Saturday, December 26, 2015

What a Year...Farewell 2015!

I can't believe that the time has come to bid farewell to 2015! I have been in a mood of reflection while I watch the girls play with their holiday gifts.  It is hard to believe how many changes we have made this year.  Even though we have a plan and things are falling into place within that plan, it all still feels very surreal.  I still wake up and can't believe that we have actually accomplished so many of our goals this year.  I stand back and look at Empyrean in her slip and can't believe she is actually ours, all ours!  We are really doing this!

This year has been such a whirlwind of happenings, really all for the good!  We launched Southwind, then we sold all of our belongings, moved into our trailer and purchased Empyrean! The girls have all adjusted so well, it is amazing!  We had a tiny Christmas, which was a change from our much larger Christmas tradition, but it really felt good.  The girls didn't ask for a lot and everyone was really happy with the few items that they each received.  Zoey, who is 3, asked only for a backpack from Santa and has been thrilled filling it with items that send the rest of the family into a frenzy searching for missing necessities. We all enjoyed family time, sharing a meal, playing games, and looking at holiday lights.  It really was a perfect day.

As I look at what we have accomplished this year, I am super excited to see what 2016 brings.  Each day we are learning more and getting closer to making our sailing dream a reality.  It is sometimes scary to think that this time next year we will be celebrating the holidays on Empyrean somewhere in Mexico!  The coming months are going to be filled with lots of work and tons of new experiences for the whole family.  We will be working hard to get Empyrean ready for our travels, getting paperwork such as passports, registrations and licenses taken care of as well as lots of doctor visits to ensure we are all healthy and up to date on any required immunizations for travel.  I am expecting a flow of emotions to accompany all of this activity as we prepare to leave family and friends plus no one really likes to get shots ;)  and I am sure we will all have some apprehension to leaving the familiar.  Overall there will be lots of excitement for what lies ahead.

We can't wait to share all of the adventures of the coming year!  Hopefully we can inspire others to realize their dreams no matter what those dreams are!  It is possible to make a dream a reality! Stay tuned as we set out to achieve our dreams!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays! Big News!

Wow! It is hard to believe that Christmas will be here in just a few days and we will be closing out 2015 in a little over a week! Time sure does fly.  We are having a blast in our tiny home, getting ready  for the holidays, preserving some holiday traditions while also creating some new ones.  We were able to put a small tree in our tiny space.  We have kept presents to a minimal but this Christmas will definitely be one to remember... 

We bought a boat!!  After several months of working out details and negotiations we are super excited to say that we have purchased our new sailing home.  She is a beautiful 1979 Mariner 48 and we are super excited to move aboard.  She is in need of some work so it will be a couple of months before we fully transition to living aboard, but we are one step closer to realizing our sailing dreams.

We had searched for months before finding Empyrean but, the moment we stepped aboard, we knew she was the boat we had been searching for. The buying process took several months, as we went back and forth with surveys and negotiations. It was definitely a test of our patience but the wait paid off big as we were able to get a boat that was just what we were looking for at a price that didn't break the bank (at least not yet).

We will be working on Empyrean over the next months outfitting her for offshore.  We are currently working on replacing one of her diesel tanks.  Upcoming projects will include new rigging and new electronics. We will also be removing the old heads and holding tanks and replacing them with composting heads.  

Follow us on the biggest adventure of our life as we prepare our new home to depart for Mexico in the fall of 2016!  We will be adding lots of pics and videos of projects that we are working on!

Happy Holidays and Fair Winds From the Wada Family 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sail Repair - By Emily

As many sailors know, repairs and upgrades for the boat never cease to appear. Our motto seems to be the same as Lowe's hardware store, "Never stop improving." Our most recent repair is that of our headsail. A couple months back we tore the grommet on our poor old sail and were in need of a repair. Knowing the owner pretty well, we decided to take it over to Kettenhofen Marine, a sail and rigging loft, for a check up. Mr. K had done a wonderful job repairing our sail and sent a list of what he had done to get our sail back in shape. He had to replace the grommet at the tack, restitch the rope, and replace two areas of webbing. Our sail is now in working condition and ready for some action!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tiny Living - Making the Move

It has been quite some time since I have blogged, mostly because life has been crazy here.  I promise that long absences are a thing of the past. I want to make sure that I keep the blog up to date, if for no other reason than to be able to look back on our progress. We have been very busy trying to get settled into some major life changes.  Making life changes when you are a couple can be extremely trying so making life changes when it involves several kiddos can seem like an impossible feat. However, I am happy to say we are all adjusting even better than expected.

