Category Archives: Philosophy

One year on Ryana

We have made it halfway through our journey and completed one year living on a boat!  During the time we’ve had the boat we’ve sailed from Florida to Maine, back down to Virigina, through the Atlantic Ocean to the British Virgin Islands, down the Caribbean to Dominica and back up to Florida through the Bahamas and now back into the Chesapeake Bay.  Phew!!  We’ve been moving around a lot and probably have done about 6000 miles on Ryana.   After all this moving around it’s time to stop and reflect on the previous year.

Our greatest accomplishments in the past year:

1.  Still being married!  Living on a boat in close quarters 24×7 can be stressful!  But we are hanging in there!

30 April 11 - BVI---3082

At our April 30, 2011 wedding in the British Virgin Islands.

2.  Keeping Stanley alive and not quarantined through 11 Caribbean countries!  We underestimated the amount of bureaucracy we’d have to go through to have Stanley with us and often got frustrated by the paperwork run around.  But, having Stanley with us is more than worth it!


Stanley guarding the life jackets.

3.  Keeping the boat and crew safe and sound!  Sailing all those miles by ourselves would be tiring.  We were lucky to have friends and family come visit and help crew the boat.  Thank you to all (in order of appearance):  Jack, Cynthia, Greg, Cindy, Chuck, McKenna, Brett, Sally, Kay, Tokkie, Graham, Tony, Jeff, Kacie, Pete, Patrick, Kara, Dwane & Beverly.  A special mention for Greg who has visited us the most number of times (3) and was with us on the Atlantic passage and to Brett who was with us the longest (6.5 weeks).


Brett keeping watch for lobster pots in Maine.


Greg at the helm somewhere in the Atlantic on the way to Tortola.








Other thoughts and statistics about our year at on Ryana.

In 365 nights on the boat we spent:

  • 20 nights out at sea
  • 117 nights at anchor
  • 133 nights on a mooring ball
  • 95 nights at a dock

The longest we stayed in one place in the Caribbean was in Antigua where we stayed in Falmouth Harbor.  This was our favorite Caribbean destination and we had a great time.  It’s located right next to Nelson’s Dockyard which is a great place with a long history.

The longest we stayed in one place anywhere was Annapolis.  Annapolis also happens to be our favorite East Coast destination!  It’s a great town for boating, has great happy hours and you can either be in the social tourist areas or go to some of the more low key places in Eastport.

While we enjoyed all the places we went (some more than others!) it was really the people we met who have made this trip enjoyable.  Nothing bolsters your spirits like arriving in a new port to see friends there!  The new friends we’ve met and the old friends who have visited are what has made this trip great for us.  Thank you!

Oh You’re that Guy on a Boat

Once we are removed from our cruising brethren it quickly becomes apparent how our current lifestyle does not make sense to mainstream america; even our close friends and family. Diana and I went back to the West Coast to visit friends and family and attend the wedding of our close friends Alice and Howard for two weeks. I made sure I scheduled time to see all the folks I wanted to catch up with, but catching up is hard when it’s a one way conversation.

Everyone wanted to know what it’s like living on a boat; if we ever get scared, get tired of our constant company, take regular showers, etc. Yep, still humans so yes to all questions. As much as our lives have changed all the things that we were when we left still remain. Don’t treat us like the foreign exchange student (though I know you would treat them wonderfully), keep things on the same level as they were when we left. I want to know how things are going with you too. How’s the family? How’s that retirement coming? How was that ski trip?

There is a lot more to us than those crazy people living on a boat, just as always. Also note, I’m also more than that guy with the hair/beard.

2013 has been one of the Greatest Years of my Life Yet also Likely the Most Trying

You all have been reading about what is likely one of the most exciting chapters in Diana and my lives. Putting our careers at risk for taking two years off, renting out the houses, driving across the country and so far sailing the entire East Coast and down to the Caribbean. In between there has been a lot of exploring, more boat repairs and improvements than you can imagine, visits from friends and family and even some relaxing.

What you haven’t been hearing about is a family emergency that happened on September 16th. I got a call late in the evening that my Dad was in the hospital for a head injury. At the time I actually got to speak to him for a few minutes and they were just going to monitor him; from that point things got much worse. His brain bleed paralyzed the left side of his body and they had to do emergency surgery to relieve the pressure and left him in a drug induced coma.

