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During the more than two decades that we ran our martial arts school, a big part of our job was to remain positive. We were fully aware that people did not pay money to come to our gym and not be happy, so regardless of what stresses we were dealing with, personally or business wise, we kept them concealed, and put on our happy faces. 🙂 We did exactly the same thing when we ran charters in the Virgins. Once again, our guests were investing their hard-earned money, this time to have the vacation of a lifetime, and we were committed to giving it to them, regardless of what was going on behind the scenes. I frequently debate, should I do the same thing on this blog? As most readers will attest, I generally try to. Even when I do share about boat challenges, I try to do it with a smile. I think it’s only fair to share though, that sometimes, remaining positive is a tough thing to do, regardless of how picturesque our locale may be.


It has now been close to eight months since we have owned our Amel, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many times during that period that I have questioned our decision to sell our PDQ, and purchase this new boat. Almost daily I long for the simplicity of our cat, and the lack of significant problems that we had with her. This was brought home even more vividly last week when we moved ZTC from Grenada Marine to Clarks Court Bay. With each new challenge that we face on Frost, some that I have yet to share on this blog, I second guess our decision.

In the TV show Game of Thrones, would-be ruler Daenerys Targaryen has frequently been known to state “If I look back I am lost.” I oftentimes feel that way myself. At first glance, it would seem easy for us to transition back onto ZTC, into the simple life that we had before. Unfortunately, I feel that we have invested too much time, energy, and money into this new direction, virtually burning the bridges as we have gone along. And I doubt it would really make us happy anyway.

Since the very day that we took possession of Frost, we have been running to keep up with a fairly brisk schedule. We had guests join us almost immediately, then made a trip to Trinidad for boat work, and then had more guests. Right after that we travelled to Trinidad, Panama, and the Galapagos, and when we returned, had still more guests join us. We have had fantastic experiences during the last eight months, and created some lifelong friendships and memories. It hasn’t left us much time to plan ahead though. Yesterday afternoon, Rebecca and I started to discuss what the next few months will hold for us. Our dream of traveling south to Patagonia remains, but the timing for that trip, and the logistics to make it happen (money, boat, etc.), still need to be worked out.

Tune in tomorrow when we return to our regularly scheduled programming of boat maintenance and cocktails, bikinis and sunsets. 🙂


  1. Hi Mike,
    I totally feel your pain…the first couple years of owning a new/ old boat is always a challenge. Hang in there it does get better!

  2. Mike,
    That is common thinking , I have come too far, too much money, time etc to stop now.
    Really, if new info and experience gives actual outcomes, should I cut out now or continue in spite of everything, or consider what I have learned.

    This could cause too much negative energy and that could take you to a totally new direction.

    Learn and rethink re decide.

    Go positive


  3. It’s always good to take time to pause and reflect on where you are relative to your goals and to re-set the goals. You have done that a lot since you started this blog and, I expect you did that before we knew you as well.

    Letting your blog fans know the inner turmoils is just part of the honesty that you’ve been sharing all along, and frankly, that pretty amazing in this world of trying to protect one’s privacy.

  4. Mike,

    Rebecca and you have been an inspiration to me since I started taking grappling classes with you. I feel that posts like this show that even though you are living the life that many of us can only dream about. Your lifestyle requires a great amount of hard work and sacrifice. This by the way is something I always took away from your classes. Training is not easy; however the results make it look so.



  5. Mike, As much as I admire you & Rebecca you aren’t super-human. Please don’t be hard on yourselves! I think you do yourself and your blog readers a disservice to not show your frustrations sometimes! Denis and I struggle with the same thing sometimes. If we “complain” sometimes people living the rush rush of city life and work don’t understand how we could be frustrated while surrounded by gorgeous scenery and living experiences that most people only dream of. But, every lifestyle has compromises and boating is no different. You and Rebecca are proposing an entirely different cruising lifestyle and you are wise to go slow. It’s also OK to change directions if you decide it isn’t for you after all. Take your time and enjoy the scenery while you “ponder”! Wishing you fewer repairs and headaches and ore enjoyment soon

  6. I recently had a major life change, for the better. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can see clearly how “stuck” and full of turmoil I felt in my previously chosen course. I had let a lot of internal expectations and requirements freeze me in a particular direction. I had forgotten that I GET to choose. If the ZTC life is really what you want, go for it! We only get an unknown quantity of days left on the planet…use em how YOU want to…everyone else can cheer you on (or piss off!).

