Born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts, USA, Mike often dreamed of moving to California. He wanted to live in a warm, sunny climate. He joined the Navy after High School and enjoyed 'seeing the world'. After that, he started dreaming of sailing the world and living a life of adventure. But certain responsibilities weighed on him. After completing his military commitment to Uncle Sam, he enrolled at Northeastern University. Graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice, he continued his service to Uncle Sam by becoming a Federal Special Agent. Mike continued dreaming of the day he could retire and sail. He was able to transfer to the Los Angeles office in 1983, and retired from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2004 after 28+ years of service. Mike had a colorful career, and we just can't decide how much to tell on a public website! So we'll just leave it at that.
Mike has a son from a former marriage. Sean is married to Keni, and they have a daughter, Kailyn and a son, Brady. Sean is following in his dad's footsteps by choosing a career in law enforcement.
Linda is a native California girl. She grew up in Whittier, California, and hasn't lived much more than an hour's drive from there her entire life (until now). Linda worked for over 35 years in the computer industry, first as a mainframe programmer, then as a training consultant for a software company. She retired one year before Mike, to focus on the preparation for the sailing lifestyle, and coordinating the many details involved in buying a new semi-custom boat. She sold their home, sold their furniture, gave away truckloads to charity, and packed away their few remaining precious possessions.
Linda has a daughter from a former marriage. Kimberly is married to Lance, and they have 3 children, Blake, Garrett and Paige. Lance also has a career in public service as an engineer firefighter.
How We Met (as told by Linda)
It was 1989 and we worked in the same building in downtown Los Angeles. Our eyes met in a crowded elevator, and I swear my knees went weak. I was instantly smitten. He was so tall (6' 5") and handsome! He looked so out of place in this professional environment with his ponytail, earring, jeans and t-shirt. But I was very attracted to him. I hoped I would see him again. Little did I know that I would see plenty of him. Everywhere I turned, there he was .... gazing at me with those sexy eyes, but never speaking to me. I later learned that he was a bit intimidated by my professional appearance .. he thought I was out of his league. How cute is that?
Mike is very bold when it comes to dealing with criminals and bureaucrats, but he was going through a divorce and was very new at being single. He seemed shy. On July 3, 1989, opportunity knocked. I was standing alone waiting for the elevator, and 2 seconds later, he was standing beside me. I decided to help things along, and broke the ice by saying hello. After a couple of minutes of small talk, he asked me if I would have lunch with him sometime. He was apparently so surprised that I said yes, that he forgot to ask me my name, my phone number, pick a date, .. you know, the basics! I finally proffered this information and we set a date. We really hit it off. Here we were in our early 40's, acting like a couple of teenagers in love. We bought our house in Simi Valley, moved in together and got married in 1991 (in that order).
Our life together has been charmed. We are so grateful for every single day and we take nothing for granted. Our children and grandchildren bring us enormous joy. We are excited to share this new chapter of our life with them by offering them experiences to which they may not have otherwise been exposed.
The Sailing Dream
I had done a little sailing with friends before meeting Mike, and had spent a lot of time in ski boats on lakes and rivers. But it was Mike who introduced me to his dream of living on a sailboat and exploring other parts of the world. Even though this has been Mike's dream for many years, like me, he did not have much experience sailing.
Mike's the type who decides what he wants and just goes for it. He's been ready to go (in his mind) for as long as I've known him. However, I'm a bit more cautious and analytical. I needed to feel "ready". So we took sailing lessons, then started chartering 40+ ft sailboats for vacations each year. We sailed in various areas of the Caribbean and in Australia. We also joined a local sailing club for a couple of years and chartered boats out of Ventura Harbor. I read every 'true story' book on sailing I could get my hands on. I followed the websites of multiple live-aboard cruisers to learn from their experiences.
However, I really needed to know how we would respond to being out at sea for many days and in rough weather. So I signed us up for a 21-day sailing expedition (Mahina Expeditions - Leg 7 2003) from New Caledonia to New Zealand. We were guaranteed to encounter rough weather and test our skills. I knew we were going to get our money's worth when we departed New Caledonia in 35 knot winds and 20 foot seas. Even though I was terribly seasick for the first 3 days, it was overall a fabulous experience. And I found out what I needed to find out. This is for me! Mike has never doubted for a minute that it is for him.