Archive for October, 2009

Back on the road

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Flying into Hilo:

All right, it’s time to get this blog rolling again after it’s long hiatus since I left Samoa last April. Let me just catch you up really quick on what’s been going on in my life. Last April my Dad was doing amazingly well day trading in the stock market. He offered to loan me some seed money and show me what he was doing. So I spent a good month and a half waking at 6am every morning to catch the opening and staring at a computer screen until 1pm when the market closed. Some days were good, some days were bad, all days were stressful and by June I was down a significant amount of money. On the bright side I was back living in Bellingham, catching up with my old friend who I hadn’t seen for a while and I started seeing this very fun girl, Tiffany, who I had met at the Stringband Jamboree a couple of years earlier. Unfortunately I didn’t have any income and was losing money trying to play the market. So in June I got in touch with Western Towboat and amazingly lined up a trip that ended up paying $16K in a matter of minutes. So back to sea I went. My summer working for Western stretched out to 112 days of work taking me as far north as the Bering Strait and as far west as Attu at the end of the Aleutian Islands. There were gales, storms, even hurricane force winds, but I came out the other end a week and a half ago with enough money to: get Bodhran back into shape after 3 years of very little maintenance, pay the bond to allow her to stay in New Zealand for another 6 months, and to go sailing for at least another year.

Tiffany and myself at the Stringband Jamboree:
Tiffany and myself at the Stringband Jamboree

I spent 5 days at home catching up with friends and family and enjoying the chilly Fall weather. I would have liked to spend a bit longer, but work stretched on and I had already bought my tickets so after a whirlwind visit through Washington I flew out to the big island of Hawaii to visit with Bonnie and Greg for a week before continuing on to New Zealand. Greg was staying with and working with Bob Derringer, another cruiser friend from Bellingham who had sold is and his wife Cary’s boat in Austrailia a few years back and started up a construction company. Turns out that with the tanking real estate market an opportunity opened up to buy 3 acres of land for next to nothing on the East slope of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. So Greg and Bonnie jumped on it, sailed Willow back to Hilo and are in the process of building a cabin on their property. By some stroke of luck they got the roof, walls and mosquito nets up around the cabin just in time for my arrival. For the past 9 months they’ve been living out of a Costco portable garage which is now on it’s last legs.

The Cabin, which is pretty charming right now, but will be amazing once it’s done:
The Cabin

Bonnie driving me through the lava fields:

Crazy fossil looking designs in the cooled lava:

So here I am easing myself back into unemployment hanging out with my personal tour guide, Bonnie, during the day and catching up with Greg and Bob and Cary in the evenings. Bonnie and I keep talking about working on the cabin or the property, but so far it hasn’t happened. Mainly I’m just slowing myself back down and enjoying being warm again.

This is as close as you get on the trail to see where the lava meets the sea:
Lava hitting the sea

A closer look. We need to go back at night so that you can see the red glow before it’s masked by all the steam:
Lava hitting the sea

I’ll be flying back to New Zealand on November 2nd. Then the fun begins. I’m planning on spending a full 3 months in Whangarei hammering Bodhran back into shape. Tiffany has got her working holiday visa and will be joining me 3 weeks later and staying on until March. So it should be a pretty good Winter (NZ Summer) for us, splitting our time between working and touring around the North Island before finally getting some sailing in again come February.

Almost done working for the year!!!

Monday, October 5th, 2009

The Alaska Mariner, the 115 foot tug I’ve been working on for the last month:
The Alaska Mariner

Greetings all from beautiful Platinum Alaska. So the blogs been pretty slow over the last 6 months. I’ve been tooling around western Alaska for the better part of that time refilling the old cruising coffers. But all that is coming to an end. I’m on the Alaska Mariner right now just north of Bristol Bay, but come tomorrow, if they’re done with our barge, we’ll be heading back to Seattle and I’ll be done with this damn work thing for another year.

Too much of this:

and not enough of this, makes Jason an unhappy boy!:
Balancing a beer on my belly in Nuie

I’ll only be back in Washington State for a week or so before flying out to Hawaii to spend 5 days with Bonnie and Greg before continuing on to New Zealand. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see everyone, but let me apologize in advance if I don’t. I love the life that I’m living, but it’s tough only seeing friends and family once in a blue moon and never for enough time.

Probably going to be back doing this again in a year or two. It’s a bit dangerous, it sucks at time, but an overflowing banks account awaits at the end of the rainbow:
Jason Shemya

I’ll be getting back to New Zealand just in time for another Southern Hemisphere cyclone season. Which basically means that I’m stuck south of the tropics until May. Not to worry though, Bodhran is in need of some serious tlc and Whangarei is a great place to take care of it. So with a wad of cash in my pocket and the southern Spring well underway, most of the blog for the next little bit will be boat projects before hopefully spending some time sailing around a bit of the North Island before heading up to Fiji around May.