Diana and I had to figure out how to get the boat secured, find a place for the dog to stay and get on a plane to Seattle ASAP. Luckily Brett was still with us so he was a big help in getting everything figured out. The Annapolis City Harbor Master let us keep Ryana on a back mooring ball while we were gone and some great folks we spoke to on the VHF earlier in the season were anchored next to us and kept an eye on Ryana while were away. We managed to catch a flight out of Baltimore that same afternoon.

Upon arriving I stopped by my Mom’s house then went off to visit my Dad in the hospital and he was quite a site; tubes and wires all over and a head bandage that made him look like a Q-Tip. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a bit shocking. The doctor and nurses wouldn’t give any concrete information about his prognosis as brains are still quite a mysterious organ in the medical field. He remained in this state for about 2 weeks with a few scary nights where his pulse and breathing would get very erratic.

His slow recovery has been marked with weeks of status quo then significant overnight improvements. After leaving late in the evening and then arriving the next day you would sometimes walk in to what you would think was a different patient. He would gain clarity and awareness just overnight, but then remain at that level for weeks, until another significant step change occurred.

All through this I was trying to figure out how to get control of his finances and medical decisions. I did eventually find the PoA document that allowed me to free up some assets for a few bills and also make decisions based on his medical care.

After spending about 3 weeks back west and panicking about all the boat projects that weren’t getting done to prepare for our journey to the Caribbean my mom convinced me to go back to the boat and my wife and dog. Since my departure my mom has taken care of almost everything in my absence and allowed Diana and I to continue with one of our life dreams. That’s not to say I haven’t had my freakout moments and wanted to immediately return to assist, but there really isn’t any more that I could do than my mother already has.

Overall my father was in the hospital for about an entire month with most of the time spent in the ICU. His medical bills have piled into astronomic figures as he does not have medical insurance so that’s been a fun situation for all. . . don’t be uninsured! Don’t just think about yourself think about the risk it is to your immediate family.

He is now in a rehabilitation center in Enumclaw WA where he is maybe about 70-80%. He has most of his long term memory, is fairly quick witted and can take care of his basic needs of bathing, dressing and eating. He is still not ready to be released back into the wild by any state. He easily gets overwhelmed, has very poor short term memory and does not believe he even needs any psychiatric help even though he is on some pretty heavy drugs at the moment and has a substance abuse issue that was a contributing factor to his accident

We don’t know where the future has in store for him; it’s unsure if he’ll ever be independent again. The brain takes a long time to heal and the doctors say it could be up to a year until we understand what his long term prognosis is. The next step is to get him out of the rehabilitation center and into a lower level care facility that will save us some money as there isn’t too much more they can do for him.

So my overall feelings as 2013 comes to an end are;

  • Satisfaction and pride based on what Diana and I have accomplished this year.
  • Gratitude to all the people that have helped and continue to help any way they can. I have a mother that has stepped up way beyond her call of duty to help her ex-husband. All my father’s wonderful neighbors that have helped him out during this time; Rich, Kathy and Stephen. Fellow cruisers that have assisted us numerous times especially Tokkie and Gail on ATA Marie, Curt and Kathy on Five & Dime and Kevin from Port Annapolis. And last but not least Diana for being very supportive and dealing with my own madness through this mess.
  • Warmth from all the great people we have met this year and have created new life long friends in a short amount of time. We were even included in Te Mana’s family Christmas dinner, thanks Heather, Kirk and Russel . . . it’s been fun!
  • Optimism that my father will continue to have big step improvements in 2014 and Diana and I will continue enjoying this once in a life time adventure!

May your new year bring; happiness, love and a whole new set of wonderful memories.

Is it really just saving Trellis Bay?

Trellis Bay, Beef Island

When we first visited the B.V.I. 4 years ago the cab driver was going on and on about how ridiculous the government hasn’t yet extended the Beef Island runway to accommodate larger passenger jets. I really didn’t give it too much thought afterward even though his rant lasted most of the ride out to Road Town.

