We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming

Back row. Middle seat. Packed plane. Baby and dog. By myself. Never again.

I got so many stares as I lugged everything through the airport. TSA actually pulled me out of security to put me in a special line because I didn’t have enough hands to bring both dog and baby through the metal detector. To quote, “We’ve never dealt with this before.” Yes, I am a crazy lady. I understand.

In all seriousness, both W and Scout were absolute CHAMPS and I am so proud of them. Such a longgggg travel day, but the fact that Dad was waiting for us on the other end got us through. W definitely remembered the boat– her eyes got huge when her stroller wheels hit the dock, and then she started cracking up when she saw the boat! We had to deal with a few surprises, though, after being gone for over a month.

The first night back on the boat the shore power kept tripping. At 4am Conor figured out the problem: Our power cord was corroded where it hooked up to our boat and we needed to replace both the fitting and the cord. So the next day Conor drove to New Bern to get the parts while W and I made the best of no AC. Then his car decided to die in the West Marine parking lot.

What could we do but laugh? Broken car, broken boat. Both are fixed now, but it was quite the homecoming. He fixed the power cord hookup by removing the old, burned out hookup (easy) and installing the new one (hard). Aligning all the pieces and screwing everything in correctly was challenging, but mostly he was nervous dealing with such an important power source. Tip: make sure ALL power is off on the boat (even batteries) before attempting to replace. Use a digital multimeter to double check that there is 0 electrical current coming from the hookup. Here’s the old versus new piece:

electrical short

In fun news, it was one year ago this weekend that we did the survey for our boat! We had no idea what we were doing or what was in store. I compare that experience to Conor diagnosing and fixing an electrical problem all on his own, and I am so proud. Conor especially has become quite the handyman and DIY expert. He even bought a giant textbook about electrical engineering!

Our to-do list for this summer is a mile long: brightwork, canvas cleaning, anchor chain marking, hull scrubbing…sigh. A little TLC after such a harsh winter. At least we have a year’s worth of experience under our belt now, and it isn’t so overwhelming to tackle it all. Our plan is to FINALLY take her out over Memorial Day weekend and get back into the swing of things. It will be W’s first sail, and I can’t wait to see how she does!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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MIA in WA

Only 2 posts in April? What?! Epic fail.

Why? We have been up in Washington state visiting family for the past few weeks! Now Conor is back east for a class while Baby W and I hang out a little bit longer. It has been almost two years since we traveled to our home state, so we have had a lot of catching up to do with friends and loved ones. I’m taking advantage of the free babysitting to sit down and finally write something for the blog.

You might notice that I upgraded from the free wordpress option, so now we are just cannonstocruising.com. SO fancy, I know. I’ve also added an author page for my book that is about to be published up in the main menu. I’ll post updates about that process on here, too. Another reason I’ve been lax on the blog of late: finalizing my manuscript! After going back and forth with my editor, we are about ready to submit the final copy.

Once Baby and I are back at Camp Lejeune, there will be a lot to fill you in on. We are discussing getting a new heat/AC unit after discovering ours is 16 (!) years old ($$$). There are also some dear friends of ours who recently bought their own liveaboard and sailed it from Florida to Gottschalk. We are THRILLED to have them as our new neighbors and I hope to share some of their story on here as well. There will also be some ‘Sailing with Baby’ posts as we figure out how to safely sail with a little one this summer.

In the meantime, I will be soaking up my days in the rainy PNW, staring enviously at the boats out on Puget Sound. Can’t beat the view though, right?

ferry

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2017 Recap Video

I used my (very limited) technological skills to put together a little recap video of this past year. Just a simple slideshow about our crazy journey in 2017. The song is “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers. Thank you all for following us through everything!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Fire on the Dock!

On Monday night, I took Scout outside at 8:30pm to go potty. Everything was quiet and normal. Scout did her thing in the parking lot and we headed back to the boat. As we crossed the metal bridge from the dockhouse to the floating dock, I noticed a bunch of smoke coming from slip #54. This slip contains a little-used cabin cruiser (I’ve never even met the owners) exactly in the middle of B dock.

It is funny how my brain tried to rationalize it. At first, I thought it was someone running their engine and it was just exhaust, even though it was dead silent. I just couldn’t connect what I was seeing. Then I saw sparks shooting from the electrical hookup and realized, OH SHIT.

Scout, in her usual fashion, had already started to hightail it back to our boat ahead of me. I frantically called her back before she got too close to the fire, and then decided I needed an adultier adult to help.

I banged on the closest boat to me, the Colonel’s boat. He is also a liveaboard, thankfully. He barreled out and grabbed a personal fire extinguisher off his boat. He put out the fire and switched off the fuse box while I called 911 from a safer distance.

Within 10 minutes it seemed like the entire Camp Lejeune fire department had arrived. They checked the hookup box and boarded the boat to check for damage inside. I had to give a statement regarding what I saw. Luckily, the fire was contained to where the power cords connected and nothing else was affected.