  7. I guess if you want to look at the positive side…. things are breaking now and not when your halfway to Chile 🙂

  8. One of the things that I really appreciate most about your blog are the times when you do tell (and show) the challenges, disappointments and problems. Having done live aboard cruising myself I’m well aware that the boating life is very often not cocktails and sunsets.

    I think that it’s all too easy for those living a ‘regular life’ to fantasize about how great and perfect things would be if only they could sail away to paradise. When you show what others often obscure, i.e. – the hard reality side of boating, then you serve your readers well. I also find that having an opportunity to ‘look over your shoulders’ as you share these experiences on the blog to be highly interesting.

    I’m always impressed at how you’ve moved through all of your sailing adventures and am glad that you’ve taken the time/effort to let us in on the story . . . both ups and downs. Thanks!

  9. I hope that the time Darla and I have spent with you allows me to present my thoughts.

    We took a gamble on investing in your future, for our future. Having read your blog from beginning to end, I felt that I knew both of you before we even met. You opened your lives to 2 strangers, you shared more with us than was expected, personally and professionally. We learned so much in such a short time. Your “Real Life Adventure” was just that, we absorbed the peacefulness and pleasures that are most often only experienced when on vacation. Yet, this was more than a vacation for us. We also experienced some of the darker side (not counting upchucking the spicy cold soup, which was not a reflection on the cook) . In our presence, together, you guys met every challenge, together you guys glowed in the joys of your lifestyle and successes.

    One year ago, we found out about Darla’s health issue, it was our problem, and our problem to to deal with alone. I had not shared her health with anyone, I was lost, I questioned and doubted everything that was our future. Your blog gave me the strength to share our situation (I tried to locate for reference). Even tho it was to an audience that has no knowledge of us, it helped bring me some peace and helped me to refocus.

    Regardless of what the future brings us, the past has made us who we are today. We are a couple that will face every challenge, every joyous moment together “Forever”.

    There will always be set backs, but any mountain can be scaled as long as you have communication and the support of the one you love.

    “In life we do things. Some we wish we had never done. Some we wish we could replay a million times in our heads. But they all make us who we are, and in the end they shape every detail about us. If we were to reverse any of them we wouldn’t be the person we are. So just live. Make mistakes. Have wonderful memories. But never ever second guess who you are. Where you have been, and most importantly where it is you’re going.”

  10. JMHO
    Your definitely allowed to be second guessing, it’s your life and nobody elses. We all do I think, many times through life, I think it’s healthy. Personally, when I get down and bummed I sometimes instead of saying to myself, buck up, get over it, I do the opposite. I dig deep within myself and try to bring ALL the bad shit, all the second guesses, disappointments to the surface and face them outright and get really, really pissed off inside but always knowing this miserable feeling can’t last. I’m better than that! This is not the kind of misery I share with others, I fight and conquer those demons myself. So far so good.

    Get back to work living, your not doing so bad.

  11. As you can see from the previous comments, we are all in your camp and appreciate your honesty and openness. I’m in a similar situation purchasing another boat and moving up to a liveaboard vessel Like you, the current vessel has all the fruits of my labor and continuous improvement. I am crossing the same path with questioning but persevere to keep my focus and follow my dream. It’s what we are all about. We find the satisfaction on the next horizon of life and it only comes from been there and done that.
    I wish I could get more people (newbies) to follow your blog as it is a true picture about what it takes to own and adventure on a boat. We’re behind you all the way. Keep up the great work.

  12. I too appreciate you sharing your feelings Mike. I guess the ole saying about enjoying the journey may apply. I’m often frustrated by how much longer/more painful my “journeys” are as compared to what I “expected” but all this experience is the road to knowledge!! 🙂 Just be mindful of the fun-to-suck ratio!

