s/v Sunshine

The Cruising Adventures of the Thoreson Family

07 April 2008 | Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
06 April 2008 | Bahia Culebra, Costa Rica
04 April 2008 | Bahia Santa Elena/ Bahia Culebra
03 April 2008 | Bahia Santa Elena, Costa Rica; 10 55.313 N, 85 47.560 W
02 April 2008 | Masachapa, Nicaragua; 11 47.000 N,86 32.439 W
01 April 2008 | Estero Tamarindo/ Gulf of Fonseca
01 April 2008 | Corinto, Nicaragua; 12 02.948 N, 86 42.548 W
31 March 2008 | Puesta del Sol, Nicaragua; 12 36.824 N, 87 20.977 W
30 March 2008 | Tamarindo Estero
20 March 2008 | Golf of Fonseca 13 10.541 N, 87 54.460 W
19 March 2008 | 13 07.204 N, 88 24.492 W
18 March 2008 | 13 18.119 N, 88 53.575 W
17 March 2008 | 13 18.119 N, 88 53.575 W
16 March 2008 | 13 18.119 N, 88 53.575 W
15 March 2008 | Bahia del Sol, El Salvador
14 March 2008 | Bahia del Sol, El Salvador
02 March 2008 | Bahia del Sol, El Salvador
25 February 2008 | Bahia del Sol, El Salvador

Moving On

14 July 2009
Sunshine is no longer ours- it's a bittersweet time.
Jim has returned from Panama. We're happy for no more trips to such a far away land, at least, separated from each other. But we're also at a loss for words that this adventure could have been so much more. But at the same time, we've done more in the past couple years than most people do in a lifetime- living on a sailboat for 6 months and successfulling sailing her w/ our 3 children 850 miles down the Pacific Coast of Central America. How cool is that?!
Some day- we'll be on another adventure. Looking forward to seeing what paths we take, where life takes us, and what experiences we decide to pursue. Maybe it will even be something worth blogging about!

Back to Panama--take...3

08 July 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
Amy/ rain, rain, go away!
Here we go again... or I should say, "here HE goes again". Jim is once again packing up to head back to Panama. Each time we/us/ he heads down, there's less luggage to take. It's been raining there quite often, so often that the bottom has not been painted. But to just not go, and throw away a ticket seems nearly ridiculous too, since it costs so much to simply change the date, almost as much as the ticket itself. Bob & his 2 buddies are going down for sure this time too. In fact they are actually on the same flight from Houston to Panama. We are all hoping the rain will stop long enough for the 4 of them to put the anti-fouling & bottom paint on by putting tarps up to keep the rain out. It may not be the best job, but at this point it's better than nothing and if it's not able to be done, well, let's just stay positive..., okay? Then getting Sunshine splashed back in the water and moved to Bocas in time for Jim to catch his return flight Tues. Thankfully he will only be gone 6 1/2 days this time, as neither he nor I are wanting him to be gone- nor the kids for that matter. You would think, knowing that this is nearly, repeat, nearly... a done deal, and knowing money is about to be in our hands, we'd be a little more excited. I think the burn out is overtaking our enthusiasm. We so want this to be over with.
As for the photos I mentioned I'd add once Jim got home last time, other than a nice pix of Les & Lea, the rest of them that he took were only of the work on the boat. Not very exciting. Maybe this time.
The property I mentioned in the previous post is the one we'll be making an offer on soon! THAT is something we are excited about. We still wish things were different w/ Sunshine, that we could keep her, she wouldn't have so much maintenance and was closer. But she's not, and it's time to move on. We're looking at after Bridget graduates from HS in 4 years, maybe that will be a good time to revisit the cruising lifestyle. But that's a long, yet really, not so long, ways off.

