2021—Here We Come

2021—Here We Come

You don’t need reminding that 2020 brought a heap of surprises.

For the crew of Pristine, the year meant a series of unexpected pivots. We didn’t cross an ocean or frolic among the atolls as we’d planned, but like many curveballs, 2020 brought gifts to the back door even as it stole the silver out the front.

Our last days of normalcy happened in March as we finished gearing up and provisioning before setting off across the Pacific. Then they closed the Pacific.

We watched from the stellar Wi-Fi at Marina De La Paz as the entire world turned upside-down, extending our stay a dozen times as we batted around the Now What? question.

La Paz

Pivot 1

By June, we’d decided bashing back to California was the right option for us, and after a long, cold, bumpy ride, made it to San Diego. With the gift of amazing new friends. 

Pivot 2

In July, reaching our live-aboard time limit in San Diego, we quarantined for several weeks off Catalina, which was as beautiful as we remembered. We ran into several long-range cruisers doing the same U.S. reset, and got to see Colin’s sister and her family aboard MV Gordo, the best boat name ever. All wonderful gifts, all experienced from a distance. 

By August, we’d taken a slip for Pristine in San Pedro and set off for land-based life. We decided to use the pause in our plans to double down on the cruising life we love by selling Pristine to buy a bigger boat with a bit more room, modern conveniences, and most likely an aluminum hull.

Meanwhile, we gained tons of quality family time.


The Russo clan (clockwise from upper left Brian, Cate, Sheila & Gwen) on Gordo


Chey and Mom

Me and my mom Suzanne breathing in the redwood vibe at Henry Cowell state park. It was our last deep breath for a while. The day after this photo, the Santa Cruz mountains were ablaze. This lovely grove behind us survived, but many others like it did not.

Colin and Brian

Colin and my stepdad Brian building a motor mount for our outboard.

Colin and his Mom

Colin and his mom Deirdre, celebrating birthday number 86 with his two sisters Sheila and Pauline.

Colin and Aidan

Colin and his son Aidan, sharing time in the line up.

Pivot 3

I used all that extra time to finish writing a novel I’d been working on for two decades. The Prisoner’s Apprentice will be published in August of 2021. :)

The Prisoner's Apprentice

Phew. I won’t pretend it was an easy year, but I gotta say, we’ve gotten pretty good at the pivot. Solid marks for Team Pristine. All that time in Mexico, learning to submit to the will of the weather gods, must have taught us something. But the biggest lesson of all, one that is ongoing every single day, is gratitude for what we have in the moment.

Are we done pivoting? Tomorrow we will know what tomorrow brings. For the moment, we’re jazzed about this moment.

Fair winds and following seas, dear friends,

Colin & Chey

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