Sunday, July 26, 2015


   It is fairly common knowledge that unwanted critters of many kinds can be a nuisance to cruisers.  When a boat is out at sea, the chance of taking on little stowaways is greatly lessened.  However, when a boat is tied up to land, all bets are off.  Just like those who live in houses, we are vulnerable to things that crawl be it ants, roaches, rats, whatever.  While, thank God, we have not had the experience of dealing with rodents (I'm sure the cats are a good reason for that), we have had experience "hosting" a few other little unwanted creepy crawlies.  None of these "visits" have been bad enough to leave us feeling like we were under siege (though one came close) but, they have provided me with some interesting stories.

   Our first encounter of the buggy kind started when were about three-quarters of the way through our excursion in the Bahamas.  We are not exactly sure when or how these little nuisances got on board but, we are pretty sure that we picked them up during one of the very few times we stayed at a marina there.  The first sign our "guests" had arrived came one morning when I saw what, at fist glance, looked like rodent droppings.  I cleaned them up, sanitized the area, and spent the whole day worrying that we had a rat aboard.

   A few days later, I picked up the cats' litter mats to clean them out and found more of these "droppings" under one of the mats.  This time, when I went to wipe them up, one of them squished like a bug. . . It hit me . . . these were NOT droppings, they were eggs, cockroach eggs. . . ugh. . . . I couldn't believe it; we had been very cautious.  Cardboard never made it on to the boat (roaches like to lay eggs in cardboard) and we didn't leave food out.  Somehow they still made it aboard.

   So, I made sure to kill and dispose of the eggs, sanitizing and checking every area I could think of that a bug would want to hide in.  I thought it worked. WRONG.  It only delayed them.  Over the next few weeks we started to see a roach or two at night. I tried sprays and baits; I think the roaches laughed at my efforts.  Even so, the problem didn't get worse until we landed in Florida (apparently they are a common problem here).

   I started researching solutions one day and found a product made by Dupont, Advion Cockroach Gel Bait, that had about a million five star reviews and had been used by other boaters.  By the time I had made the decision to order the stuff, it was late.  So, I left the information on my tablet, intending to place the order the next day.  Ironically, that night, I was awakened by something crawling down my back.  I nearly leap out of bed and turned the light on at the same time. "Aha!  Get it!  Get it!  Get it!", I yelled while simultaneously trying to smack the bug with a book.  Bill, still half asleep and bewildered as to what it was that he was supposed to get, was frantically asking "What? What is it?".  We finally got the little monster and I order the bait the next day.

  I couldn't wait to get this product out of the package.  Once I had set the bait, all we had to do was wait.  In a mater of three days, we had disposed of the last dead bug.  It was that good.  We have been completely roach-free ever since.  Whew!  Glad that didn't get any worse!  

   Don't worry, the other two stowaways are much less of a problem and not cringe-inducing. . .

The Coil That The Bugs Were Hiding In Is On The Right;
The End Of The Snubber Is Near The Bottom Left.
  Since we've been tied up here in Hollywood, Bill and I have noticed that, every now and then, we'd get a bunch of little ant-like bugs up on deck.  They never seem to hang around for long, they seem to crop up whenever we get a heavy rain, and many of the other boats here were noticing them, too.  Until this morning, we assumed they were being blown in when the rain and storms came though. Again, WRONG.  Bill checked some of our lines this morning, the snubber (this attaches to the anchor, acting as an extra bit of security when the anchor is down) included.  While checking the snubber, he found a nest of these little buggies (wee beasties as my Scottish-born great aunt would say) hanging out in its coils.  He did his best to smash and wash them all away with the hose . . . I'm assuming that the other affected boats also have nests like these and just don't know it yet . . . Hopefully ours won't be back.

The Crabs Seem To Like Our Blue Line Better For Crawling
On Board (I'd Have Posted  A Pic Of One Of These Guys
But, I couldn't Get One To Hold Still).
   Our last critter is the more humorous of the bunch: the crab.  I don't know exactly what sort of crabs they are.  I have heard a few people refer to them as sand crabs but, I'm not sure.  They are very dark in color, are shaped kind of like a Blue Crab, and are only about the size of a half dollar.  Because of their diminutive size, they find it easy to crawl onto our (and many other's) lines from the pier and explore the deck.  I have seen these sidewinders on quite a few boats.  They don't seem to bother anybody (other than they way they invite themselves aboard) and, if left alone, they seem to crawl right back to where they came from.  However, no one really wants a crab on their boat (unless it's on the menu).

