The Liebster Award

Warning: It you are not a fellow blogger, you may just want to skip over this post. Although it contains the normal humor, exceptional penmanship and wit, it has little to do with sailing or the Puffster. It is also very long. However, it does reveal some personal information and you might think we should’ve applied the TMI rule. You’ve been warned.

Liebster-Award-featured-384x288Our blog was nominated for The Liebster Award. The what? The Liebster Award. Is it a real award? No, not really. Does it come with a check? No. Then what is it? Perhaps, the best way to describe it, think of a chain letter. A fellow blogger found our site and thought enough of our work to give us a shout out. And in return, we will pay it forward and do the same to other blogs we enjoy. The rules are pretty simple:

 – We thank the person who nominated us and link back to their page

 – We answer the 10 questions they have asked us and publish.

– We can nominate 10 up and coming blogs we feel deserve more readership and can ask 10 questions of them.

Many thanks to Kevin and Tami over at Catchin’ Rays for the “tag, your it”. I must admit it, when I first saw this I couldn’t help but think, “Oh crap, homework!”. However, since I have retired and have now been out of the rat race for about 2 years, I find myself more open to a challenge and not so quick to pull the judgmental trigger. There is no question I have mellowed and am immensely enjoying the joys life offers. I am waaaay more open to trying something new nowadays (especially since the passing of the slippers). After thinking about the nomination, I figured I could ignore it, complain about it, or be pleased a fellow blogger recognized our blogging efforts, or lack thereof. I chose the latter. So, a very sincere thank you to Tami and Kevin for reading our puny blog and thinking enough of us to spread the word.

Here are the ten questions they asked us and our responses:

  1. Who’s on board, how old is each of the crew, and how much sailing experience do each of you have?

We are both in our early 50’s. We think of ourselves as being in our 20’s. Sometimes I look in the mirror and cannot believe the old person behind the glass looking back. We both believe people are as old as they make themselves.

Our sailing experience is mostly coastal areas. Mark has a little more experience than Cindy. Most of our experience was gained in the Texas area. When we lived in San Antonio, we kept a 38’ Cheoy Lee, Water-Melon in Corpus Christi Bay for about 10 years.

Water-Melon at Dock in Texas

Water-Melon at Dock in Texas

Our sailing was usually day sailing to other marinas in the area. Because we both had jobs, our time on Water-Melon was limited to weekends and holidays. True blue water sailing will be new to both of us. We will not venture too far until we are certain of our sailing abilities. We both believe the Bahamas’ will be a great training ground. Mark has always said the hardest part about sailing is getting the boat in and out of the dock. He’s probably wrong about that. We’ll see.

  1. Do you sail full time or part time and how do you afford to sail?

Up until this point, we have sailed part time. We are about to take the leap to full time cruising. The only thing at this point holding us to land life is a house we need to sell.

We are able to afford to sail full time because we worked our asses off and saved our money. In hind sight, Mark feels perhaps we should have gone when we were a little younger and narrowed our time on the water with a limited budget. The thought being that we could have always looked for jobs when we returned from the adventure. But, we have no complaints about the way we did it. We rolled the dice on health and so far have not rolled craps. At least this way, we can take our time and enjoy where we are. When we were younger, we were always in a hurry to see what was around the corner. Now, we take time to smell the roses. We are both in great health but the age clock is ticking. If we do not do this now, we may never get another chance.

  1. How long do you plan to sail?  And if the answer isn’t “forever” what are your plans after you get done sailing?

This is a tough question for us to answer. It seems most people cruising last between 6-10 years (if money is not a problem). We hope we do not die on the boat, so we opt for “not forever”. We are still not 100% certain we will love the cruising lifestyle. We both hope we do. We have enjoyed 99% of our sailing adventures, so far. But, there are a lot of cruising blogs on the net that have just stopped. The blog leaves the readers hanging. Did the blogger hit the reef and die? Did they hate it and never want to blog about it ever again? We promise we will not leave our readers hanging. If we decided to quit after a couple of years, we will do something else. There is always RVs. RVs do not float very well. We may have some difficulty getting to the islands in one. Right now, we are both hoping to cruise for 7-10 years. After that, we do not have a plan. We struggle with where we would live and plant roots. We have a lot of time to think about this. Our secret hope is that one day we sail into a port and love it so much we decide to call it home. Let’s all hope it’s not the first port we sail to.

  1. What’s the best method you use to make people aware of your blog?

Dumb luck. Mark does most of the blogging. This is not because Cindy doesn’t want to. She has been working and running her small business until very recently. Now Cindy has sold the company, she will have more time to express her creative side. This week was the first time she forgot it was a Monday.

No one is more surprised by the number of hits we get to our blog than us. Heck, we have barely announced we are going sailing. We put the blog together for us. The purpose of our blog is to serve as a place we can store and organize the memories of our adventure. We keep the language simple and try not to use nautical lingo. The fact we made it public is because we both have sat behind a desks and dreamed of one day sailing into the sunset. We followed a couple of other blogs while still participating in the rat race. They motivated us on bad days. This is our way of paying it forward to some poor soul trapped in a cube looking for a way out, even if for a few seconds. We hope we can make someone somewhere smile when they are having a crappy day.

  1. What gave you the idea to sail in the first place?

We both love to travel. We both like sailing. The sailing, as a form of transportation, just kind of made sense to us.

