Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Contact
By Windy

Del Viento's home for now
Last week I saw our boat for the first time. (In fact, it was the first time any of us have been aboard since we took ownership last June.) I arrived at the small, private marina in Puerto Vallarta where we are renting a slip until we move aboard. After the bump and surge and dust of the local bus, the marina was positively serene. It is a postcard of cozy multicolored villas, skirted by palms and giant bird of paradise plants, and with a small, still harbor home to fishing boats, sailboats, and a couple large power boats. I walked down a brick and stone path and stood for a long moment regarding our boat with excitement and a pinch of fear.

Until that moment, I don't think I'd acknowledged, even to myself, my quiet fear. What if upon boarding I realize we'd made a big mistake? What if I find the cabin dark and claustrophobic? Most of all, what if I can't imagine our family living happily there?

The long, narrow, plastic ports squinted at me. The teal canvas looked cheerful and sharp. And then I was aboard and turning the key and shoving the companionway hatch open, feeling so completely focused and thrilled to be there.

Excited to be there!
Heat billowed out of the hatch, carrying the smells of diesel, mildew, and head.  I scanned the interior. Nothing obvious was wrong, but everywhere my eyes rested there were surfaces to oil, or polish, or clean. My strongest initial impression was that this boat really needed someone to inhabit it--which is what I was there to do, if only for a week. (Note: our boat sitters are excellent and conscientious. My impressions did not stem from any negligence on their part; on the contrary, they have gone above and beyond more than once.)

My mom arrived that evening and we spent a productive six days scrubbing, inventorying, measuring, and making a few simple repairs. Each evening we rested over a delicious meal and a margarita at a local restaurant, and each morning we started up again. By the end of the week, we'd covered every inch of the boat.
Aside from adding a thousand and one items to our to-do list, I learned that the Fuji 40 has an incredible amount of storage for the size of the boat, miles of headroom, and woodwork of rare beauty and precision--after 30 years each drawer glides smoothly into place and doors close with a satisfying click. The topsides are functional and free of ornamentation, with wide side-decks and and an expansive foredeck. In short, it is a lovely boat with a superb layout, and I can't imagine a better choice, either aesthetically (for me), or functionally (for my family).

Remaining are the needling fears I have been aware of since we began our 5-year plan. I fear for the safety of my children aboard--though rationally I know they will be safe. I fear for our finances--well that one isn't irrational at least. I fear leaving everything and everyone behind, not returning. Yet, I'm comforted that these fears amount to little compared to my overwhelming feelings of excitement for the adventure before us.


  1. Hello Robertsons family! We came across your blog through Families On The Road! We are very excited to learn of your adventure. We currently live and travel in our 5th wheel RV but definitely have a desire to move aboard a boat in the future. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us as you travel this beautiful world of ours.

    {{big hugs}} and safe travels,
    Angie & Family

  2. I can't wait to see her! She looks beautiful

  3. Windy have no fear, you and Mike are very capable and have the experience and determination to do it. Looks like we will be beating you out of the starting blocks though.(Feb 1st departure date). Rest assured that we are just as frazzeled but excited as you are.Give the kids a hug from us and a big wet one to Mike from me


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