  Now you might be wondering about our built-in feline defense system.  They love it when a crab comes to see us.  The crab, unfortunately, usually regrets the visit.  I have seen Oliver get into a staring contest with a crab.  With the crab still on the pier and Oliver still on the boat, the crab spent several minutes trying to figure out how to flee the scene without being eaten.  Little did he know that the cats aren't allowed to leave the boat.  Most of the time we see the crabs coming and can knock them off of the lines and into the water before they ever get to the boat.  However, They aren't so easy to spot at night and we have often seen one of our cats chasing a new "toy" around the deck.

   One morning, a few weeks ago, I slid out of bed and walked into the salon/galley where Bill was making breakfast.  Without  my glasses on or contacts in, I am  very near sighted.  I noticed a fuzzy-looking grey spot on the rug.  To my unaided eyes, it looked like a tuft of cat fur.  As a went to pick it up, the feel was all wrong.  My eyes began to focus.  It was a crab; a dead crab.  "Oh, it's a crab! It's a crab!", I lamented to Bill as I tried to dispose of it as quickly as possible (Why must I always be the discoverer of such things?).  Apparently, one of the cats had brought us a "present" that morning and left it under the table for us to find and enjoy; how nice. . . loyal mousers are wonderful . . . most of the time.

   Well, I hope you have found my little compilation of stories amusing.  Check out the cockroach bait link if you have a need for it; it really does work.  If any of you have any interesting invader stories of your own, feel free to post them in the comments section so we can all enjoy them.

   By the way, I just added a great burger recipe to the galley page.  So, check it out!      

   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, July 19, 2015

A Solemn Tribute

   The American Serviceman.
   He is an exemplary human being.  He is all heart, although he may not show it. Training tells him not to shed tears but, affect him at his core, and he finds it hard to hold them back.  A day off is not an option and he feels out of place on leave; he is not used to his time being his own.  He stands up for what's right.  Not standing up is out of the question; For him, the consequences of standing aside would be unbearable.  His core values are nonnegotiable; They are a part of his being and his fuel to serve.  He would not only give you the shirt off his back but, his life if necessary.  He wouldn't think twice; that is his duty, his calling.  Try to point all of his honors and attributes out to him; he is humble and will attempt to lessen his heroic efforts.  He never sees himself as a hero or brags about his achievements.  In his mind,  there is no other option than to serve.  He doesn't see his service as praiseworthy because, to him, he is merely doing his job.  If he gives his life serving his country, he is contributing to a greater good.  He dies with his boots on.

   Five of these indispensable men did just that on Thursday, July 16.  A senseless act of violence left these men paying the ultimate price and their families with irreparable holes.  These men were fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends.  They can never be replaced.

  So, today, the day that these men were escorted to their final resting places, we are doing our small part to honor them.  We have lowered our flag to half mast.  We hope that others will read this and respond in kind.  The president has not made the official order to lower the flags (even though he has previously ordered it for senators and other government officials).  Our flag flies as a tribute to these men and a poignant statement to all that set eyes on its stars and stripes.

   We thank these men for their sacrifice and our hearts and prayers are with those who were left with a void too great to fill. Please, thank the vets in your life and be grateful that they are still with you.  Say a prayer for those currently serving.  Without these brave men and women, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms that we all too often take for granted.  

   Gunnery Sargent Thomas Sullivan, Lance Corporal Squire K. Wells, Staff Sargent David Wyatt, Sargent Carson Holmquist, and Petty Officer Randall Smith, may you rest in peace; We cannot thank you enough.    

   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.)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Love My Husband

   It's not often that I am accused of completely flubbing something or making a big, silly mistake.  However I am human.  I have made my share of "oops" moments.  The other day, I, unfortunately, added one of these mistakes to my "oops" list.

The Sewing Machine in Question
    As you know, if you've been following along with the blog, that most of my projects as of late have been of the sewing persuasion.  I decided that I was going to finish up a pocketed slipper holder (like a pocketed shoe rack but, smaller and meant to just hold our slippers). I pulled out my trusty sewing machine and began to set it up.  Bobbin in place?  Check.  Thread threaded through the machine and needle?  Check.  As I tried to lower the needle to pull the thread from the bobbin through the machine, the needle stopped.  It was stuck.  Now, for those of you that don't sew,  this means that the mechanism that allows the needle to move up and down to make the stitches was jammed. . . or so I thought . . .

   The machine had jammed up on me a few times before and thread tangled up near the bobbin was always the culprit.  This time that area was clear.  No tangles.  I checked everything I could possibly think of but, couldn't find the cause of my conundrum.  So, I handed the machine over to the resident mechanic (my husband).

