Summer 2023 Update

Posted:  November 1, 2023
👁 968   15

The recollection of summer 2023 has become nebulous. Not only was it physically taxing (particularly on Chris) but it was mentally straining on the two of us as well, which has made us crave the days where our biggest problem was deciding if we should go to shore and hike or snorkel around Avocet. 

Chris demoing the deck

The deck project begins…

You may have picked it up in the last blog post, but we hit the ground running when we returned back to California. We rushed to get Geronimo splashed then prepared for the High Sierra Regatta then immediately after that took a (very) quick visit to my parents in Santa Cruz before returning back to the Neely house to start working on the back deck that had been damaged during the winter storms. That deck project quickly snowballed into much more than the Neely brothers initially signed up for, but once in there they had to see it through to the end since every other contractor/contact for a potential lifeline was too busy. So, after a pretty stressful cruising season we jumped into a stressful summer with (very) brief intermissions of relaxation. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the writers’ strike in Hollywood significantly reduced Chris’s regular work schedule… aka one of the primary reasons we came back to California in the first place. 

I am sad to say that after the High Sierra Regatta we only sailed Geronimo twice before we had to pull her out for the season due to the lake dropping, which is an annual occurrence. We had sincerely wished to spend more days on her, sailing up the lake and setting our hook for a picnic or just to watch the clouds roll by, but between the deck project and the few video shoots Chris managed to book there was simply no time

Hanging out with Reid, Grant, Beau, and Kris aboard Beau’s boat in Morro Bay

After a few months of being back in the “grind” I had nearly forgotten the “mañana mentality” we had adopted while in Mexico. I felt the stress return, and the constant feeling that I had to always be doing something… it was a lot. Plus, we hadn’t really had the chance to cross anything off our summer-fun-list… so, I took a mental health break and took a solo trip to Cambria. There I did a little meditating, focused on my to-do list (without adding more to it) and had the opportunity to hang out with some dear friends. In fact, I ended up on a new friend’s boat and the moment I went below deck and sat down I felt all the stress of land-life wash away. It was just what the doctor ordered, and after a week I was ready to step back into the deck-project-zone in the mountains. 

In my absence, Chris managed to get his beloved 1963 MGB running again after months of tinkering with it. She hadn’t been driven since our wedding in 2018, and we were thrilled to welcome afternoon drives back into our lives. But, if you know anything about English cars, they are just like boats and demand constant attention… so we added one more thing to the project list.

It wasn’t totally a summer of all work and no play, in the brief moments of “down time” we grabbed our bikes and enjoyed exploring our “backyard” trails built by the local South Gate Trails group when the lift-assisted trails at China Peak Mountain Resort were closed mid-week. Mountain biking became a great way to blow off steam and keep our bodies active, while also allowing us to appreciate the beauty of the central sierra. That appreciation is one of the many things that fueled our desire to own a home in the area.

mountain biking family

Mountain biking Ely mountain with our friend Justin and big-brother Jon

Sale Pending!!!… on the first place. That fell through.

Now don’t get me wrong: we love our life afloat. So much, in fact, we have no desire to abandon it anytime soon. However, as nice as it is that Mama Neely has allowed us to move back in with her, Chris and I both agreed that we needed space to call our own. Plus it would be nice to decorate with the treasures we collect on our travels, so we began the house hunt – and let me tell you, it was full of ups and downs. We were in escrow once, fell out of escrow, lost hope, then a new listing popped up and it had the three things I wanted in a home: chickens, bees, and a garden. Plus, it had a MASSIVE shop that was a huge selling point. The house was old, but was on 5 acres so we had plenty of room to build… so… we put in an offer and rolled the dice. Luckily we didn’t farkle

Our offer was accepted and our escrow opened the day we boarded our flight for the east coast. We were invited back to the Annapolis Boat Show to participate in the Cruisers Creating Content booth, but it was also a great opportunity for me to meet with some of my clients in person and to reconnect with old friends. What made it all-the-more-sweeter was our decision to go back a week early so we could visit with my aunts and uncles and meet my new cousins! I finally got to experience New England in the fall, and it was such an amazing trip I will be writing all about it in the next blog post. So, stay tuned! 

Sending love and wishing you all a lovely fall, 

Marissa (and Chris and Cleo)



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  1. Joe Miller

    Forgive me, my head is spinning a bit. Just found your S/V Avocet videos on you tube maybe a month ago. Saw a few references to “neely brother” and now discovered, I think, that Jon and Chris are brothers, from S/V prism. Funny too because they had a cat as well. I posted to your last video regarding our now 9 cats.

    Anyhow, I’m really glad you guys are looking for or are close to finding a home. Like I had mentioned maybe, we lived on our 45′ ketch for 13 years before the kittens, and I am so, so, so happy and thankful being back in a home, and my wife is even more so. You don’t appreciate space, hot water, flushing toilets and calm during storms at all until you’ve lived on a boat and dealt with the inconveniences and difficulties. I swear we had many nights on the boat that we did not think we’d make it till the next day it was storming so brutally. Now in the house I don’t even know when it starts raining anymore!

    Curious if you know Zack Wormhoudt from Santa Cruz. I was good friends w/him back at Cal Poly, surfing buddy from Santa Cruz and great guy.

    Pretty stoked for you all! Good luck to you!


    • SV Avocet

      Ahoy! Thanks for watching and reading. Yes, Chris and Jon are brothers. Benita (Jon’s cat) passed away in 2016. We just closed escrow on our home and look forward to filling it with treasures acquired while sailing! Zacks name sounds familiar… but im afraid not too familiar. I will keep an eye out though if we cross paths. Cheers!


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