Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bobbing along on Billabong : the New Owner's Blog

Cross posted on Myles Crew

Billabong is not just a boat.. she was our team mate, home, safety blanket, and vehicle for the adventure of a lifetime. Even the name sparks magical memories and hours of daydreams.. The name Billabong made it easy (& cheap) to buy non-custom boat t-shirts, pants and even wallets. My sister recently suggested I get rid of my Velcro sealed, three fold canvas wallet that proudly sported a Billabong logo if I wanted to look "professional".

Yesterday KT & I were reflecting and wondering where she was, how she was doing.. Today I found the new owner's blog which is recording their adventures on Billabong. I ripped through the stories, photos and memories unlike anything I have ever read.. they were good and she (Billabong) seemed very happy taking care of them.

Billabong is a doer, a keeper of memories for us and a conduit for the dreams of Bill and Caroline.

Life is good, thanks old girl.

Billabong's New Location
.. but she's on the move :)
Continue reading "Bobbing along on Billabong : the New Owner's Blog"...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Billabong Wrap Up

As seen on the Myles Crew blog

We have said goodbye to Billabong. I never thought I'd be sentimental about a boat, but there is no doubt that I'll miss the 'ol girl. She is a great boat, but more importantly she allowed Chris and I to see parts of the world that would've otherwise gone unexplored. Aboard Billabong we learned more about ourselves and each other in 5-1/2 years then we probably could have in twice that time. But still I can't seem to shed a tear. Actually that is not entirely true, when we first received the offer on her (and I was still quite pregnant ... aka emotional) I woke up one morning and pretty much sobbed, yep uncontrollable sobs. It wasn't so much for Billabong (sorry Billabong), but rather for the end of an unbelievable journey, and end of a lifestyle that I had grown to love. I had thought that as we moved our belongings off Billabong I would be emotional, that it would be hard. It hasn't been though. Actually the whole things feels a bit unreal, like perhaps it hasn't hit yet. Chris seems just as unattached as I do. My guess is that three months from now it will hit us both, and for me it will be a very emotional moment.

The new owners, Bill and Caroline, are terrific. They are the perfect match for Billabong, and I find myself surprised that I care so much about the match. I suppose it is because I've watched as Chris has poured his time and energy (and yes, even some of his heart) into Billabong, perfecting this and sprucing up that, such that I am thrilled to have Billabong transferred to a couple who appreciates all of this work and who acknowledges its value.

Saturday, August 1, we had a little ceremony...
Billabong Wrapup well ceremony might be a strong word, but we struck the colors (translation = took down our American Flag) while Bill & Caroline raised the Australian flag. We also strung together all of the flags from the 25 countries we had visited and hoisted them up the mast for a photo op. It seems amazing that we have visited so many countries, however when I look at a world map I realize that we have still seen so little! This ceremony of sorts seemed to make the transfer official. It feels a bit odd to step aboard Billabong and no longer be her Admiral (as Chris calls me). It didn't really hit me that she was no longer "my" boat until just the other day when, after finishing a little maneuvering practice with Bill & Caroline, they served us lunch ... food and entertaining visitors was always a big thing for me aboard Billabong, and this was the first time that it was I being served rather than scurrying around doing the serving. A very strange feeling!

My dad, aka Grandpa Dave, mentions that perhaps Chris and I are not as emotional as we could be because of Jake ... Jake, as he says, is our new Billabong. He is probably pretty close to the mark. Here is his "five cents worth":

Today we went to Billabong to take some pictures and to strike Old Glory so that Bill and Caroline could raise the flag of Australia. It was a sort of ceremonial Change of Command.

First Chris ran up the courtesy flags from all the Nations they had visited in their trip. It was a very impressive string of flags. Then Chris struck the Stars and Stripes, handed it to me and I folded her and put her away for the Myles family. She will always bring great memories and I think good fortune.

I expected the turning over of Billabong to be considerably more emotional and maybe even a little difficult for KT and Chris. I kept looking for signs of loss, but I have not seen any. Then during our brief ceremony something became very clear to me. Jake is the active ingredient to the change here. In an emotional sense Jake has replaced Billabong. Chris and KT now have a different boat to sail.

Jake was here before Billabong had to leave. He needs the attention of the crew every bit as much, maybe more than Billabong. This has made leaving Billabong seem a natural step. Jake has brought a new challenge; family.

So, while I am sure the kids will shed some tears and miss the lovely Billabong, Jake has brought some pretty strong winds of change for this crew and has given them no time to morn.

I am reminded of the comic strip Peanuts and how Lucy would set up a Psychologist Stand (like a Lemon Aide stand). The sign said 5 cents. So, that’s my 5 cents worth.

