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One Step Closer

Well, it’s official. We jumped on a bus and went to the Port Captain’s office in Nuevo Vallarta today and started the process to check out of México. It’s really a pretty simple process as long as you have your ducks in a row. You know, lots of red tape designed to generate income for the government. (CLICK HERE FOR ZARPE 2018 INSTRUCTIONS)

Our appointment is set for 11:00 A.M. on Friday, March 23rd, 2018!

After the paperwork was complete and our appointment was set we hopped another bus and headed off to Puerto Vallarta to the Banjercito to relinquish our TIP. A TIP is essentially a travel permit required for boats planning to stay in Mexican waters for more than 3-5 days and allows you to leave your boat in Mexico when you fly out and/or need to import parts for your boat duty free. When leaving the country it is customary to relinquish your TIP. If you don’t and you sell your boat to someone who wants to then bring the boat back into the country it can create great difficulties for them.

There are some cruisers who refuse to relinquish their TIP in case they take off and have to return to Mexico due to mechanical issues etc… In our case our TIP will expire in the next two years and we don’t plan to be back here before then so Dan wanted to make certain we did the right thing in the highly unlikely event we decided to sell Dazzler.

Well, it turns out our trip to the Banjercito was all for not. Since we aren’t leaving the country until Friday they would not allow us to have it cancelled as they stated we would be here on the boat illegally until then. Instead she said it was best just to let it expire naturally. Like I said, this process is one that takes time AND patience. But the fact is we are here in paradise and we’re pretty much ready to go so it was just another Mexican adventure. And, honestly it was nice to see Puerto Vallarta one last time before we depart.

Of course since we were down in that general direction we had to stop back in Nuevo Vallarta at our favorite wing joint, Wings Army, for some wings and cold beer. We’re really going to miss that place!

Tonight I’ve got lots of feelings rushing through my body. First and foremost I’m excited as can be. This adventure is one I’ve thought of since I was in my twenties and my Dad talked to me about what it would be like to work my way around the world on a boat. I never dreamed I’d actually be sailing on this adventure for real, let alone doing it with the man of my dreams. Sometimes I literally pinch myself because I’m sure I must be dreaming. No really, I pinch myself. I have the little bruises to show for it.

Yet in all the excitement there are other things I’m thinking and feeling. Of course there’s the obvious sadness that comes with leaving great friends and family behind. And while the majority of our boating friends understand our lust for adventure, sadly some in our families do not. Most think we are crazy and some still question if this is really happening. I guess that’s a fair question if you are not the adventure seekers we tend to be. And, of course, there is the part where they may feel somewhat abandoned because we can’t tell them when we will be coming back. I know my mother has had a hard time coming to grips with all of this. Of course she’s a mom and worrying is something she does very well.

If I had one wish it would be that those who are doubtful of our decision actually understood the level of planning, work and dedication that went into making our dream a reality. Neither Dan nor I have any desire to leave this planet anytime soon. We have put in place as many safety precautions as we can. And by safety, I’m not just talking about a life raft and some flares. I’m speaking of the numbers of extra parts, bolts, nuts, screwdrivers and the entire chandlery of tools and backup systems we have aboard. Dan has spent months working on preventative maintenance and making repairs. We’ve amassed months worth of food and a medical kit that is better outfitted than some small clinics. There’s the planning, reading, seminars and hours and hours spent discussing this with others who have gone before us. And let’s not forget about the four methods of communication we have on board… HF Radio, VHF Radio, InReach and Iridium Go. Oh yes, we also have a self inflating life raft, EPIRB, storm sails and two drogues not to mention the fact that we have a highly comprehensive float plan that has not only been sent to our families but has been discussed with them at length.

And when you add all of that to the fact that Dan has 15 years of sailing experience with Dazzler and I was raised on boats, I think we have made a well calculated decision. One that allows us to live our dream but that should also provide a high level of comfort to those who love us and worry about us. No, nothing is guaranteed and Mother Nature can be cruel if she so desires but the fact is that when your time is up…it’s up. It doesn’t matter if you are sailing an ocean or walking through a parking lot so why not live each moment to its absolute fullest?

