2018 in Review

Posted:  December 30, 2018
In:  Blog
👁 2491   6

I feel like 2018 lasted more than a year… but I suppose that is because we packed 3 years worth of “things” into one single year… and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. While reflecting and reminiscing, Chris and I were blown away with our adventures and accomplishments so we decided to sit down and write blog them so we will never forget this crazy year. So without further adieu, here is our year in review.

We kicked off our 2018 like we have kicked off the past 4 years together: at China Peak Mountain Resort DJ’ing the New Year party. We spent the first few days of 2018 snowboarding and skiing before heading back home to Tahoe where we would finish our very last semesters as college students. Before leaving our central sierra mountains, we went camping in Yosemite which was cold, wet and a whole lot of fun. We slept in the back of Chris’s truck bed with an air mattress blown up underneath the camper shell which was an experience in itself! We huddled together for warmth. It was weird camping in a legitimate campground versus our usual find-a-random-spot-in-the-woods type of camp ground. It was so nice to be away from cell service for a little bit before heading back to our busy lives in North Lake Tahoe.

Getting the shot in Yosemite

Sliding into the New Year at China Peak

Showing off our Big Blue home


It was nice to feel the sun on our skin for a change

Fast forward a little bit to February, I turned 21 and spent the day in San Fransisco with Chris before we drove down to San Diego to compete in the annual Mission Bay Mid-Winter Regatta with our Victory 21 fleet. We came in 4th place and it was probably some of our best ocean racing yet! Right after we drove 16 hours back to Tahoe so I wouldn’t miss class Monday morning. A lot of our year was spent driving back and forth from child hood homes to our home in Tahoe since we were in the midst of finalizing wedding plans as well as working and trying not to miss any classes. It was all about finding the balance!

In March, we signed the papers and officially became the owners of SV Avocet. Let me tell you, being 20 something college kids renting an apartment in Tahoe, while simultaneously purchasing a boat was a struggle. We worked our butts off to make it happen. Speaking of work, I got a part time job at Pet Network Humane Society on the weekends which was an incredible experience where I made a lot of great friends and learned a ton about animal care, while making it my goal to adopt every animal that came in through our doors. I felt bad that Chris would leave every weekend to go work on Avocet while I was playing with cats and dogs… but let’s be honest, I didn’t feel THAT bad 😉 I also got to spend my bachelorette party in Disneyland with my ladies (minus one of my bridesmaids, Meagan). Being in Disneyland with a a group of my favorite ladies was an awesome experience and I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate my fleeting independant womanhood.

When we first surveyed Avocet

Working at Pet Network, treating this little one for an eye infection!

Tess, Megan, Me, Shannon

In May, Chris and I both graduated college. I, from Sierra Nevada College with my B.S.B.A in Ski Business, Resort Management as well as Global Business Management and Chris from Sierra College with a Associative in Social and Behavioral Science. I was so glad it was over! I spent the last semester taking 21 units, working for the Student Government as the Director of Events, working, planning for a wedding, preparing to move, and pulling my hair out. Chris was also happy it was over so I could finally relax! At the end of May when we were packing up our last boxes from our apartment, my childhood friend Tom flew in from England to attend our wedding and by default also help us move. 5 days after we moved our of our apartment, we got married at Shaver Lake.

I graduated with my B.S.B.A in Ski Business, Resort Management AND Global Business Management From Sierra Nevada College

Chris graduated with his Associates in Social and Behavioral Science from Sierra College

Tom came to visit for our wedding

our first night in our Tahoe home and our last night

Watching our wedding finally come together after 2 years of planning was great. It was a beautiful wedding and it wouldn’t have been possible without our family and friends who went the extra mile to make it perfect! I could go on and on about our wedding, so I will leave it at this: it was a dream come true.

The wedding party: Meagan, Tess, Shannon, Megan, Me, Chris, Jon, Clarke, Christian, Troy

My Sierra


No caption necessary

I always wanted to add some nerd flair to my wedding... dream come true.

The day after our wedding, we loaded our stuff, squished Tom into my Subaru, kissed everyone goodbye and drove down to our new home. Avocet sucked our belongings up like a champ and we were surprised that 2 years worth of the contents of our apartment fit perfectly into the many lockers and storage spots aboard. The morning after our first night on Avocet we drove Tom to the airport and said our “until next time’s”.

