Changing Plans, Again


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Photo courtesy of Frank Coles

Our plans are always fairly fluid, but the past couple of years have seen even more changes than normal. In 2020, we made three major itinerary adjustments: skipping the Mediterranean and instead heading to Scotland; crossing the North Sea to Norway while en-route to cruising the Scottish Orkney and Shetland island groups; and choosing to winter in Norway rather than returning to Scotland. This year we’ve made even bigger adjustments, starting with returning to North America instead of remaining in Europe and heading to Sweden; deciding to make a road trip across the country; concluding on the road that we should get an apartment in Seattle; and the most recent and biggest plan change is to take an extended break from cruising.

We returned to Dirona and Charleston in early August in what was initially going to be one of several trips back to the boat, likely every two to four months. But James’ work is sufficiently busy and the east coast sufficiently distant to make that approach seem impractical. The next plan was to put Dirona in dry storage for a year or, more likely, two. Over the past few weeks, however, even this plan seemed wasteful and we just hated the thought of leaving the boat to decay for a couple of years before we next used it.

We reluctantly come around to concluding the best choice for us is to sell Dirona. It’s almost hard to say, but that is our current plan. In early September, James Knight’s Yacht Tech delivered Dirona to their West Palm Beach offices (pictured nearby above). It was very strange to see the boat underway without us for the first time since we took delivery in early 2010.

Below are highlights from Aug 1st through Sept 11, 2021. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

8/1/2021
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HVAC Plugged
We’re back on Dirona in Charleston for the first time since departing on our road trip in early June. When we originally left the boat, we were planning to return near the end of July, but ended up changing plans and decided to get an apartment in Seattle.

To combat the high humidity here, we left the HVAC running while we away and returned to find the strainer severely plugged. The salon system could barely run and the pilot house kept shutting off with a high-pressure warning, but fortunately the master and guest units still worked for us to sleep comfortably down below after arriving past midnight last night.

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Exhaust Cladding
James installing the new exhaust cladding the Ballard Insulation made for us. The new cladding looks and works great.
8/2/2021
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Fuel
A fun meal on the patio at gastropub Fuel in Charleston. The restaurant is built inside an old gas station, hence the name, with all sorts of memorabilia on display.
8/3/2021
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Our nav computer has been exhibiting hardware issues recently, and we really depend on it for remote monitoring. We do have a backup computer, but setting up a new system from scratch would consume a day or two, so we instead decided to swap the boot drive into the backup system. Here James is gingerly removing the drive from the original system to install in the backup computer. That seemed to resolve the issues.
8/4/2021
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Dehumidifier
Since running the HVAC continuously while we’re away appears infeasible due to rapid marine growth, we bought a dehumidifier to deal with the high humidity in Charleston. Here we are testing it in the pilot house, but we plan to put it in the guest stateroom shower while we are away and let it drain into the shower pan.
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Moving Day
Since we’ll be living in an apartment in Seattle, we’re moving all our personal property off the boat but will leave anything boat-specific on board for when we make return visits. The movers arrived this morning to pack everything up and transport it to Seattle.
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Boxes
We don’t have that much to move compared to a normal household, but we did manage to fill a good part of a box truck.
8/5/2021
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Monza
Monza Pizza Bar in Charleston is full of Ferrari pictures and memorabilia, including this Ferrari engine suspended over one of the tables. When the manager saw us studying the photos, he came over to introduce himself and give us some background on the restaurant. We enjoyed talking with him and had a great meal there as well.
8/6/2021
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Storm Windows
We hadn’t yet removed the storm windows after the run across the Atlantic from Ireland, so we briefly turned the boat around this morning to remove the port-side windows (we can easily reach the starboard-side ones from the walkway).
8/13/2021
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Sunset
An unusual sunset over Elliott Bay in overcast conditions, viewed from our apartment patio.
8/17/2021
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Unpacking
The moving company arrived this morning with our property from the boat, and we’re busy unpacking everything.
8/19/2021
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Bicycles
Our bicycles in their new home in our storage unit in our apartment building’s garage. This is the first time in their 12-year life that they have ever been stored inside. Most of that time was on the fly-bridge of Dirona or the cockpit of the previous boat, or occasionally on the dock at a marina. The bikes, Giant FCR-2s, have done remarkably well given the conditions and how heavily we’ve used them.
9/4/2021
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Norwegian Encore
The Norwegian Encore coming onto the dock at Pier 66 early this morning, viewed from our apartment patio. Cruise ship traffic in Seattle isn’t up to the same level as before the pandemic, but since late July we are seeing regular ship arrivals and departures from both Pier 66 and Pier 91 slightly to the north.
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Pub 70
Enjoying an IPA on the deck at Pub 70 as the cruise ship Norwegian Encore departs behind us.
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Bell Harbor Marina
The Everett Yacht Club is visiting our old home port of Bell Harbor Marina in Seattle.
9/5/2021
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LG OLED
Our new TV, an 65-inch LG OLED, is remarkably thin. We were curious how it compared to our laptop, and it’s actually even thinner. It’s amazing it can be made strong enough and yet be so thin.
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Pocket Beach
Looking across Pocket Beach towards downtown Seattle on a walk back home from Elliott Bay Marina. The beach went through a major renovation in 2007 to restore its natural habitat and encourage native sea life. The project was a success and the beach is particularly interesting to visit at low tide to explore tide pools packed with diverse sea creatures.