I think I saw the fire within minutes of it starting. I’m trying not to think too hard about what could have happened if it started in the middle of the night. The dock could have gone up, as well as some of the neighboring boats if it got really out of hand.

Hopefully this was a freak occurrence, a once-in-a-lifetime scare. I’m thankful that nobody got hurt and that the liveaboard community is so vigilant and prepared. We are here 24/7 to keep an eye on the marina and our boats!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

fire
Thank goodness for fire extinguishers!

Lucky St. Paddy’s Day

It was race day on Saturday! The Ragged Point Yacht Club is made up of both sailboats and motorboats in Gottschalk Marina, and every month or so the RPYC hosts a sailboat race. They usually try to coincide with a holiday weekend to get the most sailors out on the water.

Everyone has been trying to get us to participate for months, but we’ve been pretty busy with Conor’s two deployments to Europe, my third trimester, and finally Miss W’s arrival (accompanied by intense sleep deprivation). I’m sad to say that actually using our sailboat for its intended purpose has taken a backseat to day-to-day life, and we’ve done zero winter sailing!

Needless to say, we had been itching to get back out on the water. Conor’s parents were visiting for the weekend and were enthusiastic about crewing a race. Because Baby W is still a bit too small for me to feel comfortable taking her as a 5th crew member on our own boat, we had to figure something else out.

Our slip neighbor, Tom, offered to take Conor and my in-laws out on his boat instead. Tom is an AMAZING sailor and worked as an instructor and delivery captain for years. He gave everyone some great (free) instruction for the 3 hr race. It paid off, because they won! What was the cost of this great experience? A couple beers and an exchange of stories.

race day 2
Awaiting instruction from Captain Tom
mike
Mike and Farley heading out
race day
Beautiful day for a race

Looking back, we should have started crewing races in California. I think we were just too intimidated to walk down to Oceanside harbor with a six pack and ask around. Who would want people with hardly any experience to crew a boat? Wouldn’t it be more trouble than we’re worth? What if we messed up on someone else’s boat?

Now that we know the culture, I laugh at our assumptions. No matter the skill level, if you love sailing, other sailors want to hang out with you! I promise it is true. You automatically have things in common with a great group of people. You don’t even need to own a boat to be part of a sailing or yacht club. The RPYC welcomes anyone who wants to participate. So if you’re reading this and want to come out and try a race, please send me a message on our contact page! You can come crew on our boat when we race, or I can help hook you up with some other captains at the marina. Don’t be scared!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Cabin Fever

What does cabin fever look like? This:

cabinfever

 

The kitchen table is dropped down 90% of the time now, our navigation station is for diaper changes, and despite all the coffee I’m drinking, I can’t seem to get anything done on the manuscript I’m trying to edit. There’s laundry piling up, Scout is going stir-crazy, and W won’t nap. I’m not even going to show you the v-berth. If anyone has any survival tips, now is the time to give them!

Today marks 1 week of ridiculous winds, and I am officially going insane. This Nor’easter is kicking our butts. Literally, the butt of our boat is taking the brunt of this weather and loudly drops up and down all day and night. Gale force winds last weekend and now high seas/chop have rendered it difficult to leave the boat.

At least I can find solace in the fact that this past week has been abnormal for the region. One of the other liveaboards told me that in all his years, he had never seen the wind blow so hard for so long here. Abnormal seems to be the theme for our first year on the boat: a fearsome hurricane season, a freakish bomb cyclone in January, and now a blustery March. Fingers crossed that next year will be milder on all accounts!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Mini Vacation in a Tiny Home

We took our first family ‘vacation’ over Valentine’s Day, and we stayed in a remodeled shipping container for two nights. Conor found a great deal on Airbnb (I LOVE Airbnb) and I had always wanted to see what this type of tiny home was really like. It seemed to be a good idea at the time… until you factor in a tiny baby as well!

We headed down to the Carolina Beach area, a bit south of Wilmington. We just needed to escape from the Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune area for a while (anyone who has lived here will understand) to enjoy the last few days of Conor’s paternity leave.

The shipping container home was SO COOL, take a look:

tinyhome3.jpg

tinyhome2

tiny home1

tinyhome4
The reality of traveling with an infant and a dog

The beach was beautiful, the restaurants were awesome, but OMG our boat baby would not sleep. Having spent every night of her short life surrounded by marina sounds, the shipping container felt too open, too echo-y, and too stationary! Without any gentle rocking, the sound of waves slapping the hull, the creak of straining lines, and the musical tap of a neighboring halyard, Baby W was VERY cranky. As soon as we got back home, Baby W passed out for a 4 hour nap. I told Conor that the next vacation we go on, we are taking the boat with us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

firstbeachday
Of course she slept through her first trip to the beach!