[On Land ] February 07, 2008 12:54
Waking up the second day in Norway, we were treated to the bland, tasteless, English-style breakfast we had experienced in Scotland and England. I’m convinced that all the stories you hear about boring, flavorless food overseas is mostly true, at least it was true of the places we visited so far and Norway was no exception.
[On Land ] February 06, 2008 10:24
Waking up in Norway for the first time, I noticed something that I found quite welcome. The bathroom floor was heated from below with a radiant system. After all the cold weather we had been through the last few days it sure was nice to warm up before even hitting the shower. Since this was the first of three days in Bergen, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and get an early start on our first trip into the offices we were working in for the week. The half-hour cab ride went by quickly but we got our first real views of the area in the light of day. It hadn’t stopped raining all night and it was easy to see why the landscape stayed so green. The lush green of the trees was a welcome sight after all the dull stone buildings of the UK.
[On Land ] February 04, 2008 21:27

February 4, 2008

We got up early on Monday, especially considering how little sleep we got after watching the Super Bowl the night before. This was to be our only day to see some of the sights inside London and our flight to Norway left at 5:30 that afternoon. We checked out of our hotel, checked our bags at the underground station and caught one of the local tour buses to head into town.

[On Land ] February 03, 2008 21:20

February 3, 2008

We got up early on Sunday morning to get ready for a long day tour we had planned. We walked a few blocks to Victoria Bus Depot and caught our bus for the day. Our tour guide was an interesting old Irishman who cracked jokes every few minutes. He was very entertaining and knowledgeable about the places we were to visit that day. He only had one request and that was to be in your seat on the bus on time. Not walking around, not making your way to your seat, but sitting in your seat at the exact time. He was such a nice old fellow that I think everyone on the bus was worried about being late and having him scold us for it.

[On Land ] February 02, 2008 21:13

February 2, 2008

We started our first real sight seeing days early and headed off in the cold and wet morning toward Edinburgh Castle. On the way we stopped to take a few pictures and noticed the Sir Walter Scott Monument. It is a tall tower monument with 287 steps inside that you can take to the top. After finally cashing in some of our American Dollars for pounds, we spent a few of them and walked up the monument to the very top. This spiral staircase is not for the claustrophobic, it was very narrow, and winding its way to the top, it got more and more narrow until you had to step sideways, very carefully, up the last few steps to reach the top. It was quite a view from up there and we snapped off a few pictures of the city from above. The way down was a bit easier on the legs but just as tough to maneuver. It was quite a workout on the legs after spending the last couple of days sitting in airplanes, hotels, offices and trains.

[On Land ] February 01, 2008 21:09

February 1, 2008

Today we had our first business meetings of this trip. We met at a new building in the town of Aberdeen, near the site of the largest man-made quarry in Europe. Nearly all the homes in Aberdeen are made from the granite boulders that come from this quarry, so it’s quite large.

[On Land ] January 31, 2008 21:01

January 30-31, 2008

The day started off with a bit of a scare. I was hoping so badly that there would be no last minute complications to cause any fear of missing or delaying any leg of the trip. Unfortunately, there were road closures that caused us to re-think our whole schedule and come up with some alternative ways to get to the airport. Fortunately, the weather finally cooperated and we were on our way ahead of schedule. I forgot my laptop power supply at home and was glad that it was only thing I had forgotten.

[On Land ] January 16, 2008 22:37

I've recently found out that I get the opportunity of a lifetime. I get to travel to Europe via Holland, Scotland, England & Norway. The best part of all this is: I don't have to pay for it!

My recent job duties have allowed me to work with a software development company based in Norway. As a way to get better acquainted with their products, I and a couple of co-workers will be visiting their headquarters during my birthday in February.

I am getting really excited about this opportunity, especially since I've never left the country before and haven't had the chance to use my passport yet.

I will be posting pictures of my trip when I return.

[Learning ] June 25, 2007 10:05
I finished the class with flying colors. I did well on the hands-on part of the exam and I only missed 7 out of 135 questions on the written part. I had a great time out on the water this past month and I learned a lot. Now it's on to the next class, ASA103 - Beginning Coastal Cruising. Hopefully this class will start soon as I am ready to keep going!
[Learning ] June 15, 2007 19:58

I started a basic sailing class recently in Santa Barbara. It is an American Sailing Association accredited class called, Basic Keelboat Sailing or ASA101 for short. It is the first of 3 classes required to get a certificate to allow you to charter a sailboat without the need for a captain (or crew) all over the world.

So far, it has been great to spend a lot more time out on the water. There is only one other person in my class so we each get more time with the boat than we would if there were the usual 4 students in the class. The instructor is from the Boston area and now living in Santa Barbara. He's really nice guy, very patient and very knowledgable about all aspects of sailing; I'd highly recommend Santa Barbara Sailing Center to anyone wanting to learn how to sail.

The first day out we learned how to maneuver the boat under power and cruised up and down Santa Barbara Harbor. There are some HUGE boats there and some famous owners as well. I took a couple of photos with my phone. There were a couple of nice boats still in the harbor:
A beautiful ketch rigged sailboat in SB HarborA huge yacht parked in SB HarborCloseup of the huge yacht parked in SB Harbor

There are two more classes left, including the exam. It should be no problem to pass as I am definitely getting the hang of it quickly. I'm looking forward to moving on to the next class.

[Pre-Voyage ] May 11, 2007 17:33
Now is as good a time as any to start documenting my planned 'journey of a lifetime' for others to see. I hope this can and will inspire others to follow my lead just as I have been inspired by so many others.

My Background: It started for me when I was a kid. I read a lot of Hemingway and was intrigued by his depictions of Harry Morgan and David Hudson in "To Have and Have Not" and "Islands in the Stream" sparking my interest in a life on the ocean. I read about his own boat, 'Pilar' and I wanted to one day have my own boat to roam the ocean. I put that thought away when I assumed it would cost too much to do such a thing and merrily went on with my life. Many years later, after a recent change in careers and living arrangements, I find myself living near the ocean and the dream has surfaced again after many years of hibernation. This time around my interest is in sailing and cruising in the Pacific Ocean.

My Current Situation: I have very little sailing experience so far but I have been spending my time learning as much as I can so I will be ready when the time comes to cut loose the dock lines. I have completed the USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety and Beginning & Advanced Coastal Navigation courses. I am learning a lot and soaking up the experience offered to me by the other boaters & sailors I meet.

My Plans: My current plan is to continue to build up my savings to buy a cruising sailboat sometime in the next two years (2008/2009) and take off for at least a year to see if I really like the lifestyle. I hope to still be cruising the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico, Central & South America when I turn 40 (2011).

So there you have it! The plan is in place and I'm slowly working toward making it happen. If you're anything like me, who knows, maybe one day we'll meet in this great big world of ours!