Proud Fair-weather Sailors

We are fair-weather sailors and not ashamed to admit it. Though one day we aspire to be salty and experienced in all conditions, now is not the time to be reckless. We have a baby on board. Enough said.

I will admit it can be frustrating. In order for us to take the boat out, we have to work around nap schedules, military life, and weather windows. Basically, we have to sail on weekends, with decent temperatures, no storms or high winds in the 12-hour forecast, and be back at the dock in time for baby bedtime routine. This perfection only occurs about once or twice per month, sadly.

Before W came around, “good enough” conditions were just fine. It was a thrill to handle the unexpected, and learn on our toes. Now, it just isn’t worth sacrificing our family happiness to push ourselves to the limit on the boat. Stressed out Mama=stressed out baby, and that means lots of screaming. That is not my idea of quality family time!

So for now we are making the most of our easy sailing days, and focusing on making positive memories with our boat baby. We had an absolutely wonderful, easy sailing day this weekend with some good friends. Sunny, 7 mph winds, and 68 degrees. Conor and I actually got a few pictures together! Can you believe it’s November?

I’m hoping this won’t be our last sail of the season, but I have to accept that it may well be. Last year, temperatures dropped dramatically after Thanksgiving. If we are lucky enough to have good weather for the next few weeks, we will jump on our chance. But if there is any doubt…well, we still have springtime sailing to look forward to!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Unspoken Rules of Marina Liveaboards

We are SO lucky to be surrounded by conscientious and considerate boaters. Because our facilities at Gottschalk are shared by everyone with a slip, having kind liveaboard neighbors is a must. It is very different from having neighbors in an apartment or house! Here are some of the unspoken ‘rules’ of Gottschalk Marina that everyone seems to abide by. They make for a happy environment and a community that we are proud to be a part of.

  1. If you’re doing laundry, set a timer. We only have one working washer and dryer right now, so it is extra important to free up the machines for the next person to use ASAP! I try to work around W’s nap schedule so I don’t leave clothes for too long while we are stuck on the boat.
  2. Everyone takes their bagged trash all the way out to the dumpster in the parking lot. There is a small trashcan by the bathrooms, but we all go the extra mile to get it off the docks.
  3. Leave the bathroom nicer than when you arrived. Remarkably, there are very few bathroom complications for the amount of people sharing two bathrooms. I know I always close the shower curtain so it can dry, clean my hair out of the drain, replace the toilet paper, etc. All these little things take just a few seconds, but when everyone does them, they stay clean!
  4. Return the dock carts to the front when you are done using them. There are only two, so there needs to be at least one available for people hauling groceries, laundry, supplies, and more. I know I appreciate it because I already have my hands full with a baby!
  5. Rinse the pumpout caddy when you are done using it. Enough said.
  6. Always request permission to come aboard someone’s boat. Even if the part you’re stepping onto is technically outside, you are still basically stepping into someone’s living room uninvited if you don’t ask. As liveaboards, our boat is our home. I wouldn’t open your front door and barge in.

Anything you were surprised by? What are the ‘rules’ of your neighborhood or marina? Post questions or comments below!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Just the cutest, cleanest little marina you ever did see!

 

Cooking With Conor

Just because we are small on space doesn’t mean we are small on flavor. Welcome to a new segment of the blog: Cooking With Conor! I’m proud to say that my husband has mastered the art of cooking on the boat, and I want to share some of his favorite recipes with you all.

Cooking on the boat isn’t that much different than cooking in a small apartment. Our galley is surprisingly well-equipped. We have a three-burner propane stove, an oven, a microwave, a fridge, and a deep pantry cabinet. Our favorite part, though, is our little grill outside.

It hooks up to a stanchion, but Conor flipped it around so he could stand on the dock instead of hunched over in the cockpit. We use this little baby just about every day during the summer. When it gets up to 100 degrees out, we try to do everything we can to avoid heating up the inside of the boat! Plus, you can’t beat the evening view.

Here is one of our favorite ‘boat life’ adaptations: grilled pizza.

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Dock boxes are great substitutes for kitchen counters

Looks amazing, right?? Super simple too. It’s a salt pizza dough, just find a recipe you like online and adapt it to taste. Roll it flat, coat with oil, and stick it straight onto your grill. Let it cook for a few minutes until firm, then add your toppings. For this pizza, he put tomato sauce, goat cheese, pancetta, and onions. Let the whole thing sit for about 5 more minutes. The key with grilled pizza is not to overload it with toppings. Keep it light so the dough is crispy!

This was another great one: tomato sauce, mozzarella chunks, and prosciutto. Add arugula after you remove it from heat.

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While Conor is a master chef, I am rather lazy when it comes to boat cooking. Especially when Conor is gone, the last thing I feel like doing after a long day is cooking an elaborate meal for one when W goes to bed. Here is the Tay style of boat cooking:

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Hot Logic. Note: This is my personal opinion, I have no affiliation with Hot Logic. They have no idea me or my blog exists. This is just a tip for people with boats, offices, dorms, etc.

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Hot Logics are basically little lunchboxes that you can plug in to cook your food! At some point in the afternoon, I can toss in a frozen fish filet and some veggies into a pan, coat everything in olive oil and spices, and plug in the Hot Logic. When dinner time rolls around, my food is cooked, I have one dish to clean up, and I didn’t have to turn on the oven. Kinda like a crock-pot, but everything fits in our little oven when not in use! We have two mini ones and a big one. They are also great for keeping food warm when cooking for a lot of people in a small galley.

Anyone care to share your favorite cooking tips? What makes your life easier? Favorite recipes? Comment below!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

After Florence

We. Are. Home.

I can hardly describe the relief I felt as we drove into the Gottschalk Marina parking lot after a 10 hour drive from Atlanta. When I saw the dock house intact and all the sailboat masts standing tall, I almost cried. I just felt so proud of our little marina and all of the responsible boat owners who helped ensure we would all make it through this hurricane. The power was already back on to the slips, the bathrooms cleaned out, a new washer and dryer were up and running, and everyone was hard at work on their boats.

You would hardly know that just a few days ago, the river tried to consume the marina. Now the only pieces of evidence left from this failed attempt are muddy floors, some broken wood boards, kayak dock damage, and felled trees nearby. After a force of nature tried to destroy everything, life has miraculously returned to normal.

I keep hearing stories about other marinas in the area that didn’t fare as well as we did, and I am so grateful we had a boat to come home to. This was the first true test of Story Time’s fortitude, and she weathered the storm like a champion. There was absolutely no damage to our boat, inside or out. The automatic bilge pump did its job and everything was clean and dry. When we left her two weeks ago, I remember being fully prepared to lose her in the worst case scenario. I envisioned the best case scenario as some damage, but still livable while we fixed her up. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine NO DAMAGE in a direct hit from a Category 2 hurricane. I should go buy a lottery ticket.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Cheers to a great homecoming!

Other Awesome People Doing Other Awesome Things

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.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Does the fact that I can still do a handstand count as awesome?

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

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Thank goodness for fire extinguishers!

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:

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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

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