Prism's Blog

Making our way back to PRISM after being away for more than a year

We are heading back to Prism! Since our last blog update A LOT has happened when it comes to land life. We keep going back and forth of when we should make the crossing over to Europe, but  after a lot of pros and cons the idea of warm weather, clear waters and the trades has won over the cold and wet. So with that said, once we get back to Prism we will head back to the el’ carib. Not sure for how long, we are thinking maybe 1.5 seasons? Because we still really want to sail and cruise Europe, just not yet. 

I am not going to do a deep dive in our land life events as our sailing adventures are what y’all want to read about any ways right.  So once we made our way back to the Bay Jon and I fell right back into our old routine. We were able to stay on Jon’s moms Mason 43′ as long as we complete the “honey do” list. When Jon was not off shooting for PBS documentaries he was working on boats building his skills for when we head back to Prism. On the Mason we needed to remove and replace her black iron diesel tanks, touch up cabin top paint (from 2009) and  remove the aft cabin fold up sink and plumbing.

The old diesel tank in the aft cabin on the Mason 43′
What looks like dirt is actually rust
Old tank out and ready for the new
New custom tank, its the same as the old, but Aluminum and it was only $700 shipped!
fits like a dream
sometimes you have to just use what you got

About a month into being back in the bay we received a phone call from our friend Scott (who was looking after Prism while we were away) in North Carolina. He has friends who own a boat located in the bay and want to sell it. The owners had “sold” this boat to a man over 8 years ago and they never took payment. So the guy basically lived aboard for years only paying the slip fee with zero maintenance. So our friend Scott asked Jon if he could go over and have a look at her, as the owners cannot travel. The vessel was sadly not taken care of, so Jon told them to cut their losses and donate the boat to Sea Scouts. However this vessel meant a lot to the owners, so they asked if Jon could clean her up a bit and get her ready to sell. 

A small list of projects he did: removed and replaced rotten headliner, re-bedded portlights, rebuilt rotten cabin top areas, painted, built a new worm gear housing/ captain seat, serviced engine, removed rot from bow sprit, installed new kranze iron, removed and replace engine throttle and morse cables, removed all exterior varnish, re-caulked the teak seams on cap rails, removed broken head, removed broken stove and did a deep clean of everything. 

got a little rot there boss

The new and improved steering quadrant/ captain seat

the bow sprit had a lot of rot and needed a new kranze iron made
like new
Jon removed and replaced rotten head board panels

painted the inside of the cabin top to brighten up the inside of the boat. He also re-bedded all the port lights
so clean and new


Market ready

Long story short and over 350 hours later, Jon cleaned the vessel (a union 36’) to the point where she was ready to be put on the market and sold within a week at the asking price. Good work Jon

Okay, so along with the boat work and making money, Jon and I still had more weddings to go to. YES MORE WEDDINGS! Y’all want to know a crazy fact, in the 1 year and 3 months that Jon and I were back we spent about 6K in weddings alone! SIX F*ING GRAND!!! NO ONE (that would like us to be apart of) IS ALLOWED TO GET MARRIED FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS! 

Marissa’s bachelorette party at Disneyland
Alicia’s Bachelorette party in Vegas
Chris & Marissa’s Rehearsal dinner
Jons little brother got married!
Jons Family
Jon caught the garder at a friends wedding
At our friends Mike and Kate’s wedding
My brothers bride on wedding day
My brother Will got married


At our friends Liz and Jeff’s wedding in Paso


We did the annual Neely family Disneyland trip
Took some time to get a few runs in with the family
Skiing at China Peak

Besides the weddings, boat work and work work, land life was pretty boring. Jon and I were counting down the months, days and hours till we could get back to Prism. BUT we did however get to meet some pretty awesome people while we were home. I have to give a shout out to Mitch and Quincey cause I am pretty sure their fun, loving and infectious outgoing personalities kept us sane while away from our passion.