   Bill started by checking everything I'd checked and then began to remove screws from the casing of the machine.  He needed to get inside to find the jam.  One section of the case turned into two and, eventually, he had all but one of the sections off of the machine and scattered across the table.  Part by part, Bill checked the inner workings and found nothing . . . until, . . . he found the section of the machine where the mechanism in question starts.  There was a stopper pressed against it (like a brake on the wheel of a car).  When the stopper was pulled away, the needle moved just fine.

At Least I Got The Project Finished
   Why wasn't the stopper moving away? Was the stopper jammed? Had I sprung a spring and now it wouldn't move? . . . . Nope . . . When I last wound a bobbin on the top of the machine, I left the locking mechanism on.  Unbeknownst to me, this locking mechanism also locks the needle.  This makes sense.  If it didn't, when I pressed on the peddle to wind the bobbin, the needle would be moving up and down also. . . . I didn't think of this until AFTER Bill found the locking mechanism. . . In other words, Bill had spent a good part of the afternoon trying to fix a sewing machine that wasn't broken.  There wasn't a thing wrong with it except it's operator. . . . Oops!  User error.

   I couldn't believe I'd made such a stupid, silly mistake.  Worst of all, I had dragged Bill into it.  He was trying to be a wonderful husband and fix the problem . . . There was just one problem with that . . . There was no problem to fix! Ugh!  I felt terrible and began apologizing as he started the process of putting the pieces of the casing back together. . .  He never complained, or further exacerbated the problem by pointing out my aloofness. . . He just just gave me an "I love you anyway" look and handed me my "fixed" sewing machine.

   I love my husband and he obviously loves me . . . even when I'm far from perfect . . .

   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.)

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Caribbean Treat

   I mentioned before that Bill was able to secure a few contracting jobs for some of our neighbors here in the marina.  I also mentioned that I was supposed to be starting at West Marine in a few weeks.  However, I didn't mention (because I didn't know at the time) that, in the mean time, I'd be heading to work with Bill to one of the apartments he's working on.  Now, I don't know much about plumbing, electricity, or carpentry (or science books or the French I took . . . ) but, I do know how to paint.  So, that's what I'm doing.

   When Bill came home one day last week and mentioned that he still had a lot of painting to do, I made a passing suggestion about my being able to do the job.  He later ran the idea by the owner of the apartment (the guy paying Bill for the work).  The next day, I donned some old clothes and boarded the bus headed for the apartment with Bill.  Since then, I have been regularly heading over there to help paint.   I come home needing a shower to scrub off all the paint spots and speckles but, hey, it's good money towards our engine repairs.     

   Since we haven't been able to install the microwave in the apartment yet, we can't bring anything to heat up for lunch.  So, sometimes, we take a short walk to the main road and get a bite to eat at one of a few eateries there.  It was on one of these lunch excursions that Bill and I discovered an interesting and affordable (Woohoo!) spot to grab some grub.

My Chicken Roti with a Menu
   Hot Peppers Kitchen is now our favorite restaurant in Hollywood.  Apparently, the owners have been running the restaurant in a different location for a while.  However, they recently decided (thanks to the rent being too high) to move to their current location.  Lucky for us, this means that a unique Caribbean meal is a short walk away.

   While sailing around the Bahamas, Bill and I discovered that we really enjoyed authentic Bahamian food but, finding  it was harder than you might think.  Since many of the places we dined in were in tourist hubs, much of the food, while good, what definitely "Americanized".  While this was understandable, it was a bit disappointing.  Hot Peppers Kitchen is certainly not "Americanized" and did not disappoint; delicious, authentic food from Trinidad and Tobago is all you'll find here.

Bill's Bake and Shark and Our Rum Punches
   We have been to Hot Peppers for lunch and dinner.  Everything we've had has been wonderful.  I have found that Doubles (a street snack made with a kind of fry bread and chickpeas) and Roti (the Caribbean answer to a burrito but, MUCH better) are my favorites so far.  Bill's favorite is the Bake and Shark.  This is a deep-fried shark sandwich (you'd think it'd be baked because of the name) that looks just like a fried fish sandwich you could find anywhere but, apparently this is not true for the taste.  They even have  . . . Chinese food. Huh? We had to ask about this one . . . apparently, due to the location of the islands, Trinidad and Tobago have become a sort of melting pot for cultures.  One of these cultures is Chinese.  Native "Trinis" have taken some of the more typical Chinese dishes and given them an extra kick. Therefore, Trini Chinese food has earned its own place on the menu. Just in case you are wondering,  we did order two items that showcased this unique food fusion.  The consensus? . . . Yum!

