Tuesday, July 30, 2013

family time.

My parents finally made it up last weekend to see Interlude! I didn't get near enough pictures. My mom was begging me not to snap too many, as both she and my sister were miserable with motion sickness, despite Dramamine. Sorry guys :-( 

Upon seeing the interior of Interlude, there were two different reactions from  my folks. My dad: "this thing seems HUGE inside", and my mom: "teeny, tiny. I could never see living in such a small space". To each his own, right? We happen to side with my dad's point of view, generally. I mean, who couldn't use more square footage? But then again, other than long term provisioning, we are pretty much living here and have everything we need with space left over (we are so proud of ourselves for being thoughtful with what we'll actually "need" as live aboards even at this juncture).

After a tour, stowing of our belongings, and trying out the kayak, we ate some Kringle (a local claim to fame), grilled up some local brats, then headed out for a sail. The wind was good but the swells were not great. I was a little queasy and I think by the end even my dad was a little sick. Must run in my family. My mom wasn't as sick as I have seen her, but Sara was barely functioning. She tried sitting on the deck, in the cockpit, and I think she even eventually went below and laid down on the settee. Poor kiddo. 

We only sailed up to the lighthouse (Windpoint) and back since we could see a front coming in. I think it was plenty for everyone. Once we got back, we tied up the sails, tidied the lines, hooked up the shore power and got below before it began pouring rain. Pouring, and pouring, oh and also? POURING. It was also blowing. Good times! My entire family, minus Josh and myself conked out in various spots in the cabin. All that fresh air really got to them, I guess! 

Eventually the rain let up and we ventured out to the Yardarm for dinner before saying our goodbyes. 

A good time was had by all, as my grandpa would say. Even though some could have had a less queasy time of it, to be sure!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

sunday share!

Welcome to Sunday share! I'm going to be sharing some sort of "project" every Sunday in an effort to post more consistently and fill you in on what I've been working on.

This week's project is brought to you via a pinterest pin that I found a few months ago. I love reusable bags and I KNOW they'll be invaluable when we are schelpping groceries to and from Interlude on provisioning days. I've sewn a few from old signal flags in the past with great results but I wanted to attempt a different design. I'm particularly fond of the open weave ones for produce. I've seen a few variations, one using old tees (which I have yet to attempt) and at least two crocheting and knitting designs. I attempted this one. JoAnn's Fabric was having a super sale on yarn, so I got 6 skeins of the Sugar'n Cream 100% cotton yarn ($15 total. Score!), so I could make three of these bad boys. After the first go, I can see little "oopsies" I made and correct them for the next two, so over all, I think this is a winner. I started on Monday night, worked off and on through Wednesday, and finished up today. My hands were sore from another project I've got going, so my digits needed the break. Overall, I'd say I spent 7 hours? The open weave part crocheted up in a snap. I got three different colors but I am loving how the natural color looks. We'll see how it holds up after a few washes and or stains...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

off the docks.

Bottom two photo by Corey

Last week we headed back to the city for a week so I could finish up a freelance gig but prior to that, we'd been tucked in the marina for a glorious 10 days. Over that second weekend, we had our first overnight guests, Josh's uncle Corey and his lovely lady friend Merrie. They arrived late Friday evening and we had a few beers, chatted, soaked in the cool evening air before turning in for the night. 

Saturday dawned perfect. Breezy, sunny, warm but not sweltering, pretty much ideal for our day at Bristol Renaissance Faire. Ok, so geek alert, but I am reading the Game of Thrones series and am waaaaay into the lords and ladies and knights thing. We'd been to Bristol 5 or 6 years ago and thought it was pretty cool but my current geekiness over GoT made it even more fun. Corey and Merrie are a fun pair who only added to our experience--we were all overgrown kids just "ooooh"ing and "ahhhhh"ing at the craftsmen, costumes, and shows being performed on various stages throughout the faire. We spent the entire day seeing and doing everything there is to see and do there. If you've never been, have kids, or are a giant kid or geek at heart, I cannot recommend a trip to Bristol enough. 

Sunday, took them out for a sail. It was a first for them both, I believe. The wind was very light and I'm sorry to say that it could have been a more exciting first time if only the wind had cooperated. Oh well. It was warm and sunny and I think they had fun despite that. Just means they'll have to come up later in the season for another try!

After the sail, we had lunch and found the lighthouse at the north end of Racine. The grounds are lovely. A garden, a tiny museum, and beach access make it absolutely picturesque. 