Mitch and Quincey followed our journey long before we met and when they saw we were back in the Bay, they invite us over for drinks. They lived abroad their (at the time) vessel Wind Rose a Fuji 32’.  Needless to say we becomes quick friends and were sad, yet happy to learn that they were in fact going to be leaving in a week to purchase, pick up and sail back, a new to them Kelly Peterson 46’. Esprit was located in Shelter Bay, Panama, so Mitch and Quincey picked our brains that first night about what it was like in Panama, the canal, and what the passage and anchorages were like along the way. They had a flawless purchase, canal transit and passage making just a few stops along the way, arriving back in the SF BAY 45 days later. Then, what are the odds, their new slip was on L dock basically in Prism’s old slip! Bah! So they run an amazing cater and if ANYONE wants to sail the SF bay and have an amazing time with seasoned sailors on a solid boat go with them!!!!!!!

Jon and I took a road trip up to Portland OR for another friends wedding. This was a mini week vacation which we loved! The weather in Portland was HOT as in a huge heat wave was going on, we were lucky enough to make it over the pass and through Redding before the devastating Carr fire took over.

The beginning of the Carr Fire

While we were visiting in the PNW we drove the gorge and watched as boats made their way around with the fresh breeze and it made us miss sailing and Prism even more.

stopping to view The gorge
Over looking Mt. Hood

After the wedding Jon and I were forced to take PCH back down to California to make our way around the all the wild fires that wreaked havoc during fire season. Once we made it out of the smoke-filled skies, we were treated with some of the most amazing weather along the OR coast. We stopped and camped in areas that were so off the beaten pass that even we had a hard time finding them.

County Jail (The Goonies) In Astoria, OR
Enjoying the views and clear weather the OR coast had to offer

We made camp in the middle of no where at Sand Lake

We tried to fit in as much fun Bay Area stuff as we could. We only took the Mason out a few times, but we were able to make it to the boat show in Richmond CA and enjoyed many sunsets with family.

Sailing the Mason 43′ on SF bay
At the Strictly Sail Boat Show in Richmond CA
Jon and his mom enjoying the BYC beer can race and the sunset

During our last few weeks in California we were able to block out a week to head to Santa Cruz Island on Jon’s little brother, Chris’s (and new wife’s) boat, SV Avocet a Choey Lee 41’. Debbie, Jon and Chris’s mom, also joined us for our week long adventure out to the island. The sail out was a bash, as it was blowing 25+ knts with gusts to 32knts and you guessed it…coming right from the island. So it was an all day sail, but we timed it perfectly, making it to Smugglers right before sunset. Jon and I were really impressed with how the boat sailed, not as good as PRISM though…. 🙂 The next day we moved over to Prisoners. We spent about 3 days here enjoying the hiking, SUPing, quick swims in the cold water and just soaking in family memories.

After 3 days of bliss, the overcast skies filled in and we decided to head to the tip of the island to check out the famous Painted Cave. Conditions where not the best for this excursion. So we took turns, 2 persons on the big boat doing big circles and idling, while 3 others went in the dinghy to check out the cave. There was a lot of timing and close calls with the swell, it being high tide and all… not one of our smarter moves. Anyways we all decided it was probably the safest not to enter and just look from a far. Apparently if the weather is nice the cave looks like it is painted as the water reflects off the walls. We had no such weather, it was cold, foggy and wet.  ABORT.

So with all safely back aboard we turned around and headed for a new anchorage, Little Scorpion. We have heard this is “the cream of the crop” anchorage on the island and we were not going to pass it up. After a few drive by’s and lookie loos, Captain Chris found a spot that looked right to him. 

Jon and I enjoyed watching the newer captain and first mate learn the ropes of setting anchor. I will admit it was odd, terrifying and yet relaxing not being the ones in charge, not that Jon and I didn’t pipe in with some tips and tricks when needed.


Our time at Santa Cruz was great and the sail back was light and easy making for a perfect conclusion of our week. 

Chris and Marissa are working hard and following in our foot steps making videos and setting goals to sail their boat to distant shores. Follow their adventure at

SV Avocet and her crew

So land life, bla bla LETS GET BACK TO PRISM!! 

Jon and I decided to drive back across the country, this time taking our time, stopping, camping and visiting along the way. We left Shaver Lake on September 27th and headed to our first stop, Cambria. We stopped in Cambria not only to say good-bye to family but also to attend our final wedding! 