Let me catch things up. We decided some months ago that life

was too complicated, too stressful and we needed a change. We had acquired too much stuff, too many unnecessary worries, and overall our minds and bodies seemed cluttered with things that just weren't enjoyable. After purchasing Southwind and refitting her we knew for sure that the sea was calling our family louder than ever. And so we went to work evolving a plan. 

Our first step would be to get rid of stuff that was tying us down.  This may sound easy and I thought, since I love to organize and clean out, that it would be relatively easy work for me.  Boy was I in for a rude awakening. We spent weeks, going through everything that we had collected, trying to pair down to necessities.  I taped off a section in our family room and told the family that everything we would keep needed to fit in this small space (approximately 6x8).  We began to pile things that seemed important into the space and it began to fill up…fast!  Then we would reevaluate and more stuff would be piled into garage sale piles. Before all was said and done we would have three garage sales, multiple ads on Craigslist and Ebay, of course carloads to take to charity, and a huge trash collection day. The more we let go of, the more weight that seemed to be lifted. We really started to feel good about going tiny. 

By the end of September we were ready to make a move out of our 5 bedroom home. This brings us to where we are today. We have moved into our travel trailer and are embracing the simpler life. It is crowded, but we are finding ways to make life work in small spaces. There are five of us and one bathroom vs. the luxury of three bathrooms. We are learning so many things like patience, new organizing skills, and more importantly how much we can enjoy each others company. We are playing board games, cooking together, and just enjoying being a close family. We are discovering new ways to leave a much smaller footprint everyday. It isn’t all perfect bliss but we can truly say we are happier than we remember being in a long, long time.


So, where will we go from here? Well, we are certain that a bluewater cruiser is in our very near future.  We have some things in the works and are excited to soon be sharing news of a new, much more permanent, home.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

It's been awhile...

Happy Halloween everybody, it's been awhile since we've updated hasn't it. We are still here and still trying to achieve our goal of living the sailing life. We have been busy downsizing from our 2600 sq. ft. home to a 27ft travel trailer and let me tell you that it is a lot harder than you might think. We are moving in to our trailer for now till we find our new blue water sailboat that we will begin our sailing adventures on.  We'll post about our downsizing in another blog.  Fair winds and thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What's the Plan?

What's the plan?  This question seems to be what we are asking ourselves daily.  Our family knows, and has for sometime known, that we want to make some big life changes.  We want to see the world, expose our girls to other cultures, discover new places, learn to be self sufficient and learn to live small in a big way. 

How to make that happen has been the struggle we have faced.  It isn't always easy to make changes, especially ones that will change everything about our life.  We live pretty comfortably, our girls have plenty of stuff, too much stuff, we all do.   Leaving all that stuff behind and doing something huge is scary,  but exciting.  We have had a half a million family discussions on what we want to do, where we want to go and how we want to get there.  

And we are ready to share...we have a plan!  We are selling ALL of the stuff that weighs us down and we are going to move aboard our boat and travel the world!

Now of course if you have checked out our boat you will know that Southwind is hardly a candidate for a family of our size to live aboard and travel the ocean.  So we have been on the search for the perfect boat for our family and we think we have found her, there will be more on that in another post.

We have already been working diligently putting a plan together, selling all of our belongings, and getting things in place for becoming permanent liveaboards.  We have set goals and are working hard everyday to prepare and plan for a journey of a lifetime.  We will be moving out of our current home at the end of September and the girls and I will take a trip to the east coast to spend some quality time with family there.  Once we return we will spend our time prepping our boat, selling off final things like our cars and anything that we didn't sell before and getting ready for a huge journey.

And, if all goes well, we will begin our adventure in the fall of 2016, leaving with the Baja Haha group from San Diego and heading to Cabo San Lucas.  We then plan to sail further down the Mexican coast and in the late spring of 2017 we hope to leave Puerto Vallarta for French Polynesia.