The rest of our Summer was spent doing various projects to make Avocet our home. I promised myself to take at least 3 months off before actively job hunting since I hadn’t had a true break since I was in high school! Chris was still busy going on shoots here and there, but for the most part it was just a newly wed couple adjusting to their new life afloat.screen-shot-2018-10-12-at-9-40-08-am.png


Neely family

In July we headed back up to Huntington Lake to compete in the High Sierra Regatta with our Victory 21 fleet. It was extra special this year because we got to compete against Jon and Shannon… nothing like a little sibling rivalry! We placed 4th in all 5 races which seems to be our lucky number. However, I am pleased with it since we are the youngest in our fleet, and Chris was happy to beat big brother 😉

August was probably the busiest month for us since we went to Disneyland with the whole Neely family the first weekend, then the following week Chris and I left for our Honeymoon in Mexico! It was my 3rd time visiting Mexico, Chris’s 1st and most certainly not our last. We had a blast drinking in Cabo, hiking in Mazatlan, and exploring Puerto Vallarta! The water was warm, the fish were friendly and we can’t wait to sail Avocet there someday. 3 days after our return, the Neely family came for a visit and we sailed to Santa Cruz Island, our first time out on the hook. It took some adjusting time to situate 5 grown adults and all their belongings, but Avocet handled it all like a champ. Chris and I also learned where our weak points in hosting were such as our quarter berth not being fit for a couple. Obviously we addressed that and you can read all about that process here. It was a fun extended weekend and we are chomping at the bit to get out there and do it again soon!

Loving the water

Getting the shot in Mazatlan


Sitting pretty at Santa Cruz Island

Neely family sailing adventure


Mandy as Camera Op

In September I decided to start my own Digital Marketing business (Fair Winds Media) so I could work remote and have a flexible schedule. I am now up to 4 clients and am so stoked on what I have built in these short months! Chris was also very busy on shoots for clients while we simultaneously decided to start our youtube channel (@SVAvocet). With the help form our new friend Mandy we shot and edited our first recap video for our channel.

When October rolled around Chris got really sad since Jon and Shannon were returning to Prism. They came down to say good bye before starting their cross country drive. It was crazy to think that they had been home a whole year, and yet it seemed to fly by. We are so thankful that they were home during the process of buying Avocet, I don’t think we would have been able to do it as seemingly easy without Jon’s help. A few weeks after their departure, we upheld our October 31st tradition and watched Rocky Horror while also dressing up in our “Halloween costumes” to snap a few pics!

Brother time on the bow

The captain and the siren he caught


Rocky and Cleo became good friends

We also ended up saying good bye to our new friends John and Mandy since they decided to move back to the U.S.V.I’s (I know, rough, right?) which was bittersweet. We are so happy that they were the first friends we made down here, and it all started because of Instagram! Someday we will sail around to their side of the planet and be reunited (let’s be honest, we really miss Rocky boy!)

As you may recall, November was a hard month for us Californians.  We got hit with wildfires up and down the state, while the Hillfire and Woolsey Fire were the two closest to us. Although we were safe from the fire itself, the highways in and out were closed and we were choking on smoke and debris. They can close the road, but they can’t close the ocean! Our original plan that weekend (before the fires) was to sail to Santa Cruz Island, but that plan fell through due to strong Santa Ana’s. After a lot of thought we decided to head north to Santa Barbara for some clean air and adventure. I had never been there before, and I thought it a beautiful city with so much to offer. We had fun wandering the streets and meeting sailors on the dock (we stayed in a transient slip). The fires were contained by the time we sailed home, but the damage is far from being repaired. As I write this, there are still victims that are displaced from the SoCal fires… check out this organization if you want to donate: CARE . We ended November in the Silver State, watching my favorite band of all time (Blink-182) preform. I sang every song, lost my voice and walked the strip until my legs went numb; needless to say, it was a blast!

The smoke was AWFUL from the fires

Blink 182!

My mini me


Me, My mom, cousin Carly, cousin Dori

My moms birthday is December 5th, and I was so excited to hear that they wanted to come visit us on Avocet for my moms birthday. To be honest I was pretty nervous about their opinion since they have never really spent time on a sailboat before but I was pleasantly surprised at how well they adapted and actually praised it. They were the first to sleep in our newly refit quarter berth and it was all positive feedback, they even want to come visit again soon! It was great showing them where we had been living for the past 6 months, Cleo also thoroughly enjoyed being spoiled by “grandpa and grandma” as well as “uncle chuck”!

It’s so hard to believe that its already December, looking back on what I’ve written thus far there are so many things I left out such as the day sails, new places, hikes, and more seemingly little details that make up a long list of things we did and places we saw that made our year what it was. We will finish off December spending Christmas with family and kick off 2019 the same way we did 2018: at China Peak, DJ’ing the New Year party.

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Chris and I have talked a lot about what 2019 holds for us and we are very pleased to announce that there will be even more adventures which is hard to imagine! Thank you for joining us this far, we can’t wait to share what we have in store for 2019. Cheers! ~ Marissa

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Tags:  Sailing | Video


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  1. jtimsco

    Wow! You really have had quite the year. You’ve accomplished a lot. Cheers to a happy, full new year!

    • SV Avocet

      Yes we have! Cheers to you as well, Happy New Year!

      • jtimsco

        Happy New Year!

  2. SV Sonho

    Great blog!!! I’m definitely a fan and can’t wait to read about your adventures. Hubby and I are 54 and met 10 years ago and moved aboard 6 months later. We adore the liveaboard lifestyle and can’t wait to head out and cruise in 2020! Only regret is we wished we had done this when we were in our 20s like you! Hoping our courses will cross some day! Fair winds!

    • SV Avocet

      Thank you for the kind words and support! Fair winds and following seas.


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