About Us

Stan and Valerie Creighton
Stan and Valerie Creighton

We are the owners of Buffalo Nickel.

After many years in practice in veterinary internal medicine, Stan changed careers to become founder and CEO of National Veterinary Associates in the mid-1990’s.

Val is also a veterinarian. She spent the last 13 years of her career as owner and founder of The Cat Doctor, a feline specialty practice in Thousand Oaks, CA.

We bought our very first boat, Pax Nautica, a Selene 53 trawler, in 2006 and moved aboard her in Ventura, California while we were still working full time. When we announced our plan to sell our home in order to move aboard a boat, most of our friends and family had the understandable reaction of trying to get us into therapy. When that failed, they merely sighed, looked at us with concern, and asked, “You’re taking some kind of class to learn how to do this, right? And what about pirates?” They consoled themselves, we believe, with the thought that some semblance of rationality would return to us soon, at which point we could sell the boat and move back on land like normal people. As soon as we retired in 2009, we left the States aboard Pax Nautica to pursue our dream of full time coastal cruising.

Less than two years later, somewhere along the coast of Pacific Mexico, it occurred to us that we enjoyed the cruising life even more than we expected. Val lost her aversion to the concept of ocean crossings. We ventured confidently up-river into the little-visited, remote Darién province of Panamá. And made a six-day crossing from Panamá to the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador, our longest passage to date, with just the two of us aboard as usual.

We began to explore the idea of blue-water passage making more seriously. What would it take for us to feel safe and comfortable as a couple making longer offshore passages more routinely? Perhaps explore higher latitudes, get even further off the beaten path? All of this, naturally, without giving up the option of preparing an elaborate meal, or mixing craft cocktails at sunset?

This led us, really without any further ado, to the FPB. And today, sitting in New Zealand with our passage to Fiji only about two weeks away (wow, did I just write that? two weeks?) we know we’ve made the right choices. We look forward to continuing to translate our love of travel, our affinity for being on and in the water, and our love and reliance on each other into… well… a good time to be had by all.

Valerie Creighton, Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand

14 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Hey Val and Stan – I lost yall sometime after San Miguel. Please continue the blog and put up a picture of your new boat. I know you will love FIJI. By now you may be in the US!

  2. Hi Stan & Val, you probably don’t remember me, but I met you at the open house in NZ in March of 2011. Our boat 64-10 Riptide will splash this October. I noticed your port of call is Seattle, WA, did you register the boat in Washington State? Great blog! Thanks, Brandy & Serena Smith

    1. Hi Brandy, congratulations on Riptide! Buffalo Nickel is U.S.C.G. documented, which means it does not get state registration. It’s one or the other but not both. The boat’s never been to Washington state, at least not yet. That might well happen in the future as we’d love to cruise Alaska and British Columbia. If we bring her to WA then we will have a tax event to contend with if that’s what you’re getting at. But the tax event wouldn’t depend on the home port we chose. Where will you be cruising Riptide??

  3. Hi Valerie & Stan, thanks for the information. We are also planning to be USCG documented and not register in any state, but since we have residency in Washington State if we bring the boat into Washington waters we will be hit with sales tax and annual excise tax, so we won’t. Our owner’s sea trials will be complete the 8th of December. We plan on cruising NZ waters for the first few months and then plan on heading north to either Tonga or Fiji in late April. Hope to run into you guys. Thanks, Brandy & Serena

    1. Thanks! Also you are welcome to make it easier on yourself: instead of having to check back to the web site, just put your e-mail in the ‘follow’ section at the bottom of this page, then you’ll get an e-mail each time we make a new post. Cheers!

  4. Like you we liveaboard our boat full time. We have one of those big sticks in the middle and white flappy things I think are called sails. In one way I am sure you want people to read your blog. The wonderful photos and description of the places you visit but then again we don’t want everyone finding out what an amazing life this really is.

  5. Love your boat! Am insulating an aluminum boat and wanted to use the FPBs as an example. I note in some online pictures that Steve has used 1/2 Armaflex all over and wanted to know whether this was the thickness throughout the boat or whether it varies in thickness. And was this sufficient for your travels in colder weather. Thks. Rick

    1. Oops… only a year and a half later and I somehow missed this. I imagine you are long finished with your project! FWIW we haven’t yet grappled with colder weather, having spent all our time so far in the tropics with some stints in very temperate northern New Zealand. From what I understand from fellow FPB owners who have been in higher latitudes, the insulation is sufficient.

  6. Hi Val. I came across this website through many clicks of the mouse. This is Miguel, the argentinian veterinarian that worked as a tech alongside you and your peers Dr. Hiatt, Patterson and Thatcher, at Marina Vet Hospital in Marina del Rey. It’s funny to see that you’ve been cruising the world on boats similar to the ones I used to clean/maintain while I lived in Marina del Rey.
    My time for retirement is coming soon as I’m ready to sell my practice in the Hudson Valley NY (yes I became licensed). New Zealand is our next destiny. You may/may not remember Sandra (my wife) is a kiwi.
    I still remember a cool picture you took, while in England, back in the ’80s showing a very narrow road with you laying across the street emphasizing it’s narrowness.
    Take care Val and it’s nice to know that you’re enjoying life to the fullest and seem very happy.
    Wish you the best.

    1. Miguel!!! It’s truly wonderful to hear from you after all these years. I will e-mail you so we can catch up! Hope you and Sandra are well and happy.

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