Crispy Shrimp Wontons, Very Good
   The service has been wonderful.  The lady in the front of the house is from Trinidad and loves to talk about the food and all things Caribbean.  Since Bill and I are planning on heading to Trinidad and Tobago after our next trip to the Bahamas, she has proved to be a wealth of information.  She makes sure to suggest things she thinks we ought to try (even bringing out samples, mmmm) and, the last time we were there, told us when some of her family would be coming into the restaurant so that we could meet more "Trini" people.

   At one point we got on the subject of weather.  Bill asked her about hurricanes.  She said that in all the years that she lived there she had seen one hurricane that she could remember.  Even when it came, she told us, it wasn't bad and just sort of blew over.  When asked why she thought this was, (after all, the islands are in the middle of the ocean) she said with a smile, "God is a Trinidadian."  


   We were wowed by this restaurant (frankly, I wouldn't be writing about it if we weren't) and will certainly be frequenting it while we are here.  So if you're in the area or are planning a trip, make the effort to check these guys out; you won't regret it.

   By the way, I just launched my new galley page!  Right now, I have my introduction and my fist recipe (a tasty shrimp bisque) up. I plan on updating this page just as I update the regular blog, adding more recipes and kitchen tips as I go.  If you have any comments or questions regarding anything I post there, just let me know in the comments on the main page.  I hope you enjoy the page and try the recipes and tips as you learn a little more about our life afloat.            
   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.)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday, America!

These Boats Were "Rafted Up" by 4 p.m.
To Watch the Fireworks
   So, it's kind of ironic that Bill and I are celebrating Independence Day in a marina.  We are very "dependent" right now since our engine is STILL (still?!?) not functioning. . . It is even stumping the best mechanics in the area but, I digress . . . Despite our lack of mobility, we are doing our best with what we have and, on this day of red, white, and blue, are doing some celebrating.


Here's The Fist Finished Gate Pocket
(Been Working on This With My Sail Maker's Palm)

   We aren't doing much in the work department today.  Over the last few weeks, Bill has been working some small contracted jobs for some people here in the marina and I have been working on boat upkeep, sewing, and finding a job for myself.  I was offered a job at West Marine and will be starting in a few weeks. . . Yep, we might be here a while.  Even after the engine is fixed, we still have to revitalize our nearly comatose cruising funds.  So, back on the payroll I go.  Today, however, we are just relaxing and enjoying the day.



Back View (Notice the Velcro)


Bill's Homemade Hamburger Buns,
Freshly Baked, For The Chicken.  Yum!
   We have raised our American and Navy flags (Hooyah!).  Buffalo Chicken is in the works for dinner in the slow cooker (We were going to do burgers but, the meat didn't thaw as quickly as I though it would).  There are plenty of beers in the fridge and we are actually in the perfect spot (so we are told) to watch a great fireworks display tonight.



   Since we're on the subject of fireworks, I thought I'd share a few Independence Day facts that may surprise you.  I love learning and sharing interesting/little known historical facts.

   So, did you know . . .

  • The day that we actually celebrate is the date that the Declaration of Independence was adopted.  The actual "declaring" took place two day earlier.  
  • All of the signers (delegates) of the declaration did NOT sign on July 4th.  Actually, only two men signed on that day.  Many didn't sign the document until August 2nd, a few signed later than that, and still two more (John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston) never signed at all.
  • We actually had a president born on July 4th.  Calvin Coolidge, our 30th Commander in Chief, was born in 1872 on this patriotic day.
  • We may have declared our independence in 1776 but, it wasn't recognized as a federal holiday until 1870 and it wasn't until 1938 that it was mandated that workers were payed for their day off.
  • This one kind of surprised me . . . In what year was July 4th first celebrated with fireworks? . . . 1777. . . Congress decided that the best way to celebrate the 1st anniversary was to set off fireworks over Philadelphia .  Hmm, I wonder what the founding fathers would think of our enormous displays today?
  • Thomas Jefferson was the first president to hold an Independence Day celebration at the White House.  
  • George Washington knew how to honor his men during the our war for independence.  He ordered a double ration of rum for all of his troops in 1778 and in 1781.
  • One last fact . . . There have been three presidents that passed away on July 4th and they were actually three of the first five men in office.  James Monroe died in 1831.  The other two, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams actually died in 1826 (same day, same year) and, in case you didn't notice, this was the 50th anniversary of our independence.  Quite appropriate.
                          *I used,, and for the facts*

   So, hopefully you learned at least one new fact to share with your friends this holiday weekend.  I hope you proudly fly your flags, fire up your grills, enjoy the fireworks, and have fun.  Thank a vet and say a prayer for all of those actively defending our country. We would not be able to celebrate this day without them.  Thank God for the privilege of being part of this nation.  Happy birthday, America! God bless you.

   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.)