Then we headed to Lompoc to see and say good bye to my brother Sean. Yes this is the same Sean you have all come to know and love. We spent a few days visiting and relaxing with him and his girlfriend Adeana. It was hard to leave as we always have so much fun with these guys but we had to keep heading south and east.

Next we headed down to Oxnard where Chris and Marissa live aboard their Choey Lee. Sadly we only spent the night with these guys as Chris had a very early shoot the next morning and would be gone for a few days. Marissa made us a delicious dinner, we played some games, drank some beer and went to bed early, fat and happy.

The next morning we said our good byes and were on the road by 5am heading to Moab. There was no way we could drive across the country and not stop to see Jess, Josh, Vela, Dudes and Rana! Originally I had many stops along the way from Oxnard to Moab, as there are about 6 or 7 National Parks, Historic Sites and National Monuments that we could visit and I could get my Passport stamp. BUT NOOOOO mother nature decided to show up with a nasty early winter storm causing electrical storms and flash flooding in the mountains where Zion nations park is, where Bryce Canyon is and Capital Reef and so on and so on. Plus, the weather also predicted snow! SNOW! Over the pass coming into Utah and not just a little snow, we are talking  over a foot of snow. 

Getting a stamp for my passport book!

Our timing, speed and calculations for food and pee stops literally had us meeting up with the storm at the highest point. So what does Jon do…. He says “no stopping, we don’t need food we had a really big dinner last night” He put his foot to the floor, but never exceeds the speed limit ( no seriously the man drives like a very caucus grandpa, he has a perfect driving record and wants to keep it that way) Then I get in the car… I do not have a perfect driving record so I punch it (safely) till we get to the pass. We were in front of the storm the entire way, rain would only catch up to us when we would stop for gas (2 times, yeah for our 40+ MPG!!) The pass however did not look inviting and our car is only 2 wheel drive. Sure we put on our snow tires before we left but not because we thought of this storm but because our summer tires were shot and Jon didn’t want to buy all new tires for a single road trip when we had a perfect set with only a few hundred miles on them, which we bought for winter in the Sierras that never came…anyways I digress. I still did not feel comfortable driving over the pass with an over loaded, 2 wheel drive car so Jon and I swapped. Long story short, we made it out and over the pass right before the storm engulfed the entire mountain range behind us. 

Here it comes!

With only a few hours left of our drive, we made it to Jess and Josh’s just in time for sundowners and dinner. We spent  just under a week visiting with our long-lost buddy boaters helping with their home building projects, going on hikes and just flat-out hung out. The colors of fall had taken over the Moab desert and we were in aw with everything. Of corse in traditional fashion, it was freezing! Not letting the cold weather slow us down, we took in every moment we could till we had to say goodbye once again. Another storm was bearing down on us and this time we had an ever larger pass to drive up an over on our way to our next stop.

Over looking Moab
Hiked up to Hidden Valley in Moab, UT
Look at the colors of the Aspens! Breathtaking

another adventure!

We left Moab mid morning to make our way to Aurora Colorado to visit with my brother Shawn (no not Sean who sailed with us, but Shawn, another older brother of mine) and my sister Angie. Once again the forecast said it was going to be raining cats and dogs with at least 2 feet of snow over the pass, so we booked it. We bypassed a few more stops on my Nation Parks passport list but I made Jon stop in the little town of Glenwood so I could visit Doc Holiday’s grave. This town nestled into the base of the Rockies was just adorable. We wanted to get out and explore a little but it was freezing and we had dinner plans with my brother, plus that impending snow storm was coming

***Side thought : I swear every time Jon and I drive across the country a cold front follows us the whole way! It did it back in 2010 and it is doing it now.

Driving around like the total and complete tourist we were, we searched the small side streets looking for the final resting spot of Doc. Sadly I did not do enough research about how to actually get to the cemetery. So the directions got us to a trail head, which stated the hike was about a mile up. Jon and I did not plan accordingly for this as we were in flip flops and short sleeves nor did we allot enough time to hike 2 miles. Darn, well at least I was in the area and also, come to find out the actual grave site of Doc is unknown, it is just known that he was buried in the cemetery itself so that made me feel better. Anyway, onward we went, up, over, Vail to our right, back down, pass Denver  right on to the little town my brother and sister call home.

