up.

Posted August 21, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Oh, Canada!   1 comment


It’s amazing what a few miles up the coast and out to sea can change. As we approached Grand Manan island yesterday the cliffs emerged from the fog looking nothing like the familiar Maine coast. They are steep and rocky and the rocks are dark and craggy. Even the lighthouse on Fish Head looks different.


We are officially in New Brunswick, Canada now. Radio announcements come in French and English. The local restaurants serve poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds). Grand Manan is awfully busy for being so far out here. A ferry connects it to the mainland six times a day but there aren’t many pleasure boats out here. I think we’re the only one tired up with the fishing fleet in the small harbor right now.

Before this we were at Roque harbor, with it’s lovely crescent beach for a night. We meet the Magnuson’s near there the day before and explored the Machias blueberry festival with them. They were kind enough to bring us some necessary parts such as a new exhaust hose for the heater.


It’s getting chilly enough at night that the heater feels good (even if not all the exhaust makes it put of the boat). I love this cool, foggy weather. Lee isn’t a fan of the fog but it doesn’t bother me. We are definitely Northern sailors rather than sun-seeking, margarita-drinking types.


On the way to the lighthouse

Gunnar is proving to be quite the trooper every day. He naps down below to the engine’s drone and loves to look around at the view from his car seat on deck. He’s growing up too!

Today we leave for Saint John on mainland. There is finally and to it’d time to make some distance!

Posted August 19, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized

A day in the life   1 comment

I thought it might be interesting to share what a day of our boat-based life looks like. Yesterday was then perfect example of a challenging, get-things-done kind of day. At times absurd and frustrating, it was the epitome of why I tell people this lifestyle isn’t all relaxing sandy beaches.

3am Gunnar wakes me up. He’s hungry. I roll over and feed him in the vberth. The hatch above me has been dripping rain on me all night. There are huge wet spots in the middle of the bunk under the hatch so Gunnar and I each sleep on an edge.

5:30 Gunnar wakes up, eats, and is up for the morning. He’s his usual cheery self at this time, making it hard for me to go back to sleep because I don’t want to miss anything. I doze on the bunk next to him.
Lee gets up and makes himself an instant coffee.

6:30 I get out of bed and head to the galley to make breakfast while Lee, changes G. Lee has eggs and last night’s leftover lentils. I have oatmeal. It’s moist and cool but not really raining any more.

8 We gather our things to go ashore for showers, laundry, grocery shopping, and checking email. I feed Gunnar again now that he’s taken his mini morning nap.


We wouldn't be able to do this without the car seat.

9 Yes, it takes that long to get ready. We cram into the dingy (baby in car seat, laundry, stroller, 2 adults and their respective bags) and find a place at the very crowded dingy dock. I almost fall in while trying to get out of the boat.

9:15 Everyone else is in the Yachtsman’s building doing laundry and showering. Grr. I wait in line and shower while Lee watches the baby. We decide to explore other options for laundry and head to the nearby farmers market instead.

10 I buy some lovely produce from the vendors. I’m pleasantly surprised by the market.

10:30 Search for the laundromat in town. Find it under the small grocery store. The stroller won’t make it down the stares so Lee waits outside with Gunnar while I start a couple loads. Then we look for a cafe where we can use then internet while we wait.


Mmm donuts are not for babies.

11 By the time we find a place, order coffee and a donut and sit down Gunnar is getting crabby. Lee walks him outside with the stroller.

11:30 I need to go put the laundry in then dryer but Lee is nowhere to be found so I carry all our bags down the street. People are hogging the dryers at the laundromat so I can’t do anything with our clothes. In find Lee when I get back to the street and we go back to the harbor to look for a place I can sit to feed G.

12pm I feed Gunnar and Lee and I each scarf down a PB sandwich at a picnic table. We decide that the best thing to do is for Lee to take the baby and stroller to hang out in the visitors center while I go finish the laundry and get some supplies at the store.

12:30 Still a blockade at the dryers so I take someone’s dry clothes out of one and start mine. I grocery shop while the dryer runs and then bring the food back to Lee, saying I’ll meet him at the dingy dock in 15 minutes.

1 Clothes aren’t dry but I know Lee is waiting so I throw them all in a bag and head back to the harbor. Lee does 2 trips out to Pirat to get everything aboard.



We catch our breath for a little while on the boat. It has been foggy and rainy all day but now the sun is coming out.

2 We motor over to the fuel dock to get diesel and water.

3 Lee decides he wants not go for a run. I want to finish drying my clothes. Its not sunny enough for them to dry on the lifelines and I don’t have any clothespins.

3:45 We’re back at the Yachtsman’s building. I hang out there with Gunnar, who is very popular with the cruising grandma crowd. Lee runs 9 miles on a trail while I dry the laundry.

5 Lee showers and we cram back into the dingy to return to Pirat.

5:30 I make dinner while Lee keeps the baby entertained. We eat, I feed Gunnar and he falls asleep.

6:30 I do the dishes while Lee tends to Gunnar, who has woken up.

7:15 We finally get him to stay asleep.

8:15 I crawl into the v berth with G to sleep.

As you can see, we accomplished a lot despite the crappy weather and various complications. Still, it was a frustrating, exhausting day.


Heading downeast in the fog.

Now we’re 30 miles or so Downeast (up the coast) and about to make our passage to Canada. We meet Lee’s family near Machias so they could deliver some parts and drive us to a real grocery store. Somehow I ended up under provisioned for this trip and we were running out of supplies fast. Now we’re all stocked up and ready to face the much more barren, wild coastline between here and some larger Canadian ports. I’m not sure how our phones will work or where we’ll find internet so posting may become even more sparse than it has been. For now, Grand Manan here we come!

Posted August 18, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized

Mt. Desert Isle   Leave a comment

Photos won’t upload and I wrote this yesterday…

I am often dumbfounded by place names in Maine. Who came up with these names? How? When? How on earth do I pronounce them? I’m getting better with pronunciation but I need to know how Mt. Desert Island (which is not a desert at all) got it’s name. I suppose I’ll just google it next time we have decent internet (I’m writing this offline from a harbor devoid of 4g networks, imagine that!).

Our previous anchorages have had some interesting names as well. There was Brimstone island, Crotch island (aptly named, in this case) near Stonington, and Burnt Coat, my personal favorite so far. There must be a story behind that one.

Lee, little G and I arrived in Northeast Harbor, Mt. Desert Island this afternoon among a flotilla of other boats seeking shelter from the weather that is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Its really not much weather-wise but any kind of sea and wind is something compared to the flat calm conditions we’ve had so far.

We came here from Burnt Coat, where all three of us swam in an old quarry this morning. Before that we were in Stonington to meet family for a meal. Stonington was a pretty rugged working harbor compared to many of the yachtier harbors around here. Lobster boats outnumbered sail maybe 20 to 1. We took our first real showers of the trip there and had a good lunch in town.

Yesterday and today were both upwind sails. Most other boats seem to just motor to windward but we make the currents and wind to make headway the old fashioned way. Around here that also involves dodging lobster pots, which we’re not too good at. We’ve snagged several and dragged a couple that we had to work to free. We caught one today that snagged several others before we finally freed it. There was a trail of buoys following behind us.

Gunnar has been doing well with all the crazy boat stuff. He gets us lots of attention too. Everyone is curious about the baby on there boat.

We hope to do some hiking in Acadia NP tomorrow before the rain associated with this storm starts. We might spend another night here too. It’s time to reprovision perishables and do some laundry.

Posted August 13, 2014 by Rachel in Uncategorized