When we borrowed money for Water-Melon, at the closing the representative from the lender said, “There is something a little unnerving about giving two youngsters this much money for something with which they could disappear over the horizon”. We both thought, “Hmmm!”

Image source: Sir Francis Chichester Trust

Image source: Sir Francis Chichester Trust

Mark, at the age of 8, was inspired by Sir Francis Chichester. Chichester was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for becoming the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, in nine months and one day overall.  On 28th May 1967 Chichester sailed his yawl Gipsy Moth IV into Plymouth in the United Kingdom. The event was televised in the UK. Mark knew nothing of this man until watching the black and white images on that day. In the days that followed, Mark’s school taught him the facts behind this historic event and the seed was planted. However, the seed planted was not one to do with sailing. The lesson learned from Chichester’s accomplishments was; anyone can do anything they desire if they first step in the direction needed and own a plan. Chichester was retired and sailed his solo historic voyage at age 66.

He also had a sense of humor. When loading his boat with gin prior to the circumnavigation Chichester was credited with the quote, “Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk.”

  1. What made you decide on the type and brand of the boat you own?

We searched for four years before buying Cream Puff. You can read about why we picked an Amel yacht here.

  1. This one is for the guys and the girls to answer:  if you had to pick one crush or man-crush, who would you choose?  Brad Pitt, Zach Efron, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Johnny Depp

We had to Google Zach Efron. We had no idea who he is. We both agree on Johnny Depp. He carries his Captain Jack Sparrow pirate costume with him. He will surprise kids in children’s hospitals as he travels the globe. He said: “Sometimes you go to kiddie hospitals and things like that, I’ll just sneak in and go and surprise a bunch of kiddies through the different wards…It basically turns into a two-, three-hour improvisation and it’s really fun. So I travel with Captain Jack.”

We both figure a person taking valuable time to make sick children smile and laugh can’t be all bad.

  1. What are your favorite meals to cook while sailing?

Mark: Tacos! Fish tacos, breakfast tacos, tacos al carbon. If it’s in a flour tortilla, it’s going to be good.

Cindy: Grilled pork chops with sun-dried tomato risotto.

  1. Do you or have you sailed with dogs?  and if so, where do they potty?

We have had dogs for almost our entire 30 years of marriage. We love dogs. However, dogs on board now would hamper our cruising plans. We are going to remain dogless for this epoch of our lives. When we are done sailing, it is most likely another dog will find a home with us. All of our previous dogs were mutts and somehow found us to take care of them. We have had the delight of four dogs as our furry friends. Between them, they couldn’t put together one pedigree. Because we daysailed, our dogs would mostly go potty ashore. We have known friends who taught their dogs to potty on a coiled piece of rope. They would occasionally drag the rope in the water to clean. Some folks use a piece of Astroturf. We just had the occasional accident on the deck that we would wash with a bucket of saltwater. Your question made us bring out a couple of old pictures of our muttly crew. Ahhh!

Muggins on Watch

Muggins on Watch

Muggins (right) and Boots on Water-Melon

Muggins (right) and Boots on Water-Melon

10.  What method do you use to track and forecast weather?

We use NobelTech’s Trident Time Zero software for navigation. With the software and a satellite phone (or Pactor modem and SSB) we can download weather GRIB files to layover electronic charts. This is just like looking at a map on the TV weather channel, except in more depth. The software will do route planning and show us the forecasted weather for each leg of our proposed jouney. Like most forecast, they are usually accurate for only 3-5 days out. So, we need to update the data and replot our course as we get more accurate information. With the satellite phone and SSB we can download the most current weather data from anywhere in the world.

When we travel to the Caribbean, we will use the Chris Parker service. By the way, he has an excellent handbook on weather. He has the knack of bringing the terminology to the layman’s level. After using the weather service, we hope it will enable us to become more self sufficient in our own forecasting.




Well, there you have it. We hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little better. Here are the blogs we have discovered and enjoyed for which we officially nominate for the Liebster Award:

Where The Coconuts Grow – Peter, Jody, Betsy and Gunner aboard Mary Christine

Little Cunning Plan – Michael and Melissa aboard Galapagos

Sail Away Girl – Elizabeth (boatless but passionate)

Things We Did Today – Bruce, Tammy, Jetsam and Jezabelle aboard Dos Libras

Laho Wind – Jereme, Kim and adorable Oliver

Sailing LunaSea – Mark and Jennifer aboard LunaSea

Sea Us Sailing – Ryan, Olivia and Beau aboard SeaUs

Sundowner Sails Again – Tate and Dani doing a major refit

Matt & Jessica’s Sailing Page – They just cross the Atlantic!

Cygnus III – Mark and Angelina (a very high tech blog)


Here are our questions for you:

  1. Meet the crew. Who are you? Each share something about the other (not on the blog).
  2. What advice would you give to a wannabe traveler just starting out?
  3. Can you roll your tongue or wiggle the end?
  4. What is your favorite restaurant in the whole world?
  5. If you sail as a couple, who is really, and I mean really, the captain?
  6. What are your favorite meals to cook while sailing?
  7. Who’s idea was it to buy a boat and how did they convince the other person?
  8. Where is your dream destination?
  9. Why did you pick sailing as a form of transportation or hobby (over an RV/camper for instance)?
  10. Would you please describe your best sailing day ever? (or a link to it)




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