We will be keeping our blog up to date so you can follow along with our progress as we embark on this adventure, selling our stuff, buying our boat and sailing around this great amazing world.  We hope to be able to share the beauty of the people and places we visit, participate in humanitarian efforts along the way, and make a difference not only in our lives but in the lives of others.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Anchors and Fireworks

We were very fortunate that Tom had the whole 4th of July weekend off this year! With his crazy work schedule it is a hit or miss for holiday time off.  The family loaded up the car on Friday and made the 2 hr trek to Chula Vista to get in some sailing on Southwind.  Everyone was really looking forward to this weekend.  The plan was to get down to the marina, install some nav lights on the boat and head out to the anchorage for the day where we could play and then watch fireworks from the bay.

Things were a little more crazy than usual because we had a couple of extra little visitors with us.  We were helping out some friends and watching their two granddaughters for them, ages 18 months and 6. Wow the energy of little ones, if only we could bottle that stuff!  So sailing was going to be a little more challenging with three little ones on board.  Luckily our older girls are super helpful and I had been prepping and planning for weeks in an effort to have things run smooth.

Our visitors had never sailed but were excited about the boat!  We maintained our rules for little ones in life vests at all times, even on the dock! Safety first! The girls did great and everyone had a great (and exhausting) time. The little ones enjoyed paddling around with the big kids in the dinghy and fishing (without hooks). Zoey had fun showing her friends how we do things on the boat.

With a fleet of kids in tow we headed out on Saturday morning to the anchorage at Glorietta Bay.  It was really crowded but we found a spot and anchored without any issues.  Let the fun begin! The kids played in the water, we cooked hot dogs on the grill and then...came the fireworks! We all settled in on the bow of the boat with blankets to stay warm and cozy to watch.  The whole family agreed that this is one of our best Independence Day's yet!

It was a great time had by all.  After two nights aboard Southwind it was time to head back to Huntington Beach.  We are always bummed to have to leave but everyone needed to get back to work. After having two extra little ones on board I have to really say that I don't know how Brittney and Scott from Windtraveler manage with three under three on board full time. They are amazing parents giving their little ones an amazing life! Check out their blog here  Who knows maybe we will be joining them in the big blue before long,  Zoey will have to be at least four before that happens! ;)

                              Look at this monkey! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Work some, play some

We have been busy working on Southwind and getting in as much sail time as possible!  We have managed to get the engine running beautiful and we are now able to motor whenever necessary without worrying about overheating! (Whew!!) This was a huge relief since winds can be shifty out on San Diego Bay and outside of the channels are very shallow areas which with a huge keel can be very hazardous.  We like to know that we have that engine ready to go if we need it!

After some trouble shooting we also realized that our alternator was bad and we began the hunt for a replacement.  We did another oil and filter change and replaced the fuel filter/water separator.  After doing a lot of research into the Westerbeke engine overheating problems, Tom was able to learn from others how putting in a bypass around the water heater would help keep the water flow pressure up to help keep the engine cool and VOILA! we were in business!
Thanks Downwind, for some great new life lines!

I was able to use my Sailrite machine to sew up some new sail covers to protect our sails which are in excellent condition!  A trip to Downwind on Shelter Island and the awesome guys there were able to help us get set up with new halyards, sheets for the genoa, and beautiful new lifelines (with gates on both sides, YAY!)

We have also installed a swim ladder, GPS, batteries, and some interior lighting.  

The project list seems never ending but we are really enjoying learning everything we can about outfitting our boat for safety and comfort.

We were able to spend a few nights on the docks and get a little sailing in.  We had our first anchoring experience at Glorietta Bay and it was amazing!  The girls and Tom were able to take the dinghy ashore and check out the beach, the girls also did a little swimming. Watching everyone have such a great time makes all the hard work worth it!

Downtown San Diego

Anchored at Glorietta Bay
Ending the day with a West Coast Sunset
Coronado Bridge San Diego

Sunday, April 26, 2015

We Went Sailing

Happy faces after a great sail!
Well, its official....not only does she float, but she SAILS!! (And pretty darn well, if I do say so myself!) We spent all day Friday and Saturday (and the first half of Sunday) working on project after project, and decided on Sunday afternoon that it was about time that we took our beautiful Southwind out for a spin. And boy are we glad we did! This was our first sail since we limped into the marina almost a month ago. Winds were pretty crazy, and we had a bit too much sail out, I think (we sailed on the main and the genoa).  We even heeled over a bit which was great fun!  Since we haven't installed our GPS yet, I'm not sure exactly how fast we were going, but I am fairly certain we reached hull speed!  Such a great first sail!  And everything went so smoothly, no *big* issues. :)

