Hello friends and family! After a couple year sabbatical from blogging, the time feels right to take up my pen and share the joys and struggles of our past couple years. The great news is that we are all alive and well and very busy planning our big sail to the South Pacific and beyond in Spring 2018. The plan is to sail through all the islands of French Polynesia then on to Fiji and New Zealand (or maybe Australia, still time to decide). After that we will see which way the wind blows, maybe more South Pacific Islands or maybe Southeast Asia (Malasia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines etc) or maybe we will buy a Land Cruiser in Africa and spend a year wandering that amazing continent. I think half the fun of travel is not knowing what is next. We have 3000 miles of sailing from Mexico to French Polynesia, that will give us about 3 weeks to decide where we will go after that.
The struggle part of our lives is that a year and a half ago Jack was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer with metastasis to 4 lymph nodes in his neck. We were planning to sail to French Polynesia last year but this diagnosis changed everything. He tried various natural treatments with some degree of success, reduction in lymph node swelling and decrease in primary tumor size. However after 8 months he decided it was time to hit it with the big guns. Last summer he went through chemo and radiation in Tijuana Mexico. We found excellent doctors and state of the art facilities. We lived on our boat at the beautiful Hotel Coral Marina in Ensenada and drove the 3 hour round trip to Tijuana daily for 8 weeks of radiation with chemo every 3 weeks. So much more I could write about all this, and I might someday, but the short version is that the cancer is gone! Jack just had his 9 month scan and it was perfect. Praise God! He/we have been through a lot in the past year. Chemo and radiation are beasts, but they killed the bigger beast and he got through it like a champ. I so love this strong man I married almost 9 years ago! He feels he has a new lease on life and we are taking our family motto “seize the day!” to a new level.
We had such a good experience with cancer treatment in Mexico, I actually toyed with the idea of starting a medical tourism business. I loved the close contact we had with the doctors, I could WhatsApp them at any time to ask questions or report problems and they would text right back or call. The radiation oncologist became a close friend and has been to our boat twice with his family. We were able to pay cash for all scans and treatment, very affordable. I quickly nixed the “medical tourism” business idea because it would have taken us in a totally different direction and we were already living our dream.
So … the current plan is: my dad flys in this Friday June 2 for ten days to help us with final boat preparations. I drop my dad off at the San Diego airport June 12 and pick up Buzzy and Paddy, good friends and hot air balloon pilots on our ballooning team who will crew with us 700 miles from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas.
After that it’s sailing and diving over the summer in the Sea of Cortez and continuing to prepare the boat for our 2018 circumnavigation. We are thankful for friends who have already signed up for various legs of our upcoming journey. In keeping with early 17th century British Royal Navy tradition, and their 1 gallon a day ration of beer for the sailors, I do have a brewery on the boat and make some pretty tasty IPAs, but I can’t promise the sailors ration of 1 gallon of beer per day to our crew. Wowzers!