Well guys, Conor is back in North Carolina to do Marine things. W and I are still hanging in WA because he is going to be so busy, but we miss him so much! Thank God for Skype.
To commemorate what a great year we had as a family, I put together a little recap video for 2018. Our 2017 video is here, and our 2018 one picks up right where that one left off! It is crazy to look back and see how tiny W used to be. This year consisted of sleepless nights, two cross-country trips to WA, boat work, long summer nights, great sailing as a family of 3, and more. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed that I was able to put this together just a week after New Year. The 2017 recap video didn’t get posted until March 2018. I think I’m more on top of it this year!
The song is ‘End of the World’ by the Dirty Heads. Thanks for following our journey!
We had an unexpected guest on our boat this morning, and he made a lot of trouble for something so small.
The A.C. had suddenly stopped working. It wasn’t completely unexpected, because the tide had been out for a couple of days. We were sitting in a lot of mud, and that is what usually clogs up the raw water filter. Clogged filter= A.C. trip.
So with a sigh, I pulled up the floorboard and unscrewed the filter, and just about had a heart attack. A crab popped out and scurried into the bilge! He was the size of a quarter and super fast. I managed to coerce him into a mason jar and set to work getting the A.C. back on.
Nothing. The compressor didn’t turn on, and neither did the fan. That meant it was an electrical issue. Our little friend had blown the fuse!
Replacing the fuse was a pain in the butt. To reach it, I had to unscrew our settee bench, pull the cover off, find the fuse, put in a new one, and put everything back together again. Also, all of our tools were over in the dockhouse. I loaded W up to go get everything we needed and got to work. It is always a race against the sun when dealing with an A.C. malfunction, and I was very glad it wasn’t too hot out yet.
Here’s a visual:
Long story short: I am woman, hear me roar. This boat mama got everything up and running in 45 minutes.
Oh, and our new friend was set free to make trouble elsewhere.
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend.
I try to do at least 3 blog posts every month, but if any of you readers are looking for other great blogs to follow while you wait for me to get my shit together and actually write something, I have a few recommendations.
Live Free 2 Sail Fast is another military family working to get a sailboat ready for cruising. They are on the west coast and have been incredibly supportive of our journey so far. If you think we’re crazy, they’ve got kids and a GREAT DANE on a sailboat! Follow them 🙂 https://livefree2sailfast.com/
Windtraveler has been our inspiration from day one, and got the ball rolling with thoughts of, “This looks cool. What if we could do this one day?” Their three adorable little girls are living the island life, and Mom and Dad have great tips about parenting aboard. The blog can be found at http://www.windtraveler.net/
Boats, Boards, and Babies are a family with three little boys who split time on a sailboat in the Caribbean and ‘real life’ on the east coast. They have great tips for boating and travel with little ones. Their website: https://explorenewshores.com/
Women Who Live on Rocks is a space for women writers to share funny and real stories about island life. Their experiences make me yearn for the day when I can join their ranks! https://womenwholiveonrocks.com/
The S/V Ruby Rose crew posts incredibly detailed videos about boat maintenance. They are Conor’s go-to guide for videos on engines, installation, electricity, and more. Follow at http://yachtrubyrose.com/
Jason and Nikki Wynn of Gone with the Wynns are a couple who started out with hardly any sailing experience and now cruise full time on their bluewater catamaran. Here’s their site: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/
I’m always on the lookout for other adventurers to follow, so if anyone has recommendations for other blogs, please post below in the comments section! Shout out to all the people who are making their big dreams happen.
Lots to celebrate this week: This stud’s birthday is coming up, and we passed 1 year aboard our boat!
I am such a lucky lady.
But because Conor doesn’t like to make a big deal out of his birthday, the rest of this post will be about our year aboard. This is a random collection of thoughts with contributions from both me and Conor, in no particular order.
Showing off the boat is fun. It’s like bragging about your kid, but people are more impressed.
Parenting is hard whether you are on a boat or in a house. Sleep deprivation is still sleep deprivation.
Sometimes I have no idea what to write on the blog.
It can be hard to focus on work when all you want to do is sail off into the sunset.
All boat work must be done with a beer in hand.
We still haven’t used our dinghy.
Why does the bilge always smell weird after we sail?
