Well we did it! We managed to hang around the US until the end of the year. This is not what we had in mind. But everything takes a little longer on a boat. So in order to help maintain our sanity we are going to do a brief recap of our activities aboard since September. We have come a long way, even though we haven’t gone very far.

Before I get to the list, I want to say that we are so excited about this coming year we can hardly stand it. It has taken us 3 months to get ready but we are feeling great about our readiness for the voyage and there is a certain appropriateness about starting fresh in a new year. I’ve got a new log book started and we are eagerly awaiting casting off. As soon as we get our welding done we are off with the first good weather window. We are excited to have a cargo bound for Haiti and to see Seven Seas Ministries begin to bear fruit. We are ready for this next phase of our adventure!

So without further to do, here is the answer to the questions I know you’re asking, “What have y’all been doing for 3 months? How come you haven’t left yet?” In no particular order, this is what we’ve been doing.

  • Installed Lectrasan system
  • Put a new raw water pump in the main engine
  • Brought the boat from Pensacola to Texas
  • Rebuilt the A/C compressor box in the boys closet
  • Replaced the fuel pump on the generator
  • Replaced all fuel filter elements in the whole fuel system for both generator and main engine
  • Installed plywood panel alongside Garrett’s bunk so his stuff doesn’t fall into the lazarette
  • Installed grab rail above Garrett’s bunk
  • Extinguished on board electrical fire
  • Recharged fire extinguishers
  • Rewired entire 110 volt system including adding breakers and transfer switches
  • Replaced oven thermostat valve
  • Tuned refrigeration system including adding small air circulation fans in each box
  • Repaired 150% Genoa
  • Sewed new luff tape on spare 150% Genoa
  • Repaired 100% jib
  • Sewed new hanks on staysail
  • Repaired sail cover
  • Installed new flood light over sugar scoop
  • Had propane locker repaired
  • Ran aground and got centerboard jammed
  • Built hookah supplied air breathing unit
  • Unjammed center board
  • Upgraded wiring from main battery bank to inverter/charger
  • Rebuilt forward head
  • Replaced Lexan in forward hold hatch cover
  • Lubricated all winches
  • Installed HDTV over the air antenna
  • Repaired clothes washer
  • Changed engine oil in main engine and generator
  • Studied for untold hours and sat through 20 hours of USCG testing to get my License back
  • Made and mounted port light curtains for the main cabin
  • Made and mounted privacy curtains for passageways
  • Repaired outboard motor ignition system
  • Replaced all cabinet knobs
  • Loaded cargo of shirts and computers for Haiti
  • Crashed Shirley’s laptop
  • Purchased and configured new laptop for Shirley
  • Bought lots of miscellaneous spare parts, supplies, charts, cruising guides, etc
  • Built half wall around generator to protect it from gear adrift in the lazarette
  • Whipped ends of all lines on board
  • Tuned standing rigging
  • Replaced ends on both shore power cords
  • Made up fender boards to span fenders for use at commercial type docks
  • Lots of reading and researching on cruising and our destinations
  • Installed new propane grill on aft rail
  • Replaced gasket on portlight
  • Gave away and sold unneeded extra sails
  • Scraped barnacles off the dinghy bottom (a sure sign you’ve been somewhere too long)
  • Replaced watermaker diaphragm
  • Replumbed watermaker – hoses and fittings
  • Provisioned for our trip south
  • Homeschooled the kids on an ongoing basis
  • And more stuff that I’ve forgotten

I’d also like to take a moment to thank all the folks who have helped us do all the stuff listed above. It is amazing the resources God puts in your path when you are doing what he called you to do. We have been blessed in lots of ways by lots of folks and this list is incomplete but here it is none the less. Also in no particular order.

  • My mom and dad, Sue and Travis Votaw – for everything
  • Shirley’s brother, Kevin Morrison – thanks for all the hours of electrical work
  • Charles and Katherine Walker – thanks for all the transportation, mail handling and fellowship
  • Charl DeVilliers the Silent Voyager – for his advice and expertise
  • Charlie Jones – master craftsman
  • Phil and Susie Collins – for cars and trips and fun
  • Phil and Leslie Colquitt for feeding us and helping with mail and transportation needs
  • Carl Westbrook for being a pastor and believing in the vision God has given us.
  • Everyone else who has helped with anything else. The list is a long one, and we are overwhelmed by all of the help and encouragement you all have provided.

So together we embark on a new year. If this past year was any indication, we have lot’s of excitement and blessings in store. God bless you all an we look forward to moving forward together through 2008.

Stay tuned. Ciao for now!

4 Responses to “Happy New Year”
  1. westbrooks says:

    Greetings to the ocean voyagers! Well, almost; pretty soon! Sounds like you all have been BUSY! Elizabeth and I are glad things are coming together for you all. We look forward to keeping up with your travels – when you start travelling, of course. Your observation about the new year is indeed appropriate: new license, new year, new equipment…………new perspective. Sometimes God allows the circumstances of life to re-teach us lessons we have learned, but in which we need a refresher. During this time ya’ll are learning to “wait on the Lord”. Remember, His timing is always right on. We will continue to keep you in prayer as you experience the wonderful adventure of following the leading of the Holy Spirit. God bless and keep you all!!!! Always! Carl and Elizabeth

  2. rwestbrook says:

    Hey Johnny and Shirley! Yall have accomplished quite a bit in 3 months. I wish we could have seen yall before you took off for the deep blue. We hope to be able to meet up with you at some point to talk possibilities. God be with you all on the open sea and enjoy the beauty of it. Keep in touch!


  3. Gunnar says:

    Howdy Votaws!

    I just learned about your adventure and have been checking out your blog. Looks like it’s been quiet since the first so am assuming you have shoved off and are now somewhere in the deep blue. I’ll look forward to following your travels and wish you all the best. Sounds like a heck of a journey. Fair skies and following seas my friends.


  4. Daddio says:

    Hey Gunnar,

    It’s really good to hear from you. Hope all is well in OKC. Stay tuned for more from an unconventional life.


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