Just a wonderful weekend at and away from the dock. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

day in the life. or just another day in paradise.

Life on the boat is a whole different animal than anything we've experienced thus far. Truthfully, we've been moving more slowly around here and we aren't even mad about it. I feel better than I have in awhile. It seems like the sunshine, the flexibility of our schedule, and the change of scenery are just what the doctor ordered. I'm calm, I'm more focused, I'm relaxed. I like myself on the boat. That's not to say that there aren't days that are busy or demanding (I fully expect this to be the sort of ebb and flow we will experience once we are underway) but I feel less tense when tackling those instances. 

Every day is a little different but this is mostly how it goes:

We get up when our internal clocks wake us, take the dog out, maybe have some coffee, I go for a run or to the YMCA to work out, Josh works while I'm gone--takes calls, does paperwork, sends emails, etc. I come back, I fix lunch, we eat in the cockpit, plan our afternoon (is today laundry day? Or do we need to get groceries?) then he goes back to it and I work on blog posts, read, clean, or jump in the pool here at the marina. As of this week my bike is here so I plan on doing some exploring and we got a kayak as my college graduation gift a billion years ago (thanks for storing it all this time, mom and pop!).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

what to expect when you're expecting to be an overnight guest on a sailboat.

So you've been invited to stay over on your friend's sailboat. Congratulations! If you like water and adventure, you're going to have a memorable weekend.  We love entertaining and this weekend we hosted our first overnight guests. It got me to thinking about how hosting someone at our home is different than hosting someone either at the dock or on the anchor. There are at least a few differences so, I thought I'd post a guide for all future guests. 

First off, pack thoughtfully. We spend the majority of our time on the boat outside. Sunscreen, bug spray, hat and sunglasses if you wear them are absolute musts. We try to have at least an extra hat laying around as well as plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent but if you're particular or sensitive to particular ingredients, it's best to bring your own. 

We keep an extra set of towels and sheets but no extra pillows or blankets. Space is limited and we try not to carry more than we need. A good host will let you know if you need to bring any unusual extras so keep that in mind. 

Toiletries. Yes, you probably always bring them but if you're like me, sometimes you forget something and ask your host to borrow some of theirs. The problem with this is that since we live at the dock, we use the wonderful bath house our slip fees afford us.  Pack every item you'll need together so you're not stuck in a shower stall in the bath house cursing your misfortune of leaving your shampoo sitting on your berth. This is not so much an issue while anchored but keep in mind that if you're in a foreign port, your favorite toothpaste may not be easily acquired and you'll want to bring enough so that you won't have to impose on your live-aboard friends' limited supplies either. 

Nonskid, comfy shoes and maybe some flip flops. Comfort and utility are the name of the game here.  

If you have long hair, I will always suggest some means of keeping your hair tied back. Pony tail, at the very least. A windy day even just at the docks will leave your free-flowing mane in the worst tangle. 

And now a word about motion sickness. Even if we are docked, we are moving. Yep. When the wind blows, we roll slightly. Mostly the marina is protected from any real rough motion, but if you visit an anchored boat in a harbor, the weather is less predictable. I've read of cruising boats that are tossed relentlessly about, rocking and rolling on the hook. So. You should prepare yourself if you a person who is sensitive to that sort of thing. I sometimes feel queasy and have found that Ginger Chews (by Ginger People) are quite helpful, as is a full tummy. Sea bands or Dramamine are also options if your discomfort is the more severe bent. 

Now that I've covered what to bring, let's just have a quick "how to" have an easy, enjoyable visit aboard. 

If you're at a boat that is docked, keep your shoes and bath house key close to your berth. If you're like me and frequent the bathroom in the wee small hours of the morning, you'll want these items close enough you can stumble into them and to the bathroom without incident. 

There is very little, if any, privacy on a sailboat. On our boat, quarters are tight and your berth is next to ours. And the floor creaks/squeaks. Not much to be done about it but just something to keep in mind. We try to be mindful of that but unfortunately the guest quarters are not doored from the main cabin. 

Storage is always a top concern. If your visit will be an extended one, a duffle or some sort of collapsible bag is best. It's stowed in a small space and won't interfere with foot traffic on board. Hopefully your host can clear you a bit of space to stow your clothes and belongings. 

Power and water conservation are not a major concern at a marina, as most docks include these utilities in the slip fee but an anchored or buoyed boat is a different story. The boat has a finite amount of water to be drawn from the on-board tankage and the electricity is a self-contained system relying on a battery bank on board. It's an easy courtesy to the hosts to not let the water run an endless stream while you're brushing your teeth. 

