Wednesday, May 20, 2015

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another...

As per usual, just before Adam is supposed to go back to work the A/C decides to barely work. We noticed as soon as we got plugged in at the new dock that it was only keeping the boat about 10 degrees cooler than the outside air. In Florida this means it was about 80 degrees in the boat. After much debate about having the unit serviced before Adam went back to work, we decided to put it off and hope I could make it a month before we can just replace the whole darn thing. We knew it would need replacing eventually, we were just hoping for a few more months! Now I have keeping the boat cool down to an art. I set up a ‘tent’ on top of the coach roof to add some extra shade, keep all the curtains closed, keep the door to the head closed (it vents directly to the outside via the anchor locker), let it get as cold as possible overnight and started putting the canvas back over the hatch to help insulate it. This seems to be working pretty well, keeps it about 75 degrees during the hottest part of the day. It’s not an issue for the human, but the two pets (especially the dog) don’t do great in the heat for a long time. This also means that any sort of cooking with propane during the day is out! Handy dandy tiny slow cooker to the rescue! It lets off so little heat that I can actually cook, which now my other option is to wait till 8 pm to cook anything. Ready, set, Go made up recipes for the slow cooker!
There is always something to spend more money on. We were hoping once we got to Florida we would have a few months to recuperate from the move (cash wise), but apparently the boat has other plans. In addition to A/C’s (the one at the house was ALSO vandalized, but that’s another story!), my two best friends are both getting married a week apart from each other in June. I have already purchased airline tickets for myself to attend the first one in Vermont. After finding out about the cash we are about to have to drop on an A/C and that airfare just sky rocketed I’m going to have to skip the second wedding. In addition we have no pet sitters in the new city so we could not go together. I’m just hoping that I won’t offend anybody by missing out on her wedding.  The kicker is that the wedding I’m missing is my childhood best friend, who is having the wedding at her parents’ house, which is just down the street from my parents. So my parents were also hoping to see me then. Either way we pretty much figured Adam would not be able to come with me, so there was the added downer of being away from Adam for two weekends in a row, if I was able to go.
I am not a planner, I leave that to Adam. Thinking beyond the next week and possibly even the next month gives me a headache. BUT we have finally started to plan our wedding! I want a VERY small wedding with minimal pomp and circumstance. This means I have to go dress shopping (arggg!). I will definitely need help in this endeavor, so in lieu of going home for my best friend’s wedding I am trying to find another weekend to head north so I can recruit my step mom to go dress shopping with me. I do not like to spend money, especially on arbitrary things (like clothes) so I am very hesitant about this whole process. Let the planning begin! (grumble grumble grumble).
I still have no job, which I really don’t mind, except for the lack of funds. I had one interview so far, but the job sounded so dismal that Adam and I decided it was not worth it. So, I have been spending my days running with the dog, reorganizing the interior of the boat, and visiting the local beach. I have to say it has been pretty darn amazing! Cocoa Beach is beautiful. It is far less crowded than I expected. It is also the largest nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles in this hemisphere (and possibly the world)! I like to go down and walk along the beach for miles. I often see a lot of people surfing, which looks pretty darn fun, thinking I’d like to try that eventually. There is something very restorative about a mostly empty beach. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The smell of salt in in the air

As Ashley has mentioned, we did it, we finally freakin' did it!! The ol' girl is back in the Salt Water and life is good. It seemed not all that long ago when we said to ourselves, in two-three years, maybe, just maybe we will be able to move the boat to the coast, and now here it is.  I just hope the next few years go by just as fast to when we can finally cast off the lines and head South for good. Go explore all the islands, anchorages and sights that we read about so often in other blogs.  I suppose, that this is all just part of the Journey and as any sailor knows, it isn't about the destination, but the adventure getting to the destination.  The next few years will be exciting and we will be able to explore the coast of Florida and eventually the Bahamas.   I have slowly grown to really appreciate the fact that we have been able to do this so far at such a relatively young age.  At our new home, we are by far the youngest of the 120 some liveaboards and not just by a few years, but at least 20. Most all are retired and finally living out their dreams so for us to do so in our early thirties is truly a gift I appreciate.  It hasn't been easy, but we set our minds to it and never looked back

Getting prepared for our move took vast amounts of planning and the help of a lot of good friends.  I traded a car hauler trailer I had for an enclosed trailer.  The plan was to use the trailer to haul all of our goodies we stripped off the boat for shipping and then it could be used as a portable storage unit in Florida. It is packed full of tools and boat parts as well as our bicycles. So far it was worked out great and when needed, we will just sell it.

On Lake Murray, our sail club is the only place that has a Gin pole for raising / lowering masts.  This Gin pole consists of a telephone pole approximately 50 feet high with blocks on top to winch up or down a mast.  This works great as long as you have an army of very willing people to help lower the mast then carry it to a good resting spot. It's a very precarious operation and usually several cold beverages are needed to calm the boat owner's nerves and to bribe the people helping.  As many like to brag, hundreds of masts have been raised and lowered (Typically while drinking) and no limbs or boats have been lost yet.   The great People of Windward Point Yacht Club were very helpful in lowering our huge mast and I cannot thank them enough.  The kindness of fellow sailors never ceases to amaze me.