Continue reading "Billabong Wrap Up"...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Zac: Only a sailor could understand

Our Current Location: Our Antalya Flat (heading home soon)

We've been following Zac Sunderland since he began his quest last June to become the Youngest Solo Circumnavigator (at 17). He's been slogging his way up the West Coast of Mexico, dogging ships, potential hurricanes and fixing major damage caused by the "Baja Bash".

Click to zoom in..
Locations and Blog Link (bottom) are automatically updated from Zac's latest Blog posts.

Last week with approximately 500+ miles to go, a return date and location was announced: Fisherman's Village, Marina del Rey on Tuesday July 14th at 10:00am. Seems like plenty of time..yes?

While we were cruising we had a golden rule..

"You can pick a time OR a place, but you can't pick both".

The weather introduces too many variables into the equation, it's just not as simple as pushing the pedal to the metal. So.. I wasn't too surprised when they announced they may have to push back his arrival date a couple of days.

Wait a minute.. how far does he have to go? Based on my calculations the distance is 270 miles (point to point) and he has a little over 5 DAYS. Yes days.. 132 hours to cover 270 miles.. yikes!!

There is no fast lane at sea, especially on the Baja Bash. Look at all the jagged lines on our track up the Red Sea.. that's short tacking all day 45-50 miles back and forth to only cover 30 miles (in 9 hours). That is a hard days work.. we had TWO people and we got to rest at night, Zac doesn't!

Zac I salute you.. you have accomplished an amazing feat. I would be very interested to catch up with you, sometime way down the road.. and see how this adventure changed your life.

If you haven't checked out our Interactive TrackZac map Please do..

I'd love some feedback if you get a chance.. BlurbBits is the product I've been working on for the past year, preparing for my return to the real world (and a job).

Continue reading "Zac: Only a sailor could understand"...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Jake has arrived !!

Current location: Jake's Birthplace Antalya Turkey

Visit our New Blog for more details.

View More Photos

We'll keep you posted on boat activities, and our sailing trip reflections here!!
Continue reading "Jake has arrived !!"...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

BOB Threatens Season 6

Current Location: Billabong's Location

Our Location: Chris + KT

We've been pretty lucky with good 'ol Mother Nature during our five year trip. Sure, we've been hammered both at anchor and at sea, but I can count the really scary moments on both my hands. Not a bad percentage considering we've been out for 1885 days.

We usually play it rather safe, avoiding cyclone seasons, watching the weather before passages, but Mother Nature is the boss out here and sometimes you simply get caught out. Once we entered the Western Indian ocean, we had to be careful of Named Storms/Winds. In the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden these winds usually created sand storms that covered the boat in red mud and created huge steep seas. We got caught in a Belat (a sand/dust storm) on the trip from Oman to Yemen, it wasn't pretty. These systems have been tracked for thousands of years, carry Arab names by fishermen they effect, and are even part of the Coptic calendar (including a special calendar of Gales).

The Meltemi

The Mistral

These storms don't end in the eastern Med, there are named winds throughout the Mediterranean - including the Etesian/Meltemi that effects the Aegean Sea (Greece/Turkey), the Mistral, and the Sirocco. You really have no understanding of these storms until you've been through one. We've had southern gales in Finike that brought sand from Africa, 380 miles across the Mediterranean. It covered our decks with red dust/muds... 380 miles.. how is there any sand still left in the desert? While we've been home, our friends in Marmaris experienced 76 Knots and the marina we almost left Billabong in was badly damaged (check out the video).

I know it doesn't sound very Arabic but BOB has been tracked even longer; longer than recorded history in fact. The timing is relatively well understood (around the end of June), but we can't be sure when exactly it will arrive. Will it come in the darkness of night, the early morning hours, or during the day with full light? Do we stay in Finike and ride it out in a known location or do we attempt the run to Marmaris and risk getting caught out? We arrive back in Turkey in April, but we have to paint the bottom and get everything prepared. We could really go for it and try to make it to Malta before BOB arrives... Decisions, decisions.
The good news is we've had plenty of warning and even started preparing Billabong before we left to come home. We've removed all the non-essential gear and are reading up and strategizing on how to prepare. Like all things in our cruising life preparation is the key, but we've been told that no matter how much we prepare, BOB will cause HUGE upheaval on board Billabong.

Despite all the work.. we are ecstatically awaiting Billabong's newest crew member (ie. Baby On Board .. BOB). How will it effect our season? You'll have to tune in to find out.. this one is fully in Mother Nature's hands.

More Photos

Continue reading "BOB Threatens Season 6"...