Thursday, December 31, 2015

Baby, It's Hot Outside

   Cool breezes, temperatures in the 90s, families hanging out on the beach . . . These are the things that remind us of Christmas, right? . . . yeah, me neither . . . but, such is the situation here in Florida.  Having grown up in Virginia (where there are actually changes in the seasons), I am used to the holidays actually feeling like the holidays.  There may not always be snow on the ground in time for St. Nick's arrival but, the temperatures are cooler (enough for a sweater and coat) and curling up with a blanket and a cup of cocoa to watch Christmas movies is the activity of choice . . . sigh . . .

My Answer to a Tree - Tree-like Garland on the Hand Rails
and Ornaments Hung on the Garland
  Well, as they say, "When in Rome . . .".  So, in the days leading up to Christmas, Bill and I decorated the boat with ornaments with the air conditioner running, shopped for presents in t-shirts and shorts, and drank cold glasses of sweet iced tea while watching The Santa Clause and White Christmas.

Cranberry-Apple Pie
   I made a Christmas Eve dinner of glazed, baked ham, green beans, and a baked potato casserole. Bill even cooked up a cranberry-apple pie for dessert.  Yum!  After dinner, we finished wrapping presents and put them on the settee under the ornaments (since we don't actually have a tree on the boat). Surprisingly they survived the night . . . It wouldn't have surprised me if one of the cats had decided to open the presents for us in the wee hours of the morning.  

My New Emerald and Diamond Bracelet
   On Christmas day, we opened presents and called both of our families to check up on them and wish them well.  Bill made us brunch and then, instead of taking a walk in the snow, we took a walk on the beach. Not a typical Christmas day activity but, it was very enjoyable.  There were kids playing with beach toys and building sand castles, people flying kites and wind surfing, the restaurants were even open to accommodate everyone.  We picked up some shells along our stroll and had dinner at one of the local hot spots. . . a very pleasant, albeit unusual, Christmas day.

Coral Washed Up on the Shore

Foot Prints in the Sand
Beautiful Day

Notice the Streak of Pink

Enjoying The View From the Restaurant

Puttering Down to Miami
One of the Many Bridges that Had to be Opened

   I mentioned in my last post that we were going to move the boat closer to Miami for our jobs . . well, we tried to move the boat.  It didn't exactly work as planned.  On Sunday (2 days after Christmas).  Bill and I untied the lines and motored out of our marina in Dania Beach.  We dealt with a few delays here and there but, overall, we had an easy trip down to what was supposed to be our new home.  After making it through the last bridge, we slowed the engine, prepared the lines, and began to turn into our allotted slip.  As we straightened the boat to pull in, BANG! . . . My first thought was that we had hit something that was submerged.  So, we moved over to the next slip (just to see) and BANG! again . . . Turns out, we had hit something, the river bottom.  The slip that we were told had 8 feet of water (and had already paid for) really only had about 4 feet . . . Great . . . Now what ??? 

Part of the Miami Skyline

   It was already too late in the day to head back to Dania Beach.  So, as we headed back up the river (and back through all those bridges that we just came through), we began frantically calling marinas in the area to see if they had space for us.  Many of the places that we tried were all booked up and a few never even picked up the phone.  Finally, I found a marina that had one spot left; The people that reserved it never showed up.  So, it was ours . . . temporarily.

    Once we were settled into our slip, we went in to talk to the office manager.  We explained our situation and asked if there was any way that we could stay where we were for a while.  We had just left our old marina (and had only payed through December) and the slip that we had signed a lease on and had paid through January on wasn't a possibility anymore . . . We were a boat without a home  . . . Unfortunately, after checking the marina's calendar, the office manager couldn't find an open slip for us.  We could use the slip we were in but, only for a few days . . .hmmm . . . back to the drawing board . . .