Fast forward four years and we are sitting on the beach in Trellis Bay enjoying an amazing meal at the Trellis Bay Kitchen when the proprietor comes out and shows us pictures of the place dating back to the 60’s and offers us his guest book. After some pleasantries he goes on to state that the government is looking to fill in Trellis Bay to add 3000 more feet to the runway so larger passenger jets can land. While this would be devastating to business owners and the small artist community at Trellis Bay it has much larger implications to all the islands.

The BVI are known as “Nature’s Little Secrets” which isn’t necessarily entirely true especially in the sailing community where most folks cut their teeth in bareboating, but they are definitely a world away from the cruise ship terminals in the USVI and Puerto Rico. Most of the islands are sparsely populated and support mostly locally owned business that thrive off of the current tourist model, from what I can see things work well. . . though I’m sure many business owners will state they would love to have more customers, but what kind? The tourists coming out here aren’t your standard cruise ship, fanny pack wearing standard issue US or UK tourist; these folks try and do embrace the island culture and are here to experience it. This will change drastically when it is much easier to access these beautiful islands.

With an influx of standard issue tourists it wont be long until the government is petitioned to allow more outside owned and run businesses. It wont take long for the locally owned and operated restaurants, resorts and service companies to sell out to larger global interests. Do you know anyone that remembers Waikiki 50 years ago? Way before my time, but my understanding is that it was a much different place, now controlled by Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt etc. . . and Marriott has just recently completed it’s new luxury resort on Scrub Island here in the B.V.I.

The other concern is noise pollution, the flight path will go directly over Virgin Gorda and Gorda Sound which is quite the amazing place. Growing up with relatives that didn’t live far from SeaTac International I can say that it’s difficult to relax with jets flying overhead. Take away the premier activity of relaxing and what do you have?

If you agree you can sign the petition at

Oh and don’t be offended if you are a standard issue tourist. . . there’s still time to change 🙂

I gain inspiration from Ricky. . .

So I will divulge one of my guilty pleasures, one of the shows I have recently enjoyed watching is “Trailer Park Boys”; a mockumentary (like Reno 911) about some not so intelligent guys trying to scrape by on small time crimes in Nova Scotia. This is a pretty lowbrow show with poor acting and even worse editing that was recommended by one of my most intelligent friends; thanks Cynthia!

Before I get into the quality in Ricky that gives me inspiration let me state, I do not condone; crime, drug use, drug cultivation and lastly not being responsible for your own actions.

So why was I laying in a crappy motel room thinking of Ricky? Ricky never lets his current situation get him bummed; he has the great ability to look on the bright side no matter how bad things are, except if his good track pants get ripped then its a downward spiral. Ricky lives in a car that is missing a door, regularly does stints in jail, has a girlfriend that rarely shows any love or respect and is so broke he regularly scavenges for tobacco in old cigarette butts; all this and he generally maintains a positive outlook on the future.

Going forward, no matter how thorough the planning, there will be situations that will be uncomfortable. I need to be careful and not get caught up on the moment of discomfort and remember the purpose of this trip.

Oh and if you have time you want to completely blow, check out “Trailer Park Boys”, you can stream it on Netflix.



Wow you named your boat after yourselves?  How vain, self-absorbed or narcissistic are you people?

Well vain, self-absorbed? Maybe a bit.  Narcissistic? Definitely not.

A little history. . . Diana and I have been together for quite some time; even before we were officially dating most of our friends knew we came as a pair.  In various circles we soon became known as Ryana (Ryan + Diana = Ryana).  Since we wouldn’t deny enjoying each other’s company or deny the fact we spent significant time together, we didn’t have any specific reasons to push back on the moniker.

A history of a nickname may still not be a valid reason to name the boat after ourselves.  Why not name the boat something like “Adventurer”, “Horizon”, “Wind Dancer”, “Solace”, “Escape”, “Sabbatical”, “Salish Spirit” or anything else?  The simple reason is. . .

This journey is not a search for place, emotion or time; it is a search to cultivate our individual and mutual priorities in life

We hope to have at least 50 good years left in us and want to ensure we spend every one of them in a meaningful way.  We’ve let life lead us to the point where we are today and definitely cannot complain (great friends & family, good jobs, comfortable house, extra spending money), this is the first real decision in both our lives where we are leading life, not life leading us. The trip is about us so why not be open about it?


Oh; and we already had the shirt. . .