Not Done Yet

13 June 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama- still
I really don't know how to write the latest on the details of Jim's trip to Sunshine without making it sound so horrible! I've been waiting for him to email pix to me, but of course he's been extremely busy, he's not sleeping well- one of the boats next to Sunshine that's being repaired has tarps all over it & it's been windy. So I'm sure w/ just a little bit of imagination, you can hear the potato chip crumpling sound in your head right now from the tarp!
He spent the 1st two days, Monday & Tuesday, cleaning up the inside of the boat so she looks spiffy for Bob's arrival. Only to get a phone call from Bob that he just realized- the day he's suppose to come down, that his passport had expired. Ugh!!! The prop shaft he had made here, he was not able to take w/ him on the plane due to a oversized luggage embargo that started 3 DAYS, yes, 3 days before he went down! Ugh!!! Thankfully he was able to get one made down there cheap, but now we are the... proud? owners of a custom made prop shaft in Michigan! Any takers!!??
The new prop shaft was ready Thursday morning, and he also got the bottom paint on Wednesday. Once he found out he could get 1 or 2 more cans - I can't remember for sure, of black bottom paint for $200 less than the marina was going to charge us for 4 gallons of RED-(yuk), he opted for the better deal, even though it was going to take a couple extra days to get it. All this time too, he noticed a couple new areas on Sunshine's hulls that showed up since we left 2 months ago, that now needed repaired. Sooooooooooo, in a nutshell, Sunshine will be staying right where she is to get a little more work done until Jim & Bob return in a couple weeks to meet up & move Sunshine. He did still have Les & Lea come from Portobello, they arrived on Wednesday around Noon. At that time he was still hoping to get Sunshine splashed & moved to Bocas. They have been very helpful, cooking & cleaning, someone to bounce ideas off of & give some of their own, just great support for Jim. We are doing our best to remain positive that this current delay is again for a good reason. There is something better planned, whatever that may be. What else ya gonna do in a situation like this?.... sulk, cuss & curse? I suppose that would be one way to deal w/ it, but that doesn't really help in the long run. We'll see where this leads. In the meantime, I'm here in Michigan, property hunting. Think we might have found "the one"- piece of land for us to build our home. Looking forward to driving out to it later this week w/ Jim & seeing what he thinks!
His flight out of Panama is tomorrow (Sunday) morning-we're counting down the hours!
I'll make sure to post some photos later in the week.

Back to Panama

06 June 2009 | Empire, MI/ SB Marina, Panama
The time has come. Jim is leaving tonight for Detroit to catch a 6 a.m. Flight tomorrow for Panama w/ the usual layover in Houston. He'll arrive in Panama tomorrow at 1 p.m. Sunshine is going back up on auction tomorrow, Sunday, for a 10 day auction. A guy from Maryland is most likely buying Sunshine and is arriving Tues. to give Sunshine a looksie. He is bringing 2 friends w/ him and they are all going to help Jim in the final painting of the barrier coat & bottom paint. There may also be others coming to take a look at her. Then Jim and Lee & Leah, the couple who live in Portobello and were available to assist in the delivery to Florida, will join Jim & help him move Sunshine to Bocas del Toro, about a full 24 hr. sail away to the West. There is a new marina going in called Red Frog Beach, which is giving a great introductory rate for dock service w/ electricity & security for $5/foot/ month! Jim has talked to Dan Cranney the marketing director there and has been very impressed with what he's finding out. Bocas sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Both from what we've read & what we've heard from other cruisers. We've already decided we're going there sometime in the future for a vacation. I'm really sad I'm not going. Dang this is hard. I wish we could keep her. We even toyed around w/ another option. Keeping Sunshine in Bocas and rent her out as a "staging place" for people to rent out weekly to stay on, not take out sailing, while they explore the Bocas area & inland Panama. We could probably get $500/wk. for it, until we got her even more fixed up & then could increase our rate. That would cover any expenses. But to get that started with advertising, and get the word out to get her booked enough in the beginning seemed a big task that may or may not work out. Could we get her booked enough right away in the beginning to make that happen?? We didn't feel we were up to giving it a try, as much as we want to make that work. Even as I write this, I stopped, and Jim & I discussed this more- again.
Jim will send me photos while he is down there and I'll write & post some more over the next week

Moving on Without Sunshine

15 May 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
Ya know the old saying, "so close, but so far away..." Well, that is our new theme for Sunshine. We came so close to getting her to Florida, but not close enough. On Friday, the 8th of May, Jim got a phone call at work from my Mom while I was in Micah's class for a Mother's Day breakfast. She asked Jim, "are you sitting down?". Well, what's the first thing you'd think of if your Mother-in Law called you at work and said that to you? Then she told him that she just talked to her brother-in-law, my Uncle Bob who he & Aunt Margie have been behind us 100% with this whole endeavor of ours. He has a friend that we have talked to before, even as far back as a couple years ago about doing the original delivery then all the way from El Salvador. U. Bob told my mom Henry would do the delivery! So we had the missing piece, the "Captain" of Sunshine in Jim's absence. We already had lined up a couple who live in Portobello, Panama to be crew, but not in charge. Jim talked to Henry that evening and as soon as Henry could get his boat in Ft. Lauderdale where he is, closed up, he'd be ready. They made tentative plans to leave later this week. Jim talked to Henry again, 2 days later, to make sure when he'd be ready, and Henry informed him that he got a call over the w/end that his 90 yr. Old Uncle in Texas was needing some immediate attention and he was asked by other family members to do it.
So, now what? On Monday, we got a couple more leads that led no where, and Tuesday, Jim's B-day, while we're at dinner at the Roadhouse in Beaulah, we decide that this is where we need to stop. Our priorities have changed, we can't keep Sunshine where she is and afford both time & money to leave her there. Even if we kept her, we'd only be able to use her for maybe a month every year,for the next few years and for the expense that would entail, plus at the beginning of each time we'd get to her, there would most likely be maintenance- and possibly extensive, it's not feasible for us any more.
So sadly as of this morning, she went up for sail on ebay.
The hardest part is that she is in much better shape now than when we took ownership of her, and to put that much blood, sweat, & tears, literally in to something & then have to let it go, is...well, just hard to take-real hard. The kids are sad. But I often tell them when they don't want to pick up their toys, or don't want to do a certain chore, or don't want to do whatever it is, "some times ya gotta do what you don't want to do." Well, there's nothing like leading by example.
I will probably post one more time, to update on the sale. But there won't be a reason to keep the sailblogs going after that.
Thank you all for reading our blog, posting comments, and for your support. I thoroughly enjoyed writing these. Maybe someday, they'll be a book!