Yes, Dan and I are confident in our decision to make this jump across the Pacific and wherever the winds takes us after that. But, neither of us take for granted the risks involved. This is why we go over everything in fine detail. To be honest, Dan is one of the finest Captains I’ve ever known. And I’ve had the pleasure of knowing some great ones….my Daddy included. Dan doesn’t leave anything to chance. He analyzes each and every detail to the nth degree. He can fix anything. I’m quite certain of that as I’ve seen him in action. No, MacGyver has nothing on Dan. In fact he probably studied under him so I feel like I’m in the safest hands possible.

Several people have asked me how I feel about being at sea for three to four weeks? Well, I’m not sure. Of course I’m excited but I’m certain that will wear off after a few days when all we can see is sky and water and we still have weeks to go. But, Dan and I have lots of fun just the two of us. We both read, play games and spend a lot of time talking and making each other laugh. And let’s not forget there will be plenty of sailing related tasks on this journey so I seriously doubt I’ll be that bored. And, our friends, John and Deb on SV Lovely Reta gave us a nice parting gift that should breakup any boredom. It is ten separate gifts that are numbered with a note saying when we can open each gift. Can’t wait to see what little treasures await us there.

But honestly, I would be lying if I didn’t say I do have some trepidation. The obvious is weather. I’ve been in bigger seas before but when you hear about the potential of 20+ foot seas it can be quite daunting. (Keep reading mother!) That said, I understand that they are usually at long intervals and I know from experience that those types of seas don’t really feel so big when that is the case. However, Mother Nature can get her knickers in a twist so you always have to be on guard. Again, I look to Dan. He studies weather like other men study women and cars. He knows what to do, how to avoid the squalls and how to handle things if the weather becomes a bit nautical. He’s even made me watch a video on storm tactics that was done by Lynn & Larry Pardey. They have over 200,000 sailing miles under their belts and have circumnavigated a couple of times. I learned a lot about what to expect and what we would do in really bad seas. And I’m quite certain we will endure some nautical weather but I trust Dan implicitly.

My only other fear is not that I would fall overboard. I know Dan would get me back if it was at all possible. My fear is that he would go over. Yes, we’ve trained for exactly that scenario and he is constantly quizzing me on “what if scenarios” but it’s the one thing that really puts a knot in my stomach. I go over the procedures in my head multiple times a day and quite frankly I’ve told him he is NOT allowed to go over. Of course it is unlikely because we have a strict rule that when on deck we both wear life vests attached to a jack line on the boat. But as Dan says, “We have to rehearse the worst so we don’t hesitate if it happens.” So, there it is…my only real fear but knowing Dan the way I do I’m not sure why it even crosses my mind. Oh yeah…it’s that rehearsal thing!

So in two days we will be taking Dazzler down to the Port Captain’s office for final paperwork to get our ZARPE and then it’s off to Punta de Mita for a day or two of relaxation before we hit the high seas. All in all I can honestly say that the excitement far outweighs any other feeling I’m having. I’m so looking forward to the journey ahead and can’t wait to share it with the man I love…and all of you too.

Until next time…


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Going Home!

The last few months have literally flown by…actually, the last year seems to have come and gone in a matter of moments. We’ve spent a little over three months here in La Cruz preparing for the Puddle Jump to the South Pacific later this month. There have been numerous projects and preparations since our arrival but one important thing for both Dan and I was getting home to see our families before we depart. With his family on the West Coast and mine on the East, it’s quite a task. As much as we both would have liked to visit each place, time simply did not allow it so I headed back home to Florida in January and after I returned, Dan took off for California.

It had been nine months since I’d been home and my mother consistently asked when I was going to make it back. Each time I’d tell her, “I don’t know but we are working on it.” One afternoon as I was talking with her she said she had a dream that she went to the door and there I stood. She got a little emotional telling me that. Of course, the Hasty women do have a tendency to get a little sentimental at times. Anyhow, it was that day when I began to hatch my plan.

Since time was moving so quickly I had to finally give her a date of my arrival. What she didn’t know is that I told her I was coming in on a Thursday when I was actually arriving that Tuesday! Of course Dan kept warning me that at mom’s age this surprise could result in a heart attack but I decided to do it anyway.

My dear friends, Connie and Jay, picked me up at Tampa International Airport late in the evening on Tuesday. They are two of the greatest friends you could ever have. They are always the ones who pick me up or drop me off and unfortunately the flights to Puerto Vallarta are never at convenient times. But, God bless them, they never fail to be there.