  After calling every Miami-area marina with rates we could afford and still coming up empty, Bill called the marina in Dania Beach.  Thankfully, our slip hadn't been given away.  Unfortunately, we still had to get to work while we were down here.  So, we had to use Uber to get to our car and then drive it down to Miami.  Tonight will be our last night here.  Tomorrow, we'll head north again and pull back into the same slip that we were in before.  We'll then call Uber again to get back to Miami, pick up our car, and then drive it back to Dania Beach.  Yeah, the logistics of moving a car and a boat have been a bit of a pain.   So, until we can find a place that has room for us and that we can actually fit into, we'll keep commuting from Dania Beach to Miami.  

   Tonight, we will say goodbye to 2015 and welcome in a new year.  It's been a year of setbacks, successes, and failures; new friends, unique experiences, and humbling challenges.  As we raise our glasses tonight, we'll say a toast; a toast to the past, a toast to the future, and a toast to living life to the fullest . . . Happy 2016!      


   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Changes for the Holidays

Here's the New Mixing Elbow Beside the Old Mixing Elbow
. . . Which Would You Rather Have? 
   Our life afloat this year has thrown us quite a few curve balls, some good and some we definitely could have done without. The hardest hitting of these, of course, being our engine refusing to run for 6 months.  Despite this set back, and, in fact, partially because of it, we are welcoming a few major and positive changes into our lives that we are very thankful for.

   I hinted at a job change in my last post.  Ironically, our engine problems might have drained our funds and caused us to join the workforce again but, if we hadn't been forced to stop we never would have met up with George (aka Jorge).  This is the same guy that we had the pig roast with a few months back.  . . . You see, we met George in the marina that we were initially towed to when we got into Florida.  He had a new boat he knew nothing about and Bill offered to help him fix a few a few problems on it.  This lead to Bill helping out at George's custom metals shop, which, in turn, lead to a very handsome job offer.  The offer?  To be George's right hand man to supervise jobs here and abroad (since a lot of the work is done in foreign ports).  This means that we will not only be able to recoup our finances but, we can do it much faster and get some of the items on our "to do someday" list checked off before we set sail again. 

   I also have some changes coming in the way of a job or should I say jobs . . . Working at West Marine was never supposed to be a long term thing for me.  If someone had told me in June that we would be spending this much time in Florida, I wouldn't have believed them.  However, since it looks like we'll be hanging around for a while, I would rather be putting my time into something I actually enjoy.  Don't get me wrong; working a register isn't all that terrible but, I am a teacher after all.  So, I have accepted a job as a tutor for a Huntington Learning Center not too far from where Bill is working in Miami.  I am also in the process of transferring my employment from the West Marine in Ft. Lauderdale to one of the Miami locations.  This will allow me to split my week between the two jobs, spending time working with students and holding on to that coveted employee discount.  I simply couldn't pass it up; We do live on a boat after all and the discount really is that significant.

The Closest Empty Slip Is Where We'll  Be
   Now . . . Since these jobs are in Miami, we obviously cannot keep the boat where it is either; the commute just wouldn't work. So, we have arranged to move the boat to a slip in the Miami area.  It's right on the Miami River in a really nice part of town and we'll be paying almost half of what we're paying now.  With the engine running, moving is a no-brainer . . . And speaking of moving . . . Our commutes to work will now be much easier because . . . We bought a car!  I know, I know, it doesn't fit on the boat . . . But, we really did need something to drive around with both of us working.  . . So we'll work out the logistics of how we can both get to work, enjoy the new ride, and, when we leave, we'll sell it.

You Get Creative With
Space on a Boat
   This year was also the first Thanksgiving that we cooked everything on the boat.  Last year we were living on the boat but, went to Bill's sister's house for dinner. So, we cooked and brought a few dishes but, certainly not the entire meal.  This year was different.  If you have kept up with the blog or have spent any time with us at all, you know that Bill and I like to cook from scratch; anything pre-packaged is avoided and used as a last resort.  (Please don't think this snobbish; we simply wish to make conscious food choices.)  So, for our Turkey day, everything from the green bean casserole to the pumpkin pie to the bird itself was cooked with only fresh ingredients (the only can we bought was the evaporated milk for the pie) using our little 3-burner stove/oven in our teeny, tiny galley . . . And we even got everything to the table so that nothing was cold . . . Perfectly timed . . . Let's see Martha Stewart do that . . .

