We’re up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia. Monday, after months of planning, we left the Bay Area, our truck loaded with supplies for our months-long sailing trip, en route to meet a boat we’d never seen, except for its online profile.

After several trips up north and still no boat, we found an an Aloha 32, a well-regarded, Mark Ellis-designed, cruising boat named Carmana, on Vancouver Island. In mid-May we decided to make an offer.

Shortly thereafter we hired a surveyor to assess the boat. We waited a bit anxiously for the day of the survey. When that day came, however, the surveyor pronounced her a well-found little ship. All systems were go.

The Saturday before we left we had a little grilled pizza bon voyage party with friends. When I dropped off ice for the party, though, and tried to repark the truck… nothing. The starter, that had been acting up, had decided to pack it in. We were meant to leave in two days and it was Memorial Day weekend.

Fortune was on our side though. I had recently sold one of my motorcycles to a great guy named Tyler. He had mentioned that besides working on bikes, he was a mobile mechanic. Remembering this little snippet of conversation while wondering “now what?” was like striking gold. We had invited Tyler and his lovely girlfriend to our party and I asked him if he was up for a project the next day. He was. Smothers Auto Parts in Santa Rosa had a starter in stock and Tyler made quick work of swapping out. We were back in business.

On Tuesday night, after two full days on the road, we arrived in Port Angeles, Washington in time for the 8:15 am ferry to Victoria the next morning. That afternoon I was aboard Carmana, our boat-to-be, in Ladysmith, BC, for the sea trial, to ensure that all the boat’s major systems were functioning. When I met the owner of the boat, a nice, older gentleman in his 70s or 80s, I saw that we were wearing the exact same outfit: standard-issue yellow foulies and blue sea boots.

Natalie drove the truck down and met us in Maple Bay for the haul out, the second half of Carmana’s survey, where the hull would be inspected. Again our surveyor reported that she was in order. All we’re waiting for now are the results of the engine and transmission oil analysis (the marine equivalent of getting blood work done). If she gets a clean bill of health, we take delivery offshore, in U.S. waters, and sail her on our own into Friday Harbor, on the San Juan Islands, to bring her officially into the United States.

From there we’ll bring her down to Seattle to fit a wifi & cellphone antenna so that we can keep in touch with the outside world, and make other minor repairs.

Tonight we’re camped about 20 minutes outside Victoria. Natalie and I are sitting near the campfire. A wifi signal and a new laptop—delivered straight from Apple by my good friend Richard—enable open-air blogging.

We’re diving into this experiment somewhat on the deep end. We have to plan our route to Seattle and learn our way around the boat, all while I juggle deadlines and illustration projects.

Even the beginning is an adventure.