Floating in the dingy before our sail
Our engine is still running a bit hot, but in defense of the engine, we did forget to open up the raw water intake seacock when we first started the engine. (Oops!) We sailed through the ship channel and out into San Diego Bay.  Most of our short two hour sail was spent getting a feel for how well she maneuvers and practicing adjusting our sail trim. We probably would have stayed out even longer, but after an hour or so, the battery on our handheld VHF died (we forgot to charge it, "oops" #2). At that point we decided to head back, afraid that we were asking for trouble by being out without a working radio. Overall, it was such a fun afternoon.  It also happened to be Hannah's first ever sail, and she loved it! Big win!  (Not really sure what we would have done if she had hated it, HA!) She was definitely nervous at first, but got a feel for it after a little while. She especially loved it when Dad let her be the helmsman for a bit. It was perfect weather, a beautiful afternoon, and we couldn't have asked for a prettier day!

The only downside of the day, we were missing one of our crew members. Emily participated in the Newport to Ensenada race as part of the Newport Sea Base Youth Race Team.  Unfortunately, the weather was against them, and a huge number of boats, including Emily's, were forced to drop out of the race. But she had fun, nonetheless, learned a lot and had a ton of stories to tell about her adventure when she came back!  You can check out some pics of the race start below.

And they're off!
A gloomy day to start the race

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Launch day!

I never ever in a million years thought this day would come. Okay, that sounds way too dramatic. I should say I didn't see this day coming for a very very VERY long time! But its here, and its a very crazy feeling. Its exciting, and daunting, and scary and thrilling, and a thousand and one other feelings. But this is it, no going back now. The Boat Movers have been paid, crane time scheduled at the yard, and our slip at the marina reserved.  Now, all that's left is the boat!

Because of the crazy schedules of everyone in our house I was down at the yard alone for a couple days (Dad was working, and Mom was taxiing the little girls around to their activities), getting everything ready for the infamous Launch Day. I got lots of chores done, finished some last minute straightening up, and ran errands to pick up little odds and ends that we needed. I also finished waxing and shining our masts (Cue Mr Miyagi - "This hand wax on, this hand wax off").

This morning the guys in the yard got Southwind off her cradle and on to the big truck!  It was quite a production, and it took them about 5 hours from start to finish.  Watching them lift her up was crazy and really nerve racking!  After they got her in the lift, she stayed up for a couple hours, giving me just enough time to paint the last few spots of bottom paint and the waterline stripe.  Then she got loaded up and strapped down, ready to go to the shipyard first thing tomorrow morning.

Everyone is so excited for launch day. Finally our boat will actually be a boat again! Stay tuned to hear all about our launch adventure!

Lifting her out of her cradle

Is it just me, or is she leaning a bit?

The yard just got a little emptier!

All strapped down and ready to go!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Checking off projects - Bottom Paint DONE!

Hannah making our dusty old masts SHINE! :)
Its official. Call the papers, alert the media let the world know . . . we have new Bottom Paint! And it is gorgeous! Dad and mom spent two entire days covered in red dust from sanding and washing all of the old, gunky rust colored paint off the bottom.  Most of the painting was done by Mom and Emily, with Em rolling and Mom tipping. (I did some rolling too, but honestly, I suck at painting. I have a tendency to get paint on everything *except* what needs painting.)

Emily hard at work on our water line.

For the bottom we decided to go with Interlux products, and since weren't sure what the previous owners had used on the bottom before, the bottom got sanded almost down to the gelcoat.  Then, to build our bottom back up a paint we used three coats of InterProtect and three coats of Interlux Ultra.  While the paint is definitely not easy to apply, it was definitely way better than the AwlGrip two part stuff we put on the deck! After that experience, we were definitely ready to take the easy easier way out for the bottom. And I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?

Also, if I may direct your attention to the pictures below, you may notice that we have toe rail, gunwale, stanchions and lifelines installed! After so many set backs the last few months, it's nice to have more and more things to add to the "Done" list. And it is also nice to have lifelines on the boat so we don't constantly fear for our lives while we walk around the deck (which happens to be 12 feet in the air)!

Southwind after a good sand and scrub. 

Next on the agenda, David (the yard's Fiberglass guy) is going to finish the repair on our bow and give our hull some much needed TLC. He is going to do a full wet sand, wax and polish. Southwind is going to look like a new boat! We are counting down the days until our beauty sees the ocean, and we can't wait!

Bottom Paint = DONE!!