The Bird with Stuffing


Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Bill's Pull Apart Rolls
For the Pumpkin Pie, Bill Roasted a Pumpkin in the oven . . .
No Canned Stuff Here

The Final Result

   So, . . . I'm sure with all these changes, you're wondering when we plan on actually leaving . . . And the truth is that we don't know . . . I guess the nondescript answer is that we'll leave when it makes sense; when our finances look much better and our to-do list looks a little smaller. . . Until then, we'll keep enjoying the positives.

  Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thar She Blows!

   Hold the presses!  We have news! . . . after 6 months (yes, SIX months) of blood sweat, and tears . . . 6 months of money-guzzling mechanics, parts ordered from England, and ulcer-inducing stress . . . 6 months of "Well, it almost starts . . . " . . . The engine runs!  Yes, you read that right, THE ENGINE ACTUALLY RUNS!!!

   "How?", you might ask . . . What in the world could possibly have cause such problems that it left my nuclear engineer husband, a hand full of the best mechanics in the area, and countless well-meaning friends/acquaintances stumped????

  The problem, the thing that started all of this, was a blockage . . . a blockage in the exhaust elbow (part of the piping that allows fumes to be blown outside of the boat, like the exhaust on your car).  Bill came to the conclusion that there was something going on with the elbow a few months ago but, he couldn't prove it and the mechanics didn't believe him . . . Today, we found that beyond a shadow of a doubt, Bill was right.

   The mechanic, Gary, showed up this morning (after spending several hours yesterday with his head in the engine compartment), to finish bleeding air out of the engine and make it run.  We moved everything out of the way for he and Bill to work (just like we've done every single time a mechanic was supposed to show up), only to find that during their previous efforts to start the engine, they had burned up the starter . . . not exactly the start to the day we were hoping for . . . 45 minutes later, Bill and Gary had our spare starter, now our only working starter, on and running.

    This seemed like progress but, after doing some investigating, they found that, just like before, there was plenty of air being pulled into the engine but, virtually no air going out of the engine.  There simply HAD to be SOMETHING blocking the airway but, . . . what??  They pulled the elbow off and . . .

   You might not believe this but, it's the truth . . . part of the mixing elbow was actually blocking the mixing elbow.  A fitting on the inside had corroded so badly that it actually broke off.  Since it was on the inside, the only place that the piece could go was in the curve of the piping (the elbow).  The piece was big enough to cause a complete blockage. This explained all the burned valves, blown head gasket, even the over heating that we were experiencing back when we were puttering down the ICW last winter.    

  Just to make sure that was the only cause, Gary tried to start the engine without the elbow on and . . . voila!  It started right up, smoothly and quickly. . . We only got to listen to it run for a few seconds because, with the elbow off, all of those fumes were filtering into the boat (whew!).  Good thing I had the main hatch open. . . but, the main thing is IT RAN.

   All we need now is a new elbow. . . and even that should be easy to come by thanks to Bill's new job (more on that in my next post) . . . With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we are especially grateful for this breakthrough . . . we have a lot to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is being able to FINALLY move under our own power.  

Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Year Ago Today . . .

  The weather was a little chilly and threatening to rain. Bill's dress uniform had been pressed the night before.  My mother had flown in from Virginia.  Bill's brother, Johnny, was volunteered to take pictures.  The pastor met us out in front of our newly-named boat in the marina.  Our vows had been planned a few weeks in advance and the sand ceremony (a beautiful idea of the pastor's) was the perfect addition to our humble little gathering.  We even set sail the next morning across Galveston Bay for our honeymoon destination.

   A year ago today, Bill and I said, "I do".  There have been so many ups and downs in the last year that I couldn't possibly cover them all in one post.  However, no matter what, whether puttering down the ICW in the middle of winter, sipping drinks with friends in our cockpit at sunset, crying over our stubbornly dead engine, or exploring a new place, we have stuck together and only grown stronger.