Conor keeps accidentally dropping AC filters into the river when he cleans them. We are on #3 now.
Using a cockpit as my writing office is super sweet, until the bugs come out in summer.
I am bad at taking Instagram photos. I don’t have the patience. Usually I look at my phone and say, “Meh, that will work.”
It is hard to get your significant other Christmas/birthday/anniversary presents because you don’t have anywhere to put them.
I have only worn makeup 8 times this year. Hobo boater fashion is going to catch on, I just know it.
Occasionally when the weather is horrible, I envy the people in base housing.
Doing the black water pump out always smells bad. In 4 degrees or 90. The first time or the thirtieth time.
Some friends like to exert their dominance by peeing on the boat, knowing that Conor will have to drag their urine up a hill.
Ice is a novelty.
It is okay to say, “I don’t know why it’s doing that.”
What is ‘personal space’?
The best part of Conor’s day is sliding open the hatch and yelling “Hello girls!” Even when the baby is napping.
We are thankful to be doing this today instead of 30 years from now.
We dodged another one. I can’t believe it. Hurricane Maria stayed 150 miles off of the North Carolina coast and is now currently churning across the Atlantic.
She passed a little closer than I was comfortable with, causing tropical storm warnings along the outer banks. The slightest shift in pressure could have pushed her ashore, leaving me to sweat it out over the last few days and constantly check the weather forecast. Thankfully, we just had two days of heavy winds and lots of chop on the water, but no real storm surge in Jacksonville.
Having never lived on the east coast before, this is my first experience with the hurricane season, and I am not looking forward to handling it each year. Is it just me, or has it been abnormally terrible this year? Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria…it never seems to stop. Seeing all of the destruction these monsters have left in their wake has me counting our blessings daily. Another part of me is wondering when our luck is going to run out, and when it will be ‘our turn’.
But in the hopes of keeping things on the positive track, we are really settling into life on base again. I’d forgotten how much easier it is when everything is within a 2 minute drive: commissary, PX, Starbucks, library, gym—our marina is pretty much in the middle of it all! Being surrounded by other military families and feeling like part of that community again has also been nice. Conor’s commute is down to 5 minutes, and it has been amazing getting extra time with him. Though we miss our NWC family and all of their impressive experience and expertise, the tradeoff living back on base has been worth it so far.
The best part about our new slip: we can step off the back of the boat and onto the dock! We are finally using one of the perks of our ‘sugar scoop’ butt. No more climbing up and over the side gate, and no more lifting Scout on and off! Gottschalk has a dinghy storage rack, so we moved our dinghy inside and reconfigured our lines for easy access. It is amazing how one small change can affect our day-to-day comfort so much. Take a look:
There are 400 steps from the marina parking lot to our boat. Our slip is the very last one. Scout is walked 3-4x daily, with each potty trip clocking in around 1,800 steps round trip. Hauling groceries requires loading up a dock cart and trying to take a week’s worth of food onto the boat without going back for round 2. Laundry requires 3 trips up and down the docks: one to load up the wash, one to switch it to the dryer, and one to load it up and bring it back onboard. We also like to shower at the marina locker room most of the time. Trash and recycling is also all the way down at the dockmaster’s office. Tired yet?
Day-to-day living on a sailboat also necessitates a certain amount of agility. Ducking under the bimini while stepping on and off the boat (holding a squirming dog), climbing up and down the ladder steps into the cabin, body contortions to avoid hitting our head in our bedroom, trips to and from the cockpit to turn the gas on/off while cooking…eventually it becomes automatic. Our bi-weekly yoga classes and weightlifting schedule also keep us limber for our lifestyle. Not to mention the actual sailing part: arms, meet winch workout.
The goal on my Fitbit is 10,000 steps each day, but since living on our boat, I usually clock between 12,000 and 15,000 without even trying. I’m walking the docks in all kinds of weather, because life goes on regardless of how freaking hot or humid or stormy it gets. Is it kind of a pain? Yes, sometimes. But our bodies are made to move, and staying active keeps us healthy. So while some days I yearn for the ease of pulling my car into a garage and taking my bags 10 (covered) steps inside, I know this is better for me in the long run. Take my word for it: boat life will get you in great shape!