A Little History

This blog began in 2010, I was at sea, I needed an outlet, I was having a hard time keeping in touch with friends and family, I started to write.  Nautie Mermate became a strange nebulous friend of sorts.  This little slice of the internet has kept me connected and kept me sane.  More importantly, this little slice of the internet has brought people into my life that I just can’t imagine not having in my life.

One of my very first blog posts was a tribute to my Uncle Rocket.  It is one of the singularly most important things I’ve ever written.  It built the foundation for me to reconnect and become friends with his daughter, my cousin Rhiannon.

She’s become one of my favorite people.  Ever.  


Many of you are long time readers and you’ll know that each year I campaign on Rhiannon’s behalf as she participates in The Ride to Conquer Cancer.  One year I even got to meet her at the finish line

To say I’m proud of her doesn’t even scratch the surface.  She earned her Golden Helmet last year!  That means she’s ridden five years in a row!!  

More Recent History

This year I travelled to Nepal with an amazing group of ladies.  I call them ‘The Girls’ and they have been one of the best things to happen to me in a long time.  The Girls were all somehow connected through Rhiannon - when I heard she was going to Nepal I shamelessly invited myself.  These Girls.  They’re amazing.  They’re positive - uplifting - hilarious - fun - loyal - strong - smart - gorgeous women.  


This year in support of The Ride to Conquer Cancer - and I’m sure in support of their friendship to Rhiannon - quite a few of The Girls (and their dudes) are participating in this years Ride.  As in all previous years we're rooting for Team Finn.  


Everyone has their own reasons for Riding - while I’ve never participated I have my own reasons for being such a staunch supporter and fundraiser on their behalf! (You can read about more of my reasons - along with an old plea to donate to Rhiannon!  It’s outdated friends!)

This year I’m campaigning on behalf of Farley.  

Why I Love Farley

When we were in Nepal we did a four day hike through the Annapurna’s.  One of the days called for an insane early morning wake up and an insane trek up an insane amount of steps to watch an insane Himalayan sunrise.  I was struggling.  Like struggle-bus central.  I was hands down the most out of shape in the group.  The hike was a total stretch for me.  A set of stairs straight up in the dark was a stretch of a stretch.  Farley walked behind me with her hand on my back.  Literally on my back.  She coached me the whole way up, ‘ten more stairs’ ‘ten breaths’ ‘make it to that tree there’ ‘ten more steps then you can have another break’ ‘you got this’ ‘lets shoot for the next bend’.  If she hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have seen the sunrise.  I would have either quit half way up or been late.  She had my back.  

Call To Action

Please, head over to Farley’s page to read her personal story - it's an incredibly touching one.

Go one step further and donate because, let’s face it, we all know someone who’s been affected by cancer.  




I'd be incredibly honored if you took the time to click through some of the links to read some of the back stories.  They matter.

I donated to Farley this year in honor of Russ.  Russ was a long time family friend - and supporter of Nautie Mermate.  He generously donated to Rhiannon's Ride every year.  Sadly, this year he lost his own personal battle with cancer.  I know he'd be incredibly proud to see Rhiannon finish her sixth ride!

The Time Oregon Won My Heart.

Confession:  my Dad is from Oregon...and most of his family lives there....and I can kinda take it or leave it.  I like to go see them but, I never leave Oregon thinking, 'aw man...do I have to go so soon?!'.  My family has a big piece of land we call The Farm around the Corvallis area.  I've camped at The Farm - hung out at the river - walked through the fields - picked plums in the orchard - roasted marshmallows over the fire - watched the bats come out - but, if you ask me where my favorite hang out is on the West Coast I'll almost always pick British Columbia.  I'll even pick BC over Seattle.

Then something weird happened.  I was driving through Oregon on my way to Corvallis and I pulled over at a rest stop.  As I was getting ready to get out of my car I noticed a trucker wearing a cowboy hat and boots...walking his cat on a leash.  He let me pet her and then told me all about their life on the road.  As I left them to their walk I headed towards the bathroom and realized there was a free coffee stand.  Ummm...hello....coffee and free....love it!  I take care of business and am heading back to my car when I see a woman.....letting her ferret out to play.  Said woman let me touch her ferret.  

man walking cat

I got back in my car and thought, 'Damn Oregon!  You're pretty cool!'.

Why the camp fires, black berry picking, river floating never got me, couldn't tell ya.  Suddenly, every where I stopped / looked I saw things I thought were great.

I pulled into Grants Pass and headed to Rogue Roasters.  It was customer appreciation day.  Win!  I got three backs of coffee for a bargain - where I might add they micro roast their beans!  

I stopped in Portland and walked to Stumptown with a girlfriend.  There were roses everywhere!  Everyones garden was amazing.  Win!

I met up with another girlfriend and we chatted and had fresh eggs for breakfast - like fresh from her yard.  Win!

I hung out in Corvallis with my cousins and had Ahi Tacos and Lilikoi Kamikazes.  Clearly thats a....Win!

Oregon - you're pretty much kicking summers butt.  I'd like to thank you for instilling in me a new found appreciation for your loveliness. 



About twelve days ago I was somewhere south of Japan.  I was right off the coast and could see lights of fishing boats and some city lights in the distance.  I happened to look down closer at the water and saw that it was glowing blue with phosphorescence so, I grabbed my camera and raced to the stern to try to take some long term exposure photos of our wake. 

I could see the fishing lines in the water stirring up more glow, a lighthouse swooped around periodically and I frantically adjusted my camera settings scared I wasn’t going to be able to capture the moment.

I stood on the stern snapping away, oblivious that the moment would hold so much more meaning the next morning.