   During our travels, we have talked to many couples that wonder how we maintain our unconventional lifestyle; how we sail, work, and live together in such close proximity without being at each other's throats on a constant basis.  So, how do we do it? . . . The answer is that this lifestyle simply works for us, and if you do a little perusing on the internet for other sailing blogs, you'll find that it works for other couples as well.  Does that mean that just anyone can buy a boat, outfit it, read a few books, and set sail for a circumnavigation?  Absolutely not.

   Bill and I have always worked well together, we love each other immensely, and trust each other explicitly.  If this wasn't the case, we could never do what we do.  Bill's sailing and maintenance knowledge is invaluable; he absolutely knows what he's doing.  As for myself,  I do my best to be an excellent first mate.  I am quick to learn, never afraid to get my hands dirty, and because of this, have gained a little bit of sailing saltiness along the way.

   Our way of life is one that would either make or break a couple.  For Bill and I, tying the the knot was a wonderful milestone; exactly two months after the wedding, we threw off the dock lines to begin our journey.  Through all the good and bad (yes, for better or for worse), we have had an incredible time together.

   We still have many years ahead of us and I hope we can spend as many of those years as possible sailing to far-flung destinations and maintaining our dream.  I am truly blessed to not only be married to such a wonderful man but, to be able to continually build our marriage with the time we spend together.  For some, the way we live would never work.  The time together would be forced; the difficult sails and mechanical failures would only serve as a wedge to further break weak bonds.  For us, and other couples like us, time together is a gift.  We savor the good times and learn from the bad.  Through it all, we are stronger, together.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Bill, I love you more that you can imagine; This is for you, for us.  Happy Anniversary.


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Day For a Date

  No-show mechanics, inflated slip fees, public transportation, work, groceries, medical bills . . . I could go on . . . These are just a few of the things we have been juggling lately . . . The irony in all this?  We moved on to the boat to travel and have new experiences; this is not the "experience" we had in mind.   However, we are in Florida.  It's not far flung but, there is certainly plenty to do here.  We have been so caught up in this vortex of issues the engine started that we hadn't even made it to the beach.  Surprising, I know.

  So, yesterday, Bill and I actually had a day off together (we don't often have the same days off) and we decided to take advantage of it.  We slept in a bit, enjoyed a breakfast of bacon and eggs, and headed for the bus.  Using our monthly bus passes, we made it to . . . the boardwalk!  It was so nice to smell the salt air and feel the sand between our toes again.  Chatty sea gulls, crashing waves, cooling winds . . . ahhh . . .


    After walking a bit, and scouting out our food and drink options we decided to do a little bar hopping and hit several places. Rock Bar was our first stop.  Reclining in cushy outdoor love seats, we ordered margaritas (mine was mango, yum!) and calamari (our go-to appetizer) with spicy marinara.  Both were delicious.  We were able to relax, talk, and enjoy each other's company . . . I never get tired of our conversations . . .


    Next up was a place a few blocks from the beach known as Coconuts.  When we walked up to the hostess stand and asked for a table, we were pleasantly surprised when we were told that there was one table left.  There was a pleasant water-front view and the breeze made the spot quite comfortable.  Their bottles of wine happened to be half off, so we ordered an interesting Muscadet along with their signature appetizer, Scoobies (Yes, they were named for Scooby Doo's favorite snack).  Scoobies are crab claws served in a drawn butter sauce with red pepper flake, garlic, and scallions.  We followed that up with a lobster roll for me and a Mahi sandwich for Bill.  Everything was exceptional . . . especially the time together.


    We paid the tab and then walked down to the sand.  As we approached, we were greeted with an interesting site; a giant beach chair!  Now, a chair on the beach is rather common place but, one that is big enough to make a grown man look like a small child is unique.  I decided to climb, and I mean literally, up to the seat and have Bill take my picture.  As he did, another couple saw us and decided the chair was a good opportunity for a photo, too.  They offered to take a picture with both of us in the chair and we returned the favor for them.  As we talked to them, we learned that they were tourists on vacation from Germany.  Since Bill speaks German and spent some time there in the military, he was able to jump start the conversation. By the time we parted ways, we had a couple of new friends and, I think, a couple of new blog readers.