We took an Uber to Elliott Bay Marina for lunch at Maggie Bluff’s restaurant, and walked back home after. We kept our previous boat at Elliott Bay Marina from 1999-2008, and frequented Maggie Bluffs, but haven’t been there for ages. It was great to be outside on their patio overlooking the marina. The marina also is home to Nordhavn Northwest—moored there were a Nordhavn 68, 62 and a 60.

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Echo
The sculpture Echo by renowned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. He has created several similar works around the world, including Anna, that we saw at the Pilane Sculpture Park in Sweden.
9/8/2021
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Remote Access
Yacht Tech is is bringing Dirona south to Florida today, and reported a beeping coming from underneath the salon settee. Here James is logged in remotely to the file server on board Dirona. The beeping was warning of a failed disk drive. We run the file server in RAID 6 configuration, so even with two failed disks, nothing would be lost. Acknowledging the event clears the beeping.
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Dirona Underway
James Knight’s Yacht Tech bringing Dirona south from Charleston to their West Palm Beach offices. It is very strange to see the boat underway without us for the first time since we took delivery in early 2010.
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Sam’s Tavern
Enjoying the wonderful warm fall weather at Sam’s Tavern in Seattle’s South Lake Union District. We’re really liking the downtown lifestyle with literally dozens of restaurants within a short walking distance from our Belltown apartment.
9/9/2021
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Dirona at Anchor
Dirona at anchor on the Colleton River near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina en route to West Palm Beach, Florida with Yacht Tech. No one else has ever anchored Dirona before.
9/10/2021
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Calm Seas
Dirona underway off Cape Canaveral, Florida in calm seas, less than a day out from West Palm Beach.
9/11/2021
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Parker Bridge
This morning Dirona passed through Palm Beach Inlet and left the Atlantic for the intracoastal waterway. In the distance is the Parker Bridge that we first passed under in 2016 en route to West Palm Beach from St. Lucia.
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Old Port Cove
Dirona off Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach, Florida, courtesy of Frank Coles of Nordhavn 6204 Kariwa (pictured at left). Frank and his spouse Leslie were on board Dirona with Jay Flaherty of Yacht Tech for the delivery to Florida from Charleston.

At center is Rowley Errington’s Nordhavn 57 B2. We first met Rowley and his spouse Bernadette at the 2012 Trawlerfest in Anacortes Washington, and in 2014 spent a great few days moored next to them on their previous Nordhavn, 6236 Bee, in Bundaberg, Australia.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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36 comments on “Changing Plans, Again
  1. Al King says:

    I too will miss your cruising adventures but you’ll be back letting us enjoy and dream!. When you resume will it be in a new Nordhaven? Would you consider taking delivery in Europe or do you have sights on more cruising on this side of the pond?.

    • MVDirona says:

      Both good suggestions. We’re definitely not done with exploring Europe so buying something canal capable is an option high up on our list. We also would like to spend some time in Greenland and want to cruise the great lakes as well. Hard to say where will end up once our Urban Adventure is done.

  2. Matt Baker says:

    WOW…I will miss following you around the globe, but you have a big job at Amazon as you step up onto the S-Team. Congrats on that btw.

    • Matt Baker says:

      Oh, and I hope that we will see a video of Dirona on the Yacht Tech youtube channel!

    • MVDirona says:

      We like to keep changing it up and this latest chapter of the adventure is no exception. The work is super interesting and it’s fun to be able to do more town stuff like going to the Seahawks game last night or attending the Foo Fighters Concert in a couple of weeks. Just watching the ships come and go from Seattle’s active sea port is fun.

