An Introduction to Boat Brokers

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Author: Miranda
Location:  Santiago, Chile

His name is Scott, and I desperately want him to be my new friend.

He is our broker.  Our “buyer’s broker,” to be exact.

This is one of those ways in which the boat buying process is actually similar to that of buying a house.  Now for those of, you like, me who’ve never purchased a home, this analogy may not work so well, but most of us understand that the process involves an agent working in the best interests of the seller and a separate agent working in the best interests of the buyer.

In the boating world, this is called the listing broker and the buyer’s broker.  Some folks who have many years of experience around boats choose to go without using a buyer’s broker when looking to purchase a boat.  They know exactly how much the models they are considering should go for.  They know when they’re getting a deal and when they’re getting swindled.  They are patient and know how to hide their excitement when they are viewing the perfect boat.  They can deal with pushy listing brokers and know the buying/selling process well.

We aren’t one of these folks.  Yet.  Maybe someday we’ll be.  But, for now, while we have to hold down our day-jobs, are new to the process, and are still perfecting our poker faces, we’ll use a buyer’s broker.  To be honest, I don’t know why people would pass it up.  The price is definitely right.  Free.  Yup, the buyer’s broker will get paid out of the commission made from the sale of the boat, with no fee or payment from the purchaser.  It doesn’t change the final price of the boat, and if you’ve got a good broker, they’ll be saving you money in the end by helping you negotiate and make a smart decision.  How often, in this world, can you find free, expert advice when you’re up the creek on something totally new?  We feel so blessed to have a new friend in Scott, the boat broker.

So, we skyped with Scott today.  He works in the South Florida area, and he was a breath of fresh air to someone who’s dug though the depths of the Internet looking for what to expect in the boat buying process, and hasn’t landed anywhere fruitful.  He answered all our newbie questions without judgement, nor did he caution us that any piece of our plan was ill-prepared or ignorant of how things work.  He was a wealth of knowledge, and he seemed genuinely excited about working with us.  After we got of the phone, we both looked at each other and said, “What a nice guy!”

After chatting with Scott, we have much better idea how long the process will take and how we might set up the precious few months we have stateside this summer to ensure we leave at the time we’d like, come fall.  We set up a tentative plan for when we’d be spending time in South Florida to scour the market for a boat that will suite our price, our sailing itinerary, and the accommodations we’d like.

Trying to plan such an endeavor while living a continent away from the boat market we’d like to get our hands on can be quite frustrating, at times.  Therefore, it feels great to have someone on the ground, working for us in the mecca of ocean-going cruisers for sale!

Cerro Plomo Guiding

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Author:  Pete

Location:  Cerro Plomo, Chile

Knowing that Sergio, our resident mountain guide, will be leaving Nido this year, a few friends from school enlisted his help in guiding them to an attempt at a summit of Cerro Plomo, the 18,000 foot peak that looms over Santiago.  It was to be a full ‘expedition’ with mules and all, so he in turn enlisted me to help out since we’ve been up there several times together.

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Loaded everyone up in Sergio’s Mahindra, ‘The Black Pearl’, and curved our way up to Valle Nevado.  After registering ourselves with the Carabiñeros with our plans we drove up the barren ski pistes to Tres Puntas where we met our mulero and packed up our gear.

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Pretty novel to hike with light packs instead of 100L packs stuffed to the gills.  We made great time!

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Made camp in Piedra Numerada.  Such a beautiful night that we all decided to sleep out instead of putting up tents.

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One of my favorite Jeffrey Focault songs, Double Tree, speaks of the ‘circus of the stars a blaze of white.’  We were right there.  I fought to keep my eyelids open watching the swirl.

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Up in the morning cold until the sun came over the horizon and immediately saw us stripping to short sleeves from down parkas.  Packed up and moved up canyon.

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At camp Federación we set up camp, still in shorts.  Felt foolish tying the tent down with huge rocks on such a beautiful day.  Experience, and a weather report, said that the weather would be taking a turn for the worse.

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And it did!  Those puffy clouds down south kept creeping up the canyon until they were on top of us.

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The winds picked up an battered us all night.  In the ‘morning’, 3:30am when we were planning to make our attack, we woke to our compadres, Brad and Ivan with a broken tent, and snow in our vestibule.  We all piled into our tent to make breakfast and then took a run at the summit.

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Climbed through the dark and savage cold with our dog friends.  Where did they come from?  I’m still surprised they didn’t freeze and die in front of us.  In full mountain gear climbing hard I still felt my core temperature drop.  13,000 feet will do that to you.

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Bone-chilling cold and wind and still no sun.  Our party was growing slower and slower with the cold and altitude.  We arrived at Refugio Agostini at almost 15,000 feet (4,531 meters), and piled into the wooden shelter just big enough for five dudes and two ridiculously cold dogs.  We warmed our feet as best we could and some took hits off of an O2 tank for fun.

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Once the sun rose over the canyon walls we assessed the weather.  A small break in the clouds gave a great view of ugly, dense clouds heading our way.  We decided to do one more push before turning around.  The summit was all socked in still, so our bid was over.

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But up we trudged to 16,000 feet, an arbitrary destination just to say that we were there.  Sergio and I had already summited, so we didn’t mind in our abridged trip.

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Spindrift whiteouts flowing down from the summit battered us and slowed progress.  We eventually turned around after the 16,000 ft mark.

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On the way back to camp we passed through a section of glacial penetentes, knife-like blades of ice jutting out of the oozing glacier.  So we got to use our crampons and axes.  All were happy!

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Back at camp the weather closed in.  We hurriedly made lunch and packed up camp and then ran back towards Valle with our tails between our legs as the storm shut the valley in.