~Ricky2It was truly wonderful to see my friends after so long. We talk on the phone often but to be able to chat face to face is the best. And, these are the amazing people who adopted my dog, Lyla and my cat, Ricky T. McHopper, Bigfoot, Bushy Tail, Stink Butt, Silver Streak, Love Kabob, Green Monster, Schnadoodler, Big Kahuna, Fuzzy Footed Sleepster with the bright eyes. Yeah…he hates signing that name! Anyway, they adopted these loves of my life and have given them an amazing home. Since my plan arrived so late we went back to their house where I spent the night. We would surprise Mama in the morning.

~LylaWhen we arrived at their house they had me open the door. Lyla came running around the corner, looked up at me and literally stopped in her tracks. It took her a couple of seconds to realize it was really me standing there and then she went nuts. Lyla is part Hound Dog, part Labrador and she can get up a nice little howl when she’s wants to. It was truly awesome to hear her voice again. She and I had been through a lot in the seven years I had her. I was just happy she remembered who I am. Now, Ricky, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as happy to see me. I had to seek him out. It didn’t matter though…I was with my babies and my best friends.

The following morning we got up, had coffee on the back patio overlooking the Manatee River and then got ready for the big surprise. The plan was that we would go to Mom’s and Jay would go to the door. He’d tell her Connie had an accident and he wanted to show her what she did to the car. We would be standing in the driveway waiting. Well, you know what they say, “If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Mom wasn’t home! Fortunately I still have my key so Jay moved the car to the neighbor’s house, we let ourselves in, made a cocktail and waited. It’s rare that Mom goes out for long and everyone knew I was going to surprise her so they wouldn’t have invited her out that day. She always parks the care in the garage so we were certain we’d hear the garage door go up, but, we were wrong. Here we were sitting in her living room and all of the sudden we hear her hand not he doorknob. I almost knocked Connie down trying to get out of her line of sight.

Now Mom wouldn’t think a thing about Jay or Connie being there. Jay is consistently coming over to help her with things. So he just stood up while Connie and I race to the kitchen doorway. We waited until she opened then door and out I popped! I can’t remember ever seeing my mother so surprised. I wish we had gotten the first couple of seconds on video because it was priceless but here’s a clip of what we did get.


As long as I live I will never forget the look on her face when she saw me. Needless to say, the surprise was a complete success!

Of course what does one do after surprising their mother? Head to Duffy’s Tavern for a burger and some beers, of course. Now if you ever get to Bradenton, Florida you HAVE to stop here. They are on Anna Maria Island and Peggy, the owner, is awesome. I promise you will not be disappointed. We’ve been going here since her mother owned it in the early 70’s and there is no place better on the island!

Mom, Connie, Jay and I had a wonderful afternoon. It was truly wonderful to be back with my family and friends again.

From that point on my trip seemed to fly by. My sister, Julie, came down from Palm Coast for the weekend and we celebrated my great nephew’s second birthday. There were lunches, dinners, parties and get togethers. When you’ve lived someplace for so long you know everyone and it’s really hard to see them all in the space of a week but I certainly tried!

Friends of ours on Delta Swizzler went home over the holidays and I learned of a great idea from them. I set up a day and time that I would be at a local pub and put the word out. This way, anyone who really wanted to see me could pop in and we’d have a few drinks together. This worked out great and kept me from doing any additional running about. Honestly, being there was exhausting!

I was fortunate that I was able to see the most important people and pets in my life while I was there and I got to spend a great deal of time with Mom. We had a truly wonderful visit and before I knew it the time had gone and I was leaving.

As I said earlier we are a tiny bit sentimental in our family so I was prepared for a bucket full of tears the morning I left. After all, it will be a long time before I see my mother again. Interestingly enough there were just a few. I think Mom probably shed a few more after I left but she held tough in front of me. Thanks Mom!

Jilly & Dan La CruzOne thing I realized while I was there is that Bradenton is no longer my home. To some degree I felt like a stranger there. Sure I have lots of friends and family and it was terrific to see them but the entire time I was there I was thinking of how much I wanted to be back on Dazzler with Dan. This is where my home is now and I couldn’t be happier!

Until next time…