  3. Peter Merritt says:

    WOW, massive news when l read this post! James and Jen, you can count our purchase of Wet Wombat as directly influenced by your long running posts of the ups and downs of owning and cruising on a N52.
    I doubt we would have made the jump without being able to imagine the experience as you have been able to reveal to us via this blog.
    We very much appreciate the time you invest.

    • MVDirona says:

      That’s the kind of feedback we enjoy most. Thanks and we hope you really enjoy your Nordhavn — we’ve had a wonderful 11 years in ours.

  4. Evan Bauman says:

    James – have been following your voyage since the Atlantic crossing from Rhode Island to Ireland a few years ago. I’ve learned a lot from your website and now may be Maretron’s second best customer after you. I’m certain you’ll have a new boat for the Puget Sound sometime in the very near future.
    Thanks.

    • MVDirona says:

      We have an amazing amount of Maretron Gear and it sounds like you gone down that same path. We really like good quality systems management equipment. Thanks for the feedback on the blog.

  5. Troy Bouman says:

    Thank you for being an inspiration to so many! Even us youngsters (32)

  6. Michael Jackson says:

    I am so saddened but understand what you’re doing. I have been following you both for seems like a very long time. Videos have always been so great to learn from. I am richer for having watched them, so we know what to do when I retire and we get out Nordhavn.

    Hopefully you’ll keep sharing your travels and lives so we can continue to enjoy what you are doing.

    Peace to you both!

    • MVDirona says:

      Thanks for the comment Michael and for your comments and thoughts along the way. We do intend to keep blogging and will create a few more videos since the adventures often got ahead of the writing and video production work.

  7. Van Anderson says:

    James and Jennifer,

    You’ve inspired so many all over the world to not just dream but to do. Count Tracy and I in that group. On top of that our new boat is much better in so many ways because of your input, experience and sharing. Thank you again. We look forward to getting together again soon in the not too distant future.

    • MVDirona says:

      That’s so great to hear Van. We’ve enjoyed chatting about design choices on your N68 over the last couple of years and look forward to having a chance to once again have a drink with you and Tracy and get a chance to see your new boat. All the best on your adventures from Jen and I.

  8. Jamie S Bush says:

    Wow like so many others I have followed your journey for years, and what a journey it has been! I think I picked up in NZ on the way to Australia. Often, during the longer passages, checking your progress and sea conditions was a daily ritual for myself. Thank you SO much for sharing your travel with us so we might live vicariously.

    All the best with the NEXT journey you are about to embark on.

    Jamie

    • MVDirona says:

      Hi Jamie. Thanks for checking in with us. It’s been a very long time since we met you in New Zealand and it’s been good to chat with you in the comments over the years. Thanks for joining us on the adventure.

  9. Dave Berliner says:

    James & Jennifer,
    I’ve been reading this blog since finishing college in 2011 – Thanks for the travel inspiration, photos, & technical content. This blog has been one of the best boating resources available and I’ll miss the almost daily updates from around the globe! I’m still young but I’ll get my trawler some day…we’ve all had some great role models to know what it’s like.

    Congrats on reaching another milestone!

    Best, Dave Berliner

    P.S. I hope Dirona’s next owners appreciate the self-bailing transom plugs in the cockpit lockers!

    P.P.S. I know I’d appreciate them, but alas, I’m not sure an N52 is in the cards right now!

    • MVDirona says:

      Thanks for virtually joining us on our around-the-world adventure over the last decade. And, thanks for the positive feedback on the blog. We both appreciate it. Hope you too get an opportunity to some cruising — we found it amazing from start to the finish of this chapter and we’re already looking forward to the next.

  10. Michael says:

    Frances and I had never heard of Nordhavn boats until, somehow, I came across the Dirona blog while you were in Tasmania. We’ve followed you since then, learned a lot, and it was great to meet you in London. Our adventure with N4052 started with you and I bet there are other Nordhavn owners who had the same introduction to the boats – you’ve been amazing ambassadors for the brand.
    But the world has changed utterly and this really does feel like the passing of an era. When we started following your blog there were others to follow too, but now, not so much. I’m not critical of anyone else’s blog – these things require a huge investment of time – but I can’t think of anyone else who is doing what you have done and keeps their blog up to date the whole time. I remember when we met you described your voyage as a “trip”. Some trip! Let’s hope you and others will be able to make such trips again in the future, and tell such wonderful stories along the way.