  After a walk down by the waves and watching the wind surfers attempt to harness the breezes to their benefit, we stopped for one more drink and headed back to the bus stop for the trip home.

   An enjoyable day with each other.  A day to kick back and forget our problems . . . if only for a few hours . . . It made me realize that we might be dealing with a rough patch right now but, even though the dream is to sail, the foundation of that dream is spending quality time with each other.  We can do that anywhere, weather we're stuck in a marina, touring a new city, or sailing into the sunset.



   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Short Legs + High Tide = Problems


   The recent super moon was an awesome sight.  Bill and I made sure that we caught a glimpse of it during the eclipse. If you don't live on the east coast, you may not have noticed a side effect of the moon being pulled a little closer to our planet: high tides.  Tides are mainly controlled by the moon. Since the moon orbits around the Earth in a fashion that is a little uneven (elliptical), sometimes the moon gets a little too far away or too close. The closer the moon gets, the more extreme the tides (both high and low); If the moon gets too far away, the tide levels hardly change at all.   Either way, this can cause problems, although the bigger issues come when the moon is too close (Ok, I'm finished with my science lesson for the day).  

   That moon might look cool but, tidal extremes are not. It either means issues like we had when we were in Port St. Joe (our keel was sitting on the bottom of the marina and we were tipped over about 20 degrees . . . yeah . . crazy) because the tide was REALLY low ooooor it means flooding due to unusually high tides . . . guess which one I'm writing about?

   Yep, you guessed it.  Now, don't get me wrong.  This is not a post to complain, just to inform and entertain.  I realize that things could be MUCH worse here (like in South Carolina) . . . Thank God they're not . . . but, the tides have certainly made things interesting here.

   It all started a few days before the eclipse, I was getting ready for work and was, of course, running a little behind.  Bill always walks with me to the bus stop (even if he's not working that day . . . such a gentleman).  He came out of the main hatch and saw the problem first . . . "Wow!", I heard him say as I made my way up the ladder.  "What?", I asked.  "Look!", he responded, pointing at the pier. It was underwater.  The tide had risen so much during the night, that there were about 6 inches of water above the pier.  Hmmm . . . I already had my shoes on (of course); Bill was only wearing flip flops (much easier to take off).  So, Bill, with flip flops in hand, pulled the boat as close to the pier as he could get it and jumped off.  He sloshed through the water, grabbed the bow line, and pulled.  This was supposed to enable me to get off the boat as well . . . yeah . . . not so much . . .

   On a normal day with normal tide changes, it can sometimes be a challenge for my 5' 3'' self to get on and off the boat but, this was difficult to say the least.  I tried to stand on the rub rails (the teak on the edge of the boat) and get close enough to stretch my leg over to the pier. . . that would have worked if I was about 6 inches taller.  I then tried resting my knees on the rub rails and stretching my leg backwards toward the pier . . . again, I came up short.  I didn't need this, I was going to have to rush as it was . . . Finally, still positioned on my knees and holding on to the life lines, I stretched as close as I could to the pier.  Bill made sure that he had pulled the line over as far as he could, let the line go and quickly came over to catch me as I let go of the life lines and got both feet on the pier.

  We both walked through the water over to the parking lot that wasn't flooded, put our shoes on, and walked toward the gate. . . just as I was about to make a run for the bus, I realized that after all of that, I'd left my cell phone on the boat. . . great . . . Bill, as quickly as he could, climbed back on the boat, grabbed my phone, and brought it back to me (In case you're wondering, my cell phone is more of a necessity for safety here than anything else, I did need it).  Miraculously, the bus was just late enough; We got there just in time (I actually sprinted the last half block to the bus because I could see it pulling up).  I boarded the bus (Bill had caught up to me by then), kissed Bill goodbye, and made it to work on time . . . whew!