The snow did not show itself till we were warm inside my brother’s place with drinks in hand and food in our bellies. It did however snow and rain for the next I think 4 days. Mother Nature was telling us to stay put and relax for a few days I think. Sadly my brother had planed all of these cool things to see and do while we were visiting, but they all involved long hikes which none of us though would be fun in a snow storm.  We did muster enough energy to get out one of the days and made the drive down to Colorado Springs to the Garden of the Gods. This was well worth it and although the weather was cold and gloomy it did not stop the incredible rock formations from capturing all your attention. 

We ate like kings, watched all of the NCLS and ALNC games and enjoyed the lazy life of being “socked in” while putting the extremely fast internet to work. If you didn’t know already, I (Shannon) am a LA Dodgers fan and grew up going to, watching and or listening to Vin Scully for pretty much every game wishing and waiting for the season that would bring us back to the World Series. It happened last year, yea yea we lost, and again this year which sadly once again, we lost. NEXT YEAR BLUE! NEXT YEAR!

Okay so once the weather kind of lighted up we made a run for it. At this point we had no more people to visit or stay with, so it was a drive during the day and camp at night type of road trip. Both Jon and I were both excited to get back to Prism, but there was no way I was going to pass by everything there was to see when driving across the country.  I could only convince Jon to make a few of the stops I wanted to see and they all had to be literally along the way. So we covered some distance and saw some pretty cool things. 

One stop I truly wanted to see was the Arch in St. Louis. Jon was also onboard as he had also wanted to revisit the famous arch, plus it is also now part of the Passport stamp collective, win win for all. So the night before we set up camp in Kansas at Milford Lake, cute little camp sites right on the lake and completely empty, no idea why, maybe because it was calling to get below freezing that night? Jon and I were very tired after driving from Aurora and stuffing our faces at a local Mexican food place which had jumbo margaritas! So we were  in our tent and out before 8pm.

Our lake side camp site
HUGE Mango Margatrita

The next morning we were up before light as we had gotten so much sleep and this is when Jon told me what happened while I was sawing logs around 11pm. Apparently Jon had woken up cause he could hear a pack of coyotes in the distance yipping as they do, but he fell back asleep thinking they were moving away from our area. Around 11pm Jon woke with a start as he heard sniffing and felt a nudge ( same kind of nudge a dog gives you when he wanted to be petted) on his shoulder through the tent. It did not take him long to realize that the pack was surrounding our tent and taking in the smells. Lucky Jon and I did not have any food in the tent nor in the car, so they smelled us and then went on their merry way. Jon said it took him a while to fall back asleep as the adrenaline from being sniffed out by a pack of wild coyotes was something he never thought he would experience. 

So we were up and out by first light and on our way to visit President Harry Trumans house, but we were making such great time we arrived in Kansas City before the place was open. We looked around or a place to get warm coffee and maybe breakfast when we found this little hole in the wall place called Portia’s Cafe. Jon and I sat in amazement watching the flow and personality of this small cafe. We got to talking with the ladies and they said that the 3 sisters started the place, and the one sister who started it all and apparently had more personality than them all combined had died a few years back. It was great to see the locals rush inside seeking coffee and warmth and be greeted by name as the sisters asked if they wanted their regular.  Jon and I both swear that this little diner could have a whole TV show just for the morning rush. We spent longer than we needed and I drank way more coffee than was needed before we decided to head on out. We checked out the famous house of our past president and then headed to the visitor center to get my stamp and learn a little more about the house. Cool stuff but kinda pointless unless your really into it. Back on the road we go!