 Questions? Still confounded? Drop me an email or leave a comment!

Monday, July 1, 2013

top of the world.

No big deal. Just hanging around at the top of our mast while Josh looks on from below.

When we were up last week we decided we should try out the whole "hoisting-me-up-the-mast" thing for when I may need to go up and replace a bulb on the spreader lights, fasten a new line or antenna, etc. so no big deal. It was a bit windy but it was nothing major. I don't really have any issues with heights and I trust Josh like I trust no one else. Ever. In. My. Life. We worked out what I was supposed to do when it was time to come down before I was even off the ground. Ok. Fine. Cool. He starts hoisting me and I'm cool. I am concentrating on not getting tangled in any lines or accidentally loosening anything on my way up. I get to the top after a few minutes and all is well. I snap a few photos, look around and then it's time to come down. And then I can't loosen the ascender. I'm supposed to push a little latch down and back to let the rope off, only it won't come. I'm not panicked. I'm annoyed. I try one hand then the other, then both. I push this way and that and no dice. Again, I'm totally cool with being up there. Not worried just pissed by this time. Soon, the harness I was wearing was pushing on some nerves in my thighs which made my legs fall asleep. No bueno.  Luckily, there was an easy work around and Josh was able to lower me gently to safely on the deck just in time to still be able to stand upright when I was unfastened from the spinnaker halyard. All in all, an exhilarating experience. 

As I get a bit older my threshold for risky behavior gets lower, I will admit. I have no intention of letting those feelings of fear or apprehension keep me from living fully, though. Sometimes I force myself to be a little wild as long as the proper precautions have been taken. I mean, I'm not going to jump off a cliff if I have no idea what's below me, you know? 

Another very brief adventure I'll tell you about has no photographic proof unfortunately because it was extremely brief. 

I jumped in Lake Michigan. Wha?? Sounds crazy, right? What about 3 miles out in over 100 foot deep water? Crazier? Not my favorite decision, for sure. We took Interlude out on Sunday for a sail and it was hot. Steamy and sunny. I told Josh, half-jokingly, that I wanted to swim off the boat. He said we'd heave to (slow the boat to an almost imperceptible speed) once we hit 100 feet depth and I could swim. I thought he was kidding but once we hit the depth he called me out. I hemmed and hawed but eventually decided I should "man up" since I had brought it up. We hove to and the boat slowed to a crawl. He tied one of the fenders to a line and let it drag on our port side. We opened the life lines along the port side, he told me to get in, and swim toward the line/fender and follow it back along the side of the boat to the swim ladder. I had on the most awkward life jacket and my scared face. The one full of regret and indecision about whether or not I should slowly take the ladder in or just jump feet first into the inky blue water below. I almost had to have him push me, my nerve waning as the seconds ticked by. Eventually, I leapt. Into the inky blue, freezing cold depths, quickly being buoyed back to the surface by my life vest. I couldn't catch my breath, the waves were 1-2 feet and I felt myself immediately drifting toward the stern. Not the calmest of feelings overtook me and suddenly all I wanted to be was anywhere but bobbing, desperately trying to catch hold of the fender line in the icy water. As soon as I fought through the waves and hooked on to the swim ladder and I climbed up I began to breathe easily. No, not my favorite decision. Risky, sure. I was safe and it was an adventure so I'll just just count that one as one I might not try again. We'll see.

sunday share: bialetti.

Oh hey, do you like coffee? How about espresso? We LOVE coffee. One of the accoutrement for the boat that was an absolute must for us was a coffee maker. Josh did the leg work on this one so I claim none of the kudos here but I will tell you he did his homework. The Bialetti 6800 Moka Express 6-cup Stovetop Espresso Percolator is a great little gadget. We received it as a Christmas gift and promptly put it to work. This baby has just a few components and is kinda idiot-proof. You fill the bottom portion (up to the line) with water, place the basket over it, fill with your choice of ground coffee or espresso, screw the top half on and go to town. Over medium/high heat on the stove it takes 5-10 minutes for the brewed coffee to percolate into the top portion and then you're ready to enjoy your morning brew. Let it cool, or run under cool water to cool, dump the used grounds, rinse and repeat as needed. Josh and I each drink a 6-cup portion (we run it through that process twice total) a day, so we may or may not each drink 6 espressos? Regardless, it produces a rich coffee and the apparatus itself is easy use, clean up and storing.