Committment to a Dream

15 April 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
Ya gotta admire Jim for his courage, tenacity, & full blown commitment to a dream. While some may say he's over the edge, and they themselves have not pursued their own dreams, and many have their own opinions without fully understanding Jim's desire to follow this passion of his. I myself did not even know the real "reason" for this crazy idea of his... until this past Monday. The day after we returned from the Carribean on our attempt to head to Florida.
I've known that he has always had this dream, since High School, to do something like this. And I just thought it was about getting away touring parts unseen by many, on a boat & in the past when I talked to him about it, he would mention he loves hearing the sound of the water lapsing up against the boat as she's sailing along, stopping along at quiet islands & listening to the fish jump & the birds in the trees on shore. But Monday, while we were discussing our options of what to do now, the real reason came out. He honestly feels "this" is what he's meant to do, living on a boat. That was his exact statement. "This is where, among all the work & headaches, I'm at peace."
This has been the only thing I have ever seen Jim pursue with such passion & commitment. Sometimes I have faulted him for it, saying that he's putting Sunshine first, being irresponsible. But after this conversation, I have a better understanding of what this all means to him. And I hope some if not all, of those who've questioned this whole thing from the beginning will also understand better. With all the years that we've had family health issues starting way back 14 + years ago, Jim has had to put aside for his family everything that he's wanted to do. And he's done so without a single complaint. When he pitched this idea to me, that he really wanted to do this, NOW, I saw all the times he put himself last for his family, and that now he deserved to do this. But still, this was not just about him, he wanted this to be a time for our family to bond & spend together seeing some of the fantastic areas of the World that most kids only read or hear about. He wanted this , not just for himself, but all of us. And to see him struggle to make this work, has been hard for me to understand why he keeps going forward, but I think I have a better understanding, and my only hope is that this has a happy ending for him. It will be extremely difficult for him to let Sunshine go. He's put so much in to her, she's not looked or been in this good of shape since we took ownership of her. Things can only get better, but here in Central America there's nothing more we can do. She's too far away for us, Jim needs to take care of other responsibilities, get back to work, mainly. And we've been gone from our kids longer than we told them already. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone with this much of a passion for something, and maybe to some, it's called a pipe dream, but dreams aren't just dreams. They are ideas that when pursued gives a person a reason for living, a way to enjoy life. Some stop with the dream, some go after it If we didn't have dreams, we wouldn't have Olympic Gold medalists, beautiful statues & towers, music & paintings, Lance Armstrongs, Tiger Woods, or high rise buildings, electricity or airplanes, or even the computer your reading this on now. Someone had to think it, had to dream it, for it to begin. I'm going to end this long post with again, that t-shirt quote from Mike Dooley that Jim has had for over 15 years. This is Jim's favorite quote & sums up what this is all about.
Your Dreams Are Gifts
that set You in Motion,
on the Tides of Time
where Life is an Ocean.
Your Sails are Filled with
the Winds of Desire to
Surge through the
Waves of Murk & Mire.
And When You Awaken
With Your Goal at Hand,
You See Your True Destination
Was the Voyage Not the Land!

I have updated the past few days, so if you haven't read those, make sure you scroll down & get caught up.
Vessel Name: Sunshine
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Ed Horstman Tristar Trimaran
Hailing Port: Traverse City, MI
Crew: Jim, Amy, Bridget, Micah, & Jenaya
We have been married almost 19 years, Bridget is now 14, Micah is almost 8, Jenaya is 5. We have a strong Christian/Catholic Faith, love spending time together & exploring this beautiful World. [...]
We purchased Sunshine in Feb. '07. She was in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. We flew down in Nov. '07, spent 4 months getting her ready, building a new, larger dinghy, enjoying El Salvador & the friends we made. We then took the next 2 1/2 months sailing from there to Panama City. Now the next leg [...]
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Sunshine's Photos -

The Thoreson Crew

Who: Jim, Amy, Bridget, Micah, & Jenaya
Port: Traverse City, MI