President Trumans Home

Did I mention that it is freezing outside and also pouring rain? That was not going to stop us from seeing the Arch though. We found a parking spot right in front of the grand staircase, right next to the river walk which was completely engulfed by the raging Mississippi. As we parked we hoped the river would not rise any more and we would still have a car to come back to. We made a run for the entrance in the pouring rain and took a quick walk though the brand spanking new museum located directly under the arch. We wish we had had more time, it seems like we could have spent all day learning and discovering all about the history of the arch and the area history too.  It felt like we were on one of the moving walkways in airports which make you walk at super human speed as we weaved our way though the crowds and sadly out the door and right back into the car.

Making our way to the Arch
The Mississippi River was super high! This is right in front of the grand staircase leading up to the Arch.

Somehow my plans got mixed up when Jon asked me about why we were stopping at a campsite just outside of Nashville when the drive for that day would have only covered about 6 hours of distance rather than our normal 8 to 10 hours. In a momentary lapse of judgement I said “ I have no idea, lets just go to the next one” which was another 5 hours away. It wasn’t till we were 2 hours past the campsite and heading into Nashville on a Friday night that I remembered why I wanted to stop. I WANTED TO SPEND A WHOLE DAY (SATURDAY) EXPLORING AND HAVING FUN IN NASHVILLE! How did I let this happen?!? I was so upset at myself.   I guess being cooped up in a car for so long had my hormones and emotions all out of whack. Oh well it was too late at this point and there are no free campsites near the city so I was just going to have to settle for dinner in Nashville. 

Then the traffic started. We watched our arrival time getting later and later, soon it was over a 2 hour delay sadly due to a fatal accident up the road. There was only one way around it and at the last minute we decided to try and take it, but so did everyone else. The off ramp had more traffic than the actual highway. In the time it took us to get off the interstate the accident had cleared up and we literally just got back on, but not before I had a mild hormonal break down. Thank goodness Jon was driving cause it got real tense in that car for a short while. My bad.

Once we were moving again at a normal rate we were both starving and ready to eat, but Jon did not want to head into downtown Nashville on a Friday night at 6pm. Although I didn’t want to, I had to agree that it looked horrible on the map and we would most likely not be eating till midnight if we went in there. I had to settle on the outer city limits. I was scouring the internet looking for a place to eat that had the LA game on, hopefully live music and of corse good food, I was getting  overly worked up and sensitive about it as there was nothing with all the options. So I found a  place that looks pretty good and the menu online looked amazing. Right from the start Jon and I could tell that this place was not really our scene, but we were willing to try it cause the reviews were really good. We were seated outside and given the menu, which by the way was not even remotely the same as posted online. NOT ONE THING on the menu looked appealing to us and the server never even made it to us after we waited for like 10 minutes, so we got up and left. At this point I had given up, I told Jon he was in charge and to just make a decision.  He looked up and across the street was a BBQ place with the game on, done and done. We ordered our food and found a spot with a view of the game while Jon made his way to the bar to get me a stiff drink. With tequila and a full belly I was staring to feel like myself again. Still upset that I didn’t get to introduce Jon to the Nashville country night life but it’s more my thing than his, so he could have cared less. Onward to the next campground we went. This campground was a but rough and we did not stay long we checked in at 9 pm and were out by 6 am the next morning, the only thing that was cool about the site was the crazy polish chicken that seriously would only walk backwards. Im not kidding. 

The next day we spent waterfall hunting. I never realized how much I have a thing for waterfalls and I was determined to see as many as I could without taking us way out of our way as some were like 12 mile hikes uphill both ways 🙂 

We made it to I think 4 different falls and were impressed by them all, but the last was by far our favorite; Ozone Falls

Ozone Falls

A YouTube follower of ours had contacted us letting us know that if we were going to be coming though his neck of the woods he would love to host us for a night. So we set it up, and stayed with David in his home just at the base of the Smokey mountains. He cooked us a lovely dinner, we chatted almost half the night while drinking probably a little too much before we had to call it a night. Thank you David for being such a great host and we hope to meet up with you and your wife again some day!

Jon and I had been really looking forward to the next leg of our trip, the fall colors in the smokey mountains. We left Davids house in search of being awed by natures beauty and I was really looking forward to taking the slightly longer but apparently worth it, Blue Ridge Parkway for the down hill portion of the smokeys. It was a saturday, lucky for us the weather was still gloomy and the rain showers were off and on all day. We made our way up the winding road till we reached the Sugerland visitors center in the Smokey Mountains National Park, yep to get my stamp! Also taking the time to learn a little about the smokeys and the plants, trees and animals that inhabit them. 