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Tied the Knot

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Author: Miranda

On February 1st of 2014, Pete and I, along with seventy of our gringo friends and family, were part of the greatest party that I have yet seen.  We got hitched in Cartagena, Colombia.

We actually argued for many months on the location of our wedding.  Being what I’d like to think of as a simple, downhome girl from Wisconsin, my main priorities were lots of friends, lots of family, plenty of beer, and a rip-roaring good time in a someone’s old barn.

Pete thought differently though.  He was adamant that we get married in a location that was meaningful for us.  I also remember him saying, “but Miranda, we have this crazy travel-filled life, we need to have a crazy, out-of-the-ordinary wedding.”  In the end he was spot-on.  Our relationship began in one of the most beautiful cities this side of the prime meridian, and what better location to get married.

What did me in were two factors.  One selfish, and one not… as…  selfish, I suppose.  First, the pictures!  When things looked they were at a stalemate, Pete pulled from his sleeve his last remaining ace, and found wedding pictures from Cartagena, and I was immediately ooh-ing and ah-ing.  The photos we could take in the old city, up on the 16th century walls, on carriages winding through cobblestone streets, the sunsets, the lighting… I was starting to lose my nerve.

The second, and real reason for my eventual concession was the opportunity to share our passion for a life on the road less traveled with those whom we love most in this world.  We absolutely adore our expat life that we’ve created, but deep down I always harbor some insecurity that no one back home really has any idea WHY the hell we’d do this.  Our wedding could be the perfect opportunity to share not only our decision to spend the rest of our lives together, but also share a piece of ourselves with our loved ones.

The third, honorable mention, reason for jumping on the destination wedding bandwagon was simply the amount of time you get to spend with your guests.  Instead of just one day, we had an entire week of festivities!

 

Tuesday was everyone’s initiation to latin culture by way of salsa lessons.

Started with a late lunch at an Argentinian Steakhouse.

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Most were fairly tired from early flights, but they rallied well, and we headed to the Getsemani neighborhood for our lessons.

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I was told the instructors would speak English, which didn’t turn out to be true, but my gringos were just fine without it.  Hard to be mad at these two adorable Costeños.

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We organized a party bus, called a Chiva, for Wednesday night.

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 Complete with live band and free rum!

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A trip to Playa Blanca and the Rosario Islands on Thursday, along with our Bachelor and Bachelorette parties that same evening.

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 Our last pic before parting for the bachelor and bachelorette parties:

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On Friday, we rented a coach bus to take our guests to the Castillo San Felipe and La Popa, two of the major sites in Cartagena proper.

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Our rehearsal dinner, on Friday evening, was open for all to attend, which made for one big group!  The views were killer, atop the walls, at Casa de Cerveza.

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Saturday was the big day.  Along with our wedding party and our parents, we moved from our hotels to Casa Estrella, a stunning colonial house with antique decorations, loads of space, and a central courtyard big enough for the dinner, dancing, and possible jump in the pool if enough libations were had.  Here is Casa Estrella:

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Pete and I both got ready in the house, him with his favorite boys, and me with my very special ladies.

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Our ceremony took place at on the roof-top of Hotel Movich, which was just down the street from Casa Estrella.  The boys walked stud-ly down the street, and I was taken by carriage with my Pops.  It was a quick, but touching ceremony, and my always stoic aunt came up to me after and said, “I even cried.”  Being hilarious because aunt Patti never cries… and even she knows that’s a big deal.

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Pete and I left our poor guests on the terrace to mingle, down mojitos, and take in the view of the sunset while we took a spin around el centro with the photographer in our carriage.  The city did not disappoint, as you can see. 

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We beat our guests back to Casa Estrella to fix a few wardrobe malfunctions.  Nothing serious.  Just some bustling and rogue fake eyelashes to deal with.  Once everyone arrived at the house, we sat for dinner and listened to the speeches (another one of my favorite moments).  Much too much crying on my part, but nothing a little live band couldn’t fix.

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Our first dance started out slow and sweet, but soon knocked our guests in the teeth!

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We danced into the wee hours of the night, until eyes starting falling to half-mast, and high-heels were long tossed by the wayside.

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The climax of the night was the Hora Loca, which Pete and I kept as a secret from our guests.  Seeing their faces when a troupe of dancers, in costume, and a new band, banging hard on their drums, surfaced… their looks of “what the hell is going on!”… was priceless!

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Sunday, our guests came by Casa Estrella to swim in the pool and relax in front of the T.V. to watch the Super Bowl together.

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On Monday, we had to check out of Casa Estrella.  Sadness!

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Before leaving the house, the boys made sure to get plenty of time playing with the resident parrot.

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Many guests still found time to head to the beaches of Bocagrande, Zona Norte, or to the Botanical Gardens.  In the evening, we got the whole group together one last time for dinner at San Pedro.

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Tuesday was the heart-wrenching day when most of our guests flew back to the states, leaving the tropical dreamland, and heading back to work.

 

Tuesday, for us, once the smoke cleared, the flights took off, and everything went eerily quite was characterized by three competing emotions: sheer and utter exhaustion, heart filling make-you-want-to explode happiness, and gut-wrenching sadness that it was all over.  A fourth one always snuck in though, and consistently beat out those first three to the top… and that was gratitude.  We could not have been more blessed with a group of folks more fun-loving, gracious, flexible, and caring.  How did we ever get so lucky?  Truly.  Thank you, each and every person, who was there with us (and there in spirit).  We’ve never felt more love.

Can we please, pretty please, pluuuulezeeee, do it again sometime!  😉

With much love,

Miranda and Pete

 

for the full set of pictures highlighted by our photographer, click here: Miranda & Pete, Cartagena – Blog Matfotografia