Our Little Fish Friend
   During the days that followed, we made sure to leave a little earlier to allow for the extra kink in our commute.  We even had to resort to attaching a swim ladder to one of the stanchions so that I could actually climb down to the pier.  We have had fish swimming ON the the pier (which is weird to see) and Bill even rescued a fish one day.  The tide had apparently gone out just as the little guy was swimming on the pier.  Bill simply scooted the fish back into the water (he was too little to eat anyway).  We even had to prop up our shore power cord with a spare piece of wood to make sure that the water didn't reach the connection and cause a short . . . or worse.

My Daily "Swim"
   Today, I was doing several loads of laundry (since I had the day off), and had to have Bill start and retrieve the last two loads because I simply could not reach the pier . . . Normally I don't mind my lack of height.  It's part of what makes me, me but, lately I find myself wishing I wasn't quite so vertically challenged.  Hopefully the tides will even out soon.  I guess if it ever gets to the point that I really cannot get off the boat, I'll at least have a good excuse for being late.  I'll just have to call in and say I can't come in until the tide goes out . . .


   In case you're wondering, the engine is STILL not running.  The results of the most recent compression test were not promising  . . . The head is still off, some of the engine parts are still at my feet as I sit here typing . . . uhhhgg . . .    


   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

It's All In Our Head . . . We Think . . .

The Exhaust Manifold and Mixing Elbow, Pulled and Laid Out on Our Floor
(These Had to Be Pulled Before Pulling the Head)
    So we finally think we've made some progress on our engine.  After going though several mechanics, countless no-show appointments, and more money and time than we ever thought we'd spend . . . we think, think, we're almost done; we think we've found the problem.

   The mechanic that we are currently using, Gary, was first acquainted with our problem when our last mechanic simply stopped returning our calls . . . (It is sooo hard to find a descent mechanic around here and the work is slow at best).  The staff here at the marina suggested the diesel mechanic that they use.  We were pretty iffy about putting our hopes in yet another mechanic but, we were pleasantly surprised.  Gary was of the same mind as Bill; Bill had thought all along that something in the engine head might be to blame.  The other mechanics suggested everything from pulling the entire engine and rebuilding it to buying a whole new one.  For whatever reason, they refused to believe that it could be the head.  This guy was different.  As soon as the situation had been explained and a few preliminary tests had been run, Gary suggested we check the head . . . no drastic engine pulling until every other option had been exhausted.

   Sure enough, as soon as Bill and Gary pulled the head to be rebuilt, they found the first problem - a cracked head gasket (that explained a lot).  The next issue came when, in the process of giving the head a good once over, Gary's guys found so much gunk in the valves and seats that they needed replacing (I'm sure that didn't help our previous efforts).

   After a few weeks of trying to coordinate schedules, running tests, and replacing parts, Gary showed up yesterday to do one more check before bringing back our newly rebuilt head.  He added oil to the tops of the cylinders.  If the oil level held, the rings were ok and we could proceed with putting the head back on.  If the oil level didn't hold, well , . . . the engine would have to come out . . . However, when he came back this morning, he saw that the oil level was just fine; No ring issues.  Whew!

   On Monday (the next day that Bill has off), Gary will be back with our head.  They'll put the head on and check the the timing on the injection pump (the other possible branch of our compound issue) at the same time.  Hopefully, . . . Hopefully  . . . I will come home on Monday afternoon to a running engine.  

Clips on Our New Lazy Jacks
   In case you're wondering how we've been dealing with being grounded during all of this, I can tell you that we would much rather be out exploring new waters but, it has afforded us the ability to work on our ever-growing project list.  The money we're having to put out to be here (slip rental, electricity, bus fare, etc.) is a bit painful.  However, our jobs at West Marine give us great employee discounts.  This, combined with the fact that Bill and I are doing all the labor, means that we can afford the get the projects done at a quicker rate.

The Red Lines are the Lazy Jacks
   I mentioned the leaky port hole in my previous post and that is still in progress.  Bill has also made new lazy jacks (a system that makes it easier to get the mainsail down), replaced almost all of our navigation lights, fixed our air conditioner that temporarily refused to work due to barnacle growth, and is working on fixing the handle on our main hatch . . . I have, as you know, given the boat a full bath, sewed a tote bag for storage (and picked up a few ideas for future projects) . . . and that's just the most recent stuff.