We made our way to the top only for the view to be completely socked in by fog, but hey that’s why they are called the smokeys right? It being a Saturday the Crowds were not as bad as I think it could have been if the weather was nice, but there was still a very steady stream on cars going up and down on the little highway. Jon and I would stop when we could find a spot and take short looks around but we were still a little anxious to make it to North Carolina and be near Prism. So onward we went, till there was another emotional break down, unfortunately do to the lack of cell service we drove right pass the turn off for the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This for what ever reason, really, really made me upset, to the point I was talking to myself and having a mental argument about how ridiculous I was and that I needed to get my emotions under control. This war with my emotions went on in my head for about 2 hours.  It was not till we were way past the smokeys and nearing our destination that I was able to come to grips with the mishap and actually talk with Jon again. 

After making a quick phone call to our good friend Dan and Liza who live near Oriental, NC to confirm we could crash at their place that evening, we pulled into New Bern to grab dinner.  Wow such a long trip! Jon and I both ordered the MJ’s Special a shrimp po-boy and took in the fact we were going to see Prism for the first time in over a year the next morning!

A few months before we left Jon and I started to look into places to rent while we were going to be working on Prism. As people who have done full refits on boats know, it is extremely hard to live and work on your boat at the same time while on the hard. There were many many different options, so we were not to worried about finding a place, then hurricane Florence happened.

So here we are eating dinner 20 miles away from our boat and having no real place to live. We had contacted a local rental place and had high hopes to get the place in Bayboro in a few days.

Stay tuned as the next post is all about the start of our massive refit, how Jon and I keep getting hurt and how we might be going crazy from all the sanding.

3 thoughts on “Making our way back to PRISM after being away for more than a year

  1. Great entry. We read it aloud and I felt as if I was being updated on long lost, and cherished, friends – like a Holiday letter about the going’s on in your family. It’s weird to feel like we know you two (and even Sean, Jess, and Josh) even though we have never met any of you. And so many thoughts like, “dang, they were in Portland,” or thinking of all the people I know that live along your cross country route. We have been checking out the refit photos and look forward to hearing about your continued journeys. Until next time, Sail On, from SV Cabernet, St Helens, OR.

  2. Great story telling! Your followers are hooked on Jon and Shannon as much as Prism, so thanks for sharing your life for that last year plus. We’ve been following the refit and look forward to watching the next season of adventure. Deena, James and Freddie the Adventure Dog on SVNellieJo- currently anchored in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

  3. Hi Shannon and Jon,
    I wanted to tell you my story… I really enjoyed watching your videos from California all through the Sea of Cortez and only 8 months later I followed your path. I really felt better about making my solo trip from San Diego to San Carlos because I knew a lot more to expect. I ham currently in Guaymas doing a huge refit. I was dating the niece of the manager of Marina Guaymas and in Sept 2017 he remembered you guys and letting you use an empty room for sewing.
    I got married about 8 months ago and my Mexican wife and I have started a sailing charter business going between San Carlos, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. I do have a few other sailing channels that work with me as an affiliate sponsor. All you do is provide a description and link I provide in your video descriptions. Anyone that uses your link to book a week charter gets you a commission of $225 to $450. YouTubers Captain Rick Moore on Sophisticated Lady and James and Kimmie on SVZingaro get me a charter about every time they bring me up in a video and they love the extra cruising cash. They say things like, “If you enjoy our videos and you are curious or planning to cruise yourself in the future then you should do a livaboard sailing charter with our sponsor and experience it for yourself. Not only will you have a great vacation but by booking a charter it helps us keep cruising with the sponsorship money.” I even have a short video commercial they have run in their video. James says, “Check this out!” and runs my video. Let me know if you are interested and my online booking software company would set you up as an affiliate for my sponsor program.
    Anyway, I look forward to watching more videos in the future. You guys rock!


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