  13. Hang in their Mike & Rebecca! I just took a weeks of vacation time to get stuff done around the house, and I still didn’t get to the “boat tasks” yet. I did start the countdown though until we hit the lake on Memorial day weekend and our abbreviated program of

    “of boat maintenance and cocktails, bikinis and sunsets. 🙂 “

  14. Mike,
    You and Rebecca have given me a lot of great reading it the last 4 or so years. Its tough to look back at the decisions we made and wonder “What If?”. Keep up the good work and try to do what is right. I have made some bad choices myself, we all do. Learn and move on. Love to read your stuff and hope to be able to keep reading, what ever your plans are. You guys are the reason Linda and I started sailing. Unfortunately we will not be able to give up our land life and retire to a sail boat. Life is what happens while you make other plans. Good luck and keep the faith.

  15. Well I think as long as you have Rebecca, you are doing pretty damn good.

  16. Do you have an email address where I can contact you privately? I have been following your blog for 4 or 5 years now, I forget how long and have commented a couple of times.


  17. Everything will fall into place……..ONE DAY!!!!..

  18. Mates,

    Your tired and probably boated out for now. You have been on a dead run boat wise for a long time. Charter work, new boat and all it’s surprises, guests, crewing to The Galapagos and owning two boats. Which is not just monetary, it is also responsibility.

    It will all fall into place, and I think owning two boats is the bulk of the drain. Boats break, older boats break more. That will not change and you can handle that.

    Your probably overwhelmed too. Make some planning decisions that remove stress and remember this is supposed to be fun. It is not always fun because it is hard.

    I wish I could find the letter my father sent me when I was down in The Beagal Channel. I wrote him in frustration after a particular difficult day. It basically said your ass is worn out. And it should be, look at what you have been doing….

    And don’t forget the islands can wear you out in their own way.

  19. It’d easy for us cruisers to fall into thinking that all the myths about our lifestyle are true, and you wonder when the last time you sat drinking rum under a palm tree was. But it’s not always positive, and sometimes you have some really, truly, black moments in the middle of paradise.

    We’ve definitely had a few “ef all this” moments, when you wonder what colossal mistake you made by casting it all to the wind. We languished for months in Panama with serious system failures; I think that was the lowest point for us, as we had to drop our rig to repair the roller furling while dumping thousands in our generator as our plans to sail to Costa Rica evaporated in front of us.

    With anything, it gets better. You’re still in the “shakedown” phase of your new boat, and you’re making the transition to bigger and more complex on the fly, while it’s your home. The complexity takes time to master, and you’re learning as you go!

    Our move from a light 40′ coastal racer cruiser to Evenstar, a full-on, fully equipped blue water cruiser with almost every amenity you could wish for, and a few you would want to wish away, took time to adjust. I was clueless about generators, watermakers, serious battery banks you had to live off of, wind, solar, water heaters, head plumbing, freshwater systems, etc. etc. etc. when I got it. Potzing around on the weekends, I could farm out problems…now those things are all on me. It’s not always easy.

    You’ve got the advantage of a lot of experience already with the PDQ and your time with One Love. It’s just an adjustment.

    And we forget sometimes – we don’t HAVE to get it all fixed today, or tomorrow, or next week. That’s the beauty of this lifestyle, that with a few critical exceptions there’s always a workaround, and you can do things at your own pace. Yeah, I’ll fix that pressure sender on the water maker…some time before we get back to the tropics. Doesn’t have to be today.

    Good luck!

  20. Mike,

    I have followed your travels since you were sailing on the Bay of Quinte. I have always been impressed with your and Rebecca’s positive attitude and your willingness to take on new challenges.

    My wife and I have owned our 1984 C&C 41 since 1991. We have faced many of the same challenges as you and Rebecca. Each time, often with the assistance of friends and/or professionals, we have prevailed.

    I have great confidence in you two.


  21. Frankly I didn’t see that post as negative but rather very real world which we all could use a healthy dose of. We all question, from time to time, whether our chosen path is the correct one. We’re at the stage of packing all our worldly goods to put the house on the market so we can move aboard by year’s end. Not a day goes by that I don’t question whether our chosen course is correct but I’m a firm believer that going backwards is not a choice.

    As someone above stated, you guys are still in the shakedown period with Frost. It’s not fair to look at the first six months on a new boat to the last six months on a boat that you guys had already completely dialed in. Apples and oranges. I have no doubt in due time you’ll have Frost just as squared away as ZTC and everything will then be right as rain. Hang tough.

  22. I was driving through NYC today and this came on the radio – and it hit me – this seems almost custom written for your situation. I hope you give it a listen –

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