I took the time while the mast was down to do some work to it. I ran new wires for the lights, installed new spreader lights. Replaced the blocks and ran new halyards and did a few other small projects.  Our cockpit enclosure was finally finished the day before we left and we packed up the whole show into the trailer.  We spent the last week in town saying goodbye to many dear friends many of whom I've known for most of my life. All were glad to see us off on this adventure, but they will certainly be missed.

On Monday morning, Ashley and I cast off the lines for the last time at WPYC. It was a beautiful crisp morning as we motored our way an hour up the lake to the marina where the truck was meeting us.  A few of our friends and my father drove up to see the operation. It took about 3 hours to finally load the boat onto the trailer, but it went smooth and Paul from Tritan Yachts was fantastic as usual.  From there we had lunch with my father and we left to head south for 7 hours to our hotel in Cocoa Beach.  A flat tire at the very start slowed the show, but we quickly got it changed and got on the road.  It was  a hurried time and busy, but we were finally off, it was really happening.

The trailer loaded up and ready to go.

Mom and Dad coming to see us off.

Alex and Drew, friends from WPYC seeing the boat get loaded.

All ready to go.
The mast coming down. Scary.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sailors Exchange- 'cause we all need more stuff

It seems no matter how organized we think we are there is always another random pile of stuff that is in the wrong place (or more commonly, has no place). We keep finding items that have no real home on the boat, like dog shampoo. I need to be able to find it, but it doesn’t need to sit out all the time. As I write this Adam is making a valiant effort to organize some of the mysterious items found in the quarter berth.  I guess that is part of having two people and two pets on a 33’ boat.
We have been taking our laundry to Let’s Talk Dirty in Cocoa Beach and then making laundry day also beach day. If you haven’t used a laundry service before, don’t! You can’t ever go back! They wash and fold and organize all of your laundry so nice and neat. Wow. Laundry day now is awesome.
I am still searching for a job, although the prospect of having to leave my family to go to work is not exciting. I have a few options as of now, but nothing too promising at this point. Adam is hoping I find a job less stressful than my last one, partly so I don’t drive him nuts too!
We drove up to St. Augustine last week to visit the much anticipated Sailors Exchange. We were looking for a few specific items with the understanding that we would probably find a whole bunch of things we needed. After a few wrong turns we found the legendary Sailors Exchange. They have a whole lot of stuff! If you are looking for something specific it would be good to call and see if they have it in advance.  Also, make sure you have correct measurements for everything and anything you might want to buy. It was about a two hour drive for us and we weren’t sure what we would find. We ended up buying a new light fixture, 8’ stainless pipe, anchor swivels, and they gave us a sample of dyneema line to try as new life lines.  I can’t even begin to list everything they have. I can tell you they did not have any self tailing winches or parts to one (no surprise there!). We also stopped and got lunch and walked around a bit while we were up there. It was a beautiful spot, looks pretty tourist-y but we plan to take the boat up there for a weekend at some point.

Monday, May 4, 2015


We have finally made it down to Florida! This is a bit late, we arrived on April 28th and are now starting to get settled in. We have already seen an alligator and dolphins just off the boat! It feels like we have been on vacation since we got here
The new place is pretty nice, relaxed enough that we can do work on the boat while we are here. It seems that all of our new neighbors are retired.  For the time being I guess I fit into that as well. I left my job so we could move down here, so until I find a new one I am off! Adam can still work his current job from here, just a slightly longer drive to the airport.
It seems like just about everyone we have met is planning to take off in the near future. We will have to get used to that now that we are on the ocean. There are a lot more live aboards at this marina and it seems pretty much everyone is retired!
Morgan, our dog, has a hard time with new people and she is very protective of us. We have made a huge effort to make her more comfortable here with all the new people. She is getting tons of treats and we have even had some of the people give her some treats. She is doing much better here than she was before. Johnny, the cat, is a rock star as usual. He has lived all over the country and is pretty stoic about the whole situation. They both had to
hang out in the car for about two days, one for the loading of the boat and drive and the second day while we were working on the boat and putting it back in the water. They both seem pretty happy here and very calm. We can fit in this slip bow in, which makes it much quieter in the boat and muffles any noise from the dock.
Going back to before we moved, we had a successful trip all around the country. We visited my parents in CT, friends in MA and VT and then to my cousins cattle ranch in WY and SD. We drove from South Carolina to Connecticut with both pets and then left them with my parents and did the rest of our traveling while they hung out in CT. By the time we got back from that it was time for Adam to head back to work.  Adam bought me a sewing machine, so for the month he was gone I learned how to sew and made some curtains for the boat. The previous owner had some plastic place mats cut up to the shape of the port lights for curtains. We purchased some fabric and light blocking material and I sewed them into 8 curtains. We had debated about how to attach them, we ended up using snap fasteners to put them up.  They work great (although are far from perfect!) and if I decide to make more later on we can use the same snap to put up a new panel.
By the time Adam came back from work we had about a week to get ready before the boat was shipped. We wanted to try to pull the mast down the first weekend he was home, so we could have a week to run new wires and lines. I was very relieved when we got the mast down, if you have ever taken a mast down with a gin pole, you can understand the relief when it is down and everyone still has all their limbs and digits. Thankfully we had a bunch of help to lower it down. We spent the next week saying goodbye to everyone and slowly disassembling the boat.
Well this was kind of a cyclical entry, but now you are pretty much up to date. Now to explore Florida!