This is our third recap video! Check out 2017 and 2018 if you need a blast from the past before watching 2019!
So much has happened this year—Conor took a trip to Norway and also graduated from WTI. I published my second book and wrote a third. W is speaking in complete sentences and scooter-ing down the docks like a madwoman. I can’t believe we have a 2-year-old!
This year was also filled with visits from family and friends, epic sails and sunsets, and (probably) too many cocktails.
Here’s the wrap up! The accompanying song is “Wars” by the Strumbellas (thanks for a great time, Nashville!)
Well, folks, it finally happened. After 2+ years of living aboard, my phone decided to go for a swim.
W and I were playing up in the cockpit yesterday morning. She was of course wearing her life jacket, but decided to try and step off the boat by herself. I grabbed her before she succeeded, and in doing so I sacrificed my phone.
PLOP. Right into the river.
I looked at her. She looked at me. “Mama. Uh oh!”
Yep. Uh oh was right.
I think drowning a phone is right of passage for all boaters. I’m actually surprised I held out this long. A wave of acceptance washed over me as I stared into the murky depths below. Sighing, I went to procure a net. My wonderful neighbor Ron came out and used his expertise to fish for it. Apparently, this was the fourth phone he’d scooped up this year.
Five minutes later, it was back in my hands, covered in mud. It had a case on it, but the port covers were not all the way sealed when it dunked. I wiped it off as best I could, put it in a bag of rice for 24 hours, and hoped for the best.
There was nothing more to do, so why stress? Surprisingly, it ended up being an awesome 24 hours. I kind of liked not being able to talk to anyone, be “on call”, feel guilty for not responding to people right away. No hotspot, no internet, nothing but the here and now. I was completely unplugged and totally present.
W and I had a wonderful day. After my weekend trip to Nashville to celebrate my mom’s 60th, I missed our quality time together. It was quiet and sweet, just the two of us. After she went to bed, instead of procrastinating with Netflix I did some boat projects that had been on my to-do list for a while and got some editing done.
This morning, miracle of miracles, the phone worked when I turned it back on. It is a little janky—the speakerphone works but not regular audio, the center button freaks out, and I am having trouble importing pictures to my computer—but it lives. I thought for sure it was done.
I am happy and grateful that my phone works, but this past day was a great reminder to slow down. I want to make it a regular thing, maybe once per week. Turn everything off and not worry that I’m missing out on something. The cruising lifestyle requires this, so it will be good practice for next year!
As the tagline for this blog points out, ‘we are a military family sailing by the seat of our pants’. Therefore, when I saw this quote, I immediately felt it in my bones:
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” —General George Patton
We are learning as we go. We are not boat experts, or salty sailors, or even semi-experienced cruisers. Yes, it is scary. We could have waited to live this life until we felt more prepared, had better timing, weren’t raising a toddler, no longer in the military…waiting, waiting, waiting…
What we have is messy, sometimes chaotic, difficult, and time-consuming. Constant learning curves, fixing what breaks, and always getting interrupted whenever we settle into a routine. It is decidedly not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. I would take this life a million times over rather than still be in the planning phase, too afraid to pull the trigger until I answered all the ‘what-ifs’ that kept me up at night.
Right now I’m reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is mostly about writing, but her advice for creative living beyond fear is also applicable to liveaboard life, or for anyone who yearns to live passionately.
She says: “And you have treasures hidden within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing these treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”
So if you have faith and focus and courage and devotion, you already have the tools you need to put your plan into action. Figure it out as you go, but don’t wait forever to make the decision. What would you do if you were not afraid?
The boat owners of Gottschalk Marina took a little field trip together on Saturday. We all went down to Swansboro for Derby Day! I had no idea what to expect, except for the fact that that most people were going to dress up. This, as you know, is normally a momentous occasion for boat people, especially liveaboards. I think we cleaned up very nicely!
The event itself was impressive, though no one seemed to care much about the actual race! We had a great time hanging with our boat tribe at the docks, drinking mint juleps and crowd-watching. Our friends stayed the whole weekend. They took a 42 ft sailboat and a 48 ft powerboat down on Friday to get slips in the middle of the action. We just drove there for the day this year, but we will definitely bring Story Time next year! It is only a 5 hour motor out of New River and into the ICW.
We need to keep an eye out for other day trip opportunities like this. How lucky are we that we can just take our home with us? Time to start taking advantage of it more. Although, our friends did say that they missed Gottschalk after the third day. Can you be homesick while bringing your home with you? While travel is amazing, I think it is always nice to return to familiar territory and routine. Home is also the people you surround yourself with, and we are grateful to have such amazing friends here.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Rinse the pumpout caddy when you are done using it. Enough said.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!