My Newly Sewn Tote

   Well, we're getting things done, working on reviving our finances, and are hopefully nearly done with our engine problem . . . hopefully . . .        


   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Soggy Situation

The Port Hole, Frame Removed For Reseating
The Frame
   In case you haven't been checking on the weather in this part of the world lately, it's rainy.  Really rainy, as in multiple thunderstorms every day.  All this water (ironic since not too long ago we were in a state of severe drought) is producing some not so pleasant side effects.  Flooded streets make walking and commuting more difficult.  There are a few leaks (We're working on fixing them) that have made themselves known to us by way of a soaked pillow, a damp settee cushion, a drippy port hole, and some drenched clothing  . . . The standing water is a mosquito's dream. . . If I had my way, mosquitoes would be wiped off the planet.  I HATE MOSQUITOES. . . .  but, I digress . . . anyway, you'd think that our torrential downpours wouldn't necessarily have an up side for a boater but, that's where you'd be wrong.

The Soaked Wood Removed, Port Hole Covered For Rain 
   Now, I know that the rain is great for all things green but, for someone who lives on a boat (and, therefore, doesn't own a lawn), this is not an enormous concern.  In fact, I sort of dread heavy rain because it means pulling out the extra towels and strategically placing them under the drippy spots, hoping that it doesn't rain long enough to soak the towels through.  So, what is the silver lining to this soggy problem?  A cleaner boat.

   I am certainly not the only boater to make use of our H2O surplus.  At work, I have seen quite a few people buying sponges, brushes, soap, and rags all with the intent of using the rain to assist them in their cleaning efforts.

These Guys Also Like The Rain
   Our boat has needed a good scrub down for a while, too long really.  Before all this rain started, it was just WAY too hot to get out there and spend several hours scrubbing down the boat.  However, today (since I had the day off) I decided that today was the day to swab the deck.   When I first started scrubbing, I had our water hose at the ready to rinse down one section of the boat at a time.  It wasn't raining, just overcast.  It didn't take long, however, for the thunder and storm clouds to roll in.  Soon, I found that the light rain was helping me to rinse as I went but, . . . you can have too much "help".  There were several times when I had to stop to take shelter under our bimini because the rain was coming down so hard that standing out in the open would have been a little ridiculous.  At one point I crouched under the dodger because the bimini offered no cover from the rain coming down sideways . . . Yes, I'm sure I looked rather silly sitting out there but, the heavy rain didn't last too long . . .
The Cats Like Checking Out The Deck
   Now, you might be wondering why I felt like I "had" to get this done today.  After all, I could have waited for another day that wasn't rainy and simply used the hose for the whole thing.  I could have but, honestly, the fact that the boat's exterior (the cockpit in particular) desperately needed a bath has been bugging me for weeks.  I hadn't done it before because it was raining, too hot, or I flat out didn't feel like it.  I was not going to put this off any longer. . . boy am I glad I didn't.  I don't have before and after pictures for you and that is because some areas, frankly, were embarrassing. . . most of the problem areas were under our cockpit cushions.  I like our cushions but, the fact that they are good at hiding dirt is not necessarily a good thing.  Looks can be deceiving; I didn't realize how badly the boat needed my attention until I moved the cushions to clean underneath. . . . Let's just say the boat is now CLEAN! Ahhhh . . .

Can I Go Outside Now?

Kookie Approves

   I realize that my methods were not the most conventional  but, since when am I concerned about that?  I mean if I wanted conventional, I wouldn't be living and traveling on out sailboat full-time with my husband and four cats  . . . I found a way to be happy with the rain and use it to our benefit; exactly inline with our attempt at back-to-basics living . . . Now, . . . if I could just find a silver lining to the the mosquito problem . . . hmmm . . . maybe not . . .      

Beautiful Sunset Over Our Marina

     Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)