I have finally joined Tate. Friday was my last day at work and by 12:15 I had cleaned out my desk and turned the light out for the last time. I’ve spent the past 5 1/2 years on this project building a giant hospital. That’s about as long as I was in college. I have grown with my coworkers and they have watched me grow, mainly into this girl that is headed off on a crazy adventure around the world. The goodbye was sweet and they were elated I had followed through and am starting this trip.

We Sundowners are busy at work tying up loose ends, provisioning the boat, selling the truck and plotting our initial course. El Capitan, Tate, has set a leave date of this Tuesday. This is a very exciting prospect and I am really looking forward to getting underway. The plan right now is to sail away from our marina and head to our Rabbit Island hideaway spot that we discovered during our honeymoon. The spot is about 6 hours away from us and is right on the other side of the last Rigolets drawbridge which leads out into the Gulf of Mexico. It is nice and protected and will be a good launching point for our next move.

We’ll anchor here for sometime while we wait for a good weather window to either sail straight across the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Keys (this is our first choice) or if the weather won’t cooperate or we get spooked we’ll coast hop maybe to Pensacola, then to Tampa and then to Keys. The latter of the choices keeps us in the Gulf of Mexico longer and will probably take 3 weeks (my prediction). Jumping from Louisiana to the Keys is around 550 miles (linear) and will take about a week give or take.

Heading off across the Gulf of Mexico on our first leg is certainly ambitious but it is also exciting. It would be a great shake down of the boat and we’d still be in the US if we needed to make any repairs or changes to our setup. We will miss all the people who want to see us along the coast on our way out of the country but alas we have to go where our hearts tell us. As everyone always says plans are written in sand (or muddy river banks in our case) and all of this could change but I wanted to give a heads up to what is about to happen.

The FUN part about this post is the introduction of our satellite text messenger, the DeLorme InReach Explorer. We have the unlimited messaging plan which allows us to send email or text to anyone anywhere in the world at any time (limited to 160 characters each). We can also receive messages either from email or SMS (text) through a phone. Our DeLorme will also transmit a signal every so often and post these points on a map that will show our current position and also the track we have taken. We can post messages on this map that will display as little comment bubbles. Tate has in-bedded the map into a page of ours that you can find at the TOP LEFT OF THE TOOLBAR, next to the About Us section. You can also click on this link:

Where is Sundowner?

Working with the text message capability of DeLorme a service called SPOTCAST by Ocens will send us unlimited 72 hour weather forecast for either our current GPS position or for one we designate. This service gives us precipitation info, surface pressure, % cloud cover, air temperature, wind direction and wind speed. The cost for this is about $80 a year.

In addition to the weather forecast from SPOTCAST, we now have an SSB reciever, the Sony ICF-SW7600GR, thanks to Tate’s family at Christmas. This radio can get AM/FM and all kinds of shortwave and longwave radio waves from around the world. There are many booklets with time tables and stations and Tate has been able to download free software that allows us to download Grib weather files from the radio via the microphone cord. I don’t know exactly how this works yet so Tate will write a post explaining this sometime later after we get some practice.

During our long crossings we aren’t going to post to the blog but we will post (via the DeLorme) to our Facebook page. If you want to keep up with us as we cross the Gulf of Mexico, island hop in the Caribbean or cross the Big Boys (Pacific, Indian and Atlantic) please “LIKE” our Sundowner Sails Again Facebook page. You can also click on the Facebook Icon on the right side of the page. We’ll try to post updates there at least everyday. We won’t be able to read or respond to your comments at this time but will when we get within reach of the internet. One of the things I love about this blog the most is hearing from our readers. You guys give my dream more meaning and comments and Facebook correspondence is so comforting. It’s like Christmas cards all year long.

We haven’t gone over this before but please if you don’t hear from us for an extended amount of time whatever you do, DO NOT CALL THE COAST GUARD. We have multiple ways to reach out for help in the event of an emergency and we don’t want any false alarms. We have the DeLorme’s SOS button, an EPIRB and the VHF. We also have an offshore liferaft onboard and a very well stocked medical kit.

From here on out blog posts are going to be posted at irregular intervals. I imagine sometimes there will be a flurry of activity and others there will be a lull. The Facebook page though will be the most active. Also pictures won’t be in every post but as many as I can put them in I will. Rest assured the real photography is about to begin…In places with actual BLUE water.

Thank you all for your overwhelming support. I feel like the world is rooting us along and I have a surge of energy about our new life. Thanks for letting us share it with you.

Happy New Year! May your New Year be the year you get closer to whatever dream you are working towards and if you have no dream…well what exactly are you waiting for?