Back home in Hilo one of my dearest friends was quietly slipping away after suffering complications during surgery.

You know those people in your life you don’t have to keep in touch with?  Whose history is so intertwined with your own that distance and time changes nothing?  The people who keep you real by simply accepting the real you?  That was Caryn.

Pulling into Yokohama the next day I eagerly anticipated cell reception.  Sitting on the bow I got my first signal and received the news.  I hoped my sunglasses would hide my tears and got myself together in time to tie up the ship.  

Memories.  I’m lucky to have so many good ones.  Caryn doing my make up for junior prom – I requested mermaid eyes – and man did she deliver.  Sassy haircuts, hot pink streaks, platform heels and style.  Making sushi in the fellowship hall.  Gossiping in the bathroom.

It’s hard to say goodbye but, I’d say fluorescent blue waters off the coast of Japan is a pretty amazing send off.

I’m gonna miss you something fierce.

Happy Girls Day!

March 3rd is Girls Day or Hinamatsuri in Japan.

In Hawaii (and duh, Japan) little girls are bringing pink mochi to share with their classroom.  They have their dolls out on display in their houses (I mean, I'm a white girl and I had some...which means Japanese girls have lots, maybe even their Granmas and Moms are on display), and there are bouquets of Cherry Blossoms (sakura) around on display.

Today my Hawaii Girlfriends all messaged me Happy Girls Day and it was such a sweet reminder of a favorite day during my childhood.


I couldn't end the day without wishing you cherry blossoms and pink mochi!

Happy Girls Day!

now I know

Sometimes you think you know something and you don't.  Sometimes things you knew for certain become wishy washy.  Sometimes things need to get a bit wishy washy for you to realize that you thought you knew but you didn't.

The beauty of wishy washy is now you know.

Here's what I know in the midst of this wishy-washy-ness called a job hunt:

I am extraordinarily blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

I am extraordinarily blessed to have so many people rooting for me.

I thought I had the best friends a girl could ask for - now I know I have the best friends a girl could ask for.

I thought I had an amazing online community here at Nautie Mermate - now I know that you are all the cat's meow.

I thought my family had my back - now I know that my family has my back.

Tonight I got an email from a man I've never met - saying, 'you go girl'.  

This is a note to encourage you to find a berth on the greatest freighter afloat, in short, don’t quit.

I have tears in my eyes just retyping that.  If that doesn't say cat's meow I don't know what does.  The notes, the calls, the career advice, the select name to drop.  Thankful doesn't cut it.  Blessed.  I'm Blessed.


I want to say Thank You and I don't have a whole lot to give you that you'd want.  I'm going to give you my best pictures.  I was going to keep these for myself and never share them on the blog...I do that sometimes.  But you all deserve to know how much my heart is bursting with love for you (oh the cliche...it just couldn't be avoided because it's so unbelievably true.) and if these photos don't scream 'heart bursting with love' I just don't know.

Last week my family took one last trip over to Kona to hit the beach.  On our way home we drove through Waimea and the Cherry Blossom trees were in bloom.  This only happens once a year.  The first trees were planted on Waimea's Church Row in 1953 in honor of Fred Makino who founded a Japanese Language newspaper called Hawaii Hochi in 1912.  More trees were planted by the Lions Club through the '70s and in 2012 a dozen more were planted by the Consulate of Japan and other dignitaries to mark the 100 year anniversary of cherry blossom trees from Japan.  Every year Waimea has a Cherry Blossom Festival - also called Hanami (I've always dreamed of seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan).  This past Saturday 4 more trees were planted to add to the collection.  (source)


I saw the pink blossoms in bloom and screeched, 'we're pulling over!!!!'.  

Waimea is often overcast and drizzly.  Not on the 26th of January it wasn't.  Crisp blue skies.  The perfect back drop to hot pink blossoms.

I laid in the grass looking up thinking, 'I'm not sure I've ever seen anything more stunning'.

Here's what else I know.  I know that the universe is magical.  I know that things will work out.  I know that I'm right where I should be.

every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.
— Buddha

Thank You Nautie Friends, Thank You Faithful Text Messagers, Thank You Family.  

You are such a blessing.

(here are tons more photos to click through....because I love you....and pink and blue...)

Happy Birthday Sweet Blog.

Nautie Mermate is three today.  Three. A lot has happened in those three years.  I lived in Hawaii, tried out Maine for a bit, and then plopped a squat in Houston.  I've changed ships twice.  From the Persian Gulf, to the Med, to a worldwide tramper.  I made the move from tankers to heavy lifts.  I upgraded my license and dove head first into the waters of Chief Mate-ness.

This blog has become so much.  A sounding board for all my coulda, shoulda, woulda's.  A motivator.  A sweet escape.

Two years ago I celebrated Oct. 19th with friends in Maine - there were cupcakes.  Last year, I have no clue why I didn't celebrate and, this year I find myself at sea.  Eastward bound for the Panama Canal.

Today, life couldn't be sweeter.


I saw an amazing sunrise.


I sipped an orange goodness.


I watered my plants.  


I made a quinoa salad for lunch.

...and seriously, if this blog isn't about sunrises, orange goodness', shipboard gardens and quinoa...well then, I just don't know what it's about...

Nautie Friends, thanks for all your kind words through it all - the pep talks - the mettle making - the whip cracking - the virtual hugs.  I heart you.  Like...I heart you a lot.

I have one small request for you...de-lurk!  Who are you lovely readers?  Where are you from?  What do you do?  What do you enjoy most here in Nautie Mermate Land?

Here's looking forward!