    • MVDirona says:

      Michael, it’s good to hear from you and Frances. Jen and I both appreciate your story of actually discovering the Nordhavn brand through our travels and blog. That’s cool to hear and it’s great that you now have a Nordhavn as well.

      It was great meeting you in London and we wanted to thank you for the present of Reeds Almanac. We used it heavily throughout Europe. All the best from the Crew of Dirona and we hope our paths cross again in the future.

  11. Sam Landsman says:

    Congrats on the new job and thank you for sharing your travels over the years. They’ve been inspirational! After living/cruising N5010 Akeeva for a year and a half in the PNW and now venturing a little further, I’m amazed how you found the time and energy to work and cruise so extensively.

    Good luck on the next chapter!

    BTW, used your Secret Coast book last week to explore (briefly) the area outside Hakai. Great book!

    • MVDirona says:

      Good to hear from you Sam and we’re glad you have been enjoying The Secret Coast (https://www.amazon.com/Waggoner-Cruising-Guides-Secret-Coast/dp/0935727299).

      You’re right that it has been a crazy busy 9 years with work and cruising so, in many ways, our Seattle Urban Adventure feels a bit like a break :-). Hope you continue to enjoy adventuring in your Nordhavn 50. It’s a great boat and having a strong boat that doesn’t require constant attention really makes cruising a lot more fun. We feel lucky have have spent nearly 12 years with Dirona.

      All the best and thanks for the comment.

  12. John Schieffelin says:

    Sad to read there will be no more of your entertaining, informative Dirona blog posts filled with gorgeous photographs. But you have had a long, fascinating run traveling aboard Dirona, so the decision to change tacks and move ashore for a while is entirely understandable.

    I hope both of you will find enough activity to feel fulfilled, and that James will find some sort of new interesting project to build/restore to keep his amazing technical skills in gear and engaged.

    I hope you continue to post new blogs on other facets of life!

    Good luck to you, I’ve so enjoyed sharing your fascinating explorations.

  13. James says:

    in the year or so i’ve being following mv dirona on youtube and the blog the videos on youtube are excellent the mechanical videos were James is explaining the job he’s doing and jennifer asking questions thank you for everything congratualtions on the job James

    ps would the youtube channel be staying

  14. Stewart Kelly says:

    I have been following your adventures for years James and Jennifer so I can empathize with your reluctance to sell mvDirona. I know you both don’t make decisions casually so I know this must be for the best. I do hope the next chapter of your lives is just as exciting and fulfilling…and that we can come along for the ride!
    Warm regards,
    Stew

    • MVDirona says:

      It’s good hearing from you Stew and you are indeed one of the long term blog readers. Thanks for joining us for this adventure and we hope you stay on board.

  15. Mark Bunch says:

    I have really enjoyed following your adventures aboard mvDirona. Funny that I’m headed in the opposite direction. I decided to retire early for awhile to focus on full-time cruising. I currently work for the same company as James, and I can only begin to imagine the logistical challenges of balancing cruising with a demanding career. Good luck on selling mvDirona.

    • Wyatt says:

      Wow. End of an era! Will miss the cruising and maintenance portions of the blog. We’ve really enjoyed and have learned so much from following along over the years. The website link for this comment is a picture of us next to that same cruise ship in Bell Harbor, (two weeks later, though). Really enjoyed reading about Dirona (1 and 2) as you two explored the world. See you around campus!

      • MVDirona says:

        Wow, if your reading goes back to Dirona I, you have been reading for a while. Thanks for your long term participation and the support. We’ll look forward to a return to serious boating in a couple of years and, in the interim, we’ll enjoy our Seattle Urban Adventure.

        Our boating adventures often got ahead of our writing so we plan to keep both the Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/MVDirona) and the blog (https://mvdirona.com) active.

        • Wyatt says:

          Our first boat was a 3587 (http://mvparadigmshift.net/). It was what we could afford at the time and was a lot of boat for the money. But, what really pushed our decision was knowing that you wrote Cruising the Secret Coast from a very similar boat. Thanks for all the inspiration and knowledge!

          • MVDirona says:

            The 3587/4087 series were incredibly values. We put 4,100 hours on ours exploring the Pacific Northwest and couldn’t have asked for more. Love the picture of your 3587 in Bell Harbor Marina. That brings back great memories.

    • MVDirona says:

      Congratulations on your plans to take some time off and do some full time cruising. We’ve had a spectacular time — no complaints at all but, as you guessed above, it does get more complex and feels a bit more demanding to work at the same time.

      Thanks for the feedback on the blog and all the best from both of us on your next adventures.

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